Water, the greatest of all gifts of nature, can be a trouble for you if it is not pure or fit to use. One such problem with the chemical composition of the water is its hardness. Hard water contains a high percentage of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals do not add any color or odor to your water like chlorine and iron but impact the chemical properties of water. It can lead to various effects in your daily life. Hard water does not have any impacts on your overall health but can affect your skin.
In this guide for best water softeners, we will discuss the harmful impacts of hard water, how they can disturb your daily life, and why a salt-based softener is the best solution to your needs. We will also discuss a buying guide to help you make the best purchase decision and a FAQ section to explain some of the common concerns related to the use of salt-based water softeners.
The Problem with using Hard Water and its Impacts
Hard water is detrimental for your plumbing, appliances, crockery, aerators, and showerheads. Hard water is rich in calcium and magnesium carbonates, magnesium hydroxide, and calcium sulfate. These compounds develop a tough and stubborn layer of white-grey scale and restrict the flow of water through plumbing. This scale also decreases the life of your appliances and makes your crockery vulnerable to cracking. Calcium and magnesium are also responsible for poor lather formation and improper washing. When detergents are not washed from your clothes, they develop hard water stains. Your skin is also impacted when you bath with hard water. Incomplete washing of soaps and detergents causes dandruff, allergies, and rashes to develop on your skin. If a proper solution is not found to this problem, these rashes and allergies can get acute and lead to eczema in some cases.
How to know about Hardness in your Water?
The best way to confirm the exact level of hardness in your water is by getting it tested. You can get your water tested at home or hire the services of a professional testing facility. If you are using municipal water, you can ask your supplier about the annual water report. It contains a detailed analysis of all the contaminants in your water and their percentages.
If you are using well water, you are responsible for the wellbeing of your well and water. We suggest that all the well water users must get their water tested at least once a year. It helps in updating your water filtration/softening equipment.
What the Best Solution to deal with Hard Water?
You can get your water softened with the help of a water softener. As calcium and magnesium are an integral part of water, they cannot be removed from water by running your taps, adding any chemical or a simple water filtration unit. A RO system can also remove these minerals, but it won’t be effective in the same way as compared to a salt-based water softener. Salt-based water softeners are inexpensive as compared to no-salt water softeners. We will discuss their comparison in detail in the FAQ section of the review.
Best Salt-Based Water Softeners
|Top Picks (Comparison)|
|Editor's ChoiceSpringWell Salt Based Water Softener System||LATEST PRICE →|
|SpringWell Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener||LATEST PRICE →|
|Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener||LATEST PRICE →|
|Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener||LATEST PRICE →|
|On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable Water Softener||LATEST PRICE →|
|Abundant Flow Water WS-48k-91SXT Water Softener||LATEST PRICE →|
|Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener||LATEST PRICE →|
1. SpringWell Salt Based Water Softener System – Best Overall
At the top of our list is one of the best salt-based water softeners from SpringWell. SpringWell manufactures the best water solutions; either you are using municipal water or well water. SpringWell’s softener comes in 3 variants, and they are divided according to the size of your family. We will look at the features of each variant.
|Variant: 0948 – Perfect for small families||Variant: 1054 – Perfect for Average American Household||Variant: 1354 – Best for Large Families|
|Number of washrooms: 1-3||Number of washrooms: 4-6||Number of washrooms: 7+|
|Flow Rate: 11 GPM (Gallons per Minute)||Flow Rate: 13 GPM||Flow Rate: 20 GPM (Gallons per Minute)|
|Grain Size: 32,000||Grain Size: 48,000||Grain Size: 80,000|
|Tank Width: 9 inches||Tank Width: 10 inches||Tank Width: 10 inches|
|Tank Height: 48 inches (58 inches with head)||Tank Height: 54 inches (63 inches with head)||Tank Height: 54 inches (63 inches with head)|
SpringWell knows that as the family size increases, the demands for soft water increase as well. They have developed their softener, keeping in view the family needs according to the size. The run of the mill softeners come in 48,000 or 56,000 grain capacity with a maximum flow rate of 10-12 GPM. SpringWell, on the other hand, makes sure that you always get speedy soft water at all your points of use without having to weight. With Springwell, you can shower, wash dishes, use other appliances, and fill in your kid’s portable swimming pool at the same time without any inconvenience.
Technical Details: The technical detail for all the variants is the same. The softener can handle a water pressure of 25-80 PSI. The flow rate may decrease when water pressure is significantly low. SpringWell aspires to give you the best output even at low pressure as well. The operating temperature and suitable pH are 36-120 F and 6.5-10, respectively. The softener’s performance may vary a little if it is not getting an ideal input. You don’t need to worry about it as almost all the American waterfalls under this range. The brine tank is round with a size of 18×33 inches. The brine tank is the place where you add your water softener.
