Best Water Softener Systems

Why Invest in a Great Water Softener System?

Hard water is a frequent issue. In addition to leaving ugly spots, calcium and other hardness minerals can create deposits in your plumbing system and household appliances and, if the accumulation keeps growing, cause significant leaks. Your skin and hair may also suffer from hard water. Even though it’s not always a significant health problem, this can be very annoying.

A high-quality water softener removes calcium, magnesium, and other hard water-causing minerals from your water supply. Hard water can harm appliances, dry up hair and skin, and leave buildup on surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom.

There are many water softeners on the market that you can buy if your water has been tested and found to be hard. We investigated dozens of water softeners and assessed them on capacity, effectiveness, and ease of installation.

What is Hard Water?

Is the water that comes out of your faucet cloudy? Hard water can be a possible reason Your water’s “hardness” is determined by how many dissolved minerals, specifically magnesium and calcium, are present. These minerals are picked up by water as it travels through soil and rock. More minerals are present in water that is harder.

Hard water minerals can deposit as a layer on the skin, aggravating already-existing skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis and causing them to become drier and itchier. Our hair becomes dry, brittle, and loses colour when we shower in hard water because of calcium and magnesium buildup.

Additionally damaging to your home is hard water. The residue that these minerals leave behind can shorten the lifespan of your appliances, clog your pipes, and even make heating water more expensive.

What are Water Softening Systems and What Do They Do?

The water supply to your home is connected to a sophisticated box of chemistry tricks before the water swirls through your pipes. When hard water enters the system, it travels through a cylinder of sodium-packed resin beads that act as ion exchangers, exchanging the magnesium and calcium ions for sodium ions to create soft water that is safe for use in plumbing.

A water softener regenerates itself by washing the ion exchange with a brine solution, which removes the accumulated magnesium and calcium ions and replaces them with more sodium ions, so that it is ready to run again after reaching its maximum capacity to process hard water (which varies from system to system).

Best Water Softener Systems Money Can Buy

SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener System: Top Overall

These salt based softeners are perfect for large households because it has a huge capacity of 80.000 grains and a powerful flow rate of up to 20 grains per gallon. Families with four to seven individuals or homes with more than seven bathrooms use it.

For smaller households, the salt based water softener is also offered in low-flow rate variations. The SpringWell Water Softener is available in 11 grains per gallon and 13 grains per gallon capacities. Homes with three bathrooms up to six bathrooms can use these solutions. If you simply require one of the smaller options, it will also help you save some money.

There are a few features that set this salt based water softener different from its competitors and SpringWell has a solid reputation for anything water-related. It has a fast flow rate and is simple to use. It has a digital Bluetooth control valve that makes it simple to use, especially for people who are new to it. This little computer provides precise data for indicators of softened water and used water.

The salt based water softener system includes a sizable tank. Homes with levels of hard water that can’t be handled by more simple softeners should use it. It safeguards home equipment that use water and pipes thanks to an ion exchange process.

The performance of major appliances can be enhanced with this water softener. Hard water can harm washers and other appliances. Because of this, washers require less detergent to function. Additionally, it stops limescale from forming on fixtures like faucets and showers.

The salt based water softener is simple to install. SpringWell provides thorough instructions for do-it-yourself installation. By doing this, consumers can avoid paying for plumbing services and save money. But if you’re not sure, hiring a plumber would be a cheap and simple alternative.

SpringWell presents a lifetime guarantee. However, in order for the guarantee to be effective, users must install the water softener in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. This makes the lengthy warranty policy possible.


  • We adore how the SS’s automated regeneration lowers salt and water waste while assisting you in maintaining low operating costs. One of the most cost-effective systems we’ve studied is this one.
  • A reliable company with a long-standing reputation, SpringWell. You don’t need to be concerned about making an unwise investment in a SpringWell product. Also, the SS offers better value for money than the majority of market-available softeners.
  • During our tests, we observed a rapid increase in the quality of our drinking water and saw no new scale form after the unit was installed.


  • Installing the SpringWell SS is challenging. For this task, most individuals engage a plumber.
  • Higher Upfront cost

Softpro Elite: Excellent Salt Based

After the SpringWell SS, the SoftPro Elite is a close second in our opinion. This ion exchange water softener is the most effective we’ve ever examined, which gives it a significant edge over the SS despite not being quite as effective.

Efficiency was a priority in the design of the SoftPro Elite. With its effective upflow regeneration technique, this water softener system significantly minimises salt consumption, using only three bags a year.

Regeneration cycles in water softeners are notorious for wasting water, but the SoftPro Elite uses cutting-edge sensors to initiate far shorter, quicker regeneration cycles if the resin only requires a boost at an opportune time.

