Sears markets 4 different water softener models branded under Kenmore.
There is the Kenmore 38350 with 32,000 grains, the 38420 with 41,000 grains, the 38300 with 24,000 grains and finally the Kenmore Elite 38620 Smart Hybrid Water Softener with a hardness capacity of 31,100 grains, which today’s review is all about.
What makes the Kenmore 38620 Smart Hybrid special is that it allows you to track your water flow rate and salt level via the free Kenmore mobile app (available for both Android and iOS).
For peace of mind, the app also alerts you when you are about to run out of salt and when the softener detects excessive or continuous water flow, for example due to a leak.
You can also use it to adjust your hardness limits and schedule or bypass regen cycles for maximum water efficiency.
Connecting the softener to the app couldn’t be any easier, by the way, but is not a must.
The fact that we have a grain capacity means that we are talking about a salt-based (ion exchange) softener, of course.
It prevents scaling in your water heater and other appliances as well as your plumbing and thereby also prolongs the life of your fixtures while eliminating ugly stains.
Apart from softening, the unit also purifies your water making it ready for drinking by removing chlorine taste and odor with the help of a carbon filter layer.
11.8 gallons per minute flow rate should be enough for families of up to 6 on tap or well water – doesn’t really matter.
The maximum level of hardness that can be treated is 100 grains per gallon which is very, very hard water.
Above that, the unit also provides an iron removal setting in case high iron content is something you are struggling with. Clear-water iron capacity: About 10 ppm. Red-water iron won’t be affected.
Minimum and maximum pressure limits are 20 – 125 psi.
There are a couple of features that we like about the Kenmore 38620.
For one, due to metered regeneration it uses up to 20% less salt and 32% less water compared to older Kenmore models from back in the day.
What’s more, the Ultra-Flow valve provides almost 50% more water than Kenmore’s old high-flow valve. This way you also have enough softened water at peak times.
Then we have certifications according to NSF Standard 44 for hardness reduction, efficiency and the reduction of barium and radium 226/228, and Standard 372 for compliance to minimize lead contaminants (not in your water, but in the product itself).
And lastly, you also get notified about low salt levels by a warning light.
First of all, installing the Kenmore 38620 can be compared to installing a Whirlpool softener: It’s not child’s play but can be done with minimal plumbing skills, also thanks to the modern and space-saving single-tank design.
In other words, you shouldn’t have any problems with the setup as long as you follow the provided instructions precisely. Time required: A couple of hours.
Here is a general outline of the process:
If a softener is not equipped with a bypass valve, we recommend you provide for one for ease of maintenance. Also, make sure to comply with local plumbing codes.
There are a couple of factors that you should consider when deciding where to install your Kenmore softener:
You should also remember that there usually is no need to treat water for outside faucets. Keeping them on hard water will help you save on salt.
Programming this softener is quick and easy. You basically have to make 4 different settings:
In terms of system maintenance, you will have to add new salt to the storage tank every now and then. The carbon filter layer does not need replacement so you can save money on that.
A manual is available right here.
One aspect that we do not like about this particular model is that it’s much pricier than other softeners by Kenmore, for example the 38300. Obviously this has something to do with the fact that it allows smart control with wireless connectivity.
However, the WiFi setup does not seem to work for everyone. The fact that it does not support true wireless N networks seems to be the issue.
In addition, the sears customer service could so with some improvement.
And most importantly, we read about a few customers having problems with salt and water leaking from the plastic tank. Still, the majority does not seems to have any problems whatsoever.
The Kenmore Elite 38620 Smart Hybrid is a water softener and whole house filter all in one. It does a great job at removing hardness minerals plus contaminants such as chlorine.
Also, the setup is easy and so is maintaining the system.
Our verdict: 4 out 5 stars!
Follow this link if you want to check out more of our Kenmore softener reviews: https://www.best-osmosis-systems.com/kenmore-water-softener-reviews/!
This completes our Kenmore Elite water softener review. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!