If you’ve spent most of your life living in rented homes or apartments, there’s a good chance you’ve never had to replace a water heater. Now that you own a home, that’s all going to change. Water heaters are only designed to last between eight and 12 years, which means every homeowner will have to deal with choosing a water heater replacement at some point.
As simple as buying a new water heater may sound, you actually have quite a few decisions to make. First, you’ll need to decide whether you want a tankless water heater or a traditional water heater. You’ll also need to choose between having one main source of hot water in your home or using multiple point-of-use water heaters. Finally, you’ll have to figure out how much hot water you need your water heater to produce.
If you’re in the market for a new water heater but can’t decide which one to buy, check out this helpful guide. We’ll discuss one of the top Ruud water heaters, the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus water heater. Then we’ll compare it to some top models from other brands to see how it stacks up. By the end of this review, you should have no trouble choosing a great water heater for your needs.
What Is the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus?
Technically, the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus is a line of water heaters which includes electric water heaters and a wide range of different gas water heaters. For the purposes of this review, we’ll only be talking about the standard electric version and the atmospheric version of the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus as these are the two most popular models.
The Professional Achiever Plus is a standard residential water heater from Ruud, built for a long life, low costs and powerful performance. This isn’t the largest or most feature-filled water heater money can buy, but you also don’t have to spend a fortune on it. The Professional Achiever Plus is designed for easy installation and operation, making it a great residential water heater for DIYers.
If you need something other than the atmospheric or electric version of the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus, this water heater is also available in a range of other types, including heavy duty, heavy duty power direct vent, heavy duty power vent, heavy duty ultra-low NOx, induced draft, power direct vent, powered damper, and ultra-low NOx.
As far as specifications go, the electric version of the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus water heater comes in capacities of between 30 and 50 gallons. This means you can easily find models capable of providing ample hot water for a household of three to five people. A UEF rating of .90 to .93 depending on the model means this unit is efficient, and its isolated tank prevents heat loss to further improve efficiency.
Both the upper and lower heating elements are made from resistored stainless steel, so your tank and anode rod will last a lot longer with the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus. A first-hour rating of 45 to 72 gallons (depending on model) gives you plenty of hot water for just about anything you need to do, and 21 GPH recovery at a 90-degrees Fahrenheit rise returns hot water to your home quickly.
An exclusive Ruud diagnostic system uses LEDs to show you exactly what’s going on with your Professional Achiever Plus water heater. If one of your heating elements isn’t working, this diagnostic system will figure out which one it is and alert you to it so you can get it fixed right away.
Other great features of the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus include a premium-grade anode rod that extends the life of your water heater, an over-temperature protector so your water heater doesn’t get too hot and compliance with many of the incentive programs offered by electric utility companies throughout the country. You also get EverKleen technology which works tirelessly to fight sediment, which saves you money and prolongs the life of your water heater.
The gas version of the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus has many of the same features as its electric counterpart, but there are a few key differences since it’s a different model. The atmospheric version of the Professional Achiever Plus is available in capacities of 40, 48, 50 and 55 gallons, so you can get a slightly larger tank but you have fewer choices. Depending on the model you choose, you’ll get a UEF of .58 to .66, giving you plenty of hot water at a low cost.
The first-hour rating depends on the capacity of the model you purchase but can be anywhere from 52 to 105 gallons with natural gas. You’ll also see a significant improvement in recovery with the atmospheric Professional Achiever Plus, with 36.4 to 61 GPH recovery at a 90-degree Fahrenheit rise. This makes the first-hour rating less important since you won’t have to wait long for more hot water anyway.
A built-in Ruud Guardian System means you have no filter to clean so the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus atmospheric water heater is easy to clean. A protective system will disable the water heater if there are flammable vapors in the air, and an air/fuel shutoff device can shut things down if there’s another problem.
Ruud’s Professional Achiever Plus atmospheric water heater is designed to meet 40 ng/J NOx requirements and requires no matches to light, so it’s very safe. It also features the same premium-grade anode rod and EverKleen technology that other Professional Achiever Plus series water heaters have.
As far as warranties go, both the electric and atmospheric version of the Professional Achiever Plus come with eight-year limited warranties for both parts and the tank. However, you can upgrade the tank warranty on the electric version to 12 years and the gas version to 10 years with Ruud ProtectionPlus.
Ruud doesn’t actually have any pricing information available on its website, so the only way to figure out pricing on the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus series water heaters is to find them at a water heater supply store. Unfortunately, many of these websites will ask you to call to get a price which can be a hassle.
