What Water Heater Do Plumbers Recommend: We Examine 6 Brands

Are you looking for the most reliable water heater but aren’t sure of the features to include on your checklist? Where would you purchase the best heaters, and what are the costs? If there is someone who knows about water heaters more than anyone else, it’s a plumber. So what water heater brands do plumbers recommend?

Rheem and Bradford White are 2 of the most recommended water heater brands by plumbers. Bradford White water heaters are sold exclusively through authorized contractors and installers. There are several top-rated water heater brands on the market, including tank and tankless options. However, to identify the best brand, you should consider the needs of your family and home. 

I asked my plumber friends about water heaters, and here’s what I found out:

What Is The Most Reliable Water Heater Brand?

Selecting the most reliable water heater that meets your needs isn’t an easy thing. There are several options on the market, and you need to choose a water heater that is not only efficient but durable.

When buying a water heater, there are several considerations to keep in mind. One such consideration is the brand of the heater. 

Here are some of the water heater brands that are known for being reliable:

1. A.O. Smith

Among the most reputable companies as far as water heaters are concerned is A.O. Smith. The company was started in Wisconsin in 1874. Since then, it has focussed on delivering quality products to its reliable customers. 

However, their water heaters are sold by plumbing contractors and wholesalers only. They specialize in solar, tank-style, hybrid, and tankless water heaters. 

Even though any type of heater you buy here is reliable, A.O. Smith is reputable for its gas heaters. At the moment, they are the most efficient and reliable options available. 

Most of the company’s products have an Energy Star efficiency certification. This makes them eligible for rebates and tax credits under certain local energy-saving schemes. 

Solar-powered products are also subject to rebates and tax credits. You must go for this option if you want to save a lot of money. 

See our comparison AO Smith or Rheem: Which Water Heater Is Better.

2. Rheem

Rheem is a reputable company that was launched in 1925. The company has grown into one of the most reliable producers of water heaters on the market. 

Rheem was originally involved in developing galvanized steel drums before diversifying in key areas such as water heaters. 

In 1973, Rheem split into two, concentrating on air conditioning units and focussing on water heaters. 

Since that time, Rheem has developed a good reputation for exceptional customer service, cutting-edge innovation, and high-quality products. 

The company produced almost all water heaters, including heat pumps, tankless, solar, gas, and electric models. Their storage heater options are reputable for being reliable and having a low maintenance requirement. 

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Why Home Inspections Are Important

Rheem produces the best quality and most reliable tankless water heaters in the United States. 

See out comparison Bradford White or Rheem Water Heaters: Which Is Better?

3. Bradford White

Bradford White is another top-quality brand of water heaters. The company sells its products only through authorized wholesalers and representatives. This means that you can’t just find the products anyhow on the market.

Bradford White will offer you a warranty only if an authorized professional install your heater. This way, you stand a chance of getting a ten-year warranty, one of the best in the market. 

However, many people have hesitated to buy this product due to its high initial cost. The products are expensive compared to other reputable water heaters.

You may save money in the long run if you buy this heater due to its low maintenance and increased reliability.

Bradford White is known for developing both electric and gas water heater models. If you’re willing to pay for reliable products, this is the brand for you. 

4. State Water Heaters

State Water Heaters is a market leader producing tank and tankless electric and gas water heater models.

State Water Heater was founded in 1946, with their first manufactured electric water heater produced in 1948. Originally founded in Nashville, Tennessee, State Water Heaters is now based in Ashland City, Tennessee, with seven water heater manufacturing plants.

State Water Heaters have hundreds of distribution centers across the United States to meet the needs of their customers and partner wholesalers, contractors, and installers.

State Water Heaters are sold directly through partner contractors and installers to ensure their products are professionally installed and operate as intended.

Most State Water Heaters feature a limited 6-year or 10-year warranty on the inner tank and component parts.

5. American Standard

The American Standard is a reputable company that was launched over one century ago. The company produces several products, including faucets, sinks, bathtubs, and bathroom & kitchen-related fittings. 

The company also produces a variety of reliable and high-quality water heaters. The heaters include natural gas, heat pump, electric heaters, propane gas heaters, and tankless heaters. 

