Finding the best propane tankless water heater for your RV will make your travels even more enjoyable. If your RV has a tank-style water heater you're no stranger to the challenge of taking a long, hot shower. But adding a tankless water heater to your RV can make your camping experience nearly as luxurious as being at home.
This article will cover our favorite propane fueled RV tankless water heaters, and provide you with additional information to help you select the right one for your needs.
Best Overall: GIRARD 2GWHAM Tankless
The Girard 2GWHAM fits into your existing water heater cut out. It's designed specifically for RVs, weighs only 22-lbs, and fits into a 13" x 13" cut out.
As a tankless water heater, it can supply you with an endless supply of hot water on demand, and never need to warm-up or recover. And since there's not a tank, you won't even need to worry about by-passing during the winter months.
The Girard's temperature output is determined by the flow of water. The slower the flow from the faucet, the warmer the water.
The brains of the Girard 2GWHAM is it's on-board microprocessor. In order to deliver a consistent hot water flow, the microprocessor is constantly monitoring the incoming and outgoing water as well as the flow rate. To maintain the set temperature, it uses this information to regulate the burner.
- Size: 12.5"W x 12.5"H x 15.5"D
- Weight: 22 lbs
- Fuel: Propane (LP gas)
- BTU: 42,000
- Temperature Range: 95° to 124°F
- Quiet brushless motor
- Freeze protection
- Runs off 12 volts for ignition
- Digital readout allows you to control the heater
- A slight humming sound from the fan as the unit is operating
- The door needs to be purchased separately so it properly fits your RV
Furrion FWH09A-1A Tankless
The retrofit design of the Furrion FWH09A-1-A allows this tankless to fit into an existing 16" X 16" water heater cut out. It weighs 27.5 lbs and is designed to replace a 4 to 6-gallon water heater.
With a powerful 60,000 BTU output and automatic pilot ignition the Furrion tankless water heater delivers up to 2.4 gallons of hot water per minute (GPM) at a thermal efficiency rating of roughly 81%.
Furrion's Vortex Water Mixing Technology allows for a stable output temperature which can be set between 95° and 124°F (the default setting is 115°F).
A wall controller and outer door is included. The unit is easy to install and set up.
- Size: 12.81"W x 12.62"H x 20.75"D
- Weight: 27.5 lbs
- Fuel: Propane (LP gas)
- BTU: 60,000
- Temperature Range: 95° - 124°F
- Climate resistant circuit boards designed to operate in extreme summer heat and sub-zero temperatures
- Wall controller
- VibrationSmart technology prevents damage when traveling
- Dual sensors ensures the heater shuts down if the unit gets too hot
- The door is included, but be careful to order the correct size
- A bit pricey
Fogatti FS08B1WD Tankless
The Fogatti FS08B1WD is available in two different sizes and colors. You can select the more powerful 55,000 BTU model with more heating capacity which can deliver a flow rate up to 2.9 gallons per minute (GPM).
Or, if your hot water needs are lower, the 42,000 BTU model may be a better fit. It can deliver a GPM of 2.2.
A 15" x 15" door is included, and there's a choice of black or white to match your RV exterior.
The water heater is 13" x 13" and weighs 31.31 pounds. It's designed to replace many leading manufacturer 4 and 6-gallon tanks.
Overheat and over voltage protection, anti-freeze, and flameout are among its safety protections. And the built-in regulating burner provides a stable temperature within the range of 95° to 123°F.
- Size: 13"W x 13"H x 15.4"D
- Weight: 31.31 lbs
- Fuel: Propane (LP gas)
- BTU: 55,000
- Temperature Range: 95° - 123°F
- Digital remote controller allows you to turn on/off the water heater, adjust the temperature, and diagnose error codes
- Plenty of safety features allows for worry-free use
- Available in 2 different sizes and colors
- Door is included
- Warranty is 2-years, but labor is not covered after 61 days
- Must be drained if not used during sub-zero weather
RecPro RP-1057 Tankless Water Heater
The RecPro RP-1057 propane RV tankless water heater uses a forced exhaust structure to keep the air safe and clean before and after it pass through the combustion chamber.
A handheld microcomputer allows you to control the water heater remotely. Simply set the temperature to your desired warmth, and press go . . . then enjoy as long of a shower as you like! You'll be able to monitor the water, electricity and gas, as well as see the current temperature.
Adding a layer of protection, and making the RecPro RP-1057 easier to use, is the low water pressure start-up feature. But there are also multiple other safety features such as wind resistance, speed change and flame-out protection.
