Best Portable Tankless Water Heaters of 2020

Updated
Categories Water Heating
Get back to nature, with the benefit of a hot-water source.

Are you hunting for a “hot” new gadget to take with you on your next camping adventure? Sick and tired of waking up in your tent each morning, only to remember you’ll not be getting your usual warm shower? I’ll stop you there, as we can help you out.

In this article, we’ll be showing you the best portable tankless water heaters on the market to heat all your outdoor water needs. Want to wash your dishes with warm water and enjoy steaming hot showers? We’ve got you covered.

All the home comforts, with nature by your side.

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Real Talk: Sensible Digs earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.

What Are Portable Tankless Water Heaters?

With the current environmental issues, we think people should be more open to getting back to nature. However, something which can often put people off is missing those usual home comforts.

The thought of living without a warm shower or the ability to wash your dishes can be daunting. This is where portable tankless water heaters come in. They provide you and your family with a hot water source when enjoying the great outdoors.

These can be attached to your nearest tap or water source, where the cold water will run through the pipe and into the unit. They will directly heat the water without using a tank. Either an electric or gas element will then heat the water.

This means the water will be heated instantly, keeping a constant supply available. No need for waiting on the tank to fill up. The output, however, does limit flow rate (1).

Simply attach your required hose or showerhead, and the water will move through the device, ready for use.

Why Tankless?

Heaters with tanks are usually found in the home, containing a finite amount of heated water. Although they’re pretty convenient, they’re known for wasting energy, as they must maintain the heat of the water they hold. It’s also likely that they’ll run out of warm water, as they only hold a certain amount in their tanks.

Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, take in water and instantly heat it up. This helps to save around 24 to 34 percent more energy than tank heaters, as they don’t need to conserve heat over long periods (2). It also means you can instantly achieve hot water.

The only drawback to tankless heaters is that their initial cost is usually more expensive than a tank heater. Some of the more expensive tankless water heaters can cost a few hundred dollars more than one with a tank (3). However, you should make up for this cost over time (4).

Should You Buy a Portable Tankless Water Heater?

To top it off, they don’t just heat up water instantly. They can also be taken anywhere with you. Whether it be camping, hunting, or the like, you’ll have a hot water source to get you through.

Others may choose to use one for cleaning their pets, even in the dead of winter. So, after a muddy winter walk your pup won’t have to endure a cold shower (5).

Festivals are another great place to use these water-heating devices. Portable water heaters can give you that fresh morning shower you’ve always dreamed of, even in the midst of a festival campground.

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Types of Portable Tankless Water Heater

We’ve already taken a look at why tankless water heaters are better than ones with a tank. So, now that we’ve whittled our options down, there are a few main elements which make these products different from one another.

Electric

EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater, 27 KW at 240 Volts, 112.5 Amps with Patented Self Modulating Technology,White
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Electric water heaters can be plugged into your car battery or the campsite electrical outlet to produce hot water. This is potentially a lot easier than using gas as gas canisters are heavy and require a lot of car space. So, no need to lug a massive metal canister around with you — just plug it in and go.

PROS:
  • Easy to use.
  • Convenient.
CONS:
  • More expensive.
  • May be troublesome during a power outage.

Gas

Tankless Water Heater, GASLAND Outdoors Propane Water Heater 10L BS264 2.64GPM, Portable Hot Water Heater for Cabin, Camp Water Heater for RV, Overheating Protection, Easy to Install, White
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Although using gas may not be as convenient as electricity, it’s a really great way to ensure you get your hot water, even if the electricity isn’t working. Power cuts can be unforeseen and debilitating, but with gas you can achieve the hot water you need wherever you are.

PROS:
  • Can be used even during a power outage.
  • Cheaper to operate.
CONS:
  • Gas canisters are large and heavy and may take up a lot of space.
  • Once the gas has run out, it can’t be used anymore.

How to Choose the Best Portable Tankless Water Heater

There are a few factors to take into consideration before purchasing one of these useful machines. Let’s take a look.

1. Small, Lightweight, and Compact

With portability comes the all-important size factor. We don’t want to be lugging a huge, heavy box around the campsite or have it take up too much room in your car or RV.

All of the products in our list fit the bill here — they’re light and no more than 17-inches long or high. They also all weigh less than 23 pounds, so no need to put your back out.

