7 Best Water Softener Reviews by Consumer Reports: Portable, with Filter & Digital Meter

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.

7. Aquasana 6-Year, 600,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter

Aquasana 6-Year, 600,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter

 

Features

  • 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 that 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.

Pros

  • Better tasting water
  • Noticeably softer water
  • Accessories included
  • Reduces chlorine

Cons

  • Difficult to install
  • Expensive
  • Leaves charcoal deposits

6. Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener

Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener

Features

  • 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.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Attractive design
  • Long lasting and durable
  • Filters very hard water quite well

Cons

  • Connectors sometimes leak when subjected to high water pressure
  • Metal cover rusts after extended use

5. Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Softener

 

Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Softener

Features

  • 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.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact; optimal portability
  • Fast water treatment
  • Improves water taste
  • Can filter all kinds of water

Cons

  • Only works after an extended period of charging
  • Too small to fulfill home water use requirements

4. Shower Filter Water Softener

Shower Filter Water Softener

Features

  • 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.

Pros

  • Makes skin and hair feel soft and clean
  • Reduces risk of diseases caused by bacteria
  • Provides good water pressure
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Does not store water
  • Difficult to use to treat drinking water

3. Hansing Whole House Water Softener System

Hansing Whole House Water Softener System

Features

  • 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Reduces water pressure slightly
  • Water taste not neutral

2. Discount Water Softeners Premier 40,000 Grain Water Softener

Discount Water Softeners Premier 40,000 Grain Water Softener

 

Features

  • 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Requires a professional to install
  • Rather pricey

1. ABCwaters 5600sxt Fleck Softener and Carbon Filter

ABCwaters 5600sxt Fleck Softener and Carbon Filter

Features

  • 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Some complaints of poor customer support

Consumer Reports for ABCwaters 5600sxt Fleck Softener and Carbon Filter

Dolores C. Cornell: I installed it about a week ago and it’s been working so well! My showers are so much more comfortable now.

Patricia D. Trimble: I was initially annoyed when my husband bought this because it seemed like a waste of money. But now that I’ve used it for a while I can see that he knew what he was doing!

Travis O. Primeaux: I live in California where the water is pretty hard. I could tell the difference after I installed this water softener.

Casey T. Dorr: My hair feels so soft after using the water softener! Also, my dishes are a lot easier to clean. I didn’t even know that would happen!

Veronica R. Seymour: This is a serious product. It’s helped me finally get good water.

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

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 large water consumptions. 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 large 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 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.

  1. Close the main water inlet supply and find out cut the water pipes at the point where it enters your house.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure that all the connections are tight.
  4. 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.

Conclusion

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 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.

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