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Home » Water Softeners » Kinetico Water Softener Review

Kinetico Water Softener Review

By: David Trinh
Last Updated:
Kinetico Water Softener Reviews

Kinetico set out with the mission to create a water softener that would offer better performance and efficiency than any of those currently on the market.

The company achieved this when it invented its first twin-tank, demand-operated water softener system.

In fact, it was Kinetico that introduced the technology that made it possible to soften water without the use of electricity.

This had an impact on the entire water softening industry.

Today, Kinetico is one of the most popular brands for water softeners worldwide. It is also one of the highest-quality brands — all its systems are certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) and the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF).

These independent organizations are two of the most important when it comes to assessing the safety and quality of water-related consumer products.

So, let’s review Kinetico’s products below.

Top 5 Kinetico Water Filters Review Chart

Kinetico SeriesPriceTanks

About Kinetico


Engineers Jim Kewley and Bill Prior founded Kinetico in the 1970s in Newbury, Ohio.

The company also sells water filtration and reverse osmosis systems for residential and commercial use, but it is best known for its water softeners.

In fact, the name “Kinetico” comes from the process the brand uses to soften water: using the kinetic energy of flowing water rather than electricity.

Who Makes Kinetico Water Softeners?

Kinetico became a subsidiary of Axel Johnson Inc. in April 2006. However, the division of Kinetico water softeners remains based in Newbury.

Kinetico’s Reputation

Customers report that Kinetico technicians are extremely knowledgeable and well-trained, not least for the effort they put into assessing water and testing grain levels. This has given the brand an excellent reputation.

How Does a Kinetico Water Softener Work?

Water softeners from Kinetico are true softeners — there is no Kinetico water conditioning system. This means the softeners remove magnesium and calcium from your water rather than just changing the structure of these minerals (which is what a water conditioner does).

The softeners achieve this through an ion exchange: they exchange the calcium and magnesium ions in the water for the sodium ions in salt.

Types of Kinetico Water Softeners

Kinetico has several lines of water softeners. It would be wrong to say that any one of these is the best. Rather, each line has something distinct to offer that appeals to different homeowners. Having said that, five of the series are the most popular among consumers.

These are the Kinetico series, the Premier series, the Signature series, the Essential series, and the Powerline series.

Kinetico Series

Softener systems in the Kinetico series have all the classic features of a Kinetico water softener, such as twin tanks and the use of water flow rather than electricity.

A highlight of the Kinetico series, though, is the on-demand regeneration.

Kinetico Premier Series

One of the top-range lines of softeners from Kinetico, the Premier series uses a fine mesh of resin rather than the typical resin beads. This means that the systems can modify to adjust to a higher flow of water, which leads to greater efficiency.

Kinetico markets the Premier series to homeowners with higher water needs than average and with large pipes. However, experts say that there is no significant difference between the Premier series and the Kinetico series in terms of efficiency.

Signature Series

Water softeners in the Kinetico Signature series cost less than some of the others — even though they still have twin tanks.

They also feature on-demand regeneration to minimize their use of both water and salt.

Kinetico Essential Series

The newest of the Kinetico water softener lines is the Essential series. It is much like the Signature series, but it is slightly more environmentally friendly due to the use of rapid regeneration. The same feature prevents downtime from regeneration, meaning that (even though the softener systems only have a single tank) you’ll almost always have soft water.

Powerline Series

The only Kinetico water softeners that use electricity are those in the Powerline series. They also have just a single tank. These two characteristics make the Powerline softeners less expensive — they’re ideal if you want the quality of Kinetico system without the high cost. Plus, even the Powerline series has more to offer than traditional water softeners: it has an integrated iron filter to remove iron deposits from your water.

Kinetico Features & Benefits

What Makes Kinetico Unique?

The most important distinguishing feature of Kinetico water softeners is the fact that the majority run without electricity. However, some additional characteristics also help Kinetico softeners stand out as unique from other models on the market.

For instance, many homeowners who would like soft water are unable to find a softener that works with the type of water they have. Most Kinetico water softeners work even with problem water — i.e. water that contains more than one contaminant.

In addition, Kinetico water softeners clean themselves using soft water. Almost all models from other brands use hard water, which can lead to limescale buildup on the softener. The fact that Kinetico uses soft water leads to a longer lifespan for the softeners.

Finally, Kinetico uses countercurrent regeneration, which means it regenerates from the bottom rather than the top (they are down-flow rather than up-flow systems). This is more efficient than the up-flow systems that make the majority of the market.

Main Features & Benefits

Beyond the above, Kinetico water softeners have some additional features that bring homeowners yet more benefits.