Most of our options below have a built-in handle, so you can move your water heater from place to place with minimal hassle.

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2. Safety Features

Safety is always key, especially if you decide to bring your small children along to the campsite with you.

One of the safety features that a portable tankless water heater may have is an auto turn-off device. This mechanism automatically shuts the device off if certain issues pop up. For example, some automatically turn off if their water temperature rises over around 167 degrees Fahrenheit.

Others shut off if the device is angled too much — approximately 45 degrees to the left or the right — to ensure an accident doesn’t happen.

Some of our gas options also have flame-failure devices, so they don’t build up too much gas if the igniter flame extinguishes. Finally, we also have options with anti-freeze protection which means they’re resistant against colder temperatures.

A number of the options below have one, two, or even three of these mechanisms built in, so whatever your preference, there’s an option for you.

3. Easy to Use

This factor definitely depends on the user, as some people may find digital mechanisms easier to use and others may prefer manual. Most of the options below are manual with knobs to change the temperature and pressure. We also have one high-tech digital option, so take your pick.

Another factor which really helps is whether the product comes with all the add-ons you need. This includes showerheads and hoses as well as connectors to connect these pipes to your water heater.

Most of our products below have add-ons included. This is really what makes them stand out from the crowd. Simply take a look at the instructions to see how to piece it all together and you’ll be good to go.

4. Energy-Saving

We’ve already touched a little on how tankless water heaters are preferred for their energy-saving qualities. However, some of the best products we’ve shared below don’t stop there, providing further energy-saving elements.

For example, some options shut off after a certain amount of time, like 20 minutes, so as not to waste water. Others work out the amount of energy needed depending on how much hot water you use.

We love to focus on saving our environment, and some of these water heaters below fit our criteria in this regard.


The Best Portable Tankless Water Heaters of 2020

After trawling the internet, making comparative lists and tally charts to find our favorite portable tankless water heater, our efforts were not in vain. Finally, we’ve managed to put together a list of our top five for your perusal.

1. Camplux 5L Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater

Best for Simplicity

Camplux 5L 1.32 GPM Outdoor Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater
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This easy-to-use portable water heater is ideal for a novice, who may need to start out with something less high-tech. The layout of this product with its minimal knobs makes it easy to follow. Also, the gas operation means there’s no need to involve electricity — simply connect it to the BBQ gas canister and you’re all set.

It also comes with all the gadgets you’ll need to piece it all together, including the correct connectors. So, all you need to do is follow the product instructions and you’ll be on your way in no time.

PROS:
  • Small, lightweight, and portable.
  • Great safety features.
  • Extras included.
CONS:
  • Not recommended for use above 2000 feet elevation.

Why We Love It

Small, Lightweight, and Portable

The biggest selling point of this product is its compact size and lightweight features. It’s actually one of the smallest and lightest on our list, weighing only 14 pounds. This is also made easier to carry with the built-in handle.

Great Safety Features

We also love that this product has several built-in safety options. These include flame-failure protection and anti-freeze regulation. If you plan to be hanging out in cold weather, rest assured the water and machine components won’t be freezing up on you.

Extras Included

To add to this, it’s also great for anyone who’s new to camping, or just new to portable water heaters in general. There’s no need to buy any extras, as this option has everything you need to operate it smoothly. This includes a showerhead and gas regulator.

Keep In Mind

Not Recommended for Use at Over 2000 Feet Elevation

If you’re hoping to take this with you up into the mountains, we’re afraid you’ll need to pass. Due to the pressure changes at that level of elevation, this won’t be a suitable option for you.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 11.4 inches by 4.3 inches by 14.8 inches
Weight 14 pounds
Volume 5 liters
Flow Rate (Gallons Per Minute) 1.32 GPM
Input Type Gas operated
Temperature Range 46 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit
Package Includes 1 x gas regulator, 1 x showerhead

2. Gasland BS264 Tankless Water Heater

Best for Families

Tankless Water Heater, GASLAND Outdoors Propane Water Heater 10L BS264 2.64GPM, Portable Hot Water Heater for Cabin, Camp Water Heater for RV, Overheating Protection, Easy to Install, White
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Our next option is the Gasland BS264. This option is not the most lightweight or compact of our five. That said, it actually has a built-in handle, so it’s not all doom-and-gloom.