Working Mechanism: All the salt-based water softeners work in the same way. The water comes in touch with the resin. The hardness causing elements from water is removed and replaced with sodium or potassium ions depending upon the chemical nature of the softener salt. SpringWell’s design allows it to go a step further. It has been designed to increase the contact surface area and duration of contact while ensuring that the flow rate does not decrease. This design feature sets SpringWell apart from other softeners.
Installation: All SpringWell filters and softeners come with easy installation. If you are a DIY person, installing the system won’t be an issue for you. You get a bypass valve, 1-inch elbow fitting, and a Bluetooth controlled electronic head, a 50-feet drain line, a brine tank, and a mounting bracket. All the equipment included is of high quality, and you don’t need to worry about the durability.
Special Features: Another feature that sets SpringWell apart is the Bluetooth controlled meter head. You can view and control all the settings like valve settings, regeneration cycles, or turn on/off the softener.
Warranty and Certification: All the materials used in the manufacturing are approved by the relevant organizations like NSF and ANSI. You get a limited lifetime warranty and 6-months money-back satisfaction guarantee on this softener. If you are not satisfied with the performance of the softener, you can get a hundred percent refund from SpringWell. The warranty will be void in case of improper handling, physical damage, modifications to the system, and any acts of God such as fire, freezing, or natural disaster.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
2. SpringWell Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener – Best Filter + Softener Combo for Well Water
For the people who use well water, hard water, iron, and manganese are the most common problems. While hard water minerals alter the chemical nature of the water, iron and manganese are the reason behind coloration and smells in the water. SpringWell has the perfect solution for you to deal with this problem. Just like the softener mentioned above, this model also has 3 variants based upon your water demand. As it is a combo model, the softener variants have the same specifications mentioned in the table above. You can refer to the table above for more details. For whole house iron filter, you can see the table below
|Variant: 1054||Variant: 1354 – Best for Large Families|
|Number of washrooms: 1-4||Number of washrooms: 4+|
|Flow Rate: 12 GPM (Gallons per Minute)||Flow Rate: 20 GPM (Gallons per Minute)|
|Tank Width: 10 inches||Tank Width: 13 inches|
|Tank Height: 54 inches (64 inches with head)||Tank Height: 54 inches (64 inches with head)|
Technical Specifications: For well water softener, the brine tank is sized at 18×33 inches. The technical specifications like optimum working temperature, pressure, and pH range are 36-120 F, 25-80 PSI, and 6.5-10, respectively.
Working Mechanism: The softener works in the same way as we have already described. When the water comes in contact with the resin [link article: Best Water Softener Resins], the calcium and magnesium are removed from the water, replacing with sodium or potassium ions (depending upon the salt [link article: Best Water Softener Salts] you are using).
The iron filter works in 4 steps to remove iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide from the water. Hydrogen sulfide is the main reason behind the rotten egg smell coming from well water. SpringWell uses an Air Injection Oxidizing Filter System. When the water enters the tank, an air pocket at the top oxidizes the iron, sulfur, and manganese. On the 2nd step, the oxidized material and sulfur gas are tapped in the bed of green sand fusion. The third step is the backwashing of the system, and then the water enters the softener system. Iron-free water helps enhance your softener’s life and gives you maximum output from the resin and softener salt.
Installation: You get everything you need to install the system along with the initial purchase. The system comes with 2 filters, a well system control head, and a salt system control head. You also get 2 drainage pipes, 2 bypass valves, and 2 hose clamps along with a brine tank.
Special Feature: You can manage both control heads through Bluetooth on your smartphone.
Warranty and Certification: Both filters are under a limited lifetime warranty. The warranty will be void in case of acts of nature or abuse of the system. The control heads are under a warranty of 5 years from the date of purchase. The filter and the softener are certified for safety, structural integrity, and healthy use.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
3. Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener Digital SXT Metered Whole House System – Best Economical Salt-Based Water Softener
Next up is the water softener from Fleck. Fleck is best after SpringWell. If you are looking for a quality salt-based water softener at an economical price, it is the best option. With a 64,000 grain capacity, you get an excellent softening capacity. It has a large-sized brine tank capacity of 2 cubic feet and comes loaded with high-quality resin. The digital control head allows you to monitor the water and salt usage. You can also control the settings of the softener life regeneration time and frequency. Another amazing feature is its capacity to retain the settings for 48 hours in case of a power outage. To make the installation process easy, it comes with pre-loaded resin; however, you have to add the softener salt. Everything needed to install the system is included in the box. It will just take a couple of hours for installation.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
4. Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, 0.75 inches, Off-White – Best for Small Families
Another option on our list is perfect for small families. The Whirlpool softener has the added advantage of removing iron up to 8 PPM. The 30,000-grain capacity makes it an ideal softener for small families. It has been certified by NSF to provide you with peace of mind for removing calcium and magnesium from hard water and making it fit for use. It is an intelligent softener. The system automatically calculates the salt and water needed to regenerate the resin, resulting in salt saving. It is also inexpensive as compared to the large models; hence smaller families can save a lot by buying this softener. The system uses a Whirlpool digital meter head, and it allows you to monitor and control the different settings. You don’t need to call a professional to install this system. All you have to do is to make the water connections and connect the system to a 110V electrical socket.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
5. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener – Best Portable/Travelling Water Softener
For the people who travel a lot to different places on their RVs or who need a water softener in their boats, this one is a perfect option. Filling in your RV’s water tank with soft water is difficult. On the contrary, when you install a water softener, you can use any water source in your RVs. This softener has a grain capacity of 16,000, and the salt tank is also very small. You can just fill in the salt left from your home’s softener salt or simply add in table salt. Though, table salt is not recommended to be used with a softener because it can cause clogging due to the small-sized crystals. On The Go, softener has been designed to reduce the chance of clogging and blockage. Once the salt-tank is filled, you can use the softener for 40 days without any issues in your RV. The small design is perfect for installation in tight places. The installation process is DIY. When not in use, you can easily store it storage bay or dick side locker.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
6. Abundant Flow Water WS-48k-91SXT 9100sxt complete softener, Almond – Best for Large Families
If you have a large family and can’t afford a costly softener like SpringWell, you can do the needful with this model. It has dual tanks, and each tank is capable of removing 48,000 grams of hardness in your water. With this softener, you can easily manage 7+ washrooms without facing the problem of a slow water rate. It provides you with a maximum flow rate of 12 gallons per minute. Each tank can hold 1.5 cubic feet of resin and ensures soft water availability around the clock for every member of your family. Don’t worry about hard water stains, damaged appliances, and plumbing anymore. It will take care of your skin as well. It comes with a fleck 9100 SXT digital meter control head with easy to manage settings and control at your fingertips. The softener holds around 300 lbs. of salt. A large quantity of salt ensures an effective regeneration of the resin. The installation process is easy; everything needed to install the softener is included in the box.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
7. Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve 64,000 grain, 64k for the whole house – Best for Hard Water and Iron Removal
The last softener from our list is a versatile one. It can deal with a high level of hardness and iron as well. Got iron in your water, don’t worry. The Iron Pro will remove up to 6-8 ppm of iron and up to 75 GPG of hardness from your water. It comes with 64,000-grain capacity and a fine mesh filter to remove iron from your water. The filter not only gives you soft and slippery water, but it also removes the metallic taste due to the presence of iron. The amazing thing about this filter is that it can remove manganese, sediment, sand, and rust from incoming water. The brine tank is filled with resin; all the things needed to install the softener are included with a DIY instruction guide for hassle-free installation. The digital 5600 SXT meter head measures the water usage and regenerates as needed. You can adjust the settings to maximize efficiency or minimize salt usage.
Our Opinion and Verdict:
A buying guide comes in handy at the time of purchase. It allows you to consider all the features you need in your softener. Our buying guide consists of a few questions and some other features you ought to be looking in a salt-based water softener.
What is the size of your family, and how much water you need?
Whenever you are buying something which is meant to be used for the whole house like a water filter, softener, or a refrigerator, always look at the size of your family and your needs. We suggest that you buy a larger softener for your family than the actual requirements. For example, if you have 3 washrooms in your house, buy a model that can accommodate 4 washrooms so that you can use water at other points without any issues.
Some small families consume more water than average families. If you are one of them, you need to buy a softener that can accommodate your water needs.
Do you need to remove iron as well?
If your water is contaminated with iron, make sure you buy a softener that can remove iron as well. It will help you save some money by not buying an expensive iron filter. However, you must keep in mind that water softeners can only remove up to 8-9 ppm of iron. Above this limit, the use of a special iron filter or a combo setup is required.
Other Factors to Look For
Well Water or Municipal Water
Some softeners are specially designed for municipal water, while some are specifically built for well water. SpringWell has the best products for well water. We suggest that you must buy the one built according to the water supply at your home.
Water Hardness Level
Look for a water softener that can handle the level of hardness in your water. You can know about the presence of hard water minerals by its impacts on appliances, plumbing, and showerheads. The most accurate way to know about the exact hardness is a water test. You can test the water at home or get it tested from a lab. If you are using municipal water, you can ask the supplier about the annual water report. It contains all the information regarding the contaminants in the water.
Grain capacity means the power of water softener. Smaller water softeners and portable ones have a small water capacity. Buying them is fine for specific needs. Do not buy a softener with a small grain capacity if you intend it to use for the whole house or a large family.
Installation and Maintenance
Look for a softener that is easy to install and maintain later on. You would need to replace the water softener now and then, and for this purpose, you must buy a softener that comes with an easy salt replacement feature.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have tried to discuss every point in our review to make selection easy for you. All the products on our list are the best in their respective categories. Select the one according to your needs and forget the problem of hard water at your home. Enjoy a lathery bath, cleaner, and glowing skin with the water softeners reviewed above. It’s time to say goodbye to the tough hard water stains and scale buildup on your appliances, plumbing, and clothes.