The Best Shower Water Heater for Any Budget

Buying Guide

Regardless if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow or you just love your everyday hot baths, a water heater makes a worthy investment in the home. Water heaters come in an array of designs, some are tankless, others are powered by natural gas or propane gas. If you are wondering what type of water heater is best for your home, consider these tips:

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Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Water Heater

The right kind of water heater to get will depend on many factors, including the availability of energy sources, energy factor rating of the unit as well as the local water heater regulations in your local area. When hunting for the right water heater, keep these factors in mind:

Flow Rate Performance

The flow rate performance of a water heater is rated by measuring how many gallons of hot water the unit can provide in a minute while increasing the temperature of your ground water by X° F. Most water tankless water heater has an output of 6 gallons per minute at a 60-degree rise. Expect reduced output (about 50% less) when using smaller water heaters.

Energy Source

Water heaters are powered by either gas (liquid propane or natural gas) or electric. The difference between the two is the setup. Electric water heaters have to be hardwired into your electric system to work. The unit also comes with specific circuit breaker requirements. On the other hand, a gas powered water heater has to be connected to your gas line to operate. Some gas-powered water heaters can be powered by D-cell batteries.

Tanks

Some water heaters have a built-in storage tank, others are tankless. Those with storage tanks are ideal for home use. Because the unit comes with a built-in tank, water is kept heated constantly so hot water is available anytime. On the other hand, tankless water heaters work by heating the water as it flows through the unit using electricity or gas.

Heater Placement

How do you plan to use your water heater? Would you like to install it under the sink for on-demand hot water for hand washing or place the water heater in the bathroom shower, pool shower or outdoor shower? The heater placement will depend on how you plan to use the water heater.

You have the option to set up a central installation or primary application installation to ensure on-demand hot water. For larger homes, we recommend regional installation to link hot water to multiple rooms at once. For whole-house heated water connection, consider a combination strategy using a whole-house water heater combined with the tankless water heater to ensure heated water in all rooms.

Now that you know the different factors you have to consider before purchasing a water heater, let’s take a look at some of the highest rated water heaters on the market:

$200 and Below

At this price point, expect compact water heaters with no-frills heating system and basic features.

EcoSmart Electric Tankless Water Heater

The EcoSmart 8 water heating is a tankless water feature that works on 240 volts to operate. Compact, sleek, and affordable, this water heater is designed for home use. It’s so compact that it could save up to 12 cubic feet of storage space in the home. Even better, the brand promises to help you save up to 60% of water heating cost thanks to the EcoSmart 8’s self-modulating technology!

Perfect for households that require a steady supply of hot water, the EcoSmart 8 delivers incoming water temps of about 67°F and above. It comes with a digital temperature control, offering more control over how hot you’d like your water to be. Ideal for warm and cold climates alike, this water heater is not only efficient, it’s also durable. So durable in fact that the EcoSmart is throwing a lifetime warranty for residential use.

This water heater requires a minimum of 100 amp electrical panel for installation. The Eco8 comes complete with ½ inches plumbing connections, compression fittings, and NPT adapter. Using this water heater, we found that it is easy to install and there were no leaks to speak of. Installing this in the shower, there’s a consistent supply of hot water, which is impressive since the Eco 8 is so compact.

Now for the downsides, the efficiency of this water heater will depend on where you live. This heater is best for those who live in condos or apartment but not advisable for larger homes. This is the reason why some users complain that the Eco 8 is not warming the water as efficiently. Simply put, it’s not the kind of water heater that can truly supply hot water to all rooms in a large house.

Eccotemp Systems L5 Tankless Water Heater

Eccotemp Systems’ L5 water heater is a portable water heater that features an upgraded stainless steel shower hose, battery igniter, and strainer. This compact water heater can be used in the home and beyond. Because it’s powered by liquid propane, you can take the L5 to camping trips or install in cabins with ease! From hot showers to power wash, you can use this water heater to clean your car, wash the dogs, or take warm baths! It’s a versatile tankless water heater with an output of about 2080 PSI.

