A.O. Smith Vs Rheem Water Heaters: Which Is Better?

rheem vs ao smith hot water heaters

Looking for the best water heater on the market? The names A.O. Smith and Rheem will come as top suggestions.

Both brands have been in the U.S. market for a long time, providing top-quality heaters. This is why it gets tough to choose the A.O. Smith vs Rheem water heater debate.

Both manufacturers cover different categories of water heaters, including different sizes, power sources, and tank compatibility.

For instance, if you prefer gas over an electric water heater or tank over tankless heaters, both companies cover those preferences.

So, instead of remaining confused for long, we’ll help you make an informed purchase decision.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what each brand offers and reveal their distinctions. So, read on!

A.O. Smith Vs Rheem Water Heaters: A Quick Overview

A.O. Smith and Rheem water heaters are two of the oldest products on the American market. Despite the early founding of A.O Smith Company, Rheem was the first to launch a line of water heaters.

Rheem worked on its first water heater in the early 1930s, while A.O. Smith produced its first water heater in 1939.

While both brands focus on quality products, they offer a similar range of electric, tankless, and gas heaters. Yet, they differ in features and prices.

Additionally, both manufacturers focus on innovative and smart technology in water heater production. This explains their production of solar water heaters. Generally, these innovative units tend to be pricier.

With that said, Rheem has a reputation for employing advanced technology on a wider scale in its water heaters. This might explain the presence of a price gap between both companies.

What is an A.O. Smith Water Heater?

ao smith hot water heater pros

An AO Smith water heater refers to a wide range of heaters carrying the name of this prominent American brand. This company has been on the market for over 100 years.

A.O. Smith produces lines of electric, gas, or tankless water heaters in tall or short sizes.

This company produces water heaters for both residential and commercial uses. They are well-famed due to their durability, energy efficiency, and diversity of options.

The company is famous for its wider selection of gas water heaters compared to electric units. Their natural gas heater line has, e.g., over 130 models, including liquid propane-powered units.

In comparison, their electric line offers, e.g., over 80 water heaters, including the hybrid heat pump models. This line has 5 models so far.

As for narrow-space solutions, A.O. Smith offers a range of 14 tankless electric and gas units.

These units are ideal for you if you are on the lookout for energy-efficient water heaters. Tankless water heaters heat up water on demand.

Pros of A.O. Smith Water Heater

Besides efficiency and high-quality components, A.O. Smith heaters come with lucrative features. These include warranty coverage and accommodating storage for different household needs.

A.O. Smith Warranty

A.O. Smith hot water heaters come with different warranties depending on their types and models. In general, these warranties protect your investment against manufacturing and workmanship defects.

Residential tankless gas heaters come with an extensive limited 15-year warranty on the heat exchanger, while they have a 5-year limited warranty on labor and parts.

In comparison, residential gas units come with an average of 10-year limited warranty. Still, this can vary depending on the series. For instance, models of the Proline Standard Series come with a 6-year limited warranty on the tank and parts.

Models of the ProLine XE High Efficiency Series, on the other hand, offer a 12-year warranty, which is a limited coverage too.

A.O. Smith electrical heaters have a 6-year limited coverage on their parts and tanks and a one-year warranty on labor.

For extended warranty options for specific models, you can ask an authorized local dealer or check the company’s website.

A.O. Smith Storage Capacity

A.O. Smith water heaters offer a wide range of tank capacities to suit the requirements of different households.

The average capacity of gas water tanks is between 30 and 98 gallons of water. Electric water heaters have an average capacity ranging between 2.5 and 119 gallons.

As for tankless models, they don’t offer storage capacity. However, they have GPM capacity, as they provide on-demand hot water.

The average capacity of gas models ranges between 6.6 and 10 gallons per minute, while electric models have an average ranging between 0.5 and 4.4 gallons.

What is a Rheem Water Heater?

rheem hot water heater pros

Rheem Manufacturing Company was founded in the mid-1920s. A few years later, it started its line of water heaters. As with A.O. Smith, the extensive product range includes gas, electric, and tankless heaters.

The leading brand produces an average of 140 units of different features, sizes, and capacities.

Rheem gas heater’s selection includes e.g. 50 models. This includes models operating using natural gas and liquid propane.

In comparison, the electric selection has around 60 models, including standard and hybrid water heaters.

Tankless water heating appliances selection has an average of 30 models divided into gas and electric categories.

Pros of Rheem Water Heaters

Choosing any of Rheem’s heaters comes with a range of advantages such as high-quality components, sleek finish, and innovative designs. The company also offers a diversity of capacities and warranties depending on the models.

