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12 Best Water Softeners – Reviews & Ultimate Guide 2020

Do you have an unsightly build-up of scale and rust, soap scum, or a nasty filmy residue on your bathroom fixtures, furniture, surfaces, showers, glasses, dishes, and others?

Does your skin feel dry and itchy and your hair hard and dry?

Does your laundry look drab and feel hard too?

Is your water pressure low due to clogged pipes and do your expensive appliances such as the water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, coffee maker, and others need frequent repairs and replacements due to the build-up of scale?

If the answers to these questions are “yes,” then you probably have a problem with hard water, like the millions of other households in the USA and around the world do. In fact, about 90% of the homes in the USA have problems with hard water according to statistics.

The good news is there are various excellent and highly efficient water softeners, which you can choose from to help resolve all these problems.

We have picked the best water softeners of all types – salt-based, salt-free, electromagnetic, and others available on the market in 2020 for you.

Read on to find out more about them, as well as get some useful tips on choosing the best water softener for your specific needs and your water quality.

Best overall

APEC Water Systems FUTURA-10 Whole House Salt-Free Water Softener

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The APEC Water Systems Futura-10 is among the best water softeners for homes with 1 to 3 bathrooms. It will help remove the scale which has been built-up in your home’s pipes. This will help soften your water, making it safe for you and your pets, and for watering plants.

It will also help increase the longevity of all of your appliances, which use tap water or are connected to your plumbing system.

Thanks to the APEC Water Systems Futura-10, you will increase the longevity of your pipes and plumbing system as well.

This maintenance-free water softener for the whole home is suitable for households with a 10 GPM flow rate and is very efficient for water, which has a hardness level of up to 25 grains per gallon.

The capacity of the filter medium is from 3 to 5 years, depending on your water usage. The medium itself is made of safe ceramic, which will transform the harmful minerals into a crystalline form. The softening process is chemical-free, salt-free, and completely safe.

The system itself is straightforward to install and doesn’t use electricity or drainage for wastewater. It has no wasteful backflush feature and will save you the hassle of having to carry and add salt to your water softening system.

The dimensions of the tank are 48 x 9 inches, and the pre-filter which traps the larger contaminants is 20 x 4.5 inches.

The efficient water softener is made in the USA and sold with a 10-year warranty.

You can also purchase the water softening system in a higher capacity version, which is suitable for houses with 3 to 6 bathrooms.

The runner-up

AFWFilters WS-96k-91SXT Fleck 9100SXT Dual tank water softener

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If you live in a home with an old plumbing system, your hard water may be largely due to the scale build-up in your pipes.

With the help of the AFWFilters WS-96k-91SXT Fleck9100SXT, you can ensure that the scale is gradually and safely broken down and removed from the pipes.

This will not only save you the costs and efforts of having to replace or repair your plumbing system, but will also ensure that your water is soft and thus good for your skin, hair, nails, as well as for your bathroom interior, and for your appliances which use water.

Thanks to the generous capacity of the two tanks of this water softener, you will always have softened water when you need it. Each of the two resin tanks has a 96,000-grain capacity. The size of each of them is 14 x 65 inches.

Included in this complete water softening system is a large capacity round almond brine tank, which has a safety float to ensure that it never overflows and causes water damage.

You will also receive a plastic bypass with a 1-inch male yoke for easy installation, and a control valve as well for bypassing the plumbing system with having to uninstall it, whenever necessary.

You will receive 6 bags of high quality, high capacity resin, which will last you for up to 5 years.

There are also all the necessary riser tubes and a brine line for the effortless connection of all elements of the salt-based water softening system for the whole home.

It has a flow rate level of up to 20 GPM and comes with a digital metered head, which will allow you for easy control and monitoring of the system at all times.

The best budget-friendly option

Eddy Electronic Water Descaler – Water Softener Alternative

 

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If you want to find the best budget-friendly option for softening the water running in your home, then the best choice for you could be the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler.

Unlike the other water softeners on our list, this nifty device takes up minimal space, doesn’t require any plumbing work or cutting pipes, and uses electromagnetic waves to soften, dissolve and remove the scale deposits from your pipes.

The Eddy Electronic Water Descaler is only 6.7 x 3.5 x 1.6 inches in size and takes just a few minutes to install. All you will need to do is plug the unit in, clamp on the included coils to your pipe, and then you are set to go.

