4 Worst Water Heater Brands And 7 Most Reliable Brands (Buying Guide)

As winter approaches, having access to warm water becomes increasingly essential. When selecting a water heater for your home, especially in colder climates, it’s crucial to make an informed decision. While reputation plays a significant role in our choices, it’s vital to consider the best water heater brands to ensure you’re getting a reliable and efficient appliance.

In this article, we’ll explore both the worst and most reliable water heater brands, helping you narrow down your options or avoid certain brands altogether. When identifying a poor-performing water heater, look out for signs such as leaks from the heating tank, age-related issues, rapid depletion of hot water, inconsistent shower temperatures, discolored water, unusual noises, or reduced water pressure.

To make an informed purchase, avoid common mistakes like buying the wrong-sized unit, neglecting energy-efficient options, prioritizing price over performance, and ignoring professional consultations. Instead, focus on proper research, considering factors such as tank capacity, brand reputation, and commercial service options. By doing so, you’ll be well-equipped to find a water heater that meets your needs and provides warm, reliable comfort throughout the winter months.

4 Worst Water Heater Brands

While many water heaters claim to provide top-notch performance and reliability, the truth is that some brands simply don’t live up to expectations. In this section, we’ll dive into the five worst-rated water heater brands based on a comprehensive analysis of customer reviews, consumer reports, and overall brand ratings. By examining the pros and cons of each brand, homeowners can make informed decisions when selecting the right water heater for their needs.

A.O. Smith Signature

A.O. Smith Signature

This renowned brand stands out for its cutting-edge technology, delivering high-performance products that have earned it a reputation as the go-to provider of gas, electric, and tankless water heaters. However, despite their impressive efficiency, customers’ expectations were not fully met due to several drawbacks. A common thread running through reviews was the inconsistent water flow and subpar wiring quality, which led to performance issues.

Installation proved to be another challenge, with some models consistently generating multiple error codes. Moreover, consumers were also dissatisfied with the poor customer service experience. Despite these shortcomings, the brand remains a popular choice in the market.

Bosch – WH27 (Tronic 6000 C-Tankless)

Bosch – WH27 (Tronic 6000 C-Tankless)

Bosch is a well-established German manufacturer of electronic goods and household appliances with a global presence. While it’s often regarded as a trustworthy brand, its reputation has been marred by issues that have led to widespread consumer dissatisfaction. As a result, numerous negative reviews can be found online in various forums and review platforms.

Some common criticisms leveled against Bosch include inadequate instructions for home installation, poor heating performance, and water temperatures dropping precipitously within minutes.

Bradford White (RG240T6N – Natural Gas Water Heater)

While Bradford White has touted its advanced screen lock technology, the ICON system, and intelligent gas pressure control as key features, many consumers still view this brand with caution. Despite these innovations, a significant number of reviews and complaints online suggest that the brand’s reputation is marred by issues such as high expense, questionable durability, and high maintenance costs.

In fact, some users have reported problems with gas leaks in the second or third year after installation, adding to their concerns. Overall, while Bradford White may offer certain advantages, its reliability is still a subject of debate.

Whirlpool (E50H6-45 – 50-Gallon)

Whirlpool (E50H6-45 – 50-Gallon)

Whirlpool’s reputation for producing reliable, long-lasting, and durable products is renowned globally. Nonetheless, some models have fallen short of customer expectations. Notably, certain Whirlpool water heaters have been criticized for their propensity to rust. In terms of construction, reviewers have raised concerns about the quality of drain valves, casting doubt on the longevity of these appliances.

Furthermore, customers have expressed frustration with the brand’s customer service and limited warranty coverage.

7 Most Reliable Water Heater Brands

Building upon our previous discussion about the unreliable water heater brands to steer clear of, it’s time to shine a light on some of the most dependable and trustworthy options available today. Our research has been driven by consumer feedback, online reviews, and consistent ratings from reputable sources such as Consumer Reports.

