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Which Electric Water Heater is Better: AO Smith or Rheem?

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Choosing the right electric water heater for your home is a significant decision, as it can impact your comfort, utility bills, and environmental footprint. Two brands that stand out in the water heater industry are AO Smith and Rheem. This article will compare these two brands in terms of their features, performance, customer feedback, and overall value, to help you make an informed decision.


Both AO Smith and Rheem offer high-quality electric water heaters with various features, capacities, and price points. AO Smith stands out for its advanced tank protection and smart connectivity features, while Rheem is known for its compact design and energy efficiency. The choice between the two will ultimately depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Therefore, it’s not straightforward to declare one as better than the other without considering individual requirements.

AO Smith vs. Rheem: Key Features

AO Smith and Rheem offer a variety of electric water heaters with different features, capacities, and price points. Both brands have models with energy-efficient designs, durable materials, and advanced technology.

AO Smith Electric Water Heaters

AO Smith’s electric water heaters come with a range of features, including advanced tank protection, commercial-grade components, and ENERGY STAR® certification. Some models also offer smart connectivity through iCOMM™, allowing for remote monitoring and control of the water heater. AO Smith water heaters are known for their patented Blue Diamond® glass tank lining that protects against corrosion, and their DynaClean™ automatic cleaning system that protects against sediment build-up. These features contribute to the heater’s longevity and performance.

Rheem Electric Water Heaters

Rheem electric water heaters also offer a variety of features, including stainless steel heating elements and smart monitoring systems. They are known for their compact design, which makes them suitable for various installation locations. Rheem’s ProTerra 80-gallon hybrid high-efficiency heat pump tank electric water heater also features leak detection and auto shutoff, adding an extra layer of safety and convenience.

Energy Efficiency

In terms of energy efficiency, both AO Smith and Rheem offer highly efficient models. AO Smith’s Voltex AL hybrid electric heat pump water heater has an industry-leading Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) of 4.02 for the 66-gallon unit and 3.8 for the 50-gallon unit.

Rheem’s XE80T10HS45U0 model has a UEF of 4.07, making it one of the most energy-efficient models on the market. These energy-efficient options can help homeowners save on energy costs and reduce their environmental impact.

Customer Feedback

Customer feedback for both AO Smith and Rheem is mixed. Some customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the products and customer service, while others have had positive experiences. It’s important to read through a variety of reviews to get a balanced view of these products.

Warranty and Value for Money

When it comes to warranty and value for money, Rheem offers a 10-year warranty on their Performance Platinum series, while AO Smith provides a 6-year limited warranty on some of their residential electric water heaters.

In terms of pricing, AO Smith electric water heaters can range from around $200 to $300 for smaller point-of-use models, and up to around $4,500 for larger commercial models. Rheem electric water heaters can be found for as low as $189 for smaller point-of-use models, and up to around $493 for larger tankless models.


Both AO Smith and Rheem offer quality electric water heaters with various features and benefits. The choice between the two will ultimately depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. It’s essential to compare the features, energy efficiency, warranty, and customer reviews of different models to determine which one offers the best value for your situation.

Remember, a water heater is a long-term investment, so take your time to research and choose wisely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ENERGY STAR® certification mentioned in the context of AO Smith water heaters?

ENERGY STAR® is a certification given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to products that meet certain energy efficiency criteria. This means that AO Smith’s water heaters with this certification are recognized as energy-efficient products that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, and they can also save consumers money on their energy bills.

What is the Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) and why is it important?

The Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) is a measure of a water heater’s overall efficiency. It takes into account the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed over a typical day. The higher the UEF, the more energy-efficient the water heater is. Therefore, a higher UEF can result in lower energy costs for the homeowner.

What is the difference between a point-of-use model and a larger model of a water heater?

A point-of-use water heater is a small, compact unit designed to supply hot water to a single fixture, such as a bathroom sink or kitchen sink. On the other hand, larger models, like tank or tankless water heaters, are designed to supply hot water to multiple fixtures in a home simultaneously.

What is a hybrid electric heat pump water heater?

A hybrid electric heat pump water heater uses electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly, making it a more energy-efficient option. It can operate in several modes, including high efficiency, hybrid, and electric, to accommodate varying hot water needs.

What does the warranty on a water heater cover?

Typically, a water heater warranty covers the repair or replacement of faulty parts within the specified warranty period. However, it’s important to note that warranties usually do not cover damages caused by improper installation, unauthorized repair, or neglect. Always check the specifics of the warranty with the manufacturer.

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