Comparing AO Smith Electric Water Heaters

Compare AO Smith electric water heaters and select the best model for heating water in your home. Explore the differences, top features, and most important details from the manufacturer specifications.

Electric water heaters from AO Smith are categorized into few groups, and they cover the standard or conventional tank-type and heat pumps (electric hybrids). There are various sizes, from the small and compact models for point-of-use service to the large whole-house units with a maximum tank size of 119 gallons.

While some of these models use advanced features for high performance and thermal efficiency, standard models are not Energy Star compliant while the other types, heat pumps, are.

AO Smith Voltex

There are three groups of electric water heaters from AO Smith that are available for residential home use:

  • ProLine XE – “BEST” and the most expensive
  • ProLine Master Standard – “BETTER” and affordable
  • ProLine Standard – “GOOD” and the cheapest

 ProLine XE

ProLine XE electric water heaters are the best from the AO Smith manufacturer, and that is why they are promoted as “BEST.” The group consists of high efficient heat pumps and advanced electric models with an electronic display.

Conventional type (with the electronic display)

There are six models total from the ProLine XE conventional type of electric water heaters, which utilize tanks with the capacity ranging from 40 to 55 gallons and built as tall and short. They all have two strong Incoloy heating elements with the power of 5.5 kW. These are made of stainless steel for longer service and are protected from dry firing.

What makes these water heaters different is the electronic user interface, which gives homeowners options for accurate temperature control and monitoring and select either Energy Saver or Vacation operating mode for saving purposes.

Heat pumps

The Voltex group of hybrid water heaters is coming from the ProLine XE series. Voltex models are the only electric water heaters from AO Smith that are Energy Star compliant, offering several operating modes, and utilizing advanced electronics and diagnostics.

Hybrids utilize two technologies, electric and heat pump, and are the ideal solution for those who want to go “green” and save at the same time. Hybrid water heating is what makes these units ultra-efficient, which is over three times more efficient than the conventional electric type. If you would like to know more about heat pump technology and Voltex, and see which of the two types and six models is the best for you, read our detailed review.

ProLine Master Standard

Electric water heaters from ProLine Master offer the same tank sizes (40-55 gallons) as the above ProLine XE series but are not performing as well.

The heating elements are also made of stainless steel but come with the standard power of 4500 kW, which results in lower recovery and first-hour rate. They do not have an electronic display like the XE models, plus the warranty is shorter - 8 years.

ProLine Standard

The ProLine Standard group is the most extensive group of all AO Smith electric water heaters, and it offers three types: Lowboy, short and tall, and 17 models with the capacity ranging from 20 to 55 gallons. The manufacturer categorizes them as “GOOD.”

Even designed as budget-friendly water heaters, they still utilize exclusive AO Smith quality features such as the DynaClean Diffuser dip tube, Coregard anode rod, Blue Diamond glass coating for excellent protection and reliable operation. They come with the shortest warranty of 6 years.

All the above models are used for heating potable water in residential homes and manufactured housings.

Mobile home series

Electric water heaters from this series are designed for water heating in mobile or recreational vehicles, and they cover models from 28 to 40 gallons with the sizes that can fit spaces where the standard model cannot. They come with a decent energy factor from 0.90 to 0.95, the first-hour rating from 47 to 54 gallons, and a lower recovery rate of 14 and 16 GPH (compared to standard home type).

Specialty models

AO Smith also produces specialty models, such as Lowboy, Table Top, point-of-use (POU), and Compact, with approximately 10 models to choose from. They are designed for special use in low demanding applications and homes where there is not much space for typical heater installation.

Features review

Electric heating elements. Top AO Smith electric water heaters are equipped with the Incoloy commercial quality heating elements so they can last longer than the standard type. Some of them, such as Voltex, utilize dry fire protection preventing premature element failure.

Self-cleaning dip tube. Specially designed dip tubes are made of durable materials to last longer, while the heaters can perform better as there is less sediment built-up inside the tank elements.

Quality tank protection. Metal tanks need quality protection against corrosion, and that is why AO Smith uses the Blue-Diamond commercial-grade glass coating and Coregard anode rods with a stainless steel core.

Enhanced-flow drain valve. Drain valves with the enhanced flow are standard on all electric water heaters, such as the gas-type. While cheap plastic drain valves are found on many standard models from other manufacturers, AO Smith uses temper resistant drain valves made of solid brass for longer life.

To choose the right model, first make sure to select the correct size, which will provide a sufficient amount of hot water to your family, anytime.

Except for the family size, it is also recommended to consider other factors, such as the recovery rate, first-hour rating, and efficiency.

If your family has two members, get a unit with a tank capacity of approximately 50 gallons, and for 7 or more, get a unit with a tank size of 100 or more gallons. For more info about sizing, check out this article.


AO Smith electric water heaters, so as the gas type, are built tough using commercial-grade components and premium features, which results in longer life and better performance.

Models marked as “GOOD” are affordable, have lower efficiency and higher operating costs. For the energy savings, they meet requirements.

Models promoted as “BEST,” which includes hybrids and XE models with the electronic display, are the most efficient, have a longer warranty, better protection, and utilize more choices.


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