Have you ever dealt with a lousy company you vow never to hire again? Saying that it is a frustrating situation may be a huge understatement. When it comes to water heaters, the same concern is apparent. The brand that you use matters significantly.
So, what can you do to ensure you have found a trustworthy brand, and what concerns should you watch for? Here are some factors determining water heaters’ quality and why you should be informed about them.
Features To Consider
Anti-scale devices help diminish the sediment from scaling in ways that make it more challenging to clean while also working to prevent the buildup from forming.
Some water heaters will come with these easy attachments already installed for an additional cost, while others could be more difficult to install. This is a function you may want to consider, as it can help prolong your water heater’s life.
Tank vs Tankless
You must be the judge when ordering a tank vs. a tankless water heater. A tankless system has the added convenience of taking up much less space, but it costs more money and has a shorter lifespan, whereas a tank system takes up more space but has a lot of on-demand hot water ready whenever needed.
Tankless water heaters will still need maintenance, but not to the degree that a tank will have, which is an essential factor you may want to consider.
This is an elaborate process and will also be discussed in different ways, but this glass coating will help prevent corrosion on inner metal tanks in practical ways. It will be better than any polymer coatings that some water heater tanks have, as a glass line may help increase the water heater’s longevity.
This is a feature on many newer water tanks but not all. It is also a feature that will add to the costs of a water heater.
However, ordering a tank with this feature is a perk that tends to be worth the investment. It saves you money in the long term and gives you more control over your water heater and water needs while expending less energy on heating water. This is a tool to consider when purchasing a water heater.
Capacity is essential to ensure you get enough hot water for your needs.
If you do not have a big enough water heater for your needs, you will run out of hot water when it may be at the most inconvenient of times. This is where you cannot skimp without feeling the effects of your decision, potentially every day for the life of the water heater you now own.
Company Customer Service
When you have issues with your water heater, you want a company that holds to its promises, is honest and has high-quality customer service to help immediately take care of your problem. If you have ever had a water heater problem and had a poor customer service experience, you know that customer service quality is vital for your experience.
Something lost from time to time when purchasing a product is the culture behind the company or companies involved with the purchase.
While companies cannot be perfect, the culture and how they handle situations show an aspect of how good they will treat you after you purchase a very valuable piece of your home.
Company warranties are not made equally with other companies. Some will have additional costs for longer warranties, while others will have the same flat warranty no matter what, not helping much when your water heater breaks and you need it repaired. There are manufacturer warranties, home warranties, and purchase warranties that you can have and should look out for.
Best Water Heaters Brands – By Reputation & Quality
There are dozens of different water heater brands. Many do not have much information about them or their products; typically, only the top companies will have sites showing transparency on all fronts with pricing, customer service, warranties, etc.
The more transparent a company is and the greater its efforts to communicate with customers, the better they are overall at understanding its customers and meeting their needs.
Top Tier – Name Brands Most Know
AO Smith is one of the top brands for a reason: clarity for the customer and customer service-oriented business. They have products that range for just about every water heater setup you want.
Their top products and best-sellers are their gas water heaters because of the tax rebates you can get for the energy star efficiency from them.
Rheem is one of the top-tier brands: it has been around for almost a century and has much to offer the customer. The company is based on a customer-first approach, and they continuously add leading innovation to their products. With that, Rheem has one of the best and most extensive selections for different types of water heaters.
Rheem’s best sellers are their gas tank water heaters and tankless water heaters, too, since they are more affordable than some of the other companies that solely sell tankless water heaters.
This company has all of its manufacturing and production based in the USA. Along with that, they sell only to authorized wholesalers and representatives. Bradford White is still a good brand and has many water heaters options in its product line.
Their product line will have higher prices than most competitors due to the innovation and patented technology that helps prolong water heaters’ lives when paired with proper maintenance. Their overall best seller is their gas water heaters. This is because of the glass lining for corrosion protection that they have.
This is another noteworthy company that has been around for over a century and has produced quality water heaters that tend to be higher priced than other competitors. They have a product line for most types of water heaters except solar water heater models, and they have many commercial and residential options for those needing bigger tanks.
They are better known for commercial water heaters than for residential, but their residential products can be just as good of quality. They are more set up with water heaters for families or companies with more significant water needs.