The battery igniter makes the L5 so convenient to use, no electricity needed. The system is very flexible, it can even work seamlessly on modified water systems. Of course, we also loved the affordable price tag and the ease of installation.

As with all gas-powered home appliances, the L5 is prone to gas leaks, which is a major concern since there’s very little signs that gas is escaping from the system. Our advice is to turn off the gas if the heater is not in use. This might be cumbersome to some but it’s an effective way to prevent a gas leak, especially in the home.  Minor issues aside, we found the L5 a highly capable and safe water heater. It’s no doubt versatile and efficient.

Stiebel Eltron DHC 31 Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Stiebel Eltron DHC is an electric tankless heater that runs on 120 volts of power. Compact and light, the DHC promises to save up to 50% power consumption compared to storage type heaters. It generates hot water almost instantly so you don’t have to sit around in the shower waiting until the water gets warm enough to use. It also comes with a scald-guard thermostat, which ensures that the water is always at the right temperature for showering. This is one neat feature that we loved the most simply because it offers more control in terms of adjusting the temperature of the water.

The DHC is designed to be installed at the point of use. This means the water heater will not be able to heat water all around the home. It gets the water hot via a copper heating coil, which we found durable enough to last years of use. A flow switch helps maintain even heating while the manual reset switch allows you to control the water temps even more. There’s a flow reducer switch that you can use if you’d like to limit the volume of water you use when you shower. Although this product is designed for commercial and office use, we think the DHC is best for home use.

As for the downside, this water tank – though powered by electricity – does not come with an electric plug. Unless you are a handyman, you’ll have to hire someone to install the heater for you. Some users say the heater does not generate hot water, but warm water at best.

Marey Power Gas Tankless Water Heater

Marey’s 3.1 GMP tankless water heater is a gas-powered heater that promises to generate hot water in just a few seconds. This water heater comes in two models, one that’s powered by liquid propane and another that utilizes natural gas. Whichever models you get, Marey’s 3.1 GMP tankless water heater does not require electricity, allowing you to get access to hot water wherever and whenever. The 3.1 GMP tankless water heater can be used in the home or outdoors.

It can operate using 2 D cell batteries for incredible savings. The Macey brand promises that its gas-powered water heater can save you up to 60% less energy consumption compared to conventional water heaters and we agree. Apart from being cost-effective, this is an eco-friendly water heater.

Other extras we love include the adjustable gas and water controls, the electric pulse ignition (which can be used when switching to D-battery cells) and an anti-combustion and gas pressure safety protection. The only downside on this water heater is it won’t appeal to everyone, particularly those who prefer electric-powered water heaters. Also, some users are complaining about receiving a broken unit. We did not have the same issue but this is something worth noting when purchasing this water heater.

Rheem RTE Tankless Water Heater

With its sleek design and rugged good looks, the Rheem RTE 13 is a tankless water heater with lots of features to play with! It features a temperature control, LED active element plus a standby mode for hot water on demand. It also boasts of modulating power, which offers steady water flow. This water heater is ideal for small homes, condos, and apartments as well as hospitals and offices. Its electrical specifications include 13 volts for operation and a 60 double pull breaker. Thanks to its compact design, the RTE 13 doesn’t take much space so it can fit always anywhere in the home, including cramped bathrooms.

We love how easy it is to use the RTE 13. The intuitive controls made the device so convenient to use, not to mention control the temperature level even when in a rush. The RTE 13 also features a brass/copper heat exchanger for faster water heating and continuous water flow. Although this is an electric-powered water heater, it’s incredibly energy efficient. In fact, most users who left a 5-star rating on Amazon raved about the amount of money they saved on electricity after using this device.

As for the downside, not all users were happy with the RTE 13 because of the poor customer service. There were users who complained that after getting a defective product, the return policy, and customer support hasn’t been helpful. The RTE 13 is a popular water heater and we’re hoping that the brand will rectify the issue quickly.

