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Best Gas Water Heaters

To find the best gas water heater, we reviewed:
  • 1. Performance
  • 2. Capacity
  • 3. Cost
  • 4. Uniform Energy Factor (UEF)
  • 5. Lifespan
  • 6. Warranty
Best gas water heaters illustrated on a vector image illustration

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Best Gas Water Heaters

1. AO Smith ProLine XE Power Direct Vent 50 Gal. Gas Water Heater
2. Rheem Performance Platinum 50 Gal. Short Gas Water Heater
3. AO Smith Signature Premier 40 Gal. Gas Water Heater
4. Bradford White 50 Gal. Defender Gas Water Heater
5. Rheem Performance 40 Gal. Tall Gas Water Heater

If you’re searching for the best gas water heater, you’re likely overwhelmed. After all, there are hundreds of options to choose from. Fortunately for you, guides like ours are built to help you sort through the B.S. and find the right model for your home. Sound good? Let’s jump in.

Best Overall

AO Smith Signature Premier 40 Gal​

AO Smith ProLine XE Power Direct Vent 50 Gal

Powerful, affordable, and perfect for small to medium sized homes.

According to our grading scale, the ProLine® XE Power Direct Vent gas water heater is one of the best on the market. With a 50 gallon capacity and 65,000 BTU burner, it’s enough to supply a small to medium household with plenty of hot water. 

Overall Score: 27/30

Performance: 5/5 

This model has a First-Hour Delivery rating of 118 gallons. The recovery rate is 64 gallons per hour. 

Capacity: 5/5

This water heater features a 50-gallon tank capacity (nominal) and 48-gallon storage capacity. This could serve a household with up to 4 people. 

Cost: 4/5

At about $990, this gas water heater is a higher median-priced model, considering the average cost of $400 to $1,600. It offers superior performance and a good capacity for the price. 

UEF Rating: 5/5

The ProLine model has a 0.73 Uniform Energy Factor rating, which is quite good. It is ENERGY STAR certified and meets LowNOx emissions requirements. 

Lifespan: 4/5

Expect this model to last longer than the limited warranty covers, as industry averages indicate it could last up to 12 years with regular maintenance. 

Warranty: 4/5

A 6-year limited warranty covers the inner tank, component parts, and returns of defective units.


Rheem Performance Platinum 50 Gal​

Rheem Performance Platinum 50 Gal

A smart choice for an energy-efficient gas water heater with a great warranty.

The Rheem Performance Platinum 50-gallon gas water heater is a smart choice for consumers seeking a solid warranty on an energy-efficient appliance. This model comes with one of the most inclusive warranties – 12 years limited warranty on the glass-lined tank and parts, plus a 3-year warranty for in-home labor – and features a 40,000 BTU burner. 

Overall Score: 26/30

Performance: 3/5

This model has a First-Hour Delivery rate of 87 gallons. It has a recovery rate of 40.4 gallons per hour.  

Capacity: 5/5

This model has a 50 gallon capacity, enough for 3-5 people depending on water usage. 

Cost: 4/5

At about $660, this model is one of the more affordable gas water heaters on the market. 

UEF Rating: 4/5

The Rheem Performance Platinum 50 gallon model has a Uniform Energy Factor rating of 0.63. It is ENERGY STAR certified and meets Low NOx emissions requirements.  

Lifespan: 5/5

Consumers report this model lasts 12+ years. The included warranties ensure you get at least 12 years’ usage out of it. 

Warranty: 5/5

This model comes with a limited 12-year warranty on the tank and components. It also comes with a 3-year in-home labor warranty for any work that needs to be done on the water heater within that time.


AO Smith Signature Premier 40 Gal​

AO Smith Signature Premier 40 Gal

One of the best gas water heaters on the market due to its size and price.

The A.O. Smith Signature Premier 40-Gallon gas water heater is widely considered one of the best gas water heaters on the market. It has advantages in its smaller size, price point, warranty coverage, and performance. It’s equipped with special self-cleaning and safety features. 

Overall Score: 24/30

Performance: 3/5

A 40,000 BTU burner and First-Hour Delivery rate of 70 gallons make this model’s performance above average. The recovery rate is 41 gallons per hour. 

Capacity: 4/5

This model has a 40-gallon tank capacity, enough for a household containing up to 4 people. 

