Review of the top three portable water heaters for use around the house, at the campsite or cottages, for taking a hot outdoor shower, car wash, cleaning the dogs and horses. Explore the benefits and features of the portable showers.
I have reviewed three the most popular portable water heaters where two are using on-demand technology, also known as tankless, and one a storage tank.
All the reviewed portable water heaters use propane gas for heating, but the LP tank is not included in the purchase. Most buyers bought these mobile units to have hot water ready for showers, food preparation and washing. The tankless models can run for hours on one propane tank, while the tank-type as long as it has water in the tank.
The Eccotemp L5 is one of the top selling portable water heaters with the tankless technology. It runs on LP or propane gas, and it provides an endless hot water for outside applications, at home or away. The unit is compatible with the 20-pound grill propane tank, which is very easy to find and purchase.
The Eccotemp L5 tankless water heater uses the two "D" cell batteries for the operation, which makes it electricity-independent. According to the manufacturer, the unit works great when added to a power washer and on 12-V water system. When you buy the Eccotemp L5, you will find all the adapters supplied.
With the maximum power of 37,500 Btu, this portable water heater can produce 1.3 to 1.4 gallons per minute of hot water, with the temperature rise of 30 to 35 F. The unit is easy to use as it has the automatic ignition that allows the burner to turn ON as soon as the minimum water flow is generated. Once ON, you can adjust the temperature between 80 and 150 F and choose one of the several spray settings. You can use a water heater for hours, depending on the set temperature... but the unit turns OFF automatically after 20 min as the safety measure.
The unit is recommended for use when camping, hunting, at the pool, at the beach, for car and pet washing. With its 13 pounds and compact size, this portable water heater is very easy to carry and handle. The handle allows you to carry it anywhere you need it, and it folds down for easy storage.
Camp Chef Triton is another popular portable water heater very similar to the Eccotemp L5. It uses the propane gas and the 2-D battery for ignition.
With the gas input of 34,000 Btu, Triton is able to produce a maximum of 1.4 to 1.5 gallons per minute.
It comes with the adaptors and hose to connect to the 20-pound propane tank, 8 ft. of the shower hose and the shower head with four settings; off, mist, shower and jet spray. According to the manufacturer, Triton can run for 18 hours (depending upon the water flow) on one standard LP tank.
At the time of the article writing (March 2013) Camp Chef Triton has been reviewed by over a hundred of customers and users on Amazon.com, and it got 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Coleman Hot Water On Demand is one the most popular tank-type portable water heaters for camping, found online.
The Coleman heater is equipped with the 30,000 Btu burner, which can heat 5-gallon water tank to 100 F in five seconds. The hose that connects the water tank and water heater is included in your purchase, but the spray adapter and propane tank are not.
The Coleman water heater utilizes the 6-V rechargeable battery that is used to run the water pump.
On one battery charge (approximately 2 hr.) and with the 16.4 oz of the propane tank, the water heater heats up to 40 gallons of cold water. As it usually takes 8-9 hours for recharging, it is a good idea to buy a few more batteries, especially if you are away for the extended period of time. The battery can be recharged either from the home electrical outlet, car or RV.
Near the top of the heater, there are three LED lights that inform you when the battery is low, when it is recharging and when the temperature is too high.
The temperature dial, located in the middle of the unit, allows you to select one of the three sectors: cool, warm and hot.
The Coleman mobile water heater is mainly used for cooking, dishes, coffee and tea preparation and outdoor showers. The swing-out spout is good when washing dishes.
See the reviews and prices on Amazon.com.
As seen from the above, portable water heaters are very useful to have, especially when you need hot water outdoor, during the power outage, storms and where the electricity is not available. Almost all these reviewed mobile heaters offer everything you need... except the propane tank, which has to be purchased separately.
The two tankless water heaters from the above require a constant supply of cold water to run, while the tank-type, such as Coleman model, stores the water and can be used for later. Eccotemp L5 and Camp Chef Triton come with the warranty of one year, while Coleman provides 3-year limited warranty.