Before you dive into the specific brand review, we highly recommend you to read our elaborate Tankless Water Heater Buying Guide in advance. There are several crucial steps you need to take before you even start to think about the brand.
This EcoSmart tankless water heaters review includes specifications for all models and current prices too. The research included here makes it easy to compare EcoSmart water heaters to Rinnai and other top brands. Our list of tankless water heater reviews includes:
Introduction to EcoSmart Tankless Water Heaters
The EcoSmart brand is relatively new, but EcoSmart is a part of Rheem. It’s an American company with headquarters in Connecticut. Water heaters are made in China. The brand makes EcoSmart electric and gas water heaters. Gas models are compatible with natural gas (NG) and propane (LP) with a small change to the gas valve. Rheem and EcoSmart electric tankless units are identical; gas units are not.
These tables shows all models with their gallons per minute (GPM) maximum and other important specifications.
EcoSmart Electric Tankless Models
|POU 3.5||3.5||0.5||1 year|
|POU 6||5.5||1.5||1 year|
EcoSmart Gas Tankless Models
|Series/Model||BTU Input||Efficiency/EF||Max. GPM||Warranty||Condensing|
Important Note on Max. GPM: This column represents the maximum gallons per minute flow rate the heater can produce. Maximum GPM flow is achievable only when the incoming water is quite warm. The colder the incoming water is, the longer it must be heated to reach the thermostat setting on the tankless water heater, so the lower the GPM flow rate will be. In tankless water heater specifications, you’ll see information such as “Flow rate @ 70°F temp rise is 4.3 GPM.” That’s from a unit with Max. GPM of 7.5 GPM and means that if the temperature of the incoming water must be raised by 70 degrees Fahrenheit to reach the thermostat setpoint, then only 4.3 gallons per minute of hot water can be expected. For more information on this important topic, see the related section in our Tankless Water Heater Buying Guide.
Efficiency: EcoSmart lists efficiency as Energy Factor (EF) rather than the new Uniform Energy Factor mandated by the Department of Energy as of 2017. UEF is typically two to three percent less than EF. That’s something to keep in mind as you compare EcoSmart tankless water heaters to Rinnai and other brands that use the UEF rating.Notes:
- WiFi: EcoSmart tankless water heaters DO NOT offer WiFi control as Rheem, Rinnai, Noritz and Navien do on some of their models, either built-in or as an option.
- Both available: Indoor and outdoor units are separate models.
- Pro installation: EcoSmart requires professional installation to honor its warranty. DIY installation will void the warranty.
- Warranties: The warranties listed apply to the heat exchanger (gas models) and heating element (electric models). The general parts warranty is five years on gas and ECO models. The labor warranty is one year.
EcoSmart Features Analysis
Both gas and electric EcoSmart tankless water heaters modulate heat input to deliver the precise amount of heat required. For example, the ESGH-95 has a gas valve and burner that operates between 11,000 BTU and 199,000 BTU. The system will monitor demand and fire at the BTU level needed to produce the hot water demanded.
ECO 27 and 36 models are produced in standard and flow control units (with FC in model #). The flow control models come with up to 4 flow restrictors that limit hot water use.
The condensing gas water heaters have a .95 Energy Factor (EF) with the standard copper heat exchanger. Models outfitted with a stainless steel heat exchanger are both more durable, since stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion and more efficient. They have an EF of .96.
Models with optional circulation require a kit that includes a pump. The purpose of recirculation is to cycle heated water back and forth between the water heater and a point of use such as a shower or faucet, so that even a whole-house unit centrally located can deliver near-instant hot water. The pump kit costs $300+ and you’ll have to install a recirculation line. The cost benefit will be less water down the drain waiting for it to get hot. The cost of the kit and pump can be recouped in just a few years if your water is metered rather than coming from a well.
ESGH and ESG gas models meet SCAQMD and Low NOx criteria for locations with emissions restrictions.
Two EcoSmart gas tankless water heaters can be linked together to supply a greater volume of hot water in high-demand applications.
EcoSmart also makes spa heaters, and mini-tank water heaters with capacities of 1, 2.5, 4 and 6 gallons.
How EcoSmart Water Heaters Compare to Other Tankless Brands
The most notable thing about EcoSmart is that its gas water heaters are unavailable at times.
For example, The Home Depot is listed on the EcoSmart website and given by the company’s customer service reps as a place to find them, but at this writing (10th Feb, 2018), there are no gas models on HomeDepot.com or on Amazon.com.
We’ve noted that EcoSmart is a division of Rheem with some models identical. It’s one of the few brands that does not have a gas-fired model that is WiFi-enabled. Ratings range from average to good.
EcoSmart Water Heater Prices
This table makes it easy to compare prices for the models and brands you’re considering.
EcoSmart Gas Models
Unit Cost Only
EcoSmart Electric Models
|ECO 27/ECO 27 FC||6.6||$440-$515/$600-$635|
|ECO 36/ECO36 FC||8.8||$585-$625/$680-$725|
Notes: The range of prices for each model reflects the wide number of sellers. It is unclear why the POU 6 with its higher capacity costs less from most sellers than the smaller POU 3.5.
EcoSmart Installation Cost and Factors
Remember that EcoSmart requires installation by a licensed contractor. From a homeowner’s perspective, that’s a good idea anyway Electric models require a 240V line and at least 40 amps at the electrical box, so there is a risk of shock. Gas models come with the risk of a gas leak and explosion or the leak of exhaust gases that contain deadly carbon monoxide.
Electric water heater installation begins at about $500. Costs go up if an electric line or supplementary electric panel must be added. Gas indoor water heater installation can rise to $1,500 or more because of the need to install a vent. Adding a recirculation kit and the additional water line required might increase cost even more for models capable of recirculating hot water.
You’ll receive the lowest cost estimates when you request estimates from several local installers and let them know you’re shopping around. While that can be a hassle, the Free Quote service we offer is simple. It takes a couple minutes to fill out the form – or you can call the number on this page – and you will receive written estimates from prescreened, licensed installers that know they are competing for the work. There is no cost or obligation to you for using the service.