Navien vs Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters

If you want to have unlimited hot water in your home, installing a tankless water heater is indeed a convenient choice. Right now, two of the most popular brands are Navien and Rinnai. Which one is better? See the comparisons between Navien vs Rinnai tankless water heaters below to see which one is better for your home!

In this article, you can learn more about:
– The features and capabilities of each tankless water heater,
– The efficiency of Navien vs Rinnai tankless water heaters,
– The potential issues with each brand, and
– Which brand that is generally more recommended for the money.

Navien: Brand Overview
As a matter of fact, Navien was the first brand in the world that introduced condensing tankless water heater. The term “condensing” is basically a marketing term for high efficiency over 90 percent. Because of that Navien is widely considered as a trustworthy brand. Most people consider it as a high quality brand. See also: Hydronic Baseboard Heaters vs Electric.

Navien is actually a South Korean brand. The company specializes in a wide range of home equipment products, such as water heaters, boilers, and HVAC systems. Because South Korea has a similar climate as Canada and the northern part of the United States, Navien’s systems usually work very well in these places.

Navien Tankless Water Heaters
So far, Navien is making the most efficient water heater systems in the world. Navien’s products have been verified to have 97 percent efficiency. In other words, almost the entire electricity power used by the system is converted into heat for warming the water, with very minimal heat leakage. This also means that Navien’s models are very environment-friendly, as they don’t waste energy.

Navien tankless water heaters are also famous for their superior performance. Lower quality brands can only give 2 – 3 gallons of hot water per minute. Those lower quality brands will not be able to provide enough hot water when there are multiple people bathing at the same time. However, Navien’s models are much more powerful. They can deliver at least 10 gallons of hot water per minute, or more.

Navien’s heat exchangers are made of highly durable stainless steel – see the detailed specs from Navien here. The heat exchangers are warrantied for 15 years. Meanwhile, the other parts are warrantied for 5 years. Navien vs Rinnai tankless water heaters are often preferred by contractors when a home owner asks for a very efficient high-capacity system.

Navien Tankless Water Heaters: Features
Navien vs Rinnai tankless water heaters are equipped with various features and specifications to suit different needs. But the thing that really sets them apart from the competition is their superior performance. Navien tankless water heaters are ideal for clients who need a large volume of water supply constantly.

Depending on the model that you choose, you can even link multiple units together to ensure constant hot water for commercial purposes. Navien NPE-240A Premium is an example that has such feature. The installation needs venting, but the low-NOx condensing technology enables indoor and outdoor installations.

In addition, Navien allows one-person installation. The products have been optimized to allow easy installation, and they come with pretty much everything you need. The bundle usually includes the mounting and bracket system, buffer tank, 2” PC venting option, and recirculation pump.

Navien units are equipped with a digital interface. Making settings and adjustments is very easy. You only need to hit the buttons, as the interface is very intuitive. You can always change the temperature unit between Celsius and Fahrenheit as needed.

Rinnai: Brand Overview
On the other hand, Rinnai is a Japanese brand. The company is based in Nagoya, Japan. The company is famous for their home appliances, including home heaters, boilers, and tankless water heaters. Rinnai has been in the industry for years, and they have established themselves as a trusted company as well.

According to some user reviews, Rinnai’s products work very well in the southern part of the United States. However, this shouldn’t stop you from using a Rinnai system in the northern area. After all, most industry products are already optimized to be compatible with most places.

Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters
Just like Navien, Rinnai also provide a wide range of tankless water heaters. Rinnai’s systems range from 82 – 98 percent efficiency with capacities between 120,000 BTUs and 199,000 BTUs. The manufacturer claims that their 199,000-BTU high-efficiency model can give enough supply for up to 4 simultaneous showers.

However, this claim may be a little too optimistic, unless they are referring to just light showers in a warm day. When the environment is warm, the unit won’t have much problem in heating a huge amount of water. However, in a cold day, the unit will have to increase the water temperature from a significantly lower starting point, so it will take much longer to generate enough hot water.

Rinnai’s heat exchangers are warrantied for 10 – 12 years, depending on the model. The other parts are also covered for about 5 years. Rinnai tankless water heaters are usually chosen when a home owner wants to replace an existing system with a tankless water heater and an attached hydronic air handler. This is because Rinnai’s models are very compact and space-friendly.

Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters: Features
Although Rinnai is not really as efficient as Navien, Rinnai is still considered as a very good high-efficiency brand. In addition, Rinnai tankless water heaters may be even more convenient and comfortable to use because they have fast and continuous water flow. They will never give interrupted water supply or fluctuating temperatures, thanks to the Circ-Logic recirculation technology, thermal bypass valve, and built-in pump.

Rinnai’s models also have flexible venting options. You can install it on the inside wall or the outside wall. They are equipped with a digital controller. There is a scheduler function to specify the operation times through the day as needed. Finally, some Rinnai models are equipped with Wi-Fi so that you can control the unit remotely via your smartphone.

Navien vs Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters

Navien Tankless Water HeatersRinnai Tankless Water Heaters
- The most efficient, 97 percent verified efficiency- Highly efficient, 82 – 98 percent efficiency
- Very easy one-man installation- Compact size, but not as easy to install
- Huge volume output for multiple simultaneous users- Good volume output, but not for too many simultaneous users
- Heat exchangers are warrantied for 15 years- Heat exchangers are warrantied for 10 – 12 years
- Digital controller- Wi-Fi for remote connection

If you are looking for the most efficient tankless water heater, Navien is the way to go. You should also choose Navient tankless water heaters if you need easy installation or the ability to link multiple units for constantly huge output volume. Rinnai tankless water heaters are not as efficient, and they may be a little more difficult to install; but you may choose them if you really want the constant water flow or Wi-Fi.