Indigestion, balding, patchy skin and a number of other ailments can all be traced back to the same thing: bad water. Softening up water can make it a lot easier to use. The water softeners listed below can help you soften your water and make it healthier to use. Do check out our buying guide before buying.
Buying Guide for Water Softener
We care about you!
We want you to make the best and informed decision about buying a water softener. This buying guide will take you through the most important questions that you have in your mind before buying a water softener. We have developed this buying guide after days long of research on different softeners available in the market.
Do you really need a water softener?
You might have in your mind that do you really need a water softener. Well, according to the U.S. geological survey, around 85% of the water is hard. Apart from this, indications of hard water are easy to notice over a couple of years. If your skin and hair become rough, plumbing fixtures need to be fixed on a regular basis and scale gets to build upon them. The life of kitchen utensils gets shortened. If you are experiencing any one of them or all of them, then you definitely need a water softener. Do check out our guide about best water filter pitchers to have pure water.
Which type of water softener do you need?
Getting the right type of water softener according to your demand is very important. The answer to this question will give you awareness about the different types of water softeners available in the market. It’s effectiveness based on its characteristics. Generally, the following three types are the commonly used.
Salt-Based Water Softeners
As the name indicates, these water softeners use salts for the water softening. The chemical process that takes place inside the water softening plant is too complex to explain here. It is pertinent to highlight here, that in this type of water softening plant, exchange of ions takes place.
Salt-Free Water Softeners
Do not be enticed by the name. They are not very effective when it comes to water softening. They act like water conditioners and just help in reducing the buildup of scale inside your pipes.
Magnetic Water Softeners
Easy to install, this water softener works by generating a magnetic field around your water pipes and helps in avoiding lime buildup inside your pipes.
The installation of a magnetic water softener is easy and does not interfere with your plumbing system. You just have to plug in the device and coil some wires around the water inlets.
Dual Tank Water Softeners
These are heavy duty water softeners and are perfect for households with huge water consumption. This type of water softeners has two tanks and is able to provide you with an ample supply of soft water around the clock. When one tank is regenerating, the other one provides you with soft water. We recommend you selecting this type of water softener plant if you consume water in massive quantities.
How is the water softener installed?
Installing the water softeners can be a daunting task. If you do not have some grip over plumbing work and do not know where the water inlet is located, you can hire the services of a professional to install the water softener plant for you. If you are confident enough that you can install it successfully, the following steps can guide you through the installation process.’
- Close the main water inlet supply and find out ‘cut the water pipes’ at the point where it enters your house.
- Attach the pipe connection with three valves (one to stop water entering from softener plant, second to stop water leaving softener, third is the bypass valve) here.
- Make sure that all the connections are tight.
- Now connect the media tank to the brine tank with the help of 3/8 plastic tubing, drain line to the drain elbow and discharge pipe with wastewater drain.
These are the general instructions; a more detailed installation method will also be given in the brochure or installation guide of the product. Magnetic water softeners have a different method of installation.
Is softened water safe to drink?
There are some concerns about drinking softened water. We need to make it clear that drinking softened water can be problematic for you in the long run. A combination of water softener and drinking water plants can result in the perfect and healthy drinking water for your household.
Can you connect the water softener to hot water?
No. Connecting water softener through your water heating system can destroy the working of your water softener system. Please make sure that you connect the water softener before your water heater.
How can you consider the capacity of the water softener?
There are different water softeners available in the market with different capacities. The best way to make sure that you never run out of soft water is to buy a water softener that has more capacity of processing water as compared to your average monthly usage. Also, keep a check on the regeneration system and capacity of the softener and it gets along with your usage.
How can you make sure that soft water supply never stops?
If you need a continuous supply of soft water with adequate pressure, you need to install a double tank softener. We have already explained this type above.
What is the life of a water softener?
The average life-span of water softeners is 10-15 years. However, when used with care and according to its capacity, a durable water softener can work for 20 years or so.
What is the benefit of bypass valve?
A bypass valve allows you to bypass water from the water softener. This can be helpful when it comes to using water in large quantities like filling the pool, gardening and other such activates. A good bypass valve is easy to install and operate.
How can you make sure that water softener gets fitted easily at the available space?
This is very important. Please make sure that you have enough space to install and operate water softener at the point where water pipes enter your house.
