Having a consistent hot water supply into your home is essential, especially in the winter, when the temperature can be uncomfortable to take showers. The great thing is that there is the best solar water heater that can supply your family with hot water. It is a unique solar device that can heat the water and save you on utility costs. With it, you just need a one-time investment and installation, and then you and your loved ones can enjoy hot water anytime.
To choose the right one, we’ve prepared a guide to compare the different solar water heaters to find on the market, each with their upsides and downsides. Later, you can make an informed decision. So, if you’re ready, let’s begin and help you select the right one among hot water heaters for you.
- Best Solar Water Heater Reviews
- 1. Duda Solar 30 Tube Water Heater Collector
- 2. Sunbank Solar 40-Gallon Solar Water Heater
- 3. Duda Solar 150-Liter Standard Passive Water Heater
- 4. GAME 4271-BB SolarPro Curve Solar Pool Heater
- 5. Duda Solar 200-Liter Water Heater
- 6. MISOL Solar Collector of Solar Hot Water Heater
- 7. SmartPool S601P SunHeater Solar Heating System
- 8. ADVANCED ELEMENTS 5 Gallon Summer Shower
- 9. The Clean Republic Solar Hot Water Tubes
- 10. Set SunSolar Energy Technologies SunQuest Solar Heater
- What Is A Solar Water Heater And Who This Is For
- How Does It Work
- What Are The Different Types Of Solar Water Heaters
- Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Solar Water Heater
- How We Picked And Tested
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Solar Water Heater Reviews
1. Duda Solar 30 Tube Water Heater Collector
- Works more efficiently in cold climates
- Excellent retention of heat
- Provides generous water flow
- Very durable and sturdy design
- Eligible for a tax rebate
- Not for chlorine-treated water
Duda Solar is one of those brands that people turn to when it comes to innovative and efficient solar energy collectors. The company’s 3-Tube Water Heater Collector happens to be one of the most trusted hot water heaters on the market today. This Duda solar water heater system comes with several innovations that make it ideal in almost all situations.
Duda designed the system so that people in cold climates will have no problems installing it in their homes. After all, they are the ones who need a continuous and consistent supply of hot water. The product has a solar energy absorption efficiency of at least 93 percent. You can go to bed feeling confident that you will wake up early in the morning of the following day to enjoy a warm shower.
The system’s 5.25 GPM flow rate is enough for a small family. It allows everyone to enjoy a warm bath or a hot coffee straight from the tap. There is no denying the quality of the solar system’s construction, either. You may think that purchasing and setting up this Duda product will cost a fortune. However, try imagining how much money you can save for the next 15 years. Plus, you also get a 30 percent rebate on your tax.
2. Sunbank Solar 40-Gallon Solar Water Heater
- Suitable for households with 1-3 members
- Sturdy and durable construction
- Reliable protection against overheating and freezing
- DIY installation
- Hassle-free maintenance
- Dependent on local water pressure
One of the things that are preventing some households from getting a rooftop solar water heater is the relative difficulty of installing the system in their homes. Not anymore. With Sunbank Solar’s 40-Gallon Solar Water Heater, any family can have a fully-functioning and highly-efficient solar energy water heater in their homes without spending a dime for its installation.
Sunbank created its water heater with DIYers in mind. The system is expensive enough that families do not need to shell out an extra just to install the system in their homes. Not only is the Sunbank very easy to set up, but it is also straightforward to maintain. You should see the system working for you for the next ten years or so.
We love the protective systems that Sunbank has integrated into the design of its product. The unit comes with a freeze protection valve and a re-circulation pump to address potential issues with freezing and overheating, respectively.
3. Duda Solar 150-Liter Standard Passive Water Heater
- Very efficient in generating solar energy
- Excellent winter resistance
- Reliable retention of heat
- Durable design and construction
- Excellent savings
- A passive system
Duda Solar makes some of the world’s most efficient solar water heating products. Its 150-liter Standard Passive Water Heater is perfect for small households in temperate zones. While this solar water heating kit also works well in houses found in tropical areas, it is most efficient when used in cold climate regions.
