Water Heater Ratings: Expert and User Reviews Ratings

In this report

Water Heater Rating Sources

1. Amazon.com Water Heaters, Amazon.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
Amazon.com makes it very convenient to browse through their water heater selection because you can sort by average rating, best sellers or for a specific brand. Traditional storage-tank water heaters get few reviews, but some tankless models receive feedback from more than 100 customers.
2. Lowes.com Water Heaters, Lowes.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
Several water heaters sold at Lowes.com earn hundreds of reviews from owners -- and sometimes over 1,000 -- addressing features, design, value, ease of use and quality. While many of the reviews are from site users, others were originally posted at manufacturer sites -- though monitored to assure that they are equally impartial.
3. HomeDepot.com Water Heaters, HomeDepot.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
HomeDepot.com is another good source for user feedback regarding water heaters. Though water heaters here get fewer reviews overall -- and some reviews are originally posted at manufacturer web sites -- several still get feedback from hundreds of owners, and it is easy to see those that edge past the pack.
4. HVAC-For-Beginners.com Water Heater Ratings, HVAC-For-Beginners.com
Credibility:
Richard Reed, a former HVAC technician and contractor, provides his take regarding the different brands of water heater. This page is for electric storage tank water heaters, but links are provided for almost all types of water heaters, including solar and tankless models. In each case, a "World's Best" brand is named, and it and brands from other manufacturers receive a rating from 1 to 5 stars. However, specific models are rarely named.
5. ConsumerReports.org Water Heaters, ConsumerReports.org, April 2015
Credibility:
ConsumerReports.org doesn't rate or rank water heaters, but they do offer an informative buying guide. Editors offer tips on choosing the right storage capacity for your home and compare the different types, including storage tank, tankless and hybrid hot water heaters.
6. BobVila.com Tankless Hot Water Heaters: Should I or Shouldn't I?, BobVila.com
Credibility:
Author Gale Steves reports on experiences using a Rinnai tankless water heater and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using tankless water heaters in general. Cost savings over time are the biggest benefit noted. A few readers also weigh in with comments. Feedback is mixed on whether tankless water heaters actually save money.
7. WhirlpoolWaterHeaters.com Products, WhirlpoolWaterHeaters.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
This is the home page for American Water Heater, which makes water heaters under license for Whirlpool. Customers can post comments on water heaters they've used, and some models have accumulated several hundred reviews.
8. Sears.com Water Heaters, Sears.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
Sears.com sells water heaters under its own Kenmore brand name  as well as a few others. Not all the water heaters sold here have accumulated owner-written reviews and ratings, though others have received enough feedback to be helpful.
9. Dulley.com Water Heating Topics, Dulley.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
Jim Dulley is a mechanical engineer and home-improvement specialist who writes a nationally syndicated column about energy use. All of his water-heater bulletins are detailed and informative, including information on solar water heater kits, tankless water heaters and energy-saving tips. He mentions some specific models in the downloadable bulletins, but much of that seems to be dated. Still Dulley's general buying advice on different types of water heaters is useful.
10. SupplyHouse.com Water Heaters, SupplyHouse.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
SupplyHouse.com is a plumbing supply company that sells water heaters on line. Many water heaters get feedback, and a few get lots. However navigation is a nuisance as you need to click through on each individual product to see its rating, or if it has received any reviews at all. Though lots of products are listed, only a few manufacturers are carried.
11. Energy.gov Selecting a New Water Heater, Energy.gov, Nov. 6, 2014
Credibility:
Energy.gov is the official website for the nation's energy department, offering advice and resources to consumers on making energy-efficient choices for their homes and lifestyles. This article is a buyer's guide to selecting an energy-efficient water heater, including the various types available, fuel types and costs. Links to type-specific resources are also included, with more in-depth articles outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each type of water heater. The site also includes lists of Energy-Star qualified models.
12. TerryLove.com Water Heater Forum & Blog, TerryLove.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
Plumbing and building contractors discuss water heaters and other plumbing topics here. Multiple contributors frequently update the forum, with posts dating back to 2006. There are some troubleshooting questions and answers, as well as general feedback on brand quality. Some of the brand comparisons and stories about getting repair parts are quite insightful.
13. DoItYourself.com Water Heaters, DoItYourself.com, As of July 2015
Credibility:
At DoItYourself.com, users can participate in an open forum regarding water heaters. There doesn't seem to be a lot of specific recommendations, though the general discussions of water heaters, types of water heaters, and troubleshooting water heaters when things go wrong can be insightful.
14. WaterHeaterRescue.com The Basics: The Best Water Heater, WaterHeaterRescue.com
Credibility:
This website is dedicated to water heater products, tips and resources for both contractors and consumers. While no specific models are mentioned or discussed, site owner Randy Schuyler describes what the best water heater should have, and discusses some brands and how they relate to aftermarket products that he sells. Elsewhere on the site you can find a fairly active forum that's a good resource for specific advice as well as troubleshooting tips.