The good news is, we were able to find one website that had both the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus 50-gallon electric water heater and the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus 50-gallon atmospheric water heater in stock with prices clearly displayed. Keep in mind that the 50-gallon model is the largest in the electric lineup and the second-largest in the atmospheric gas lineup, so you can probably expect to pay a bit less if you’re looking for something smaller.
On M&L Supply, the 50-gallon Ruud Professional Achiever Plus electric water heater is priced at $552.64, while the 50-gallon Professional Achiever Plus atmospheric water heater is priced at $726.85. While these prices aren’t too far off typical 50-gallon water heater prices, they are competitive when you consider the features offered in the Professional Achiever Plus series.
How It Compares
You have a lot of choices when it comes to residential water heaters in standard sizes, so it’s important to compare some of your options before buying. If you’re considering a Ruud Professional Achiever Plus, take a look at similar models from other top manufacturers like Rheem and A.O. Smith.
The Rheem Performance Plus series is the closest thing Rheem makes to the Professional Achiever Plus, and it features some key differences that make it stand out. Instead of the stainless steel heating elements used in the Professional Achiever Plus, Rheem uses dual copper heating elements in the Performance Plus series. The first-hour rating is a bit lower with the Professional Achiever Plus, ranging from 52-63 gallons depending on capacity rather than 45-72. However, the recovery is essentially the same with the Rheem rated at 21-25 GPH at a 90-degree Fahrenheit rise compared to 21 GPH at a 90-degree Fahrenheit rise for the Professional Achiever Plus. You’ll also notice that these models have the same UEF rating of .93. Both the Professional Achiever Plus and Performance Plus series feature self-cleaning technology to prolong tank life and are low-lead compliant, plus the temperature and pressure relief valves are included. The electric version of the Rheem Performance Plus is priced competitively at $509.99 on Home Depot at the time of writing.
A.O. Smith also makes great water heaters, and the A.O. Smith ProLine SL water heaters make for a pretty good comparison with the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus. According to A.O. Smith, the ProLine SL water heaters are “commercial-grade residential.” What you’ll find when you look at the A.O. Smith Proline SL water heater is that it has many of the same specs and features as the Professional Achiever Plus. A UEF rating of .93 and a first-hour rating of 62 gallons put it right on par with the Professional Achiever Plus, though its included 10-year warranty on both the tank and parts give it a slight edge. Just like the Professional Achiever Plus, the A.O. Smith ProLine SL is designed to clean itself so your tank lasts longer. It also features a Coregard sacrificial anode which uses special technology to further protect the tank. As is usually the case, there’s a temperature and pressure relief valve included to make installation a bit easier for you – or whoever installs your water heater for you. A.O. Smith doesn’t specifically list a recovery rating for this water heater, but from their spec sheet it seems likely that it has a 21 GPH rating at a 90-degree Fahrenheit rise, which is about what you’d expect from a 50-gallon residential water heater. At the time of writing, you can purchase the A.O. Smith ProLine SL water heater for $728.95 from Home Perfect and $767.95 from SupplyHouse.com, so it will cost you a fair bit more than the other models.
Pros and Cons
For the most part, there aren’t a ton of downsides to buying a Ruud Professional Achiever Plus water heater. As far as all the numbers go – price included – the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus is right up there with just about every other similar model from other brands. Its self-cleaning technology, stainless steel heating elements and premium-grade anode rod give it a long-lasting tank, which is one of the most important features in a water heater. The diagnostic system is a really nice feature to have if you’re the DIY type or if you don’t want to worry about an amateur handyman replacing the wrong heating element and costing you money.
One of the biggest downsides to the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus is the fact that you only get an eight-year warranty on the parts and tank unless you want to invest in ProtectionPlus which can give you a 12-year tank warranty. Depending on the cost of that, you may be better off opting for a model with a 10-year warranty. You may also have some trouble finding this water heater for sale; while it’s certainly doable if you know how to utilize keywords, finding the ProLine SL and Perfomance Plus water heaters was considerably easier. While there are certainly some downsides to the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus, none of them should be major enough to steer you away from purchasing this water heater.
If you’re in the market for a new 50-gallon water heater for your home – whether you’re looking for a gas or electric model – the Ruud Professional Achiever Plus is a solid choice. A long-lasting tank, solid warranty and impressive first-hour and recovery ratings make it a good choice for mid-sized households. You won’t have to pay a fortune for this Ruud water heater either, as the electric model is priced just above $500. Despite the relatively high capacity and power of this water heater, it still offers great efficiency with a UEF rating of between .90 and .93 depending on the capacity you choose.
This model gets a rating of 4 out of 5 stars from us for its dependability, ease of installation, handy diagnostic system and very reasonable price.