We appreciate that this item costs less than $1,000 because it offers excellent value. SoftPro demonstrates that high quality can be had without breaking the bank. The LCD screen on the SoftPro Elite allows you to access presets that are simple to set and include auto-variable backwash, auto-refresh, auto reserve, and vacation mode.


  • The SoftPro Elite’s efficiency has really blown us away. A conventional salt-based softening system consumes twice as much salt as the water softener system does. We found that during our tests, we used very little salt and water.
  • You’ll be relieved to learn that the resin in the SoftPro Elite has a 20-year lifespan if you don’t enjoy spending money on maintenance.
  • The lifetime warranty for the SoftPro Elite gives us peace of mind. It’s made by the reputable company Quality Water Treatment.


  • There is no foundation model for the water softener system. It also requires electricity, which can limit the locations where it can be deployed.

SpringWell Futuresoft: Best Rated Salt-free Water Softener

Using a method that doesn’t require salt, SpringWell developed this cutting-edge water softener. The finest system for salt-free water on our list is this SpringWell Futuresoft. People who have skin irritation with salt-based water softener systems are advised to use it.

Additionally, it takes little to no maintenance and runs without electricity. Additionally, there is no wastewater, thus refraining from flushing seawater down the drain will help the environment.

Instead of removing minerals, the water softener system crystallises them using a method called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC). Instead of “water softener,” this technique is now commonly referred to as a “water conditioner” or “water treatment system.” This indicates that, unlike conventional water softeners, there is no salt tank.

Although it doesn’t get rid of them, it stops these minerals from adhering to surfaces. Crystallization transforms brittle materials into brittle crystals. In essence, it guards the home’s water appliances.

There are three different models of this salt-free water softener, each with a different flow rate. The finest option has a 20 GPM flow rate, which is perfect for big homes with plenty of baths.

Its superior water pressure puts it ahead of its rival. Many of its competitors only provide water softeners with flow rates of up to 7 GPM.

The water softener, which is helpful for both new and old homes, alters how the water feels from a salt-based water softener. The water can feel a little slick when using salt-based water softeners. You can prevent that slimy sensation by choosing a salt-free water softener variant since there is no salt tank.

Before installing the water softener, water must be tested.

If you wish to take advantage of the softener’s lifetime warranty, proper installation and copper concentrations that are consistently less than 1.30 mg/L are requirements.


  • Three water softener sizes are offered. Depending on how many bathrooms you have, choose:
    1-3: The SpringWell FutureSoft FS1 is capable of a water flow of 12 gallons per minute.
    4-6: 15 gpm FS4 for medium-sized households.
    7+: FS+ with 20 gpm for very large families.
  • pH is not decreased with TAC water treatment. Better for your family’s and your home’s health (acidic water is more corrosive).
  • Scale can be quickly cleaned by wiping it off.
  • Does not rely on salt or chemicals, therefore there is no environmental impact or strenuous lifting of 40-pound salt sacks.
  • Since media doesn’t need to regenerate, less water is used.
  • To safeguard the TAC medium, the pre-filter removes silt.
  • Cost: Affordably priced at around $40–$55 per year.
  • Installation is simple and do-it-yourself friendly. Detailed written instructions, an explanatory video, and an installation kit are offered.
  • For peace of mind, there is a lifetime warranty and money-back guarantee.


  • Iron-containing well water requires pretreatment

On The Go: Leading Portable Option

For RVs, boats, buses, and any other case where a water softener needs to be portable and small, the On The Go Portable Double Standard Water Softener is the perfect choice.

The lowest grain capacity of all of our recommended water softeners is 16,000 grains, but this one makes up for it with a simple regeneration cycle that takes less than 30 minutes and uses two boxes of table salt.

The water softener system’s wide open mouth makes regeneration much simpler. The On The Go has a large enough grain capacity to produce between 640 and 1,600 gallons of softened water between regenerations, depending on how hard your water is.

In keeping with its moniker, the On The Go includes a number of features that make it the perfect choice for travellers and anyone who frequently move electronics about.

It measures 22 by 9.5 inches and features a carry handle on top in addition to a cap and plug to stop leaks while in transit. It may be installed without using any equipment and uses a regular hose connection.

This water softener has a flow rate of three gallons per minute, which is more than enough to keep up with an RV or boat shower. Along with hose adapters, hardness test strips, and a base cradle for secure installation, it also comes with these.

Although On The Go also sells a portable standard water softener with a smaller capacity—roughly half as much—we think the upgrade is worthwhile for the larger capacity.


