The Atwood Mobile Products 96110 Water Heater is our top pick for the best RV water heater and is highly capable of 6 gallons of liquid propane gas. It also has 7.4 gallons per hour recovery rate and it has an input of 8,800 BTU (British thermal unit) and it uses pilot ignition technology and it is also available in 10 gallons.
Our step-up pick is the Suburban SW12DE Water Heater and you can choose between pilot ignition and electronic ignition. It has a capacity of 12 gallons and it combines electric model with electronic ignition. It runs at 12,000 BTU and it has an anode rod that protects you from electrolysis. The steel tank has a porcelain lining and it is backed by a 3 year limited warranty on the storage tank.
The budget pick is the EZ 101 RV Tankless Water Heater Portable and it can be used with LPG or propane and it is extremely portable. Being ideal for camping and RVs, it uses battery powered ignition and this is a RV tankless water heater. The heater uses two D-cell batteries for the battery powered ignitions and it is lightweight at only 14 lbs. Furthermore, it is also great for use when hunting and fishing and the general camping trip.
A Little Background
Contrary to popular belief, you also need hot water heaters in RVs, campers, trailers and mobile homes – a hot shower at the end of a cold day is a much needed luxury! The amount of heated hot water consumption you can have on an RV water heater is not like the one you can use at home. Obviously, since water heaters for RVs only give you limited water, you have to conserve. You cannot take full-on hot water showers for hours – keep in mind that most RV water heaters only have limited capacity water tanks.
You won’t have such an issue with the tankless or on-demand system. This system is much more expensive than RV water heaters that are tank-based. If you are not content with 6 gallons or 10 gallons of capacity for the water heater you have on your RV, maybe it is time to switch to a tankless system. Take note that a tankless system is very expensive but if it will give you a peace of mind and convenience then it is a worth-it system to invest in for your RV.
Heating up water helps to kill germs and bacteria during bath time. Most studies say that hot water helps to revitalize your skin and free you from bacteria and viruses, that otherwise may live and dwell on cold water. However, most dermatologists agree that the water you should heat up should not be too hot or else it may dry up your skin, especially during the winter. In addition to that, to conserve water, you should also limit your showers, especially in the RV, so you can have more uses from it.
How We Picked
Key Factors to Consider:
The BTU or British thermal unit defines how strong and effective a water heater is for your RV. Always know the BTU of your chosen unit. However, do know that the higher the BTU, the higher the price.
The heater may be in any of the following formats: gas (LP or propane), electric ignition or tankless on-demand. LP Gas or LP ignition is the most convenient and may come in manual or automatic ignition depending on the price and model you buy. Electric ignition is a little step ahead but you will be less worried about the dangers of gas leaks and such. The tankless or on-demand system is the most expensive of all since it gives you unlimited hot water supply.
Consider the amount of gallons and capacity if not tankless. The most common capacities of a lot of units out there range from 6 gallons to 10 gallons depending on what you need. Of course, the higher the capacity, the bigger price you need to watch for.
Know if the heater is okay for use indoors only or also okay for outdoors. Generally, most units will be only used for indoor with a little bit of ventilation especially for gas ignition ones, but do know if there are brands that can be used outdoors.
Know the type of ignition used. They can come in pilot ignition, automatic ignition, electronic ignition and many others, depending on the type of hot water heater for your RV and the source of its heating and fuel.
The price must be considered but it is not a decisive factor. Generally, the tankless or on-demand systems will be the most expensive of all.
Clear installation instructions along with the warranty are important, as it is an electric item that may run into some manufacturing defects. Since you cannot have a live testing when you buy online, make sure there are good RV industry return and exchange policies before you buy.
Best RV Water Heater
Our top pick is the Atwood Mobile Products 96110 Water Heater which is capable of 6 gallons of liquid propane gas and it uses pilot ignition technology for its heating ignition. As for its capacity of heating, it has an input of 8,800 BTU (British thermal unit).
This heater has 7.4 gallons per hour recovery rate and it is generously priced as it gets you hot water in less than 30 minutes. Generally speaking, the Atwood 96110 Water Heater works great for RVs and mobile homes.
As for its build, the outlet side is at the top while the bottom has the cold inlet side and it weighs around 25 lbs. The Atwood Water Heater is also great for camping or for cabins and it is also available in a 10 gallons model with a larger hot water tank. Great way to make sure you have enough hot water when showering!
