Rinnai is one of the best tankless water heater brands on the market. Rinnai tankless water heaters provide numerous benefits that may improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your house.
Rinnai tankless water heaters are a popular alternative to large tank heaters among both homeowners and technicians.
This article will provide you with the knowledge you need to determine if installing a Rinnai tankless water heater system is the best choice for your house.
What Is Rinnai?
The Rinnai Corporation is a Japanese multinational corporation headquartered in Nagoya, Japan, that produces home-comfort appliances, such as energy-efficient natural gas and propane tankless water heaters, condensing tankless water heaters, home heating systems, gas and electric burners, range hoods, and a wide selection of residential and commercial appliances.
In 1920, Kanekichi Hayashi and Hidejiro Naito cofounded Rinnai & Co. Hidejiro claimed that his inspiration stemmed from the blue flames emitted by an imported oil-burning Imagawayaki cooking burner. Using this specific stove as a model, Hidejiro went on to design a petroleum-fueled stove.
Hidejiro quit his employment at Nagoya Gas (now Toho Gas Co., Ltd.) in 1920 to form Rinnai & Co. with Kanekichi, a childhood buddy with whom he had shared a dormitory. The company’s name was derived from characters in the last names of the two founders, “Rin” (another way of reading “Hayashi”) and “Nai” (from “Naito”). Rinnai & Co. was renamed Rinnai Corporation in 1971.
Rinnai is now one of the most coveted brands in the water heater market, with 29 global branches, over 10,000 consolidated employees, and net sales of over $2.5 billion. It upholds high standards and focuses on quality and innovation in its large assortment of natural gas tankless water heaters.
The Best Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters
Rinnai’s wide range of tankless water heaters is split into the following efficiency categories:
- High efficiency (HE)
- High efficiency plus (HE+)
- Super high efficiency (SE)
- Super high efficiency plus (SE+)
Let’s have a look at models from each category and find out how they differ from one another and the general competition.
Rinnai High Efficiency (HE) Tankless Water Heaters
The HE series is the most affordable tankless water heater offered by Rinnai. This series consists of the V line of non-condensing tankless heaters.
The V-line has a further four model categories, namely the V53, V65, V75, and the V94. The V53 is the least expensive 5.3 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) flow-rate model, while the V94 is the top of the range 9.8 GPM model. All these models have similar features, with the main differences being the flow rate, yearly energy costs, and the number of fixtures they can serve simultaneously. For the sake of thoroughness, I’ve reviewed the two most popular models in the V-line series, the V53 and the V94.
Rinnai HE V53 tankless water heater
The V53 tankless water heater is available in two varieties, the V53DeP (propane) and the V53 DeN (natural gas). Rinnai’s V53 tankless water heater is the ideal blend of efficiency, comfort, and affordability. It’s compact, easy to install, dependable, and ideal for small- to medium-sized houses or apartments.
Here’s a full list of this model’s salient features:
- This tankless water heater can heat up to 5.3 GPM at a 35°F temperature rise, which is sufficient for a home with one or two bathrooms.
- You will enjoy clean, continuous hot water at a steady, pre-set temperature while conserving energy and valuable floor space.
- This Rinnai tankless water heater has a maximum gas input of 120,000 BTU.
- Both indoor and outdoor models are GSA approved.
- The propane model has an estimated yearly energy cost of $361, while the natural gas model has an annual energy cost of $149.
- Rinnai’s tankless water heaters meet California and Texas NOx emissions standards.
- It has an energy-efficiency rating factor of 0.82 and a uniform energy factor of 0.81.
- This tankless water heater has a temperature range of 115°F to 140°F and an activation rate of 0.6 GPM.
- With the addition of an optional $191 Rinnai Control-R WiFi Module, this tankless water heater will turn into a programmable smart device that can be integrated with home automation systems such as Alexa, Google Home, and Samsung’s SmartThings.
- This tankless water heater comes with a 10-year, 5-year, and 1-year residential factory warranty on the heat exchanger, labor, and parts, respectively.
- Both V53 models are available at a retail price of around $620 (not including installation costs).
It’s also important to mention that Rinnai tankless water heaters are eligible for a federal tax credit. However, this only applies to water heaters with a uniform energy factor of 0.82, which the V53 does not have.
Despite the lack of tax rebates, the V53DeP and V53DeN will supply hot water efficiently and continuously to a family of four or urban apartments where space is at a premium. If you need a compact and energy efficient water heater model, visit the Rinnai website today.
