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The primary cause of high energy use in American residences is boiling water appliances. These heaters are engineered to function continually using an internal thermostat, addressing substantial energy requirements. Nonetheless, you can control this by choosing a smart water heater, or improving your existing one, which enables you to monitor and modify its operation anytime, anywhere via your smartphone.

Option 1: Retrofit your Existing Water Heater

To avoid a large capital expenditure, you can retrofit your existing water heater to allow for some smarter controls. One method, shown below, involves a high-current contactor which sits in between your circuit breaker and the water heater. That high-current contactor is controlled by a Wi-Fi relay which provides the means to control the power to your water heater.

Another option is a Wi-Fi enabled Water Heater switch, like this one from Aquanta. The only problem with this is it relies on the internet so if you're service goes down, you may be without hot water!

Option 2: Install a New Smart Water Heater

Looking for the most futuristic smart water heater on the market? Look no further with Whirlpool’s line of energy-smart water heaters.

Top Features
  • Energy Smart mode
  • Electronic thermostat
  • Dry Fire detection feature

Whirlpool’s energy-smart water heaters are some of the most feature-packed devices found anywhere on the market. It’s got the usual standard features such as an accompanying app and the ability to send notifications. 

However, they have also gone the extra mile and set up an intelligent system that learns from user patterns and ambient temperatures to develop unique profiles. This adds another extra layer of energy efficiency and allows a lower amount of energy consumption. 

Another defining feature is the use of an electronic thermostat instead of the traditional mechanical ones. Although this might increase the price, these are very reliable and less prone to wear and tear.

Another noteworthy characteristic is the Dry Fire detection feature. This controls the two elements independently preventing dry fires when the top element heats up when the tank is half full.

Finally, these water heaters by Whirlpool are smart grid ready, allowing them to be controlled with the push of a button.

What I liked
  • These smart water heaters by Whirlpool feature touch screen control.
  • They feature a real-time Diagnostics mode.
  • These smart water heaters by Whirlpool are smart grid ready.
  • They are self-cleaning water heaters with fitted dip tubes.
What I didn't like
  • They are slightly more high-end than other smart water heaters on this list.

Tech Specs

Nominal Gallon Capacity: 40, 50, 80
Wattage: 4500
Warranty: 12 years for most models excluding the 345706 and 345707 item numbers which only provide a 9-year warranty.
UEF: 0.93
Runner Up
LeakWatch and LeakShield functions

The AO Smith smart water heaters are simple to use and very reliable.

Top Features
  • LeakWatch and LeakShield functions
  • Increased efficiency
  • Pressure relief valves

AO Smith is one of the best water heater manufacturers around today, and their lineup of smart devices is no exception. The smart features embedded into their water heaters provide intelligent, manual, and low-power controls. 

In terms of safety features, they have integrated their LeakWatch and LeakShield systems that detect leaks and automatically shut down the system. On top of that, their temperature and pressure relief valves come pre-installed straight from the factory, to ensure that they have not been tampered with. 

Another noteworthy positive is their high-efficiency rating. This is due to AO Smith’s Incoloy stainless steel heating element and intelligent Energy Smart mode. This makes the heater three times more efficient than traditional water heaters. 

However, the diagnostics are not very refined, as there are no dedicated sensors for the heating elements and thermostats. This makes it difficult to perform repairs, especially for a beginner. 

With that being said, AO Smith provides a premium-grade smart water heater at an affordable price making them a top choice for many homeowners.

What I liked
  • These smart water heaters by AO Smith are smart grid ready.
  • They feature 3 different operating modes.
  • They offer superior heating performances through Incoloy glass-coated heating elements.
  • Each smart water heater feature a self-cleaning ceramic tank.
What I didn't like
  • There are no dedicated sensors for elements and thermostats.

Tech Specs

Nominal Gallon Capacity: 40, 50
Wattage: 5500
Warranty: 9 years
UEF: 0.92
High Performance
Dedicated EcoNet Application

The Rheem Prestige and the Rheem Classic Plus have all the basics covered when it comes to smart water heating.

Top Features
  • Automatic leak detection system: LeakGuard and LeakSense
  • Dedicated EcoNet application
  • Conventional construction for easier replacement

Rheem’s lineup of smart water heaters is impressive and doesn’t really lack in any major areas.

First off, their automatic leak detection system is able to detect leaks pooling up at the bottom of the tank. This shuts down the inlet line when it has detected more than 20 ounces of water.

It also notifies you via the supporting EcoNet app to monitor the heater’s performance. The app allows you to monitor and control the temperatures remotely. It also allows you to set up the Vacation mode (a low-power mode that prevents the tank from freezing) and to generate weekly, monthly, and yearly energy-saving reports. 

On top of that, these smart water heaters by Rheem take the shape of regular heaters allowing for an easy swap-in with your old traditional water heater tank.

What I liked
  • Both of the smart water heaters by Rheem feature self-cleaning tanks to avoid sediment buildup.
  • Each heater features a health indicator for rolling elements.
  • They are designed with leak sensors that are easy to replace.
  • Their system features a Diagnostics Mode function for quick and easy repair.
What I didn't like
  • They lack some smart features.
  • The Rheem Classic Plus does not have the LeakGuard system.

Tech Specs (Rheem Prestige)

Nominal Gallon Capacity: 40, 50, 55 
Wattage: 4500, 5500 
Warranty: 12 years for the tank and individual parts
UEF: 0.93

Features to Look Out for In Smart Water Heaters

Energy Efficiency

Efficiency is the biggest advantage that smart water heaters have over their traditional, dated versions. Smart water heaters have improved sensors and specialized software to monitor temperatures and make changes accordingly. Therefore, they are able to maintain the temperatures at optimal levels without overheating the water. 

In addition, with improved efficiency comes better electricity management. This would allow you to cut down on your electricity bills by a significant margin. Also, the smart integration allows users to control the device and set routines, allowing for greater efficiency. 


Smart water heaters are also considered safer than conventional water heaters. This is because they use sensors to detect the water conditions, so they are capable of maintaining the water at higher temperatures.

This high temperature helps kill bacteria and germs that flourish in lukewarm water. If this bacteria enters the body, it can result in flu-like symptoms. Therefore, it’s possible to heat the water regularly to kill any dangerous bacteria. 


Smart water heaters also feature the ability to collect data and give you access to them wirelessly. They are able to provide you with real-time data on many of the following aspects. 

  • Water level
  • Water temperature
  • Power consumption
  • Alerts for any defects  

Tankless Water Heaters

If you want to minimize your energy savings even further, you can take your water heater to the next level with a tankless water heater. However, unlike the water heaters with tanks, you need electricity for them to function. 

Furthermore, they do not have any smart features and can only heat the water as it arrives. Therefore, the heating is not very consistent, and you might have to wait several seconds until the water reaches the set range. Fortunately, these heaters are more efficient since you only consume electricity when turning on the shower. 

The Verdict

Smart water heaters can help you save hundreds of dollars on your electricity bill and even more so when you have intelligent features switched on. On top of that, you can set up the Vacation mode whenever nobody uses it for several days.

Moreover, when picking out a suitable smart water heater for your home, it’s best to look for leak detection features, smart grid compatibility, and real-time alerts to get the most out of your new system.

Looking for the most futuristic smart water heater on the market? Look no further with Whirlpool’s line of energy-smart water heaters.

Top Features
  • Energy Smart mode
  • Electronic thermostat
  • Dry Fire detection feature


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