Bradford White and AO Smith are the two most popular water heater brands. Today, we are comparing the two, Bradford White vs AO Smith, to help you pick one.
Everybody knows about Bradford White and AO Smith, since these two brands make the best water heaters out there. For this reason, people get easily confused and making a choice between the two is indeed not that easy for them.
That is why we wanted to make a comparison – Bradford White vs AO Smith (sure thing, points are on both sides) so you can choose the best brand and water heater for yourself.
Bradford White vs AO Smith – Water Heater Type Comparison
Bradford White Water Heaters
Bradford White has been around for more than 130 years. Many people don’t know who makes Bradford White water heaters. You may be surprised, but the company is based in the USA and their entire operations as well.
This brand has always had the vision to produce the best energy-saving, high-performing water heaters, and they made it – they are now among the top brands on the world market (among the top 3 to be exact). 
It’s equipped with plentiful amazing features, including the advanced temperature control system, intelligent gas control, resettable temperature switch, and a flame arrestor. It is practically maintenance-free since the factory-installed Hydrojet Total Performance System prevents sediment buildups in the tank.
Gas Water Heaters
- 11 residential and 12 commercial models
- Low NOx models reduce emissions and maximize energy savings
- Defender Safety System
Electric Water Heaters
- ENERGY STAR qualified
- Multiple capacities, phase configurations, voltages, and wattages to choose from
- AeroTherm heat pumps with 4 selectable operational modules ensure optimal consumption, performance, and energy-efficiency
Tankless Electric Water Heaters
- KwickShot thermostatic and non-thermostatic models
- Compact size
- Noiseless performance
Indirect Water Heaters
- Suitable for use with both existing and new boilers
- Capacity up to 111 gallons
- Hydrojet Total Performance System reduces tank sediment buildups
If you’re wondering what is the life expectancy of a Bradford White water heater, the following lines can provide the answer.
- All models are backed up with 6-year warranties
- Standard warranties can be extended to 10 years while the life expectancy of Bradford White water heaters overpasses 10 years
- Extended warranties cover both the tank and the parts
Smith AO Water Heaters
Founded in 1921, AO Smith has been providing innovative water heating and water treatment solutions. This company is very well known for always taking a step further and paving the way for new technologies and revolutionary solutions.
AO Smith is also the pioneer when it comes to manufacturing solar hybrids and tankless high-efficiency water heaters. All of AO Smith’s models are Energy Star certified, which speaks a lot about their water heaters’ performance and efficiency.
One of the top-performing AO Smith’s models is the 50-gallon ENS-50 ProMax Short Electric Water Heater.
The stainless tank is coated with permaglas glass coating that maximizes its life and protects it from corrosion. The CoreGard anode rode aluminum anode serves the same purpose since it is of much better quality than regular steel anodes.
Also, the Dynaclean diffuser dip tube maximizes hot water output and prevents sediment buildup, which, again, extends the water heater’s life. This water heater meets all regulations of NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act) as well.
We already compared AO Smith and Rheem, a brand that is among the three most popular ones, right after AO Smith and Bradford White so make sure to click that link and get more familiar with Rheem.
Gas Water Heaters
- More than 37% of US households use AO Smith’s gas water heaters
- More than 60 models (liquid propane and natural gas tank water heaters) to choose from
- The average tank capacity is 40 gallons
Not sure whether 40 gallons would be enough for your needs? This article explains water heater capacity and how much water do you need based on the number of people living in your household.
Electric Water Heaters
- Their offer includes 30 electric water heater models
- You can choose between various wattages, starting from 120 to 1,600 watts
- AO Smith Signature Series water heaters are manufactured and designed to bring the most comfort in your life
Tankless Water Heaters
- 20+ tankless water heaters available
- Condensing and non-condensing units
- Most models in this category have an energy factor of 0.9, which means they are quite energy-efficient
- Most warranties provided by AO Smith are 5-6 years
- The average lifetime of AO Smith gas and electric water heaters is 9-15 years while warranties cover 5-6 years
- AO Smith tankless water heaters are backed up with 12-year warranties while their average lifespan is around 20 years
Bradford White vs AO Smith – Which One Should You Choose?
Bradford White and AO Smith are strong competitors. Thus, if you’d want to make a comparison between the two, you should choose several factors to compare, such as energy efficiency, longevity, and flow rate. Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work so you can get a clearer image of which brand would be a better choice.
All Bradford White water heaters have Energy Star ratings so you can know for sure they are efficient and energy-saving at the same time. If you decide to go for this brand, your energy savings will go up to 25% approximately, which means you’ll save some money along the way.
However, keep in mind that Bradford White water heater prices are slightly higher than AO Smith water heaters that don’t have Energy Star ratings but still consume a lot less energy than old-fashioned water heaters.
AO Smith provides 5-12 year warranties on their water heaters, while the average lifespan of their models is 10-20 years. Bradford White offers extendable warranties. You can go for a standard 6-year warranty or extend it to 10 years to have your peace of mind.
The average lifespan of Bradford White water heaters is over 10 years, which means that it is almost in the same league as AO Smith.
AO Smith water heaters provide a decent flow rate of 10 gallons per minute (GPM), while Bradford White water heaters provide a water flow of only 4.6 GPM but still, a fair experience compared to other brands.
Shortly said, AO Smith offers a better performance along with a better flow rate so you can enjoy hot temperatures and your showers more.
Speaking of performance, we just have to mention that AO Smith water heaters do make some noise while operating (although the level of noise is low, it is important to know that ahead if you decide to buy one of their water heaters). Bradford White water heaters are popular for their noiseless performance and beat AO Smith in this aspect.
Related: Bradford White vs Navien
There is no doubt that both Bradford White and AO Smith’s water heaters tick all of the boxes when it comes to performance and efficiency. Both are super-durable, although we must say that AO Smith still wins the day.
Bradford White, on the other side, gains the palm when it comes to efficiency and noiseless performance.
Lastly, if you expect longevity, solid and reliable performance, and a reasonable price, AO Smith should serve a purpose. If you want all this, plus an energy star rating, and don’t care much about the price, a Bradford White water heater should make the grade.