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Best Tankless Water Heaters in Canada

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Written by: Alex Savy
Last updated on

If you live in colder climates, hot water is probably the most expensive part of your utility bills.
But did you know that you can save a bit here with an instant water heater?
Being very compact, this appliance will supply you with an unlimited amount of hot water only when you need it, so you won’t have to overpay or waste the Earth’s resources!
If this sounds like exactly what you want, check out this list of the best tankless water heaters in Canada and a buying guide below, to choose a suitable option for yourself. 

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Our List of the Best Tankless Water Heaters in Canada

Best Overall - Editor's Choice — RINNAI

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Highlights

  • maximum flow rate of 11 GPM to accommodate multiple appliances in larger households;
  • works on gas for increased efficiency;
  • space-saving design without sacrificing powerful operation.

Our top pick for the best tankless water heater in Canada is the RINNAI. This model has a maximum flow rate of 11 GPM, perfect for larger households with multiple appliances. It also works on natural gas or propane for increased efficiency and has a space-saving design without sacrificing powerful operation. It can deliver hot water to multiple faucets (and shower, if needed) without compromising its powerful performance. This is an efficient model that can provide an impressive flow rate of hot water. That’s what makes the Rinnai tankless water heater a great option for larger households. It can deliver hot water to multiple faucets (and shower, if needed) without compromising its powerful performance.

At the same time, this tankless water heater is not too bulky. It looks sleek and won’t be an eyesore even if you mount it somewhere in the open. Another cool thing about the Rinnai water heater is its build quality. Yes, you will have to pay more for Rinnai’s reliable construction and powerful operation. But this investment is going to be a long-lasting one for sure.

Based on Our Tests

I am particularly impressed by how sleek, and efficient this tankless water heater was during the testing period. I also discovered that it could provide hot water to many faucets concurrently, making it ideal for large families.

Second Best Option — Rheem RTEX-18 

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Highlights

  • compact design to work even for smaller living spaces;
  • external digital controls with a bright LED display for effortless temperature adjustments;
  • up to 4.4 GPM flow rate for reliable, powerful performance.

Next on the best tankless water heaters in Canada list is this sleek-looking model by Rheem. However, you should not underestimate this compact water heater. However, you should not underestimate this compact water heater. The Rheem is rather powerful and can offer reliable performance even if you plan to use it with many faucets. That is possible thanks to the flow rate of up to 4.4 GMP.

You might also appreciate the handy LED display and external control knob. The Rheem tankless water heater allows users to adjust the water temperature in small increments for precise controls. And thanks to the durable copper heating elements, the Rheem heats the water fast. Therefore, you will have almost instant access to hot water.

Based on Our Tests 

During the testing period, I was fascinated at how this tankless water heater could work so efficiently to provide the hot water I needed while using little energy. I also love how straightforward it was to operate, making it an ideal option for people who want a simple water heater that uses even less power.

Best Electric Tankless Heater — Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater – Tempra 29 Plus

Stiebel Eltron Tankless Water Heater – Tempra 29 Plus

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Highlights

  • Pre-set temperature buttons for quick temperature adjustments
  • LED panel for more convenient use
  • Energy efficient design which offers outstanding water heating with less power
  • Compact design which makes installation easier

The energy-efficient Tempra 29 Plus remains one of the most popular tankless water heaters on the market from Stiebel Eltron.

The German brand has been making reliable products for decades, and Tempra 29 Plus is not left out.

Featuring Advanced Flow Control, the Tempra 29 Plus offers on-demand continuous hot water.

This self-modulating water heater comes with a super-sleek design that boasts enough power to provide hot water for two bathrooms in colder regions. However, you can expect enough hot water for three bathrooms in states with warmer groundwater.

The digital screen paired with an innovative design allow users to monitor the status of this tankless heater. With temperatures ranging from 68-140 °F, you can adjust the water temperature from the Tempra 29 Plus using this display.

Based on Our Tests

During tests, I found that this tankless water heater uses the least energy while providing hot water quickly and reliably. The energy-saving feature translates to savings on the light bill. Moreover, I discovered that the water temperature was consistent, unlike other water heaters I’ve reviewed.

Best for Outdoor Use — GASLAND

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Highlights

  • Excellent and reliable flow rate, which provides hot water quickly anywhere in the house. 
  • Improved compact design offering maximum portability.  
  • Highly efficient power intake for higher energy savings.

