Brand Comparison

Kenmore Water Heater Reviews

We’ve put together our Kenmore water heater reviews to determine if they are the best water heater option option for you.

by Josh Mitchell

Heating the water in your home has a lot of benefits. It is one of the things we take for granted until the hot water stops coming out of the tap. If you are in the market for a new water heater, you may be surprised at the number of brands and individual models out there to choose from. 

This article we've put together our Kenmore water heater reviews to determine if they are the best water heater option option for you. We will rate, review and compare Kenmore to other brands, and examine all of their models to help you pick the right one. 

Kenmore, as a brand, has a long history dating back to 1913, when the first Kenmore name appeared on a sewing machine. Since then, the company has spawned more home appliances than almost any other brand, with laundry and kitchen items being the biggest portion of the name. 

However, HVAC, plumbing, and every other aspect of home life are touched by Kenmore, who also specializes in fixtures, heating and cooling, as well as air and water purification. One such division controls water heaters. 

Kenmore doesn’t directly manufacture their water heaters, though. That job is delegated to State water heaters, a division of plumbing giant AO Smith. The Kenmore name, branding, and dedication to excellence, though, are evident in every model produced. 

History Of The Kenmore Company

Types Of Kenmore Water Heaters Available 

Kenmore makes several types of water heaters, and they can be broken down into three categories: electric, gas-fueled, and hybrid. Let's take a closer look at these categories so you know which is right for you. 

Electric (Whole House) 

Electric water heaters are the most common and popular models. Most brands make more gas models than electric ones. This is due to the variables required by gas units (see below). The Kenmore electric models feature thermal protection and other safety features to keep you and the water heater safe. 

There are also multiple styles, including tall tank, under-counter models, and short tank models for tight area installations. You will also find most of the models use glass-lined inner tanks, foam insulation for heat loss prevention and are Energy Star certified. 

Gas (Whole House) 

Gas fueled models are broken down into more categories based on a few factors such as gas type and venting needs. Natural gas and propane are the most common gas fuel sources. And Kenmore has different venting to meet your needs, including atmospheric, direct flow, and power vented. 

You will find plenty of safety features, easy installation steps, and low cost, high efficient models. Kenmore knows what it takes to keep costs down for water usage, gas consumption, and heat retention. You will find all of this and more in these gas fueled models. 

Hybrid 

Hybrid water heaters are not as popular right now because of their much higher initial costs. A hybrid electric water heater uses about half (or less) of the normal electricity of a water heater to heat the water. It also uses hot air produced by the system that is otherwise normally vented off to help heat the water. 

While these units are a little larger and cost almost double to purchase and install, they pay for themselves by being extremely efficient. Kenmore makes a few hybrid models, though, and it is expected that more will be produced as this type gains popularity. 

Why Do So Many Customers Choose Kenmore? 

Kenmore is a well-known name in the home comfort industry. What makes them so popular? Let’s take a look at the factors of the brand’s notoriety and recognition. 

Manufactured in the USA 

For over 100 years, the Kenmore brand has manufactured and produced their products right here in the USA. With plants run by State water heaters in Tennessee. All parts, production, and assembly are conducted within the states while the rest of the corporation produces in plants all over the country. 

Wide Variety of Sizes 

The Kenmore water heaters come in a large variety of sizes. Both in physical size and tank capacity, you can find a model that will fit your needs for installation space as well as hot water delivery. 

Energy Star Certified 

Energy Star certification tells the consumer that that particular model is rated on wattage input and BTU output to be at or above minimum standards for modern efficiency. The high efficient models from Kenmore are Energy Star rated, furthering their commitment to cost-effective and valuable products. 

Safety Features 

Heating water is generally a safe endeavor. However, there are things that can go wrong. From dry firing to leaks and combustion issues, safety features are needed to ensure the tank's integrity, the safe use of the machine and your home, possessions, and even yourself. 

Kenmore water heaters offer state-of-the-art monitoring and sensing features to ensure the safe operation of their equipment. 

Lengthy Warranty 

Standard water heater warranties last about 6 years. This should be the minimum warranty coverage length you accept for a new model. Kenmore offers several warranty lengths of various coverage, depending on the model and where it is purchased. 


Unique Features of Kenmore Hot Water Heaters 

Like all brands, Kenmore has several manufacturing and safety features unique to their name. Below we look at the most important features or options to find out what makes them a viable purchasing option. 