The frost protection function ensures the tankless won't freeze. When the water within the pipe drops to 43°F the heater fires-up and warms the water to 90°F.
A 15" x 15" door is included which is available in both white and black.
- Size: 12.5"W x 12.5"H x 14.5"D
- Weight: 20.3 pounds
- Fuel: Propane (LP gas)
- BTU: 42,000
- Temperature Range: 95° to 123°F
- Included dust net which helps protect the unit from dust, dirt, and debris
- Frost protection function
- Easy to install
- Not suitable in some areas since it will not operate if the incoming water is lower than 43°F or higher than 90°F
- Short warranty / 1 year limited
Best Alternative: Rinnai V65eP Tankless
If you have a high demand for hot water and you're not interested in installing a tankless water heater within the cutout of your RV, you may want to consider the Rinnai V65eP.
In our opinion, it's the best propane water heater for RVs because it's simply so powerful. It has a maximum BTU output of 150,000.
Although connecting a residential tankless to an RV won't be as convenient as the built-in models. They do have their advantages, especially for vacations where you'll be able to stay in one place for an extended period of time.
These water heaters can be connected to the outside of your RV and provide large amounts of hot water. The V65eP can deliver a maximum 6.5 GPM, but even in the coldest of climates, you should be able to achieve 2.9 gallons of hot water every minute.
The operating volume is 55dB which is relatively quiet, and about as loud as your dishwasher.
The Rinnai V65eP comes with all the bells and whistles you'd expect to see in an outdoor residential water heater. It's easy to hook-up, runs on propane, and is even Wi-Fi capable!
- Size: 14.04"W x 24.3"H x 9.6"D
- Weight: 43.6 pounds
- Fuel: Propane (LP gas)
- BTU: 150,000
- Temperature Range: Maximum temperature of 140°F
- Can be easily installed on RVs
- Solid warranty with 15-years of coverage on the heat exchanger
- Great for camping in high altitudes up to 10,200 ft
- Will need to be set up each time you move locations
- Its powerful 150,000 BTU output means it'll use plenty of propane
- A bit pricey
Camplux Portable Tankless
The Camplux BD158 Portable Tankless Water Heater is another alternative to installing a unit in your RVs cutout.
One of the main advantages with this type of water heater is its versatility. It can easily be used even when you're not camping.
Whether you're bathing your dog, going to the river or beach, or need hot water for something else, a portable tankless is up for the task. You can take it wherever you go, with or without your RV.
It's designed to be compact and convenient. It's rated at 1.58 GPM (gallons per minute) of continuous hot water flow and can operate with as little as 3.0 PSI of water pressure.
Its lightweight design allows you the ability to mount it on a wall, or hang it from a tree or hook. And since it only weighs 14-pounds, is easy to set up, and extremely portable, you can have hot water wherever you go.
This unit is fully CSA tested and certified for safety. It features a flame failure device, anti-freezing protection, and an oxygen depletion shut-off procedure.
- Size: 11.61"W x 17.32"H x 4.33"D
- Weight: 14 pounds
- Fuel: Propane (LP gas)
- BTU: 41,000
- Temperature Range: Maximum temperature of 114.8°F
- The portable design means it can be used anywhere you need hot water
- No electricity required. It uses 2 D Cell batteries for ignition
- Budget-friendly price
- Multiple sizes to choose between if you need more or less hot water
- Can not be used inside without a flue pipe or duct
- Short warranty (1-year limited)
- Shower hose is only 5-ft, but you could replace it if you need additional length
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Tankless Water Heaters Work with Propane?
Propane is a popular choice to fuel all water heaters in RVs, including tankless models.
Residential water heaters are available in electric, natural gas, and propane. So if you're considering adding a residential tankless to your RV you'll want to find a propane model.
Even though natural gas and propane models look and operate nearly identical, they are not interchangeable. So a natural gas tankless water heater can not be used with propane fuel.
Can You Put a Tankless Water Heater in an RV?
Absolutely! Many of the newer RVs are already equipped with a tankless water heater, or are set up so you can add one later. And, older RVs can easily be modified to accommodate a tankless.
Many RVers choose to add a tankless water heater that's specifically designed to replace a 4 to 6-gallon tank heater located in the RV's cutout. They're generally easy to install and are much better suited to keep up with your family's hot water needs.