Rinnai HE V94 tankless water heater
The V94 tankless water heater is the best in the V-series of tankless water heaters. This unit has five distinct varieties. There are two propane models (V94XiP and V94eP) and three natural gas models (the V94XiN, V94iN, and the V94eN). The vowels in the classification denote the indoor and outdoor models, with the “e” being the outdoor model and the “i” the indoor model.
Designations aside, the V94 is one of the best non-condensing tankless water heaters on the market today. Some of the prominent features in this model category include the following:
- It is high altitude approved. This Rinnai tankless water heater can be used at elevations of up to 10,200 ft.
- This unit features a unique circular ventilation system with an inner tube for exhaust and an outer tube to draw in fresh air from the outside. The result is a sealed, direct-vent combustion system that provides optimal safety and efficiency.
- The ultra low NOx burner has a maximum capacity of 199,000 BTU and a minimum of 10,300 BTU.
- This small-size tankless water heater has a temperature range of 98°F to 140°F and an activation rate of 0.4 GPM. There’s also a temperature lock that prevents accidental changes to the water temperature.
- The unit’s enhanced scale detection system reduces the likelihood of severe, long-term damage.
- The V94 models have a uniform energy factor of 0.81.
- This tankless water heater has a 10-year heat exchanger warranty, 5-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty for domestic installations.
- Other optional extras include the Control-R WiFi module, scale cutter, recess box and pipe covers.
- The V94 models are available for sale at a price range of between $997 and $1,356.
However, all that glitters isn’t gold, and this holds true for the V series of non-condensing water heaters. There have been a couple of negative user comments that I came across. One user who installed an indoor unit in their garage complained that the unit was not compatible with the common GFCI circuit used in most garages.
They had to install a new electric line from their electrical box to the install location. Other customers complained about receiving defective units, and it took a long time to have their units replaced. But these are isolated incidents; most users had generally positive comments about the units they received.
The V94 tankless water heaters are well suited for new residential building projects where homeowners want better energy efficiency without sacrificing comfort or convenience. By going tankless, consumers may save electricity while enjoying an unlimited supply of hot water. If those features sound like what you need, check out the website for more info.
Rinnai High Efficiency (HE+) Tankless Water Heaters
This efficiency class includes the RL and RLX model lines. One of the major distinguishing features between the HE and the HE+ series is that the latter employs Rinnai’s Circ-Logic recirculation pump technology. This mechanism determines when the pump may be turned on (based on time intervals and current water temperature). The water heater then either ignores or accepts the recirculation accessory’s request. What this implies is that you can have hot water on demand at any given time of the day.
The RL model line has two distinct varieties, the RL75 and the RL94, with both of these variants being split into indoor and outdoor models. The RLX model line only has one variety, the RLX94i.
These Rinnai tankless water heaters all have the following common attributes:
- They use common recirculation accessories, including a wall mounted motion sensor that operates the recirculation system with the detection of motion, a push-button to activate the recirculation process, and a temperature sensor.
- The optional Control-R Wi-Fi module can also be fitted on any of the HE+ models.
- The top of the range RL94 and RLX94i models have a maximum temperature range of 98°F–140° and a minimum activation rate of 0.4 GPM.
- All models have a uniform energy factor of 0.81, except for the RLX94i, which due to its ultra low NOx burner, has a uniform energy factor of 0.82.
- These non-condensing Rinnai tankless water heaters have a maximum output of 180,000–199,000 BTU.
- All models are mobile-home certified.
- The RL75 gas tankless water heater has a maximum flow rate of 7.5 GPM while the RL94 and RLX94i models have a maximum flow rate of 9.8 GPM.
- All HE+ series models have a limited 12-year warranty on the heat exchanger, a 5-year warranty on parts, and a 1-year labor warranty.
- These tankless heaters are available at major retail stores at a price range of $1,250 to $2,000.
As with the V series, the RL and RLX series also have their fair share of drawbacks. For instance, one user who bought the RLX94i claims that their unit had gas flow issues right from the start. They contacted Rinnai for a replacement part, but the manufacturer wouldn’t sell it to them due to liability issues. Another user claimed that their unit lasted for three years until their heat exchanger failed and it took too long to get the replacement parts.
However, these are just a few incidents that I came across. Most customers gave glowing reviews of the units they received.
If you need a high flow rate and reliable tankless water heater that will provide continuous hot water to all fixtures in your home without any interruptions, check out the Rinnai High Efficiency (HE+) tankless water heater series today.
