Best Inexpensive Water Heaters for Off-Grid Cabins


Even when you are living in the wilderness, why give up the luxury we now have of plumbing and, more specifically, hot water? I wouldn’t want to give up my hot showers if the technology exists to have them, even if I live in the middle of nowhere! This leads to a search for a good water heater system to put in your vacation cabin.

What is the best, inexpensive water heater for off-grid cabins? The best water heater for off-grid cabins, in my opinion, is the Ecosmart ECO 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater with 13KW at 240 Volts with Patented Self Modulating Technology. 

There is more than one way to heat up your water for usage. These water heaters can be either electric or gas. Keep reading and I will tell you about which I like best and give options for both the luxurious life-styled and for the “keeping it cheap but still good” crowds! 

Best Electrical Heater

Like I stated above, I stand by the EcoSmart ECO 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater. This heater is a decent price, compact for “roughin’ it” environments, and provides endless heated water. And I mean, HOT water, if you so desire!

 This heater prices out to be $215.04 on Amazon with FREE SHIPPING! It is a little on the expensive side for a compact water heater of this sort, but totally worth every cent! Though this water heater is more expensive than other electric alternatives, it is still a better price than other heaters that I have found and won’t be as wonderful as this one.

This heater, along with being well-priced for such high quality, is a perfect size for going off the grid or “roughin’ it”, whichever term you prefer. The size of this awesome little water heater is a mere 11′ (inches) x 8″ x 3.75″ That isn’t even a full cubic foot in volume! This compact size makes it easy to hide anywhere after it is all connected. The EcoSmart water heater, along with its surprisingly compact size, only weighs about 6.5 lbs.making it super easy to carry or travel out to your hidden, off-grid cabin as well. It is a more than well-manageable size making it easy to transfer wherever needed and easy to carry.

This heater also provides endless how water. Being electric, this water heater can continuously heat your water as long as necessary. The max temperature for the heated water is also a whopping 140 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning you won’t be cold by any means when showering luxuriously in your cabin. Having the gift and joy of a hot shower in your quiet vacation cabin is one of the best feelings ever and very relaxing. Definitely something that shouldn’t be given up for a quiet weekend away!

This heater will simply need to be hooked up to a 1 x 60 AMP breaker and a 1 x 6 AWG. The water connection will need to be a 1/2″ CF and is about 13kW. The EcoSmart Water Heater also has a max amperage of 57! This will lead to the perfect, hot showers on your weekend away from society and provide for a very relaxing time.

This EcoSmart Water Heater has an amazing 4-star review on Amazon out of over 2,000 customer reviews! Over 2/3 of these customers gave it a perfect rating too! Sounds pretty legit, if you ask me.

Here is a link to your EcoSmart ECO 11 Electric Tankless Water Heater.

Cheaper, Electric Alternative Option

Though the EcoSmart Water Heater is a wonderful off-grid heating option, not everyone can afford that expensive of one or maybe they just don’t want to spend the money on it right now. That is 100% okay! I have a cheaper alternative that is still awesome for you to look into getting instead!

Instead of the EcoSmart, I would highly recommend the Marey ECO110 220V Self-Modulating 11 kW, 3.0 GPM Multiple Points of Use Tankless Electric Water Heater as a cheaper alternative. This heater still has an awesome review on Amazon and is very compact ad well with very similar awesome features as the EcoSmart.

This water heater system is also quite a compact size, which comes in handy when you have to pack it out to your cabin. This heater is about 3″ x 8.6″ x 14.8″ making it just about a cubic foot in volume as well. It also weighs a small size of about 7.5 lbs. which is slightly bigger than the EcoSmart water heater, but still an amazingly small and manageable size for trekking it out to your cabin. 

This water heater has an easy temperature management system in which you can set the exact temperature settings you would like! You can set it so that it won’t produce water above and/or below a certain temperature so that you always have the right water temperature. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

The Marey water heater will require a 60 AMP breaker and will need to be installed by a professional, but after that it should work perfectly and you won’t have to worry about the whole “Did I install this wrong when I was trying to save money?” debacle because we have all been there, but it is never a fun place to be.

This water heater is also very efficient, having an efficiency level of 98% throughout it’s lifetime of use. This results in a very reliable and cost effective result, making the choice to get this water heater very worth it. 

This water heater cost a much more affordable price of $168.90 on Amazon with FREE SHIPPING, as well! The Marey water heater ranks in its reviews for an average 3.5 stars. It isn’t as great of review as the EcoSmart, but still good. This water heater alternative is much more affordable than the EcoSmart water heater I mentioned earlier, plus it is still quite reliable.

Here is the link on Amazon to the Marey ECO110 220V Self-Modulating 11 kW, 3.0 GPM Multiple Points of Use Tankless Electric Water Heater.