  • Compact design fits anywhere
  • Rope carrying handle
  • Easy regeneration


  • Low grain capacity requires frequent regeneration

Fleck 5600SXT: Budget Friendly Choice

The AFWFilters softer has a controllable Fleck control system, a salt tank with a standard size and float, a 1.5 cubic foot commercial standard 10% resin, and a softener tank with a capacity of 48,000 grains. With the exception of the limited selection of grains, it is without a doubt the greatest salt-based water softener available.

This water softener can renew after a predetermined time period, just like many other salt-based softening products available on the market. However, its capacity to regenerate based on real usage is what distinguishes it as a superior softener.

Actually, the mechanism is not that complicated. The water softener uses a metre to track the quantity of water used in your home, and it automatically regenerates when it reaches its capacity or the cycle you’ve specified, whichever occurs first.

You can save a lot of salt, water, and electricity by using this option, which appears to be quite basic. The technology, when used in conjunction with the timed cycle, ensures that you always have soft water while limiting the use of salt and energy.

This digital water softener has a tiny LCD screen that shows the system’s status right now. Although it lacks Retina, it displays error codes when something goes wrong. In order to gain a general sense of where to start with troubleshooting, you may always cross-reference the user’s manual. Even if it could take some time, you will eventually benefit from it.

The touchpad is quite basic but easy to use. Setup should be a breeze if you can turn on a TV with a remote control.

There is credit for the Fleck 5600SXT water softener. Its components have been certified by the WQA after passing all NSF standard 44 testing and demonstrating their efficiency in resolving issues with hard water.


  • Given its low cost, we were really happy with the performance of this Fleck model. After only a few minutes of installation, the water had softened substantially.
  • We were satisfied with the quality of the components, and it’s comforting to know that the device is put together in the USA.
  • Depending on your water usage and hardness, you can pick between different grain quantities ranging from 24,000 to 64,000 grains.


  • Some buyers had trouble putting the Fleck 5600SXT together by themselves. You’ll probably need to call a plumber if you’re not handy.

Pelican Salt-Free

Are you tired of the mineral buildup in your water but hesitant to add salt? A simple answer is a powerful salt-free water softener like the Pelican NS3 Natursoft.

The Pelican NS3 is excellent at what it is designed to do, which is to change the forms of the minerals that cause hard water and make it impossible for them to remain in your pipe system.

The technology is approved to avoid 99.6 percent of scale by the DVGW (Deutscher Verein des Gas und Wasserfaches, the German association for gas and water). The WQA awards it a gold stamp of certification for both material safety and structural integrity.

However, as is normal for a softener/conditioner that doesn’t use salt, the NS3 doesn’t work very well on mineral stains. So, if your goal is to cut down on the time it takes to clean your glassware, mirrors, fixtures, and autos, you’re probably going to be let down.

The NS3 has a tiny pre-filter that can remove silt as small as 5 microns, or one-twentieth the size of a human hair, in order to improve performance. The pre-filter enhances the water quality while to some extent reducing pressure on the resin. You won’t need to run to the hardware shop for additional tools because it comes with a mounting kit and wrench.

A male npt, rings, connection nuts, and nearly everything else you need to set up the water softener are also included in the package. Installation is a straightforward DIY task, making it significantly less expensive than salt-based softeners that call for expert assistance.

This saltless softener (descaler) system currently costs more than $1600. That’s a hefty sum for a straightforward filter softening setup! You could simply buy Aquasana’s 5-stage filtration and softening system for the same cost.

You do, however, get what you paid for in this instance. According to reports, the water quality it claims is unrivalled. Additionally, the water softener doesn’t use any salt, power, or water during operation. Except for the pre-filter change every two years, it doesn’t even require part replacements. The BIFL is undoubtedly an investment, but it is well worth the money.


  • Super effective
  • Basic maintenance
  • NSF and DVGW certified
  • Lifetime warranty


  • High initial price
  • Does not reduce mineral stains

Yarna Capacitive Electronic Water Softener

This magnetic water softener strikes a balance between the need to get rid of hard water and the advantages of keeping some levels of calcium and magnesium in your body for health reasons. For customers who need to remove hard water but don’t want to reduce their mineral intake, this salt-free softener is perfect.

How to Identify Hard Water?

In the long run, hard water can be seen visually without testing. You’ll notice indications of hard water, such as limescale accumulation on the showerhead. The presence of heavy metals in the water can also be determined by the orange hue of the sink.

Hard water can occasionally contain significant concentrations of calcium and magnesium as well as heavy metals.

For a healthy lifestyle, knowing the water quality in your home is crucial. A brief visual examination can also reveal issues with hard water around the house. Here are the things to look at.

Calcium Buildup

The common problem with faucets, showerheads, and pipework in general is calcium accumulation. It’s an obvious sign that the water is hard.

