A small water heater can fill a variety of different needs; from a commercial hand sink, to an under served bathroom far from your home's main hot water heater. Tiny home, RV and boat owners can squeeze these units into tight places, and small businesses such as food carts and mobile pet washing vans all enjoy the features and convenience these powerful little units are designed to deliver.
Full-sized water heaters with a tank size of 30-gallons are often considered small in capacity, but they are rarely small in their physical size. They're also typically used as a whole house water heating system. In this article, we'll focus on the small water heaters that are installed near a point-of-use, such as a sink or bathroom. These systems are given a very specific task, which is to deliver hot water fast to the sink to which it is attached.
In most cases small water heaters are used to boost your home's main water heater by providing hot water at the point-of-use. Some household rooms are not well served by the main water heating system and this results in water taking a great deal of time to reach the faucet. A small water heater installed under a sink (or within a room) is a great alternative to solving this problem, and many are relatively inexpensive!
Here are a few of the benefits a point-of-use water heater can offer:
- Improved Water Pressure: Since point-of-use water heaters are installed at the source where hot water is needed, there's an immediate increase in water pressure. This can be especially helpful in older homes where pipes and systems frequently can't deliver efficiently.
- Improved Water Temperature: With a water heater installed closer, hot water can be delivered nearly instantaneously. Not only does this mean you'll spend less time waiting for hot water, but your overall water consumption will also be lower, saving you money on your water bill.
- Environmentally Friendly: Less water is wasted waiting for hot water. Installing a tankless point-of-use water heater can even reduce your carbon footprint.
- Eliminates the need for installing a circulating pump to your main water heater.
A tank-style water heater is simply a water heater that heats hot water and stores it within a tank until it is ready to be used. Here are some for the advantages and disadvantages of a small tank-style water heater:
- Easy Installation
- Easy Replacement
- Standby Heat Loss
- Shorter Life Span
- Large and Bulky
Our favorite small tank-style water heaters:
Bosch Tronic Mini-Tank Water Heater
The Bosch Tronic 3000 Mini Tank is our favorite small water heater, it is also one of Amazons top sellers. This 2.5-gallon tank runs on 120-volts and can be plugged directly into a home electrical outlet. It comes with an optional wall mount and can fit into nearly any space where you need a hot water boost. It also has a 6-year tank warranty.
The tank is glass lined for added corrosion protection and improved service life. There's also a factory installed T&P valve.
Bosch's space saving mini-tanks are lightweight and compact, and they're designed with the option of working independently or in conjunction with your household water heating system.
Reliance Compact 6 6 SOMS K Water Heater
The Reliance Compact 6 6 SOMS K Water Heater is a very practical choice for a small water heater. It's equipped with a 6 gallon tank and runs on 120 volts. It comes with a 6-year warranty on the tank and parts, and 1-year labor.
There's a single 1650-watt, 120-volt copper sheathed heating element within the glass-lined 6-gallon tank. An anode rod is also installed to offer additional protection from tank and component corrosion, and to maximize safety, the T&P (Temperature & Pressure) Relief Valve is factory installed.
The Reliance Compact unit should be able to fit into nearly any tight space, whether it's tucked out of the way under the counter, sits on a shelf overhead, or installed within a crawl space. As a convenience, the water inlet and outlet connections are positioned on the side of the tank, but there are also optional connection points located on the top.
Reliance also offers a 10-gallon model if you need a higher capacity water heater.
Rheem 20-Gallon Point-of-Use Water Heater
The Rheem PROE20 1 RH POU Professional Classic 20 Gallon Water Heater comes with the company's impressive 6-year warranty on both the tank and parts. Let's face it, sometimes you just need a little more hot water, and the Rheem Professional Classic Point-of-Use line-up has you covered. This Rheem 20-gallon water heater runs on 120 volts and uses a high efficiency single restored stainless steel heating element.
Rheem has an exclusive tank lining called Rheemglas which prolongs the life of the tank and resists corrosion. The temperature and relief pressure valve, as well as the anode rod are included. It also has an Over-Temperature Protector which shuts down the power if the water heater ever exceeds the high temp limit.
This Rheem water heater series offers several sizes of small water heaters to fit any hot water need. There's a 2-gallon model, a 6-gallon model, 10 and 15-gallons and even a robust 30-gallon tank capacity. And Rheem has a solid reputation for quality in the hot water heater industry.
EccoTemp Mini Tank Water Heater
The EccoTemp Mini Tank 2.5 can be used as a stand alone unit or added to your home's water heating system to give it a boost. It's compact and lightweight design means it can fit into the tightest of spots, and with the enclosed mounting bracket it can even be installed on the wall.
The welded steel tank is glass lined to help prevent corrosion, and an anode rod, high limit temperature switch and T&P Pressure Relief Valve is also included. It comes with a 5-year warranty against leaks and 2-years on parts.
EcoSmart Eco Mini 6 Tank Water Heater
EcoSmart offers 4 different sizes in their Eco Mini series and the Eco Mini 6 is the largest . Each can be used as a stand alone unit or added to give your household water heater a boost. It comes with a 5-year warranty against leaks, and 1-year parts.
With the exception of the larger ECO Mini 6, these unit's can be plugged into a standard outlet. The ECO Mini 4 and ECO Mini 6 units are excellent to use at home or even on boats and RV's. The smaller ECO Mini 1 is perfect for a dedicated hand washing sink, and the ECO Mini 2.5 gallon is a great choice for a booster.
Stiebel Eltron Mini-Tank Water Heater
The Stiebel Eltron 4-gallon Mini Tank has a glass-lined tank to reduce corrosion, and includes the T&P Relief Valve as well as a wall mount bracket. The mini tank can be plugged directly into a standard electrical outlet, which makes set up easy.
