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Rheem RTE 3 / 7 / 9 / 13 / 18 / 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater review

Rheem  has a range of electric tankless water heater products that are excellent for applications that have instant hot water needs. They are energy efficient with a versatile design that fits in most settings, without taking too much space. This makes them ideal for cozy homes with lots of tight…

Rheem RTE 3 / 7 / 9 / 13 / 18 / 27 Electric Tankless Water Heater

Controls - 9
Wattage - 9
Flow rate - 10
Certification - 10
Dimensions and weight - 10
Warranty - 9
Reliability - 8
Accessories - 8
Special features - 8
Price - 10

9.1

Final score

User Rating: 3.4 ( 2 votes)
9

small-heat-logoRheem  has a range of electric tankless water heater products that are excellent for applications that have instant hot water needs. They are energy efficient with a versatile design that fits in most settings, without taking too much space. This makes them ideal for cozy homes with lots of tight spaces. So, in the next couple of minutes, you’ll find out:

  • all features of these 6 Rheem electric water heaters
  • which one would fit your home (check out my comparison chart)
  • just how reliable these units really are, as this is one of the most debated things out there
  • where to get the biggest discount

Before I begin, I’d like to point out that Rheem is one of the top water heater producers. This RTE line is virtually one and the same with the EcoSense line (the models’ specs, manuals and design are the same). The only difference is the color of the logo.

Rheem RTE 27

This tankless unit is easy to set up and provides endless hot water throughout the house. It is also guaranteed to save you money in energy and water bill.

Specifications:

  • Weighs 12.8 pounds.
  • Energy star certification.
  • 27 kW, 240 volts.
  • 5 GPM (gallons per minute).
  • 10-year warranty (1 year for parts) – valid only if a licensed electrician installs your unit.
  • LED indicator to show status of the unit.

Pro reviews:

  • Works great if you alternate the hot water usage. For instance, avoid taking more than 2 showers simultaneously.
  • The warranty has helped many people get new units in cases where the product quits working.

Con reviews:

  • It makes light bulbs to flicker when the heater and bulbs are on (possibly local problem).
  • The heater keeps quitting on some users calling for replacements.
  • Installation requires professional installers with some houses needing additional costly electric and wiring materials.

This particular unit seems to work fine for some people, especially those with a demand of high flow rate. Rheem’s customer support does a good job at dealing with any possible issues. Best of all, this unit comes with an attractive price.

Rheem RTE 18

If looking for a point-of-use hot water unit that is efficient enough to reduce your energy bill, then this is it.

Specifications:

  • Weighs 11.8 pounds.
  • 18 kW, 240 volts.
  • Maximum 5 GPM.
  • Measures 11.2 x 11.2 x 10.5 inches.
  • Energy star certification.
  • Analog temperature control, modulates power.
  • 10-year warranty (1 year for parts) – valid only if a licensed electrician installs your unit.
  • LED indicator to show status of unit.

Pro reviews:

  • Provides households with continuous hot water.
  • People who are handy with tools find it easy to install without needing outside help (although the producer recommends you to use the services of a licensed electrician).
  • Works better for smaller households with less hot water applications.

Con reviews:

  • The wiring information provided with the package is rather hard to understand.
  • Doesn’t work very well with hard water, as it may damage the unit. A water softener is thus required.
  • The unit has low reliability.
  • Works well when one hot water application is used after another.
  • Needs professional help to install correctly and to avoid voiding the warranty.

Compared to the RTE 27, this model consumes less but doesn’t sacrifice the flow rate. If you are willing to alternate using hot water in different applications around the house, this product is for  you. Smaller households find it to be the ideal product. And it is on sale at the moment!

Rheem RTE 13

This compact unit is touted as easy to install, saving people a good amount of cash in energy bills, while providing ample instant hot water for their needs.

Specifications:

  • Weighs 9.2 pounds.
  • 13 kW, 240 volts.
  • 4 GPM.
  • Measures 7.2 x 7.2 x 7.2 inches.
  • Energy star certification.
  • Analog temperature control, modulates power.
  • 10-year warranty (1 year for parts) – As in the case of the above heaters, this is valid only if a licensed electrician installs your unit.
  • LED indicator to show status of unit.

