Rheem vs. Kenmore

Industry leaders in heating and cooling, both Rheem and Kenmore have been in business since before World War II.


Though specializing in different areas of the market--Rheem slanted more toward commercial and Kenmore toward residential--both companies are at the forefront in market advancements and technology.

Formed in the mid-1920s, Rheem Manufacturing Company initially began making water heaters and has grown into an industry leader in heating, cooling and water-heating products. By 1936, the company was selling and shipping water heaters coast to coast in the United States. It did so up until the 1960s when Rheem entered the central air conditioning market.

Kenmore was established in 1927 when it made its first appearance in the Sears laundry appliance catalog. By 1936 Kenmore had sold a million laundry items, making it the foremost outfitter for in-home laundry appliances.


Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Rheem is a leading manufacturer of commercial boilers, pool heaters and air conditioners. In 1987 Paloma Industries, the world's largest outfitter of gas appliances, purchased Rheem, combining two of the world's leading commercial appliance manufacturers.

As a Sears brand name, Kenmore is marketed with the very popular Sears catalog. Making mainly residential products like laundry appliances and refrigerators, Kenmore enjoys a 50 percent higher market share than the next closest competitor.


Because Rheem is based more in manufacturing commercial, and Kenmore residential, products, there are only a few that each company makes. Rheem specializes in developing appliances and systems that are on a bigger scale. These products include entire home air conditioner systems and water heaters. Inside appliances, such as ranges, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers, are what make Kenmore such a reliable and popular brand.


Each company does make electric water heaters for homes. Rheem is a product line staple, and has been developing water heaters since the company's inception. Consisting of an automatic thermostat, a self-cleaning system and an isolated tank design that reduces conductive heat loss, the Professional Electric Series is one of Rheem's best sellers.

Likewise, the Power Miser 12 is a trusted product in the Kenmore line. The Power Miser 12 has a Super Limeguard system and a glass-lined steel tank, offering resistance to lime build-up and a longer lifespan.


Both Kenmore and Rheem have their niche in heating, cooling and water heating products. Rheem is more commercial based, doing most of its work with office buildings and entire home heating and cooling. Kenmore, on the other hand, is more focused on everyday-use products to the point that, according to Kenmore, "one in every three American homes contains a Kenmore appliance."

About the Author

A writer since 2002, Kevin Scobee grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and has appeared in "The Clay-Platte Dispatch," "The Maple Woods Zebra," and the award-winning "Park Stylus." Scobee was the sports editor at Park University, where he received a degree in journalism.