Rinnai Super High Efficiency (SE) Tankless Water Heaters
The RUS and RUCS models are part of the Super High Efficiency (SE) series. These two model lines, which are part of Rinnai’s luxury series of condensing water heaters, deliver a sleek, contemporary design as well as a variety of features and advantages to fulfill the hot water needs of larger households.
Two natural gas (RUCS65iN and RUCS65iP) and two propane gas types (RUCS75iN and RUCS75iP) are available in the RUCS SE line of tankless water heaters. The “65” models support 2–3 fixtures, while the “75” models support 2–4 fixtures.
Similarly, the RUS SE model lines have two gas units (RUS65eN and RUS65eP) and two propane units (RUS75eN and RUS75eP).
These models share the following features:
- All the RUS65 and RUCS65 models have a maximum output of 130,000 BTU, while the RUS75 and RUCS75 models have a maximum output of 160,000 BTU.
- All Rinnai SE tankless heaters have a temperature range of 120°F–140°F.
- Every condensing tankless water heater in this class has a minimum activation rate of 0.4 GPM.
- These models are twice as durable as most storage tank water heaters.
- They feature an electronic water flow control sensor and a fixed by-pass control.
- The RUCS models feature Rinnai’s Smart-Circ intelligent recirculation system which learns your hot water usage patterns over a seven-day period and schedules pump and tankless recirculation patterns accordingly.
- The space-saving design saves energy because they only heat water when they need to.
- You can also install the Control-R WiFi module, which turns your Rinnai SE hot water heater into a smart water heater.
- This model series is available with a 12-year heat exchanger warranty, a 5-year parts warranty, and a reasonable 1-year labor warranty.
- All RUS65 and RUCS65 models have a maximum flow rate of 6.5 GPM while the RUS75 and RUCS75 models have a maximum flow rate of 7.5 GPM.
- All models are certified for mobile-home use.
- These hot water heaters are available for purchase at a price range of between $900 and $1,500.
Regardless of these interesting features, there are a few customers who expressed their discontentment with the units they received. One complained about the maximum temperature and how it wasn’t enough for their household. Rinnai assured them that the maximum temperature is set at 140°F to avoid scalding and other related injuries. There were also a few who lamented the long wait times for hot water. However, Rinnai was quick to mention that this can be due to other factors unrelated to the unit, such as the distance from the water heater and the diameter of the piping.
The Rinnai Super High Efficiency Water (SE) tankless heaters are highly efficient and incorporate innovative technologies that ensure your home gets hot water continuously and on demand.
Rinnai Sensei Super High Efficiency Plus (SE+) Tankless Water Heaters
The Sensei SE+ series are the best tankless water heaters in Rinnai’s lineup. This model series includes the RU and RUR models, with the latter being the most advanced condensing water heater to date.
The top of the line RUR model is fitted with Rinnai’s smart recirculation system, called ThermaCirc360. This proprietary innovation uses an in-built recirculation pump and a thermal bypass valve to ensure you get hot water on demand without the need for a dedicated return line.
Other features that come as standard include the built-in Control-R WiFi module, Smart-Circ recirculation technology, and Energy Star certification. Due to the efficiency rating of 0.93 UEF, the Sensei SE+ series of tankless water heaters are eligible for a federal tax credit, also known as the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit, to the tune of $400.
Other interesting features include the following:
- These Rinnai hot water heaters are available in both natural gas and propane variants.
- They have a modulating gas valve with a capacity of 15,000–199,000 BTU and a flow rate that ranges from 0.26—9.8 GPM.
- All SE+ models have a low activation rate of 0.4 GPM.
- All models are highly rated for high altitude use. They can be used at altitudes of up to 10,200 ft.
- The Rinnai SE+ series provides freeze protection up to -4°F (for outdoor units) or -22°F (for indoor units).
- These units include a standard LCD digital controller for monitoring and calibrating the hot water to the desired temperature.
- Sensei SE+ has the most flexible venting in the business. The SE+ can handle any installation that demands concentric, direct, room air, or common venting.
- The corrosion-resistant properties of the stainless steel heat exchanger ensure reliable and long-lasting operation.
- The fiber mesh premix burner in the Rinnai SE+ series water heaters ensures a uniform flame dispersion for best efficiency and performance.
- The SE+ water heaters have an adjustable mounting plate and a rotating pressure release valve to enable a wide range of installation configurations.
- These water heaters are available with a 15-year warranty on the heat exchanger, a 5-year parts warranty, and a 1-year residential labor warranty.
- The RUR and RU models are available at select stores at a price range of $1,700–$2,500.
