BEST WATER SOFTENER SYSTEMS AND FILTERS

Did you know that 85% of the USA has hard water supply? Well, this may come as a surprise, if it’s not something that’s on your radar.

This does not mean you cannot enjoy soft water because it is as easy as installing a water softener system. For people who may have noticed dull utensils, scale buildup around pots, pipes, and bathtubs, it’s clear indication that your water is hard.

We have researched to find the best water softeners and filters that will save you tons of money in energy bills and detergents. Your chinaware will also be happy for bringing back the shine.

1. Clearwave Field Salt-Free Water Conditioner: Best Low-Cost Water Softener

Sick and tired of replacing salt in your water softener system? For home appliances and machines, the ClearWave model is the one for you. Designed without salt or chemicals, this system does not only make your water soft, but it also breaks down the existing scale.

Magnetic System

It’s intriguing to find a water softener that does not use salt and chemicals. ClearWave uses microprocessor technology to produce electronic waves that attract the magnesium and calcium dissolved in water. Instead of sticking to surfaces like they usually do, it floats the ions so that they end up in the drain.

It does not need a brine tank or filters making it super easy to install and maintain. What we like most is that since it does not get rid of the calcium and magnesium, water remains healthy and drinkable but your pipes won’t be affected by limescale buildups.

Best Applications

Since ClearWave does not eliminate water hardness, it is ideal for moderately hard water. You will like it for dishwashers, ice makers, swimming pools, humidifiers, washers, boilers, and many other appliances around the home.

It uses only 5W of electricity which is meager compared to other designs.

Installation and Maintenance

It takes minutes to install ClearWave and virtually no maintenance. It comes with the installation tools in the package which includes the wire ties. It only needs replacing of the cartridge every few months and you are set. It can be used in plastic, galvanized, and copper wires up to 1-inch in diameter.

ClearWave can be installed in any direction including horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. It improves the current water flow rate which can get to 28gpm over time especially if your pipes are already clogged.

Warranty Info

This water softener has probably the shortest warranty we have seen at only 18 months. Compared to systems like Triple Action Poly and Aquasana that have two and ten years respectively, ClearWave could do better.

Final Thoughts

ClearWave water conditioner is a revolutionary product. For those looking for a low-cost water softener, this is it. It offers perfect results with low costs energy to show for it.

      Pros

  • It does not make the water undrinkable
  • It does not need a bypass valve
  • Super easy to install without tools
  • Can be used in hard water up to 25 grain
  • Requires very little maintenance

      Cons

  • It’s not ideal for large households
  • Does not work well with very hard water

​2. Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener: Best Home Water Softener

Poly Salt-Free Water Softener is a filter, water conditioner, and water softener. No wonder it’s called Triple Action. It eliminates the need for different systems so you can have one that does all the work.

3-In-One Functionality

First, Poly comes with a 50-micron stainless steel filter. It will remove sediments, household dust, and sand for the most part. It deals with large-size contaminants so it won’t be ideal if your water tests positive for bacteria. But that’s beside the point because water that has bacteria needs chlorine injection instead of a small-micron filter.

With this filter, you can reuse as many times as you’d like because it is simple to remove and wash off anything that gets caught in it.

The second function of this system is the salt-free water softener. It operates using a catalytic, electro-mechanical process which works on the calcium ions. It breaks them down into a softer calcium form, known as Aragonite crystals. It is the kind of calcium found in soft water as it does not form limescale in pipes.

The aragonite crystals will form a protective layer in the pipes which makes them corrosion resistant.

The third aspect of Polywater softener is the 10.5 ounces of polyphosphate crystals which prevent spotting. It works by coating Aragonite and iron preventing them from precipitating in water and forming limescale.

Ideal Applications

This water softener is great with plumbing systems, dishwashers, boilers, swimming pools, and water heaters.

You will like it for small and medium-sized homes with 25-grain water hardness. Since it does not remove the healthy part of the water which is calcium, water remains drinkable. It does not, however, filter out iron and other minerals which may require a large filter.

Installation and Maintenance

Without a brine and resin tank, Poly becomes effortless to install. It comes with thread compound and 1-inch stainless steel starter nipples. The system should be installed in an upright manner inside or outside the house as long as it’s not freezing.

The drain valve should face down to allow easy draining and maintenance. The filter is easy to maintain once a year or every ten months. For the polycrystals, they need to be replenished once a year too.

Warranty Info

We particularly the quality of this product and the commitment of Poly’s brand to stand behind it. The catalytic core has a lifetime warranty. All the housing part have a 2-year guarantee and a 90-day satisfaction warranty.

Final Thoughts

The Triple Action Poly Salt-Free water softener endears to bring simplicity in the way we treat our water through an advanced system. It does not require much on your side which is why it is a top recommendation for those who forget to keep checking their systems.

