Overview of Alamo and Kinetico Water Softeners
When shopping for a new water softener, two big names stand out – Alamo Water Softeners and Kinetico. Both companies have decades of experience manufacturing water treatment systems for home use. They offer extensive product lines with a range of features and capacities.
But which is better – Alamo or Kinetico? In this comprehensive comparison guide, we’ll evaluate the key differences between Alamo and Kinetico water softeners. We’ll take an in-depth look at:
- How they work
- Features and technologies
- Ease of use
- Warranties and support
- Environmental impact
- Top models from each brand
By the end, you’ll understand the pros and cons of Alamo vs Kinetico water softeners. You’ll be able to decide which brand is right for your household’s needs and budget.
Here is an in-depth comparison table for Alamo vs Kinetico water softeners:
|Technology||Ion exchange with standard resin beads||Ion exchange with specialty high-capacity resin beads|
|Regeneration Method||Primarily time-based||Meter-based|
|Brining Method||Standard brine tank||Patented twin tank or offsite brine technologies|
|Flow Rates||15-25 gpm||12-15 gpm|
|Water Softening Ability||Effective hardness removal via ion exchange||Max hardness removal; salts to 0 gpg|
|Regeneration Efficiency||Timed models less efficient than metered||Very high due to twin tank design|
|Salt & Water Efficiency||Improved on some models||Extremely high efficiency and savings|
|Available Controllers||LCD, touchscreen||Manual dials, some metered models|
|Water Usage Monitoring||Detailed usage data||Limited (non-electric models)|
|Salt Additions||Easy; as needed||Salt blocks or tablets last months|
|Maintenance||Annual resin bed cleaning recommended||Very little maintenance required|
|Servicing||Bypass valves enable easy servicing||Requires dealer servicing|
|Purchase Cost||$600 – $2,500||$1,200 – $3,500|
|Installation Cost||$200 – $500||Included|
|Salt Cost||$5 – $10 per 40 lbs||$15 – $20 for 35 lbs|
|Power Use||$5 – $10 monthly||Non-electric models available|
|Warranty||Lifetime on tanks, valves, 10 years mineral tanks||Lifetime on tanks, 10 years systems|
|Customer Support||Direct support by phone, online||Local dealer support|
|Availability||National dealer locator||Smaller exclusive dealer network|
|PRICE||CHECK LATEST PRICE||CHECK LATEST PRICE|
How Do Alamo and Kinetico Water Softeners Work?
Alamo and Kinetico both use a salt-based ion exchange process to soften water. Hard water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium minerals. As water passes through a tank filled with small resin beads, the resin exchanges sodium or potassium ions for the calcium and magnesium ions. This transforms the minerals into a soluble form that doesn’t cling to surfaces and clog pipes.
The softener periodically flushes the resin bed with a salt brine solution. This reversal process replenishes the resin beads’ sodium ion supply so they can continue removing hardness minerals from water.
While the core ion exchange process is the same for both brands, there are some differences:
- Regeneration initiation – Alamo softeners are mostly time-based. They initiate regeneration on a fixed schedule. Kinetico units are meter-based. They monitor water use and regenerate based on actual resin bed exhaustion.
- Brining – Alamo systems use a traditional brine tank. Kinetico has patented twin-tank and offsite brining technologies that improve efficiency.
- Resin types – Alamo primarily uses standard cation resin. Kinetico offers specialty resins like non-solvent cation for chlorine removal.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how Alamo and Kinetico softeners work, let’s compare some of their key features and technologies.
Key Features and Technologies of Alamo and Kinetico
Alamo and Kinetico both offer a wide range of water softener models with various features:
Alamo Key Features:
- NSF certified systems
- High flow valves for better pressure
- Corrosion-resistant tanks
- LCD or touchscreen controllers
- Mobile app monitoring
- Bypass valves for servicing
- Upflow and downflow configurations
Kinetico Key Features:
- NSF certified systems
- Patented twin tank design
- High-capacity resin beads
- Non electric valve options
- Oversize brine tanks
- Independent lab certification
- Over 95 special patents
Unique Alamo Technologies:
- HydroNow – Demand initiation regeneration to reduce salt and water use
- Total Soft – Timed regeneration combined with flow meters
- E-Coray – Energy-free corrosion control technology
Unique Kinetico Technologies:
- Kinetico Premier Compact – Twin tank no electricity design
- Axion – Improves system regeneration efficiency
- KeurFlo – Optimal resin bed expansion and brine draw
- APure – Multi-layer filtration with carbon block
This overview shows that both brands offer extensive features and innovations. Alamo provides modern conveniences like apps and touchscreen controls. Kinetico focuses more on patented mechanical systems.
Now let’s compare the two brands on critical performance factors.
Water Softener Performance Comparison
Soft water is the ultimate goal. So how do Alamo and Kinetico water softeners stack up on key performance metrics?