Cost: 4/5

At about $629, this water heater has a median cost, considering the average gas water heater cost range of $400 to $1,600. 

UEF Rating: 3/5

The Uniform Energy Factor rating for this model is 0.59. This model is not ENERGY STAR certified, but is still considered energy-efficient. 

Lifespan: 5/5 

This model has a longer than average lifespan, reaching the upper end of the expected lifespan for gas water heaters at about 12 years. 

Warranty: 5/5

An included 12-year limited warranty gives homeowners peace of mind by covering the inner tank and any needed component or part replacements.


Bradford White 50 Gal. Defender​​

Bradford White 50 Gal. Defender Gas Water Heater

Enough for most homes, this water heater packs a serious punch (and looks great).

Overall Score: 22/30

Performance: 4/5

This model has a 40,000 BTU burner and a First-Hour Delivery rate of 81 gallons. The recovery rate is 64.8 gallons per hour. 

Capacity: 5/5

This water heater tank’s capacity is 50 gallons, which should be enough for a household with four people. 

Cost: 4/5

The cost of this water heater is about $690, which is considered well within the average range for gas water heaters ($400 to $1,600). 

UEF Rating: 3/5

A Uniform Energy Factor rating of 0.63 makes this model energy-efficient, but it is not ENERGY STAR certified. 

Lifespan: 3/5

Expect this model to last up to 8 years, extending its included warranty coverage. It may last longer with regularly scheduled maintenance. 

Warranty: 3/5

This model comes with a 6-year limited warranty on the inner tank and components.


Rheem Performance 40 Gal​​

Rheem Performance 40 Gal. Tall Gas Water Heater

One of the best gas water heaters for homeowners on a budget.

The Rheem Performance 40-gallon gas water heater is a great budget choice. It has a narrow profile, so it can easily fit into very small spaces. With a limited warranty covering the tank, parts, and in-home labor, you can rest easy knowing most issues will be covered. The smaller tank size of 40 gallons is ample for a household with up to 4 people. 

Overall Score: 20/30

Performance: 3/5

The Rheem Performance 40-gallon gas water heater has a 36,000 BTU burner and a First-Hour Delivery rate of 68 gallons. The recovery rate is 36.4 gallons per hour.

Capacity: 3/5

This model’s capacity is 40 gallons. This is adequate for a household with 2-4 people living in it and average hot water usage. 

Cost: 5/5

This model is around $420, which is the most affordable model on our list. It’s at the base end of the average gas water heater costs. 

UEF Rating: 2/5 

This model’s Uniform Energy Factor rating is 0.58, which means it cannot be ENERGY STAR certified. It is still an energy-efficient appliance. 

Lifespan: 3/5

Consumers report that this model lasts longer than the included 6-year warranty. It is a residential economy model, though, so expect that this appliance will last around eight years. 

Warranty: 4/5

Rheem covers this model with a limited 6-year warranty on the tank and components that may need to be replaced. It also comes with a 1-year in-home labor warranty to cover the cost of any work that may need to be done on it.

Gas Water Heater Buyer’s Guide

What are the most important criteria to consider when shopping for a new gas water heater? We’ve found that performance, capacity, cost, Uniform Energy Factor (UEF), lifespan, and warranty are the most critical factors to consider for a new water heater.

You want to be sure the water heater works well, has large enough capacity to supply your household with hot water, is priced reasonably, and meets energy efficiency standards to save money over the long run.

But the best gas water heaters come with a good warranty to cover any parts or full replacements over the next several years. Here’s more information on what to look for when shopping for the best gas water heater. 


A water heater’s overall performance is a big deal. You want to ensure the water heater you choose can consistently and efficiently supply enough hot water, that it works well, and doesn’t take too long to deliver the hot water you need. 

The First-Hour Delivery rating (FHD) is important in determining how well a gas water heater will perform. This is a standard rating that is applied to every water heater on the market.

In the performance rankings for the five best gas water heaters below, we compared the First-Hour Delivery rating to see how well water heaters perform (supplying adequate hot water under normal usage conditions). 


A water heater’s capacity is another important factor to consider in your search. The capacity of a water heater determines how much hot water it can deliver. For tank models, this is directly related to the size of the tank. 

The number of people living in the home and the average peak hot water usage in the home are essential things to consider when deciding what tank capacity you need. 