      Pros

  • Effortless to install and run
  • It does not require electricity or backwashing
  • It can be installed outside
  • It has a softener and filter
  • Achieves up to 30gpm flow rate
  • Comes with a pre-filled polyphosphate cartridge

      Cons

  • It has high initial costs
  • It does not filter out chloramine and iron
  • Only ideal for small and medium-sized homes

3. Aquasana Water Filter with Salt-Free Water Softener: Best for Large Home

Aquasana Water Filter with Salt-Free Water Softener is the ultimate pick for large homes that have a high demand for soft water. It is designed to be maintenance free since you won’t be looking to replace salt or backflush.

Double Functionality

This system works as a filter and a softener. It provides the benefits of removing hard water minerals and removing chloramine.

The softener uses SCM (Scale Media Control) softening technology. It transforms calcium and magnesium into harmless, inactive minerals that pass through your water to end up in the drain. It does not involve you buying bags of salt every three to four months which is the beauty of this softener.

As a filter, this model is great for just about everything. It has a 0.5-micron filter that removes most dissolved contaminants like sediment and rust. The post-filtration process stabilizes water PH and removes chlorine, heavy metals, VOCs, organic chemicals, and even industrial solvents.

It significantly improves the taste of water and makes it safe and healthy to drink straight from the tap. It reduces cooking time, leaves you refreshed after the shower, and extends the life of your pipes and appliances.

Installation and Maintenance

Aquasana comes in a lightweight design and a professional installation kit. It also includes a detailed guide that makes it straightforward to install in about two hours for those with basic plumbing skills.

You will get a 20-inch pre-filter and plastic fittings. We suggest going with brass fittings and getting bend supports and shut-off valves. This stuff makes the installation process go much faster and maintenance painless.

For maintenance, the filter will need replacing after every six months.

Warranty Info

Aquasana provides an impressive 10-year warranty. It can run for a massive 1,000,000 gallons that’s why it is recommended for large homes. It manages up to 7gpm which is decent for the many things that it needs to filter out.

Final Thoughts

For those looking for a filter that is also an excellent water softener, Aquasana has this outstanding system for your particular situation. It may be a little costly to acquire, but that’s about it. You will not experience expensive maintenance costs and constant backflushing with this system.

      Pros

  • It is environmentally friendly
  • It is easy to maintain in the long run
  • It removes a wide variety of contaminants
  • It is lightweight and compact
  • Comes with a pro-grade installation kit

      Cons

  • It does not remove fluoride
  • It is not easy to install for those without basic plumbing skills
  • It only works with PEX

​4. DuraWater Water Softener Fleck 5600SXT Digital-On-Demand: Best Salt Water Softener

If your water is particularly hard and looking for the traditional water softener, a Fleck water softener may be what you want for your home. This time, we go with DuraWater as they have a paddle wheel meter that is particularly easy to use.

Provides Water on Demand

Most water softeners are prone to water wastage or failing to meet your soft water needs. But that’s not the case with a digital metered system. This model gives you soft water on demand. It increases the rate of regeneration if the demand is high and adjusts to a low rate when the demand is small.

It uses an ion-exchange system to eliminate calcium and magnesium leaving your water soft. Your dishes will come out shinier out of the dishwasher, and you will no longer have dry skin right after leaving the shower.

With the help of SXT technology, this system is effortless to use. It comes with a digital controller with an LCD screen and touchpad. You will be able to customize when you want the system to regenerate so you can be ready for the 2-hour period usually needed to complete regeneration.

This system also includes a bypass valve. When you need to fill the pool faster or water your garden, you don’t need to depend on the flow rate of this system. You can use hard water every time you need it.

Ideal Applications

This water softener is recommended for families of up to six people. It maintains a remarkable flow rate of 12gpm. It allows you to run several appliances at the same. You can have it in a home with three showers, two sinks, a washer, and a dry, and you will not have trouble running all of them simultaneously.

DuraWater Fleck 5600sxt has a 48,000-grain capacity. It deals with moderately hard to very hard water.

Installation and Maintenance

First, this water softener will need ample space and a second pair of hands. It comes with the instructions, installation accessories, and you will also receive an email with a link to the how-to-install video. If you have trouble installing it, DuraWater offers both phone and email support.

Also, you will be able to troubleshoot the system using Pentair’s scan and service app. The app has a troubleshooting manual, detailed configuration, technical documentation, and a list of the ideal spare parts.

The softener also has power backup system that will keep your settings for up to 48 hours during a blackout.

Warranty Info

DuraWater covers this system for ten years on the two tanks and five years for the control valve. It is remarkable since the fleck valve has been rated for a durability period of 27 years.

