Rheem Water Heaters: Pros, Cons, Performance, Top Picks

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April 5, 2024

Rheem Water Heater Review: Pros, Cons, and Top Models

Rheem Brand Overview

Rheem, a leading water heater manufacturer in North America, was founded in 1930 by Richard and Donald Rheem with financing from their brother William. The company has been an innovator in water heating, air conditioning, and heat pump technology. Today, Rheem is part of Paloma Industries of Nagoya, Japan, along with a dozen other brands, including Ruud. Rheem offers a wide range of water heaters, from affordable but inefficient electric units to expensive but highly efficient hybrid models with heat pump technology.

Rheem Water Heaters Technical Specifications

Rheem produces five types of water heaters for both residential and commercial use, with the exception of solar models:

1. Rheem Tank-Style Gas Water Heaters

Considered an excellent value, Rheem tank-style gas water heaters offer efficiency up to 84% while remaining affordable. With a quick recovery time, running out of hot water is rare. More than 20 models are available in good/better/best series, with sizes ranging from 29 to 98 gallons. The top-rated model in this category is the Professional Classic Plus Series heavy duty power direct-vent model.

2. Rheem Tank-Style Electric Water Heaters

Rheem tank-style electric water heaters use one to three 1500-watt coils depending on capacity. While they are the least costly, they are also the least efficient and have the highest operating costs. Recovery time is slow, and sizes range from single-location 19-gallon models to whole-house 55-gallon units. The top pick in this group is the Rheem Classic Series standard electric water heater.

3. Rheem Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters

Rheem hybrid heat pump water heaters use a condensing unit with a compressor, coil, and refrigerant to gather heat from the air around the unit, assisting the electric coils in heating water very efficiently. They recover quickly and can provide near-continual hot water. The best model in this class is the Professional Prestige Series Hybrid Electric water heater, available in capacities of 50, 65, and 80 gallons. However, there are concerns about the performance of these units, which will be discussed below.

4. Rheem Tankless Water Heaters

Available in electric and gas models, Rheem tankless water heaters provide instant and continuous hot water. Smaller units serve one location, while large gas tankless models can serve an entire home. The top model in this group is the Energy Star-rated Pro Prestige Series 95 direct-vent indoor model with 94% efficiency, which is low-flow compatible and delivers up to 9.5 gallons per minute.

5. Rheem Solar Water Heaters

Rheem solar water heaters include a tank or heating element to fit an existing tank, collection panel, electric or gas backup depending on the model, and capacities from 75 to 120 gallons. The best model in this category is the Rheem Solaraide HE, which is offered with a complete tank or just an element that can be used with an existing tank.

Pros and Cons of Rheem Water Heaters


  • Largest selection in the industry, with models to fit various budgets, energy sources, and installation requirements
  • Easy to find service technicians and readily available parts due to Rheem's market dominance
  • Multiple sizes available for most models to meet capacity needs
  • Compact tankless water heaters for under-counter installation
  • Efficient gas and hybrid models offer direct-vent exhaust through the wall, reducing installation costs
  • Gas water heaters can be easily converted for use with propane gas
  • Point of use water heaters feature small tanks for compact spaces (up to 20 gallons)
  • Adequate selection of water heaters for the mobile home market


  • Tank-type water heaters are prone to standby heat loss, making them less efficient than tankless models
  • Electric water heaters are inexpensive but use 3-5 times more power than gas, hybrid, and tankless models, resulting in high electric costs
  • Hybrid and solar water heaters are efficient but expensive, with potentially high repair costs, which may not provide the best long-term value compared to gas water heaters
  • Hybrid models receive mediocre ratings, mainly due to poor mechanical performance

Considerations Before Purchasing a Rheem Water Heater

When deciding on the right Rheem water heater for your home, consider the following factors:

  1. Gas water heaters are more efficient and recover more quickly than electric coil heaters, with only a 10-15% higher cost. If a gas line needs to be installed, the cost will be recouped in 3-7 years through lower energy costs, depending on hot water usage.
  2. Hybrid water heaters are expensive, and Rheem may need to improve their hybrid technology and mechanical performance before these units are worth considering. Solar units are a good choice for those prioritizing environmental concerns, but the extra cost will take 10-20 years to recoup, depending on the climate.
  3. For tankless water heaters, gas is better for an entire home, while electric can be cost-effective for single locations without a gas line.
  4. Gas water heaters deliver more hot water than electric water heaters of the same size due to faster heating. Choose the size based on household size and preferred energy source.
  5. Rheem water heaters are available in Classic (good), Classic Plus (better), and Prestige (best) series. Higher quality units come with better warranties but also higher costs. The longer you plan to stay in your current home, the more it makes sense to choose from Classic Plus or Prestige Series models.

By considering these factors and weighing the pros and cons of each type of Rheem water heater, you can make an informed decision that best suits your household's needs and budget.


  1. Rheem Manufacturing Company. (n.d.). About Rheem. Retrieved from https://www.rheem.com/about/
  2. Rheem Manufacturing Company. (n.d.). Water Heaters. Retrieved from https://www.rheem.com/products/residential/water-heating/
  3. PickHVAC. (2021, January 14). Rheem Water Heater Prices, Reviews and Buying Guide 2021. Retrieved from https://www.pickhvac.com/water-heater/rheem/

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