Rheem Brand Review: Variety with an Environmentally Conscious Outlook
If you’ve been shopping around for tankless water heaters, you’ve likely noticed the sheer amount of options that are available. While some brands are considered top-tier, others may leave you wanting. Rheem is one popular choice on the market, but is the company any good? Let’s find out.
After over 15 years of installing and servicing tankless water heaters, we’ve narrowed down our partners to a select few. While Rheem isn’t currently one of our partners, there’s no arguing about Rheem’s popularity and strong points. We’ll fill you in on the facts so that you can begin forming your own opinion.
In this review, we’ll cover the main categories to consider when weighing your tankless water heater options, including:
- Brand history
- Additional features
- Founded in 1925
- Aiming to eliminate manufacturing waste by 2025
- Hosts state-of-the-art training center for professional installers
Rheem is an American company founded in 1925 in Emeryville, California. The company first began producing steel drums but quickly expanded its product line to include bathroom fixtures, war equipment, and more. In 1930, the company shifted to producing water heaters and boilers.
Several decades later, Rheem became a subsidiary of Paloma, a Nagoya, Japan-based company. Now, Rheem produces heating, cooling, water heating, commercial refrigeration, and pool and spa heating products. This is a much wider scope than other tankless water heater industry leaders like Noritz and Navien.
Similar to other industry leaders, Rheem provides on-site training for professional installers at its state-of-the-art training facility. Investments like these are invaluable, as they ensure customers’ tankless water heaters are installed correctly.
The company is also making strides to eliminate manufacturing waste by 2025. Rheem is focusing on designing a line of tankless water heaters that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 50% as well as educating installers and influencers on sustainability and recycling practices.
But how much does going with a Rheem tankless water heater cost?
How Much Do Rheem Tankless Water Heaters Cost?
- Higher cost than other common brands like Takagi
- A couple of hundred dollars to $2,500 without installation
You might have guessed by now that Rheem is considered a quality brand. That type of quality often comes at a higher cost to the consumer, which only makes sense. While other brands like Noritz top out at about $2,300 for the unit alone, Rheem clocks slightly higher at around $2,500.
With installation, you can expect to invest between $4,700 and $8,500. This figure will depend heavily on your choice of contractor and their installation options. Some installers offer basic and premium installation packages that can influence your total investment.
The big caveat to this price range ties into the variety of options Rheem offers. Because Rheem offers electric point-of-use tankless water heaters that are suited for single fixtures, like a shower, the price floor is much lower than other brands. Some electric point-of-use models go as low as $250 without installation.
The good news is that Rheem offers warranty coverage to protect your investment for the foreseeable future.
What to Expect from a Rheem Tankless Water Heater Warranty
- Up to 15-year warranty
- Less than Noritz but similar to Navien
The standard warranty term for gas tankless water heaters is 12 years. Rheem offers both 12-year and 15-year warranty terms on select models. On the company's electric models, you’ll find five-year warranties that fall below the normal gas-based tankless water heater warranty.
While Rheem’s warranty coverage doesn’t reach the heights of Noritz’s 25-year warranty, it does match that of Navien’s. A 12-year warranty is still considered the standard despite Noritz going above and beyond.
A 15-year warranty is enough to secure your investment for quite some time. Considering tankless water heaters last around 20 years with proper maintenance, this coverage would take you right up to the point of replacement. If you live in an area with hard water, like Los Angeles County, this will apply double for you since hard water is known to damage heat exchangers over time without proper maintenance.
If you have a tankless water heater with a stainless steel heat exchanger, this figure can creep up to 30 if you keep up with maintenance.
With warranty coverage out of the way, many homeowners are curious as to how a tankless water heater can save them money. To get a grip on this subject, we’ll need to talk about tankless water heater efficiency.
Rheem Tankless Water Heater Efficiency
- Up to 96% efficiency
- High-efficiency models qualify for maximum California rebates and federal tax credits
Most people think of higher efficiency when they think of a tankless water heater, and that’s what you’ll get with some of Rheem’s top models. While other brands, like Noritz, outshine Rheem’s efficiency, the company still provides high-efficiency models.
Rheem boasts 96% efficiency on its latest and greatest models. This level of efficiency trails behind other leaders like Noritz and Navien by 2%. It outpaces more budget-friendly brands like Takagi by a slim 1%.
