Best Portable Water Heater – Buying Guide & Reviews

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Many people are reluctant campers. They love the outdoors, but they prefer the luxury of home conveniences. However, there is a product that has changed the minds of many reluctant campers — the portable water heater.

A portable water heater not only provides campers with warm showers and hot water for dishwashing and hand washing, but it is very useful in the home as well. It can be used for washing your dog, washing your car or patio furniture. You can even use it for thawing frozen water lines, for shampooing rugs, or for giving your horse a delightful treat on a cold winter’s morning.

There are both tank-type and portable tankless water heater models. Some of them are free-standing, others are table-top units, or units that need to be hung from a nail or the branch of a tree.

The Coleman Hot Water on Demand Portable Water Heater

The Coleman portable hot water heater is an outdoor table-top unit that is ideal for camping. It can either be used with a small 16.4 oz. disposable propane canister, or it can be connected to a bulk propane tank, with a special adaptor. With one 16 oz. canister this unit can produce 40 gallons of hot water.

It comes with a rechargeable 6 volt battery pump. This allows it to be used in places where there is no pressurized water supply. The pump’s battery needs to be recharged in your car, every 40 gallons.

Once the 5 gallon water heater tank is filled, you simply set the required temperature, and in about 5 seconds you will have hot water that is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The water heater also has a special mode for supplying 160 degree water for hot beverages and instant soups and noodles.


The Coleman outdoor portable hot water heater has a built in full-size faucet, which folds into the handle when the heater is not in use. The spigot is ideal for dishwashing and hand washing, but if you wish to use the unit as a portable camping shower, you will need to purchase a special shower handset.

The Coleman hot water on demand portable water heater comes with a 3 year warranty, and sells for $185. The shower handset costs $15, and the bulk propane tank adaptor sells for $30.

EccoTemp L5 Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater

The Eccotemp L5 is an outdoor portable tankless water heater that you hang from a nail. It can instantly deliver an endless amount of hot water, that is only limited by the supply of propane gas. You can get 18 hours of hot water from one 20 lb propane cylinder.

This outdoor portable water heater only weighs about 12 lbs, and it is very easy to transport. It requires a pressurized water supply, and needs to be connected to a spigot with a flexible hose.

The Eccotemp L5 has an automatic battery-powered igniter, which will ignite the burner when you turn on the water with the control on the shower nozzle.

You can adjust the temperature from 80 degrees to 150 degrees Fahrenheit by varying the water flow. The flow is adequate for a shower when the temperature is adjusted to a comfortable showering temperature.

The  Eccotemp L5 can serve as a portable camping shower, or it can be used in an outdoor shower enclosure an outdoor kitchen. It is also useful in a potting shed and for outside cleaning jobs around the house.

TheEccotemp L5 outdoor portable water heater comes with a 1 year warranty, and sells for $120.

Zodi Portable Shower

The Zodi Hot Tap Portable Camping Shower uses a propane tankless water heater to produce 60 gallons of hot water from one 16.4 oz disposable propane cylinder. It has a push button ignition system, and comes with a 6 volt battery-operated pump, which can draw water from any water source. It weighs just over 10 lbs and fits into a container the size of a hiking boot.

This camping shower comes in two models: a single burner unit for warm weather camping, and a double burner, high performance portable shower for year round camping.

The single burner model sells for about $160, and the high performance unit sells for for about $250. Its rugged steel construction ensures years of service.

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