The company produces units for both residential and commercial markets. Most of their heaters are more powerful and larger and are therefore suited for commercial applications. 

However, the products are sold at a higher price than other models. If you are willing to get a superior quality heater at a higher price, the American Standard brand is the best product for you. 

The American Standard heaters have a four-year warranty. 

6. Bosch 

Bosch has been among the top engineering companies when it comes to technical innovation. The company was founded in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1886. Bosch aims to provide the industry with reliable and quality products. 

Bosch produces several products, including household appliances and power tools. The company’s water heaters are reliable and offer solid performance. 

The company specializes in developing tankless water heaters, among the most efficient products on the market. Even though the heaters aren’t cheap, their increased efficiency saves you money in the long term. You should also expect the maintenance of these products to below. 

Bosch products have some of the longest warranties you’ll ever come across. If you’re into effective performance, reliability, and quality, this is the product for you. 

What Should I Consider While Buying A Water Heater?

If you want to replace your water heater, you should always do it right. Before you settle on the water heater that you should buy, consider the following factors:

The Source of Fuel

Most residential water heaters operate using electricity or gas as their source of fuel. If your water heater uses gas, you should check whether it uses propane or natural gas. 

Water heaters that use gas come at a higher cost and need special ventilation for safety and health measures. 

However, the gas water heaters will likely offset their higher cost with a lower operating cost with time. Therefore, you should determine the source of fuel that your home uses for you to buy the proper replacement. 

Energy Efficiency

No matter the source of fuel you select, a water heater might be the third-largest consumer of energy in your home. It will therefore help if you buy a product that is energy efficient. 

Most modern water heaters are designed with a very high level of energy efficiency that meets the Federal Energy regulations. 

Here, you must check for the EF rating (Energy Factor) on a water heater before buying it. The rating shows the amount of energy lost as heat and how efficiently a heater converts energy into heat. 

Choose a water heater that has a higher energy factor since it translates into higher efficiency. 

Storage Type

Tank storage heaters are still the most popular units in the United States today. These water heaters operate by heating water and storing it. The water is then released from the top of the tank when you turn on the water outlet. 

Coldwater will always enter through the bottom of the tank to ensure that the tank is full. Since water in the tank is always heated, energy might be wasted even when the faucet isn’t on. The newer storage models are therefore more efficient and reduce energy wastage and heat loss. 

You can reduce the energy wastage by 20% to 30% if you buy tankless water heaters instead. The tankless heaters are either gas or electric-powered. 

With this option, cold water enters the piper and is heated only when needed. However, you might experience a limited flow rate with this option. 

Storage CapacityMost tank water heaters are assessed by the gallons of water that they hold. The gallon-per-minute and first-hour ratings inform you how quickly water is delivered and heated over a certain period. 

If you would like to get hot water from several sources simultaneously, you should consider at least two units to run parallel to each other. This will offer you an adequate flow rate. 

The Required Space

Another important consideration is the available space. If you have an area that can’t accommodate standard-sized water heaters, you can get alternative options. 

For instance, the short water heaters or lowboys are wider and shorter, thus holding large volumes of water while fitting in areas with limited headroom. 

You can even install short water heaters in out-of-the-way spaces, including under the cabinets and crawl spaces. 

Tankless water heaters will also take less space compared to traditional tank options.

Cost

Before buying a water heater, you should estimate its operating costs per year and compare it with the other energy-efficient models. The best heater is one that is cheaper and cost-effective in the long term. 

How Much Does It Typically Cost to Replace A Hot Water Heater?

If your water heater becomes damaged, you should move quickly to repair or fix it. In most cases, the cost of replacing a water heater is affordable. 

If you want to replace a water heater of the same size and style, you’ll incur between $500 to $1,800. Additional costs such as carpentry work and permit fees can add between $50 to $1,500 or even more. 

If you want to convert from one source of fuel to another, you’ll incur the following expenses: 

  • Gas line addition price: $275 to $825. 
  • Waterline installation costs: $350 to $1,900.
  • Adding electrical wiring fees: $550 to $2,200.

Depending on the extent and type of work, a permit can cost $100 to $1,500. For new construction, you’ll need an expansion tank which costs between $40 to $350.

