Hot Water Tank: brand name Suggestions?

Any suggestions on Hot Water Tank brands?
What about "Sears"? Have their Hot Water Tank gone the way of "Crapmans?"
Thanks.
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If I were shopping I would buy by the EF rating, thats how much money goes into heating water, regular tanks are from 50-60 EF, on a 50 EF half of what you pay for is wasted. There are regular tanks up to 70 EF, Condensing tanks of about 83EF. There is even one of 93 EF. There are full comparison charts online. Sears is Sears, AO Smith is top quality. But a Sears might be just fine.
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Thanks for the reply.
For the basic dimensions and gallons I wanted, the local in-stock options all had an EF of 56 (Nat Gas). I shopped at 4 places, including Sears, and all were same EF, same height and width, and recovery gallons rating. Except for label (GE, Whirlpool, Kenmore, etc.) they really looked as if they could have come from same factory.
If I could have waited for special order, or willing to pay for basic rebuild connection to chimney and maybe a chimney flue re-lining, or electrician to re-wire basement and main electrical service panel maybe I could have gotten a higher EF.
What surprised me was a local requirement for a Nat Gas municipal permit and Nat Gas inspection of house by suburb municipal employee. See what this is all about when it happens. Cost me about $70.00, All furnaces and water tanks replacements get hit with this permit and inspection in my community. Just a guess on my part but it sounds like a flue drafting / down-draft and gas leak inspection for older homes.
Later
Phil
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There's only like 4 HWH manufacturers in the US, so they probably did. What cracks me up is the "Whirlpool" branded HWHs at Lowes. Whirlpool doesn't make HWH - it's a license so that Lowes can have an exclusive brand.

That annoyed me as well. It was a recent local change to code here the last time I had to change a tank. The inspector walked into the garage, glanced at the HWH, said that the 15 year old original drywall mud was too close to the flue as it passed through the ceiling and green tagged it.
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Yup, I'm thinking Rheem/Ruud, American Craftmaster, State, and one other whose name I forget - I think they only sell to contractors? Anyway, those are all of the mass-market (e.g. not high end with stainless tanks etc.) water heaters that you're likely to buy, and they are all comparable in quality and price. FWIW I see a lot of State heaters in commercial installations (I notice that stuff for some reason) but I don't know if that actually means anything.
nate
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wrote:

56EF is not good it means 56 cents of every dollar goes to heating water 60 is normal, there are 70-80 even 93 out there, If you bought it return it, this is something you will be locked into for 15 years, like an expensive kid. www.energystar.gov has ratings and other places do , maybe eece
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Phil Again wrote:

If Sears can claim 5HP on a motor that plugs into 110 AC (utter nonsense) then why couldn't they claim very high EF numbers on their water tanks? Who would know? Who could say they were wrong? I mean, i don't have any way of verifying any mfgrs claims to an EF number, i can only go by what they tell me it is. Id stay away from Sears, they have proven themselves untrustworthy. Eric
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Phil Again wrote:

According to the Jan/Feb 2004 Consumers Digest, American Water Heater makes Lowe's Whirlpool brand heaters, AO Smith makes Maytag, State, Reliance, Penfield, and Sears Kenmore, and Rheem-Ruud makes Home Depot's GE brand.
We bought a Sears 66-gallon electric with 9-year warranty a few years ago, and Sears was the cheapest for this size and warranty, $380, and it had two anode rods and long heater elements (longer means they run cooler and corrode less).
If the heater will be put in a tight space, possibly more important than the brand or manufacturer is where all the fittings are located, especially the temperature/pressure relief valve, which is usually on top but sometimes on the side.
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