Want to have access to hot water during your hiking trips? Then you need something super-compact but reliable and powerful. And the Gasland water heater can cover all of those needs. Being among the best tankless water heaters in Canada for outdoor use, this model comes with a lot of features that would help you feel more comfortable when spending time camping. 

Now, probably the coolest thing about this heater is that it allows for precise water temperature adjustments and supplies hot water on demand. This means you can have hot showers without wasting even a minute. This also makes the Gasland heater very efficient in use (and thus, energy-saving).

Based on Our Tests

I tested this water heater when I went on a camping trip with my friends, and I am impressed with how compact yet significantly efficient it was. I also loved that I could adjust the temperature to what I wanted without any issues.

The Most Versatile Option — Onsen 10L Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater

Onsen 10L Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater-min

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Highlights

  • Compact and lightweight design.
  • An efficient water that provides hot water on demand.
  • Ideal for camping, RVs, or small homes.

Last on the list is the Onsen tankless water heater. This little propane-powered unit is perfect for those looking for a versatile and easy-to-use unit. 

The Onsen propane tankless water heater is one of the most popular models on the market, and for a good reason - it is the company's most efficient water heater. It can turn freezing cold water into steaming hot water in a matter of seconds. 

This all-round tankless water heater can be used indoors or outdoors. It features the remarkable Onsen 3.0 Diaphragm RV / Marine 12V Water Pump, designed for heavy-duty use.

The dual ignition system ensures a reliable spark every time, and the self-cleaning function keeps the unit working like new. One can count on the 20-pound BBQ liquid propane tank to provide a steady supply of hot water on demand.

Overall, the Onsen tankless water heater is a great choice for anyone looking for an energy-efficient and eco-friendly option. With a 98% thermal efficiency, one can be sure they are getting their money's worth with this unit.

Based on Our Tests

One thing that stood out for me during the testing period of this water heater was how lightweight it was and how it could boil water within seconds. This water heater is ideal for people who want to heat water quickly

Types of Tankless Water Heaters and Their Features

On-demand water heaters are typically classified by the type of fuel they use. Today, you can find three possible options:

  • electric heaters;
  • propane heaters;
  • natural gas heaters.

All of them have their strong and weak points, so let’s briefly get familiar with them right below.

Electric Heaters

This is the most common option on the market. Electric heaters can operate on both direct and alternate currents and only heat the water when you turn the hot water tap. They have a snake-like pipeline that goes through the heating element and warms the water until the set temperature is reached. 

Electric tankless water heaters are considered a powerful appliance, so they require a separate 220V circuit, a circuit breaker, and a circuit cable with ground for installation (1); otherwise, you may not be able to use other electrical appliances — such as a fridge or TV — while the heater is working.

Propane Heaters

Propane on-demand heaters, as the name implies, require a propane tank to operate. They typically run on lithium batteries that you need to replace every six months on average, depending on how actively you will use your heater.

Propane heaters have the following advantages:

  • They’re even more cost-efficient than tank water heaters and electric tankless ones. Because you don’t need to use electricity for these heaters, they can save you up to 30% on energy bills compared with tank water heaters (2).
  • They’re cheaper and easier to install. With a propane heater, you only need something to mount it to your water line and attach it to the wall, as well as a durable pipe for your propane tank. That’s basically it!
  • They work more quickly. An electric water heater may have delays if you decide to use all the faucets at once, while a propane one warms the water more quickly and easily recalibrates without major loss in temperature if the water demand has changed.
  • They’re suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. This makes them a good pick for summer showers, kids’ pools, and RVs.

Now, note that propane heaters require mandatory ventilation because they tend to heat too much and because propane produces carbon dioxide when burning. So, if you do not have proper ventilation in your house, you may end up spending a lot of money creating it.

Gas Heaters

These are very similar to propane heaters except that they use natural gas — the one you use in your stove — as fuel, so they can be mounted to your gas line at home.

Natural gas heaters have roughly the same advantages and drawbacks as propane heaters:

  • they also run on batteries and are more energy-efficient than electric models;
  • they can work both indoors and outdoors but require good ventilation;
  • they work faster.

Also note that the installation of natural gas heaters can be more difficult, as they may require replacement of the gas line in your house, especially if you have a lot of faucets and water-based appliances.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Quality Tankless Water Heater in Canada

The type of water heater is what you should choose first, but this isn’t the only thing that matters. 

