AO Smith Vs. Rheem Vs. Bradford White: Pros, Cons, & Differences

All three companies—AO Smith, Bradford White, and Rheem—offer a wide range of water heaters that can accommodate the requirements of various household types.

We've got you covered! We've done all the legwork and compiled a basic comparison of what each brand offers.

While the typical lifespan of AO Smith's products is 10–20 years, these heaters come with 512-year warranties.

The average longevity of Bradford White water heaters is over ten years, placing it almost on par with AO Smith, and it also offers extendable warranties.

The performance of the water heaters largely depends on how well you maintain them.

Also, note that although AO Smith, Rheem, and Bradford are all good brands, they may have better solutions for one type of heater than the other.

The most dependable brands offer premium goods at competitive prices and provide outstanding customer support.

Being a leading brand is difficult; those that battled hard but stuck to their principles won the market's top spots. So sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the details.

AO Smith Vs. Rheem Vs. Bradford White

Whether shopping for a new water heater or replacing an old one, selecting the best option is crucial.

But how can you choose the best option when so many options are available? The best companies, AO Smith, Bradford White, and Rheem, are compared here.

Hand attaches hose to a home water heater to perform maintenance

AO Smith


  • AO Smith water heaters are large, household-friendly, and energy-efficient. They generate a ton of hot water, so you'll seldom experience a shortage.
  • You can lower the heater's thermostat settings and still receive hot water. Lowering the thermostat settings also reduces your energy expenditure.


  • The water heaters can be a bit pricey depending on the model of the water heater.
  • Some models may have only one heating element and lack an on/off switch.
  • Most of their units do not have a Wi-Fi option.
  • Some customers claim that the damper plate of their products makes a humming noise.

See this AO Smith water heater on Amazon.



  • Rheem is an excellent option if you're looking for a water heater with smart technology and is dedicated to producing environmentally friendly products. Thanks to Rheem's Hot Start programming technology, hot water is always available.
  • Rheem's products have a safety device that cuts off power when it reaches a pre-set temperature, reducing the risk of unintentional burns.
  • The ability to connect to Wi-Fi is advantageous and simplifies switching to vacation mode.


  • Depending on the model, the water heater can be pricey.
  • It cannot supply hot water to several faucets or water outlets simultaneously.
  • Any drop of moisture on the floor will trigger leak detection.
  • The water heaters from this brand are more suitable for residential than commercial uses.

See this Rheem water heater on Amazon.

Bradford White

Bradford White produces gas and water heaters in various models, highlighting their dedication to dependability and safety.


  • The heaters do not make annoying noise or snag hot water.
  • They are very energy efficient; they have an Energy Star certification.
  • With its cutting-edge screen lock technology, this brand has established dependability.


  • Only authorized professionals may install and maintain Bradford White water heaters to qualify for the manufacturer's warranties.
  • Their skilled installation increases the entire cost.
  • They are typically more expensive because they are produced in America.
  • few units come with faulty gas control valves, but warranties cover these.

See this Bradford White water heater on Amazon.

Differences Between AO Smith, Rheem, And Bradford White Water Heaters

Shower and electric water heater in the bathroom


Rheem and AO Smith offer a 56-year warranty on most gas and electric water heating solutions. But if you mount a tankless water heater, you get a guarantee of about 12 years.

However, AO Smith tends to offer a more extended guarantee on its products. In addition, the customer service at AO Smith is more willing to help.

All Bradford White water heaters have a 6-year warranty. However, you can extend the tank and parts warranty to 10 years.


AO Smith has a wider variety of gas water heaters than Rheem. So, getting a water heating solution that works for you from the options available at AO Smith is more accessible than at Rheem.

If you opt to install an electric water heater, investing in one from Rheem is better than AO Smith since it lasts longer and is more reliable.

Of the three models, Rheem has the most reliable tankless water heaters.

Energy Consumption

Because all Bradford White water heaters have energy star ratings, they are more energy efficient than the other models. However, they are more costly than the other models.

Even though not all AO Smith water heaters have the Energy Star rating, their energy efficiency is relatively reasonable.