$300 and Below

Mid-range water heaters come with more features, safety functions, and robust power output. These devices can be installed in the bathroom, kitchen, and anywhere where hot water is needed.

Triton 10L Port. Water Heater

The Triton portable water heater is a shower heater system that generates 2.6 gallons of hot water per minute. The system boasts of a 4 setting showerhead and jet that’s sure to make shower time even more enjoyable. Because it’s portable, this heater is powered by 2 D-cell batteries. It can also fold down conveniently when on the road. As for an alternate source of power, the Triton shower heater can be hooked to a propane tank too.

The unit features a fully adjustable heat and water flow as well as a 8-foot water hose. The heating unit automatically turns on for on-demand hot water. It’s mountable too. The package comes with several brackets so you can mount it on any surface. A tank of propane gas can power up the Triton water heater for up to six hours of continued use. This water heater can be installed in an RV or an outdoor shower. It can be used at home too!

As for the downsides, not everyone likes a portable water heater simply because it is not designed exclusively for indoor use but we think the Triton water heater is a cut above the rest. Again, it can be installed in an indoor bathroom but you’ll have to watch out for gas leaks when it’s in use for safety reasons.

Supergreen IR260 Infrared Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Supergreen IR260 POU is an infrared electric water heater that promises to provide dependable, maintenance-free operation. The unit also boasts of “no metallic, no corrosion, no calcium deposits, no maintenance, and constant thermal energy efficiency.” The brand also noted that this unit is 12% more energy efficient than most tankless water heaters. Now the question becomes, are there truth to these claims? Let’s find out!

We like the IR260 because it can heat up water within seconds. It can also save you as much as 40% energy than a tank water heater. The heater is fitted with quartz heating element, which is very durable indeed.

Despite utilizing lower amps, the IR260 was able to retain a higher water flow capacity. This unit also gets plus points for being eco-friendly! Thanks to its infrared heating element, the water has been processed to be bacteria and algae free. This means the water is free from mineral deposits and harmful pollutants that can cause sickness. This is a great indoor water heater especially if you have very small children. One thing that truly stood out among the IR260’s many features is its self-cleaning capabilities. This feature will definitely save you the hassle of maintaining the unit.

As far as the negatives go, we can’t find any fault with our test unit. It performed without a hitch and worked exactly as described. That said, a handful of customers say they were issued with a defective unit but we think this is just an isolated incident.

Marey Power Gas Tankless Water Heater

Marey’s gas-powered water heater is a tankless hot water generator with a digital temperature panel for better controls. This water heater features a portable, compact design so you can carry it anywhere and get access to hot water almost effortlessly. It runs on 2 D cell battery or it can be hooked to a propane gas tank. Do note that Marey’s water heater only uses gas while the water is flowing. Because it requires no electricity to operate, it will save you at least 60% on your monthly energy bill and who can say no to that?

There are two types of models for this line of water heater, one is made for liquid propane and another model powered by natural gas. You can adjust the gas and water flow thanks to its control knobs that are laid out on the front of the unit for easy access. The digital panel indicates the water temperature so you’ll know if the temps need adjusting. It’s pretty lightweight so you won’t have any trouble lugging this baby around. The Marey water heater is ideal for outdoor use but it can be hooked to your home’s gas line too.

This water heater is prone to water leaks because there are air and vents installed to the outside of the unit itself. This is a major design flaw that causes the cold air to be trapped into the vent and cause the unit to freeze. To prevent this, you have to disconnect the unit and drain both hot and cold water pipes every time you use it. This makes the Marey water heater cumbersome to use if you’re in a rush. Some customers are also complaining about the overall quality of this water heater.

EcoSmart ECO 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater

The ECO electric water heater is a compact and tankless hot water generator that promises to save you 60% on heating costs. This advanced self-modulating water heater generates a steady stream of hot water in seconds. Perfect as a “whole home” water heater, the ECO 11 can heat 2 gallons of water in 60 seconds. This unit is ideal for warm and cold climates alike and it only consumes electricity when needed. This means you are given full control over your water heater while reducing energy at the same time!