The passive water heater has a very reliable design that can generate savings for the modern family for up to 15 years. The water heating system has an energy efficiency rating that is many times higher than photovoltaic cells. The innovative design of the solar vacuum collectors and the integrated water tank make this system suitable for households that want an efficient and cost-saving water heating system.
The ability of the system to retain heat and never impede water flow is something that modern families would want in their solar water heaters. There should never be an instance where you must endure the discomfort of a cold shower or use other appliances to heat the water for your coffee or hot chocolate.
4. GAME 4271-BB SolarPro Curve Solar Pool Heater
- Elegant curved shape
- Foldable and adjustable legs for maximum sun exposure
- Gradual elevation of pool water temperature
- Designed specifically for Bestway and Intex swimming pools
- Easy to install
- Issues with reliability
- Not as efficient as other systems
The SolarPro Curve is a great solar heater for owners of either in-ground or above-ground swimming pools. It is a product that has an elegant styling that should further improve the aesthetics of your pool.
GAME designed the SolarPro Curve ground pools heater with ease of installation in mind. There are no complicated components to worry about. You only need to look for a place where the SolarPro can gather as much sunlight as possible. GAME also includes everything you will need to set up the system with either Intex or Bestway swimming pools.
The product’s curved surface of the ground pools heater maximizes its solar energy gathering capability. It has adjustable legs to help you position the device at its most optimum angle. The heating system allows for the more gradual elevation of the water temperature in the pool. Such a feature lets you extend your pool fun for many days.
5. Duda Solar 200-Liter Water Heater
- Efficient solar water heating
- Excellent thermal retention
- Great for hard water
- Comes as a complete set for easier installation
- Eligible for a tax rebate
- Requires basic plumbing and electrical wiring skills
- Very expensive
Households with hard water often must think twice about installing a conventional water heating system. Hard water has the tendency to cause corrosion and blockages in the collectors of open solar water systems. Duda addresses this issue with the 200-liter Water Heater Active Split System.
In our opinion, this is the top-rated solar water heater for hard water. The systems use food-grade, non-toxic propylene glycol to eliminate scaling. The same technology also prevents freezing. You can install the Duda Solar product in near-freezing environments and will still enjoy the comfort of hot water every single time. There is also no need to install an expensive water softener system.
Duda also includes everything that you will ever need to get the system up and running. There are 20 energy-efficient solar vacuum tubes, a submersible water pump, a premium-quality stainless steel water tank, and a workstation with integrated sensors.
6. MISOL Solar Collector of Solar Hot Water Heater
- Efficient water heating
- Allows for multiple applications
- Straightforward design
- Robust construction
- Good overall value
- Does not come with installation instructions
- Passive system
Most solar thermal water heater systems are expensive. Many families cannot afford such systems even though the product will pay for itself in the long run. One of the most affordable systems on the market today is this MISOL product. The Solar Collector of Solar Hot Water Heater is a straightforward product that does a decent job of heating water for primary use.
The basic design of the MISOL is simple. You have a frame that can hold ten evacuated heat tubes. The manifold has an inlet and an outlet on opposing ends. You connect one end of your water line to the channel and connect the other end of the water line to the outlet. Water gets heated as it moves through the series of tubes. Simple and efficient.
Because of the simplicity of its design, one can use the MISOL for a variety of applications. You can use it to heat your water or even as an air dryer. It can also be a great training project.
7. SmartPool S601P SunHeater Solar Heating System
- More efficient in heating pool water than other similar systems
- More aesthetic design
- Flexible mounting
- Easy to drain for winterization
- Durable construction
- No Installation instructions
- Requires installation kit
Homeowners with in-ground pools in their backyard need a reliable solar water heater panel to keep the pool water temperature as ideal as possible. Some products can ‘warm’ pool water over a few days. You need a more reliable system that can raise water temperature by a few degrees during a day. You need SmartPool’s SunHeater Solar Heating System for In-ground Pool.