There are also cases where you would like to drywall a utility closet or frame a new wall. The costs are as below: 

  • Drywall installation costs: $1,000 to $2,900.
  • Cost of framing a wall: $200 to $400.

The Best Tankless Water Heaters

For the tankless water heaters, you should only go for the best and most advanced option. Let’s go through the top products:

1. The Rinnai RUC98iN Water Heater

If you’re seeking a perfect water heater for your family, then the Rinnai RuC98iN is the best option for you. This water heater is designed to allow a flow rate of 9.8 gallons per minute.

The Rinnai RUC98iN heater employs an electronic ignition that complies with Texas NOx and California emission standards. 

It also has a 95% thermal efficiency. With this product, you can set your residential temperatures between 98 degrees to 140 degrees. For commercial purposes, the temperature could go up to 185 degrees. 

You’ll get a one-year labor warranty, 5-year parts warranty, and 12-year heat exchanger warranty if you buy this heater. 

No question, this is the best residential heater in the world at the moment. 

2. Rheem RTGH-95DVLN Water Heater

The Rheem RTG-95DVLN is an intuitive, natural gas water heater. It comes with intelligent electronic controls, low NOx emissions, and 94% energy efficiency. 

Its 9.5 gallons-per-minute rate is closer to the Rinnai product above. The product comes with clear instructions that you can follow easily. The installation process is one of the easiest on the market. 

If you settle on this heater, expect a low bill and noise level. You can also enjoy multiple hot water taps simultaneously without experiencing temperature drops. 

3. The Takagi T-KJr2-IN-NG Water Heater

Takagi offers one of the best natural gas water heaters for those interested in an environmentally-friendly option at a great price. This water heater operates at a flow rate of 6.6 gallons per minute, energy factor of 0.81 to 0.83, and 140,000. 

If you have a smaller family, this is the perfect solution for you. However, never go for this option if you live in a water-restricted area. 

However, it’s the best budget water heater on the market. 

The Best Tank Water Heater Models

Apart from the tankless water heater options, there are also tank products that you should consider. Let’s consider the top three options under this category:

1. Rheem Performance Power Vent Water Heater

This water heater uses natural gas. The heater offers an energy-efficient approach that guarantees a steady supply of hot water in your home. 

The unit is available in capacities between 40 to 75 gallons. The best thing about the heater is that it can vent to the outside either vertically or horizontally.

This water heater model is Energy Star and has a uniform energy factor rating of 0.69. 

It has an anode rod that offers protection against corrosion from any hard minerals. The tank is also lined with glass. 

If you buy this model, you’ll have a 1-year warranty, in-home labor, and a 6-year warranty on the tank. 

2. Rheem Performance Plus 50 Gallon Water Heater

This product uses electricity for operation. The tank to this model has 50 gallons which means it can serve a family of 3 to 5 people without challenges. 

It also delivers 62 gallons in the first hour. The model has a dual-element design, just like other electric water heaters. The elements are designed to operate at 5,500 watts. 

The lower element is developed using stainless steel for improved durability and resistance against rust and corrosion. The upper one is made using copper. 

Rheem’s performance and a heater include an LED monitor to monitor elements easily and set the target water temperature. 

This model comes with a warranty of two years, while the limited warranty is nine years on parts. 

3. Smith Signature 40-Gallon 35500-BTU Water Heater

This is a reliable water heater that is powered by natural gas. It’s a 40-gallon heater from A.O. Smith. 

The water heater has a 35,500 BTU low NOx burner. The interior surface of the tank is designed with ceramic coatings and an anode rod to prevent corrosion. 

If you buy this product, you’ll get a 6-year warranty.

Conclusion

There are so many brands of water heaters on the market, including the tankless and tank option. 

While buying your water heater of choice, there are several things that you must consider, including the cost of the tank, warranty, energy efficiency, and the needs of your family.

If you don’t have the skills and knowledge to install the tank, you should approach a professional plumber to help you out. 

Sources:

https://magnificentplumbing.com/5-things-need-know-buying-water-heater/

https://www.sunrisespecialty.com/water-heater-brand

https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/plumbing/install-a-water-heater/

https://www.waterheaterhub.com/best-water-heaters-residential-use/

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.

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