Water Softening Ability
- Both effectively soften water by exchanging hardness minerals for sodium ions
- Kinetico’s specialty resin beads have enhanced hardness removal capacity
- Independent labs confirm Kinetico softens water to 0 grains/gallon
- Alamo valves offer 15-25 gpm flow rates for good water pressure
- Kinetico systems are rated for 12-15 gpm flows
- Both meet needs of most households
- Alamo timed models less efficient than metered models
- Kinetico twin tank design improves brining and rinsing
- Kinetico typically uses less water and salt
Waste Water and Salt Use
- Alamo HydroNow models conserve resources
- Kinetico machines have leading efficiency with salt and water
- Kinetico systems produce 40% less waste water
- Alamo softeners focus on water softening only
- Kinetico units can include integrated water filtration
For optimal water softening performance and efficiency, Kinetico systems appear to have an edge over Alamo. Kinetico’s twin tank meter-based regeneration, and high-capacity specialty resin beads give it top ratings in independent testing.
Up next, let’s compare ease of use and maintenance. Convenience factors can make a big difference on an ongoing basis.
Ease of Use and Maintenance
You don’t want your new water softener to become a hassle. Alamo and Kinetico both aim to make their systems user-friendly. But there are some differences in their approach.
Programming and Settings
- Alamo offers easy touchscreen programming
- Kinetico non-electric models don’t need programming
- Kinetico electric powered units use manual dials
- Alamo systems display detailed usage data
- Kinetico non-electric models don’t monitor water
- Some Kinetico models have optional flow meters
- Alamo – Easy to add salt as needed
- Kinetico – Salt blocks or tablets last months
- Alamo – Annual sanitization recommended
- Kinetico – Little maintenance beyond adding salt
- Kinetico – No resin bed cleaning needed
- Alamo bypass valves enable easy servicing
- Kinetico valve bodies not user serviceable
- Kinetico – Dealer performs servicing
For hands-off convenience, Kinetico’s twin tank systems are inherently simple to maintain. You just periodically add salt. Alamo units give you more visibility into water usage data. But Kinetico systems are almost maintenance-free.
Operating costs are another key consideration for major appliances. Let’s look at the purchase price, installation, salt, power, and upkeep costs of these two brands.
Costs – Purchase Price and Operating Expenses
Water softeners represent a major investment. The upfront purchase price, installation cost, and ongoing operating expenses add up.
- Alamo models start around $600 up to $2,500
- Kinetico units range from $1,200 to $3,500
- Kinetico prices trend higher
- Alamo – $200 to $500 typical install cost
- Kinetico – Installation included with purchase
- Alamo – $5 to $10 per 40 lb bag
- Kinetico – $15 to $20 for 35 lbs salts
- Kinetico salt types cost more but last longer
- Alamo – $5 to $10 per month for electric models
- Kinetico – No electricity required for some models
- Alamo – Annual sanitization $75+ recommended
- Kinetico – Very little maintenance needed
Kinetico’s higher purchase price includes professional installation. The non-electric models save on power. Alamo systems cost less upfront but require more DIY maintenance. In the long run, total costs are comparable for similarly sized systems.
Let’s look at the warranties provided by each brand.
Warranties and Customer Support
It’s reassuring to have strong warranties and customer service in case issues arise with your water softener.
Alamo and Kinetico both back their products with industry-leading warranties:
- Lifetime warranty on tanks, valves, and electronics
- 10 years on mineral tanks
- 5 years on valve body
- Lifetime guarantee on tanks
- 10 year warranty on systems
- 5 years on valve bodies
- 2 years on water filters
- Alamo – Customer service by phone and online
- Kinetico – Support from local dealers
- Both have knowledgeable support
The warranties are similar for major components. Alamo provides direct customer service. For Kinetico, you work through the local dealer who installed your system. Both offer reassuring support policies.
Sustainability is another consideration when comparing brands.
Water softeners help the environment by reducing scale buildup and letting you use less detergent. But they also increase water usage and salt discharge.
- Alamo’s Salt Saving models lower your salt impact.
- Kinetico’s efficient twin tank design reduces water waste.
- Look for units with WQA sustainability certifications.
Overall, Kinetico systems are recognized as leaders in water and salt efficiency. But Alamo also offers eco-friendly models. Choose a properly sized unit to minimize environmental impact.
Availability and Installer Network
Purchasing and installing a water softener is easier when there are knowledgeable local dealers.
Alamo provides an online dealer locator to find sellers near you. They work with plumbers and contractors around the country.
Kinetico utilizes a smaller network of exclusive dealers. Each undergoes extensive training on Kinetico systems. Kinetico dealers handle all installations.
With either brand, a local pro should size, install, and activate the system properly. Kinetico’s smaller dealer network offers more consistent expertise. Alamo has a wider range of authorized sellers to choose from.
Top Models Reviewed
Now that we’ve compared the brands overall, let’s look at some of their top-selling water softener models. We’ll compare features, capacities, and prices.
- Upflow design
- 1.5 cubic foot resin capacity
- 32,000 grain capacity
- LCD controller
- 24/7 usage tracking
Price – $1,300
The Alamo TOP32SE offers efficient upflow regeneration. It provides whole home softening for moderate sized households. The LCD controller makes it simple to adjust settings.
