Reliance 606 Water Heater Line Review: Features And Energy Guide

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May 6, 2024

Reliance 606 Water Heater Review: A Comprehensive Guide


Your water heater is an essential appliance that often goes unnoticed until it fails, leaving you with a cold shower. Whether you need to replace your water heater out of necessity or to prevent a potential failure, the Reliance 606 water heater line may be a good choice for you. In this review, we will focus on the conventional gas and electric models, specifically the 606 line.

Water Heater Types

There are three major water heater types – conventional, on-demand, and heat pump combination. Conventional heaters store enough water to supply short-term needs and quickly replenish the amount used. On-demand water heaters supply hot water in a specific location, with smaller units installed close to the dispensing faucet. Heat pump combination units use ambient air heat to warm water stored in the tank, offering higher efficiency but at a higher cost and requiring a relatively warm location for placement. Reliance offers all three water heater types, according to their product line.

Choosing the Right Reliance 606 Model

To determine which Reliance 606 model best fits your needs, consider the following factors:

Measuring Your Space

Measure the height and diameter of your current water heater to ensure the new unit can fit. It should use the same electric or gas power source, although you may consider converting from electric to gas, if feasible.

Determining the First Hour Rating

The First Hour Rating is the amount of hot water dispensed per hour before replenishment. This can be more important than heater tank capacity, as a smaller capacity tank with a high first hour rating may be better than a larger water heater with a lower rating. Base the first hour rating on the maximum expected usage during peak periods, such as morning bathing and evening meals. The Department of Energy provides worksheets to help calculate this, and Reliance offers a useful chart based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home.

Reliance 606 Model Options

The Reliance 606 water heater line provides many models to meet your needs. Electric water heaters range from 30 to 119-gallon capacities in medium, tall, and tabletop models to fit your space. Gas heaters come in short and tall sizes with 30 to 100-gallon capacities. For this review, we will use the 50-gallon tall electric model as a point of comparison with other manufacturers.

Changes to Water Heater Standards and Sizing

Be aware of changes to water heater standards and sizing effective April 16, 2015, due to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act. Water heater producers must meet stricter energy standards and add thicker insulation, which may increase the unit height and width compared to your existing unit. Reliance water heaters produced after the effective date meet these standards, and you may see changes in the last four alpha characters of the previous model numbers in the 606 line designating the upgrade. Confirm that you are buying the latest model, although you may find discounts on earlier models based on availability.

Reliance Model 6 50 EORT Specifications

The Reliance Model 6 50 EORT is a good representative for comparison purposes. Here are the key features and specifications:

  • Capacity: 50 gallons
  • Height: 60.5 inches
  • Diameter: 22 inches
  • Uniform Energy Factor (UEF): 0.93
  • First Hour Rating: 62 gallons
  • Input Power: 4,500 watts per hour from two elements

Overall Features

A.O. Smith, with over 80 years of experience in water heater design and manufacturing, manufactures Reliance water heaters and supports them as a separate brand. The Reliance Model 6 50 EORT supports a typical three bedroom, three bath home with its 62-gallon First Hour Rating. The 50-gallon capacity tank fits a space supporting its 23-inch diameter, 60.5-inch height.

Uniform Energy Factor

The Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) is a measurement of efficiency, replacing the Energy Factor (EF) in 2015 to provide a more accurate comparison metric applied to different water heater types. The higher the number, the better, with a perfect energy factor of 1.00 being impossible to achieve due to various factors. The Reliance 606 water heater used in this review has a 0.93 uniform energy factor.

Energy Guide

Energy Guide labels, administered by the Federal Trade Commission, help consumers understand estimated energy costs when shopping for major appliances. According to energy guide estimates, the Model 6 50 EORT costs $419 annually to operate.

Tank Construction

Reliance water heater construction supports energy savings, safety, and environmental factors. The tank has non-CFC polyurethane foam for insulation, reducing heat loss and increasing energy efficiency. Two 4,500-watt heat elements covered in copper heat the water, preventing contamination when the water remains in the tank for long periods. The glass-lined tank protects against corrosion, and temperature and pressure relief valves are key safety features, releasing excessive water caused by high-temperature settings.

Self-Cleaning Feature

The Reliance 606 water heater has a self-cleaning feature to increase tank life and reduce water leak risk. An upward curve in the dip tube causes water circulation, dispersing impurities and avoiding sediment gathering on the bottom. Water heaters without this feature require more maintenance and have a higher failure risk.


The Reliance 606 model series has a six-year warranty on the tank and parts and one year for labor. Reliance maintains a service department and parts catalog supporting repairs.

Pricing and Availability

The Reliance Model 6 50 EORT sells for $430 at ACE Hardware. The Reliance website lists other places to purchase the model, including True Value, Grover, and other stores.

Comparison to Other Models

Here are some models comparable to the Reliance 6 50 EORT, with manufacturers offering a similar range of products to the 606 line:

ModelPriceFirst Hour DeliveryUniform Energy FactorWarranty
Rheems Performance 50-Gallon Tall Electric, Model XE50T06ST45U1$409 at Home Depot61 gallons (3 stars)0.93 (5 stars)6 years for tank and parts, 1 year labor (4.5 stars)
A.O. Smith ProLine® 50-Gallon Electric Water Heater, Model ENS-50$670 at SupplyHouse.com73 gallons (4 stars)0.95 (5 stars)6 years for tank and parts (4 stars)
Kenmore 50-Gallon Tall Electric, Model 58250$780 at Sears81 gallons (5 stars)0.95 (5 stars)12 years for tank and parts (5 stars)

Pros and Cons


  • The Reliance 606 water heater line offers a wide range of electric, gas, and liquid propane units in various capacities and sizes, supporting the water heater replacement needs of most homeowners.
  • The Model 6 50 EORT offers a good balance of features, including self-cleaning capability, a 0.93 uniform energy factor, and a strong 62-gallon first hour rating sufficient for typical size homes.
  • The $430 pricing is attractive for the capacity and supported features, making it a strong candidate for budget-conscious buyers.


  • The Kenmore 58250 has a higher 81-gallon first hour delivery rating, but the enhanced feature comes at a higher cost.
  • Other brands may have a longer warranty, but they typically charge a higher price for extended coverage.
  • Despite being very efficient, the Reliance 6 50 EORT does not meet EnergyStar certification standards.


When shopping for a new water heater, consider factors such as first hour delivery, uniform energy factor, and warranty provisions. Take into account your household's current and projected water usage based on factors like family size and how long you plan to stay in your home. While this review focused on electric storage heaters, you may need to replace a gas or propane unit, which tend to be less expensive to operate but may cost more to purchase. Consult with a local water heater installation expert to find the best model for your needs.

The Reliance 606 water heater product line offers a broad range of electric, gas, and propane units of various sizes and capacities, allowing you to find the best model based on available literature and expert advice. The Model 6 50 EORT, used for comparison purposes in this review, provides a good balance of features and pricing, making it a solid choice for many homeowners.

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