There are basically only a few marine HX/Electric water heaters made.
Atwood, Force Ten (Kuumha) & Seaward's - These square water heaters look to be all made by the same company and re-badged. They all feature a stainless steel JACKET but an ALUMINUM tank! Buyer beware!
At a minimum this is cheesy and misleading. Think about it, you have steel, aluminum, stainless, brass and perhaps copper in your HX/engine/domestic water circuit. Aluminum is the LEAST noble of these metals..!!! I would not pay big bucks for these corner cutting, inferior products if you value your dollar! I have had one fail on just about every Catalina I owned..!!
Superstor - Superstor's are made by Heat Transfer Products a REAL water heater company who also sells water heaters to plumbing and heating wholesalers and to the trade under the Superstor brand name. They also private label some tanks for manufacturers of boilers & heating equipment so they can offer a matched set. The tanks are 100% 316 STAINLESS thought the HX is made of "cupronickel" which is just a coated copper coil. They have had some issues with HX's on some residential "indirect fired tanks" in the past but those issues seem to be behind them.
Isotemp/Isotherm - These tanks are very well built tanks and also made of 100% 316 STAINLESS. The HX, jacket and tank are ALL 100% stainless (no dissimilar metals other than the electric heating element). Isotemp water heaters are made in Italy and are manufactured under the Indel/Webasto umbrella. By a decent margin, and in my opinion (opinion based on 13 years spent as an independent manufacturers rep the hydronics industry selling this type of product) these are some of the best built marine electric/HX water heaters made and NO I don't yet own one but will WHEN not IF mine fails I will..
Quick - This is an interesting new Canadian made tank with a plastic or 304 stainless jacket and a 316 internal tank and HX. Don't really know much about them and distribution is limited. Quick is a decent company to deal with for windlasses and such so they would probably stand behind the product.
Torrid - This Seattle based company produces a glass lined tank with a tin plated copper HX and powder coated STEEL jacket! If you know what's good for you DO NOT buy a steel jacketed anything that will sit in a damp bilge!
Raritan - This round water heater features a rust resistant plastic jacket but a STEEL glass lined tank similar to the Torrid. Glass lined tanks don't last well in the residential world so why would they last in the marine environment? 316 Stainless will out last a steel glass lined tank every day of the week..
There are other tanks out there such as the Vetus "tank within a tank design" but the list above are the most commonly sold & used. There ARE differences in water heaters. The Superstors & Isotemps are worth the money! The "square" tanks are not...
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 11-04-2008 at 01:58 PM.