The SunHeater looks a lot like photovoltaic systems because of its ultra-flexible construction. You still get the solar energy collection and retention capabilities of an evacuated tube system. What makes the SunHeater so appealing is its flexible nature. You can mount it on any surface without seriously negating the aesthetics of that surface.
There are several innovations in the SunHeater’s design. The solar collector tubes have their connections that ensure higher water flow. It also allows for more natural draining of the system in preparation for winter. The mounting and interlocking channels also add to the SunHeater’s flexibility. So do the threaded fiberglass-reinforced headers. There is also an internal baffle that maximizes the heating capabilities of the system.
8. ADVANCED ELEMENTS 5 Gallon Summer Shower
- Hot shower-quality water anywhere
- Very portable design
- Easy to use the showerhead
- Comes with a pocket for bath essentials
- Robust construction
- Quite heavy when full
ADVANCED ELEMENTS’ 5 Gallon Summer Shower is an innovative portable solar water heater. This product gives you the chance to enjoy the benefits of a refreshing warm shower wherever you are. It is the perfect solution for campers, backpackers, hikers, and other nature trippers. Having a warm bath wherever and whenever you like, it is now a breeze with the Summer Shower.
The Summer Shower looks like an ordinary tote bag with an odd design. There is a lid on the upper section of the bag where you fill it with water. The bag features a 4-ply material that includes an insulator panel and a reflector panel. There is also an integrated gauge to give you a head’s up on the water temperature.
This ADVANCED ELEMENTS product also features a pocket for holding your shampoo and soap. The mesh pocket also has a mirror to help with your grooming needs. Velcro straps can secure your washcloth. The showerhead lets you transform any place into your shower room. You can turn on and off the showerhead anytime to save water.
We do commend ADVANCED ELEMENTS’ systems use of a large-capacity bladder. Unfortunately, some people may find it challenging to hang the shower bag to a considerable height for it to be useful. Most people would fill the bag up to three-quarters only to make it easier for them to hang the Summer Shower. You can always opt for the 2.5- or the 3- gallon variant, if ever.
9. The Clean Republic Solar Hot Water Tubes
- Thermos-like heat-retention capability
- Fast water heating
- Efficient solar energy conversion rate
- Simple design
- Very durable construction
- No installation instructions
- Evacuated tubes only
The Clean Republic is one of those solar water heating companies that aim to make a name for itself by creating innovative products. The company borrows some of the principles of heat retention found in other industries to come up with its take on what an efficient solar-powered water heater should be.
If you are familiar with the basic design of a double-walled, vacuum-insulated water thermos, then you already have a basic understanding of how the Clean Republic evacuated solar tubes work. You get two walls that sandwich a vacuum. The outer wall aids in the more efficient retention of heat. The inner wall traps heat collected from the sun and heats the water in the tube. The vacuum between the outer and inner walls prevents convection heat loss.
This simple design allows the system to heat water a lot faster than other similar products. You can be enjoying a cup of piping hot coffee in a few hours, and you will not worry about your electric bill. The system is also more efficient at retaining heat. You can go to bed more confident knowing that you will still have warm water the following day.
10. Set SunSolar Energy Technologies SunQuest Solar Heater
- Can increase water temperature by as much as 10 degrees
- Allows for different methods of installation
- Promotes optimum water flow
- Great for different types of swimming pools
- Includes DIY installation kit
- A tendency to leak if not assembled correctly
If you want a reliable solar water heater kit for your swimming pool, then you must consider the SunQuest. It is a solar heater system that is ideal for both above-ground and in-ground swimming pools. It has enough technological innovations to make it one of the best in the market.
The SunQuest unique solar heating technology allows it to elevate water temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs in a matter of hours, not days. Other systems will want you to wait for 3 to 4 days before you can start enjoying a warm swim. That is not the case with the SunQuest.
Also, Set SunSolar designed the SunQuest to be very versatile in its installation. It does not limit you to installing the system on your roof. You can install it almost anywhere that you think you can best harness the energy coming from the sun.