The only way to get rid of calcium accumulation is to make hard water soft. When using a water softening system, this is achievable.

Spots on Cooking Utensils

Mineral stains on glasses or dishes are a sign that hard water may be present. After removing the glasses from the dishwasher, you can inspect them for any potential mineral stains.

Clothing Stains

Another sign of possible existence of hard water is white garment stains. Hard water can cause stained laundry to come out of the washer.

Low Water Pressure

Pipes can become partially or completely blocked by ongoing calcium buildup. When there is a low flow, water levels should be examined.

The Problems with Hard Water

Most of the time, calcium in water poses no health risks. Contrarily, numerous studies have demonstrated that it may actually be advantageous to your body in a number of ways. Due to this, some high-quality home water filters may also include a process known as remineralization, in which calcium is reintroduced into your drinking water.

Despite all the potential health advantages, calcium and other minerals in high concentrations in water might still be problematic.

1. Water pipes and equipment damage

Limescale buildup inside pipes, water fixtures, and appliances is a problem that many homes with hard water experience.

Depending on its degree of hardness, the residue might discolour the equipment’s appearance, producing stains on the faucets for instance.

By creating limescale inside the appliances, the residue can also cause interior damage, including broken parts, blockage, and leaks. Your pipes, boiler, and conventional or tankless water heater will all show more severe damage. In these areas, the water tends to remain calm for extended periods of time, which allows the minerals to adhere to their internal surfaces.

2. Skin Irritation

Dryness, itching, clogged pores, and acne are just a few of the skin issues that can be brought on by hard water’s high pH and mineral content. Because of this, a dermatologist can occasionally advise washing your face with bottled water if you’re breaking out in acne.

Eczema and dermatitis are two skin conditions that are known to get worse when exposed to hard water. In addition, after direct contact, brittle hair and itchy scalp are attributed to the mineral residue.

3. Persistent Stain

Hard water has minerals that prefer to adhere to surfaces. On your glassware, tiles, vehicles, shower heads, toilet bowls, and bathtubs, they leave grimy smudges and stains. These minerals can also neutralise soap and detergents, which only makes matters worse. These stains typically require additional work—as well as additional soap—to remove.

How to Test for Hard Water

In the US, parts per million (ppm) and grains per gallon (gpg) are the two most often used measurements for measuring water hardness (gpg


A part per million is 1 milligramme of dissolved minerals for every Liter of water, according to the definition. For instance, a litre of water with a 1 ppm measurement contains 1 milligramme of dissolved minerals.


The definition of grains per gallon is one grain of dissolved minerals for every gallon of water, or roughly 64.8 mg.

Although there are several units of measurement for measuring water hardness, ppm and gpm are most frequently used in the US. While it can be challenging to determine water hardness using the various units of measurement, each one can be changed to meet your needs.

  • 0.05842 grammes per PPM
  • 17.2 ppm for 1 GPG

The following graphic explains how the US Geological Survey divides water hardness into several concentration levels. The four categories of soft, moderately hard, hard, and extremely hard are exact enough for practical reasons, despite the fact that there are numerous other elements that contribute to the final determination of hardness.

Most of the time, water with a hardness of less than 60 ppm, or 3.5 gpm, is considered soft and should be sought after by anyone worried about the potential harm that hard water may do.

Using test strips put in a glass of water, water can be tested. The level of hardness can be ascertained by comparing the test strip’s changing colour to the accompanying colour chart.

Pouring a few drops of liquid soap into a glass of water can also roughly measure the hardness of the water. As a general rule, the harder the water is, the more soap drops are needed to create suds.

The Benefits of Water Softening Systems

Household water softening systems are becoming more and more common for a variety of reasons.

1. A Scale-Free Pipe System

As previously mentioned, the minerals in hard water tend to form limescale on pipes, which can eventually lead to damage.

The minerals that cause limescale to form are removed throughout the whole-house water softening procedure. As a result, it can successfully get rid of the issue’s root. It’s one of the best long-term strategies for lowering plumbing maintenance expenditures.

2. Residue-Free Appliances

A water softener decreases leakage and increases the lifespan of your home appliances by minimising mineral accumulation. Additionally, it keeps the bad odour from your faucets, bathroom sinks, showerheads, and water heater from escaping.

3. Smoother Hair and Skin

While shower head filters have been shown to significantly improve the quality of the water, they cannot remove hard minerals.

Try a water softener if you’ve been washing with hard water and are having trouble maintaining the health of your skin and hair. In terms of lowering skin irritability and hair dryness, it can definitely make a difference.

