Navien Water Heater Reviews (2020 Guide)

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Categories Water Heating
Navien is a humble brand with a focus on tankless systems, but are they worth it?

Are you finding it difficult to choose a new water heater? Have you ever heard of Navien water heaters? While less-known than Rheem and A.O Smith, Navien is a strong competitor.

Many of its products have earned an Energy Star, especially the condensing tankless water heater line. Let’s take a closer look to see if the products are really worth considering.

Our Top Picks

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Navien History

The company started as a small boiler manufacturer in South Korea, 1978. By 1988 KD Navien quickly grew and became the largest water heater manufacturer in Asia. In 2007 and 2008, they began selling water heaters in North America.

Their expertise in condensing heating boilers earned them several North America CSA certificates — first in 2007 and another in 2009. They’ve earned even more certificates since establishing training centers in both the U.S and Canada.

Navien focuses on delivering environmentally-friendly tankless water heaters to its global market. Its condensing technology has set it apart from other brands. Condensing tankless gas water heaters create a much cooler exhaust.

With a cooler exhaust, there’s no expensive pipes or vents. It’s also much easier on the environment.

Part of Navien’s expansion was the release of a combi-boiler series. These are a combination of a water heater and a central heating system. Not only will it heat your water, but it will also heat your home to your preferences.

Today, Navien is taking on the international market, selling in Europe, Asia, America, and Russia. They continue to create new eco-friendly products for both residential and commercial use (1).

Navien Customer Service

You can easily find support on their official website navieninc.com. Navien has provided a team of professionals to guide customers through their technical troubles.

Where to Buy a Navien Tankless Water Heater

Unfortunately, Navien is not sold on Home Depot or Amazon.

Most Navien customers go through local distributors. However, the best way to find a good deal is to select your desired model on Navien’s official website. Then, Navien will help you to find a distributor near you.

Why Choose a Navien Tankless Water Heater?

Navien might not be as well-known as other brands like Rheem and A.O Smith, but, they should be. What really sets them apart is that they chose to become experts on one core product. Rather than diversifying, Navien has stayed focused on condensing tankless heaters.

They have continued to evolve their technology, creating new models and features. One of their best traits is that they create compact units. All models on the Navien website can be mounted to a wall, saving even more space.

Navien is also a very green company. Their condensing technology helps them, and us, to reduce our CO2 footprint. If you’d like to live more eco-friendly, we highly recommend considering a Navien unit.

Which Navien Product Should You Choose?

Condensing Tankless Heater

Navien’s condensing tankless water heaters feature some of the most advanced technology on the market. They all have an exclusive function called ComfortFlow® which is an internal recirculation pump. It provides a continuous flow of hot water.

ComfortFlow® is a unique system which incorporates an insulated buffer tank with a recirculation pump. Navien claims that this should eliminate the dreaded “cold water sandwich” effect. The recirculation pump speeds up the hot water delivery time, essentially saving on your utility bill.

Navien’s condensing tankless water heaters also offer add-ons and optional functions. These include features such as NaviLink and a HotButton control kit.

NaviLink is a Wi-Fi control system for your unit, created by Navien themselves. It consists of a module that you attach to your boiler. This will then communicate updates back to you via Wi-Fi.

The HotButton is a separate button that activates the recirculation pump and burner inside the unit without you opening the tap. So the boiler is heating and storing water inside the supply lines until you need it.

The Navien condensing tankless water heater line is excellent for the homeowner who enjoys high-tech features. They can also produce enough hot water for a large household with three to four bathrooms.

Condensing High-Efficiency Combi-Boiler

Navien’s condensing combi-boiler series focuses on high efficiency and high demand. The units are a pairing of energy-saving designs and powerful boilers. They’re the perfect fit for the eco-minded homeowner with a high demand for hot water and home heating.