Foam Insulation With High R Values 

Foam insulation is used for many different reasons, but the primary reason is sound dampening and heat retention. With Kenmore, their foam insulation between the inner and outer tanks are high R-value foams, which significantly reduce heat transfer from the heated water inside and the colder air outside.  

Glass-Lined Tanks 

Glass lining is not a technically unique feature. There are, however, various types of glass lining, from proprietary makes to more general application uses. Kenmore has a proprietary sand and silica blend glass that clings to the inner tank preventing the mineral and sediments inside from corroding the tank from the inside out. 

Factory-Installed Temperature & Pressure Valves 

Temperature and Pressure relief valves aren't always easily accessible or made from the best materials. These all-important valves should be top-mounted for easiest access and made from stainless steel to work even with constant water temperature changes. Kenmore uses top-mount stainless valves for all of their models. 

Fits In Small Storage Spaces 

Kenmore also understands that not everyone has a dedicated water heater closet and that installation locations vary greatly. They make a lot of smaller models designed for tight space installation and even under counter placement. No matter how much (or little) room you have, there is a Kenmore model for you. 

California Energy Codes Compliant (Selected Models) 

California has specialized efficiency, material, and output regulations, and Kenmore makes units designed specially to meet them all. If you live in California, you can shop their specialized section and know that any mode you choose from that Code Compliant category will meet all standards and regulations of the state. 


Kenmore Hybrid Water Heater Reviews 

The Kenmore line of water heaters isn't as extensive as other brands. However, the options they give you are better than most mid-range units out there for sale, and the Kenmore name means you are getting a durable and reliable water heater. 

There are three main categories of water heater types, including electric, gas, and hybrid. In this Kenmore water heater review section, we will look at each category a little closer to help you decide which type is right for you and your family’s hot water needs. 

Kenmore Electric Water Heaters 

Kenmore Electric Water Heater Reviews

The electric heaters are all tanked models and with varying degrees of quality parts.

That is not to say the lower-end models are low quality. Instead, it only implies the higher-end models are of much more premium quality. 

You will find that the electric models are easy to install and come in physical sizes that meet anyone’s needs.

Whether you have a full water heater closet or need to fit one in a tight or short area, there is a size for you. 

The capacity sizes, though, are less varied. You will find only 40 or 50 gallon models available, which are ideal for families ranging in size from 2 to 6 members. The 40 gallon model comes with Cobalt blue glass-lined inner tank, thermal overheat protection, and auto-shut-off safety features. 

To prolong the life, the two models also come with self-cleaning dip tubes that prevent sediments and minerals from resting long on the bottom. The 50-gallon size also has the Kenmore Smart Electric Water Heater Module. This module makes it possible to connect the water heater to the Kenmore app for management, modes of operation, and temperature control. 

Kenmore Electric Water Heater Specs

Capacity 

40, 50 Gal 

Heating Efficiency 

Up to 65000 BTU Input 

First Hour Output 

Up to 78 Gallons 

Flow Rate 

Average 59 Gallons Per Minute 

Durability 

Cobalt glass lines stainless steel 

Installation Costs 

Average installation fees of $1000 

Operating Cost 

Range between $29 and $42 per month 

Safety Features 

Thermal overheat protection, auto shut off, dry fire protection 

Warranty 

12 years 

Kenmore Gas Water Heaters 

The gas fueled water heaters run on either natural gas or liquid propane gas. These models cost a little more than their electrical powered counterparts, and the installation fees are generally higher as well. 

However, with the cobalt blue glass lining and foam insulation, even heat distribution, and more sizes to choose from, they give you more—more heated water, more readily and more often. The heat retention of a gas or LP model from Kenmore is astounding, and their efficiency is among the highest in the market from comparable brands.

You will find that the gas and LP models come in capacities of 40 or 50, just like the electric models. However, there is also a 74 gallon model. It is important, though, to note that each size also has different model types. Only the premium models (more expensive) come with dual anode rods.  

Kenmore Gas Water Heaters

Two anode rods are pretty common on higher-end brands but rarely seen in mid-range options. This gives you more time between rod replacement and less worry of corrosion from the inner tank. 

Also, all gas models come with the Kenmore 12-year warranty, giving you peace of mind and comfort knowing you are protected should something go wrong. 

