Best Water Heater Brands Compared

Are you on the hunt for a new gas water heater? Or is your current water heater in need of repair? 

Natural gas remains one of the most popular energy sources in the United States, thanks to both it’s efficiency and relatively low cost. This is also why many people continue to rely on gas water heaters to meet their residential hot water demands. 

But which gas water heater brand is the most reliable? Since hot water heaters are such an important appliance in the modern home, this question is worth some inspection. 

1. Rheem Water Heaters

Headquarted in Atlanta, Rheem is a commercial company offering a wide range of heating and cooling products including air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps. Notably, they are currently the largest manufacturer of water heaters in North America. 

Founded in 1925, the Rheem brand has been around since the beginning and largely enjoy continued success due to their forward thinking orientation, which has led to continued innovation. Some of their most popular water heater product lines include EcoSmart, Rheem, Ruud and Richmond. 

Today, Rheem probably offers the most comprehensive range of water heaters. Their lines include both storage heaters and tankless water heaters, as well as on-demand electrical variations. 

2. A.O.Smith Water Heaters

The A.O. Smith Corporation is another private company that leads the way when it comes to the production of up-to-date and innovative water heaters and boilers. Today, they are the biggest manufacturer of water heaters and spread their activities across 24 different global locations. 

A.O. Smith was founded in 1874 by Charles Jeremiah Smith in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where it’s headquarters can still be found today. In the distant past, A.O. Smith was involved in the production of military equipment, but today they exclusively manufacturer water heating appliances. 

In recent decades, the company has enjoyed a fantastic reputation and in 2015 was awarded the most used and top quality brand among Water Heater brands by the Builder magazine.

Their other brands include GSW, John Wood, State Water Heaters and American Water Heaters. The company offers a wide range of heating products including on-demand water heaters, storage heaters, solar water heaters and even skid systems. 

3. Ecco Temp Water Heaters

Eccotemp is a family company based in South Carolina that was founded back in 2004 and so in comparison it’s a relatively new brand. 

The company specialises in the production of energy efficient water heating systems with a focus on eco-friendliness. As a result, many of their products try attempt to minimise water wastage and increase durability to provide their products with maximum longevity. 

The company only offers tankless water heaters and so their systems may not be appropriate for everyone, in particular those looking for a storage heater. Still, their product range has a solid reputation and they are a company that is recognized for their excellent customer service. 

4. Rinnai Water Heaters

Rinnai was founded in 1920 by Japanese businessmen idejiro Naito and Kanekichi Hayashi. Today, the company has a relatively large presence in North America and in over 86 counties worldwide. Their North American office is located in Nevada. 

The company began manufacturing water heaters back in 1964 and today millions of people choose to produce hot water in their homes using their products. Riannai’s product range includes tankless water heaters and storage heaters, which overall enjoy a five star reputation. 

Riannai also re-brands their products with notable names including both Bradford White and GE. The company has also received a lot of praise for the energy star certification of their gas tankless water heaters, which makes them recommended as an energy efficient option for residential development.  

5. Bosch Water Heater

Bosch a German engineering company that is headquartered in Stuttgart. Founded by Robert Bosch in 1886, this company is over 130 years old! Today the company is world renowned for their high quality and wide ranging product lines that include everything from power tools and car parts to electronics and water heating systems. 

In terms of water heating, Bosch are most well known for their tankless water heating products. All of which are highly respected for their superior German engineering, design and reliability, hence why they provide one of the best warranties in the industry. Read our in-depth articles about Bosch brand tankless water heaters.

6. Takagi Water Heater

Takagi has been manufacturing heaters since 1952 and over 60 years experience in the heating industry. Every decade Takagi has continued to innovate and progress their products and were the very first company to offer tankless water heaters to the North American market.

Takagi aren’t just a brand that jumps on the “innovation” band wagon, they are a company that actually believes in progress.

How so?  They were one of the very first companies to manufacturer tankless water heaters and one of the first companies to achieve a thermal efficiency rating of up to 95%. They were also one of the first companies to provide units equipped with the necessary technology to allow direct-vent installation. 

Today, Takagi enjoy a good reputation for their products and high quality customer services. Many of their products come with a very nice 15-year warranty on the heat exchangers and a 5 year parts warranty. 