However, not everyone enjoys the experience of taking a bath in soft water. While most individuals say it feels “clean” and smooth, some people can find it to be uncomfortably slippery. Simply put, everything comes down to personal preference.

4. Softer Clothes

Your garments and towels should feel silkier and softer after washing once your water is clear of undesirable mineral particles. The likelihood of stains and soap scum should decrease, and materials will take longer to fade or fray.

You will need less detergent to wash the same number of garments in soft water because soap and detergent dissolve more easily in this type of water.

5. Clean, Shiny Glassware and Silverware

Minerals are either removed or their structural makeup is changed by a water softener, which prevents them from adhering to surfaces. As a result, after cleaning, you shouldn’t notice a calcium film on your mirrors, glasses, or car.

How Do Water Softening Systems Work?

Ion exchange is a technique that water softeners use to purify water that has been contaminated with iron, calcium, and magnesium. Ion exchange functions by substituting these undesirable elements with more desirable ones, like sodium.

By describing the purpose of each of these parts, which include a brine tank, resin tank, and control valve, the entire water softening system can be more clearly understood.


Sand and debris are frequently found in well water systems, in addition to the calcium and magnesium that groundwater is naturally saturated with as a result of the porous rock it runs through. It is fair to apply a pre-filter before the water enters the softening system since small particles have the ability to harm and clog a household plumbing system.

Larger particles like sand, gravel, and debris are prevented from entering the resin tank and complicating the process further by a pre-filter.

Resin Tank

The ion exchange resin, which consists of small beads that conduct the ion exchange process and are pre-charged with sodium ions, is kept in the resin tank. The sodium ions are ejected and released into the water as the hard water passes through the resin tank, where the magnesium and calcium ions interact with and adhere to the resin beads.

The water is now calcium, magnesium, and sodium-rich. Given that iron, calcium, and magnesium can be detrimental to home plumbing, sodium is a far more preferred element to have in water.

Brine Tank

The sodium pellets from which the sodium ions are produced are kept in the brine tank. To redistribute sodium ions back to the resin beads and “clean” them of the hard ions, the resin tank is periodically flushed with sodium-rich water from the salt tank.

The resin tank can now be cleansed of the magnesium, calcium, and iron ions that were accumulated from the hard water, leaving the resin beads clean and prepared for the subsequent exchange.

Control Valve

The control valve that sets the cycling schedules can electronically control these ion-exchange cycles.

The water softening system will go through several of these exchange cycles throughout the week, with hard water first entering the resin tank, being released into the home as soft water, and then “regenerating” the resin tank with sodium-rich water from the salt tank. This depends on how much water is used.

Post Filtration

Showering, dishwashing, and laundry are non-consumption activities that can be done with a water softener without the need for an additional filter. However, drinking water will need an additional filter to remove the salty flavour and make it safe for eating.

A water softener does not address bacteria, chlorine levels, or other potential impurities because its primary purpose is to remove hard minerals by substituting salt for them.

For improved taste and safety, add a second under-sink reverse osmosis system, a UV filter, or a post-carbon filter.

How does Water Softener Regeneration Work?

The hardness minerals are washed off and drained out of the water softener system during water softener regeneration cycles, which submerge the resin beads in a highly concentrated brine solution. The resin beads are primed and recharged to once more get rid of the hardness minerals.

For twenty years or more, resin beads can effectively soften your water because of their exceptional durability. Co-current regeneration or counter-current regeneration are the two ways that water softeners regenerate (also referred to as downflow brining and upflow brining.)

Co-current Regeneration Cycle

The brine solution enters the mineral tank in the same direction as the service flow during a co-current regeneration cycle. An ion exchange procedure takes place once more, but this time in reverse, as the brine solution runs down the depth of the resin bead bed.

The salts drive the beads to release the magnesium and calcium ions in return for the sodium ions as the brine flows over them. An increasing concentration of hardness minerals form as the brine moves through the resin and flow throughout the entire water softener system.

Continuous exchange and re-exchange of minerals and regeneration ions occurs as the brine solution pushes more hardness minerals through the bed.The power of the solution has been greatly diminished by the time the water has left the tank.

The beads near the top of the tank will have the highest charge during a co-current regeneration cycle. When compared to counter-current regeneration, co-current regeneration takes more salt and water to finish the regeneration process.

Counter-Current Regeneration Cycle

Water enters the tank through the bottom of the mineral tank, where it usually exits, during a counter-current regeneration cycle. The brine is pushed up the resin bed by the countercurrent cycle, starting at the bottom where the resin beads are typically least depleted.

This indicates that fewer minerals that initiate re-exchange throughout the regeneration cycle are hardness minerals.

