Kenmore Water Softener Reviews and Buying Guide

This article features an in-depth analysis and review of the four Kenmore water softener models. The analysis also covers the positive and negative sides that should help you find the best model.

Kenmore needs no introduction in the United States. Among other things, it makes high-quality water softeners that can meet the demands of any household. The following table gives you a brief overview of the main characteristics of each model.

Kenmore Water Softener Reviews


Rated Service Flow Rate (gpm)

Hardness Capacity (grains per cycle)

Hardness/Salt Efficiency

Kenmore 38350




Kenmore 38420




Kenmore 38300




Kenmore Elite 38620




Kenmore 38350

The 38350 is an excellent water softener for households of up to 6 people. It can get rid of 32,100 grains of hardness-causing metals per cycle. This Kenmore softener is NSF certified, which you should always look for in a salt-based water softener (most of them carry the certification).

The InteliSoft2 technology allows the 38350 to consume about 34% less water and 30% less salt compared to other water softeners of similar capacity. On the other hand, the Ultra Cleansing technology ensures there is no sediment in your plumbing.

Kenmore 38350

The softener also removes iron so you don’t have to worry about the purity of the soft water coming out of it. The Kenmore 38350 is equipped with a reliable high-flow valve which delivers a continuous flow of water without minimum pressure drops.

There is an LCD display for easy monitoring and device set-up. The display is easy to in all lighting conditions. This Kenmore is a point of entry water softener that can cover the needs of your entire household. It might require professional installation if you’re uncomfortable slicing up your main pipe on your own.


  • Affordable for most households
  • Works well with water of moderate hardness
  • High flow valve


  • 125-minute regeneration time
  • Maximum 1” pipe

Best for: This water softener is an excellent solution for medium-sized households with moderate water hardness.

Kenmore 38420

At 40,100 grains per cycle, this is the highest capacity Kenmore water softener on the market, which makes the 38420 a great option for large homes that use a lot of water or those with lots of minerals in the water.

Like all Kenmore water softeners, the 38420 is equipped with Ultra Cleansing and InteliSoft2 technologies to ensure optimal performance. One thing that makes this water softener stand out is the ultra-flow valve which is capable of 41% higher flow rate than the standard high-flow valve. This is of course required as you can hook up a pipe of up to 1-1/4” diameter to this Kenmore.

Kenmore 38420

The 38420 water softener also comes with a built-in monitoring system, which keeps tabs on your daily water consumption and calibrates its performance accordingly. There is also a convenient salt tank indicator which lets you known when to refill the tank and if the lid is open. The regeneration time of 124 minutes might not be one of the strongest assets of this water softener, but that’s par for the course for single-tank salt-based water softeners.


  • The highest capacity
  • Excellent value for money
  • A larger LCD display
  • Ultra-flow valve supports up to 1-1/4” pipe


  • Other water-conditioning properties could be improved

Best for: The Kenmore 38420 is an excellent solution for families of 6 or more who need a softener that can handle increased water demand.

Kenmore 38300

If you are looking for a compact, inexpensive, and reliable water softener, the Kenmore 38300 should be a great solution for you. It is the same size as the other Kenmore units but designed for a lower flow rate of 7.3 gpm and lower capacity per cycle of 24,300 grains.

That’s more than enough for young couples and those who live alone. It does a great job as long as your water hardness is not more than 35 grains per gallon.

As mentioned, this Kenmore softener features the same InteliSoft2 technology. On average, the unit uses about 32% less water and 20% less salt compared to water softeners of similar capability. The 38300 water softener comes with a standard high-flow valve and can accept up to a 1” pipe.

Kenmore 38300

Regardless of the limited flow rate and capacity per cycle, this is a point of entry water softener designed to handle the water at the main before it branches out to various parts of your house. Like all Kenmore water softeners, it is NSF certified. The 38300 comes with everything you need for an so you might be able to set it up on your own.


  • Affordable
  • Good resource saving properties for a small capacity unit
  • 0.68 cubic feet of ion exchange resin


  • Small households only

Best for: The Kenmore 38300 is a great solution for those who are looking for a budget water softener that can handle moderate water hardness and usage.

Kenmore Elite 38620

This top-of-the-line Kenmore water softener comes at a premium price but that’s because it’s a smart hybrid water softener and filter. The flow rate is an 11.8 gpm.

The Elite 38620 lets you track your water usage and alarms you if an unexpected continuous flow occurs, such as a leak or if somebody forgot to turn off the faucet. As a smart water softener, you can use an app to easily monitor the salt levels and other data, as soon as you hook it up to your network. Besides the monitoring capabilities, this function also sends alerts in case of an issue.

Kenmore Elite 38620

As a combo water softener and water filter, this unit is also equipped with an activated carbon filtration section. It removes chlorine, sediment, and odor from your water. You might not have to buy bottled water ever again. The filter is auto-cleaning so there’s no need to change cartridges either. And it should go without saying that the Kenmore Elite 38620 also removes iron from the water.


  • 11.8 gpm flow rate
  • Smart water softener/filter
  • Removes hard metals, chlorine, and odor
  • Wifi connectivity


  • Upper price range

Best for: This Kenmore is perfect for medium to large households that could use a water filter in addition to a water softener.

How Does Kenmore Compare to Other Brands?

Kenmore produces excellent entry-level water softeners that won’t break the bank and can meet the demands of most households. The four models featured in this write-up offer ample performance and features in comparison with the competition.

What makes Kenmore truly exceptional is low salt consumption. These water softeners use anywhere from 1.7 to 2.9 pounds of salt per cycle. Lower salt consumption also means less wastewater.

Another outstanding feature is the design of these units. You can easily recognize the Kenmore cylindrical case and LCD display. The uniform 16.5 x 19.75 x 47.75” size can fit even the smallest areas (the Elite model is only an inch larger all around).


1. How to install Kenmore water softener?

Kenmore water softeners are relatively easy to install. They are all whole-house units so you must have the plumbing skills to cut into the main water line. If you’re able to do that, each unit comes with comprehensive instructions and a detailed guide on how to hook up the softener to your plumbing. There are also online instruction videos that you can check out. If in doubt, it’s best to hire a plumber.

2. What is the best Kenmore softener for your household?

Choosing the proper water softener depends on several factors. You should consider your water consumption levels, the analysis of your water, and the installation requirements. You should be able to get a water report from your water company. For the monthly consumption, look up your water bills. For more info, check out The Ultimate Water Softener Buyer’s Guide .

3. What is Continuous Water Flow Alert?

Continuous Water Flow Alert is Kenmore’s safety feature that alerts the users in case of an unexpected scenario water continuing to flow. The default trigger is 0.1 gpm or higher flow of water running non-stop for 60 minutes. There is also an option to change the trigger.


Kenmore water softeners are a great solution for those who are looking for something inexpensive yet reliable. They can deal with most water conditions and some can cater to the needs of bigger households as well. These electric water softeners come with built-in monitoring systems to ensure resource efficiency, and there is very little maintenance after you install the softener.

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