For installation, this product requires about 125-amp electrical panel for installation and 1 60-amp double pole breaker connected to a set of #6 AWG wire. Unless you’re a handyman, setting this up will require professional help. The ECO 11 is designed specifically for home use and it’s a great water heater for small to medium-sized families. One of the things that we loved about this unit is the lifetime warranty. EcoSmart is so confident that you’ll love the ECO 11 that it’s offering a lifetime service guarantee to all customers, something that we wish all brands offer.

Now for the downside, most of the complaints that the ECO 11 received are for being faulty. We did not have such issued with our test unit but this is something worth noting before making a purchase.

Eccotemp L10 Portable Outdoor Tankless Water Heater

The Eccotemp L10 water heater is a portable, tankless water heater that comes with a shower set. This water heater has a flow capacity of 2.65 GPM plus adjustable water temps between 80 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This gas-powered hot water generator features a shut-off timer that automatically turns off the unit when not in use. The same feature also turns off the gas supply, preventing flameout and gas leaks.

The L10 can be powered by 2 D-cell batteries or liquid propane. When powered by D cell batteries, the L10 provides 20 minutes of continuous operation. Out of the box, this water heater comes with all the fittings and fixtures needed for installation. Installation is pretty easy but get help from a professional if you plan to hook this to a gas tank.

Overall, the L10 is a total performer and it works great especially if installed in outdoor showers or the RV. As for the downside, not everyone will love the fact that this won’t work without electricity. It’s also a little expensive for what it is. Some water heaters offer the same features and components at a much lower cost.

$400 and Above

Water heaters $400 and above comes with a plethora of safety features as well as components to ensure a steady supply of hot water on demand. High-end water heaters also come with either lifetime warranties or money back guarantees on top of other incentives!

Stiebel Eltron Tempra 24 Electric Tankless Whole House Water Heater

Stiebel Eltron’s Tempra 24 tankless water heater is a sleek hot water generator that promises reliability and endless hot water on demand. The unit features a digital display that allows you to control the water temperature, safety controls, and other functions conveniently. The dial-type controls means the heater is easy to control with your fingertips during bathing.

The Tempra 24 requires no venting so it’s easier to install. Also, its sleek and compact design allows you to install this product in the smallest of bathrooms. The brand promises that the Tempra 24 will save you 15% to 20% electricity every month, which is a lot of savings. Though user-friendly, this water heater comes with great safety features for your peace of mind, including advanced flow control that totally eliminates temperature fluctuations. This means you don’t get that annoying jolt of cold water while taking a bath!

As for the downsides, some users say there were slight quality issues with their Tempra 24s. We did not run across the same issue but again, something to think about before choosing this product.  Overall, the Tempra 24 is an impressive water heater, one that’ll satisfy your need for hot water on demand.

Supergreen IR8000 Infrared Electric Tankless Water Heater

The Supergreen IR8000 is an infrared water heater that utilizes advanced coilless technology to provide a steady supply of hot water. According to the brand, this water heater is commercial grade, which means it can take on more jobs than ordinary water heater.

The IR8000 utilizes quartz heating elements, boosting safety, efficiency, and durability all at once. How? Unlike heating coils that require water contact, the heating elements of the IR8000 does not come in direct contact with water. Infrared works on the molecular level, heating water efficiently via infrared rays. The infrared red heating element is not only safe, it also ensures a steady stream of hot water and higher flow rates.

The IR8000 also promises to be 99% thermal energy efficient and its self-maintaining feature means you don’t have to keep cleaning the unit on your own for maintenance, a plus if you’re just like us who abhor the idea of dismantling parts of the water heater for cleaning!

