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Best RV water heater

Which RV water heater is best?

There are few things better than a hot shower after a long day. If you’re in an RV, you have several options for water heating, but you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy hot water. A good water heater can provide years of comfort on the road. If you’re looking to invest in a water heater for your rig, try the Girard 2-Gallon Wham Tankless Water Heater.

What to know before you buy an RV water heater

Gas vs. electric

“Gas or electric?” will be the first question most Rvers ask when selecting a water heater. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s ultimately up to your preference. For those who want the best of both worlds, some heaters have both gas and electric settings. 

  • Gas: These may be better for RVers who love to live off-grid, as you don’t need to be hooked up to anything to use them. However, your hot water is limited by how much propane you have.
  • Electric: These require shore power or a generator. They also maintain their heat better and are more user-friendly. You don’t need to worry about pilot lights or turning the heater off when not in use. They do require a substantial amount of electricity and limit where you can use them. If you only park your rig in established areas with full hookups, this won’t be an issue.

Full system vs. portable

Whether you want a portable system or one installed depends on your budget and lifestyle.

  • Portable: If you like the idea of moving your water heater to another place or rig, a portable system may be your best option. With some know-how, you shouldn’t need professional installation, either. But a portable system is likely to have fewer features than a full, installed one.
  • Full: These tend to require more money and time for installation. However, you will likely get a better system with a larger tank for your efforts. This may be worth it if you spend extensive time in your RV.

On-demand vs. tank

If you want water as quickly as possible, something with a large tank is your best bet. If you’re okay with waiting a bit, a simpler system that heats water on demand may save you money.

How much water do you use?

The size and features you need will vary greatly depending on how much water you use. If you’re conservative with water use, you can have a smaller setup or even a portable one. If you love a long shower, you probably want something with a large tank that preheats more water.

What to look for in a quality RV water heater


While not absolutely necessary, being able to adjust the settings on your heater to your liking is a great luxury.

Simplicity of installation

It can be daunting if you’re going with a full system and aren’t well-versed. If you’re set on the DIY approach but don’t have much experience, go for something simpler, with minimal installation required.

How much you can expect to spend on an RV water heater

These heaters start about $150 and end around $750. The price you pay will mostly depend on features, installation needs, and — for heaters with a tank — capacity.

RV water heater FAQ

Is a tankless water heater better?

A. For most people, it probably is. Tankless water heaters tend to last longer and are easier to install and run. While you’ll have to wait longer for hot water instead of having it in a tank ready to go, most RVers are probably willing to make that tradeoff.

Is a larger tank water heater worth it?

A. This mainly depends on your priorities and the size of your rig. If you want the luxury of a larger amount of hot water, you may want to take the plunge. If you prefer a simpler RV life or you don’t have much extra weight you can carry (these can get heavy), it might not be a good choice.

What are the best RV water heaters to buy?

Top RV water heater

Girard 2-Gallon Wham Tankless Water Heater

What you need to know: If you want a tankless heater suited for year-round usage, this is your pick.

What you’ll love: At 42,000 BTUs, you’ll never worry about performance and flow rate. No special plumbing is required, so you’ll save on installation costs. With freeze protection, this propane unit is set for winter.

What you should consider: If you don’t spend extensive time in your RV, it may not make financial sense to purchase this.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top RV water heater for money

Foruee Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater

What you need to know: If you want a water heater for summer road trips, this is a cost-friendly option.

What you’ll love: This tankless heater is light, simple, and comes with a showerhead. With everything included in the packaging, all you need are two D batteries for power. With a low-pressure start option, you can conserve energy and water.

What you should consider: This is really only for use outside in good weather. While convenient, it doesn’t offer robust features that larger, more expensive options would.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Suburban Mfg. 10-Gallon Direct Spark Water Heater

What you need to know: This is a great choice if you’re looking for a tank heater.

What you’ll love: You’ll have 10 gallons of hot water ready, and with 12,000 BTUs, you’ll have ample pressure and performance. With a combination of electric and gas, you can’t go wrong.

What you should consider: Since it has a tank, this is heavy at 46 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Joe Coleman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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