The MAX-FLOW technology of the SunQuest is also ingenious. Most similar systems can only accommodate a modest volume of water going through their heating elements. The SunQuest can provide the full flow of water to heat your swimming pool in no time. The design also ensures more efficient water circulation.
What Is A Solar Water Heater And Who This Is For
A considerable amount of energy is used to heat water. Statistics show that about 18% of household energy is dedicated to water heating alone. It is, unfortunately, a massive chunk of the monthly bills, but heated water is a necessity. In order to reduce the energy being used in warming water, you can consider using and switching to a solar water heater.
This hot water heater is a device whose primary task is capturing sunlight so it can heat water. It is one of the most economical ways to have hot water for the whole household for hot water needs like a shower and bath.
A solar water heater comes in a wide variety of designs. It also has different types from which to choose. This system is not dependent on fossil fuels to operate and is using the energy of the sun to warm, and heat kept water. The energy coming from the sun doesn’t cost you anything, so in return, you save money from electrical utilities. It makes heated water practically for free while you enjoy the many benefits that come along with it.
Solar heaters have their own set of advantages and of course some disadvantages. Still, they are guaranteed to be competent and reliable. With smart planning and proper installation, you can surely make the most out of your solar water heater. Choosing the most ideal one for you is vital in getting the most out of solar water heaters.
Solar water heaters are for homeowners and anybody who wants to save when it comes to electrical bills while still enjoy their heated water. The benefits are worth the initial investment and the savings are guaranteed to have high returns. It is a practical purchase, and you can surely enjoy heated water for many years.
How Does It Work
By principle, a solar water heating system is utilizing the sun’s solar energy to heat water. This system is composed of the thermal panel or the solar collector, which is usually installed on the roof. There is also a tank where the heated water is stored temporarily and a circulating pump that will transport the solar energy from the collector or absorber to the reservoir and a thermal controller.
With the components of a solar water heater identified, this is how it works. The water heater absorbs the sun’s light via the collectors placed on the roof of the house. This light eventually gets converted to heat. The water heating system circulation comes into play in this part of the process as it is responsible for passing the heat to a water reservoir or tank. The exchange is activated by the thermal controller once it detects the collector being hotter than the water stored inside the container. This is a prevention mechanism when it comes to electricity usage, and this stops the system from overheating.
The efficiency of the heat collectors is at its peak during midday when there are no clouds, and the collectors are facing south. If the sunlight is insufficient, the water gets preheated, and an alternative system steps up to let the water reach the desired temperature.
What Are The Different Types Of Solar Water Heaters
The types of solar water heaters are usually categorized based on the type of collector it uses and the system’s circulation system. Here are the types of a solar water heater system based on the collector or absorbers that it is using:
- Batch Collectors – this solar device systems are also commonly referred to as Integrated Collection Storage systems. It warms the water in tubes or dark tanks that are encapsulated in a box and keeps it there until the water is drawn. Water can be stored in the container for extended periods turning it into very hot water. Usually, there is a tempering valve incorporated to avoid getting scalded when you turn on the tap by mixing cold water to even out the water temperature. Batch collectors are not recommended for cold climates.
- Flat plate collectors – this one involves using a copper tube that is fitted to flat collector plates. It is usually set in a sequence of matching cells that are linked together by two pipes. This flat plate is also inside an insulated box and is generally covered by tempered glass.
- Evacuated tube collectors – the most efficient among the collectors, this absorber uses a metal tube or a glass where water is stored and is encased in a bigger glass tube. The space in between created a vacuum that can retain the heat of the sun.
Solar water heaters can also be classified by the circulation system that it has. Here are the types when based on the flow system:
- Closed-loop – this solar device system is also referred to as indirect methods which utilize a non-freezing liquid to relocate the heat of the sun to the water via a storage tank. The sun’s thermal energy then heats the fluid inside the solar absorbers, and this continues to pass through the storage tank’s heat exchanger where the heat is transported to the water. The non-freezing water then goes through the same cycle of returning to the collectors.