  • Lack of electricity — The Kinetico water softeners that don’t use electricity are less expensive to run and maintain. There’s also no risk of electrical components burning out and needing replacement.
  • Twin tanks — Systems with two tanks are able to provide you with soft water at every hour of the day and night. There is never any downtime when the system is regenerating.
  • High hardness rating — All Kinetico water softeners have a high hardness rating. Some can soften water containing as much as 225 grains.
  • Metered regeneration — The system uses a meter to determine when it is ideal to regenerate, which prevents wasted water.

Kinetico Water Softener Reviews from Customers

Knowing what Kinetico water softeners have to offer is useful; it is even better to know what customers who have installed a system in their house think of the brand.

The general consensus is that Kinetico is a great brand.

A large majority of customers give the products a five-star review. Just 20 percent of customers give the brand a one-star rating. Customers who used a different brand of water softener previously are particularly happy with the results and say that their water is noticeably softer.

Kinetico Water Softener Problems and Complaints

Customers do have some Kinetico water softener complaints. Some of the most common include the following.

The Iron Filter Doesn’t Work Well

The idea of having an iron filter on your water softener sounds great, but some customers have found that the integrated filter doesn’t work well. A common complaint is that water still tastes and smells of iron. Customers who call Kinetico to complain report being told to purchase a different filter.

To avoid such problems, it may be best to buy a Kinetico softener system without an iron filter at all. If you need to remove iron from your water, a different type of filtration system could be better.

Water Has a Salty Taste

Kinetico water softeners use an ion exchange, which means the level of sodium in your water will increase. However, you shouldn’t notice much change in taste. With some of the older Kinetico models, though, customers were complaining that too much salt was leaving the tank, impacting the taste of the water. Kinetico seems to now have resolved this problem.

Kinetico Representatives Use Overly Technical Language

Customers are concerned that they may not be purchasing the right water softener because Kinetico representatives explain functions and features using technical language. In particular, customers worry that they may be buying more than they need.

Issues with the Reverse Osmosis Features

Water softeners can come with some reverse osmosis features. Customers have reported issues with the filter membrane and with the quality of ice produced by the ice makers.

Kinetico Warranty and Customer Service

All water softeners from Kinetico come with a limited manufacturer’s warranty for five years, which is much longer than average.

However, the warranty only includes labor for one year, and freight charges are not covered at all. This means that if you do need to repair your water softener, you will incur some costs.

Kinetico Water Softener Installation and Maintenance

To prevent voiding the warranty, you’ll need to hire a qualified technician to install your water softener system. You’ll also need to call a technician if you require any repairs to the system during the period it is still covered by the warranty. However, you can manage any additional maintenance yourself: all this really involves is topping up the system with salt.

Kinetico Water Softener Replacement Parts

To buy Kinetico replacement parts, you need to go through a local Kinetico technician or purchase from an e-commerce site like Amazon. You cannot buy parts directly from the Kinetico website.

How Much Is a Kinetico Water Softener?

It’s difficult to compare water softeners without knowing how much a Kinetico water softener costs. Unfortunately, finding out a Kinetico water softener price does require some effort.

Like with replacement parts, Kinetico does not sell or list prices on its website. Instead, to find out how much a Kinetico water system costs, you’ll need to fill out a form to receive a free quote. This will put you in touch with an expert in your area who will visit your home and assess your needs.

What we do know is that Kinetico water softeners cost a minimum of a couple hundred dollars and up to a few thousand. The exact price will depend on your home, its water flow, and what type of system you choose.

Are Kinetico Water Softeners Worth the Money?

Why is Kinetico so expensive? Simply because of its quality. Few other brands offer such effective water softeners with such a long lifespan.

Kinetico vs Culligan vs Alternatives

A similar brand to Kinetico is Culligan. This is another brand producing ion softeners — water softeners that are able to regenerate without the need for electricity. Systems cost much the same from the two brands (again, you need to contact the company for a quote) and they have similar features, length of warranties, and installation requirements.

Although more people have bought a Culligan water softener, Kinetico has a far better reputation. In fact, Culligan tends to receive low ratings from customers. This could be because all Culligan water softeners must go offline while they regenerate, because Culligan produces down-flow rather than up-flow systems, or because Culligan systems have a shorter lifespan.

Kinetico is recommended over Culligan but compared to other water softeners we highly recommend checking out Aquasana or Pelican because those brands are the top in the industry. Aquasana also has excellent customer service and you can order your product online.

Should You Buy a Kinetico Water Softener?

In review, Kinetico is a good water softener brand but they do require you to contact them to get a quote online and there are also other higher quality brands on the market that offer superior products such as Aquasana, Pelican, or Fleck.

We recommend checking out our main water softener review and learning more about other top water softening systems.

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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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