Stiebel Eltron is a high-end German company that takes tremendous pride in their products, and this series is no exception. You can expect to see some of the lowest stand-by heat losses in the industry with their units, which translates into savings on your electric bill.
The 4-gallon unit is capable of recovering in a speedy 27-minutes! and easy installation makes this mini-tank worth serious consideration whether you're looking for a small water heater at home or in a boat or RV.
Stiebel Eltron has 3 high quality small water heaters in their Mini-Tank series. The 2.5-gallon tank, 4-gallon tank, and the larger 6-gallon tank. Each comes with a 6-year tank warranty with 2-years parts.
Tankless water heaters are able to provide all of the benefits of having hot water on demand, plus they're not limited by a tank. As cold water flows through a tankless water heater it's heated. When you open a faucet you'll have hot water for as long as you need it, in a matter of seconds!
- Uses Less Space
- Very Energy Efficient
- Endless Amount of Hot Water
- Can be output challenged if not sized properly
- Professional Installation Recommended
Atmor 13kW Tankless Water Heater
The Atmor 13kW Tankless Water Heater is Atmor's newly designed point-of-use heater capable of providing hot water to a full bathroom, including a sink and bathroom. The more powerful 13kW unit is ideal for commercial use and a great option for remote residential bathrooms that either don't have a hot water source or are not well-served.
Atmor Industries Ltd has been manufacturing electric tankless water heaters for decades. Their website states that over the last 30-years they have "sold over 2 Million heaters all over the world on an O.E.M. basis under its brand and 'Private Label.'"
With a 35°F temperature rise, the Atmor 13kW can deliver up to 2.8 gallons of hot water each minute (gpm). This 240v electric tankless water heater comes with a 2-year limited parts warranty and 7-years of leakage coverage.
EcoSmart Point-of-Use Tankless Water Heater
The EcoSmart POU 6 has a 99.8% energy efficiency rating and is capable of delivering 1.4 gallons per minute (GPM) of hot water with a 45°F temperature rise. It's compact size and versatility makes it a great option for RV'ers or boat owners, drawing 220 volts of electricity it will require hardwiring.
The heating chamber is hand welded and made from stainless steel, and the heating elements are manufactured to last, yet designed to be removed if replacement is necessary.
EcoSmart offers a 1-year warranty, which is one of the shortest warranties in the industry. In addition, the unit must be professionally installed by a licensed plumber/electrician within 30-days of purchase to be eligible for the warranty.
EcoSmart's company mission is to deliver efficient and economical green energy products to consumers. Since their water heaters have come on the market, they've been well received and steadily gaining in popularity.
Bosch US4-2R Tronic 3000 Tankless
Bosch has given their popular Tronic 3000 tankless line-up an updated and stream-lined look. The 4.5kW US4-2R model has a lower activation flow rate so it operates without missing a beat with the newer, low flow faucets.
The Bosch Tronic 3000 series tankless water heaters are lightweight and ultra compact units can squeeze into tight spaces. They can even be mounted either vertically or horizontally. The copper heat exchanger, coupled with copper-sheathed heating elements help deliver a solid efficiency rating.
They comes with a 5-year limited warranty and are suitable for commercial or residential applications. There are multiple sizes available ranging from 3.6kW to 9.5kW.
Stiebel Eltron Point-of-Use Tankless Water Heater
The Stiebel Eltron Point-of-Use Tankless Water Heaters are German made, and they're not only elegant looking but they're designed to last. Stiebel Eltron backs their products with an impressive 7-year leak and 3-year parts warranty . . . one of the best warranties in the industry.
Stiebel Eltron offers 2 units in their Multi-Point-of Use series the (DHC-E) and the larger DHC-E12 with a Flow Rate of 2.0 GPM. Both of these powerful units are manufactured to handle the larger more demanding work of kitchen sinks and other areas where more hot water is required.
Designed with the convenience of a front panel temperature knob, and a temperature range of 86- to 140°F, making temperature adjustments is simple. The advanced microprocessor technology keeps the temperature from deviating from the set point, even when there are variations in the water flow.
A smaller series (DHC models) is also available for Single Point-of-Use units with Flow Rates that range from .50 GPM to 1.6 GPM at a Temperature Rise of 40°F.
It's easy to fall in love with these tankless units, but quality engineering and rigid product standards mean they not only look good, but they're designed to perform. Stiebel Eltron has two sizes in their DHC-E product line-up. The DHC-E 8/10 that can deliver 1.5 gallons of hot water every minute (gpm) and the DHC-E 12 that has a flow rate of 2.0 gpm.
Rheem RTEX Tankless Water Heater
Rheem's RTEX series is compact and stylish. The digital temperature dial and display on the front panel will allow for ultimate control as you can adjust the warmth of the water in 1-degree increments between 80- and 140-degrees.
Rheem is a big player in the water heater world and their RTEX series delivers an impressive 99.8% energy efficiency rating. Making nearly every dollar you spend on electricity put to use in delivering hot water. They offer a 5-year heat exchanger warranty, and 1-year parts.
The durable and powerful copper immersion heating elements are designed with a brass top which allows for easy replacement when the time comes.
Rheem offers a wide range of sizes in their RTEX model line-up, from their 2 smaller tankless heaters which are excellent for hand sinks (the RTEX-045 with a 0.50 gpm and the RTEX-06 with a 1.0 gpm), to their larger POU models: The RTEX-08 (1.5 gpm), RTEX-11 (2.0 gpm), and the RTEX-13 (2.5 gpm)
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