This paper describes the characteristics of horizontal mantle heat exchangers for application in thermosyphon solar water heaters. A new correlation for heat transfer in horizontal mantle heat exchangers with bottom entry and exit ports was used to predict the overall heat transfer and stratification conditions in horizontal tanks with mantle heat exchangers. The model of a mantle heat exchanger tank was combined with the thermosyphon solar collector loop model in TRNSYS to develop a model of a thermosyphon solar water heater with collector loop heat exchanger. Predictions of stratification conditions in a horizontal mantle tank are compared with transient charging tests in a laboratory test rig. Predictions of daily energy gain in solar preheaters and in systems with in-tank auxiliary boosters are compared with extensive outdoor measurements and the model is found to give reliable results for both daily and long-term performance analysis. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.