We have to replace our gas water heater and our plumber wants to install an A.O. Smith. All of the other brands that he carries are more. I knew that A.O. Smith also makes Whirlpool and Kenmore units which aren't very highly rated. Are the A.O. Smith branded units sold by plumbing contractors any better than the Whirlpool/Kenmore ones? I read something on here about A.O. Smith units having trouble if they aren't kept in the clean room. Since we are putting it in a utility room, keeping the unit clean would be a problem.
The only other economical alternative we have is to purchase a GE model from Home Depot. We aren't planning on living in this home for much longer so we want to keep the price as low as possible. We don't want to purchase a unit that will give us any problems in the next few years though.