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The Best Heat Pump Hybrid Water Heater
Replacing your water heater is an overwhelming decision and one that can be difficult to plan for. From an electric water heater, to a tankless water heater, to a hybrid hot water heater, and more, there are many options out there. But it’s a decision that could save you—or cost you—thousands of dollars down the line. In fact, switching to a hybrid water heater can save you as much as $4,800 over the next 10 years.
We spent hundreds of hours looking for the best heat pump water heater on the market when we wrote our buyer’s guide. Read below to see our heat pump water heater reviews and what models we liked best.
Our favorite: Rheem Performance Platinum
We looked at every heat pump hybrid hot water heater on the market and our favorite is the Rheem Performance Platinum.
Lowest upfront cost
Rheem vs. AO Smith: The Rheem Performance Platinum is the cheapest heat pump water heater on the market at $1,672 for a 40 gallon tank and $1,699 for a 50 gallon tank. That’s $127 cheaper than the AO Smith Signature Premier and $383 cheaper than the Bradford White AeroTherm.
But for that extra $127 and $383 neither the AO Smith or the Bradford White come with any additional features. In fact, Bradford White’s AeroTherm model is less energy efficient and noisier than the Rheem.
Highest energy efficiency
If you look at the energy efficiency of these models you’ll see that the Rheem heat pump water heater wins on that front as well. Their Performance Platinum model has an energy factor of 3.75 compared to AO Smith’s 3.45 and Bradford White’s 3.39. That will lead to savings of about $10-15 per year. That’s nothing to write home about. But considering the Rheem is also the cheapest model, it’s the best bang for your buck.
Quietest background noise
The Rheem Performance Platinum is also known for being the quietest heat pump water heater on the market. It runs at 49 dB (a low hum) compared to AO Smith’s 51 dB and Bradford White’s 55 dB.
Runner up: AO Smith Signature Premier
In our opinion the second best heat pump water heater is AO Smith’s Signature Premier.
When we first published this review in 2020, AO Smith’s heat pump water heaters tied Rheem for the cheapest model. But since then AO Smith got more expensive than the Rheem.
AO Smith’s 50 gallon model starts at $1,799, which is $127 more than the Rheem. But AO Smith’s heat pump water heater is $256 cheaper than Bradford White’s heat pump water heater reviewed below.
Looking at the energy efficiency, an AO Smith hybrid water heater comes in second with an energy factor of 3.45 (compared to Rheem’s 3.75 and Bradford White’s 3.39).
Now it’s worth mentioning that the difference between an energy factor of 3.75 and 3.45 isn’t huge. If your plumber loves AO Smith, it’s probably not worth harassing them to install a Rheem. But it will result in a bit higher energy bill (probably about $10-20 each year).
Second quietest background noise
Background noise is another important consideration for heat pump water heaters. And here the AO Smith also comes in second at 51 dB.
Again, the difference between 51 and 49 dB isn’t very big. So it’s probably not worth picking the Rheem over the AO Smith just because it’s 2 dB quieter. But compared to the Bradford White, the AO Smith is 4 dB quieter. That difference isn’t massive either. But considering the Bradford White is more expensive, it’s worth going with the quieter option.
Overpriced: Bradford White AeroTherm
Coming in last place is the Bradford White AeroTherm. If you read any of the sections above, you’ll already know why we think the Bradford White heat pump is the worst option on the market.
At $2,055 for a 50 gallon heat pump water heater, the Bradford White is $383 more expensive than the Rheem and $256 more expensive than the AO Smith.
You’d expect that for another couple hundred bucks the Bradford White would come with a longer warranty. But that’s not the case. In fact, it’s 4 years shorter than the Rheem and the AO Smith’s 10 year warranties.
If you want a 10 year warranty you’ll have to shell out another $299 bringing the total cost $2,384 ($329 more than the AO Smith and Rheem heat pump water heaters).
Harder to find in stores
Bradford White hot water heaters are notoriously hard to buy as a homeowner. That’s because unlike Rheem and AO Smith that sell their hot water heaters at Home Depot and Lowe’s, Bradford White only sells their water heaters through supply houses and plumbers.
Other heat pump water heaters we reviewed
In addition to the heat pump water heaters we reviewed above, we also looked at the following models.
- Price: $1,916 (for a 50 gal. tank)
- Energy factor: 3.75
- Annual cost: $105
- Warranty length: 10 years
The ProTerra is Rheem’s top of the line heat pump water heater. But when we reviewed it, we discovered that it wasn’t much better than the cheaper Performance Platinum model.
For $200 more you get the same energy factor, annual operating cost and warranty length. The only thing they add with this model is a leak detection and auto-shut off feature.
- Price: $2,499
- Energy factor: 3.05
- Annual cost: $125
- Warranty length: 10 years
Stiebel Eltron is a German hot water heater manufacturer known for their high quality. But when we reviewed their heat pump model we found little reason to justify the $2,499 cost.
At an energy factor of 3.05 it is less efficient than Rheem, AO Smith and Bradford White’s models.
The only reason we could come up with is… it’s pretty cool looking. I mean look at that beauty.
Ruud, State and GE heat pump water heaters
And last, but not least, we tried to review the GE GeoSpring hybrid electric water heater, the Ruud heat pump, and the State heat pump. But all of them have been discontinued or bought by AO Smith, Rheem, and Bradford White.