Kenmore Gas Water Heater Specs

Capacity 

40, 50, 74 Gal 

Heating Efficiency 

Up to 82000 BTU Input 

First Hour Output 

Up to 101 Gallons 

Flow Rate 

Average 67 Gallons Per Minute 

Durability 

Cobalt glass lines stainless steel 

Installation Costs 

Average installation fees of $1200 

Operating Cost 

Range between $26 and $35 per month 

Safety Features 

NOx sensors, thermal overheat protection, auto shut off, dry fire protection 

Warranty 

12 years 

Kenmore Hybrid Water Heater Review 

Kenmore Hybrid Water Heater Review

If you are interested in higher efficiency and better overall heating of your home's water, look no further than the hybrid models.

Currently, Kenmore offers two hybrid models, and the only difference is the WiFi connectivity option. 

How much more efficient is a hybrid model? In short, more than double. On average, for mid-range models, the UEF rating is between 0.93 and 0.96. These efficiency ratings are considered very good and highly efficient. The Kenmore hybrid models rate a 3.24 UEF. 

The hybrid models also run very quietly, with a high-end range of only 51 decibels. Finally, these models come equipped with a large, easy-to-read LED panel. The one option comes with the Kenmore WiFi and app, while the other, with a slightly lower cost, does not. 

Both models come with a 12-year warranty, like the other water heaters of the brand. 

Kenmore Hybrid Water Heater Specs

Capacity 

50 Gal 

Heating Efficiency 

Up to 76000 BTU Input 

First Hour Output 

Up to 98 Gallons 

Flow Rate 

Average 64 Gallons Per Minute 

Durability 

Cobalt glass lines stainless steel 

Installation Costs 

Average installation fees of $1600 

Operating Cost 

Range between $26 and $35 per month 

Safety Features 

Thermal overheat protection, auto shut off, dry fire protection 

Warranty 

12 years 

Kenmore Compared Against Other Big Brands 

Kenmore is a huge name in the home appliance and machine industries. Air and water markets, though, are blanketed by much larger names. So how does Kenmore compare to other prominent names in the water heater industry? We compare Kenmore against Rheem and Bradford White to find out. 

Kenmore Vs Rheem 

Rheem is a large name in the air and water industry. The Rheem tankless water heater division is also their primary focus, with more tankless models than almost any other brand. Kenmore doesn’t have tankless water heaters to compare, and if you want tankless, Rheem is easily the way to go. 

However, for tanked models, Rheem is about mid-range and unremarkable in most ways. They are reliable, durable, and long-lasting. Compared to Kenmore, though, Rheem has many more models, different sizes and capacities. 

Kenmore has better tank protection, and the addition of WiFi capabilities and high-efficiency ratings put Kenmore slightly ahead of Rheem for the tanked models. 

Kenmore Vs Bradford White

Bradford White water heaters are one of the primary premium brands in the industry. With one of the most extensive lineups, most efficient and technologically advanced models, not even Kenmore can compare equally. 

With Kenmore’s small lineup of water heaters, you get a well-known brand name built by a competent brand. However, when it comes to selection, advancements, flow rates, and various water heater types, Bradford White has very few competitors. 

Kenmore has one area where they will win against Bradford White, and that is in costs. Installation and model costs are much lower than Bradford White. While Kenmore water heaters are advanced, affordable and reliable, Bradford White is just that much better. 


Installation Of Kenmore Hot Water Systems 

Water heaters can be a DIY installation if you have the proper tools, knowledge and understanding of plumbing and electrical systems. However, for warranty purposes, it is best to get a professional plumber or contractor installation. 

The hard part is finding a trustworthy and affordable contractor to get the project completed. If you can’t find a plumber or don’t know where to start, we can help. 

We have partnered with Networx to offer you a free app that will return contractors to perform the installation for you. The results are well-vetted, background checks, license checks, and local to your area. 


Where Can You Buy a Kenmore? 

Kenmore is a brand sold exclusively through Sears and Sears-owned companies. You can find Kenmore water heaters on the Kenmore or Livemore and Kenmore Direct websites, Sears websites, and Ace Hardware store sites. You will also find them in Sears and Ace Hardware brick-and-mortar stores. 

You will also find Kenmore water heaters for sale on 3rd party vendors' sites like Amazon. Many of these are older stock, still new-in-box, and retain the current warranty. However, it is important that if you do not buy direct from Sears or Ace Hardware, you ensure the warranty is intact and can be registered before you buy. 


