I'm sure my opinion will meet with strong disagreement, but I don't think the brand name is what you need to look at. Most appliances are manufactured 1 of 2-3 companies, regardless of the name on them. I've got a Bradford White, and I recently replaced both elements & both thermostats with an "off the shelf" kit. Probably the same kit that goes in about a thousand other water heaters.
I think you need to be looking more closely at features, warranties and efficiency.