Navien vs. Rheem Tankless Water Heaters
Shopping around for a tankless water heater can be overwhelming, thanks to the many options on the market. Navien and Rheem are two popular brands in the industry, but how do they compare?
After over 15 years of installing and servicing tankless water heaters in the Los Angeles area, we’ve come to know both of these brands well. While we don’t carry Rheem products, we keep up with the company’s newest products. On the other hand, we’ve been partnered with Navien for over 13 years.
In this article, we’ll break down how these top brands compare so you can have a strong jumping-off point for your research and ultimately make the right decision for your home.
For those looking for more information on Navien specifically, check out our full Navien Tankless Water Heater Guide below.
But before we jump in, let’s take a look at what categories we’ll be comparing.
- Parts availability
Check out how Navien and Rheem compare in terms of technology.
When we’re talking about technology regarding tankless water heaters, what we’re really looking at is heat exchanger advancement and other innovative features that help drive the industry forward.
One of Navien’s biggest claims to fame is pioneering the stainless steel heat exchanger. These heat exchangers boast greater corrosion resistance than their copper counterparts and last up to 25 years. Typically, copper heat exchangers last between 15 and 20 years.
Rheem also heavily features stainless steel heat exchangers in its tankless water heater lineup. Navien simply gets the credit for being first to market. Aside from that, you can expect high performance from both brands’ heat exchangers. Navien simply gets the credit for being first to market.
Looking at other notable advancements, the built-in recirculation pump is becoming more popular. This component was previously limited to being an add-on to tankless water heater systems. Now, thanks to this innovation, homeowners can get endless hot water and instant hot water in one package with Navien or Rheem.
Technology is only half the picture when we’re talking about performance. To get an idea of how these tankless water heaters perform, we also have to consider efficiency.
Efficiency is arguably the most important category to consider since many homeowners make the switch to a tankless water heater to save on monthly bills. Both Rheem and Navien feature high-efficiency models that will net you the best bang for your buck.
On the Navien end of the market, buyers can expect to see top models boasting up to 98% efficiency. On the other side, Rheem’s top models achieve up to 96% efficiency. The 2% deficit may not be much, but for those searching for the best efficiency possible, Navien narrowly skirts past Rheem.
While going for the best efficiency possible sounds desirable, one factor typically influences the final decision more: price.
Rheem and Navien diverge a bit regarding price. While both companies’ top models share a similar price point, the variety on offer from Rheem makes its price range much wider.
Rheem offers electric point-of-use tankless water heaters and gas-fired models. Because of this variety, the price range for a Rheem tankless water heater can span from a couple of hundred dollars up to $2,500. The previously mentioned electric models are what drive the range so low.
On the other hand, Navien’s tankless water heaters cost anywhere between $1,200 to $2,300. If we factor in installation, the total investment typically falls in the $4,700 to $8,300 range. This range is informed by additions like additional piping, venting, recirculation pumps, and premium or basic installation if your installer offers different options.
Considering the importance of investing in a tankless water heater to provide you and your family with hot water, it’s good to know that both Rheem and Navien do their part in protecting that investment.
Both brands are a bit more even in the warranty department than other leading brands. While Noritz crushes both companies with a 25-year warranty on some models, Rheem and Navien both sport a 15-year warranty.
Where these brands diverge is Rheem only offers a 12-year warranty term on select models. A 12-year warranty is considered standard. Navien pioneered the 15-year warranty, but others have followed suit and even surpassed it, as is the case with Noritz.
Navien and Rheem are willing to honor first-time replacements if the situation demands it. This ease of access also extends to parts availability.
This category is another one where Rheem and Navien intersect. Both brands offer fairly direct access to parts within reason. Homeowners may purchase parts directly from Navien and Rheem.
This access is contingent upon your warranty status for Navien, however. If your tankless water heater is no longer under warranty, then you won’t be able to purchase parts direct from Navien.
On the flip side, homeowners are free to purchase directly from Rheem regardless of warranty status.
Something to note is that Rheem is partnered with Home Depot, making it one of the easiest brands to find in-store at the drop of a hat. One common issue we’ve seen in the field is that some contractors who install Rheem tankless water heaters purchased from Home Depot aren’t always licensed or specialized, leading to incorrectly installed tankless units. Just something to keep in mind while you shop around.
Now that we’ve covered the most asked-about aspects of each brand, let’s check out what programs are in place to help homeowners save on their investments.
There’s no shortage of rebates and credits if you live in California. For Los Angeles County residents, you can net up to $1,000 in SoCal Gas rebates when you install a high-efficiency tankless water heater for the first time. You can also earn up to $600 in Federal tax credits. Select Rheem and Navien models qualify for these programs.
The total amount you may get back on your investment is $1,600, but not all tankless water heaters qualify for this maximum rebate and credit. The eligibility list is also subject to change amid tightening restrictions regarding gas-fired appliances.
And that’s Rheem and Navien in a nutshell!
Navien and Rheem: Two Top Performers
After touching on the main areas of interest for both brands, we hope you continue your search for the right tankless water heater for your home. With this knowledge, you should have a solid foundation to compare other brands and speak confidently when discussing options with a technician.
We’ve kept tabs on the top tankless water heater brands for over 15 years. While we have our partners, like Noritz, Navien, and Takagi, we also want to recognize the merits of other brands, like Rheem.
If you’re interested in installing a tankless water heater in your home or just want to talk about your options, get in touch with the buttons below or by using our online scheduler.
Basing your final decision on one comparison isn’t advised. If you’d like to continue your research, check out our other brand comparisons like Noritz vs. Rheem tankless water heaters and Noritz vs. Navien tankless water heaters.
Additionally, take a deep dive into Navien as a brand with our Navien Tankless Water Heater Guide to get a clear picture of how the company positions itself in the industry.