Pro reviews:

  • Works fine for smaller households or commercial settings.
  • The price is great when compared to the benefits.

Con reviews:

  • The water pressure has to be constant to avoid water turning on and off.
  • People with little knowledge about electrical units will have trouble purchasing this due to the power requirements it comes with which can affect usage.

IMO, RTE 18 still seems to come out the winner when compared to this model. Although many people complained about the malfunctioning, many more praise its benefits. It all seems to vary from user to user, depending on the power status of the house and the amount of hot water required. The price is however, unbeatable for a unit of this size.

Rheem RTE 9

Easy to instal, and provides almost instant hot water: wait for around 10 seconds after putting this unit on, than you will start to feel the temperature of the water changing towards your settings.

Specifications:

  • Weighs 7.8 pounds.
  • 9 kW, 240 volts.
  • 3 GPM.
  • Measures 7.2 x 7.2 x 10 inches.
  • Energy star certification.
  • Analog temperature control, modulates power.
  • 10-year warranty (1 year for parts) – valid if installed by a licensed electrician.
  • LED indicator to show status of unit.

Pro reviews:

  • Works well, especially for smaller households and commercial settings. Avoid using more showers/sinks simultaneously.
  • Works well when you learn to regulate the flow of water on faucets.

Con reviews:

  • The unit starts to leak after a while from the heating chamber (could be a local problem).
  • It has a hard time keeping up with the hot water flow (may require a bigger unit).

This is a better option when compared to RTE 13, if you are willing to let go of the 1 GPM difference. The price is virtually the same, but you’ll save on the electric bills. This unit needs a little getting used to, especially for people coming from storing hot water in tanks. People with experience doing electrical installations and plumbing will not need to spend extra cash on installation, making it a worthy buy.

Rheem RTE 7

This unit is smaller than the others, which means it is perfect for settings that have a low demand for hot water.

Specifications:

  • Weighs 6.2 pounds.
  • 7 kW, 240 volts.
  • 2.5 GPM.
  • Measures 5.4 x 5.4 x 10.2 inches.
  • Energy star certification.
  • Analog temperature control, modulates power.
  • 10-year warranty (1 year for parts) – valid if installed by a licensed electrician.
  • LED indicator to show status of unit.

Pro reviews:

  • Works well for small showers or sinks.
  • Perfect for people in warmer climates.

Con reviews:

  • Doesn’t reach the specified 2.5 gallons of water a minute.
  • Doesn’t heat the water past lukewarm.

Rheem designed this for areas that require lower amounts of hot water. Comparing it with the RTE 3, this model looks to be the better option. It does have however, some reliability issues. Price is almost the same as with the RTE 9 and RTE 13.

Rheem RTE 3

Areas that require hot water in small doses will find this model to be perfect as it was designed specifically to tackle such needs. It is ideal for RVs and remote point-of-use places.

Specifications:

  • Weighs 6.2 pounds.
  • 3 kW, 110 volts.
  • 1.5 GPM.
  • Measures 5.4 x 5.4 x 10.2 inches.
  • Energy star certification.
  • Analog temperature control, modulates power.
  • 10-year warranty (1 year for parts) – valid if installed by a licensed electrician.
  • LED indicator to show status of unit.

Pro reviews

  • Works for smaller households and warmer climates.

Con reviews

  • It barely makes water warm for small sinks.
  • Does not work as purported.

When compared to the RTE 7 which is almost the same size, RTE 3 flops. Generally, users seem to have bad experiences with this product as it does not rise up to the occasion when required, and the price is almost the as as for the RTE 13.

Conclusion

small-heat-logoAlthough the concept of electric tankless water heater is great, it also has to be functional. Overall, Rheem did a good job with some of their RTE models, but they still have to perfect their craft. Here’s my final comparison chart:

Model RTE 27 RTE 18 RTE 13 RTE 9 RTE 7 RTE 3
Rating 91/100 91/100 85/100 75/100 70/100 70/100
Price $1,486.28 $299.00 $329.99 - $570.42 $195.00

Any thoughts on Rheem’s RTE line? Own one and want to share your experience? Please add your feedback using the form bellow.

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