Not only does this water softener cost a fraction of what the other water softening systems do, but it also has an infinite capacity to soften your water. There is no need to replace filters, add salt, wash it, or perform any other maintenance.

Also, it does not come into contact with your water and thus doesn’t have an impact on the water flow.

It is completely eco-friendly and will help remove the harmful metals and minerals while keeping the safe and healthy ones in your water.

This is definitely the easiest to install and maintain water softener on the market. Plus, it is the least expensive option. Last but not least, it comes with a 12-month guarantee and a lifetime warranty.

The rest of the best water softeners for 2020

Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener Digital SXT Metered Whole House System

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The Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain water softener is a reasonably priced system with a large capacity, capable of softening the water in homes while using much less salt than other water softening systems on the market.

The system comes with top quality Pentair mineral tank and brine tank with a safety float and an overflow elbow, a 1-inch Noryl male bypass, a ½ inch drain barb, a Fleck 5600 SXT metered digital softener valve and high-quality Tru Blue 8% resin. The good news is that the resin comes preloaded in the tank, so it will save you a lot of time and effort.

You will be able to monitor your water and salt usage easily thanks to the digital softener valve, and it is very easy to navigate through its settings.

Thanks to the on-demand metered system, the water softener will rejuvenate based on a set time cycle and based on the actual water usage. This will help save water, electricity, and salt.

Also, the system has a built-in capacitor which will store the settings of your programming for up to 48 hours, which is very useful in case of power failure.

This is one of the most affordable complete water softener systems on the market which uses high capacity resin and saves salt while ensuring that your pipes are clean from mineral scale build-up. With a system like this, you no longer have those annoying white spots on your glasses or use tons of soap and shampoo in order to wash your hair and your body.

The water softener is made of components certified by the Water Quality Association and is NSF certified for standard 44.

Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT

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If you need a water softener that can also efficiently remove the high ferrous iron content from the running water in your whole home, then the Iron Pro 2 Combination system is one of the best deals you can find on the market in 2020.

This whole house water filtering and softener system is affordable and has a 64,000-grain capacity.

It is suitable for a water flow of up to 16 GPM.

The water softener has a filter medium with fine mesh resin, which helps remove the iron contaminating your water.

The system can remove water hardness of up to 75 grains per gallon, as well as remove ferrous iron in the 6-8 ppm size range. It will also help trap any manganese of up to 6 ppm, rust, sand, and sediments from the water that enters your home.

Thanks to this water filtering and softening system, there will be no harmful heavy metals and minerals in your water.

You can also say goodbye to the nasty rusty stains in your toilets, sink, and bathroom, as well as to scale build-up, scum from soap, and white spots on the surfaces.

The affordable salt-based water softening and filtering system by AFW filters comes with the most popular Fleck 5600 SXT digital metered valve so you can set and monitor the water and salt usage and the operation of the system easily.

Also included is an almond brine tank with a safety float, fine mesh resin (preloaded in the tank), a bypass valve, and 1-inch male connections, plus detailed installation instructions.

The system is sold with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, a 10-year warranty on the tank, and a 5-year warranty on the digital control head.

ABCwaters built Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener and Upflow

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The ABC Waters 5600SXT is a whole house upflow Carbon filtration, and water softening system is a premium-quality water softener which is suitable for a service flow of up to 12 GPM, or homes with 2 to 5 people.

The water filtration and softening system has no wasteful backwash or a need for drainage.

Its filter will last for up to 6 years and will remove the pollutants from your water safely via the natural coconut shell-derived carbon filter. The upflow filter will efficiently remove the chlorine, chloramines, herbicides, pesticides, THM, organics, and bad odors and tastes from the water flowing in your home.

The two tanks come preloaded with top quality 10% ABC10 cross-linked resin. You will also receive a large-capacity brine tank, the easy to use and efficient Fleck 5600 SXT digital valve meter, and a very detailed DIY installation guide, access to installation videos and technical support.

The versatile water softening and filtering system comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee, a 10-year warranty on the tanks, a 5-year warranty for the brine tank, so you can rest assured that your investment will be protected in the future.

Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filtration System Plus SimplySoft

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The Aquasana Rhino Whole House water filter with SimplySoft has a capacity of 300,000 gallons but is also available in larger capacity versions of 500,000 and 1,000,000 gallons, as well as for city and well water.