These top-of-the-range water heaters are not entirely devoid of problems. Like the SE series, some customers complained about the hot water wait times, with some claiming that they had to wait in excess of 120 seconds to get hot water. Rinnai still maintains that this could be an installation issue and advised them to find a licensed plumber to handle the installation.
The Bottom Line
From these reviews, you can see that there is a Rinnai tankless water heater for households of all sizes. They may not be the cheapest options out there, but to me, that’s a good thing! I believe that if you want something to be reliable and last a long time, you have to spend a few extra bucks.
You truly are getting your money’s worth in terms of performance, efficiency, and durability.
These water heaters include a number of outstanding features that most conventional water heaters lack. This includes wireless remote monitoring and control, water recirculation technology without the need for a dedicated return line, low carbon emissions, and industry leading warranty coverage.
If you are in the market for a tankless water heater that won’t let you down, it’s time you got a Rinnai tankless water heater. They offer the best performance on the market.
Are you concerned about the durability of your new water heater? Consider reading my post “How Long Do Water Heaters Last?” to see what warning signs to check for before replacing your water heater.
Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters Review Methodology
This section describes the steps I used to review the best Rinnai tankless water heaters.
Step 1: A list of all Rinnai water heaters
I began my investigation by compiling a list of the most popular Rinnai tankless water heaters sold in North America. This necessitated hours of browsing websites such as Amazon, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco to determine which Rinnai tankless water heater is most preferred by customers.
Step 2: Online reviews
The next step was to examine customer feedback on major review sites, such as the Better Business Bureau, TrustPilot, Google Business, and Amazon Reviews. It was critical to gather consumer opinions so that I could establish if the advantages claimed by the manufacturer were truly appreciated by consumers.
Step 3: Product analysis
For this next step, I developed a list of all the essential qualities I would anticipate from a tankless water heater. I had to compare Rinnai gas and liquid propane units with electric tankless water heaters and other storage tank models in order to review them more accurately. Here is the list of all the features I was looking for (including the important questions I needed to find answers to):
- What is the difference between a gas tankless water heater and an electric tankless heater?
- What is the difference between a tank water heater and a tankless unit?
- What innovative technologies are incorporated into Rinnai tankless units and how do these innovations compare to the competition?
- How much hot water (in gallons per minute) does each Rinnai hot water heater produce at maximum output?
- How energy efficient are Rinnai water heaters and how much money (in energy costs) will a customer save after one year of use?
- How does the Rinnai product warranty differ from other brands?
I used this questionnaire as a review guide to gain more authority on this subject.
Step 4: Interviews with real customers
Next, I had to speak with actual consumers who had firsthand experience with Rinnai water heaters. Therefore, I contacted a few buddies and organized a door-to-door study within a 30-mile radius of our location. In addition, I contacted a few professional plumbers to inquire about their experiences with Rinnai tankless units. I also conducted an online survey on Facebook and Twitter to increase my reach. After five days of laborious research, I had enough information.
Step 5: Getting in touch with Rinnai
I had to contact Rinnai to press them for answers to some of the few negative customer comments they had received on the online review sites I had checked out. This enabled me to observe how they interacted with their customers and how their customer service staff performed under undue pressure.
Step 6: Test drives
I then requested Rinnai to send me several to evaluate. I wasn’t certain of their response, but I figured it was worth a shot. Surprisingly, Rinnai responded almost immediately and sent over all their tankless units. Therefore, I hired a warehouse, rented two water bowsers, and began putting each brand of water heater to the test.
From a small company created by a man obsessed with pressurized oil cooking stoves, the Rinnai Corporation has grown to be a household name in the home comfort sector.
Rinnai tankless propane and gas water heaters are the best on the market. Some of the innovative technologies included in its high-efficiency water heaters include Therma-Circ360 recirculation technology that ensures you get hot water on demand, Smart-Circ intelligent recirculation system that learns your hot water usage patterns and adjusts the recirculation pump accordingly, and the Control-R Wifi Module that allows you to monitor and adjust your water heater remotely.
Add in the long warranty service period and the federal tax rebate you get with some models, and you have a highly efficient water heater with guaranteed performance. Visit the Rinnai website today to choose a water heater that will suit your household needs.
If you’d like to know what the competition has to offer, check out my review of the best tankless water heater.
If you’re looking for reviews on water heaters from various other brands, our comprehensive collection of water heater reviews covers a wide range of options available on the market. These reviews provide detailed information and insights to help you make an informed decision.