If you are part of the over 45 million Americans who have camped in the past year, you are likely excited about exploring the great outdoors. However, maybe you’re here to search for a way to make the comforts of home join you while you’re on the road or in the woods. For the best portable or RV tankless water heater, you will want to find that one specific model that adequately addresses the needs for your specific application. Luckily for you, we have pulled together a solid list of a variety of brands of portable and RV tankless water heaters. Read on to find out which would fit your exact needs, whether you want a heater to bring with you camping, or if you need one for a duck hunting expedition, or maybe for a mobile dog washing business. Of course, you’ll want to find a balance between your needs, the right features, and price.
Now within our review of portable tankless water heaters you will find quite a range of options. We wanted to make sure that every outdoors-loving person would find a tankless water heater that he or she felt would best suit him or her. From rustic camping to a hot outdoor shower for a farmer, you will find an array of models across the price spectrum. We truly believe that the investment will be worth the payoff.
What we want to make sure of is that you have realistic expectations of what these heaters will do for you. When portability is key—you might have to give a little in expected gallons per minute (GPM) of water flow output. If you need an outdoor unit—expect to be careful that your tankless water heater isn’t exposed to freezing temperatures. It’s simply unrealistic to expect an appliance to function at its peak performance in unsavory conditions.
You get what you pay for with good portable RV tankless water heaters, so when the price increases, so do the features. As you take steps up, these water heaters have more BTUs to heat water faster, recover quicker and produce more hot water per hour. So if you’d really like to make your RV like home, you will likely want to upgrade from the typical 6 or 10-gallon tank that comes standard in most trailers or RVs, to an on-demand tankless unit that can generate a higher BTU output. Or, if you plan to travel the country and live exclusively in your RV, you should really consider looking at a tankless for your water heater source.
We hope that our comparison of portable RV tankless water heater units allows you to quickly and easily find just the right fit. Best of luck on your outdoor adventuring!
- Brand: Eccotemp Systems
- Dimensions: 6.5 x 13.5 x 28 inches
- GPM: 2.6
- Weight: 27 pounds
- Warranty: 1 Year Warranty Heater
- Aquaking AKOUTDOORSMAN
- Brand: Aquaking
- Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 7.3 inches
- GPM: N/A
- Weight: 11.4 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Brand: EZ Tankless
- Dimensions: N/A
- GPM: N/A
- Weight: N/A
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- PrecisionTemp RV-550
- Brand: PrecisionTemp
- Dimensions: N/A
- GPM: N/A
- Weight: 32 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
Eccotemp L10 Portable Outdoor Tankless Water Heater
Tiny little L10 from Eccotemp is a good portable tankless water heater for a variety of outdoor applications. Let us say you live in a warm climate and you’d love to have an outdoor shower. The L10 could also work for farms or homes that need an outdoor area to clean up or for washing animals. Anywhere from a summer cottage, to a hunting cabin or artist’s studio or camper would be a good fit. For anyone living off the grid, this is an ideal unit—all three of the installation points (water, gas, and ignition) are almost headache-free. It will provide about 2.6 GPMs on the water flow, which should be just about right for a small-scale application.
You will just love the nice low price point of the Eccotemp L10—it will give you hot water right when you want it, and you won’t have to spend much to have this modern convenience. Eccotemp has also included a stainless steel (so it won’t rust) rain cap to protect the interior heating parts and elements. One of the best perks is that it also comes with 9 feet of a CSA-approved gas regulator and hose. So instead of cutting into and modifying a gas line pipe from your home, you can use this tankless water heater with a standard 20-pound grill-style propane tank. For maximum input, you can expect about 74,500 BTUs.
With a battery ignition, you do not have to worry about hooking up to an electrical line. For those who would like the Ecootemp L10 to be even more convenient for installation, consider this: you will also be provided a garden hose adapter that is 1/2″ NPT. It is really a pipe-free installation!