Before we get started, do check out reviews of top water filters as filters and softeners work differently, so you should select one according to your needs.
Best Water Softeners
12. Aquasana 6-Year, 600,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter
- 600,000 gallon filtration guaranteed
- 10 inch pre filter
- Shipped in more than one box
- Includes 0.75 inch pipe fittings
This filter is great for people who live in areas where chlorinated water is common. The filter is specially designed to remove chlorine and there are lots of benefits to this. Firstly, the water ends up tasting better. Water is not just for drinking, we cook food with it too. This food tastes a lot better as well because the water no longer has that chemical taste.
The water becomes a lot softer as well, you can feel it when you shower. It’s a pity that this water softener is so difficult to install, otherwise it would have ranked much higher on this list. It’s also rather expensive, which is confusing because this product does not have features that support the price point. Another thing you should consider is that this water softener leaves charcoal deposits in your pipes from the filter which you will have to occasionally clean up.
- Better tasting water
- Noticeably softer water
- Accessories included
- Reduces chlorine
- Difficult to install
- Leaves charcoal deposits
11. Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener
- NFS certified
- 1 year warranty
- Made in the USA
- Removes up to 8 ppm of iron
An NFS certified water softener is sure to be a good buy. Right off the bat this product is superior to the Aquasana model ranked below it because it is a lot easier to install. You can do it on your own without having to hire a professional to help you out. There are also no sedimentary deposits being left in your pipe.
Further benefits of this product are that it filters your water efficiently. Metals and unpleasant tastes get leached out through the complex filtration process. This is a relatively durable water softener as well, although the metal cover tends to rust over time. One thing you should consider before buying this water softener is that the connectors between the pipes are not secure enough. If the water pressure is too high, some water might leak out of these connectors.
- Easy to install
- Attractive design
- Long lasting and durable
- Filters very hard water quite well
- Connectors sometimes leak when subjected to high water pressure
- Metal cover rusts after extended use
10. Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Softener
- Removes soluble calcium and iron
- Intended for mobile water softening
- Treats 5 gallons per minute
- Weighs 14 pounds
This product is great at removing two commonly found minerals in water: calcium and iron. These minerals can make the water you’re drinking taste strange and metallic. They also make the water heavy and harsh which can cause skin problems and make you lose your hair. Calcium and iron can also be bad for you in large quantities, so this water softener helps you improve your health as well as making your water tastier and more comfortable to shower with!
One of the main benefits of this product is that it is quite portable. It also treats water rapidly, so you can carry this water softener along with you on camping trips or when you’re travelling. One thing that takes away portability is that you need to charge this product a lot before you can use it. Also, it isn’t big enough to be your main water softener at home.
- Lightweight and compact; optimal portability
- Fast water treatment
- Improves water taste
- Can filter all kinds of water
- Only works after an extended period of charging
- Too small to fulfill home water use requirements
9. Shower Filter Water Softener
- Removes heavy metals and germs
- Purifies water
- No tools required to install
- Meant for showers
The Shower Filter Water Softener does a good job at improving the showers you take. After a few days of showering with this water your skin will naturally feel a lot softer and cleaner, especially right after you get out of the shower. The water won’t just feel good, it will be cleaner too. This is because this product removes bacteria and germs as well as sedimentary deposits in your water.
Since this is primarily used for shower heads, this water softener is quite portable as well. In fact, it is lightweight and compact enough to fit in a pocket in your backpack. This water softener gives you great water pressure to shower with, but it does not do much to filter drinking water efficiently. This is especially a problem if you consider that this water softener doesn’t store any water. Overall, though, it deserves it’s relatively high ranking on this list.
- Makes skin and hair feel soft and clean
- Reduces risk of diseases caused by bacteria
- Provides good water pressure
- Lightweight and portable
- Does not store water
- Difficult to use to treat drinking water
8. Hansing Whole House Water Softener System
- Coconut activated carbon filter
- Stainless steel, anti corrosion design
- 185,000 grains capacity
- Weighs 6.25 pounds
Weighing in at just a little over six pounds, this water softener is quite easy to transport and install. Unlike the Shower Filter Water Softener, this product stores the water that it purifies which makes it perfect for people that want a water softener for home use. This filter is also very effective, it leaves the water with quite a pleasant taste. Some people might not like this taste, though, because it is not exactly neutral.
