Many RVers hate taking showers in there. RV. Are you one of them? Do you long to take long, warm showers while traveling just like you do at home? Upgrading your RV water heater may be one of the best investments you make for a better camping experience.
Let’s look at some of the things to consider before purchasing a new one. Then we’ll look at the best RV water heater options. Let’s dive in.
What to Look for in an RV Water Heater
You’ll want to consider a few things before you make your RV water heater purchase. These features will help you make the best decision for your travel needs. For example, a solo traveler doesn’t need as big of a water heater as a family of six. A small travel trailer won’t have the room for an upgrade in size. So brush up on your RV water heater knowledge before deciding.
New to RV water heaters? Start here with our complete guide.
Most RV water heaters run on propane or electricity. Some diesel motorhomes use a diesel boiler, however.
Propane sources are a good choice for most because there are usually other appliances that use propane as well. Electricity is usually an optional add-on to propane heaters and can be used in conjunction with or instead of propane when you are plugged in.
Diesel boilers like Oasis or Aqua-Hot systems operate a boiler similar to how home boilers work. These get their fuel source from the coach’s fuel tank. This can be convenient because the coach may only have one fuel source instead of multiple.
The tank’s capacity determines how much hot water you’ll have at one time. Some smaller tanks only provide about 6 gallons of hot water, which means quick, five-minute military showers. But larger 12 or 16-gallon tanks will provide enough hot water for one person to take a longer shower.
If you want to conserve water, the tank size probably won’t matter much. But if you have a family with children and don’t want to use public bathhouses, you’ll want to get the largest size possible that fits in your RV.
Ease of Install:
When you need to replace a water heater, pay attention to if you can install it easily. Does it require a lot of tools? If so, do you have access to them? If it will take two people, do you have someone else who can help?
The weight may make a difference in the ease of installation, too. So do your research to know how much time it will take to replace your water heater and how easy or difficult the process will be.
Tank or Tankless:
Although a tankless water heater works well because it provides a never-ending hot water supply, it also costs more than a tank. If you have a tight budget, you’ll need to look at good tank options — some of which we list below. These units are tried and true, and you just have to maintain the anode rod.
But if you can afford a couple of hundred dollars more for your upgraded RV water heater, a tankless unit will heat up on demand rather than warming a full tank of water. You get hot water much faster because you don’t have to wait several minutes for the tank to get hot.
Pro Tip: Interested in a tankless water heater? We found the 6 Best RV Tankless Water Heaters for Instant Hot Water.
Finally, consider the amount of energy the new water heater will use. Some are more energy-efficient than others.
Usually, the larger the tank means the more energy it requires to heat it, whether with propane or electricity. This is also why you may like a tankless option better; they’re more efficient.
Some people try and save energy by turning he heater off when not in use, but this means you need to wait for it to heat before taking a shower.
The 7 Best RV Water Heaters That Are Worth the Upgrade
These RV water heaters vary in size, price, and energy source. They also differ from one tank, tankless, and portable options to meet the needs of different RVers. From this list, you can determine which RV water heater is worth the upgrade for your travel needs.
#1. Truma Aquago On Demand Water Heater
You can find two top-quality Truma AquaGo tankless water heaters — This heater utilizes technology that combines the tank and tankless designes to regulate the temperature well, which means no scalding when you take a shower.
Both also provide consistent, continuous hot water and decalcification technology. This prevents calcification deposits that can shorten the life of your RV water heater. The Comfort Plus unit works well for campers who travel to cold regions because it will still operate in freezing temperatures.
The Truma AquaGo units can replace any tankless or 6 to 16 gallon RV water heater. They run off of propane and weigh about 35 lbs. They also operate at a maximum water pressure of 65psi.
Pro Tip: Want to know more about the Truma Aquago? Find out Why We Love Our Truma AquaGo On-Demand Tankless RV Water Heater.
#2. Suburban 5239A Water Heater
For a cost-effective option for small spaces This 6-gallon water heater has a 12,000 BTU rating and a 10.2 gallons per hour recovery rate. It measures 19.19 x 12.7 x 12.7 inches, about 35 lbs, and features a porcelain-lined, steel water heater tank.
Both use gas and electricity power sources in case one source goes. It also has a convenient 12V on/off switch mounted inside the RV. Having both energy sources means you can use the electricity provided at campgrounds or use it while dry camping.
- 6 gallon water tank
- 12,000 btu rating, With Insulation: Yes
- Weight: 32.9 lbs
#3. Girard 2GWHAM
This tankless Girard 2GWHAM water heater measures 14.5 x 17.8 x 14.6 inches and weighs 22 lbs. Like the Truma AquaGo Comfort Plus, this Girard model features freeze protection for safe winter use. Like all tankless RV water heaters, it provides consistent hot water on-demand.