We love the IR8000 for the array of advanced features it offers. Some of its notable features include a thermostatic intelligent PID temperature control, a fully modulated power control, LED temperature outlet, and 3 Digit LED flow indicator. The brand lives up to its promise of lower energy consumption too, which is always a plus in our books! As for the downside, the water flow needs a little work. Though it generates hot water, the flow isn’t as powerful as expected. This has been a recurring problem among users and we hope the company rectifies the issue.

Takagi Indoor Tankless Water Heater

Takagi’s T-K4-IN indoor tankless water heater is a liquid propane powered hot water generator with a total output of 11,000 -190,000 BTU per hour. It features a maximum flow rate of 8.0 GPM and energy factor of 0.82. This unit boasts of a simple design that will complement any bathroom. The water heater has a built-in venting system for easy installation. Although this product is designed for indoor use, you can also install this outdoors and enjoy hot water whenever! The T-K4-IN comes complete with its own DV kit for indoor installation.

Because of its added shower, the T-K4-IN is ideal for use in mid-sized residential homes with 2 to 3 bathrooms. As for the downside, some users say the unit isn’t as hardwearing as expected after several years of use. Since we didn’t test this product long enough to check for similar issues, we did not come across the same problem.

Some users also say that their T-K4-IN became prone to leaking after several years of use, something worth noting when considering this product. As for our gripe, the T-K4-IN is not the most affordable water heater there is. At almost $850, we feel that the T-K4-IN is not offering truly groundbreaking features but it does work beautifully in homes with multiple bathrooms.

Westinghouse WEC080C2X045 Electric Water Heater

The WEC080C2X045 is a futuristic-looking stainless steel water heater that features corrosion-resistant alloys. It promises to provide 98% thermal efficiency and generating 84 gallons of hot water per hour, that’s a lot of hot water! This tubular water heater features 20 gph recovery at 90-degree rise, low standby heat losses and laser welded design for optimum precision.

The all steel construction adds a touch of luxe to the WEC080C2X045’s appearance. But don’t think the stainless steel shell is just for show, this heater is built to last! And in case you’re wondering, Westinghouse is so confident of its products, the brand offers a lifetime warranty on the WEC080C2X045. But then again, at this price point, you really can’t expect anything less than a lifetime warranty.

The WEC080C2X045 is user-friendly though the digital controls may be a little intimidating for the uninitiated. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that the WEC080C2X045 is a dependable, easy to use residential water heater.

For the downsides, the WEC080C2X045 is more expensive than most water heaters but it does come with great safety features and a sleek design. Some users say that the customer service of Westinghouse leaves a lot to be desired. That said, we feel that this is just a one-time issue due to the sheer number of glowing reviews the WEC080C2X045 received on Amazon.

Noritz NRC98-DVLP Tankless Water Heater

Noritz’s NRC98-DVLP water heater is an indoor, propane gas-powered hot water generator that’s built to last. Encased in highly durable metal construction, this water heater boasts of 0.94 DOE energy factor as well as stable temperature control so the water temp is always nice and hot every time. The NRC98-DVLP also provides a range of water pressures for your enjoyment in the bath.

The NRC98-DVLP doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty, unfortunately, but Noritz does offer a 12-year warranty and 5 years guarantee on parts on top of the 1 year labor. At close to $1,500, we feel that Noritz can do better than this we do agree that the NRC98-DVLP is highly durable. This product is proudly made in Japan and it does exactly what’s advertised. The quality is truly impressive and the compact design makes the NRC98-DVLP a stylish water heater that’ll put out years of enjoyment. This water heater has a built-in PVC adapter as well as CPVC piping for flexible installation.

For the downside, there’s not much issues to complain about except the price and the lack of lifetime warranty. We don’t have any problems shelling out a couple of thousand dollars for a quality water heater but we feel that Noritz should at least throw in a lifetime warranty to keep customers’ minds at ease.

Conclusion

A water heater is a fantastic investment especially if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow every year. Now that you know the many different types of water heaters available on the market, you can find the best products that suits your needs and lifestyle the best.

 

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