Navien vs. Takagi Tankless Water Heaters
With so many quality tankless water heater brands on the market, it can be hard to tell them apart or see what makes them stand out. Navien and Takagi are two popular tankless water heater brands, but both have a different spin when it comes to how they perform. We’ll get you up to speed on how Naiven and Takagi compare.
After over 15 years of installing and servicing Navein and Tankless water heaters all across Los Angeles County and the surrounding areas, we’ve got a firm grasp of what defines these two brands. With our knowledge, we’ve helped Los Angeles homeowners determine which brand is right for them.
In this article, we’ll break down how Navien and Takagi stack up so you can make the best decision for your home. You can also use the following information as a jumping-off point for further research or to help you communicate more effectively with a technician.
But before we jump in, and for those heavily considering Navien for their tankless water heater of choice, check out our Navien Tankless Water Heater Guide below to get the full scoop on Navien.
Now, let’s get right into it by breaking down the categories we will cover.
Takagi vs. Navien Tankless Water Heaters: What’s the Difference?
To get a grip on how these brands are alike and how they differ, we need to address what we’re looking at today. The following comparison will cover these categories:
- Parts availability
Technology typically makes people think of cell phones or smart gadgets, but tankless water heater technology is defined a bit differently. For our purposes, we’re going to look at each brand’s heat exchangers and how these companies have made strides to innovate.
Navien is credited with developing the first stainless steel tankless water heater heat exchanger. Stainless steel heat exchangers are much more corrosion-resistant than copper ones and can last up to 25 years, compared to the copper average of 15 to 20. This advancement was a significant stride for the tankless water heater industry, with other industry leaders like Noritz following suit.
Takagi predominantly features copper-core primary heat exchangers, which have their own merits. Copper is about 25 times more efficient in heat transfer, so it isn’t to say copper is DOA now. Still, the longevity and anti-corrosive qualities of stainless steel heat exchangers make them preferable, which is why the included secondary heat exchanger is stainless in some high-efficiency models.
Looking at other key features, Navien also led the charge on built-in recirculation pumps. Before this innovation, recirculation pumps were sold as add-ons during installation. Takagi also offers models with integrated recirculation pumps, so the company is keeping pace with other top brands in the space.
Talking about technology on its own is really only half of the picture. Another key area that is sometimes informed by technology is efficiency. And in Los Angeles, efficiency is crucial, thanks to increasingly stringent standards around gas-fired appliances.
Efficiency should be top of mind when thinking about monthly bills, environmental impact, and getting a return on your investment. While Takagi has high-efficiency models, Navien enjoys a small lead.
Navien’s top models feature up to 98% efficiency, while Takagi trails behind by 3% at 95%. However, Takagi isn’t the only brand to run behind Navien in efficiency. Noritz also trails by 2% in this category. Typically, this isn’t enough to sway a homeowner’s decision on its own, but when combined with the lack of a primary stainless steel heat exchanger, some people might have reservations.
While high efficiency sounds ideal, it can also come at a higher cost. Let’s take a look at how Takagi makes up for its perceived shortcomings in the next section.
Price is where Takagi and Navien diverge slightly. A Takagi tankless water heater will run you between $800 to $1,800 for the unit alone. On the Navien side, you can expect to invest between $1,200 and $2,300. Both brands will end up costing similarly after installation, though.
Typically, these tankless water heaters require a total investment of between $4,700 and $8,300 with installation. This price range reflects factors like additional piping, recirculation pumps, and premium or basic installation options, depending on the installer, among other things.
While installing a tankless water heater requires an initial investment, Navien and Takagi do their part in protecting that investment.
Here is where things get a bit more neck and neck. Navien and Takagi both feature 15-year warranties. For reference, 12 years is seen as a standard term, while a 15-year warranty is above average. Navien pioneered the 15-year warranty, but Takagi has since risen to the occasion, while brands like Noritz have crushed it with a 25-year term on select models.
Both Navien and Takagi stand by their products and warranties, albeit in slightly different ways. For instance, Takagi is keen on offering a full unit replacement rather than parts in certain cases. While this sounds ideal, it can actually cause an extra outlay of cash since the unit's installation is not covered under warranty.
Navien, on the other hand, is typically willing to do first-time replacements if the situation calls for it. Otherwise, Navien typically doles out parts and recommends certified technicians to do the job.
Speaking of parts, how hard are they to come by? Will you need to go through a contractor, or can you buy direct? Let’s check it out.
Navien and Takagi don’t handle parts in the same way. While one allows customers to buy direct, the other utilizes supply houses and contractors as middlemen.
With Navien, homeowners can buy parts directly from the company’s stock but only to a point. If your Navien tankless water heater is out of warranty, then you won’t be able to buy them directly. In this case, you’ll have to contact a contractor to buy from Navien’s stock.
On the other hand, Takagi only utilizes supply houses and contractors to sell tankless water heaters and parts. While this sounds like an inherent negative, many homeowners won’t be installing or working on their tankless water heater themselves and will need a contractor’s help anyway.
With these main areas of concern wrapped up, we can move on to our last topic of discussion, rebates.
California residents have access to plenty of rebate and tax credit options. In Los Angeles specifically, you can earn up to $1,000 in SoCal Gas rebates and up to a $600 tax credit. Both brands qualify for rebates.
The figures listed are the maximum rates regarding rebates and tax credits. Given the shifting landscape of gas restrictions, model eligibility is subject to change.
And with that, we’ve got a complete picture of how Takagi and Navien compare.
Leaning Toward a Takagi or Navien Tankless Water Heater?
We’ve covered the main points of interest when it comes to comparing tankless water heater brands. Now, you have a better idea of how Navien and Takagi compare so that you can kick-start your research with a bit more knowledge in your back pocket.
With over 15 years of experience in tankless water heaters, we can confidently say that both brands have their merits. But we know that each homeowner will have their preferences.
If you’re ready to get in touch about installing a tankless water heater or would like to discuss your options, contact us using one of the below buttons or our convenient online scheduler.
We know a solo comparison isn’t enough to build a full opinion; that’s why we recommend looking into other comparisons like Noritz vs. Rheem tankless water heaters and Noritz vs. Navien tankless water heaters. If you’re still unsure if a tankless water heater is right for your home, read up on whether a tankless water heater is right for you to help address your home’s needs.
If you're leaning toward Navien after reading this article, we recommend checking out our Navien Tankless Water Heater Guide so you can get top brand comparisons along with the full scope of where Navien positions itself in the industry.