It has a 42,000 BTU rating and operates on 12V, which uses less than 3 amps of power. This tankless water heater is a great option for RVers who want to conserve energy and leave a smaller footprint.
- POWERFUL PERFORMANCE — At 42,000 BTUs, this continuous hot...
- CONSISTENT TEMP — The onboard microprocessor monitors incoming...
- HIGHLY EFFICIENT — The Girard RV tankless water heater consumes...
#3. RecPro On Demand Water Heater
Another tankless water heater to make the list is this 55,000 BTU RecPro unit. The control panel allows you to conveniently increase and decrease the heat and turn the unit on and off. This RV water heater features flameout protection. This means that if the water heater flame goes out while being used, it automatically turns off, so no gas leaks out. With 55,000 BTUs, this RecPro tankless water heater uses more energy but still less than 10 amps. It has a maximum water pressure of 116psi and runs on propane gas.
Recpro also offers Mortons On The Move readers 5% off their order, so get 5% off with coupon code ONTHEMOVE5
#4. Furrion RV Tankless Water Heater
This Furrion RV tankless water heater has two size options: a 16.14 x 16.14-inch door or a slightly larger 8.14 x 16.14-inch door. It has many of the same features as the previously mentioned tankless water heaters.
It provides a consistent temperature, electronic ignition, a control panel, and an auto-turn-off safety feature. However, it has a higher heating power rated for 60,000 BTUs. It also offers high water pressure protection over 87psi. This unit also operates on propane and electricity but uses less than 10 amps of energy.
- High Heating Power: 60K BTU heating power & a 2.4GPM capacity,...
- Steady Temperatures: Furrion’s Vortex technology consistently...
- Replacement Door for Suburban: Specially designed for retrofit...
#5. Camplux Tankless Propane Water Heater
A completely different option for an RV water heater is this portable tankless unit made by Camplux. It needs just 3psi to get started but has a much smaller output at only 1.32 gallons per minute. However, if you tent camp or need access to water outdoors, it gets the job done.
It compacts for easy storage at 11.42 x 20.28 inches from inlet to handle and weighs 10 lbs. This portable unit also has safety features like a flame failure device, anti-freezing protection, and oxygen-depletion safety-shut-off protection. It has battery and propane power, so you can use it away from an electrical source.
We this heater in conjunction with a water pump to heat a portable hot tub.
- Lightweight, Compact & Portable Design: The 10 pounds lightweight...
- Flow Rate & Temperature Specification: The temperature raise is...
- Versatile Applications: The lowest water pressure at beginning...
Pro Tip: Portable water heaters are almost an entirely separate category of RV water heaters. Check out some comparable models here.
#6. Bosch Electric Mini-Tank Water Heater
If you want a mini-tank option to save space, try this Bosch water heater that conveniently fits on a shelf, wall, or floor. The easy installation requires you to tap into the cold water line and fix the water heater near the sink. It simply plugs into a 120V outlet.
It can supply up to two sinks and has a 2.5-gallon water capacity and a 4-gallon water capacity option. If you want to keep your existing water heater, this mini-tank can supplement your current unit or act as a buffer for a tankless water heater that might experience intermittent cold water.
- CONVENIENT HOT WATER HEATER: 4 gallon point-of-use mini-tank fits...
- LONG LASTING QUALITY: This electric water heater is easy to...
- INDEPENDENT INSTALLATION: 36-37" cord plugs into a 120 volt...
#7. EZ101 Tankless Water Heater
The EZ101 Tankless Water Heater weighs 14 lbs and measures 5 x 12 x 17.5 inches. You can use it outdoors like the Camplux model, but it features a stronger output at 2 gallons per minute.
It has battery and gas power like the Camplux water heater and comes with a showerhead and hose. These two portable tankless water heaters compare in cost and capabilities, so you have two good options for outdoor use.
- At 2.0 GPM this unit can easily provide enough hot water for your...
- 42,000 BTU (Propane)
- 1/2" water & gas connection
Time to Upgrade?
These are the best RV water heaters you can find. The list has several tankless options because these units perform better than tanks. If you can afford to upgrade to a tankless model, you’ll be glad you did.
No more rushing through showers or turning the water on and off to conserve hot water. You can get instant heat and enjoy long-lasting hot water. You might just enjoy taking showers again while camping.
Have you thought about upgrading your RV water heater? Drop a comment below!
Become A Mortons On The Move Insider
Join 10,000+ other adventurers to receive educating, entertaining, and inspiring articles about RV Travel Destinations, RV Gear, and Off-Grid Living to jump-start your adventures today!