Here’s a general guideline to tank capacity needs by household size and usage level:

Chart showing the best gas water heaters and the ideal sizes for your home

*Based on 3 gallons per minute shower head and standard bathtubs. Individual usage requirements may vary. 

It’s important to know the difference between nominal capacity and actual storage capacity as well. Nominal capacity is the number you see in gallons describing the general class size of a water heater (i.e. 60 gallons). 

Rated storage volume is the actual amount of water a water heater can store (i.e. 58 gallons). If your estimated usage is within a gallon or two of being too low, it’s best to opt for the next size up to ensure you have adequate capacity for hot water during peak usage times. 


The overall cost of a gas water heater is undoubtedly one of the most important factors when shopping for one. You want a water heater that fits your budget while providing all the features and specifications your household needs. 

Gas water heaters range from about $400 up to around $1,600, depending on the brand, model, capacity, and energy ratings.

Installation is an additional cost that should be considered. Expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $600 to have a gas water heater installed.

Even if you’re pretty handy with DIY projects around the house, leave water heater installation up to a professional. It can be dangerous or cause expensive damage if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.

Learn why in our guide on Can a Homeowner Install a Water Heater?

When you consider the cost of a water heater and installation, don’t forget to factor in any energy savings a water heater will provide over time. Energy Star certified gas water heaters have this estimate printed directly on the tank itself. 

Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) Rating

Another thing savvy consumers should consider when looking for a new gas water heater is the Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) rating.

This rating was created by the Department of Energy and is industry standardized. It’s a great tool to compare the energy efficiency and performance of different water heater models side-by-side. 

The UEF rating takes the performance (First-Hour Delivery), estimated annual energy costs, and the water heater’s usage bin into account. 

Water heater usage bins are four basic categories all water heaters fit into:

1. Very Small (10 gal/day)
2. Low (38 gal/day)
3. Medium (55 gal/day)
4. High (84 gal/day)

These bins are an important part of the overall UEF rating, given in a decimal format. The UEF rating allows you to compare water heaters in the same bin, such as two Medium water heaters. 

The higher the UEF rating, the more energy-efficient the water heater is. For gas water heaters to meet ENERGY STAR certification criteria, they must have a minimum UEF rating of 0.64. 

So if you’re looking at two similar models but one has a UEF rating of 0.60 (doesn’t meet ENERGY STAR criteria) and the other has a UEF rating of 0.70, go for the second option with the Energy Guide label.

Best gas water heater buying guide featuring an energy star label

Image Source:

ENERGY STAR Criteria for Certified Gas Water Heaters

Chart showing the energy star ratings vs capacity for various size water heaters

To be ENERGY STAR certified, gas water heaters are also required to have a First-Hour Delivery (FHD) rating of at least 67 gallons per hour at 135°F outlet temperature and a minimum six-year warranty, including parts.

If you look for a gas water heater that is ENERGY STAR certified, you’ll know it meets or exceeds all these requirements.


Water heater lifespan is also important to consider when shopping for a new one. You should look for a water heater that will last as long as possible. 

Most water heaters are built to last anywhere from 8 years to 12 years. Look for one that is closer to the 12-year estimate to ensure it’s a durable and well-built appliance that won’t give out on you at the 6-8 year mark. 

Of course, a water heater’s actual lifespan depends on factors that only you can control, like the frequency of maintenance, average use, and thermostat settings. It also depends on factors like water hardness levels. 


The length of the warranty offered when you buy a water heater is important. So is the type of coverage a warranty offers. Some manufacturer warranties cover the appliance itself and any replacement parts needed during the duration of the warranty.

Look for the best warranty coverage you can find to ensure you get the most use out of your gas water heater throughout its lifespan.

Most warranties cover gas water heaters anywhere between 6 years and 12+ years. You will see that some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty, but these are often subject to strict rules.

For example, the water heater manufacturer Rheem offers a lifetime replacement warranty with the following criteria: 

– Must register the appliance online within 90 days of purchase
– Must request warranty upgrade from 10 year to Lifetime
– “Water heaters needed over lifetime” is defined as the period between the median age of first-time homebuyers (32.5) through U.S. life expectancy (78.8) divided by the life of the warranty

Other rules apply, so be sure to do your research on the warranties offered for any water heater you’re considering.

By choosing a model with a good warranty, you can save money on parts and potentially cut out the need for an expensive replacement during the decade.

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