Here you’ll find our Kinetico water softener reviews. We dive into the specifics of the system, the price (and why that could be an issue), and pit Kinetico head to head against Culligan.
If you’re looking for second opinions on whether or not you should buy a Kinetico water softener, look no further.
Kinetico Whole House Filtration and Kinetico Water Softener Reviews
We’ll look at a handful of the most popular Kinetico systems, including:
Kinetico Signature Series (735)
Kinetico Premier Series (Q850, S250, and more; their best-selling systems)
Kinetico Essential Series
Kinetico Signature Series 735 Review
The Kinetic Signature Series 735 is a twin tank system powered exclusively by moving water -- not electricity. This is one of Kinetico’s systems’ big selling points: that they have a non-electric control valve that completely eliminates the use of electricity. Furthermore, the twin tanks allow the system to regenerate without any flow reduction.
That effectively means there’s unlimited capacity, but how effective is the Kinetico Signature Series in terms of grains per gallon? The answer admittedly isn’t very easy to find, but most ion exchange systems can handle quite a bit, and the Signature Series is likely no exception.
It uses roughly 3lbs of salt per regeneration cycle and has a capacity of 10,600 grains. So, even though Kinetico cuts out the electricity for ion exchange, you’ll still have to use quite a bit of salt.
Kinetico Premier Series (Q850, S250, and more): The Most Efficient Water Softener?
The Kinetico Premier Series claims to be the world’s most efficient water softener. They even have the data to prove it: “the claim is based on independent testing done by the Water Quality Association (WQA) per NSF/ANSI Standard 44, an industry-accepted efficiency rating measuring the amount of hardness removed per pound of salt used.”
In fact, the name “Kinetico” is based on the term, “kinetic.” Kinetic energy, in the form of moving water, powers Kinetico's systems.
What about water softening systems that don’t use salt, however? While, to the best of our knowledge, the Water Quality Association hasn’t developed a standard for measuring limescale reduction as a result of salt-free water conditioning (yet), as soon as they do, our bet is that template assisted crystallization systems are going to have to take that medal. You can’t quite beat not using any salt at all.
Kinetico Essential Series
How is the Kinetico Essential Series different from the Premier and Signature? The Essential Series, true to its name, is a single-tank water softener. Kinetico likely means for it to be the most affordable option in their line-up.
But that leads into the next point: Where are all of the prices on Kinetico’s website? How come you can’t find out how much all of these systems cost?
Kinetico Water Softener Price: The Big Dealbreaker
How expensive are Kinetico’s line of water softeners? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.
Kinetico doesn’t actually give up-front prices, and that’s a dealbreaker for a lot of people. After all, you don’t pull up to a car dealership and just trust whatever number the salesmen give you, do you? (If you do, at least you don’t have to, like you do with Kinetico’s systems).
Instead, Kinetico sends a representative to your home to give you an in-home consultation, and they decide the price based on the system, or combination of systems, that you need.
Furthermore, Kinetico doesn’t allow for DIY installation, further driving a higher than necessary cost. If you insist on installing the system yourself, you’ll have to waive the warranty. For beginner buyers, this can be very intimidating.
The representative might insist that you need a reverse osmosis system for the kitchen and the Premier 850 for the rest of the hard water in the house. If he or she tells you it’s going to cost you $6,000, how are you going to get a second estimate if you can’t compare your prices with the prices of the systems online?
Simple: You’re not. You’re going to have to take them at face value. If that’s okay with you, Kinetico might be a good option.
What Are People Saying About Kinetico?
Moreover, in case we didn’t cover one of the Kinetico water softeners that you’re interested in, here we’re going to compile an assortment of Kinetico reviews from Consumer Affairs. That way, you’ll have a balanced and fair view of the company more generally, rather than just a few specific systems.
Their average rating on Consumer Affairs is pretty high, with a good number of the 379 total reviews as five stars.
Unfortunately, if you sort the reviews by the“most helpful,” you get a different picture. For example, here’s the most popular review, from a verified reviewer in Sutetr Creek, California:
“1) Whatever Kinetico dealer you buy the unit from, is the sole Kinetico dealer you can buy anything Kinetico from. This means you are at the mercy of your Kinetico dealer to respond to you. I am here to tell you my dealer is akin to a drug dealer. If there is money to be made, he responds immediately. If not, he takes his sweet time.”
Sounds similar to the example scenario we described above, doesn’t it? In fact, Kinetico quoted him for both a reverse osmosis system and a 2060S OD to the tune of about $5,000. He couldn't get a second opinion, so he went with it.
There are also plenty of stories of water damage that Kinetico completely overlooked, not even bothering to refute the customers’ claims on Consumer Affairs.
With that said, however, it appears that there are still more happy customers than unhappy customers, so consider that the negative reviews might just be the exception to the rule.
Kinetico vs Culligan: Which One is Better?
How does Kinetico stack up against Culligan?
Luckily, one Houzz customer asked this exact question, and received a response from a former water treatment engineer who has no vested interest in any water softening company:
“you may want to look at more options. I do agree that Kinetico makes a fine product, but their much higher cost can be prohibitive for many home owners. What you get for the extra couple of thousand $ is 24/7 soft water and a non-electronic control system. Do you typically need 24/7 soft water? Probably not.”
However, there’s a diverse range of opinionsin this thread, which can better help you come to a conclusion.
Conclusion: Are Kinetico Water Softeners Worth the Money?
Kinetico water softeners claim to be the most efficient ion exchange water softeners on the market, but that doesn’t change the fact that ion exchange,salt-based water softeners are being banned in many cities across the United States because of their wasteful discharge. You might not be using electricity, but you’re still wasting water -- and that’s a crime in many cities where drought is common.
If you’re interested in alternatives, check outFilterSmart’s line of no-salt softeners. They also don’t require electricity.