By the time the brine reaches the top of the resin bed, where the softener first comes into touch with the hard water, it is less depleted. In comparison to co-current cycling, a counter-current cycling water softener consumes 75% less salt and 65% less water. Additionally, it more evenly distributes the sodium ions that are recharging.

The highest electrically charged beads in a countercurrent cycle will be located at the bottom of the tank, just before the water exits into the home. Additionally referred to as high efficiency water softeners.

How to Soften Hard Water

The two most efficient ways to deal with water hardness are listed below.

1. Whole-House Filtration

Sediment, rust, algae, and even dangerous substances can all be removed by modern whole-house water filtration systems. Sadly, the majority of these devices are not intended to remove minerals.

Reverse osmosis (RO) filters are the only whole-house filters available right now that can handle water hardness. Whole-house RO systems are quite good at softening and purifying water, but they may be fairly pricey. This is particularly true if installation and maintenance fees are included in addition to the system’s initial purchase price.

2. Whole-House Water Softening

Water softening systems can either add sodium to the water to replace the minerals or alter the structure of the minerals to prevent them from sticking to surfaces. This is how limescale is reduced via softening systems.

Whole-house water softening systems are excellent at removing problems brought on by hard water. Additionally, they charge significantly less than RO systems for doing so.

The issue is that certain salt-based softeners could add sodium to your water while leaving other dangerous impurities like lead or arsenic behind. For the softener, potassium can be used in place of salt, although a mixed setting is advised if you also wish to filter out the impurities.

3. The Recommended Solution: A Mixed Setting

Combining a reverse osmosis under-sink filter with a water softening system is an effective technique to deal with water hardness. Unwanted minerals will be removed by the softer, creating soft water for sanitary purposes throughout the entire house.

Meanwhile, the under-sink RO filter purges dangerous impurities from your drinking and cooking water. This water softening system addresses both types of pollutants and is more cost-effective than a whole-house RO system, making it well-rounded.

Types of Water Softeners

A specialised water softening device can change hard water into somewhat hard water or soft water.


Due to its effectiveness, a salt-based water softening system is popular. Salt and resins from the resin tank are used in a home water softening system to attract minerals. Its main function is ion exchange between sodium and calcium on the one hand and magnesium and calcium on the other.

Manual salt-level checks may be necessary for these brine tank salt-based systems. Additionally, they are capable of being totally autonomous, alerting the user when salt needs to be applied. This is one of the least expensive ways to treat hard water at home for the entire house because salt is so cheap.

Water filters made of salt have disadvantages as well. For instance, they leave other substances in the water alone. For well water containing chemicals and microorganisms, salt-based filtering might not be adequate.


Salt-free water softening systems merely neutralise the minerals in hard water; they do not truly remove them. The minerals cannot adhere to one another because of these filters. They essentially neutralise the harm that hard water does to plumbing and pipes.

Water softener systems with salt-free water don’t need as much upkeep or salt. Therefore, there is no need to check the salt levels.

The largest difficulty these units have is completely comprehending their behaviour. They simply eliminate the effects of hard minerals on pipes and faucets; they do not actually remove

Magnetic and electronic descalers

Electronic or magnetic descalers operate similarly to salt-free water filters. Electricity prevents minerals from combining, hence halting the harmful effects of hard water.

These filters are now less well-known than others because they are relatively new. Their failure to extract calcium and magnesium from hard water is, however, their main flaw.

Reverse Osmosis

Not many people choose reverse osmosis water filters for water softening. But these are renowned for removing a wide range of contaminants, including heavy metals, silt, and minerals.

These filters force water through a fine filter with high pressure. When water goes through, the calcium and magnesium ions stay in this location.

Installing a reverse osmosis hard water filter locally in a room of the house is simple. In the kitchen, which is where drinking water is served, there are numerous reverse osmosis filters installed.

Salt-based vs Salt-Free Water Softeners – Which is Better?

Salt-based and salt-free water softeners both have advantages and disadvantages. The ability of salt-based water softeners to provide that genuinely smooth skin feeling is the first thing that stands out about them. Mineral-free waters result in clean, fresh skin.

Additionally, salt-based water softeners enable your soap to create more bubbles in the shower and improve the colour retention of your clothes.

The best water softening systems that don’t use salt require less upkeep than those that do.

Salt is still needed for salt-based softeners that use it. They eliminate the function of minerals by crystallising them. Your skin won’t be as smooth after using a salt-free unit, and your clothes may still show some marks. Modern technology brings salt-free water softeners’ performance near to that of salt-based ones.

What is best for you truly rely on your personal water supply, as well as your preferences and requirements.

Water Softener System Maintenance & Troubleshooting

A water softener’s lifespan can be extended by proper maintenance, which can also reduce repair costs and time. For a well-managed whole house water softener, these are some of the greatest maintenance and troubleshooting advice.