The system supports a system flow rate of 7 GPM. It helps soften the water, while at the same time removing more than 97% of the chlorine and other harmful contaminants, including sediments, herbicides, pesticides, rust, VOCs, industrial solvents and others from all of the water which enters your home and runs through your taps and all connected appliances.

The efficient upflow filter is NSF certified for efficient filtration of chlorine from tap water.

With this easy to maintain whole house filtration and salt-free softening system, you can protect your appliances and home from the harsh effects of hard and mineralized water.

No drainage, backflushing, or electricity is required for the installation of the Aquasana Rhino system, and overall, it requires very little maintenance. With its 300,000 capacity, the filter can last for up to 3 years.

With this multifunctional water quality improvement system, you can enjoy softer skin, shinier hair, as well as properly functioning appliances like dishwashing machines, washing machines, coffee makers, irons, and any other appliances which use the water from your plumbing system.

It is definitely a worthwhile investment, given the health and financial benefits of installing a double filtering and softening system for the water running throughout your home.

Tier1 Eco Series Salt-Free Water Softener

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The Tier1 Eco Series water softener is suitable for households with 1 to 3 bathrooms and has a capacity to soften the water for 36 months with a flow rate of 4 GPM.

The set includes a 44 x 8 inch resin tank which will help reduce the scale and soften your water, and a 10 x 4.5 inch pre-filter for the sediment.

The system uses Template Assisted Crystallization for water softening and will help keep the healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium in your tap water.

The system has been NSF/ANSI 61 certified for removing scale and for healthy drinking water.

With this affordable water softener, you can help reduce or altogether avoid the costly and time-consuming plumbing repairs, pipe replacements, as well as repairs of your dishwasher, washing machine and other appliances which work with tap water.

The system is easy to install and set up and comes with everything you need to mount it and get it going, including brackets, housing, a ball valve, nipples, and flex connectors.

It doesn’t require buying and refilling with salt and doesn’t have a backwash feature that uses electricity and wastes water.

The Tier1 system comes with a worry-free guarantee by the manufacturer.

SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free Whole House Water Conditioner & Descaler

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The SpringWell Futuresoft salt-free whole home water softener utilizes a Template Assisted Crystallization media to reduce the scale in your pipes, and remove the harmful metals and minerals from your water.

You will be amazed at the benefit this system will have on your hair, skin, nails, glasses, bathroom furniture, and appliances.

It uses an entirely eco-friendly descaling system, with zero electricity or salt required for running and softening the water in homes with 1 to 3 bathrooms and a flow rate of up to 12 GPM.

It has a self-adjusting system that will ensure that the media works efficiently, depending on the specific hardness of your water.

It comes with everything you will need to install it, including a bypass valve, and with detailed instructions.

Plus, it is sold with a 6-month money-back guarantee and an industry-leading lifetime warranty for the valves and tanks.

Nuvo H2O Dphb-a Home Water Softener System, 5 X 24″ – New Model

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The Nuvo H2O DPHB water softener uses a revolutionary technology to soften the water at home.

The technology uses a chelating agent which attaches itself to the mineral ions in the water and keeps them soluble while decreasing the pH level of the water.

The system is FDA and NSF approved and can help remove hard water scale and prevent future build-up.

This basic water softening system is suitable for households with 1-2 residents.

It is eco-friendly and uses no electricity, no salt, and emits no wastewater.

With the Nuvo H2O, you can help keep the water in your home soft via the safe salt-free cartridge, which needs to be replaced according to your water usage, and the water quality.

It is small in size, easy to install, and has a flow rate of 12-15 GPM.

The only backside is that it has 1-inch inlets, which are not suitable for all pipe types.

On the bright side, it is inexpensive and is sold with a money-back guarantee.

Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified

 

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The Whirlpool WHES30E is an interesting and affordable alternative to the traditional salt-based water softeners.

Its design is unique and features a single cylindrical tank with a control head.

The system by Whirlpool helps reduce the hardness and removes up to 8ppm of ferrous iron and other contaminants like magnesium, calcium, and manganese from the water.

This reasonably priced water softener will calculate the amount of salt you need to add for its regeneration, which means that you will not be wasting money and effort for adding unneeded salt.

This is a compact water softener utilizing soft, which is suitable for smaller apartments and homes with 1 to 4 residents.

The WHES30E has a hardness removal level of 95 grains per gallon.