AquaKing Outdoorsman Propane (LPG) Tankless Water Heater
By its name, the AquaKing Outdoorsman is made for those die-hard hunting and fishing enthusiasts, or travel campers who like to travel to remote areas for their sports or leisure. Other outdoor sports like off-road vehicle drivers, climbers or hikers, skiers or dirt bike riders might also like the idea of owning the AquaKing Outdoorsman. It might also work well for mobile businesses like food trucks or mobile dog washing applications. At just 10 pounds, this tiny but powerful heater can be transported easily to remote locations. Strap it on the back of your off-road ATV and disappear into the countryside! It’s like bringing a small piece of home with you wherever your travels take you.
This ultra portable tankless water heater can be used anywhere that has a water and propane gas line hookup—no electricity is necessary. It requires 2 D cell batteries for power, which makes it more convenient for users to set it up and go. You’ll need to confirm that your gas and water line hookups match the half-inch (½”) pipes of the AquaKing Outdoorsman.
The price point on the AquaKing Outdoorsman is very low, making it a great fit for those who have a small budget and want to use this tankless water heater for specific situations or locations. Or, let’s say you have a camper trailer that you’d like to have hot water while you’re there infrequently, or maybe you want to install an outdoor shower. Its thermal efficiency is at about 84% and you can expect right around 1.6 gallons per minute (GPM) for your hot shower or hot water tap needs. All in all, a pretty nice little battery-powered heater for the GPMs and the price.
EZ 101 Propane (LPG) Tankless Water Heater
Now let’s say that you live in an area that has tumultuous weather, or that often gets power knocked out during storms or certain seasons of the year. Having a battery-powered portable tankless water heater that hooks up to your existing gas and water lines would be a great solution to being without hot water for long periods of electrical outages. Or, if you’re an avid camper or outdoor and nature lover, and you travel or own a remote cabin—this tankless water heater might be just the right fit for you.
At a low price point, the EZ 101 is a good portable or RV tankless water heater at a nice price. You can easily travel with it, as it weighs in at about 14 pounds—so even those remote hunting cabins accessed by boat or 4×4 vehicle could bring this heater along.
You will need to purchase 2 D cell batteries for the ignition of the EZ 101—they are not included with the unit. It might actually be smart to have more D batteries on hand, for replacement purposes when you need them. And if you’re already fishing or hunting, you might use the D batteries for flashlights or other outdoor gear anyway. You can expect about 1.6 GPMs for the EZ 101, making it great for one-application needs.
The manufacturers of EZ 101 make it well known that this is a draft unit that pulls its intake air from the surrounding air, so it is not for indoor installation. They recommend it for open shelters, barns, workshops and sheds, or any open area with excellent ventilation. It’s a safe option for an outdoor installation since you don’t have to worry about a pilot light with the battery-start ignition.
PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater
If you’re looking for a review of recreational vehicle or RV tankless water heaters, here is another RV-specific unit to consider. Not to leave anyone out, this unit could work for tiny homes or trailers, hunting cabins or small lake homes. It will run just about the same dollar amount as the Atwood heater, so it is in the high end of the price range.
Here is a fun fact for those searching for domestic appliances: The PrecisionTemp is designed, assembled, and tested all in the USA. For a comparison’s sake, if you previously had a 10-gallon water heater tank, the RV-550 is 13.5″ wide x 13.5″ deep x 14.25″ high and will take up about 50% of your previously used space—and anyone who camps knows that space is at a premium in an RV. It also utilizes a power-vented sidewall penetration to help with air circulation and exhaust.
With a propane tank fuel source, the RV-550 won’t use any energy until the hot water is demanded. Its maximum fuel input is 55,000 BTUs, and it stays highly efficient. PrecisionTemp also integrates a gas modulation valve assembly that will initiate a spark for the ignition, and has a variable gas input based on water flow rate, which ultimately controls the water outlet temperature. You can expect a reduction in propane use, anywhere from 20-50 percent less, since there is no pilot light and propane is used only when hot water is needed; not continuously like is done to reheat hot water in a traditional tank water heater.