- Direct – for this solar device, the circulation system pumps the water through the absorbers where it is directly warmed by the sun. The heated water is then pushed into a tank or can be used directly.
There are also solar water heaters that use electric pumps, controllers, and valves to push the water from the collector to the tank where water will be stored. In contrast, some heaters require no pumps at all.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Solar Water Heater
The positive effects of solar water heaters are considerable and a lot. Saving a lot on the electric bill is an enticing factor to get one. Being able to cut off your utility bill by at least half is a huge deal. Note, though, that the amount that you save will also rely heavily on the area that you live in. The sunnier your area is, the more you can save with the solar device.
Another advantage is you get to enjoy hot water, but at the same time, you do your share for a greener environment. With solar water heaters, pollution is reduced. If there is a reduction of traditional energy systems use, then there will also be a decrease in percentage when it comes to the release of carbon dioxide emissions. Installing solar water heaters in your home can reduce your carbon footprint by fifty percent. Aside from this, you are also helping in the conservation of non-renewable fuels.
One noteworthy advantage of solar panels for hot water heater primarily when you use it at home is it increases the overall value of your home. In cases where you’d want to sell your home, you can end up being paid back your initial investment in installing the solar water heating system. Should you not be in the path of selling your property, then you can simply enjoy getting hot water even during cloudy days.
Other perks of getting a solar water heater are it require very minimal maintenance. Perhaps annual checks will be enough for preventive measures. Still, other than that, after the system is installed, it just works effectively in the background. There are some water softeners that you can add to prevent scaling or when the calcium deposits build up in the system. You also don’t need to worry about having it replaced after less than five years because typically, a solar water heater can give you 20 years of heated water.
One of the major disadvantages of solar water heaters is its complete reliability of the sun. It requires the solar energy from the sun to function so when it is raining, or the sky is cloudy or foggy, expect it not to work as expected. To get the most out of the solar device, you must ensure that there is enough roof space to accommodate this system and that the correct angle is achieved. Weather is not something that is within your control, so you must make sure that you know how the climate works in your area to get the most out of your solar water heater.
How We Picked And Tested
If you are considering picking a solar water heater for your home, then you will need to do some research before you finally swipe that credit card or pay in cash. It is very critical to purchasing the right system for you and your home. You also must significantly assess your lifestyle, your budget, and the climate zone you are in. Here are some things that you need to consider before buying a solar-powered water heater:
- Where are you located?
The exact location of your home plays a huge buying factor. In sunny and warmer areas like Southern California, Arizona, and Florida, it is a no brainer. A solar water heater is a no brainer and the best move ever for you because you are guaranteed that you will generate vast amounts of hot water for the entire household. Unfortunately, if you live in a colder region, you might be needing a more significant solar absorber or collector. You also must take into consideration the possibility of a freezing risk on the system. For reasons like this, you’d have to consider getting a drain back tank system that can automatically monitor the water’s temperature to prevent any pipes from bursting.
- How much water do you need?
Your lifestyle and the number of people in the household will impact the effectiveness of your domestic solar water heater system. Larger families or those who have B&Bs and rental houses would need more hot water, so an active and more extensive water collector would be required. It would require a larger holding tank for heating water. If you are only a small family, then a passive system that can-do batches of producing hot water are more than enough. The daily usage and consumption will help you determine what to purchase.
- How green are you?
To go green and help with the environment, you might need some adjustments with your lifestyle too, like shortening your shower time, washing clothes in cold water only, and adjusting the temperature of your current water heater. To go environmentally friendly, you must purchase a solar water heater system that doesn’t require additional energy to function. You can opt for simpler passive systems that utilize thermodynamics to power up the circulation pump. Getting a solar-powered circulation pump is another step in totally going green.
- Is your house built for the pressure?
Before even purchasing and installing a solar water heater in your home, you must consider the pressure system of your house. A lot makes the error of getting the wrong system, and the house cannot bear the pressure from the water source. This goes hand on hand if you are planning to set up the solar water system on top of the roof or a flat environment. You must purchase a solar water system that can keep up with the water pressure of your house.