This water softener also fails to provide strong water pressure unlike the Shower Filter Water Softener, which is why it failed to rank higher in the top three. That being said, this is an extremely effective water softener that successfully filters your water, and it is durable against alkaline and acidic water as well which is a pretty big bonus. The durability will help this water softener last a lot longer.
- Holds a lot of purified water
- Durable stainless steel is resistant to rust and corrosion
- Surprisingly lightweight
- Effective filter leaves water tasting great
- Resistant to non neutral pH water
- Reduces water pressure slightly
- Water taste not neutral
7. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler – Water Softener
- Water softener alternative
- Descales entire water system
- Retains healthy minerals in the water
- Maintenance-free system
This Eddy electronic water descaler is basically an alternative of the water softener that descales the entire water system. You can easily install it on any plastic or metal pipe to prevent the scale build up. The unit makes the water soft but keeps the essential minerals into it.
It requires no salt to work but provides great quality water that takes care of your skin, hairs, and the appliances that need water. It is a highly economical product that many homeowners, as well as business organizations, use for treating water. The unit features two magnetic coils that get attached with the pipe. They produce electromagnetic waves which change the bonding nature of the limescale. In this way, the limescale fails to build up in the pipelines and the appliances you use.
- Works well on all types of pipes
- Environmental friendly
- Easy installation
- No plumbing changes, and requires no salt at all
- Lifetime repair and money back guarantee
- Not suitable for the rusty pipelines
6. Discount Water Softeners Premier 40,000 Grain Water Softener
- Metered water control
- Soft water brine tank
- Neoprene tank jacket
- Bacteria resistant design
This water softener deals a major problem with this type of product: bacterial growth. It prevents bacteria from growing in the water tank and filters out a lot of heavy metals which neutralizes bad tastes in the water. Another great thing about this water softener is that it doesn’t reduce water pressure unlike the Hansing Whole House Water Softener System at number 3. This is why this product is ranked higher.
In spite of the high water pressure, you will notice that you end up saving a lot of water. This is because you will feel cleaner more quickly while showering. Cleaner water will also help you lather up better with soap. These things more than make up for the high price you will have to pay for this water softener. However, this product is tough to install on your own, and the fact that a professional will have to step in would increase costs which is an inconvenience.
- Prevents growth of bacteria
- Reduces water consumption
- Provides optimal water pressure
- Meter lets you see how much salt is filtered
- Effectively neutralizes bad tastes and odors
- Requires a professional to install
- Rather pricey
5. Fleck 64K Water Softener 64,000 Grains
- 64,000 grain water softener
- New Fleck 5600SXT digital meter with programmable cycles
- Upgraded paddle wheel meter
- Complete whole house softener
If you want a system that only needs basic plumbing skills for installation, then you must go for the Fleck 64000 grain capacity water softener. The system uses the flow meter to start the regeneration process after measuring the water usage to save both the salt and water. Also, the upgraded paddle wheel meter is better than the turbine styled meter in terms of leakage.
The ion exchange method is used to remove the calcium and magnesium from the hard water to make it soft. The digital LCD with touch controls makes it easy to control the system. The water softener comes with a complete system including the tank, control head, resin, and the brine tank. The structural tanks are made in the USA, and the brine tank features a safety float.
- Fiberglass mineral tank with preloaded resin
- Toll-free tech support
- Structural tanks are made in the USA
- Metered on demand system
- 10-year warranty tanks
- Sometimes the water pressure goes down
4. Fleck 5600 SXT Metered Whole House Water Softener
- Fleck 5600 SXT digital control valve
- 64,000 grain capacity
- Comes with Pentair mineral and brine tanks
- Pentair scan and service application
This imported, poly-glass Fleck 5600SXT metered whole house water softener effectively removes the impurities from the incoming hard water to make it soft and usable. It is one of the top rated water softeners equipped with a highly efficient digital on demand water softener valve that regenerates according to your water usage to save water as well as salt. The best thing about this water softener is that it comes with resin in the brine tank for easy installation.
This water softener system removes calcium and magnesium from the water through the ion exchange method to make it usable for you. Also, you can get all the information related to your water softener through the Pentair Scan and Service application.