7. Bradford White Water Heaters

Bradford White is yet another esteemed North American brand that hold an excellent reputation in the heating industry. They are perhaps most notable for their decision to manufacturer all of their water heaters in the USA. 

Founded in 1881, Bradford White has been in the industry for some time and has built a reputation for high performance engineering and excellent customer care. Their products are mainly focused on water heaters and include everything from tankless water heaters, storage water heaters, on-demand, solar and offer both electric and gas options. 

Bradford white do not sell directly to consumers and can only be sourced from independent wholesalers by professional installers. That means that if you want to opt for a Bradford White water heater you must get it installed by a qualified individual.

However, in return they do offer a hefty 10 year warranty, which is not very common by any means, with most brands providing a 5 year warranty on average. 

Bradford White water heaters also have an excellent safety track record due to their Eco-Defender Safety System, which results in lower NOx emissions than many competitor brands.

The interior of the tanks are also lined with enamel to prevent rust and to help increase the lifespan of the unit. The only major downside of Bradford White water heaters is their higher price, but it is certainly well worth it for those who have the budget.  

8. Whirlpool Water Heaters

Whirlpool is another American brand that is headquarted in Michigan. As well as water heaters, Whirlpool manufacture and market a wide range of domestic appliances and white goods internationally. 

In terms of water heating technology, Whirlpool is at the forefront of smart home technology. They have a range of appliances including tankless water heaters that are equipped with features that improve convenience and efficiency. This includes temperature monitoring, smart thermostat control and a reduced-energy setting. 

The brand offers a good selection of water heaters that look great and provide reliable hot water. The only downside is that their customer service is lacking when compared to competitor brands.  

9. Kenmore Water Heaters

Kenmore first began selling products in 1913 and is a legendary brand in the United States that offers a wide range of household appliances that can probably be found in almost every home. 

Kenmore appliances in general have a brilliant reputation and user experience. There water heating appliances are no different and they offer a comprehensive selection of appliances including electric and gas water heaters, as well as heat pumps and storage heaters. 

It’s worth noting that Kenmore water heating appliances are all manufactured by their parent company A.O. Smith, which were previously mentioned in this list. 

Most Kenmore water heaters are sold with a warranty ranging from 4-8 years, which is above average for most water heater brands, but still doesn’t beat Rheem or Bradford White. 

10. Richmond Water Heaters

As previously mentioned, Richmond’s parent company is Rheem, which also manufactures the Richmond water heaters. However, it’s certainly worth noting that the range of water heaters offered by Richmond do have their own unique features and selling points. 

Richmond offers both residential and commercial water heaters, including ones of the on-demand and storage variety, as well as electric and solar powered alternatives.

In particular, their range of tankless water heaters have been awarded an energy star rating for their efficiency. Other notable features include their unique EverKleen™ Self Cleaning System, which helps to reduce sediment build-up and help the unit to last longer.

The heating elements also feature he Life Guard system, which also helps to prolong the life of the heater by reducing lime scale build up and resist accidental dry-fire burn-out.

Overall, Richmond is a superb brand offering the same quality and warranty as RHeem water heaters. 

What to Look for in a Gas Water Heater

Whatever brand of water heater you decide to choose for your home, it’s worth considering some of the most important features before making a decision. 

Warranty: The warranty period is often a signal of water heater quality and durability, with those offering the longest warranty often being superior in terms of design and component quality. Therefore, ensure you opt for a brand that offers a warranty of at least 5 years, but ideally 10 years. 

Tanks with a protective liner: Water heater tanks are made from metal and have water sitting in them almost constantly, therefore, they are prone to corrosion and rust. To limit this process and increase the life-span of your water heater opt for one that has a tank lined with a protective material. Common materials used include enamel and glass. 

Drain Valves: All water heaters have a valve to drain the water, but not all are made from the same material. The most durable drain valves are made from brass, the least durable are the plastic variety. 

Digital Interface: Most modern water heaters are equipped with a digital interface that allows you to change the settings and set timers conveniently, as well as trouble shoot when something goes wrong. They are certainly an advantage in terms of efficiency and convenience and should certainly be considered. 

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