Home-How » Rheem vs. AO Smith Water Heater: Which Is Better?

Rheem vs. AO Smith Water Heater: Which Is Better?

If you are building a new house, it is only expected that you install quality water heaters. And your priority should be to find the best heater on the market for the best results. Rheem and AO Smith are two of the most popular water heater companies in the United States.

But which should you choose? What are the similarities between Rheem vs. AO Smith water heaters? What features should be the deciding factors for selecting one or the other? We discuss all these and more as we help you make an informed decision.

Note that both water heater companies started out manufacturing different materials. While they started more than one hundred years ago, Rheem began its journey in the oil refining industry before switching to making water heaters in 1931. AO Smith started its journey making bicycles and baby carriages and switched to water heaters in 1961.

What Is a Rheem Water Heater?

A Rheem water heater is manufactured by the brand Rheem, and it is one of the best on the market. You will find the standard tank water heaters from the brand and the tankless types if that is your preference. The brand also manufactures air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces.

What Is an AO Smith Water Heater?

AO Smith is another top brand that makes water heaters for different purposes. But unlike Rheem, this company channels its resources to making only water heaters. In other words, it does not diversify into making other products.

Many users have only good reports about the quality of the products, and plumbers tend to choose them.

Comparison Between Rheem Water Heaters and AO Smith Water Heaters

Comparison Between Rheem Water Heaters and AO Smith Water Heaters

So, what are the similarities and differences between the two brands? And why should you choose one above the other if both brands make excellent products?

Let’s look at the specific features of these water heaters. Then, you can decide which is better for your home or office.

The similarity between both heaters lies in their type. Rheem and AO Smith manufacture electric and gas heaters. But that is where the similarity ends. The primary differences lie in cost, availability, accessibility, and product range.

But let’s take an in-depth look at each heater to determine where they differ.

Rheem Water Heaters

  • There are about 42 water heater models available from Rheem, and most of them can hold 50 gallons of water. You can get 6 years warranty for the heater you buy, but the gas options may be unavailable in Canada.
  • The available gas options have a system to detect flammable vapor, designed to ensure the user’s safety. However, you may find more electric water heaters on the Canadian market.
  • The company also offers a range of electric tanks and tankless types of water heaters. There are ten types of electric tankless water heaters, and they are usually easy to install and have high efficiency. You may even find a water heater option with a digital display for the temperature because some Rheem water heaters have smart technology.
  • Control the appliance and check the water level from wherever you are through a mobile app and enjoy the leak-detection feature when there is a problem with the tank. Rheem heaters are generally more available and accessible, and the brand offers solar options. However, the heaters are more expensive than those from AO Smith.
  • Rheem water heaters are generally convenient to use. You can schedule the time for water heating and producing hot water on your smartphone.  There is a feature to set the appliance to low hot water production when there is no high demand.
  • In addition, use the Away mode to schedule turn-off when you leave your home for a long period. Your mobile app enables you to turn it on again before you get home to have hot water for use.

AO Smith Water Heaters

  • AO Smith has a wide range of natural gas water heater options, such as propane heaters, which are quite affordable. There are about 208 water heater options in the ProLine series, while the Signature Series has about 58 water heater options.
  • The Signature Series water heaters have tanks holding between 30 to 50 gallons of water. The Pro-Line series has tanks holding up to 124 gallons in the first-hour rating.
  • Some of the water tanks may have a 12-year warranty. And you will find some tankless water heaters in the Signature Series and ProLine series with five-year warranties on the heat exchangers and one-year warranties on other parts.
  • AO Smith water heaters typically have low emissions, and the tankless options have anti-scale technologies. That means the tanks do not build scale over years of use, even if you do not wash them.
  • Best of all, these models meet the minimum energy standard regulated by the federal government, sometimes exceeding it.

Key Features of Each Heater to Consider

Key Features of Each Heater to Consider

For a better comparison between the products, you must understand the key features of a reliable hot water heater. Then, you can check the brands’ heaters and determine whether they meet the standard.

1. Reliability

The reliability of any water heater typically lies with the manufacturing brand. You must know the credibility and market value of the brand before investing in the product, regardless of the price. The special nature of water heaters makes it crucial that the brand be reputable and able to make the best products.

If you are unsure, read customer reviews and research deeply to learn more about the water heater brands. Otherwise, you may select the product from a better-known brand for safety purposes.

2. Capacity

The amount of water the water heater can hold and heat per time determines whether or not you should go for it. Consider your home’s hot water demands and compare them to the capacity of the water heater in view.

There is no point settling for a low-capacity choice because of the price if you run the water heater multiple times to get the amount of hot water the house needs daily. If there is a high demand, choose a heater with a large water and heating capacity.

3. Size


Another key feature is the water heater’s size and the installation point. Check how well the heater will fit into the space carved out for it. If you buy a water heater bigger than the designated space, you will have difficulty installing it.

You may want to take the correct measurements before selecting the heater size. That way, you will know whether to expand the space or choose another location.

4. Energy Efficiency

An energy-efficient water heater is a priority because these appliances may consume about 18% of your home’s total energy consumption per month. If unsure of the potential energy consumption, check for the energy factor rating or EF to determine its efficiency.

Alternatively, please speak with a consultant or professionals to know its energy efficiency. You may have to check several options before finding the best choice for your home.

5. Power Source

How is the water heater powered? Does it run on electricity or gas? If powered by electricity, it is easier to install and use without consideration for ventilation. However, if the heater runs on gas, your home must meet some ventilation requirements before you can legally and safely install it.

It is easier if the house is still under construction or renovation, but installing a new water heater powered by gas in an already-built home may be difficult without proper ventilation. Otherwise, use a water heater powered by electricity.

Consider the Price

Check the price of Rheem vs. AO Smith water heater options and how much they have to offer. Then, compare them to your budget. The cost of any product is a primary determinant of whether or not you will get that product, regardless of the category.

If you are not working with a budget, the market is your playing field because the cost is not a restriction. However, deciding the best option with a budget may not be easy. Nevertheless, a few questions may help you make an informed decision.

  • What is the fuel source, and is it readily available?
  • Does it have features that make your life better?
  • Is there a particular one you like, and what does it offer?
  • How is its durability? Is it sturdy and large enough to meet the demands of your home?

Choosing a water heater because of the low price may not be ideal in the long run. Most cheap options do not have features that meet your requirements. That may be a waste in the future because you may need to purchase another water heater to meet the demands.

Your area of residence also determines which one you buy. The cost does not matter anymore if you have an irregular power supply. The best option is a gas water heater because there is not enough electricity to power it unless you use a generator.

Bottom Line

So, which is better: Rheem vs. AO Smith water heaters? Several aspects inform your choice of a water heater, and this article explains the key differences between these two top brands. It also explains features that make an excellent water heater.

Consider these differences and features before selecting one, even if you have a budget. AO Smith excels in gas water heaters, while Rheem excels in electric tank and tankless water heaters. Rheem also offers Wi-Fi-enabled water heaters for convenience.

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