Kenmore is a well-respected company that has been around for over a century, which most people have heard of. This is because of the other household appliances they make and sell. As far as their water heater products go, they produce your general basic tanks such as gas and electric. However, they don’t make solar water heaters, tankless water heaters, or hybrids.
They do not have a specific high-ranked or best-seller water heater among customers, but they offer very generous warranties with six-year or 12-year warranties with their products. Kenmore knows its products are of excellent quality. They provide long-lasting warranties because their water heaters are water heaters that are made to last, and they are not shy to stand firm behind their quality products.
Middle Tier – Names You May Not Know Of That Make Water Heaters
American Water Heaters
They have only been around for 50 years, but in that time, they managed to be bought by AO Smith with how quickly they were growing.
They are geared towards smaller residential dwellings and environmentally driven, as their products are energy efficient. Their water heater products include tank, tankless, and solar. Overall, they are a liable company that families should consider for their smaller-sized water heaters needs.
Bosch is a solid company best known for its household appliances and power tools, among other tools used for home improvement. When Bosch started making water heaters, it became a niche company by focusing only on tankless water heaters. They cost more than some other brands, but they also have better warranties than many other brands for tankless water heaters.
EcoSmart has a focused concern for the environment regarding its products. They realize their products must be competitively priced for customers to be more environmentally friendly.
Ecosmart water heaters are cheaper than most competitors and more energy-efficient than many. They are considered a bestseller in large commercial home improvement stores. They only offer tankless water heaters for their product line, with a limited lifetime warranty on parts.
This is another company that AO Smith bought. AO Smith has been on an expansion, buying well-respected companies that help themselves grow and expand. Reliance has a vast product line, ranging from gas and electric tank water heaters to tankless water heaters, most of which are energy efficient.
Their warranties are not made public as much, though, so that is something to be aware of when looking into their specific models to see what kind of warranties they have.
This company has stayed within the original owner’s family since it started in 1924, originating in Germany. Their best-selling products are tankless water heaters, smaller tank units, and heat pumps.
They keep their customers in mind regarding safety, constantly trying to make their products more energy efficient than they were in the past.
Best Budget Water Heater Brands
Most of the top brands in water heaters have figured out how to make great quality products that are also budget. Therefore, it is no surprise that they have more budget-friendly options than more niched companies that only offer specific types of water heaters.
AO Smith has some of the most budget-friendly water heaters that any company has to offer. The only company that competes with AO Smith prices will be Rheem. These two are the lowest price for the most popular water heaters in gas and electric tank water heaters.
Rheem stands toe-to-toe with AO Smith pricing regarding their electric and gas tank water heaters. For a 40-gallon water tank, both companies start their pricing at as low as $300 for the water heater. This is a price that other companies will struggle to compete with.
The lower-end 40-gallon water heaters that Reliance offers will not be on the same level of budget-friendliness that AO Smith or Rheem is, but they will not be as expensive as the highest-priced companies are with their water heaters.
The lowest price Reliance offers a $440 electric tank water heater. This is still close in price to AO Smith and Rheem, but it is not as cheap as theirs.
American Water Heaters
The tank water heaters that American Water Heaters have will be a great option for your budget overall. This is because of the 30-gallon size tank they have that is priced for under $300. While that size may not be best suited for every family or building, they have other (larger) sizes that are budget-friendly.
EcoSmart is a great budget brand for many people, especially if you want a tankless water heater. You will still have the installation costs if you need to have the alterations for your system, but you can save a lot of money with this budget brand in the long run.
The 13 kW 240V they have is almost half the cost of another budget brand in Rheem’s product line. This is the brand for you if you want a tankless water heater but need it on a budget.
Best Energy Efficient Water Heater Brands
Companies that take care of their customers and keep them in mind when creating their products will tend to have higher efficiency for their products and more energy star-rated products that can give you rebates on purchases you make from them.
The brands listed below are among the top energy-efficient brands on the market. Because these brands have been mentioned previously in the information above in further detail, this list will only briefly describe the brand.
It should be no surprise that top-tier brands are also some of the most energy-efficient. Rheem has a lot of good options for energy efficiency, but the best energy-efficient models will cost a little bit more than their budget-friendly options, unfortunately.
