A.O. Smith vs. Rheem – Which Water Heater Should You Choose?

What are the best water heater companies? When we hear this, Rheem and AO Smith instantly pop up in our minds. But it’s a real struggle to choose between the two brands when buying a water heater.
A.O Smith versus Rheem hot water heaters

We’re here to help you decide which brand is more suitable for you. This guide will compare Rheem and AO Smith hot water heaters based on their product line, quality, features, and prices.

We’ll also help you determine which brand is better for you according to your usage. So, let’s dive into the brand analysis to see which brand aligns with your needs.

Rheem vs. AO Smith – Brand Analysis

We’ll compare the two brands and their top products to make your decision easier. This brand comparison will help you make an informed decision.


The Rheem Manufacturing Company has been offering a variety of water heaters for nearly 100 years. That’s not all. They also manufacture a wide range of ventilation and air conditioning products.

Rheem is known for its high manufacturing standards and ease of use. Most of their water heaters are mid-rangers in terms of quality and price. They offer a good value for money spent for most homeowners, but those with a higher budget may find Rheem hot water heaters have limited functionality.

Rheem offers durability and reliability, and this is what homeowners look for when buying household appliances. Rheem stands by its products. They offer a 12-year warranty on most of their water heater models.

AO Smith

AO Smith has over 70 years of history manufacturing water heaters and hot water tanks. In contrast to Rheem, AO Smith specializes in water heaters. Proof of their quality is that their energy-efficient water heaters are popular among plumbers. 

These American-made water heaters are known for their durability and usually last up to 30 years. You can choose from their diverse range of gas, electric, and tankless water heaters. The brand also produces commercial heaters and boilers with larger capacities.

While these water heaters are an excellent choice for most homeowners, they tend to be slightly more expensive than Rheem water heaters. The price may be the deciding factor between the two brands for those with a tight budget.

AO Smith vs. Rheem – Popular Products

Now that you’re more familiar with Rheem and AO Smith, let’s dive into the features of their best-selling water heater models.

A.O. Smith – ENS-50 ProMax 50-gallon Electric Water Heater

The AO Smith ENS 50 ProMax 50 has a 50-gallon tank that uses electric power to heat water. It’s fitted with PermaGlas coating, Dynaclean diffuser dip tubes, and a CoreGard aluminum anode with a stainless steel core and tamper-resistant brass steel valve.

Enough about the technicalities. Let’s look at how these features help you as a user.

Energy Efficient

Like other models in the ProMax Series, this one also provides exceptional quality and value. It’s not only the brand’s claim that their electric water heaters are energy efficient. They also meet the guidelines of the Department of Energy. This means you’re most likely to qualify for utility rebate programs.


Reliability is at the core of any buying decision. AO Smith uses PermaGlas coating, T&P-type certified relief valve and low-wattage copper heating elements to ensure reliability. These components make the electric water heater durable.

AO Smith ProMax Electric water heaters maximize hot water output. Dynaclean diffuser dip tubes prevent sediment and lime buildup. The eco-friendly insulation prevents “standby” heat loss, so you have uninterrupted hot water.

Strong Warranty

Coregard anode protects the tank from rust. The tank comes with a limited tank warranty that lasts a decade.

This extensive warranty shows that the people behind this incredible product believe in its superior quality and reliability.


ProMax electric water heaters have Incoloy stainless steel, which is far more durable than copper.

Another advantage this water heater has over others is its DynaClean diffuser-style dip tubes. These tubes decrease lime and sediment buildup and increase hot water output. These dip tubes are made from PEX-type polymer and can last very long.


Eco-friendly products are beneficial for the user and the environment. AO Smith ProMax water heaters come with non-CFC foam insulation and heat traps. The technology is not only eco-friendly, it’s also energy efficient. 

The features packed in this 50-gallon electric water heater from AO Smith are impressive. Now, we’ll look at One of Rheem’s best-selling water heaters to see which product suits your needs best.

Rheem Performance Series Standard Electric Water Heater  XE50T06ST45U1

One of Rheem’s best-selling electric water heaters is the XE50T06ST45U1 from their Performance series. Let’s look at what the popular geyser brand offers in this series.


The water heater comes with a 0.90 – 0.93 uniform energy factor, making it part of top-tier water geysers in terms of efficiency. Its isolated tank design reduces conductive heat loss. Dual copper heating elements (3800W or 4500 W variants) provide an efficient heating system for an uninterrupted hot water supply.


You wouldn’t expect anything less from a water heater named Performance. This powerhouse has a first-hour rate of 33 to 61 gallons based on gallon capacity. In simple words, it can provide this many gallons of hot water per hour with a full tank of hot water.

You can expect it to recover 21 gallons per hour at a 90° F rise (depending on the model).


Rheem Performance water heaters have premium-grade anode rods, which makes the tanks last years. That’s why the company is confident to give a 6-year warranty on the tanks and parts.

As a part of their service policy, Rheem also gives a 1-year full in-home labor warranty.

Saves Energy

Rheem strives for customer and planet welfare. That’s why they’ve built over-temperature protectors to cut off power in excess-temperature situations.

Easy Installation and Safety

The Performance water heater by Rheem is easy to use and has all the necessary safety features. The electric junction box is located above the heating element for easy installation. Temperature and pressure relief valves safely release excess temperature and pressure.

Let’s sum up what we’ve learned about AO Smith and Rheem to make a better decision for you.

AO Smith or Rheem Water Heaters – The Verdict

It’s not as easy as it looks. Both brands have their upsides. Rheem offers lower prices, outstanding warranties, fresh new designs and easy-to-use features. Everything depends on your usage and preference. There are no winners and losers in this game.

AO Smith also offers a range of impressive water heaters. Their prices may be higher but you have to spend a few extra bucks for that reliable customer service. They’re the preferred choice of many professionals because of their excellent customer service.

The common thing in AO Smith and Rheem is the high quality of their products. This quality helps them dominate the residential water heater market.

When Should You Choose a Rheem Water Heater?

If you’re on a budget and looking for a reliable water heater with a considerable warranty, Rheem is your best choice.

When Should You Choose an AO Smith Water Heater?

If you have a larger budget than the price tag of most residential water heaters, go for AO Smith. This trusted choice of professionals will give you the ease of mind after the purchase.

Wrap Up

It all comes down to personal preference when choosing a water heater. AO Smith and Rheem are known for their efficient, durable, and reliable water heaters.

Analyze your needs and preferences to see which water heater suits you best.

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