Also, it seems to be made for a family adventure with safety mechanisms including anti-freeze protection and automatic shut-off at 167 degrees Fahrenheit. This means your small children can use this water heater without worrying about the water becoming too hot. The flame-failure device will automatically cut off the gas supply should an accident happen.

With a 10-liter capacity and a flow rate of 2.64 GPM, this machine means business.

PROS:
  • Family-friendly safety features.
  • Energy-saving ethos.
  • Adaptors and more included.
CONS:
  • On the heavier side.

Why We Love It

Family-Friendly Safety Features

No safety features are missing here. We particularly appreciate the automatic shut-off at 167 degrees Fahrenheit as it makes it safe for kids to use.

Energy-Saving Ethos

This is another option which really stands by their energy-saving ethos. Their advanced combustion system ensures 11.5 percent more energy saved.

Adaptors and More Included

We love that all the required adapters and add-ons are supplied, including a showerhead, gas pump, and the like. This makes it pretty easy to use, even for a novice.

Keep In Mind

On the Heavier Side

Although advertised as lightweight and small, compared to our other products, this one really doesn’t stand up to the mark here.

At 22 pounds, it might feel like you’re lugging around a heavy load. Regardless, it’s not as bad as it could be. Some on the market weigh even more than this.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 11.8 inches by 6.1 inches by 17.3 inches
Weight 22.1 pounds
Volume 10 liters
Flow Rate (Gallons Per Minute) 2.64 GPM
Input Type Gas operated
Temperature Range Up to 167 degrees Fahrenheit
Package Includes 1 x hose, 1 x showerhead, 1 x gas connector

3. Ecotemp L5 Portable Tankless Water Heater

Best for Energy Saving

Eccotemp L5 Portable Outdoor Tankless Water Heater
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The Ecotemp water heater is another easy-to-use option due to the simple dials, and all the necessary add-ons including a showerhead. It’s also compact and lightweight at 14 pounds, which makes it ideal for traveling. That said, these aren’t what makes it stand out.

Our favorite part about this option is the automatic shut-off feature. When the product remains on for longer than 20 minutes, it will automatically turn off, which is ideal for saving energy.

PROS:
  • Easy to use and portable.
  • Automatic shut-off.
CONS:
  • No overheating automatic shut-off.

Why We Love It

Easy to Use and Portable

We love this product’s simplicity and lightweight build. In fact, this is one of our lightest and smallest options, so that’s a check off of our list. At a mere 4 inches by 13 inches by 8 inches, it’s a little guy.

Automatic Shut-Off

There’s something to be said these days about energy-saving features. The fact that it shuts off automatically after 20 minutes means you’ll keep your usage in check.

Keep In Mind

No Overheating Shut-Off Option

Despite its other features, we must remind you that the EcoTemp doesn’t have a maximum temperature shut-off option.

This means that if you have children, you’ll need to be extra careful and make sure to monitor the temperature while being used.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 4 inches by 13 inches by 8 inches
Weight 14 pounds
Volume 5 liters
Flow Rate (Gallons Per Minute) 1.45 GPM
Input Type Propane gas operated
Temperature Range N/A
Package Includes 1 x gas regulator, 1 x hose, 1 x hose adapter, 1 x showerhead

4. EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater

Best Digital Option

EcoSmart ECO 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater, 27 KW at 240 Volts, 112.5 Amps with Patented Self Modulating Technology,White
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This modern piece of tech is ideal for anyone who’s a little more tech-savvy. This is mainly due to the digital nature of this option. It’s also pretty easy on the eye, so if anyone’s looking for something with a bit of style, this is the best choice for you.

The digital temperature control allows you to closely monitor the temperature by 1-degree increments. Another key component of this product that sets it apart from the rest is the energy and money-saving mechanism.

The advanced technology means that it’ll regulate how much energy is needed depending on how much hot water you require. So, if you’re an environment geek, like we are, this will be ideal.

PROS:
  • Stylish digital design.
  • Advanced energy-saving technology.
  • Lifetime warranty.
CONS:
  • No extras included.