Maintain the Brine Tank

Make sure to carefully check the salt levels in the salt tank once a month to make sure everything is in working order. The salt tank should typically be 3 inches above the water line and at least half-filled with salt.

In order to maintain adequate water flow, salt bridges, or layers of hardened salt within the brine tank, need to be periodically broken. By dissolving them in hot water and stirring with a clean stick, they can be broken up.

Clean the Brine Tank

While older water softener models can last 5–10 years without needing to be cleaned if adequate maintenance has been maintained, older models can benefit from an annual cleaning. If troubleshooting techniques have failed and the softener has lost its ability to remove hardness, brine tank cleaning may be necessary.

1. To clean the tank, turn off the water supply using the bypass valve, then dump all of the salt and water that are in the brine tank.

2. Use a lot of soap and water to thoroughly clean the tank’s interior. To fully rinse, use a hose.

3. Fill the tank with 1-2 gallons of water, 1/4 cup of bleach, and let sit for 15 minutes.

4. After another rinse, add salt to the tank. To allow the salt to dissolve, wait a few hours before restarting the tank.

Use Proper Salt

The ideal salt to use in the brine tank for each water softener can be found in the manual. Use only the salt brand advised by the manufacturer. Although rock salt is less expensive, it also contains contaminants that could reduce the water softener’s effectiveness. The purest type of salt is evaporated.

Cleaning Iron-fouled Resin Beads

High iron deposits may eventually result in too much iron being deposited on the resin beads in whole house water softener systems without an iron filter, necessitating cleaning. Iron removal products like Iron Out or Rust Out can be used to remove resin that has been iron-fouled.

Pour the cleaning solution into the brine tank and regenerate the resin tank as usual to clean the iron-fouled resin beads. Resin tanks with severe contamination might need multiple cycles.

How to Size a Water Softener

Each water softener has a unique grain capacity, which is a measure of how much ion-exchanging the resin tank can handle before needing to be regenerated with salt. An inadequately sized water softener may use excessive amounts of salt and water, as well as oversaturate the resin beads.

A whole house water softener should preferably renew no more frequently than three days in order to avoid using excessive amounts of water and salt. And it should regenerate no more than 14 days between cycles in order to protect the resin’s lifespan. For the majority of homes, a 7-day regeneration cycle is ideal.

One would need to know the amount of water used daily in gallons and the amount of hardness in grains per gallon in order to determine the necessary grain capacity for a home (GPG).

1. Find out the hardness of the water – For people who use city water, the annual reports posted online usually list the hardness. Owners of wells can use a test kit to assess the hardness of their water. Hardness should be assessed in GPG, which can be done by multiplying the mg/L value by 17.1.

2. Calculate Daily Water Usage – The average number of gallons used daily in the US is 70, thus multiplying the number of people living in the household by the average number of gallons used daily will give you a reasonable estimate of how much water is used daily. For instance, a family of four uses approximately 280 gallons of water per day (4 x 70 = 280).

3. Calculate Daily Softening Requirement – To get the amount of water that must be softened each day, multiply the water hardness in GPG by the amount of water used each day in gallons. For instance, 2,800 grains are produced by multiplying a water hardness of 10 GPG by a daily water use of 280 gallons. 2,800 grains every day will need to be renewed in the water softener.

4. Choose a Water Softener with the Correct Grain Capacity – Choosing a water softener with the correct grain capacity is crucial because the goal regeneration frequency for water softeners should be every seven days.

In our example, if the daily softening requirement is 2,800 grains, we must multiply that by seven days to get 19,600. The necessary water softener ought to have a grain capacity of roughly 19,600.

The most common grain capacities for water softeners are 24,000, 32,000, and 48,000 grains. Most of the time, it would be beneficial to round up to the nearest grain capacity. In our case, the 24,000-grain water softener would meet the need for 19,600-grain capacity.

An Overview of Popular Water Softener Brands

Selecting a brand is a crucial choice you must make when purchasing a whole house water softener. This choice may prove to be very challenging due to the huge variety of water softener brands.

Among the most well-known whole house water softener manufacturers now available are:

  • EcoWater
  • Kenmore
  • Fleck
  • WaterBoss
  • Autotrol
  • GE
  • Whirlpool


A business called EcoWater is situated in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This facility is significant since it confirms that all of their components are produced in the United States. For some of the other businesses on this list, the same cannot be stated. To save money, many of them install lower-quality foreign-made components in their water softeners.

The American-made water softeners from EcoWater, on the other hand, are among the most reliable and premium products on the market. They are trustworthy because they have NSF/ANSI 44 certification. Products that earn this accreditation have undergone rigorous testing to demonstrate that they live up to their promises.

