Sunday, April 21,2024 1:14 pm EDT

Top 4 Hot Water Heaters for an RV – Is Tankless the answer?

The reliable operation of a hot water heater for an RV renders an array of comforts and necessities accessible to road travelers and adventure enthusiasts. When considering life on the move, the incorporation of domestic conveniences within the confined spaces of an RV introduces a level of homeliness, profoundly transforming the experience of travel. Deconstructing the phrase ‘hot water heater for an RV’, it effectively converges towards two primary facets of RV living – mobility and the retention of residential amenities.


The significance of an RV water heater, therefore, cannot be overstated, as it serves as a pivotal component in the provision of heated water, which is essential for a variety of uses ranging from cooking and cleaning to bathing. Hot water on demand is a fundamental expectation in modern living, and the constraint of space, power, and water supply in an RV demands an optimized solution that a specialized RV water heater is designed to address.

Customer rating emerges as a critical factor when assessing the reliability of an RV water heater. Customers provide real-world insights into the product’s performance, durability, and ease of use. High customer ratings typically denote satisfaction and are indicative of a product that meets or exceeds user expectations within the unpredictable environments that RVs often endure.

Price range is another integral consideration for most RV owners when selecting a hot water heater for an RV. Prospective buyers must balance the initial outlay against the heater’s efficiency, longevity, and operational costs. The price range is often reflective of the heater’s quality, features, and capacity, and a judicious assessment is required to ensure that the price aligns with the value offered over the long term.

In sum, understanding the critical nature of a consistent and efficient supply of hot water promulgated by a reliable hot water heater for an RV, along with judicious attention to customer ratings and price range considerations, is essential for informed purchasing decisions that enhance the travel experience.

Importance of having a hot water heater for an RV

The reliability of a hot water heater for an RV is crucial for several reasons, which tie directly into the broader experience of mobile living. Firstly, the function of an RV water heater extends beyond merely providing comfort; it is essential for sanitation and hygiene, enabling the washing of dishes, cleaning of the RV, and personal hygiene tasks like showering. A dependable hot water heater for an RV thus becomes an important factor in maintaining a hygienic living space while on the move.

Additionally, considering customer ratings when choosing a reliable hot water heater for an RV is a step towards ensuring that one invests in a product with a proven track record of reliability. Customers typically report on their experiences with the duration of the hot water supply, recovery rate, and the heater’s ability to maintain temperature under different conditions—all valuable insights for potential buyers. Moreover, price range is of import because RV users ought to balance their budget against the quality and longevity of the unit.

The price range of hot water heater for an RV can vary significantly, and while higher-priced models may offer more features or better performance, it is the correlation of price to durability and efficiency that constitutes a wise investment for the long-term RV lifestyle. Opting for a hot water heater for an RV that aligns favorably with both customer ratings and falls within an appropriate price range can mitigate the risk of untimely breakdowns and costly repairs, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable travel experience.

Key considerations when choosing between tankless and traditional hot water heater for an RV

When deciding between tankless and traditional hot water heater for an RV, several crucial considerations arise. Firstly, the capacity of water tanks in an hot water heater for an RV is paramount; traditional units have a predefined storage limit, typically ranging from 6 to 10 gallons, providing a fixed amount of hot water before necessitating a recovery period. Conversely, tankless models, often referred to as on-demand hot water heater for an RV, heat water as it flows through the device, thereby offering a potentially unlimited supply, which proves beneficial for large families or continuous usage.

This leads directly to the discussion of the price range, where traditional water heaters typically present a lower upfront cost, but tankless varieties, though costlier initially, can offer long-term savings through energy efficiency by only heating water on-demand. The space within an RV is also a scarce resource; hence, volume and installation footprint are critical—tankless systems, being more compact, free up space for other essentials.

When considering a hot water heater for an RV, the user must also weigh the compatibility with the existing RV infrastructure, including power sources (electric, gas, or both), water pressure compatibility, and ease of integration. Overall, the selection process necessitates a careful assessment of hot water requirements, budget constraints, installation considerations, efficiency, and spatial limitations intrinsic to the unique environment of an RV.

Comparison Between Tankless and Traditional Options

Detailed comparison of tankless and traditional hot water heaters for RVs

When comparing tankless and traditional hot water heater for an RV, several distinct factors must be considered. Traditional RV water heaters typically come with water tanks that store and keep the water hot, which implies a constant energy expenditure to maintain the set temperature. This can affect efficiency since energy is used regardless of hot water demand. Tankless systems, on the other hand, provide hot water on demand by heating water directly as it flows through the device, which can lead to a reduction in energy usage since heat is produced only when needed.

In terms of installation and the price range, traditional hot water heater for an RV usually boast a more modest initial outlay compared to tankless models. The price range for tank-based systems can be lower, making them accessible for those on a tight budget. However, the operational costs over time can be higher due to the continuous heating requirement. Tankless RV water heaters, while carrying a higher upfront cost, might offer savings over time with reduced energy consumption.