Another option is to install an electric tankless water heater under a sink. Since these are fueled with electricity rather than propane, you won't need to worry about venting dangerous gases outside. Although, they may not be a practical choice if you enjoy boon-docking.
There's also portable propane fueled tankless water heaters such as the Camplux BD158. These type of tankless heaters can be used anywhere outside and are an excellent choice for summer trips. Keep in mind if you're looking forward to taking a shower in the privacy of your RV, they may not be your best option.
If you're handy, you may want to consider purchasing a residential propane fueled tankless water heater like the Rinnai V65eP. These tankless units provide large amounts of hot water and can be installed on the outside of your RV.
If you live in your RV or take trips where you'll be staying in one place for an extended time, a residential tankless water heater can really work well. Once set up they'll provide your family with large amounts of hot water, and since they're made for residential use, they tend to have longer warranties.
When to Keep Your Tank-Style Water Heater
As good as tankless water heaters are (and they really are!) there are sometimes when you should keep your tanked heater.
A tank-style water heater is probably your better choice if:
Money is an Issue - Tankless water heaters are more expensive than water heaters with a tank. So if you're trying to keep your expenses down, you'll be better off purchasing (or keeping) a tanked water heater than to buy a cheap tankless.
Inconsistent Use - If you only use your RV once in awhile, then spending the extra money for a tankless probably doesn't make sense.
Off-the-Grid Travels - If your idea of RVing is to do a lot of boon-docking, then you might want to think this one through. Installing a tankless water heater probably means you'll use more hot water, which means using larger amounts of propane.
Since tankless water heaters don't need to cycle on and off to keep the water in the tank warm, they tend to use less propane than tanked water heaters. However, if you wanted a tankless so you could take longer showers, then you better have a lot of propane on hand.
If you enjoy doing a lot of boon-docking, then a tanked water heater is probably your better choice.
How Many Gallons of Propane Does a Tankless Water Heater Use?
Have you ever wondered how long your propane will last? It's a question you've probably found yourself asking, especially if you just added a new propane tankless water heater to your RV.
This is especially a concern when you're boon-docking as many of the appliances, such as your refrigerator will be running off of propane.
The amount of propane your tankless water heater uses will be directly related to how much you use it. Unlike a tank-style water heater where the water is stored within the tank, and the unit cycles on and off to keep the water hot, a tankless water heater is only drawing propane when it's needed.
In order to figure how much propane your tankless water heater will use, you need to do a little math.
Assuming you have a full 30-pound propane tank, you actually only have 24-pounds of propane, because tanks can only be filled to 80% of their capacity due to expansion.
So, to determine how long that tank will last, we need to convert the 24-pounds of propane to BTUs.
Since 1-pound of propane equals 21,548 BTUs, then your 30-gallon tank contains 517,152 BTUs.
24-pounds of propane x 21,548 = 517,152 BTUs
Next, you need to know the BTU rating for your tankless water heater. Let's assume you have the Girard 2GWHAM with a BTU rating of 42,000.
The Girard tankless will burn 42,000 BTUs every hour of use.
Divide 42,000 into 517,152 and you get 12.31
So, your 30-pound propane tank will be able to run your Girard tankless water heater for a little over 12-hours.
Keep in mind, for example purposes, we're assuming that you aren't using propane for any other appliances.
How To Install an RV Propane Tankless Water Heater
Once you've decided to purchase a propane tankless water heater for your RV, you'll want to get it up and running. Although, it should be noted that it's not recommended to install your tankless yourself.
If you don't have the proper knowledge and experience, you should hire a professional to perform the install for you. This will ensure that the tankless is is set up safely and will function properly.
Here's what to do:
- Turn off your RVs water pump
- Locate the DC power supply and disconnect the fuse box
- Drain the water heater tank by removing the drain plug
- Disconnect the hot and cold water lines
- Disconnect the electrical and propane lines
- Remove the fasteners on the water heaters exterior and remove any butyl tape, caulking or other weather proofing material from the previous installation
- Remove the old heater from the cabinet. Clean the inside of the water heater cabinet
- Place the new water heater inside the cabinet. If necessary, frame the new unit into the cabinet, so it won't move around or be jarred loose
- Secure the door panel to the water heater unit and to the frame of the cabinet itself. To help with weatherproofing, use butyl tape and caulking
- Reconnect the water lines to the new water heater
- Reconnect the electrical power lines and the gas lines
- Reconnect the DC power in your RV
- Turn the propane and water pump on
Watch the Video
Last update on 2023-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API