Kinetico Premier Compact
- Twin tank design
- Non-electric operation
- 18,500 grain capacity
- Carbon block filtration
- NSF certified
Price – $2,100
The Premier Compact combines softening and filtration in a compact twin tank unit. The non-electric design requires no programming and uses less power.
Kinetico Mach 2060s
- 63,000 grain capacity
- Twin tanks
- High flow meter based regeneration
- Continuous flow capability
- NSF certification
Price – $2,600
With extra large resin tanks, the Mach 2060s can handle the needs of large households with high water demands. Its flow meter optimizes regeneration frequency.
- Hybrid softening + corrison control
- HydroNow meter based technology
- 48,000 grain capacity
- Salt saving mode
- Touchscreen controller
Price – $1,450
The E-Coray combats both hard water and corrosion. It offers high capacity water softening along with template assisted crystallization to inhibit scale.
This lineup shows both brands provide advanced models for various needs and budgets. Kinetico’s machines carry a higher price tag but offer unique twin tank advantages.
After reviewing all the details, let’s summarize the key differences between the two brands.
Which Should You Choose?
Alamo and Kinetico both make excellent water softeners. Choosing between them comes down to your priorities:
Reasons to Choose Alamo:
- Lower upfront purchase cost
- Modern touchscreen controls
- Straightforward DIY maintenance
- Robust dealer network provides support
Reasons to Choose Kinetico:
- Extremely efficient and low maintenance
- Strong performance ratings
- High capacity systems for large homes
- Includes installation and setup
For the simplest, most trouble-free system, Kinetico is hard to beat. Hands-on homeowners who want to customize settings may prefer Alamo’s programming options. With either brand, you can count on significantly improved water quality and easier cleaning.
Be sure to size your system properly and find qualified installation. For the best value, choose the advanced features and capacity that match your household’s hot water usage. Both Alamo and Kinetico offer high-end systems at the leading edge of water softening technology.
Frequently Asked Questions
Looking into water softeners inevitably leads to lots of questions. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about Alamo and Kinetico water softeners.
Do they remove other pollutants besides hardness minerals?
- The standard ion exchange process only removes calcium and magnesium.
- Kinetico systems can include added carbon filters to remove chlorine and contaminants.
- Look for NSF certifications for specific water filtering claims.
What maintenance do they require?
- Alamo – Resin bed cleaning recommended every 3-5 years. Annual sanitization kit use.
- Kinetico – Very little maintenance other than occasional salt additions.
What’s the difference between the brands’ twin tank models?
- Kinetico’s twin tanks use an offline regenerating design for optimum efficiency.
- Alamo has an online model where one tank softens while the other regenerates.
Do they work on well water?
- Yes, both brands are effective for hard well water.
- Well flow rates need to be sufficient – at least 5 gpm is recommended.
Do I need to add a sediment filter?
- Pre-filtering sediment prolongs the resin bed lifespan.
- Some Kinetico systems have pre-filters integrated.
- Or install a separate sediment pre-filter.
What salt types should I use?
- Alamo recommends sodium chloride pellets or cubes.
- Kinetico works with different tablet or block salts.
- Potassium chloride salt substitutes are an option.
How can I get the best price?
- Alamo – Ask dealers online for their best quote.
- Kinetico – Factory direct purchasing can sometimes get discounts.
How do installation costs compare?
- Alamo installation cost is typically $200 – $500.
- Kinetico includes professional install with purchase.
Where are these brands manufactured?
- Alamo softeners are made in the USA.
- Kinetico systems are made in Ohio, USA and Ontario Canada.
Are rebates available?
- Some municipalities and utilities offer rebates of $100 to $500.
- Contact your local water provider to ask about water softener rebates.
Can I install it myself?
- Alamo systems are DIY friendly depending on your skill level.
- Kinetico does not recommend homeowners install units themselves.
How can I size my system?
- Use a capacity calculator based on household size and water hardness.
- Contact dealers to have them professionally size your optimal system.
We hope these answers help address your key questions about Alamo and Kinetico water softeners. Reach out to trusted local dealers to discuss your particular situation.
After reviewing Alamo and Kinetico features, performance, costs, support, and top models – both are seen as premium water softener brands that transform hard water into soft, scale free water.
Kinetico’s twin tank efficient design offers easy operation and lower maintenance. For hands-off convenience, Kinetico is a top choice.
Alamo provides high capacity softeners with more programming options at a lower purchase price. Their systems are well-suited for DIY install and servicing.
Ultimately, it comes down to your priorities and needs:
- Convenience and low maintenance? Kinetico.
- Budget friendly price? Alamo.
- High capacity for a large home? Kinetico Mach Series.
- Modern touchscreen controls? Alamo.
Work with knowledgeable local dealers to get the right system for your household. Both Alamo and Kinetico provide quality water softeners that will significantly improve your water. Enjoy better tasting water, lower utility bills, and fewer scale deposits.