Flaws but Not Dealbreakers
Some people complained that the Atwood Mobile Products 96110 Water Heater is a gas-only water heater and not for electric use, but there are other products out there that uses electric ignition, at a higher price, of course.
The Suburban SW12DE Water Heater is our step-up pick and it has an anode rod that protects you from electrolysis. As for its ignition, it combines electric model with electronic ignition. As for its design, it is a steel hot water tank with a porcelain lining. As a matter of fact, you can freely choose between pilot ignition and electronic ignition.
As for its content, the Suburban SW12DE has a capacity of 12 gallons. As for its power, it runs at 12,000 BTU and it can also be used for camping other than RVs. The door is sold separately. It is currently backed by a 3 year limited warranty on the hot water tank for your expediency.
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The EZ 101 Tankless Water Heater Portable is our budget pick and it uses two D-cell batteries for the battery powered ignitions. As for its fuel system and water heating element, it can be used with LPG or propane. It is also extremely portable and lightweight at only 14 lbs when it comes to its built.
All in all, this unit is definitely ideal for camping and RVs. Do know that because of the price; do consider that this is a tankless water heater system. As for its technology, it uses battery powered ignition. In addition to that, it is also great for use on hunting and fishing and general camping.
Having been priced at a step-up value, the EZ 101 Tankless Water does not require electrical plugs and it was designed to be convenient and safe due to its no pilot light design. Most customers on Amazon also agree that it is also okay to use on workshops, shelters, cabins, homes, sheds and any open areas as long as it has good ventilation.
The Water Heater EZ 101 Portable Tankless is definitely great for areas with limited sources of electricity and it is backed by a 1 year warranty.
Best Direct Spark Ignition Model
The New Atwood G6A-8E is a great choice to consider because it uses direct spark ignition. As for its heating capacity, it has an input of 8,800 BTU and it uses a capacity of 6 gallons. Do know that it does not have door so you have to provide it separately.
As a matter of fact, 95 percent of the parts are serviceable and replaceable. It also has a water pressure relief feature and comes with temperature control. It also has a high temperature limit switch for safety and a built-in 6 gallon water tank.
RV Water Heater that is Wall Vented
If you want to go tankless and have a wall vented water heater for your RV, you should purchase the PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless Water Heater Wall-Vented which does not have pilot light and has great efficiency for propane, making it super ideal for RVs, mobile homes, cabins, small homes, a travel trailer and more.
As for its portability and lightweight capability, it can weigh as much as a 10 gallon water tank for a small space. When it comes to the looks and the build, the PrecisionTemp RV-550 Tankless has a wall vented design makes it safe to use and worry-free. It is an expensive but worth-it tankless RV water heater and it has extremely reliable design and technology.
In addition, it also uses a VaryFlame technology system for controlling the temperature. It is also eco-friendly and power saving as it uses less than 1.5 amps of power when you are operating it normally. As a matter of fact, during cold weather, it can operate at about 3 amps using its cold weather protection feature.
The PrecisionTemp RV-550 Wall-Vented also has a minimum flow rate of incoming hot water at about 0.5 GPM and it has an optimal operation of 1 GPM. In addition to that, it can have 50 percent more power than other tankless water heaters in the marketplace. As a matter of fact, you should have a gas supply and 12 volt on to allow the burner to fire and protect the electric elements.
Moreover, this heater has a bypass valve and is easily winterized so you can use it all year round. In addition, it easily self-adjusts due to its true automatic gas modulation. Likewise, when it comes to the power source, it runs at 55,000 BTUs which is particularly higher than a lot of other hot water heaters. The PrecisionTemp RV-550 is super ideal for indoor use only.
Best Pilot Ignition RV Water Heater
The Suburban 5117A Water Heaters 6 Gallon uses liquid petroleum as a heat source and it also uses pilot ignition. This is a great unit and this is a gas only water heater for RVs. As for its aptitude, it has a capacity of 6 gallons. It also works for campers and any travel trailer. It is very easy to blow even in a windy day. The Suburban 5117A is a great water heater to consider for any camper or RV.
Best Tankless RV Water Heater
If you want to have a great tankless RV water heater system, you should check out the Girard Gswh-2 Tankless hot Water Heater 2GWHAM which is very simple to install. The door is sold separately. This tankless unit is a very economical choice, a propane tankless water heater that will definitely exceed your expectations. It may be expensive but it will save you fuel and give you more efficiency in the long run.