How To Maintain A Kenmore Water Heater 

Maintenance for water heaters is something often neglected, even by the most diligent homeowners. However, water heaters offer low maintenance, and the replacement parts (see below) are DIY-friendly. 

The biggest thing to worry about is sediment deposits. To combat this issue, you need to flush the tank twice a year. To flush the water heater tank, you only need a flat head screwdriver and a garden hose. 

First, turn off the power and gas supply to the tank. Next, close the cold water inlet valve and then connect the garden hose to the drain valve. Route the hose to a drain or outside the home and then use the screwdriver to open the valve. 

You want to drain about 2/3rd of the full volume of the tank. Then close the valve, remove the hose and open the cold water inlet to refill the tank. Once full, restore power or relight pilot lights to re-enable the water heater to an operational state. 

If you are having issues with your water heater, if the water isn’t hot or the pilot light won’t stay lit, for example, check your owner’s manual. Each Kenmore water heater comes with an owner’s manual. 

Inside, you will find a comprehensive troubleshooting guide that will cover model-specific issues and offer suggestions to get the system working again. If your unit is still under warranty, you may contact the installer to find out if the problem is covered under warranty to save you money. 


Kenmore Water Heater Warranty: What Is Included? 

The Kenmore warranty is a blanket warranty. It runs for 12 years and doesn't change based on model or type. The 12 years covers all non-replaceable parts, which means things like thermostats, thermocouples, and anode rods are not covered. 

Labor and installation are also not covered. However, these may be covered under a labor warranty offered by the professional installer that completes the project. If there are manufacturer defects, part failure, or other issues covered by the warranty, you can file a claim with Kenmore, through Sears or Ace to get the unit repaired or replaced. 


Common Issues & Ordering Replacement Parts 

Replacement parts are easily found, and you can pick up what you need in-person or online. The most common replacement parts will be anode rods and thermocouple assembly. However, you may also need to replace other parts. 

For the gas fueled water heaters, for example, may require a new pilot assembly, which also includes the thermocouple. The gas control valve is also commonly replaced by professionals and DIYers. 

No matter which part you need, you should always get a second opinion, especially if the water heater is covered by warranty. This includes the burner assembly or one or both heating elements, which are generally covered under a labor warranty during the install. 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long do Kenmore water heaters last? 

Kenmore water heaters, though considered a mid-range brand, can easily last over a decade. With warranty coverage lasting 12 years, you will get at least that from your investment. In most cases, 15 to 20 years is not unheard of when the water heater is well cared for. 

How can I tell the age of my Kenmore water heater? 

To identify the age of your water heater, you need to only look at the serial number. All Kenmore water heaters have the year of manufacture as the first two numbers of the serial number.

For example, if your serial number is 14XXXXXXXX, it was manufactured in 2014. In some models, there will be a letter before the first two numbers (A14XXXXXXX), which can be ignored, and only the first two numbers are needed. 

How do you light a Kenmore gas water heater? 

The Kenmore gas water heaters use a push-button ignition system. Once the system is installed, connected, and tested for leaks, you only need to open the gas inlet valve and press the igniter button. While holding the button in for a few seconds, the pilot will light and stays lit when releasing the button. 

What is the Kenmore customer service number? 

You can contact Kenmore customer service through any Sears store or by calling directly at 1-844-533-6667. 

How do I reset my Kenmore water heater? 

Electric water heaters don't have reset switches or fault circuits. To reset the system, you need to turn the breaker off and turn it back on. By flipping the circuit breaker, you will shut off power to the microprocessor and water heating system, which will reset the water heater. 


Conclusion

Kenmore isn't as well known for their air and water systems. However, water heaters are still one of the biggest products they produce. Each model is manufactured by State water heaters in Tennessee for the brand. 

The Kenmore innovation, customer service, and attention to detail make this affordable water heater range. You won't find a long list of various models, but you will find tanked electric and gas fueled models that fit almost every need. For a cost and energy-efficient water heater, Kenmore is a solid option. 

Josh enjoys researching, testing and diving into home improvement & DIY products. He has a passion for tools, learning new skills and fixing the everyday problems that arise around the house.

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Blog
  4. /
  5. Water Heaters
  6. /
  7. Kenmore Water Heater Reviews: Hot Water Price Comparisons
Top