Rheem Water Heater

Rheem Water Heater

Home Depot’s reputation as a leading brand in the water heater industry can be attributed to its enduring commitment to reliability and quality since its inception in 1925. With an impressive satisfaction rate of 96%, it’s no wonder that consumers have come to trust this brand for their water heating needs.

One of the key factors contributing to its popularity is its exceptional service, which, combined with its durable design, has earned it a reputation for low maintenance and hassle-free operation. Furthermore, the brand’s indoor installation process is surprisingly straightforward, while its high water flow rate, energy efficiency, and automatic water saving feature only add to its appeal.

Bradford White Water Heater

Bradford White Water Heater

This American brand has earned recognition for its extensive range of tankless water heaters and gas-electric models widely available in the market. A notable advantage of their products is their energy and water efficiency. Additionally, they offer a comprehensive 10-year warranty and provide reliable customer support. Notably, customer reviews consistently rate this brand at an impressive 92%, highlighting its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

A.O. Smith Water Heaters

A.O. Smith Water Heaters

Since its inception in the 80s, this iconic brand has carved a reputation for itself not only through its water heaters but also its diverse range of home appliances widely available in the market. One of the standout features of their water heaters is the impressive variety and cutting-edge technology on offer.

With options spanning from traditional tank-based systems to innovative tankless, hybrid, and solar-powered solutions, they’ve got something for every household. What’s more, A.

O Smith has earned a remarkable 90% consumer recommendation due to its commitment to high energy efficiency and durability.

Rinnai Water Heater

When considering a new water heater, Amazon offers an extensive selection to choose from. One brand that stands out for its energy efficiency, high-volume output, ease of installation, and compact size is Rinnai, a top-ranked Japanese manufacturer. Not only does it excel in these areas, but it’s also relatively affordable compared to similar products on the market.

Furthermore, Rinnai’s safety features and 12-year warranty are noteworthy, contributing to its impressive 95% customer satisfaction rate and annual recommendations.

GE GeoSpring Water Heater

GE GeoSpring Water Heater

In a relatively short period of six years or so, GE water heaters have managed to carve out a significant niche for themselves in the US market. This is largely due to their commitment to delivering premium-quality products that offer an unbeatable combination of sleek design and cost-effectiveness. As a result, they’ve become the most sought-after and preferred choice among consumers.

One of the key advantages of using GE water heaters is that they’re designed with environmental sustainability in mind, producing significantly less carbon emissions compared to other options on the market. In fact, it’s not uncommon for over 90% of customers to rave about their experience with this brand, going so far as to make them a go-to choice when shopping for new water heaters.

EcoSmart Tankless Water Heater

When seeking an eco-friendly and affordable water heat pump brand, Amazon offers a top-notch option. This brand stands out for its exceptional water efficiency, durability, and commitment to environmental sustainability – aligning perfectly with its name. Furthermore, their tankless water heaters come equipped with innovative smart-boost technology, enhancing overall performance and energy efficiency.

The majority of consumers (85%) have given this brand rave reviews due to the compact yet stylish designs that can effectively save space, as well as the cost-effective product and installation process.

Stiebel Eltron Water Heater

Amazon’s reputation in the water heater market is unparalleled, boasting an impressive 40-year history and a remarkable 92% customer satisfaction rate. What sets them apart is their commitment to innovation and technology, making their products highly efficient, low-maintenance, and easy to install both indoors and outdoors.

Their more recent offerings have taken it a step further by introducing eco-friendly hot water systems that provide a complete solution for homes requiring constant hot water supply, making them an attractive option for homeowners seeking a reliable and environmentally friendly choice.

How to identify a bad water heater

While it’s true that all water heaters aren’t created equal, there are various factors beyond just initial construction quality that can signal a problem. Factors like usage frequency and age can also impact the performance and lifespan of your water heater. It’s essential to consider these variables when evaluating the overall health of your unit.

