I spend few days reading Bradford White vs Rheem Water Heaters discussions, reviews and comparisons. And in this article you’ll find all necessary information to make a decision that is optimal for you.
Attention! The water heater in most cases requires installation by specially trained personnel. Specialized local HVAC companies and large retailers offer installation services. Nevertheless, their prices are often simply extortionate. Therefore, my advice is to ask your neighbors for advice and contact local plumbers. Sometimes you can save up to half on the installation and even the price of the heater. The delivery of a water heater on Amazon can also be free. So, let’s begin.
Bradford White vs Rheem Water Heaters
Bradford White water heaters seems to have a good reputation and usually last a long time. I’ve seen BW tank heaters that were about 20 years old. These heaters are rock-solid since need only an annual tank flushing to remove sediment.
All you need is to replace anode according to manual. Heating elements are pretty tough and can work up to 15 years. In my experience, Bradford White units are what plumbers are putting in their homes. The main disadvantage of BW seems to be that this brand is less well represented in local stores.
Bradford White tech support and warranty are great. You most likely won’t waited for more than a few minutes to talk to a guy from tech support. BW units have six years parts and labor warranty. They also reimburse limited wage if a part or product fails due to manufacture within the first year.
Rheem heaters are easier to find on sale and plumbers are usually more familiar with them. It’s warranty might hinge on “professional installation.
Some people choose Rheem over Bradford White heaters because of the thermostat. Bradford units come with a Honeywell thermostat, and it is is more efficient but “more electronic”. Rheem heaters use a good old traditional thermostat without electronic parts. For me personally, the problem seems far-fetched and the reliability of both devices is high enough. But this is a matter of preference.
Rheem makes you go through a checklist with the tech. And often you need to wait over and over while they try to find potential problems and tell you to do one thing after another to the heater, and it is probably a 10-15 min process.
But once again, with a high probability you will not have problems with a new device (both Rheem and BW) during the first 5-10 years.
Bradford White vs Rheem Hot Water Tanks: Spare Rods Replacing
Bradford Whites are also more difficult to replace the spare magnesium anode. On most models it is built in to the hot water outlet port and you need to unhook it and then hope you have enough headroom to remove it and put the new rod in. Many people complain about the lack of space. However, this is not really that important when you remove the spent rod. Just unscrew it, and if there is not enough room for extraction, just cut it off and remove it in parts. If you are afraid of difficulties when installing the rod, then purchase segmented rods with integrated hot water discharge ports for BWs.
Rheem water heaters have a separate spare rod port and all you need is to unscrew it from the top and pull it out. If you replace the anode rod every five years, you can get up to 30 years of water heater service. On the other hand, Bradford White posts service manuals, and Rheem doesn’t. There is no manual posted for the Rheem to check the actual parts list.
And “separate” rod doesn’t mean you will really able to remove and replace it easily. For example, neither me nor my plumber was able to unscrew the rod from the 7-year-old Rheem. You must to remove the rod and mount it back when your heater is fresh out of the box. It will help a lot later.
Bradford White and Rheem water heaters are both good. Before to purchasing the unit, you should look at your existing blow off stub (especially for BW), to make sure your new stub will match it up. If you have a 3 inches vent on your old water heater, don’t buy a high recovery with a 4 inches vent.
So, my advice is to go with the better warranty offered. And be sure you register it, some retailers only give full warranty to customer who did the full registration. If the guarantees are the same, then both brands are good enough to choose the one that you just like best. I would trust both brands and don’t overthink it. (Read also our Rheem vs AO Smith water heaters comparison article)
The one extremely important thing is the yearly maintenance. It can and will decide the life of the heater. If you flush and check/replace anode rod accordingly to the quality of your water, the unit can easily get more than twenty years.