Here are a few more important details to consider before buying.

Flow Rate

Flow rate shows how much water the heater can warm up efficiently and hence, how many sinks you can use at the same time. Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM), and you can find units with literally any capacity to suit your water needs.

But how do you define your water needs?

Here’s the deal:

Showers typically have the highest flow rate. A low-flow showerhead has a flow rate of around 1.5 GPM, and for a high-flow showerhead, you can easily double that.

An average tankless water heater, on the other hand, produces 2 to 5 gallons per minute (3).

Thus, if you purchase a 3.1 GPM water heater, you can use only one high-flow shower at a time or two low-flow sinks without any water-based appliances like a dishwasher; otherwise, the water temperature may change.

So, to define the flow rate you need to supply your home with hot water, you need to literally count all your sinks and water appliances

Temperature in Your Home Region

Canada’s climate is colder than that in the US, which may affect the power and flow rate you need to efficiently use your heater.

How?

See, in colder climates, the inlet water temperature is lower than in warm regions. This means you will need a lower flow rate so that the water would pass more slowly through the heater and warm up better.

Note, though, that for larger households, you will likely need both a higher GPM rate and more power so that the heater would more efficiently heat water for every appliance.

Power Input

To put it simply, the higher the power input of a tankless water heater, the more effectively it's going to increase water temperature (and to a higher temperature too). 

Power input is measured in BTU. To figure out how much you will need, you should consider the size of your household. For instance, smaller apartments with one shower may require as little as 10,000 - 15,000 BTU. For larger households, there are models with the power input of 100,000 - 190,000 BTU (and up).

Temperature Rise

When shopping for a tankless water heater, pay attention to the temperature rise number. It should determine the temperature rise of the tap water before it comes out of the faucet. In other words, it would show how hot the water could get.

Now, most tankless water heaters can offer a 70-degree temperature rise, which should be enough for the majority of households. However, in gas heaters, the 70-degree temperature rise typically goes with a 5 GPM flow rate (and up). In electric heaters, the standard temperature rise number is usually the same, but it occurs when the maximum 1.5 - 2 GPM flow rate is used.

FAQ

Where to install a tankless water heater?

You need to place your on-demand heater as close as possible to the demand source. This will reduce the heat waste and leave a smaller volume of cold water to purge from the supply line when you need to use the appliance next time.

How much money does a tankless water heater save?

A gas tankless water heater can save you about $69 per year, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. However, electric on-demand water heaters are more efficient than tanked heaters too.

How many amps does a tankless water heater use?

An average electric tankless heater needs at least 120 amps to work properly. Given the fact that the average household capacity is about 200 amps, you may need to upgrade your electrical system, which can be expensive.

How often to descale a tankless water heater?

You should descale your on-demand heater at least once a year. But if you have very hard water or use a high-temperature setting in your heater, you might want to descale it every six months. It’s a good idea to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines here.

How often to flush a tankless water heater?

A good rule of thumb is to flush your heater once a year. However, depending on the quality and hardness of your water, you might want to perform this procedure 2 or 3 times per year. But again, be sure to check the maintenance recommendations with the manufacturer.

Conclusion


As you can see, there are many different options to choose from if you're looking for a good on-demand water heater in Canada. All the models reviewed here are safe to use, will last you for years, and have great value for money.

However, my absolute favourite tankless water heater on this list is the Rinnai water heater. This model offers good value for money and will not strain your budget too much. At the same time, this water heater is rather powerful. It's also easy to use, quality-made, and compact. The Rinnai water heater can cover your needs even if you plan to use it with more than one faucet. Therefore, this tankless model would suit a wide range of shoppers (hopefully, you will be one of them).

So, why are you considering an instant water heater over others? Which model, in your opinion, would fit your home best? Feel free to share below!

References

  1. Steve Wilson (2018, August 24). How To Install An Electric Water Heater. Retrieved from https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a173/electric-hot-water-heater/
  2. The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (May 2014). Energy Saver. DOE/GO-102014-4405. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/09/f18/61628_BK_EERE-EnergySavers_w150.pdf  
  3. Alina Bradford (2018, August 16). How to Buy a Tankless Water Heater. Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-buy-a-tankless-water-heater/

Our research

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Water Heaters Considered

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