Water leaking from the heating tank

A telltale sign of impending trouble with your water heaters is the presence of leaks. If you notice a steady drip or trickle of water emerging from the tank, it’s essential to monitor the situation carefully and assess whether this is merely a minor issue that can be quickly resolved or if it signals a more significant problem that may require more extensive repairs or even replacement.

Age of the water heater

When dealing with aging water heaters, it’s essential to perform routine inspections to ensure their continued performance and safety. Typically, manufacturers affix labels bearing installation dates or you can reach out to the company where you purchased the product for guidance.

If an old water heater does malfunction, rather than attempting repairs, it may be more cost-effective – and ultimately safer – to consider replacing it altogether, allowing you to continue enjoying the reliable hot water supply these devices provide.

Running out of hot water quickly

If you’re consistently running out of hot water, it’s likely due to a issue with your water heater. Typically, there are only two explanations for this phenomenon: failure to regularly flush the tank or an excessive accumulation of sediment in the tank. When this occurs, it’s crucial to address the problem promptly, as delaying repairs can lead to more extensive damage and potentially higher costs down the line, including the need for replacement or even going without a water heater altogether.

Inconsistent water temperature in the shower

Regular maintenance is crucial to identify potential issues with your water heaters before they escalate into major problems. One such indication of a faulty heating element is inconsistent water temperature. To prevent surprises, make it a habit to inspect your appliances frequently and familiarize yourself with the various warning signs that may signal the need for professional assistance.

By doing so, you’ll be able to address any underlying issues promptly, thereby minimizing damage and costly repairs.

Discoloured water coming from faucet

When you notice murky or rusty colors emerging from your faucets, it’s essential to investigate whether your water heater is to blame. While water heaters do have a protective coating that slows down corrosion, this layer doesn’t last forever. As the coating wears off, rust can form rapidly, which may be causing the discoloration in your tap water. A faulty water heater could be the root cause of the issue.

Unusual noises coming from the water heater

When unusual noises emanate from your water heater tanks, it’s likely an indication that they’re on the verge of failure. While other issues can also cause unusual sounds, it’s always best to investigate possible sediment buildup or other issues to prevent a complete breakdown. For a more definitive diagnosis and solution, consider consulting professionals who can provide personalized guidance and recommend practical steps to rectify the problem.

Lower water pressure

When experiencing low water pressure in your home, it’s often an indication that your water heater requires maintenance rather than replacement or repair. This issue can be attributed to sediment buildup accelerating due to reduced water flow. To determine the best course of action, it’s essential to consult with professionals who can assess the situation and advise on whether a fix is possible or if replacement is necessary.

Mistakes to avoid when buying a water heater

Buying the Wrong Sized Unit

One common pitfall homeowners encounter when selecting water heaters is choosing an undersized unit that fails to meet their needs. It’s crucial to ensure the machine you purchase is proportionate to the size of your home and its plumbing infrastructure. A water heater that’s too small will struggle to provide adequate service, resulting in reduced comfort levels throughout your residence.

To avoid costly repairs or premature replacement, it’s essential to select a unit that can efficiently meet your hot water demands.

Not Considering Energy Efficient Units

While it’s true that energy-efficient water heaters tend to be more expensive than their standard counterparts, the long-term benefits can’t be ignored. In fact, the higher the energy efficiency rating of a product, the greater your potential for reduced electricity bills. This means you could potentially save more money on your utility costs over time, making the initial investment worthwhile.

Basing Your Decision Solely on Price

When evaluating brands, it’s essential to look beyond the price tag. A lower-cost option may not always be the best choice, especially if it lacks key features. Instead, focus on finding a balance between affordability and value. Consider investing in higher-end options that can provide long-term benefits, even if they come with a higher upfront cost.