So you can be sure your water will soften when you purchase an EcoWater softener. In order to preserve your health, it will also get rid of barium and radium 226/228.

These systems also come with a tonne of premium features, such as the ability to monitor them from your smartphone and environmentally friendly low salt usage.

We routinely recommend EcoWater units to our customers for all of these reasons and more. They could cost more than other solutions, but the superior long-term outcomes make the extra expense worthwhile.


An era when Kenmore was a widely used water softener brand. However, in recent years, its appeal has declined, and in 2018, its parent company, Sears, filed for bankruptcy.

For mid-sized homes, a Kenmore water softening system is still a respectable low-cost alternative. Even while it doesn’t have as many high-end functions as an

Additionally, for many years, Angel Water was the authorised service provider for Kenmore water softeners in the Chicago metropolitan area. We therefore possess the knowledge required to provide a Kenmore water softening system with the upkeep it requires. If you require assistance with your softener, please let us know.


With a 40-year history, Fleck is well known for its reasonably priced water softeners. The problem with Fleck, though, is that their water softeners frequently come with subpar salt tanks.

This is due to the fact that Fleck exclusively creates control valves for its tanks. The remainder of the water softener must then be added by the distributor. Unfortunately, to save a few dollars, many distributors use resin and low-quality tanks made in foreign countries.

As a result, you should only buy a Fleck water softener from a business that you are confident in. Verify the American origin of the resin and tanks.


Some of the most affordable water softeners on the market are WaterBoss models. As you can anticipate, a cheaper product will be of inferior quality.

The water pressure in a home is notoriously reduced by WaterBoss water softeners. Additionally, even if you initially save money, you’ll definitely end up spending more money overall due to service calls and replacement costs.

Therefore, only buy a WaterBoss if you know you need a simple, affordable remedy.


The metered control valve of an Autotrol water softening system is its main advantage. By preventing the water softener from consuming too much salt, this valve helps save money.

Like Fleck, Autotrol exclusively manufactures the control valve for its systems. The distributor is responsible for adding the remaining components to the device, and some businesses may do so by using subpar components.

Therefore, if you purchase an Autotrol softener, ensure that the distributor you are purchasing from is reliable. If the distributor is willing to extend warranty protection to the entire water softener rather than just the control valve, that is one indication of their reliability.


GE water softeners often fall in the lower price range but have a number of high-quality features. For instance, a lot of water softeners let you change the water’s hardness setting. To make sure you always have enough soft water, the units can also learn how to adapt to the patterns of water use in your home.

These units appear to be excellent, however there are certain warning signs to be aware of. The main one is that General Electric does not produce these water softeners. In its place, the Chinese appliance manufacturer Haier pays GE to promote its products under the GE name.

Additionally, a lot of the units only have a one-year warranty. So, if you’re searching for long-term coverage, you might want to be sceptical of a GE softener.


Another reasonably priced brand that you may frequently find at large box stores is Whirlpool. Depending on your needs, they provide a wide range of size options with various grain capacities. They are fairly reliable and have a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.

NSF/ANSI 44 certified water softeners of the highest calibre are more reliable than Whirlpool water softeners. However, if you are on a tight budget and seeking a softener with a solid reputation, they are a fantastic choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to drink salt-softened water?

Yes. For each 8-ounce glass of water you consume, the majority of ion exchange water softener units add less than 35 milligrammes of sodium. To put this into perspective, one rasher of bacon has about 140 milligrammes of sodium in it, compared to about 60 milligrammes in a slice of bread.

Why is a salt-free water softener superior to an ion exchange system?

By encapsulating them in resin beads, ion exchange softeners remove all hardness minerals from the water. Electric water softeners and descalers, which don’t need salt, can’t genuinely soften water. Instead, they only crystallise hardness minerals to “condition” the water.

How long do ion exchange softeners last?

An ion exchange water softener typically lasts for 15 to 20 years. If properly maintained, these softeners can last considerably longer than this.

Ion exchange vs. reverse osmosis: which is superior?

Not if you want your water to be softened! A reverse osmosis system uses a semipermeable membrane to filter out contaminants. There are no reverse osmosis softeners, even though a reverse osmosis system can reduce some water hardness.

Your water’s high concentration of dissolved calcium carbonate or magnesium will only harm the membrane and reduce its longevity. A water softener can perform tasks that no water filtration system can.

How often is a regeneration cycle run on a conventional water softener?

Every 7 to 14 days, a water softener will typically go through a regeneration cycle. The majority of water softeners are set up to regenerate overnight so that you have a constant supply of water during the day.

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