Bradford White vs Rheem Water Heaters for 4 Categories


Are you having a hard time comparing Rheem vs Bradford White water heaters?

It’s important to understand what sets these two brands apart, especially when you’re looking to make a long-term investment in your home’s comfort.

This is why in this article we’ll compare Bradford White vs Rheem across 4 categories, so you can relax knowing you’re making an informed decision.

Bradford White water heaters have a self-cleaning system, require professional installation, and can only be purchased through plumbing supply houses, offering a limited warranty. Rheem heaters can be bought at big box stores, don’t need pro installation, and have prorated warranty.

Read on to learn more about the differences between these water heaters!

Rheem vs Bradford White Water Heaters

Both Bradford White and Rheem, have been making products for over 100 years. They’re among the largest water heater manufacturers, but which one of them is the better?

To make things easier for you, we’ll compare both brands across 4 categories.

#1 Purchasing

Let’s start the ball rolling in the purchasing department.

To buy a Bradford White water heater, you will need to shop at a professional plumbing supply house or contact your local contractor.

You will not be able to get one at your local homeware or big box store. I know this is not that convenient, but keep in mind that their professionals will make sure that your water heater suits your needs.

Rheem sells their water heaters at any big box store, directly to homeowners, or you can even receive help from a Rheem dealer.

You do not have to buy Rheem water heaters through plumbing supply houses or contractors. This makes it easier for you to quickly buy a new water heater.

#2 Installation

Now we’ve spoken about purchasing, we should also consider installation. How easy is it for you to have a Bradford White or a Rheem water heater installed?

Only qualified, licensed professionals can install Bradford White water heaters. You can also get in touch with a local contractor that sells Bradford White products. The contractor will install your water heater.

I get it, this may seem like a bit of an inconvenience. But, professional installation has many benefits. It ensures that everything is done as it should be.

plumber working on sink
Only qualified licensed professionals can install Bradford White water heaters

If the unit starts to malfunction after its installation, you will have no problems getting it fixed. Also, professional installation ensures that everything is done safely.

Rheem, on the other hand, is much easier to install, since you don’t have to hire a professional or local contractor.

This is great, especially if you’re on a budget!

#3 Warranty

Now, here is something really important to consider before you buy a water heater. That is the warranty.

What kind of warranty is available for Bradford White water heaters?

Well, that does largely depend on the type of heater that you buy. But here are some of the fundamental things you should know about their warranties.

  • Most Bradford White warranties are limited. Their limited warranty covers the glass-lined tank and component parts. It covers the malfunction of the materials or any errors in the installation. This will help you if you need any replacement parts or even a new water heater.
  • The limited warranty covers the first buyer. It also extends to any subsequent owners. (This is if the water heater remains in the same place that it was first installed in the US.)
  • You can contact your personal distributor to make a claim on your behalf for the warranty. They will sort out the claim for you so that you don’t have to.

What kind of warranty options are available for Rheem water heaters? Here’s a run-down of the most important information about their warranties.

  • Rheem offers 6, 9, and 12-year warranties. The more you pay, the longer the warranty for your unit.
  • The warranties are prorated. This means that they will only cover you for part of the initial cost. If there is a major problem with your Rheem water heater, it could be expensive for you to fix. This is especially the case if yours is already a good couple of years into its warranty.

#4 Self-Cleaning

A water heater with a self-cleaning mechanism will save you a lot of time and energy. In this case, Bradford White heaters are made with this mechanism.

Here’s how it works:

  • Bradford White water heaters use a hydro jet self-cleaning system. This system sprays water out of jets on the inside of your tank and kicks into action every time you run the hot water.
  • The self-cleaning system helps to prevent a build-up of calcium and sediment. Although sediment will still build up, it will not do so in big chunks.
  • It is still recommended by the manufacturers that you perform periodic maintenance, like draining the tank. This is to get rid of any pesky sediment that the self-cleaning system could not get rid of.
  • Because sediment will not build up in big chunks, the operating noise of the water heater is low. It operates quietly because there aren’t any chunks of sediment knocking about when you turn the hot water on.
  • The self-cleaning system helps to prolong the life of the water heater

Unfortunately, Rheem water heaters are not made with a self-cleaning mechanism. So if you choose this brand, you’ll need to:

  • Regular maintenance on the water heater. This is to drain the build-up of calcium and sediment inside the unit. Regular maintenance will help to keep the noise to a minimum. This is because sediment, when left to build up for a long time, is noisy as it moves about in the tank. This is especially the case when you turn on the hot water.
  • As the tank does not have a self-cleaning system, its life expectancy is shorter. This is especially true if you have a lot of scale build-up inside the tank. If you live in a hard water area, the life expectancy of your water heater could also be significantly reduced.


If you haven’t made up your mind yet, this FAQ section will provide you with the answers to some common questions about Bradford White vs Rheem water heaters.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Bradford White Water Heater?

These water heaters can last more than 10 years. However, please keep in mind that this can vary depending on the maintenance, water conditions, and usage frequency.

How Long Does a Rheem Water Heater Last?

With proper installation and regular maintenance, Rheem water heaters can last between 8 and 12 years.

Is It Better to Get a New Water Heater or Old Water Heater?

Newer water heaters are typically more energy-efficient and offer better performance. They may also come with warranties, so if something goes wrong with the heater, the manufacturer will repair or replace it at no additional cost.

Are Bradford White Waters Heaters Better Than Rheem?

As you have seen in this article, both brands have their pros and cons. The ultimate decision will depend on your needs and preferences.

For example, if you prefer to buy your water heater from a nearby box store and install it yourself, Rheem might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you prefer to have professional assistance and a water heater with a self-cleaning mechanism, you should consider choosing Bradford White heaters.


That about covers it! Here’s a quick summary of everything we’ve discussed so far:

Bradford White Rheem
PurchasingProfessional plumbing supply houseBig box stores
Professional installation required    
Mostly limited  
Mostly prorated  
Self-cleaning system X

You should choose a Bradford White water heater if:

  • You would like a personalized buying process with a contractor to help you choose the best unit for you
  • You want the peace of mind that comes with professional installation
  • You would like a limited warranty that offers a simple claim process
  • You need a water heater that has a self-cleaning system to cut down on maintenance

You should choose a Rheem water heater if:

  • You would like the freedom and the ease that comes with buying the water heater at a big box store
  • You would like to save money on installation

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Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more