Navien’s designs are space-saving; their largest unit takes up 80 percent less space than a standard boiler. Still, they’re capable of delivering a lot of hot water. They produce enough flow for two running showers and a dishwasher, plus hydronic heat for your whole home.

Navien also emphasizes how easy these units are to install. If you’re purchasing this as a replacement unit, it can easily hook up to a 0.5-inch gas pipe. They can all use standard PVC vents, thanks to their low-temperature exhaust gas.

Additionally, Navien’s combi-boiler series comes with the option of using their NaviLink add-on. If one unit isn’t enough for your household’s needs, you can link several heaters together.

Condensing Heating Boilers

The NHB series is a rather new addition to the Navien name. They’re Navien’s new innovation featuring all the best of the above, plus a little extra.

All the boilers within this series are fitted with Navien’s most advanced burner systems. These burner systems have an AFUE of 95 percent, meaning that almost all the consumed energy is converted into heat.

Depending on the size of your unit, they have a turndown ratio of up to 15:1. This is one of the largest in the water heating industry. Plus, it provides easy installation since you can place it almost anywhere without compromising its effectiveness.

Much like the lines above, the NHB series is compatible with the NaviLink add-on. This allows you to connect multiple units for larger production of hot water.


The Best Navien Tankless Water Heaters of 2020

Navien is an interesting brand and we love the fact that it sticks to one type of boiler. However, this also means that despite our intense research, there just aren’t many to choose from.

With our own knowledge and some advice from experts and users, here’s our top three.

1. NPE-240A Condensing Tankless Heater

Best Navien Condensing Tankless Water Heater

Product Image of the NPE-240A Condensing Tankless Heater
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Our first pick is Navien’s NPE-240A from their condensing tankless water heater line. This unit, much like the others in the range, includes the innovative ComfortFlow function. Essentially, this function enables the boiler to deliver hot water faster from the heat exchanger to the faucet.

The ComfortFlow technology will keep the temperature steady until you’re finished with the water. Something else that stands out about this unit is its impeccable flow rate. From a 35-degree Fahrenheit rise, the unit delivers a flow rate of 11.2 gallons per minute.

With this single heater, you have enough hot water for up to five bathrooms. This makes the unit one of the most powerful in today’s market. Whereas standard tankless boilers work best as a point-of-use, this can function well as a whole-house unit.

This boiler is also super easy it is to use. It features a simple control panel where you can manage the temperature, easily switching between Fahrenheit and Celsius. You can also manage self-diagnostics and cascade operation status.

And lastly, Navien designed this unit using a dual stainless-steel heat exchanger. What this does is produce hot water more efficiently, saving you energy and cash.

PROS:
  • Features ComfortFlow technology.
  • A powerful flow rate of 11.2 gallons per minute.
  • Features external control panel that’s easy to use.
  • Made with dual stainless-steel heat exchanger, saving energy and money.
CONS:
  • Makes some operating noise.

Additional Specs

BTU input19,000 to 199,900 BTU
Max. temperature140 degrees Fahrenheit
Flow rate11.2 gallons per minute
Weight82 pounds
Measurements17.3 inches by 27.4 inches by 13.2 inches

2. NCB-240E High-Efficiency Condensing Combi-Boiler

Best Navien Combi-Boiler

Product Image of the NCB-240E High-Efficiency Condensing Combi-Boiler
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This product is not like any water heater we’ve reviewed in the past. It’s a combi-boiler — a combination between a water heater and a hydronic heater. This means it can provide you with a hot shower as well as a warm floor.

We understand that this unit isn’t for everyone. That said, it’s a useful, space and energy-saving solution for those living in colder regions.

For the eco-minded and penny-wise homeowner, Navien’s NCB-240E can reduce your carbon footprint and save you some cash. For starters, you won’t have to spend money on two separate units for heating and water. It also flourishes in energy efficient technology.

It features an ultra condensing technology which essentially saves you cash on utility bills. Instead of emitting heat, it traps it inside for further use, eliminating the need for more energy.

