Rheem vs. Takagi Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters continue to grow in popularity, and with that notoriety comes a slew of brands presenting their own water heating solutions. But how can you tell these brands apart, and is there really a difference? The short answer is: yes! But to unpack that, we’ll need to look at Rheem vs. Takagi tankless water heaters to paint a clear picture of how each brand performs.
With over 15 years of tankless water heater experience built-in the heart of Los Angeles County, we’ve taken stock of the latest and greatest hardware in the industry. We use our know-how to break things down for readers like you so you can confidently conduct your research.
In this article, you’ll walk away with a broad understanding of both brands and be able to continue your search for the best water heating solution for your home. To do this, though, we’ll need to look at both Rheem and Takagi in the following categories:
- Parts availability
Let’s get started with the backbone of both brands: technology.
Tankless water heater technology can extend to ease-of-use features like Wi-Fi compatibility, but we’ll be looking at a couple of different things for our purposes. We’ll check out heat exchangers and other advancements affecting tankless performance and comfortability.
Looking to Rheem first, the company boasts both copper and stainless steel heat exchanger models. Navien was the first company to bring stainless steel heat exchangers to market, signaling up to a 25-year lifespan and better corrosion resistance. On the other hand, copper heat exchangers usually last between 15 to 20 years.
On the Takagi side, homeowners will find a selection of copper heat exchanger models. While this sounds like an inherent negative, copper heat exchangers handle heat exchange about 25% better than their stainless steel counterparts. This material ensures water is heated faster, which can help provide more immediate hot water. However, you still won’t have instant hot water unless a return line and recirculation pump are installed.
Luckily, both Takagi and Rheem feature the latest in tech made to give homeowners instant hot water. Navien also popularized built-in recirculation pumps, but most major tankless water heater brands have followed suit. Thanks to their implementation, homeowners and technicians can avoid having to tack them onto a system as an add-on, and the expense will roll into the cost of the unit.
But technology like heat exchangers and built-in recirculation is only a part of the conversation. Another area many homeowners are keen on exploring is efficiency. This category is top of mind when considering lower monthly bills are often associated with tankless water heaters.
Efficiency is becoming more important to Los Angeles County homeowners as gas restrictions tighten. Takagi and Rheem strive to give homeowners high-efficiency options and are nearly neck-and-neck in this department.
Rheem’s highest efficiency model reaches a 96% efficiency rating. The brand is just 1% ahead of Takagi, which boasts a maximum efficiency of 95%. Takagi’s highest rating is the lowest possible regarding top-tier rebate qualifications but more on that later.
In this comparison, it’s not advised to solely base your decision on efficiency since the margin is razor-thin. Other aspects of these brands, like price and warranty, are also important to consider. Let’s drill down into price before moving on to the others.
Looking at the price of both brands, things get a bit more complicated due to the variety of options on offer. Some companies strongly emphasize gas-fired tankless water heaters, while others, like Rheem, include electric tankless water heaters in their lineup.
Rheem’s inclusion of several electric point-of-use tankless water heaters extends its pricing range beyond other brands. The brand’s electric models start at just a couple hundred dollars, while its gas-fired tankless units can hit up to $2,500.
Switching to Takagi, homeowners can expect to invest anywhere between $800 to $1,800. Value builds a strong case for Takagi, where other brands can’t compete. Some professionals in the field have said this indicates a “you get what you pay for” value proposition. This is something every homeowner will have to assess on their own, though.
So, let’s say you’ve decided to go all in on a tankless water heater, and the above prices suit your budget. What next? Well, there’s a bit more to account for regarding price since you’ll need your tankless water heater to be properly installed by a licensed and certified technician.
A Rheem or Takagi tankless water heater with installation can range between $4,700 to $8,300. There are plenty of factors that impact this range. Venting, piping, relocation, and equipment like recirculation pumps can all affect installation costs.
Another key factor that impacts costs is different installation packages. Some companies offer multiple packages, like basic vs. premium installation, with multiple add-ons and services.
In Los Angeles County, one add-on you’ll definitely need is some form of water treatment. Hard water runs throughout Los Angeles and can lead to early breakdowns and more severe issues down the line. Because of this, most, if not all, technicians will likely recommend water treatment.
An investment is an investment, through and through. So, how do Rheem and Takagi help you protect yours? Let’s scope out each brand's warranty terms to get a better sense of how long you’re covered.
Takagi and Rheem are mostly aligned on their respective warranty terms. While neither brand reaches the heights of industry-leading coverage like Noritz, they maintain above-average terms in most cases.
Both Takagi and Rheem feature wide-sweeping 15-year warranty coverage on most models. Where the brands diverge is Rheem’s 12-year warranty on select models. For reference, a 12-year term is the standard, a 15-year term is above average, and Noritz’s 25-year term is exemplary.
If a homeowner ever needs to replace their unit for a legitimate reason, both brands are keen on honoring first-time replacements. But a big difference here is that Takagi has been known to replace units instead of repairing them. While this sounds nice, the homeowner is on the hook for installation costs.
But let’s say you need parts rather than a replacement; how does each brand handle that process? Let’s take a quick look at how Rheem and Takagi handle doling out parts.
While we recommend seeking out help from a professional if you have an issue with your tankless water heater, we know there are a lot of D.I.Y. masters out there that can hold their own if given the right parts.
Homeowners can buy parts directly from Rheem, but Takagi only uses supply houses and contractors. This makes getting Takagi parts a bit more difficult for D.I.Y. homeowners. Conversely, homeowners can purchase parts directly from Rheem regardless of warranty status.
One thing to note about Rheem is that its products are readily available at Home Depot. The only drawback we’ve seen in the field is that sometimes Rheem units are not always installed by licensed or certified contractors. We’ve seen incorrectly installed Rheem units in the field because of this. It’s just something to consider when you’re weighing your options.
So, both brands protect your investment for a long while, but how can your tankless water heater put money back in your pocket right now? Take a look at the following section to learn about tankless water heater rebates.
Californian residents can look forward to plenty of rebates and incentive programs. In Los Angeles County specifically, homeowners who install a high-efficiency tankless water heater for the first time can earn up to $1,600 through SoCal Gas and the federal government.
The maximum yield for these programs is $1,600. Tankless water heaters with lower efficiency ratings will garner less of a return through SoCal Gas. Eligibility is everchanging as gas restrictions continue to shift, though.
With rebates out of the way, we’ve run through a wide range of topics to compare Rheem vs. Takagi.
Is Rheem Right for You, or Is Takagi Sounding Tried-and-True?
We’ve addressed how Rheem and Takagi compare in several key categories to help you jump-start your tankless water heater research. Now, we hope you feel confident putting this knowledge to good use and that it supports you as you look for the best water heating option for your home.
After working with the industry's top tankless water heater brands for over 15 years, we’ve come to understand each brand's strengths and areas for improvement. While we are currently partnered with Takagi, Navien, and Noritz, we enjoy keeping up with Rheem as it continues to make its mark on the industry.
If you’re looking to install a tankless water heater in your home or need to talk to someone about your options, book an appointment using one of the buttons below or by using our online scheduler.
It’s not advisable to base an investment on one comparison article. If you feel the need to continue your research, looking at other brand comparisons like Noritz vs. Rheem tankless water heaters and Noritz vs. Navien tankless water heaters can be helpful. We know that some folks might be on the fence about tankless water heaters, and if that sounds like you, it’s worth considering whether a tankless water heater is right for you.