The company’s most efficient models qualify for the maximum $1,000 SoCal Gas rebate on offer to Southern Californian residents. For those in and out of California, there is also a federal tax credit available for 30% of the total cost, including installation up to $600. Going through the brief application process can save you up to a combined $1,600.
But just how easy or difficult is it to get your hands on a Rheem tankless water heater?
Are Rheem Tankless Water Heaters Readily Available?
- Readily available
- Parts available through Rheem or contractor
While Rheem is one of the more popular brands on the market, thanks to being partnered with Home Depot, its products are not in short supply. Purchasing a Rheem can be very different than opting for another brand since you can buy a Rheem directly through hardware stores.
In terms of parts, Rheem allows homeowners to purchase parts directly from the company. Even if your tankless water heater is out of warranty, you’ll still be able to get parts directly from Rheem.
Other leading brands, like Navien, don’t allow this freedom of exchange between the homeowner and the company. There are simply more strings attached regarding the purchase of parts.
One thing to note is that, in our experience, sometimes Rheem tankless water heaters are installed by unlicensed or non-specialized contractors due to the nature in which they are purchased. We think this is something to take into account based on what we’ve seen and fixed in the field.
So, Rheem is readily available at the drop of a hat, but what does the company really offer? We’ve touched a bit on the variety you can expect from the brand, but let’s get a bit more granular so you can get a bird’s eye view.
What Kind of Variety Can You Expect from Rheem?
- Copper and stainless steel heat exchangers
- Gas and electric models available
- Variety of models for different sizes of home
- Indoor and outdoor models
Few tankless water heater brands that boast the level of variety Rheem offers its customers. Rheem produces electric and gas tankless water heater models as well as both copper and stainless steel heat exchangers. You’ll find options that cover single fixtures as well as larger homes with up to four bathrooms.
Rheem’s IKONIC series is its top model and features all the bells and whistles. You’ll find Wi-Fi capability, smart controls, and an easier way to upgrade from a tank-style water heater, thanks to some clever venting options.
We mentioned both copper and stainless steel heat exchangers having a place in the lineup. Copper heat exchangers have been the standard since the beginning, but now, stainless steel heat exchangers provide higher efficiency and durability.
You’ll also find indoor and outdoor models to suit your home’s needs. Having both types of tankless water heaters is common in most brands.
We mentioned the term “bells and whistles,” but every brand has a different definition of that phrase. Check out what Rheem has to offer in terms of additional features.
- Wi-Fi compatibility
- Dual-heat exchanger design
- Built-in recirculation pumps
Every brand has its own take on additional features, and while not every model features the best bells and whistles, Rheem offers a spread of additional features. You’ll find Rheem hangs in there with the best of them in this department.
One major point of pride for Rheem is its dual stainless steel heat exchanger design. This feature is offered on select models and promotes greater durability and reliability. Rheem touts this feature as another way to garner higher efficiency. Despite this feature, Rheem’s top models still fall 2% short in efficiency compared to other brands.
You can also expect Wi-Fi compatibility on plenty of models of varying efficiency and styles. Wi-Fi is practically a necessity as far as modern tankless water heaters are concerned, so seeing it available on many models is heartening. This feature ties into EcoNet, Rheem’s direct control platform for smart devices.
And that’s Rheem in a nutshell.
- Qualifies for maximum rebates and credits
- Available at Home Depot
- Maximum variety
- Strong warranty coverage on some models
- Additional features
- Slightly higher price
- 12-year warranty doesn't meet other brands' warranty terms
Is a Rheem Right for You?
While you’re the only one who can decide whether a Rheem tankless water heater is right for you, we’ve given you the necessary information to begin forming an opinion. Now, you can go forth and conquer your research with a broad knowledge of how Rheem positions itself within the industry so you can make the best decision for your home.
After over 15 years of installing and servicing tankless water heaters, we’ve come to know where each major brand sits in the hierarchy. Every company has its merits, and while we are not directly partnered with Rheem, we do recognize its strengths and understand its shortcomings.
If you’d like to get in touch about upgrading to a tankless water heater, head over to our online scheduler or use one of the buttons below. We’re happy to help guide you in the right direction for you and yours.
For those looking for more information on tankless water heaters in general, download our Ultimate Guide to Tankless Water Heaters to get a better sense of what you can expect. If you’re curious about the brands we partner with, check out our brand reviews of Noritz, Takagi, and Navien to learn more. You can also see how Rheem stacks up against another top brand in our comprehensive Rheem vs. Noritz comparison.