Portable Water Heater Test: It Finally Works!

There was a delay in writing this article because the first unit Amazon sent me didn’t work. It had the EC3 fuel line blockage error a couple other people in the comments of the product’s page said they got. I thought I’d get lucky and avoid it, but I didn’t.

The cynical side of me suspects they preferentially send out the oldest stock, then replace any that are sent back with brand new units to ensure they work and don’t need to be returned again. Sitting on a shelf in a cold warehouse might do a number on a machine which combines fuel and electricity.

Anyways, this one works fantastically well. It didn’t come with a badly needed rubber O-ring, and as such the shower handle leaked all over the place until I went to Home Depot and got one, but that’s a minor complaint compared to the EC3 error. With that issue fixed, it finally does what it says on the box.

Step one is to screw in a mini propane cylinder. These little guys last for ages, but in case you wanted to use this in a cabin there’s an adaptor available so you can connect it to a full sized propane tank. Now, you might think there’s lots of little steps necessary to get hot water flowing.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. They’ve done a bang up job automating the process. Once the fuel cylinder is firmly screwed into place, you just push the power button to turn the unit on, stick the submersible pump in a source of clean water then press the pump on/off button.

Success! No error message this time. Instead, the little flame icon lights up after an audible sparking sound, presumably the automatic ignition mechanism. That’s all there is to it, by this point water was flowing and within a few seconds it was nice and hot.

Pressure is good! Water usage isn’t so rapid now that the showerhead no longer leaks. You can’t see the steam in the photo but the water was emitting steam on account of it being cold af outside. The water temp actually got almost uncomfortably hot after a minute or so.

Then again, it was also turned up as far as it would go. Better too much power than too little. The next cheaper unit below this one, according to reviews, only gets water lukewarm. I knew that wouldn’t cut it. I need my showers to be hot.

Technology is a beaut…when it works. Sometimes it needs a little TLC though. Now that this thing finally functions as promised, I’m looking forward to having the unprecedented option to take hot showers out in the middle of the wilderness, something that was off the table before.

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