- How much is your budget?
Solar water heaters don’t need to be expensive. Setting your budget will also dictate the choices that you have. It will be helpful to go through reviews online and check with neighbors, family, and friends who already have an existing system. It would also be best to get in touch with your trusted plumber and get with your local housing code administrators to ensure that there won’t be additional costs or worst hidden costs once the installation commences.
With the self-check questions, it would help direct you in choosing the right solar water heater for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most trusted solar water heater brands?
Considering the top brands for a solar water heater is essential to ensure you’re dealing with a reputable one. A few trusted brands in the category are Duda, Sunbank, and GAME, among the rest featured in the reviews earlier.
Is a solar water heater worth it?
Yes, it is worth it because it is eco-friendly and cost-effective compared to other heaters run by fossil fuels. It also utilizes the free energy from the sun, so it does not require you to spend more on your utility cost.
Can solar water heater generate electricity?
No solar water heaters do not generate electricity. The sunlight they use is converted into heat and not energy. They have solar collectors that are made of pipes, which contain a solution to convert energy into heat before it is transferred and stored in your water tank.
Do solar water heaters work at night/ cloudy days/ winter/ rainy season?
Yes, they work on a cloudy day and under a cloudy condition when radiant heat is present to heat the water. However, it is to a much lesser extent versus on a sunny day. At night, they also work by storing the water in the insulated tanks. They collect solar radiation, and with the insulation of a container, the water stays hot at night. So, nevertheless, a solar heater works virtually on any weather because the hot water it makes is stored in the insulated tank.
How to install and use?
Generally, it depends on the system you bought. For a closed-loop solar water heater, steps can include mounting the solar collectors on your roof, installing the heat exchangers and storage tank close to a regular water heater, and installing the piping and pump to prepare them for the glycol loop, and then installing the water pipes.
Next, it involves installing the controls, filling your system, and finally insulating your water and glycol lines. For the complete guide on closed-loop solar heaters installation, check this source.
For another type of solar heaters, you can also refer to the user manual that comes with the system that you purchased.
How to care & clean?
A few care and maintenance tips include:
- Check the components of the solar heaters for damage, and these include the solar collectors and frames.
- Take note of any leaking or broken tubes that need replacement.
- Inspect the insulation pipes of the solar heaters to prevent losses and keep freeze protection for the system.
- Check the mount connectors for secure positioning. You must also repair any blemished or bent ones.
- Check that the valves are correctly positioned.
- Remove any vegetation growth that might be hindering the sunlight collection.
- Check the plumbing for any signs of corrosion and rust.
- Remove sediment by flushing the storage tank.
- Restore any disconnected temperature sensors.
- Repair any leaks.
For additional tips, you can also check the user manual of the solar heaters for specific instructions.
Where to buy?
You can buy solar heaters from different sources, such as Lowes, Walmart, Home Depot, and Amazon. Alternatively, you can buy them from online marketplaces and manufacturer websites. Check for the best deals on solar heaters and compare your options by referring to the buying guide earlier.
Nevertheless, you can find heaters available at a more affordable price than the others are. For the most part, you can buy one that is suitable for your budget. However, also not forget about the quality and durability. It will be wise to look for a heater that is available at a reasonable price and has the quality and performance that you can count on for the years to come. In this case, you must take some time and effort to weigh your options based on the top picks in the category for the best results. It will also to prevent you from the frustration of using a poorly-performing heater.
Have you picked among these solar heaters? Deciding on the right one for your needs, you and your loved ones can enjoy hot showers. You also save on the utility cost that you would have to spend on non-solar-powered heaters. Also, you can help preserve nature because this solar-powered device does not cause emissions in the environment. It is also easy to install and use and requires little to no maintenance at all.
To pick the right solar heaters, compare your options based on the features that you are looking for in this device. Refer to the buying guide on solar heaters featured earlier to help you pick what’s right for you. Finally, get started in the selection process with the top picks in the category. Buy the best solar water heater today!