What is the best water softener?
Hard water is a common problem in households that may be affecting your plumbing, appliances, cleaning habits, and even your skin and hair. Hard water occurs when water is rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium carbonate, and manganese.
When looking to purchase a whole house water softener there are several factors to consider because every home is different and every consumer has their own preferences.
This review will cover what is the best water softener system to purchase in order to help you make the best decision for your home!
If you are noticing scale buildup in sinks and faucets, mineral deposits on kitchenware, high energy costs, and a lack of efficiency in water heaters and household appliances, you may be experiencing the effects of hard water.
However, hard water can be easily treated with whole house water softeners and filtration systems. Save time and money on monthly energy costs, appliances, and household cleaning by finding the best water softeners to protect your home.
Different Types of Water Softeners
There are several different types of water softeners on the market right now, which may make it a bit hard to determine which product to purchase. These brief explanations will provide water softener comparisons and what you should be looking out for.
Whole House Water Softeners
As opposed to an under-the-sink softener or filtration system, a conventional whole house water softener is connected to the house water supply and uses the process of ion exchange to soften all of the water in your home. Consisting of a resin tank and a brine tank, a whole house water softener will substitute sodium chloride for hard minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, through positive and negative charges.
Negatively charged resin beads attract positively charged hard minerals and “soften” them as they settle in the tank. In order to recharge them, the brine is rinsed through and then refilled. Due to this process, some salt is dissolved and must be replenished periodically.
Salt Free Water Softeners
A salt free water softener uses a potassium chloride salt substitute as opposed to a sodium-based salt as a bonding agent to crystallize hard minerals and prevent them from adhering to your pipes. This process does not demineralize your water, nor does it put unnecessary amounts of sodium waste into the water supply.
Advocates of salt free water softeners support the fact that the minerals that get removed with the use of traditional whole house water softeners are actually a healthy addition to your water.
Water Softeners for Well Water
Well water is host to many more minerals, sediment, and metals than treated water. Therefore, a higher capacity water softener, or water softener and filtration system is usually advised. There are water softeners that utilize higher capacity crossed link resin, and/or come equipped with both a water softener and an iron filter.
Because the mineral content is usually higher and well water is typically known to be much “harder” than treated water, salt based water softeners and more robust softeners with a higher grain capacity are recommended.
Top 5 Water Softeners - Our Picks
While the best product is wholly dependent on your household and what best suits your needs, there are plenty of water softener system reviews that help determine the best rated water softeners on the market right now. Here is a list of the top ten water softeners.
Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener Digital SXT Metered Whole House System
The Fleck 5600SXT is at the top of the list for several reasons. Built to sustain 48,000 grains prior to regeneration, this system stands out with its digital “On Demand” control valve and meter based regeneration. This allows for regeneration only when necessary, which is based on household water use. To further the longevity of this water softener system, the Fleck 5600XT uses high capacity, extra long life resin.
The SXT controller is built on a 5600 valve, includes a safety float and overflow drain to prevent messes, and contains a 15x17x33” brine tank that can hold up to 250lbs of salt. In addition to this, the Fleck 5600SXT comes equipped with a backlit LCD display, touchpad controls, a user-friendly interface, and 48 hours of internal backup power.
IronPro 48,000 Combination Water Softener and Iron Filter
The IronPro boasts of being a combination system, including both a 48,000 grain capacity water softener and an iron filter in the same small package as the Fleck 5600SXT. The additional filter in this water softener system not only removes all hardness, but also up to 6-8 ppm of iron, 6 ppm of manganese, sediment, sand, and rust.
This Fleck IronPro uses a digitally metered 5600 valve with a five year warranty and utilizes a special fine mesh resin, providing a better filter and increased longevity. The regeneration is based on how much water the household uses, meaning water usage will never be interrupted during regeneration. This water softening system is recommended for households for 2-5 people and 3-5 baths.
WaterBoss 365 36400 Grain Water Softener
The WaterBoss 365 36,400 Grain Water Softener is another top-rated water softener system. Similar to the IronPro, this water softener system also includes a 20 micron whole-house dirt and sediment filter. Measuring at 18.8x14.8x30.8 inches, the WaterBoss prides itself in its compactness and ability to fit into tight spaces.
