Why Might I Want this Specific Tankless Water Heater?
As you may have gathered from its categorization as a “portable” water heater, the Eccotemp L5 has been engineered to be lightweight, easy to carry, and compact. As a result, this model in particular is ideal for taking on camping trips or installing in an off-the-grid location, such as in a horse stable or outside of a beachfront cabin.
Also, the Eccotemp L5 doesn’t require anything special—such as permanent mounting or in-line utility connections—in order to operate properly. Instead, this model is fully able to draw in water from a common garden hose hookup. In the same vein, this easily and efficiently hooks up with most 20 pound propane cylinders using the appropriately-sized CSA regulator that comes packaged in with the main heater unit.
Key Specifications and Features to Look for in a Tankless Water Heater
Dimensions & Capacity
When it comes to portable water heaters, size really does matter. After all, you’ll want a model that is large enough to provide an optimal volume of hot water while remaining small enough to transport by hand comfortably. The Eccotemp L5 finds this balanced middle ground well thanks to its 15.9 x 11.4 x 4.8 dimensions and 13.8 lbs. weight. These dimensions won’t impact this (or any other) tankless unit though because it lacks the need to store water internally. For its small footprint, we give the Eccotemp L5 a 9.5/10.
Portable tankless water heaters typically run on either electricity or propane, given that the former is available in many away-from-home sites and the latter can be easily transported via a pressurized cylinder. The Eccotemp L5 is propane-powered, allowing it to better serve the needs of travelers who plan to visit sites far from the electric grid. We’re giving it an 8/10 in this department.
Flow Rate & Water Pressure
All tankless water heater listings include a flow rate, which is used to communicate the volume of water that that specific unit can pass through its system in a minute. This is often measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and is used to gauge whether or not a unit can maintain a productive amount of water pressure when in use. The Eccotemp L5 1.5 GPM rating is more than enough to maintain water pressure given the proximity of its primary outlet point, earning it a modest 7.5/10.
In tankless water heater terminology, heating capacity describes how capable a given unit is when it comes to completing primary water heating task. In listings, this capacity is communicated through a range of temperatures. The Eccotemp L5, for example, features a 50° F to 140° F heating capacity, which is optimally comfortable for completing bathing and other sanitary jobs. We’re giving it an 8/10 for delivering a consistent supply of hot water.
Energy Efficiency Ratings & Certifications
No one likes wasting water or fuel! Accordingly, you should keep an eye out for a tankless water heater’s energy efficiency rating in order to learn about how efficiently that particular unit converts its fuel into heat. If that rating is paired with a regulatory certification, then you can trust it even more. The Eccotemp L5 doesn’t carry a percentage-based energy efficiency rating, but instead lists this annual cost evaluation from Energy Guide. With a Medium GPM rating and an estimated yearly energy cost of $203, it’s not as efficient at saving energy as others in its class, that’s why we’re giving it a 6/10.
Price and Warranty
Tankless water heaters are often competitively priced with similar models in their class, making it necessary to shop around to find the best priced option to fit your budget. This comparison should account for the added-value of a warranty as well. The Eccotemp L5 costs under $150, which is a real bargain especially after factoring the value of its 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. We’re giving it a 9/10 for its competitive price point.
Portable water heaters in particular require a display type that is easy to manipulate, regardless of your previous knowledge of the equipment. On that front, the Eccotemp L5 delivers given that each of its hot and cold dials are color-coded for hassle-free engagements with users of all ages. That’s enough to merit the L5 an 8/10.
Despite its price, the Eccotemp L5 is made of sturdy materials that will ensure it’ll last you through hundreds of times of use. In particular, the L5’s water and gas connects are made out of brass, making it impenetrable to corrosion buildup. For this we’re giving it an 8/10.
Different Uses for a Portable Tankless Water Heater
Hot Water on the Go
Being able to travel in comfort is always a plus. Portable tankless water heaters make this more possible than ever before thanks to their compact form and instantaneous production cycle. Most portable units like the Eccotemp L5 are even fueled by propane, a common fuel source that many campers routinely pack to power their stoves. As a result, these portable units rarely require you to pack a bunch of extra gear to facilitate their use.
Lowers Reliance on Power Hookups
While camping or working out of an off-the-grid location, electrical hookups can be at a massive premium (if not absent altogether). In those instances, a traditional tank or tankless water heater would fall flat and not be able to provide hot water on demand. Only a portable unit like the Eccotemp L5, which relies on propane as a fuel source and a battery-powered ignitor, can be counted on to provide ample water heating capabilities without the need for an in-line electric hookup.
Eccotemp L5 vs. Eccotemp L10
Often, the Eccotemp L5 and L10 models are compared to one another due their similar external appearance. Internally, though, the L10 is clearly an upgraded version of the L5. This is evidenced in several of its core specifications, including its 2.6 GPM flow rate (up from the L5’s 1.5 GPM flow rate). That being said, both models can be used right out of the box due to their inclusion of a certified CSA gas regulator. The L10 also costs around $100 more than the L5. Read our review of the Eccotemp L10 here.