Two Rinai Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater

Rinnai Natural Gas Tankless Water Heaters

Rinnai is the number one provider of tankless water heaters in the United States.  In October, 2016 they achieved a major milestone when they celebrated the production of their two millionth unit.  

Rinnai makes some of the best natural gas fired tankless water heaters available.  If you are looking for a natural gas system then you ought to become familiar with the Rinnai product line.

Digital Timer of Rinai Tankless Water Heater

Rinnai offers many different natural gas models.  The product names are pretty confusing and it is hard to figure out the differences between the models.  Once you crack the code though the products all start making sense.

Let's take three typical models and deconstruct what the names mean.

  • V65iN: The "V" indicates this is from the Value product line.  The "65" tells you the unit will generate 6.5 gallons of hot water per minute.  The "i" tells you that this model is designed to be installed Indoors.  The "N" tells you the model runs on Natural gas.
  • RL98eN: The RL indicates that this is from the Rinaai Luxury product line.  The "98" tells you the unit will generate 9.8 gallons per minute of hot water.  The "e" tells you that the unit is designed for External (outside) installation.  The "N" shows that this model runs on Natural gas. 
  • RUR98iN: The "RUR" shows that this is the Rinnai Ultra product line with Rircirculation technology.  The "98" indicates the unit will produce 9.8 gallons of hot water per minute.  The "i" tells you that the unit is designed for Indoor installation.  The "N" tells you this model runs on Natural gas.

The back half of the model names make a lot of sense.  They tell you the capacity of the heater, whether to install it inside or outside and whether the unit runs on Natural gas (N) or Propane (P).

The front part of the name is where you need to pay attention because the features offered between the Value, Luxury and Ultra product lines are different.

  • Rinnai Value Series - The Value heaters are the least expensive models and are designed with small homes in mind.  These units are restricted to Residential use only with a top temperature setting of 140F. These units have an Energy Factor of 0.82.  The warranty covers the heat exchanger for 10 years and all other parts for 5 years.  
  • Rennai Luxury Series - The Luxury series have a sleek design that won't be an eyesore if installation requires them to be placed in a visible location. The Energy Factor for these units is the same as the Value series at 0.82.  The warranty covers the heat exchanger for 12 years and all other parts for 5 years.  The Luxury units can be utilized in Commercial applications where the top temperature can be adjusted to 160F.  The warranty drops to a 5 year coverage on the heat exchanger in commercial applications due to the higher temperatures utilized.
  • Rennai Ultra Series - The Rennai Ultra series utilizes dual heat exchangers and a condensing design feature to raise the Energy Factor to 0.95.  The warranty covers the heat exchanger for 12 years and all other parts for 5 years. The Ultra units can be utilized in Commercial applications where the top temperature can be adjusted to 185F.   The Ultras come with advanced features such as built in freeze protection and the "R" models utilize recirculation modes (pictured below) to make sure hot water is always available directly at the shower or faucet with no waiting.

The table below gives you the model number​, maximum flow rate in gallons per minute, approximate size of the unit and cost for the most popular Rinnai heaters.

Rinnai Model

GPM

Size

Cost

V65iN (Indoors)

V65eN (Outdoors)​

6.5

9 x 14 x 23

$650

V75iN (Indoors)

V75eN (Outdoors)

7.5

10 x 14 x 23

$850

RL94iN (Indoors)

RL94eN (Outdoors)

9.4

14 x 10 x 23

$1,200

RU98iN (Indoors)

RU98eN (Outdoors)

9.8

11 x 19 x 27

$1,250

RUR98iN (Indoors)

RUR98eN (Outdoors)

9.8

10 x 13 x 26

$1,700

What makes Rinnai tankless heaters different?  

Rinnai tankless heaters are extremely compact, about the size of a small suitcase, and are wall mounted.  This makes them ideal for people who are short on space.

All Rinnai heaters meet Texas and California regulations for low NOx emissions, Department of Energy efficiency requirements and are certified for installation in mobile homes.

Rinnai heaters also come with industry leading warranties of up to 12 years for the heat exchanger and ​5 years for other parts.  The warranty is slightly shorter for the "Value" heaters (V65iN, V75iN).

The Rinnai​ heaters that produce over 9 gpm of hot water are robust enough for light commercial application.  If you want to use one of these heaters in a small restaurant, etc then you will need to get an extra adapter kit that will allow your installer to raise the maximum temperature to 160F with a Luxury series or 180F with an Ultra.

What Customers Say

The feedback on Amazon for the Rennai water heaters is bipolar.  People either love these products or hate them.  The primary reasons that people left negative feedback include:

  • These units are NOT designed to save water.  The Rennai heaters require a minimum flow rate of 0.4 gpm before the heater will engage.  The primary benefit of these tankless heaters in the endless supply of hot water.  Water conservation is NOT part of the unit design.
  • Improper installation leads to sub-par performance.  Many homeowners attempt to install these themselves and do not take the time to install the properly sized gas lines.  Heating 9 gallons per minute of water to 140F requires burning a LOT of natural gas and the standard 1/2 inch gas lines are unable to deliver a sufficient supply.
Rinai Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater

Buying Advice

  • Your primary purchasing decision should be based upon the capacity of the tankless system and not on the extra features.  If you have a smaller house or mobile home the Value products are perfectly fine.
  • Spend the money to have these systems be professionally installed.  There is no point in a having premium product if it doesn't work at full capacity due to incorrect installation. 

Verdict

The Rennai natural gas tankless water heaters are among the best on the market.  If you are willing to invest in professional installation then you can buy these with confidence.

Rinnai Model

GPM

Size

Cost

V65iN (Indoors)

V65eN (Outdoors)​

6.5

9 x 14 x 23

$650

V75iN (Indoors)

V75eN (Outdoors)

7.5

10 x 14 x 23

$850

RL94iN (Indoors)

RL94eN (Outdoors)

9.4

14 x 10 x 23

$1,200

RU98iN (Indoors)

RU98eN (Outdoors)

9.8

11 x 19 x 27

$1,250

RUR98iN (Indoors)

RUR98eN (Outdoors)

9.8

10 x 13 x 26

$1,700

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