Why We Love It

Stylish Design

Yes, that’s right. Thanks to the digital features of this unit, it’s tech-savvy and it looks good at the same time. We appreciate the exactness of the temperature gauge as well. With the ability to monitor by the exact degree, there will be no guessing with this stylish model.

Energy-Saving Technology

The energy-saving mechanism makes this a fantastic choice. Although tankless water heaters are designed with energy in mind, we love anything which goes a step further. The company claims it could save up to 50% in water-heating costs.

Lifetime Warranty

To top it off, the limited lifetime warranty just proves to us that the company knows that their product works. If they have confidence, then so do we.

Keep In Mind

No Extras Included

Are you looking for that convenient all-in-one package? Unlike some others on this list, this one doesn’t come with any additional features such as a showerhead or connectors.

This could be a nuisance to some, so it’s better to know upfront.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 3.6 inches by 17 inches by 17 inches
Weight 13.75 pounds
Voltage 240 volts
Flow Rate (Gallons Per Minute) 3 GPM
Input Type Electricity operated
Temperature Range 80 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
Package Includes N/A

5. Costway Portable Outdoor Water Heater

Best in Portability

Product Image of the Costway Portable Outdoor Water Heater
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The Costway tankless water heater is a great portable option for any avid camper. In fact, Costway seems to have emphasized portability as one of the most prominent features in their outdoor water heater.

This is most evident in not only the built-in handle, but also the carrying bag that comes with the product. This is great, especially considering that this portable tankless water heater isn’t the smallest on our list. A pump and a showerhead are included here.

Also, due to the automatic shut-off systems built into the machine, the Costway outdoor water heater is perfectly suitable for anyone with children. That said, we’d still advise you to supervise your children while using it.

PROS:
  • Safety first.
  • Can be carried around easily.
CONS:
  • Low flow rate of .8 GPM.

Why We Love It

Safety First

The included safety features — including the automatic shut-off at 167 degrees Fahrenheit and anti-off-balance protection — make this a pretty safe bet. You’ll worry less about accidents and enjoy the outdoors stress-free.

Easily Portable

Thanks to the built-in sturdy handle and carrying bag included, the company definitely had portability in mind. While it’s not the lightest option available at 17.5 pounds, it shouldn’t be too big of an inconvenience due to these features.

Keep In Mind

Low Flow Rate of .8 GPM

For families or those that will be heavily using their water heater, the low flow rate of this unit may be a drawback.

Additional Specs

Dimensions 13 inches by 10 inches by 11.5 inches
Weight 17.5 pounds
Flow Rate (Gallons Per Minute) 0.8 GPM
Input Type Propane gas operated
Temperature Range Up to 167 degrees Fahrenheit
Package Includes 1 x pump, 1 x water pipe/showerhead, 1 x bag

Detailed Comparison

Product Award Dimensions Weight (lbs) Volume (L) Flow Rate (GPM) Input Type Temp. Range (F) Extra
Camplux 5L Best For Simplicity 1.4″ x 4.3″ x 14.8″ 14 5 1.32 Gas 46 – 115 gas regulator, showerhead
Gasland BS264 Best For Families 11.8″ x 6.1″ x 17.3″ 22.1 10 2.64 Gas Up to 167 hose, showerhead, gas connector
Ecotemp L5 Best For Energy Saving 4″ x 13″ x 8″ 14 5 1.45 Propane N/A gas regulator, hose, hose adapter, showerhead
EcoSmart ECO 27 Best Digital Option 3.6″ x 17″ x 17″ 13.75 N/A 3 Electricity 80 – 140 N/A
Costway Portable Best In Portability 13″ x 10″ x 11.5″ 17.5 N/A 0.8 Propane Up to 167 pump, water pipe/showerhead, bag
Jump to the Full Portable Tankless Water Heater Reviews

Go Tankless

That’s a wrap! We’ve broken down the main elements of the best ones available. This includes what they do, who they may be useful for, and what to look out for when purchasing one.

That said, we’ve not only told you about what to expect, we’ve also given you our favorite five on the market. So, next time you’re looking for a water heater to take with you on an outdoor adventure, you’ll know where to turn.

We really hope you enjoyed our article on the best portable tankless water heaters. If you did, please comment below to let us know your thoughts, and if you have anything to add. Happy camping!

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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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