Not Consulting a Professional Plumber or HVAC Technician

When considering a water heater purchase, it’s essential to ensure you’ve chosen the most suitable option for your home. If you’re uncertain about the best brand or size, consulting with professional plumbers or HVAC technicians can streamline the process. Their expert insights will not only save you time but also potentially reduce costs by providing recommendations tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

Ignoring Commercial Water Heater Service Options

While many consumers prioritize brand and price when purchasing a water pump, neglecting the importance of understanding its commercial settings can result in subpar performance. In fact, a well-maintained water heater can last up to two decades with proper care. To ensure an optimal service life, it’s crucial to delve deeper into product specifications and explore available warranty policies and commercial services.

By doing so, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and avoid potential issues down the line.

Lack of Proper Research

Prior to making a purchase for personal or professional use, it’s essential to conduct thorough research. The knowledge gained about the product’s features, brand, and cost can significantly impact your overall operational expenses. While many consumers often overlook this step when purchasing everyday items, it’s crucial to develop a habit of researching even small purchases to ensure informed buying decisions.

Not Considering Water heater tank capacity

When it comes to water tanks, capacity is a crucial consideration. The standard sizes range from 40 gallons to over 50, with some larger models holding up to 55 gallons or more. However, the ideal size ultimately depends on the number of users in your household. A smaller family will require less storage capacity, while a larger family may need a tank that can hold more water.

It’s essential to take this into account when selecting a water heater tank to ensure you’re getting one that meets your needs and helps you conserve energy.

Comparing brands and prices

When selecting water heaters, it’s essential to focus beyond prices and consider the long-term benefits each model provides for your home. Rather than making a purchasing decision solely based on cost, take the time to research top brands and their key features. This approach will ultimately lead to a more effective and efficient water heating solution.

Buying a Second-Hand Water Heater

When shopping for a water heater, it’s essential to steer clear of this common mistake: prioritizing cost over quality and longevity. While many brands are indeed known for their durability, it’s still crucial to opt for a high-quality water heater that may come with a higher price tag. In the long run, the added expense will be justified by the years of reliable service you’ll receive.

Frequently Asked Questions About Water Heater Brands

How many years does a water heater last?

Water heaters are an essential appliance in many homes, providing warm or hot water when needed. Understanding the average lifespan of your water heater is crucial, as this knowledge will help you determine when repair or replacement becomes necessary. Typically, most water heaters last anywhere from 6 to 13 years, depending on the brand and maintenance practices employed. Factors such as regular cleaning and proper care also impact a water heater’s longevity.

To ensure a long-lasting water heater, it is essential to establish a routine for cleaning and upkeep, or seek guidance from professionals if needed.

What is the best brand of tankless water heater?

Among the top tankless water heater brands, Rinnai stands out for its exceptional performance in terms of efficiency, portability, reliability, and point-of-use convenience. With an impressive track record of customer satisfaction, boasting 90% or higher ratings over the years, it’s no surprise that Rinnai is considered one of the most reliable tankless water heater brands.

As a leading Japanese manufacturer with a reputation for cutting-edge technology and high energy efficiency, Rinnai has earned its place as the top choice among consumers seeking a top-notch tankless water heating solution.

Is Rheem water heater a good brand?

Rheem brand has built a loyal customer base by producing high-quality and dependable water heaters that cater to homeowners’ needs. The company’s innovative features, such as the Econet Wi-Fi Kit, enable real-time monitoring of the water heater’s performance. This advanced technology sends alerts when there are signs of malfunctioning parts, empowering homeowners with the ability to take proactive measures, whether it be replacement or repair.


For homeowners residing in regions with low temperatures, a water heater is an essential appliance that provides comfort throughout the year. While the initial cost of purchasing a water heater may seem daunting, it’s crucial to consider the long-term benefits and performance of each brand. A faulty or inefficient water heater can lead to costly repairs and maintenance, making it vital to choose a reliable option from the start.

Fortunately, this guide provides a comprehensive rundown of factors to consider when selecting the best water heater for your needs. Additionally, we’ve outlined the strengths and weaknesses of popular brands, empowering you with the knowledge to make an informed decision.

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