Another function that makes this heater the perfect pick for colder regions is its anti-freeze protection. Upon activation, this function will continue to pump hot water through the pipes, preventing costly freeze damage.

Additionally, the unit, much like the previous choice, is made with durable stainless steel. Ultimately, this reduces the risk of rust and corrosion. It also includes an eco pre-mixed burner, resulting in less NOx and CO emissions.

PROS:
  • Two appliances in one — water heater and hydronic heater.
  • Includes several energy saving functions.
  • Features an anti-freeze function.
  • It comes with a pre-mixed burner resulting in less harmful emissions.
CONS:

Additional Specs

BTU input18,000 to 120,000 BTU space heating, 18,000 to 199,900 BTU water heating
Max. temperature140 degrees Fahrenheit
Flow rate4.5 gallons per minute
Weight84 pounds
Measurements17 inches by 28 inches by 12 inches

3. NFC-200 Condensing Combi-Boilers

Best Navien Condensing Heating Boiler

Product Image of the NFC-200 Condensing Combi-Boilers
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If you have an average household with two to three bathrooms, Navien’s NFC condensing combi-boiler is perfect. The unit includes advanced features, ensuring high energy efficiency and powerful performance.

For starters, it features ultra condensing technology, similar to that above. This saves energy since less heat escapes and is thus reused.

The unit boasts an integrated control which provides what Navien describes as industry-leading options. These include anything from the usual thermostat to a timed hydronic water supply boost.

There’s also freeze protection, adjustable anti-cycle timer, and minimum burner time setting. This unit, like the one above, can also be used as a hydronic heater to heat your home.

This system is quite durable as well. It’s made with dual stainless steel heat exchangers. The water heater is also compatible with Navien’s NaviClean, a magnetic boiler filter.

It has a powerful flow rate of 10.2 gallons per minute from a rise of 35 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it’s quite heavy when compared to the NCB-240E. It weighs 145 pounds empty and 183 pounds with water inside.

PROS:
  • High energy efficiency.
  • Features an integrated control system.
  • Quite durable — made with stainless steel.
  • A powerful flow rate of 10.2 gallons per minute.
CONS:
  • Quite heavy — weighs 145 pounds.

Additional Specs

BTU input18,000 to 199,900 BTU
Max. temperature140 degrees Fahrenheit
Flow rate10.2 gallons per minute
Weight145 pounds
Measurements17.3 inches by 33.5 inches by 17.3 inches

Detailed Comparison

ProductAwardBTU inputMax. temp.Flow rateWeightMeasurements
Navien NPE-240ABest Condensing Heater19,000 – 199,900 BTU140 F11.2 gal/min82 lbs17.3″ x 27.4″ x 13.2″
Navien NCB-240EBest Combi-Boiler18,000 – 120,000 BTU (space heating); 18,000 – 199,900 BTU (water heating)140 F4.5 gal/min84 lbs17″ x 28″ x 12″
Navien NFC-200Best Condensing Heating Boiler18,000 – 199,900 BTU140 F10.2 gal/min145 lbs17.3″ x 33.5″ x 17.3″
Jump to the Full Navien Water Heater Reviews

Final Judgement

Navien is, without a doubt, an interesting brand. They specialize in condensing tankless water heaters, where some are combinations that can also be used as a hydronic heater.

Unfortunately, their products seem quite exclusive, seeing as they aren’t readily available on big sites such as Amazon or HomeDepot. The best way to get your hands on one is by going through their website.

Have you ever tried a Navien water heater? Leave your answer, or any other questions, in the comments below.

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About the Author

Peter Gray

Peter has been a homeowner for 35+ years and has always done his own repair and improvement tasks. As a retired plumber, Peter now spends his time teaching others how they can fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements on a budget.
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1 Reader Comment

  1. John Martinez

    Navien is leading the industry with their tankless water heaters. I have installed a ton of them, and they are the best!

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