Best Gas Heater

Another method of water heating, besides electric, is natural gas or propane. My top recommended gas heater is the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Indoor Tankless Water Heater, Natural Gas. This heater is more expensive than the electric heating options, but still very reliable and better for those who prefer not to have an electric water heating system. This heater is awesome because it is compact, like the electrical options, also lightweight, and reliable with great reviews!

The Takagi water heater is bigger than the electrical heaters, but still very manageable and easily able to transport to wherever your desired location is to your cabin. It is about 6.7″ x 13.8″ x 20.3″ in volume resuling in it being around a cubic foot and a half. This size is very compact and very easy to manage still! 

The weight of this heater is much more than the electrical heaters’ weights as well, but also still manageable and not a burden to transport. The Takagi heater weighs roughly 37 lbs. Which isn’t too bad! It isn’t necessarily something you will want to hike anywhere with, but still pretty easy for one person to carry short distance without help to its desired location on the property.

This heater will require 4-inch category III stainless steel venting. It has inlet, outlet thermistors for constant temperature monitoring, however. This is great because you can check you water heater at any time to see exactly what temperature settings it is at.

This product also has a 10 year heat exchanger warranty and a 5 year warranty on parts for the heater. Which means if your heater stops working or unknowingly breaks before this time period is up, the company will help replace the parts free of charge! How awesome is that?

This product has great review of an average of about 4.3 stars on Amazon out of 272 customers  that did the reviews. Over 75% of these customers seem to be very pleased with this product as well, giving it a 5 star rating.

The Takagi water heating system is priced at $546 on Amazon, which is kind of pricey, but this product also has free shipping so you won’t have to worry about those extra costs when ordering it.

Here is a link on Amazon to the Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Indoor Tankless Water Heater, Natural Gas.

Cheaper, Gas Alternative Option

A much cheaper gas alternative to the Takagi water heater is the Eccotemp FVI12-LP Liquid Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater. This heater is half the price of the Takagi and awesome for those who prefer not to have an electric water heating system. This heater has wonderful features such as easy management, safe installation, and simple manual temperature controls and still has good reviews on Amazon. 

 The Eccotemp water heater has dimensions of 28″ x 17″ x 10.5″ resulting in roughly 2.5 cubic feet in volume. This size is much bigger than any of the other water heaters but is still a decently manageable size to move. 

This water heater weighs about 33 lbs. which is a decent weight to move around as well. The water heater isn’t ideal in dimensions and weight to move around a long time or long distance, but easily manageable for shorter distances to move.

The controls on the Eccotemp water heater are also very easy to understand and manage for whatever your needs or preferences may be.

Along with easy controls, this water heater are also very safe to installation, but I would still recommend using a professional to make sure it is installed correctly. This is simply so that there are no mistakes that can lead to fatal accidents.

This water heater has an average 3.2-star review on Amazon out of 355 customer reviews submitted but over 40% of them rated this product with 5 stars. This is a generally reliable product and isn’t the absolute best out there, but definitely great for the price you are getting it at and for the quality you still get as well.

This product prices out on Amazon to be $227.99, which isn’t bad at all. It also has FREE SHIPPING too, though, which is awesome because you don’t have to worry about that, usually costly, extra charge.

Here is a link on Amazon to the Eccotemp FVI12-LP Liquid Propane Gas Tankless Water Heater.

What is Ultimately the best Choice/Method of Water Heater?

Water heater choice for your off-grid cabin is ultimately up to you. It all depends on what is the most cost effective for you and/or what best fits what you want to have out there. A lot of times, the most cost-effective decision depends on where you live and what the price differences for propane gas, natural gas, and electric are. 

For gas, no matter whether its propane or natural gas, you can’t only consider the cost of just the gas. You also need to consider how much the pipes and transportation of the gas is going to cost you and how much you will have to pay for your average usage needs. It can tend to add up fast.

However, an electric heater may be the lesser of the decisions instead. You can’t just think of the electrical fees you might have. You would need to think about solar panels or a windmill, if that’s how you plan to get your power. It can get very expensive for not only buy these accessories, but to also hire the professional help needed to set them up properly and safely.

In the end, you will simply have to look into each option in detail and crunch the numbers so that you can have visuals on exactly how much each method would cost for you to acquire and place on your property. It may seem like a lot of work, but in the long run it’ll be worth it because you will know you got what you wanted at the best price possible.

Related Questions

Are there other ways to get hot water besides an electric or gas water heater? The basic water heating methods are electric, natural gas, and propane. These all have their pros and their cons. It is ultimately up to the buyer to determine which they prefer and why.

Can I generate my own electricity? Electricity can be generated through solar power, but solar panels can be expensive. Another option is wind power, which you can access with small wind turbines.

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