Navien Gas Tankless Water Heater Reviews, Cost and Buying Guide 2018

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 Navien tankless water heater review provides accurate, comprehensive information you can use to research this brand, one of the best-selling in the industry. For every model, we’ve included complete specifications and prices in two separate tables below.

To compare tankless water heater brands, see our guides to:

Introduction to Navien Tankless Water Heaters

Navien was founded in 1978 in Japan as a producer of boilers and water heaters. The company has been an innovator in condensing gas units. Navien opened operations in the US in 2006 and quickly became one of the top-selling brands of tankless water heaters and related products boilers and combination boiler/water heaters.

All Navien tankless models are gas-fired and designed as whole-house water heaters. They come equipped with natural gas (NG), but the valve is easily replaced to burn liquid propane (LP). This table includes all current Navien tankless models and their specs.

Series/ModelsBTUUEFMax. GPMCirculatingCondensingWiFiWarrantyIndoor/
Outdoor
NPE-Standard
NPE-240S199k0.9711.2OptionalYesOptional15 yearsEither
NPE-210S180k0.9710.1OptionalYesOptional15 yearsEither
NPE-180S150k0.988.4OptionalYesOptional15 yearsEither
NPE150S120k0.986.8OptionalYesOptional15 yearsEither
NPE-Advanced
NPE-240A199k0.9611.2Built-inYesOptional15 yearsEither
NPE-210A180k0.9610.1Built-inYesOptional15 yearsEither
NPE-180A150k0.978.4Built-inYesOptional15 yearsEither

Additional notes:

  • All Models above support Both Natural Gas and Propane.
  • EF/UEF: Water heater efficiency is listed as EF (Energy Factor) or UEF (Uniform Energy Factor). EF is an outdated measure and is typically 2-3 percent higher than the UEF, which was implemented in 2017 by the US Department of Energy to produce more consistent ratings across the industry.
  • Energy Star: All Navien tankless units are Energy Star compliant.
  • Low-NOx: All Navien models meet standards where reduced noxious emissions are required.
  • Residential Warranties: The warranties listed in the table are for the heat exchangers and apply to controlled circulation via an internal pump (Advanced models) or when an external pump is used (optional with Standard models). When uncontrolled/constant circulation is used, the heat exchanger warranty is 5 years. All other parts are covered by a 5-year warranty. Labor is covered for 1 year.

Navien Water Heater Features Analysis

These are premium tankless water heaters with impressive features.

All models have dual stainless steel heat exchangers to combat potential corrosion from their condensing performance. To learn more about condensing heaters and their pros and cons when compared with non-condensing, less efficient models, see that section of our Tankless Water Heater buying guide.

  • NPE-Advanced models include a recirculation pump and buffer tank, technology called ComfortFlow. It includes a timer, so that the pump isn’t recirculating and reheating water when there’s no demand. The system maintains a small amount of heated water in the tankless unit and pipe leading to designated faucets/outlets. This reduces time and wasted water when waiting for hot water. Keep in mind, though, that heating and recirculating water uses additional energy. It’s a trade off between paying for metered water that’s wasted and paying for gas to fire the unit.
  • Navien’s NaviLink is an add-on component for all models that enables WiFi for remote monitoring and control of the water heater. The WiFi control costs $200-$225 from various sellers. Brands like Rheem and Rinnai make some models with built-in WiFi.
  • All Navien models offer cascading technology. This means up to 16 units can be linked together, 8 when using a common vent, to serve large homes and commercial applications where a large volume of hot water is in high demand.
  • The Navien HotButton is an optional accessory that mounts remotely, near a bathroom for example. The button activates internal recirculation from the unit to a faucet such as a shower using a return line, so hot water is instantly available. The HotButton kit costs about $80. Expect installation to be $150-$300.
  • Navien Advanced Series units offer space heating with the H2Air Kit option. Hot water is circulated to a radiator-like heat exchange located in a furnace or air handler. The unit’s blower pulls air over the heat exchanger. The heated air is distributed through the ductwork. While innovative, this method of heating is not as cost-effective as either a furnace or heat pump. Expect estimates for the equipment and installation to cost $1,500-plus.
  • Advanced Series water heaters also have an optional handheld remote that allows you to monitor and control all features including water temperature and the recirculation timer. The remote costs $75-$85 from various sellers.

How Navien Water Heaters Compare to Other Tankless Brands

Navien makes fewer models than the leading competitors like Rinnai, Takagi and Noritz, but the range of sizes provides most homeowners with a model to meet their hot water demand.

The T-H3 with its ultra-high efficiency and 199K BTU heater produces up to 11.2 GPM, one of the largest-capacity models on the market. The brand is considered a premium tankless water heater brand because all its models are condensing gas heaters with outstanding efficiency.

Having said that, about 20% of Navien tankless heaters have significant mechanical issues in the first 10 years. Leaks and failed control boards top the list. Navien’s heat exchanger warranty is 15 years, among the best, but it is essential that you hire a certified installer for the work. If you don’t, the warranty will be voided, and repairs won’t be covered from day 1.

Navien Tankless Water Heater Prices

Navien water heaters offer a good combination of performance and quality. Prices are competitive with other top brands like Rheem and Rinnai.

Here’s a table of Navien water heater prices.

Navien Models
Max GPM
Unit Cost Only
NPE-240S11.2
$1,250-$1,535
NPE-210S10.1
$1,100-$1,275
NPE-180S8.4
$1,075-$1,265
NPE-150S6.8
$1,100-$1,225
NPE-240A11.2
$1,395-$1,650
NPE-210A10.1
$1,375-$1,450
NPE-180A8.4$1,180-$1,350

The wide price ranges reflect a how various sellers price their units. Lower prices don’t include shipping; higher prices do. If you can find a seller near you and pick it up, you’ll reduce your costs. Shipping from most sellers is $50-$85.

Remember that the Advanced Series units have built-in recirculation pumps, so their cost is higher.

Navien Tankless Water Heater Installation Factors and Cost

The cost to install a tankless water heater ranges from about $575 to $1,500 based on several factors. The scope of your project will help you estimate what installation of your water heater will cost.

Factors that push Navien water heater installation cost toward the higher end of the spectrum given above are:

  • Having to install a new gas line
  • Adding a recirculation water line to any water location
  • Venting the unit, rather than outdoor installation where no vent pipes are necessary

It’s recommended that you hire a licensed installer with experience installing Navien products. Improper installation might reduce performance and efficiency, create the risk of gas or carbon monoxide leaks and could void your warranty.

If you’d like written estimates from top installers in your area, there is no obligation or cost for using Free Local Quote option. The installers are all licensed contractors with experience, and they know they are competing for the work.

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