AO Smith’s reappearance on the energy efficiency brand list should come to no surprise, with how many companies they have bought and the updated technologies they have added to their product line.
These typically cost more than their budget-friendly prices, but the added energy efficiency is worth the extra cost in the long run. Their water heaters are still decently priced, sometimes even giving you rebates for their products.
EcoSmart is one of the best brands when it comes to energy efficiency. On top of that, they are very budget-friendly. Not many companies out there can boast high efficiency while being very affordable. The only drawback with EcoSmart is the transition and installation/alteration cost involved with moving over to a tankless water heater.
If you are looking for a standard 40-gallon-sized water heater that is energy efficient, Bradford White has the water heater for you. With investment in patented technology, they can provide safer and more energy-efficient water heaters than other brands. However, these are not Bradford White’s cheapest water heaters.
Kenmore is a brand with great energy-efficient water heaters and a wider variety of energy-efficient options than other brands have. Their products are also high-quality, which makes buying your water heater from this company worth looking into. Their price lands in the middle: not too expensive, but not the cheapest either.
Water Heater Brands to Avoid
Here are five brands that, while potentially decent products overall, may not be the best water heater brand to buy from, as they do not stack up to other brands regarding base warranties and customer satisfaction.
These companies also tend to focus on incredibly niche markets and do not have various water heaters that allow the customers more options for their water heater setups.
While not a horrible brand overall, they have a minimal amount of water heaters, and their warranties are not the best compared to other companies. Be cautious if you buy from them, as they tend to have poor customer reviews on their products.
Rinnai’s product line is decent with its energy star and energy-efficient water heaters. Still, you should know the provided warranties and how customer service treats its customers. Some stores have decided to stop carrying Rinnai products because of the company’s various issues and customer service.
Why be wary of HTP products? You should be wary of them because they are the only company with little to no good reviews about them when researching their products. Their warranties seem decent but are limited, and limited warranties are always something to be concerned about.
They do seem to stand by their warranties and give replacements when needed but overall, their products are simply not that great of quality and have been known to corrode.
Like many of the companies on this list, Navien is another company to avoid due to their lack of solid warranties and customer service. Their products are not as energy efficient as other companies or cheaper than other brands. Be wary and mindful if you choose to go with their tankless water heaters, as there are better products out there that are cheaper.
The products themselves are all very energy efficient. Still, they are wary of this brand because they do not always stand behind their warranties, nor do they continue to take care of their customers after their money has left their wallets.
If you have a malfunctioned part that needs to be replaced, there is a chance your warranty won’t cover the cost of the replacement or labor like you thought it would. A business tactic like this is a mistake that will make its customers become single-time users while also giving out bad advertising through word of mouth.
So be aware when buying a water heater from Takagi, as they tend to have a policy along the lines of “we treat you well until we have your money”, which is not a company worth the risk of investing your time with.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Brand Matter when choosing a water heater?
The brand of water heater matters when you go from the bottom to the top tier. The main reason it matters is the warranties offered and the quality of their customer service. There are few water heaters brands, so a good company with liable warranties is vital for you.
What is the Longest-Lasting Water Heater?
The longest-lasting water heater will be a well-maintained water heater, along with one with high-quality materials. This means a higher-end water heater that is well maintained can last you at least 10 years, if not close to 20 years. If you want a brand with long-lasting water heaters, go with Bradford White or Rheem.
What is the Best Brand for a Water Heater?
The brands that are the most competitive to be the top brand are Rheem, AO Smith, and Bradford White.
The best brands for water heaters are all in the top tier of water heater brands. But as far as which singular brand is the best, that depends on your perspective.
They all have their strengths and weaknesses, so one brand will not be the clear-cut, outright best in this industry.
Brands will always matter, and as a company, one lousy review where issues are not dealt with correctly can cost thousands of dollars.
And depending on the person and their influence, it can make or break your company. When searching for a water heater, it is best to find a company that will treat you like family rather than just a penny they can put in their pocket and then forget about. A company that helps to solve your problems is a company worth investing in.
The best thing about finding a tremendous customer-oriented company is that you may be able to get a good bargain while still getting a great experience.