The system has a 30,000-grain softening capacity and is sold with a 1-year full warranty, which can be extended to two years.

On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener

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The On The Go portable water softener is another unique water softener that is portable and is perfect for camping, RVs, boats, and other uses.

This is a compact and yet efficient water softener, which is also suitable for small homes with little water usage. It is a 16,000-grain water softener, which is very efficient, even though it requires more top-ups with salt.

The system uses about two boxes of table salt per 40 days or for up to 1,600 gallons of water.

The compact and portable water softener regenerates in less than 30 minutes and is ready to go again.

It has a convenient carry handle on top, and an added cap and plug to prevent leakage when transporting it, as well as a wide mouth opening, to pour the salt easily inside the tank.

Its inlet hose has a 360-degree swivel, so you can place it anywhere and attach it to your water source easily when on the road, or at home.

It is easy to install without any special tools required.

The size of the portable water softener is 22 inches in height and a diameter of 9.5 inches.

Do you need a water softener?

A good quality water softener is a must for many households in the USA and around the globe, which rely on municipal or well water with high mineral content and a high grain rating.

Hard water typically contains larger quantities of magnesium, calcium, iron, and other particles, which can cause a build-up of scale in the plumbing system. It can also cause a build-up of soap scum and an unsightly cloudy film on the faucets, and other bathroom and kitchen fixtures, on the glasses and dishes. Most importantly, hard water can damage the pipes and other parts of water heaters, dishwashing machines, washing machines, irons, coffee makers and other expensive appliances and installations.

Plus, with hard water, the soap, shampoo, and detergents you use for bathing and cleaning do not work so well. They don’t produce the foam that they should and leave your hair and skin dry, itchy, and feeling uncomfortable after showering.

If you have hard water, your laundry will also feel stiffer, and the colors will lose their vividness, and in some cases, stains can appear after washing.

The problem with hard water is not only aesthetical, but it can cause some costly and time-consuming problems with your pipes and appliances. This may lead to the need for costly replacements or repairs due to the build-up and the eventual rust and corrosion resulting from the permanent flow of hard water through them.

What are the advantages of using a water softener?

If you live in an area where the water is hard or have noticed one or more of these signs that your water may be too hard, then you can benefit from an efficient water softener.

It will make showering and grooming much more pleasant, and save you money for shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and for detergents. It will also relieve you from the tiresome job of scrubbing the unsightly stains and films on your bathroom and kitchen fixtures, as well as from your dishes, clothes, and others.

Most of all, a water softener will help you prolong the longevity of your home’s plumbing system, help reduce the build-up of limescale in the pipes and your appliances, so you will save tons of money once you start using it.

With a well-functioning water softener, you will immediately start feeling your skin and hair softer and more moisturized. Your clothes will be softer and will be more colorful and clean, and you will find that you need much less detergent or soap for washing yourself or your home.

Plus, cleaning the surfaces and kitchen utensils will be easier, as you won’t need to scrub all those stains or wash everything several times to get a good result.

So, a water softener will help you feel better and will save you a lot of money, as well as a lot of elbow grease in the long run.

What are the most common types of water softeners?

Before choosing the best water softener for your needs, it is essential to understand what the different types of water softeners are, and what their pros and cons are.

Salt-based water softeners

Salt-based water softeners are the most popular type used in the USA. They are also known as ion exchange softeners because they transform the sodium or potassium chloride salts with minerals like magnesium and calcium in the water. As a result, the water is softened.

They usually include a main water tank and a brine tank. The main tank contains resin beads, which soften the water by attracting the minerals. The brine tank contains the salt brine, which is used for flushing the resin from the collected hardness ions periodically.

These systems are usually more expensive and harder to maintain than the salt-free options, as they require regular adding of salt or salt alternatives. They are very suitable for households where the water is very hard.

With a salt-based water softener, your bathroom fixtures will become cleaner, your hair and skin will become softer, and your dishes, surfaces, and clothes will be stain-free. Also, you will save money for soap and detergents and will increase the longevity of your appliances and pipes.

The negatives are that the water can taste salty and is not goof for drinking by people on sodium-restricted diets, as well as by pets or for plants.

Also, salt-based systems require the periodic purchase and adding of large quantities of salt or salt alternatives to the brine tank.

