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In A Rush?
Anybody else get tired of having to wait for the water to heat up because somebody else in the house took an extra long shower? I know I did.
Tank water heaters have been the standard for a long, long time and they’re definitely functional, but they’re not exactly convenient. Enter the tankless water heater: unlimited hot water (unless your well dries up or something, but that’s not the heater’s fault!) available just by turning on the tap. Wait a few seconds for it to heat up and boom, it’s ready to go.
No more waiting for the water to “recharge” between uses, no more getting slapped in the head by a burst of freezing cold water 10 minutes into your nice, relaxing shower, and no more admittedly small chance of the whole affair exploding and taking your house with it.
Today we’re going to look at some of the best electric tankless water heaters around and go deep into why exactly they’re so darn good, what you should look for, and how to avoid the pitfalls that some new buyers might fall into that could turn them off of this type of water heater for good.
Let’s get to it!
Top 7 Best Electric Tankless Water Heaters Reviews (2019)
1. EcoSmart ECO 27
This model is excellent. It’s actually a scaled up version of the model I use in my own home office (the Ecosmart Eco 11). It provides all the features you need in one easy to use package, adjusting temperature with a nicely responsive knob and providing a great GPM and energy efficiency for its price. I’m very confident in saying that Ecosmart makes the best electric tankless water heaters around.
2. Bosch Electric Mini-Tank
This is a bit of an interesting one. While not a true tankless model, it does work on a similar principle, being a bit of a hybrid between the two. It has a very small tank that rapidly fills and heats water for a single point of use. While technically it does have a tank, in principle it serves the same function: provides (nearly) limitless hot water efficiently and quickly.
3. Stiebel Eltron 36 Trend Tempra
This is a heavy duty machine that can provide water to a very large home with few issues. A few major flaws hold it back from being perfect, most of which are sadly not present in a similar (now discontinued) model from the same company. Still, if you need a huge electric tankless water heater, this one will do it for you.
4. Camplux ME40 Mini Tank
Another “not technically tankless” model, this time from Camplux. Camplux is a brand, as the name implies, focused a lot around outdoor living and camping. They make some of the very few portable tankless water heaters around. While this is not one of them, it exists in a similar wheelhouse, being designed primarily for cabins and other permanent but rustic accommodations.
5. Bosch Electric Tankless Water Heater
This Point of Use tankless water heater is cheap and good, providing hot water to a single sink at very high efficiency. It can also be used as a “booster” for another water heater if you find performance is fine elsewhere but weak in one area of the house (common for larger homes using a single tankless water heater).
6. ECOTOUCH Electric Tankless Water Heater
As far as Point of Use models go this one is pretty good. I treat Point of Use models fairly harshly in a lot of cases because their price to effectiveness ratio is fairly poor, but this one hits the perfect sweet spot that makes it cost efficient if you truly only need one outlet to have hot water.
7. Titan SCR2 N-120
For what it is, this is at first glance is a good model that fills the needs of a middle sized unit for a low price if you get the maximum GPM out of it. Unfortunately doing so is surprisingly difficult, and the unit suffers from poor performance in most climates, making it difficult to recommend.
The Ecosmart Eco 27 is, hands down, the winner. It has the performance and the price to beat out any of the other models on this list, including the more expensive and larger Tempra 36 Trend. There are models on the market that rival or exceed the Eco 27 (and not just the Eco 36), but they’re hard to find and usually come with a much greater price tag (the Tempra 36 Plus’ downfall in the past).
If you don’t need a whole house tankless water heater, I recommend either the Camplus mini tank model or the Bosch Tronic series of tankless water heaters, depending on your use. The Camplux is much better for situations where you want to use it as the primary source of hot water in an outdoorsy setting, while the Bosch series of units is better for things like wet bars or small handwashing sinks in a mobile restaurant or something similar.
The rest are generally fine, save the Titan N-120, which I’d avoid like the plague, but don’t compare to one of these three models in any of the arenas they’re supposed to be competing.
Are electric tankless water heater worth it?
There are a few big factors when looking into your tankless water heater, and some advantages and disadvantages you should keep in mind. Let’s start with the latter.
Why Go Tankless?
Quite honestly there’s not much reason not to if you’re thinking of how to provide hot water to a new home.
First time installation and removal of the old tank water heater can be a hassle for an existing home, so should be considered more as part of a larger remodeling than something you casually do one weekend.
But once you have one, you’re never really going to want to swap back to a tank.
They provide hot water on demand to any number of appliances. If you have a very high simultaneous water usage you want a bigger model or multiple smaller ones, but that’s really the only compromise you need to make.
Generally I find I’m only using 1, maybe 2 sources of hot water at once; the shower and the dishwasher, the washing machine and a faucet, or some combination of those. If that’s your situation you can get away with a very small and cheap model for your whole house.
Tankless water heaters are just very convenient, that’s the best reason to get one.
What Are Some Disadvantages?
The main thing you’re looking at is heat, or more accurately cold. The efficiency and efficacy of your tankless water heater is going to be directly tied to how cold your ground water is, which is pretty directly tied itself to how cold your climate is.
Tankless water heaters therefore struggle in very cold locations, like the American North.
Other than that, for electric tankless water heaters specifically, many homes (older ones especially) don’t provide the right power output and need some kind of electrical upgrade. This makes installing one on a whim even more of a bad idea, as you could end up with just a big electrical brick on the wall.
Other than that though there’s surprisingly little to mention.
You want an energy efficient model, for obvious reasons. Nobody likes an exorbitant power bill. You’re looking for something in the range of a 98% efficiency rating, and/or some kind of Energy Star certification that tells you almost all of the heat your water heater is producing is going into the water.
This not only lowers your power consumption, but increases the performance of your unit. The more heat that goes into the water, the faster it heats and the quicker you can use the hot water.
Gallons Per Minute
This is the big one for any tankless unit. You want a tankless water heater that can handle a large GPM, heating a satisfactory amount per minute. Your average shower uses between 2 and 2.5 GPM (average of 2.1), and most other common appliances use less than that.
That means for a Point of Use model (that heats only one thing) you want at least 2.5, but more if you plan it to be a whole home unit.
A good whole house electric tankless water heater runs about 8 GPM, enough for 3 to 4 common appliances (enough for a faucet, shower, dishwasher, and washing machine to run all at once).
You’re in luck: electric tankless water heaters are surprisingly inexpensive compared to their gas guzzling counterparts. Both in initial installation (unless you need to remodel your electrical system) and in the long term, electric tankless water heaters are very cost effective.