EZ 202 Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater
As a step up from the EZ 101, the EZ 202 can deliver up to 3.2 gallons per minute (GPM) of consistently hot water. Again, this unit should only be installed outdoors as it is a draft unit and uses the air surrounding it for intake and combustion. If you are looking for a unit that can give you occasional on-demand hot water, this would be a superb choice. The propane gas hookup would be great for hunting or camping trips, where you could bring this portable unit along. Or, try it for semi-permanent outdoor installs for summer-long campsites or remote lake homes or cabins that are small.
You will be paying just under double the price of the EZ 101 to get that higher GPM flow, but for a portable unit that’s simple to hook up to half-inch (½”) gas and water lines, the EZ 202 fits the bill quite nicely. Again, because it’s battery powered (requiring 2 D cell batteries) you do not have to worry about electricity to start the unit, or worry about any inclement weather that would usually knock out power to appliances.
Be sure that you are using this unit in climates made for outdoor appliances. As a warning, this unit should not be installed indoors because in colder climates, there is a risk of backdraft which can cause the internal water pipes in the heat exchanger to freeze, crack, and leak. All of those scenarios will void your warranty. As with all tankless water heaters, you should also install water filters on the water lines before the unit so as to protect the interior elements from mineral scale or deposits.
Atwood RV On-Demand Water Heater OD-50
This on-demand water heater made by Atwood is specifically made for RV use. Instead of having a heavy tank full of water sloshing around in your RV, this unit heats up water just when you need it. If you’re planning a long cross-country trip, or you’re now living exclusively in your RV, we all know that extra weight will make an impact on your gas mileage and ultimately your budget. Think about how paying for propane to heat your water only as you need it might affect the frequency of your LP fill-ups. For the Atwood OD-50, a flow-controlled valve adjusts the gas burner input from 16,000 – 50,000 BTUs based on water flow rate. This helps modulate the BTU power and regulates your energy use, using less power to heat a small amount of water, and more to heat a larger water demand.
Designed to fit inside existing spaces for most water heater areas, the cut-out sizes are as follows (minimum/maximum are listed in range): 12.5-16 inch width x 12.5-16 inch width x 16 minimum depth. The water heater also comes with a white door to cover the opening space.
This Atwood RV On-Demand Water Heater is a bit pricey. But, if you do spend a significant amount of time in your RV, having more hot water than the typical tiny 6-gallon tanks that most RV water heaters provide, might be worth the investment.
As a reminder, even the best portable RV tankless water heaters won’t function exactly like your hot water taps at home. There will likely be an adjustment period as you get used to how exactly you have to turn the hot water faucet on and mix in the cold to get the temperature you want.
But, in a world that is continually striving forward to integrate the perks of modern appliances into our everyday lives, it’s nice to have the opportunity to use that blessed hot water after a long day of outdoors. Even if you’re an avid camper or explorer, daytime or nighttime spent in the sun and heat, or cold and wind somehow works our bodies, the sweat and odor increases, and a nice hot shower is just the ticket to a good night’s sleep.
Shifting away from traditional tank water heaters will not only reduce your utility bill in water heating costs, but it will also reduce your risk of waking up to a flooded RV or camper if you have an older tank unit that might be on its last legs. Sometimes making a change to something completely new can have equal parts skepticism and fear of the unknown. Rest assured that small-home or RV living will have some compromises as comes with reduced space, but hot water is not one area that you will have to sacrifice. Tankless water heaters are continuing to make gains in the industry, and will continue to do so as more consumers come to understand their value and their energy efficiency.
We truly feel that as you look toward the future, you should look toward tankless water heaters. Throughout Europe and Asia, consumers have been using tankless water heaters successfully for decades. It’s all about having realistic expectations—it will be a change to make, and with all changes comes a learning curve and adjustment period. You’ll learn to use your portable or tankless water heater just like any other piece of new technology—with trial and error, but just by trying it you will figure out how it will best work for you.