There are alternatives like potassium chloride which can use instead of salt if you prefer to have salt-free softened water. Still, potassium chloride may be more difficult to find and is usually more expensive than the salt offered for the water softening systems.

Salt-free water softeners

Since these systems do not actually soften hard but water, but rather condition it, they are better known as water conditioners. Salt-free water softeners help reduce the limescale build-up and the mineral build-up from inside the pipes, and the faucets and fixtures. At the same time, they do not really remove the minerals from the water.

This type of water softeners is suitable for water, which is not so hard.

These systems work via a magnet or cartridge, which helps realign the ions and prevents them from attaching themselves to the pipes or other surfaces. On the other hand, salt-free softeners can remove chlorine, chloramine, and other chemicals from the water.

Salt-free water softeners are less expensive, do not require costly and time-consuming maintenance, and do not add unhealthy salt to your water.

At the same time, they are not as efficient as the salt-based ones and are not suitable for you if you have very hard water. They will prevent clumping, but will not remove the minerals from the water.

Dual tank water softeners

As their name suggests, the dual tanks softeners have two large heavy-duty tanks that ensure access to soft water at all times. This type of water softening system is suitable for larger households, where there is a lot of water usage.

Unlike the smaller resin-based water softeners, which need time to regenerate and during the regeneration, the water simply bypasses the softening system, the dual tank systems can provide you with a continuous supply of softened water 24/7.

Usually, these softeners are the most expensive of all, but they are the most efficient if you have very hard water and have ample water consumption.

Electromagnetic water softeners

These are also known as magnetic descalers and are pretty unconventional as compared to the other softening systems.

They are a very affordable option that doesn’t require any cutting of the pipes, plumbing, or other complicated installations. The electromagnetic descaler is attached to an incoming pipe and uses a strong electromagnetic current to prevent the build-up of minerals in the pipes and appliances.

These softeners do not come in actual contact with the water, and are a perfect solution to add to your main water softener system. They are very efficient in preventing the build-up of limescale.

Whole house filtering systems

Some of the best whole-house water filters include water softeners as well. These systems help filter the water from chlorine, chloramine, herbicide, pesticides, bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants from your city or well water.

Whole house water filters with water softeners are suitable for households where the grain rating of the water is not as high. In case your water is very hard, you may want to combine a whole house water filter with a dedicated water softener to ensure that your water will genuinely be softened.

The features to look for when choosing the best water softener

Since the various water softeners are different, and so are the types of water running in different areas and homes, it is essential to keep in mind some essential features when choosing the most suitable water softener for your needs.

The capacity

Before investing in a water softener of any kind, it is important to measure your water consumption at home – per day, week or month, and then look for a water softening system that can handle your water use.

You can measure your average water consumption by multiplying the number of people in the household by 80 gallons of water per day.

If you have a baby or toddler, you may be washing more clothes daily, and if you have teenagers, you may be using more water due to their lengthy showers.

Salt-based water softeners need time to regenerate the resin beads, and during this time, the water running in your home will not be softened. This process occurs once every two or more days, and it usually happens when there is low or no water consumption in the home.

But, you will need to make sure that the water softener you buy has a capacity which can deal with the grain rate of your water, and with your water consumption. Usually, the capacity of the softeners starts from 16,000 and can reach up to 96,000.

To calculate what the capacity of your water softener should be, you can multiply the daily average water consumption of the household by the grains of hardness in the water.

On average, a 4-person household with normal water hardness grain ratings should do well with a 33,000-grain water softening system.

The size of the system

Keep in mind that water softeners can vary in size, and some of them can be pretty hefty and huge. This is why you must measure the space you have for the installation of the water softener before proceeding to buy it.

If you have limited space, you may want to opt for a medium-sized softener, or a compact electromagnetic descaler. Those with more space can choose among the different types and capacities, including the very large two-tank water softening systems.

Your water grain rating

Before choosing the most appropriate type of water softener for your needs, it is vital to test your water grain rating. You can do so with an inexpensive home test kit, or may ask a professional to measure it for you.

You can also ask your city treatment plant to provide you with the grain ratings of the water, but you should keep in mind that the water passes through various pipes, some of which may be old and rusty, and the mineral content may increase on your way home. Also, old pipes in your own home may be contributing to the hardness of the water flowing through your faucets.

The grain rating will show you the number of grains of the minerals present in your water per gallon.