Furthermore, capacity is a noteworthy point of comparison. Water tanks in traditional RV water heaters have a finite volume, limiting the amount of hot water available at any given time. Once the hot water supply is depleted, one must wait for the tank to refill and the water to be heated. Tankless systems can supply a steady stream of hot water, eliminating the wait time between uses, which can be particularly convenient for larger groups or during back-to-back usage scenarios.

Lastly, when it comes to the energy sources, both types can typically use propane, but electric water heating options are also viable, especially for tankless designs. Electric water heaters for an RV are usually considered for their convenience and safety, as they do not require the handling of propane, which might be a priority for some users. However, one must assess the power availability in their RV to ensure the electric models’ compatibility since they might necessitate a robust on-board generator or shore power for optimal operation.

Pros and cons of each type of hot water heater in the context of RV use

When discussing the pros and cons of various types of hot water heater an RV, the primary types to consider are the traditional tank-based units, tankless systems, and hybrid models.

With the traditional tank-based RV water heater, the pros are largely associated with simplicity and initial cost. These systems have been standard in the industry for many years, so they’re well-understood, easy to repair, and are available in a price range that is often affordable compared to other options. They use insulated water tanks to store and heat water, which can be beneficial for having a reserve of hot water available immediately. However, the cons include the space required to house these water tanks, the weight they add to the RV, and the potential for the water to run cold if the reserve is depleted faster than the tank can heat more.

The tankless hot water heater for an RV, on the other hand, warms water on demand. This eliminates the need for large water tanks, which frees up space and reduces weight, important considerations in an RV setting. However, these are typically more expensive (higher in the price range) and may require more maintenance than traditional tank-based options. They can also put a higher demand on the RV’s electrical system or require more gas to operate, and the flow rate of hot water may be limited, which can be a consideration for activities like showering.

In terms of power source, electric water heaters for an RV provide clean operation and are readily available. The pro is that they can be powered by campsite electric hookups, reducing reliance on gas. The con is that the electric water heater will drain the RV’s batteries quickly if used without a hookup, making them less ideal for off-grid camping.

All types need to be evaluated against the specific needs of the RV user, such as travel style, budget, space, and weight considerations, and the availability of power sources.

Top 4 Hot Water Heaters for Your RV

1. Rinnai RU80EN 8.0 GPM Tankless Water Heater

Selecting an appropriate hot water heater for an RV involves several critical considerations, including size, efficiency, water output, and power source compatibility. The Rinnai RU80EN 8.0 GPM Tankless Water Heater fits well within these parameters for several reasons. To begin with, as a tankless option, it provides a continuous supply of hot water on-demand, which is a significant advantage for an RV setting where space is limited and water use can be sporadic. Moreover, its high gallons per minute (GPM) rating ensures that even the highest hot water consumption needs are met, such as when taking a shower or doing dishes.

High customer ratings often indicate reliability and satisfaction with a product’s performance. The RU80EN model typically receives favorable reviews, which helps reinforce its suitability as a hot water heater for an RV. Users consistently report satisfaction with the unit’s capacity to quickly provide hot water and its efficiency in doing so, which is a testament to its design that caters well to the fluctuating demands of RV usage.

In terms of energy usage, RV owners are usually looking for a hot water heater that won’t excessively tax their vehicle’s power systems. The Rinnai RU80EN, being a natural gas-operated heater, tends to be more energy-efficient compared to electric water heaters, which translates to lower operating costs—an aspect highly appreciated in customer feedback.

Lastly, considering the price range is crucial for RV owners to balance cost with quality. The Rinnai RU80EN falls within the mid to high-end price range; however, this initial investment reflects its durability, efficiency, and the convenience of having a consistent hot water supply in an RV environment. Although not the cheapest option, its features justify the cost, especially for those prioritizing long-term reliability and performance in their selection of water heaters. This comprehensive combination of benefits fortifies the argument that the Rinnai RU80EN 8.0 GPM Tankless Water Heater ranks as a top choice for an RV hot water heater.

2. Suburban 5239A RV Tankless Water Heater

When considering the needs of an RV lifestyle, having a reliable hot water source is essential, and the Suburban 5239A model stands out for its specific features tailored to mobile living. In addressing the selection of an optimal hot water heater for an RV, one must factor in the space constraints, energy efficiency, water capacity, and ease of installation and use of the unit.

The Suburban 5239A tankless water heater excels in these areas due to its compact design, which is a significant advantage within the confined spaces of an RV. Traditional rv water heaters with water tanks can create limitations on the volume of hot water available and can necessitate recovery time between uses. In contrast, the Suburban 5239A provides a continuous supply of hot water on-demand devoid of such constraints.

