Reliance Water Heaters Review

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Reliance may not have the reputation of its parent company (A.O. Smith), but it should. Owning a Reliance water heater means quality and reliability. To find out more about what makes this company so incredible, read on.

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About Reliance Water Heaters

Reliance started off as part of State Industries in 1981. When the company was purchased by AO Smith in 2001, Reliance continued as a full subsidiary. Today, Reliance produces some of the most environmentally friendly water heaters on the market, incorporating new technology as soon as it becomes available.

Gas and Propane

While the UEF tends to be lower on gas heaters, they’re actually better for the environment than their electric counterparts. NOx emissions, which have been a growing concern in gas and propane products, are a key factor in choosing a good heater.

While some modern water heaters still have unregulated NOx emissions, most are now designed to reduce the NOx content.

Reliance gas water heater


Ranging from 30 gallons to an impressive 100 gallons, Reliance’s range of gas and propane heaters includes over 75 models designed to provide for households of 2-5 people. While the majority of models have either 6 or 9 year warranties, several boast an impressive 12-year warranty – a rarity among even the best water heaters out there.

Reliance has made their line a lot more impressive than it first seems. The majority of these models have LEED qualification, and many are ENERGY STAR compliant. Over 60 models also have self-cleaning capabilities to reduce the amount of flushing required during maintenance periods.

With many models being either Low NOx or Ultra-Low NOx rated, these are some of the best water heaters there for people who want to go green.

Best Reliance Gas Models

ModelCapacity1st Hour OutputEnergy FactorWarranty
Reliance 6-50-YRVIT50-gallon79 gallons0.726-year
Reliance 6-50-GBFT50-gallon84 gallons0.696-year
Reliance 9-50-NKRT50-gallon81 gallons0.629-year


Electric water heaters don’t have the emissions issues of gas heaters, but tend to leave a larger footprint (after all, the electricity has to be produced before it can be sent to your home). For this reason, you’ll find higher UEF ratings but also much higher requirements to achieve ENERGY STAR compliance.

This isn’t to say that electric heaters are undesirable, and a good electric heater can often prove quite reliable. Best of all, it’s possible to use electric heaters when you have an alternative home power supply, such as solar, to save even more money.

Reliance electric water heater


As with their gas and propane heaters, Reliance has made their electric heaters some of the most environmentally-friendly and efficient on the market. The vast majority are LEED-certified, the tanks range from a mere 2.6 gallons up to 80. Six of the larger tanks are ENERGY STAR certified, and some models have a UEF well over 2.0.

As these water heaters can accommodate anything from single occupancy all the way up to large 5-member households, there’s almost definitely a model perfect for any household situation.

Best Reliance Electric Models

ModelCapacity1st Hour OutputEnergy FactorNotes
Reliance 12-50-EARS50-gallon75 gallons0.95Touchscreen; 12-year warranty
Reliance 6-20-SOMS20-gallonn/an/a1650 watts; 6-year warranty
Reliance 6-6-SOMS6-gallonn/an/a1650 watts; 6-year warranty


Tankless water heaters are the wave of the present (and foreseeable future). These heaters take up less space, waste less water, and give hot water on demand. Upgrading from a tank heater is often easy, making these an excellent choice for replacing an existing water heater as well as for new residences.

Reliance tankless water heater


Reliance tankless heaters are some of the best on the market, with 20 condensing models and 21 non-condensing. Most models have remote controls, and half of them are LEED certified and have ENERGY STAR ratings.

Several have LCD displays, making those models even easier to program. Another important consideration is that condensing models provide extra energy savings. With heat exchangers made of stainless steel or commercial grade copper and the possibility of tax credits or rebates, there’s really no reason to pass up a Reliance tankless heater.

Best Reliance Tankless Models

ModelGallons/MinuteMax BTUsEnergy FactorWarranty
Reliance TS-540-GIH10.0 GPM199,0000.9315-year
Reliance TS-340-GIH8.0 GPM180,0000.9515-year
Reliance TS-140-GIH6.6 GPM120,0000.9015-year

Reliance Water Heater Parts

Every Reliance model has a limited warranty, ranging from 6 years to 15 years on some tankless components. These warranties don’t exclude the need for regular maintenance, and some parts will invariably need to be replaced over time.

Anode rods, filters, heat exchangers, burners, valves, thermostats, elements, and pilot assemblies can all burn out or break during the life of your water heater. These parts are often easy to replace and should be checked during your regular maintenance checks.


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Where to Buy Reliance Water Heaters

Reliance water heaters can be purchased at Ace Hardware, True Value, Abt, Amazon, and various other local and online dealers.

Reliance Water Heater Contact Info

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  1. Worst water heater I’ve ever had…wires to the thermopile were burnt in to inside the wire insulation before the first year(didnt know that because the insulation was still on the wire ..hiding the break)….they sent a new gas control valve/ thermostat…course that didnt fix it…plumber noticed a brown spot on the insulation..cut it open…wire was broken…he wired it back together and it worked!! I ordered a new thermopile/pilot assembly, which was free but cost 50 dollars for shipping!!! The unit quit working again 3 days ago so I installed the new thermopile/pilot assembly as the wires were broken again!! Now this new thermopile/pilot will not work!! As far as I’m concerned this unit is junk!!!

  2. Warranty service SUCKS, will never buy another thing manufactured by Reliance or AO Smith (their parent company), or any of their other “Brands”

    50 Gallon with a 12 year warranty (model 1250-DARS) developed leaks after 6 years.
    Receipt has faded to unreadable in that amount of time and they refuse to honor the warranty without a legible receipt. Claiming that my Serial # has already been registered elsewhere (implying that I bought it used).

  3. I work for a home inspection company. I saw a Reliance water heater that was 36 years old with no leaks and still running strong. The bad thing with water heaters is you just never know what is going to wear out and when. There are so many factors on how the parts get worn. The maintenance, water, usage, and placement of the unit all affect how long the unit will last. The brand usually is one of the last things that make a difference.

    • Thanks for the comment. I generally agree with your statement but do think some manufacturers are slightly better than others simply because of the quality of their components. But I’ll also say that today’s water heaters have a much less of a chance of making it to 36 years even with proper maintenance.

  4. WH leaked (water gushing out the bottom) lucky I was home at the time. 6-40-NOCt 400. Less than 3 years old. The company sells a kit to stop the water if there’s a leak. Not very confident if they’re selling THAT kind of add-on. To their credit, I was able to swap out (same type/model) but had to pay for installation.

    My old STATE WH (made in USA) was 17 years old when replaced. Sill working..I should have kept it on, was working fine (‘cept for some bubbling, now-and-then).


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