Performing a home or a professional test can also be very useful for discovering other worrisome contaminants and problems with your water, including high levels of chlorine, chloramine, viruses, bacteria, and others.

Once you have the grain rating, you can go ahead and start looking for a water softener that can handle such a grain rating efficiently. There is absolutely no point in buying a water softener, which is not capable of handling the hardness of your water.

Keep in mind, that in most cities, the allowed grain rating is 15 grains per gallon, but some wells may have 40 or more grains per gallon. So, your water source is essential too when shopping for the best water softener.

Usually, the salt-free water softeners can handle water with 15 grains per gallon, but if your water is harder, you should opt for a salt-based water softener or another higher capacity solution.

The flow rate

You do not want the water flow in your home to slow down or be interrupted by your water softener, right? This is why you should choose a softener that can handle your water flow and the water consumption in your home.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that for each person living in the household, you should calculate 4 gallons of water per minute, and then add 1 or 2 gallons for every other resident to get the total flow rate you use and need.

So, the more people living in your household – the higher the flow you should be looking for.

On average, if four people are living in your home, you should be looking for a water softener with a 7-10 GPM flow rate.

You can measure the water flow in your home with a meter, or perform a simple test with a one-gallon bucket and calculate the time it takes to be filled. The resulting time should be divided by 60, and you will come up with the gallon per minute flow.

Some water softeners can cause the water flow and pressure to drop, especially when more than one faucet is turned on, and more than one appliance is in use. Others do not interrupt the water flow whatsoever.

So, you should always keep in mind your overall water consumption as well as the water flow in your home when you are picking the best water softener.

Since the salt-free water softening systems do not use backflushing to remove the filtered particles, they are more likely to ensure a continual flow in your home, without interruptions.

Another option providing continual access to softened water is a heavy-duty dual tank water softener.

The regeneration type and settings

If you are buying a salt-based water softener, you should keep in mind that the resin needs to regenerate at some point during the softening process. Some softeners come with metered, and others come with timed regeneration settings.

The metered setting means that the resin will regenerate when a set amount of water has been used. You can set this quantity yourself.

With a timed system, the regeneration will occur every few days, no matter how much water you have used. The number of days between the regeneration depends on the prognosis for your water usage. But this type of water softener will regenerate using salt and water, even if you are on vacation and not using water at all. Plus, if you happen to have guests or, for some reason, use more water than usual, you may end up with hard water before the time for the next regeneration has come.

There are some water softeners that use demand initiated regeneration (DIR), recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, which detects when the resin needs to be recharged, and thus regenerates it only when it is necessary. This saves water and salt in the long run.

A bypass valve

It is always useful to consider getting a water softener with an optional bypass valve. This can come in handy when you need to use water without the need for it to be softened, such as for watering your plants or filling your pool. A bypass valve will help save salt or filter cartridge life.

Single or twin tank water softeners

If you are shopping for a salt-based water softening system, then you should consider the pros and cons of choosing a single or a dual tank system.

The single tanks offer on-demand soft water, and the dual tanks provide soft water 24/7.

On the other hand, the single tank water softeners take up less space and require fewer repairs as they have fewer components. But the single tank can decrease the water flow during the regeneration process.

Also, the different types of systems use different types of salt, so make sure you check this feature as well, to calculate your ongoing costs for salt.

The salt which will be used by the system

Since salt-based water softeners require regular refilling to function properly, this is an ongoing expense which you need to keep in mind as well. Not only will you need to buy the salt, but you will need to add it to the brine tank periodically, so check out the salt usage for water softening system as well.

The salt usage depends on its capacity, the quantity of resin beads that need to be treated, as well as how often the system regenerates.

Also, the salt usage depends on the hardness of your water.

Well water users with hard water may need to use up to 120 lbs. of salt per month, while those with municipal water may need to add significantly lower amounts of salt every month.

Of course, how much salt you will need to buy and add to your water softener also depends on your overall water usage too.

The intervals at which you will be adding salt also depend on the technology used, the water usage, the water hardness, and other factors. In some cases, you may need to add salt every week, while in others, it may be necessary to add it once in every few months.

It is a good idea to invest in a softener which has some sort of sensor or indication when it is time to add salt because leaving the system without salt can damage it.

NSF certification

Buying a water softener that has passed the tests and has NSF certification will give you peace of mind that your system is working correctly and will efficiently soften the water running in your home.