Moreover, efficiency is a crucial consideration, and this model offers a tankless operation, ensuring that water is heated as it flows through the system, which reduces energy consumption by avoiding the need to maintain a large reservoir of hot water. This is an important factor RV owners look to when searching for a hot water heater for an RV, as it relates directly to the cost of use and conservation of resources, which is especially pertinent when traveling to remote locations where power and water supplies may be limited.

Furthermore, the ease of obtaining the Suburban 5239A RV Tankless Water Heater is another aspect that can’t be overlooked. With options for free delivery, this convenience allows RV owners to receive their hot water heater without the inconvenience of transporting it themselves, which is particularly beneficial given that RV owners may often be on the move and distant from retail locations. Free delivery ensures not only a cost-saving benefit but also adds a layer of logistical ease in the acquisition of the unit.

Overall, the benefits of the Suburban 5239A as a hot water heater for an RV make it a leading choice for RV enthusiasts looking for a blend of practicality, efficiency, and convenience, backed by the benefits of tankless operation and the convenience of free delivery.

3. Camplux 10L 2.64 GPM Portable Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater

When evaluating the best hot water heater for an RV, the Camplux 10L 2.64 GPM Portable Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater stands out due to several well-aligned features with RV lifestyle needs, alongside favorable considerations in the price range spectrum. RV tankless water heaters are preferred over traditional water heaters for their efficiency and space-saving attributes, a crucial advantage given the limited space within an RV.

The Camplux model, in particular, provides a continuous supply of hot water on-demand, ensuring that RV dwellers can access hot water without the wait times associated with tank-based systems. Its output of 2.64 gallons per minute (GPM) is typically sufficient for daily needs, including showers, dishwashing, and other cleaning tasks common in an RV setting.

Moreover, this RV tankless water heater operates on propane gas, a commonly used fuel in the RV community, which aligns with the need for mobility and ease of resupply. Propane gas is also known for being an efficient and clean-burning fuel, enhancing the ecological aspect of this RV tankless water heater and contributing to a reduced carbon footprint during travel. In terms of installation and maintenance, the Camplux heater is designed with portability in mind, making it a convenient addition to any RV setup.

The price range of this unit is competitive, striking a balance between cost-effectiveness and delivering a high-quality hot water supply, solidifying its position as a top contender for the best hot water heater for an RV. As RV tankless water heaters go, this particular model encapsulates the qualities of efficiency, convenience, and environmental consideration that most RV owners typically prioritize.

4. Atwood 96110 Electronic Ignition Water Heater

When evaluating the Atwood 96110 Electronic Ignition Water Heater’s qualifications as the best hot water heater for an RV, it is crucial to first consider what attributes are vital for an RV owner. RV water heating systems must be compact, efficient, and reliable due to the limited space and energy resources inherent in RV living. The Atwood 96110 excels in these areas due to its thoughtful design and technical attributes. Notably, its customer rating reflects high levels of user satisfaction, indicating that users have had positive experiences with both its performance and durability.

Factors contributing to such ratings include its ease of installation and use, which are facilitated by the addition of an accessible rv water heater door, making maintenance and inspections less cumbersome. Furthermore, the integration with existing water tanks is seamless, reinforcing the 96110’s reputation as a convenient and practical choice for those who frequent the RV lifestyle. The hot water heater’s efficiency speaks to its capacity to quickly heat water while minimizing energy consumption. This is particularly advantageous for RV users who have to manage limited onboard energy supplies. Overall, these features, cemented by strong customer ratings, make the Atwood 96110 stand out as a leading hot water heater for an RV, combining convenience, efficiency, and user-approved functionality.


In conclusion, when selecting the best hot water heater for an RV, there are various factors to consider, including the type of water heater, its energy source, and the specific needs of the RV user. Traditional RV water heaters with storage tanks have been a commonplace choice, offering a balance between cost and convenience. However, the rise in popularity of the RV tankless water heater signifies a shift towards more efficient and continuous hot water supply, with many models receiving high customer ratings for their performance.

The RV tankless water heater stands out for its ability to provide on-demand hot water without the limitations of a tank, resulting in a more efficient use of space and energy. Their design also negates the risk of tank leaks and can potentially reduce water waste. When it comes to the power source, options include propane, electric water heaters, or a combination of both, with the electric water heater being particularly appreciated for its quiet operation and convenience, though it may require a reliable connection to a power source.

Maintenance and installation considerations also play a role, including the need for a proper RV water heater door that ensures safety and efficiency, and allows for easy access for service. The product’s customer rating should be taken into account as an indicator of its reliability and user satisfaction. Overall, the best hot water heater for an RV will be one that aligns with the specific needs of the RV user, offers energy efficiency, and provides a consistent supply of hot water for a comfortable RV living experience.

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Parmeetpal Dhillon
Parmeetpal Dhillon
An adventurer at heart, Parmeetpal Dhillon is an author at 'This Old Campsite'. With a deep love for camping and hiking, he loves to share his experiences.
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