Rheem Warranty

Typically, a specific year’s warranty period varies according to models. Generally, their gas-powered tank models have a longer year’s warranty.

For instance, their Professional Prestige Maximus series comes with a 12-year warranty, including 12 years of coverage on the parts and 3 years of coverage on labor.

Rheem Professional Classic Plus series has a 6-year warranty, with 6 years of coverage on parts and one year of coverage on labor.

In comparison, Rheem electric water heaters come with 2 periods of warranty coverage: 5 and 10 years.

The classic series has 5 years of coverage with a 5-year warranty on the tanks, and parts and a 1-year warranty on labor. The hybrid electric heaters have a 10-year warranty on their hot water tanks and parts and a one-year warranty on labor.

As for electric tankless heaters, they come with a 5-year warranty on the heat exchangers and a year warranty on parts.

Rheem Storage Capacity

Typically, the tanks’ capacities differ according to the model and type. But in general, you will find an average capacity ranging between 38 and 89 gallons of water in gas-powered models. Their Professional Prestige Maximus Gas Water Heaters come with a 50-gallon water capacity.

In comparison, hybrid electric heaters, come with an average of 50 and 80 gallons.

As for the GPM capacity of tankless heaters, they come with an average of 1.0 and 9.0 gallons per minute.

A.O. Smith Vs Rheem Water Heaters: The Comparison 

Comparing A.O Smith and Rheem Water Heaters is challenging due to the multiple similarities in products’ quality and durability. However, factors like personal preference, budget, and ease of installation play a crucial role in deciding.

Now that you have in-depth information about the products of these prominent water heater brands, it’s time to dive deeper into the comparison.

1. Reliability 

This is a very crucial factor to consider when you buy a new water heater. You want it to last for many years without showing problems like leaks or corrosion.

While both manufacturers are committed to high-quality materials and flawless finishing, consumers have reported more problems with A.O. Smith gas water heaters.

Some consumers in online forums have discussed the presence of defective gas valves or leaking tanks. Rheem’s counterparts have fewer complaints in this matter. However, the overall reliability and durability are associated with factors like proper installation, ventilation, and regular maintenance.

Keep in mind that the warranty coverage offered by both manufacturers can help you overcome many of these issues.

2. Cost Efficiency

The cost part also varies according to the size and type of the unit you’ll buy. But in general, A.O. Smith water heaters have a reputation for being a bit more affordable than Rheem’s units.

Also, the cost efficiency factor isn’t only associated with the initial purchase cost; but also, the installation and running costs.

Maintenance costs play a crucial role when you consider the cost matter. A.O. Smith water heaters tend to have a slight edge in this matter due to their relatively lower maintenance costs.

Their units have improved anode rods, which contribute to protecting the tank from corrosion. Undoubtedly, a malfunctioning tank may call for replacing the entire heater.

3. Energy Efficiency

While both manufacturers are committed to producing energy-efficient water heating units, they don’t have the same Energy Star ratings.

To avoid future surprises on your energy bills, it is important to read the energy label of your desired water heater.

While it may differ from one unit to another, A.O. Smith water heaters have better energy efficiency ratings.

In fact, the company’s heaters have the Energy Star certification, indicating they are generally more energy efficient.

Rheem on the other hand, offers a wider variety of solar and hybrid water heaters to boost their energy efficiency scale.

4. Ease of Installation

Both brands have similar offerings in this matter. They have a wide selection of tall, short, tankless, or tank heaters to suit different spaces.

In general, both brands have easy-to-install units but it is recommended to seek professional help for optimum and efficient installation.

It is important to note that many customers have stated that Rheem voids its warranty coverage if the unit was DIY installed.

5. Advanced Technology 

While both companies are keen on implementing technology on their water heaters, Rheem has a slight edge in this matter.

For instance, models of Rheem water heaters come with an option that allows you to control the unit from your smartphone.

Another innovative feature that increases the popularity of Rheem water heaters is the Guardian System. This safety option prevents accidental ignition of vapors outside the heating unit.

A.O. Smith Vs Rheem Water Heaters: Which is Better for You?

Deciding which brand has the better water heater for you depends on weighing all these factors against your family size, budget, installation space, and hot water requirements.

So, taking your time to consider everything in this A.O. Smith Vs Rheem Water Heaters comparison is highly recommended.

But in general, if you prefer cost and energy efficiency, you might find your new water heater in the A.O. Smith collection. If you are more into innovative and better-guaranteed units, Rheem water heaters might be the place to look.

Don’t let your confusion delay your decision any longer and start weighing the pros and cons of each brand today.

While you’re at it, you might want to take a look at our other blog posts to explore more insight into common water heater problems and their troubleshooting:




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