You can also look for systems with Gold Seal by the Water Quality Association if you want to invest in a water softener which complies with industry standards.

The maximum pressure rate

The different water softeners have different pressure rates. It is essential to pick one which doesn’t need too much pressure, and which will not affect the overall pressure of the water running in your home.

The ease of installation

The ease of installation of a water softener depends on its type, size, and make.

If you want to install the system by yourself, you should check out whether the water softener comes with everything necessary for the installation, a detailed installation guide, and whether there are video guides available for the process.

The electromagnetic and magnetic softening and descaling units are the easiest to install, as they do not require any cutting of the pipes or complicated tasks.

For more complex water softening systems, you may want to hire a professional plumber to prevent any problems with the plumbing or damaging the system during the installation.

Making sure that the water softener is installed correctly can save you a lot of troubles and money in the long run, so think twice about whether you can install it on your own, or instead would like to rely on a professional to do it for you.

The maintenance

If you choose a salt-based water softener, you should be prepared to add salt or a substitute to the brine tank regularly. This usually involves carrying and pouring salt pellets, blocks, or crystals from large bags. So, make sure you check how much salt the system uses and how often you will need to add more to the system before purchasing it, especially if you have a problem with lifting and handling heavy weights.

The salt-free softeners require much less maintenance. But they do require that their filter cartridges are replaced on a regular basis, and those with PP or other pre-filters will need to be washed periodically as well.

The easiest ones to maintain are electromagnetic descalers. All you will need to do is plug them in and attach them to the pipes. Then again, they are not as efficient as the other water softeners, especially if your water is very hard.

The safety and durability of the materials used for the softeners

It is essential to check whether the materials which come into direct contact with the water are safe. Opting for tanks and parts which are made of BPA-free or other safe materials is crucial if you want to reduce the risk of health problems and cancer, which has been proven to be caused by some types of plastic.

So, even if it will cost you more money initially, it is a good idea to choose a water softener made of safe and durable materials, such as stainless steel, BPA-free plastic, and others.

The guarantee and warranty

Since a water softener can be a significant investment and is something which you probably expect to be using for quite a few years, it makes sense to choose a product which is backed by an extended guarantee and warranty by the manufacturer.

Choose a water softener with a warranty that ensures that any repairs and parts for the next year or years will be free so that you can rest assured that you are making a wise investment in the long run.

What should you choose – a salt-based or a salt-free water softener?

There is a lot of debate regarding which type of water softening is better – the salt-based or the salt-free one?

The truth is that the two systems are quite different, and each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.

The choice between the two types of water softeners depends mostly on the type of water you have and the problems you are looking to resolve with such a system.

The fundamental difference between the salt-based and salt-free softeners is that the salt-based softeners actually remove the calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from the water. In contrast, the salt-free ones prevent them from sticking to the pipes, fixtures, and other surfaces, but do not remove them from the water.

The latter are not exactly softeners and are better known as water conditioners or descalers. They are great if you don’t have very hard water.

On the other hand, if your water grain rating is high with high volumes of minerals, then you should opt for a salt-based softener.

A salt-based softener will help prevent the build-up of limescale, and soap scum in your bathroom and kitchen, and your appliances, dishes, glasses, and so on. It will also make the water feel softer and will make your hair, skin, and clothes softer and better washed.

This type of softener will also help you reduce the use of soap, shampoo, and detergents, as they will become much more efficient once the hardness is removed from the water.

The advantage of the salt-free systems is that they do not require regular maintenance and adding of salt and also do not make the water salty, which could be harmful to people, pets, and plants.

With a salt-free system, you will still notice the positive effect of your water being softer, but in case you have very hard water, such a system will have little effect on its quality and on the negatives it causes.

Final words

Choosing the best water softener is not an easy task. You need to keep in mind so many different factors to ensure that you are buying the most efficient one for your specific needs.

Hopefully, this detailed guide has provided you with the information and the answers you have been looking for, for buying the best water softener.

All of the softeners we have picked in our list of the best water softeners for 2020 are of high quality and are highly efficient.

Still, you should always take into consideration the specific hardness and quality of your water, as well as your water usage, to be sure that you are making the best choice.

Good luck with your purchase and enjoy the multiple benefits of having softer water running through your pipes, and coming in contact with your body, your hair, your clothes, your furniture, and your plumbing and appliances!

Last update on 2020-09-20 at 10:34 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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