- Preloaded with 2.0 Cubic feet resin in the brine tank
- Saves salt and water
- Easy installation
- Made in the USA
- Consists of free 1-inch noryl plastic male threaded bypass
- Programming the system is not easy as no directions are there in the user manual
3. ABCwaters 5600sxt Fleck Softener and Carbon Filter
- Upflow carbon contaminant removal
- Fleck 5600sxt digital valve meter
- 48,000 grain capacity
- No electricity required
This is the only water softener on this list that can be considered genuinely environmentally friendly because it does not use any electricity to filter the water. This is a high capacity water softener that leaves your water tasting completely natural and neutral, and it also doesn’t produce any wastewater during the filtration process. You also have a digital valve to help you accurately assess how much water you have left and how much is being filtered.
All of this combined with the reasonable asking price comes together to make this the best product on the market right now. This is the pinnacle of the water softener industry, even though there have been some complaints of poor customer support. For the most part, though, this water softener gets the job done quickly without compromising on quality, and goes easy on your bank account as well.
- Environmentally friendly due to no electricity used
- Highest capacity on the market
- Leaves absolutely no taste
- Digital valve meter gives accurate readings
- Does not produce any wastewater
- Very reasonable pricing
- Some complaints of poor customer support
2. Tier1 48,000 Grain High Efficiency Digital Water Softener
- Highly efficient water softener
- 48,000 grain capacity
- User-friendly LCD
- Smart design – Turbine meter is integrated into the system bypass valve.
This water softener unit from Tier1 is not only a highly efficient product but also very easy to install. It comes with a brine tank and already filled mineral tank along with the water line connections, brine tubing, and drain line. This water softener has the capacity of processing up to 48,000 grains of hardness before going into the regeneration phase.
The system features a digital meter control valve having a manual bypass with a digital display and improved features. It is quite easy to operate as compared to the Fleck 5600SXT. It makes the water soft and prevents dry hairs, scale build-up, pipes clogging, and uncleaned laundry. This product also saves your money because of no wastage of soap and washing powders.
- Easy and fast installation
- Effectively removes hardness from the water
- Adjustable cycle times
- Saves money
- 130L salt holding capacity
- Bad customer service
1. Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener Iron Filter
- Comes with a combination of water softener and iron filter
- Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve
- 64,000 grain capacity
- Conserves water
This water softener by Fleck is one of the best water softeners available in the market that comes with an iron filter to provide iron-free water. Its fine mesh resin design removes iron in a great quantity. Also, it makes it a durable product. This single unit prevents scale build up and the red stains caused due to the presence of minerals in the water including calcium, magnesium, and iron.
This water softener takes care of your appliances, make them efficient, and increase their lifespan. It removes ferrous iron as well as ferric iron, along with manganese, sediment, sand, and rust. The unit also features a meter based regeneration process that works according to your water usage. Increased water usage forces the system to regenerate more repeatedly, and the less water usage helps the system to regenerate less often.
- Highest grain capacity
- Removes hardness up to 75 GPG
- Eliminates iron and manganese
- Comes with a brine tank
- Meter based regeneration process
- Saves water
- Missing instructions
Water is one of the most important things that we need to survive. It is not only a necessary component of our diet; it also plays a paramount role in our daily lives. Without water, our daily life will be paralyzed. The quality of water is very significant in this regard. It is dominated by the presence of certain minerals. Excess of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and metals like iron can cause the water to become “hard”. This hard water needs to be treated before it can be used without having certain disadvantages. For this purpose, water softeners are used. Before we actually proceed towards the buying guide for water softeners, we would like to highlight some of the disadvantages that hard water can cause. A list of drawbacks of using hard water is given below:
- Skin and hair get dry
- Scale builds up on electric appliances and plumbing fixtures
- Glassware gets damaged easily and silverware loses its shine and luster.
- High water charges
Using a water softener can bring many advantages for you. Apart from the softer skin and healthy hair, it can make sure that your clothes remain soft and you avoid any skin allergy or rash. Anything that uses water gets a long life with soft water running through it. Your cooking utensils, mirrors, tiles, cars, and plumbing fixtures remain neat and shine better. Spending some money on a water softener once allows you to save money by avoiding a lot of repairs and damages that are caused by the use of hard water.
These water softeners can help you lead a healthier life, not to mention how comfortable you will feel after showering with softened water. Our research has to lead us to conclude that the ABCwaters 5600sxt Fleck Softener and Carbon Filter is the best product on the market and can give you the best possible water.