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Home » Water Softeners » Kenmore 38300 Review

Kenmore 38300 Review

By: David Trinh
Last Updated:
Our Review

Demand-initiated regeneration4.5

Low salt light"4

High flow valve3.5

Overall Rating



  • Demand-initiated regeneration
  • Low salt light
  • High flow valve
  • Protects plumbing by preventing lime scale


  • Possible salt bridging problems, especially in humid locations
  • Customer service unhelpful at times
  • Some reports of leaking
Kenmore 38300 Review

If you’re trying to find out more about the Kenmore 38300, you’ve come to the right place. 

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), hard water can damage pipes, shorten the lifespan of appliances, and even cause your clothes to wear out faster. 

You can prevent that damage and save on your clothing budget by using water softeners like the Kenmore 38300. 

In this post, we review in detail the Kenmore 38300 water softener so that you can decide if this is the right device for your home.

Kenmore 38300 High Efficiency Water Softener


The Kenmore 38300 is a 24,000 grain entry-level water softening system. It has a low price when compared to similar quality units, and it has the performance to support a home with three or four people.

This softening system removes calcium and magnesium from your water supply, which reduces water hardness. That helps prevent scale buildup in your pipes that can cause permanent damage. You may notice less haziness on your dishes after running them through the dishwasher, and you may notice longer lasting clothing. 

Salt based softeners go through a process called regeneration. Many softeners require you to manually schedule the regeneration times, and they will automatically regenerate at those times. 

But the Kenmore 38300 only regenerates when necessary, not on a set schedule. That helps it use up to 20% less salt and up to 32% less water during regeneration than some of the competition.

The Kenmore 38300 high efficiency water softener has a flow rate of up to 7.3 gpm. While seven gallons may not sound impressive, It’s actually enough for up to four people. 

The salt tank has a capacity of up to 200 pounds. A light lets you know when to top it up. You can fill it with either sodium chloride (NaCl) or potassium chloride (KCl), then select the type on the LCD screen.

The 38300 can soften water with a hardness rating of up 35 gpg. That’s enough for most people. If your home falls in that range and you use it, you’ll prevent some of the soap scum in your bathtub and sink, and some of the clogs in your coffee maker.

Maintaining this system is very easy. The main thing you’ll need to do is top it up before it is empty. That’s about it.

There are some things to think about before you buy. While there isn’t a lot of maintenance on this unit, you still have to refill it from time to time. Some reviews mention leaks. It isn’t a common problem, but more than one review mentioned that they had the issue. 

In at least one review, a customer stated they had trouble with customer service being unresponsive if they had questions or problems. Other reviews praised their customer service, so it’s a mixed bag on this.


  • Demand-initiated regeneration
  • Low salt light
  • High flow valve
  • Protects plumbing by preventing lime scale
  • DIY friendly
  • NSF certified
  • Affordable


  • Possible salt bridging problems, especially in humid locations
  • Customer service unhelpful at times
  • Some reports of leaking


For someone who does a little work on their own house, installing the Kenmore 38300 is very DIY-friendly. It’ll be easier if you’ve done some plumbing before, but it is not out of reach for anyone who is handy with tools. 

It comes with everything you need, including:

  • Bypass valve
  • Drain hose
  • O-rings
  • Installation adapters
  • Clips
  • Hose clamps
  • Adapter elbow
  • Grommet
  • Combination resin & brine tank

The owner’s manual shows the installation process in detail, but here’s a quick version:

  1. Find a location near your main water line and before your water heater
  2. Shut off main water supply
  3. Shut off gas or electricity to your water heater
  4. Remove the softener cover
  5. Remove the two large plastic clips
  6. Coat o-rings with silicone great and slide them onto bypass valve, then push bypass valve into the inlet and outlet ports
  7. Coat thread adapters with silicone grease and slide them into the inlet and outlet ports, then snap holding clips into place
  8. Connect the valve to the main water supply line
  9. Connect the drain hose to the unit
  10. Connect the drain hose to a drain
  11. Push the overflow hose grommet into the hole in the salt tank
  12. Push the elbow adapter into the grommet
  13. Push the included ⅜” tubing into the adapter
  14. Connect the ⅜” tubing into a drain
  15. Open two nearby cold water faucets
  16. Place the bypass valves in “bypass” position
  17. Turn on the water supply for the home and check for water flow from the open faucets
  18. Set the bypass valves to “service” slowly, pausing occasionally to allow it to pressurize gradually
  19. After three minutes, open a nearby hot water faucet to let air escape, then close the faucet
  20. Close the open cold water faucets
  21. Check your plumbing for leaks and repair any found right away
  22. Reinstall the cover
  23. Connect your softener to electrical power
  24. Restart your water heater

This is a lengthy process, but not difficult. By performing some work yourself, you can save money you would usually spend on a plumber. That makes it even more affordable.

Kenmore 38300 vs. Competing Water Softening Systems

The Kenmore 38300 24,000 grain system compares very favorably with the Quality Water Softpro Elite and the Fleck 5600 SXT, two of the top-rated systems available.

All three systems have about 7gpm flow rate, all clean water with about the same hardness rating, and all have a capacity of around 24,000 grains. 

Kenmore 38300 Advantages

  • The 38300 is much cheaper than the other two. 
  • There is a low sat indicator on the 38300, which you won’t get with the others.
  • It is more efficient, using less salt and water than the Fleck and a similar amount to the Softpro.

38300 Disadvantages

  • Warranty length. The 38300 has 1 year parts & labor, ten years on the tank, while both others provide a lifetime warranty
  • The Softpro Elite has many optional features available, including a filter and UV disinfection light

While the Softpro elite is better for well water and has many great add-ons available, it’s a lot more expensive and won’t be much better than the Kenmore for most people. 

The Fleck unit has very similar capabilities, overall, but is actually slightly less efficient than the 38300 and also more expensive. What the added price on the other units gets you is a lifetime warranty, which the 38300 does not offer.

In Conclusion

The Kenmore 38300 is a wonderful low cost water softener. It’s efficient, and can handle an average home with a small family of up to four people. Its ease of use and maintenance makes this a terrific option for anyone.

Even though the Kenmore softener is a good option, we recommend checking out the best water softeners on the market before buying to make sure you get the best product for your needs.

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David Trinh
David is an expert in all things plumbing, heating, cooling, and water treatment. He got his start in the plumbing business working on fixing all types of home improvement issues including water leaks, broken toilets, appliance installation, and more. Over time, he learned a ton about installing and choosing the correct water treatment products for homeowners.

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