So, it is prudent to evaluate whether the savings you accrue from spending less on energy compensate for the hefty initial investment on a Bradford White model.

Performance And Maintenance

Rheem water heaters have a shorter lifespan compared to other water heaters. Consequently, they may require more maintenance.

Bradford White water heaters have features that enable them to withstand wear and tear arising due to regular use.

Of the three brands, Bradford White offers noiseless performance. However, the noise level for the other options is still relatively low.

How To Identify A Hot Water Heater Needs Repair

Instantaneous gas hot water heater on the side of a house, AO Smith Vs Rheem Vs Bradford White: Pros, Cons, & Differences?

Your water heater will give you warning indications when it starts to malfunction. However, recognizing these signs is not always simple unless you're a plumber.

We hope the information we share here will better equip you to detect any malfunctioning, thus addressing it in good time.

Here are things to look out for:

Dripping Water

Your water heater is failing if there are leaks. Water may be dripping from the tank or collecting beneath the appliance. Or you might notice water dripping from the pipes.

It's possible that connections are slack or that the valves are not completely closed. These components may need to be tightened or changed—both are easy fixes. However, you may need to replace a leaking water heater.


Be cautious if your appliance is older. Water heaters break down more often as they end their useful life.

Most manufacturers put a label indicating the water heater's installation date.

But if yours doesn't have one, you can look up the production date online using the brand name and the unit serial number.

A side panel of a damaged water heater shows the rust and water damage rendering it unusable

No Hot Water

If you don't frequently flush your heater, sediment may collect in the tank, leaving little space for water. This is especially true if your water contains a lot of silt.

So, if you often run out of hot water rapidly, then something is wrong with the heater.

Water Discoloration

Murky or rusty water is another typical indicator of a failing water heater.

Even though water heater tanks have a coating to prevent corrosion, this layer wears off over time. Rust occurs quickly once the coating starts to deteriorate.

Dirty brown water running into a white sink. Looks very unhealthy


Strange noises coming from your water heater may indicate that your water heater element is breaking. Alternatively, mineral and sediment buildup may be blocking your system.

Low Water Pressure

Sediment accumulates more quickly if there is low water pressure in your home. To solve this issue, your plumber can flush the deposits in the supply lines or replace the water pipes.

How Can I Guarantee The Safety Of My Water Heater?

Modern Electric Water Heater on the Concrete Wall

Your water heater needs regular upkeep and attention to keep it in good working order.

Furthermore, you should exercise caution when using it to minimize exposure to hazards such as personal injury or even fires.

To keep your family safe, look through these water heater safety recommendations.

Contract A Certified Specialist To Do The Installation

Many people prefer DIY (do-it-yourself) tasks since it saves money. However, asking a professional to install the water heater is prudent to ensure your safety.

Install It At A Proper Height

Ensure that you mount the quick water heater at a reasonable height above the reach of the head of the tallest person in your home. Installing it any lower could result in a short circuit.

Use Quality Cables

Unreliable electricity flow from sudden power outages may eventually harm your power connection.

Ensure your electrician connects the instant water heater's power using brand-new, high-quality cabling during installation.

Two water heaters Old-New,Before-After

 Perform Routine Inspections

Although routine inspections of instant water heaters are uncommon, they are strongly advised since they can help identify problems before they become dangerous.

Find out if your instant water heater requires routine maintenance before you buy it.

Switch Off The Instant Heater When Not In Use

When you turn on an instant water heater, electricity starts flowing through the heating coil, immediately providing hot water.

When not in use, you should turn off your instant water heater. This will minimize electrical damage to your water heater and stop it from overheating.

In Closing

Instantaneous gas hot water heater on the side of a house

Rheem, AO Smith, and Bradford White offer reliable water heating solutions.

To make the most of your purchase, check their warranty, how much maintenance your unit will require, and the options you can choose from.

If you find this post informative, check out these related articles:

What Are The Dimensions Of A 50-gallon Water Heater?

Rheem Vs. American Standard: Which Brand To Choose?

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