This model can soften up to 90 GPG and regenerate in as little as 38 minutes. This quick regeneration time based on demand allows for the minimization of water usage and waste. The WaterBoss 365 limits the service flow rate at 15 psi drop, providing minimal pressure drop. And, at a 2500 gallon output between refills, a safety shut-off system for safe operation, and 36,400 grain capacity, the WaterBoss 365 is perfect for large families.
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
The Eddy Electronic Water Descaler utilizes a slightly different approach to salt free water softener alternatives using electromagnetic wave technology. An ever-changing magnetic field is created through two coils placed around your incoming water supply pipe which helps to crystalize scale-causing minerals and prevent them from forming clusters on your pipes and appliances.
Like other salt free water softeners, the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler successfully descales plumbing and appliances without removing the minerals in your water. This product prides itself in being a financially affordable and eco-friendly alternative to conventional water softeners, running at 110 volts and 5 watts.
Aquios FS-234 Whole House Jumbo Water Filter/Softener
The Aquios FS-234 is a filter and softener combination designed for larger residential homes and small commercial facilities. This system uses a food grade polyphosphate additive rather than a sodium additive, for those looking for a salt free whole house water softener.
Rated at 60,000 gallons, the Aquios FS-234 claims to not only remove scale-causing minerals from your water, but also reduce the build-up of lime scale in existing pipes and appliances over time. In addition to removing scale and mineral build up, the Aquios also comes equipped with a carbon block cartridge filter at the point of entry. The Aquios FS-234 is effective for households with a water hardness up to 22 GPG and comes with a 20 year limited warranty with proof of purchase.
Water Softener Brands
There are several different types of brands to choose from when deciding on a water softener system. Pentair Fleck has been rated as the best water softener brand by some, but WaterBoss and Aquios are also reputable brands that should be discussed.
Pentair Fleck is five star rated in efficiency/effectiveness, affordability, maintenance, technology, customer service, and customer reviews. Their products are easy to use, easy to assemble, and easy to maintain. Each Fleck water softener comes equipped with an electronic LCD display, long lasting warranties, and a variety of choices in grain capacity. Not only are Fleck products energy efficient, but also ecologically friendly in their minimal use of salt and smart, meter-based regeneration.
Waterboss is another name brand to consider when looking for the perfect water softener system. They have three different types of water softeners for various household needs including city water, medium family use, and large family use.
Several of their products also combat against iron and sediment, providing a more clean operation for water with a higher mineral content. Waterboss is also a great conventional water softener brand to consider if space is limited. Waterboss prides itself in its compact and efficient design.
Aquios is the leading manufacturer for salt free water softeners. A popular and eco-friendly solution for scale-free water, Aquios is a great, affordable choice. Aquios water softeners can successfully cover a home up to 3,000 sq ft, and are also able to filter sediment, chlorine, and iron. The standard system requires cartridge maintenance only every 4-6 months, and provides filtration at a flow rate of 12-15 GPM. These systems are both cost efficient to buy and run without electricity.
Things To Consider
When looking to purchase a water softener system, it is important to look at many features. The easiest way to determine what features are most important for your purchase will be determinant of your home’s water mineral content, which can be found with a basic water test kit, and your personal preferences.
Your Home Needs - Based on the mineral content of your water and the water usage in your home, you can determine what type of softener would be best for your home. Do you need a basic system that will condition hard water minerals, such as calcium and magnesium carbonate? Or, do you need a water softener system with filtration for iron and other sediments? Do you have a larger family home that requires a higher capacity grain system? Or is there minimal water usage, requiring a lower grain capacity?
Salt Based or Salt Free - Another important decision to make is whether or not you would like a salt based water softener system or a salt free system. Would you like to completely remove the minerals that cause hard water problems, or are you looking for a more eco-friendly system that doesn’t necessarily remove the minerals, but merely prevents the problems that hard water minerals cause?
Budget - Lastly, there is price to consider. A brief look at water softener price comparisons will show that some systems, such as the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler, are significantly cheaper than a conventional salt based system provided by Fleck.
Time To Decide
Hard water is a common problem for households and can cause issues such as clogged pipes, reduced water heater efficiency, and increased energy costs. This guide is comprised of a variety of water softener reviews and market popularity rates. Hopefully, with this comprehensive list of water softening systems reviews and information, you can best decide what water softening system is needed for your household.