Best Electric RV Water Heater
The Atwood 93891 Electric Water Heater is an electric RV water heater which has a capacity of 6 gallons. It weighs very light compared to most models out there and it uses 120 volts and 1,500 watts of incoloy heating element. It uses highly specialized aluminum alloys and really works.
It adheres to the standards and specifications of UL listings and the electrical system is also protected with ignition. It has a heat coil and it can last for a long time with proper maintenance. It can give you quality steaming hot water in just about ten minutes or so.
RV Water Heater with Heat Exchanger
The Atwood EHM4 96411 EHM4-SM 4 Gal has a double tune construction to prevent contaminants to the fresh water system and it has been made with high strength aluminum core that has a cladding material that is bonded corrosion fighting on its inner surface for a longer lasting life.
Also worth noting is that it has a cubic shape to make it super flexible in any surface or floor plan. It also has a capacity of 4 gallons and its electric input is at 1,400 watts and 120 volts AC. The Atwood EHM4 comes with a convenient heat exchanger and this uses electric ignition.
The exterior is also corrosion resistant and it has a recovery rate of 7.21 gallons per hour. The incalloy heating element is at 1,400 watts.
RV Water Heater with Freeze Protection
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The Suburban 5132A IW60 On-Demand Water Heater has an output of 60,000 BTU and it is powered by propane fuel. It also has a built-in freeze protection which makes it unique among the RV water heaters we have here. It is a great water heater for your RV and it is backed by a 2 year warranty.
Most hot water heaters we found were only for home use and there are very limited units specifically for a camping trip and RVs so it was very difficult to decide. However, these are among the best from the most known well known and reliable brands.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the importance of maintaining your hot water heater?
A: According to Len The Plumber, it gives you more savings for your money and gives you a more efficient system and you can get hot water faster than before so you can save on electricity. Additionally, it is good that you flush your hot water heater every 6 months or so and you will not be surprised with sudden cold showers when your hot water heater stops working. Moreover, the costly repairs will be reduced if you properly maintain your water heater by doing a plumbing inspection with a certified plumbing expert.
Q: What are some of the things you need to know about your RV water heater?
A: You can choose between electricity, propane or heat when it comes to heating your RV water. Electric heating is the most convenient as there will be no pilot light to worry about while using engine heat is the most economical but it might take its toll on your engine instead and is only usable when your engine is running.
All RV hot water tanks for RV owners have a variation when it comes down to size and the most common RV water tanks are 6 gallon or 10 gallons depending on your needs. Suburban and Atwood are among the most common hot water heater manufacturers specifically for RVs and mobile homes and since they are for mobile use, RV water heaters are typically smaller so you have to conserve some more. However, manufacturers like Girard sell RV tankless water heaters which are a bit pricier but you will never run out of steaming hot water. Furthermore, an anode rod can help to prevent hard water corrosion that might occur inside your water tank.
Q: Any tips on choosing the best RV water heater?
A: According to the guide by Camping World, for an RV owner, the most common ones are the gas water heater that works on LP gas in which you have to manually light up the hot water heater. These are the most common and inexpensive RV water heaters for an RV owner. Also, if you want a hassle-free hot water heater you can go for something that has a direct spark or DSI which has an automatic ignition rather than manual but also uses LP as the gas supply.
You can also have a more convenient electric water heater that also has DSI or gas options which heat up nicely but a bit pricier than the first two. On-demand or the RV tankless water heater is more expensive and run at higher BTUs than the previous RV water heaters.
Also check that there is a bypass valve so you can winterize your RV easily if needed.
Wrapping It Up
As a whole, the Atwood Mobile Products 96110 Water Heater is our best RV water heater that is guaranteed to give you safely warm showers even during cold winter nights on your RV.
Jill Miller is the founder of Your RV Lifestyle. Trading corporate America for the open road, Jill, along with her partner Jose, began their RV journey, making an unconventional start by wintering in New Jersey. A natural adventurer, she was motivated by a desire to explore the USA and beyond, embracing the varied landscapes, communities, and cultures across the country.
For Jill, the allure of RV living was not about material accumulation, but rather the pursuit of an adventurous, fulfilling lifestyle. A lover of golf, bicycling, hiking, and line dancing, she has carried her passions across the country, engaging with them in diverse settings. Jill’s commitment to the RV lifestyle came after years of careful research, numerous consultations with RV owners, and personal trials, including living in a rental RV.