Final Thoughts

As a salt -based system, DuraWater Fleck 5600SXT is ideal for the hardest water. It brings lots of value since it is not costly to own and maintenance is straightforward for the most part.

      Pros

  • It is simple to run and maintain
  • Most people can install it
  • Comes with a bypass valve and a safety float
  • Regenerates according to water needs
  • It has four operation modes
  • Digital display for easy setting up

      Cons

  • It takes a little time to get the hang of using the digital controller
  • It is bulky and needs considerable space

5. Aquios FS-220 Salt-Free Water Softener: Best Value Water Softener

Small homes have few choices when it comes to combination of water filters and softeners. With the Aquios FS-220, it conditions the water and also filters it; thus, improving the taste and the quality of your water.

Salt-Free Functionality

Aquios FS-220 is compact and lightweight. It uses a natural water softener to condition water in the way of a polyphosphate additive. The additive known as Siliphos ensures that calcium carbonate and magnesium do not attach to pipes, appliances, shower heads, but it still retains the benefits of having calcium ions that are beneficial to your health.

This system also comes with a 5-micron carbon block filter. It gets rid of excess chlorine, sediments, and most contaminants that are above 5-micron in size. Since carbon eliminates bad Sulphur smell, you will get better tasting water.

Another benefit of this softener is that it reduces iron discoloration and staining up to 1ppm.

Ideal Applications

Aquios FS-220 is a nice pick for those with problems with limescale. It reduces existing scale and prevents more from forming. It can deal with hard water up to 30 GPG without the need for salt. Its portable design makes it a good fit for RVs, boats, and mobile homes.

Since it is not salt-based, you will not lose water pressure which is vital if you have more than two showers and other home machines that may run at the same time.

Installation and Maintenance

At only 7.5 pounds, anyone can install this system. It is slim to save on space, so you don’t need to clear room for it. What’s more, it comes with ¾-inch threaded brass inlets which is the universal size. You are less likely to require connectors.

Aquios FS-220 is maintenance free. It does not need connecting to an electric outlet or programming. It gives you up to 40,000 gallons of water before replacing the cartridge.

Warranty Info

With this system, no worries about the quality as it has a 20-year warranty on the valve and housing.

Final Thoughts

Aquios FS-220 takes on different but innovative technology in water softening. It allows you to have soft water without losing on the benefits of calcium. It is also portable which is rare among whole-house softeners.

      Pros

  • It includes a carbon filter and a salt-free softener
  • It is compact and portable
  • Gets rid of water hardness up to 30gpm
  • Does not affect water pressure
  • Filter lasts up to six months

      Cons

  • Cannot be used outside
  • It can be costly to replace the water filter for water with sediment
  • It does not work as great as a Fleck when dealing with very hard water

6. Nuvo H2O Dphb Home Water Softener System: Best for City Water

Nuvo H2O Dphb Home Water Softener System is perhaps the most eco-friendly way to get soft water for the whole house. It removes hard water ions and also eliminates scale build-up over time.

Innovative System

Nuvo H2O uses an FDA-approved chelation and sequester system to deal with calcium and magnesium. It has a 20-inch cartridge that allows it to bind and isolate hard water ions and prevents them from forming scale. It also lowers water PH closer to the neutral range which also works to prevent limescale formation.

Like other salt-free water softeners, it does not actually make the water read lower on the grain. Instead, it preserves essential minerals but will not attach to surfaces. It makes the water drinkable while providing the benefits of soft water.

Ideal Applications

Nuvo H2O is for those with moderate water demands and with minimal water hardness. For those experiencing extreme water hardness, it may not work as anticipated. It is mostly recommended if you are dealing with lots of scale and repairs are a costly endeavor.

It is also a low-cost solution since it does not use electricity.

Installation and Maintenance

Nuvo H2O will come with all the necessary items you need to perform a successful installation without a plumber’s help. It includes the housing wrench, screws, mounting brackets, black mounting plate, and of course the manual.

For copper pipes, you may see blue tinged water which is a cause of oxidation because of oxygen present in the line. But thankfully, this system eliminates the copper oxide.

Replacements for cartridges is recommended after every 4-6 months or 50,000 gallons.

Warranty Info

Nuvo H2O has a 5-year warranty. The guarantee covers repairs, modifications, or exchanging the water softener at no cost to you. Nuvo H2O will not, however, cover the warranty if the unit is improperly installed or installed outside.

Final Thoughts

Nuvo H2O is a revolutionary water softener. It uses an ingenious system to make water soft without releasing excess sodium to plumbing systems. From the installation to the maintenance costs, this is a high-value eco-friendly water softener.

      Pros

  • Does not use salt or electricity
  • It is FDA and NSF certified
  • 12-15gpm flow rate
  • It comes with a bypass valve
  • It improves the quality and taste of water

      Cons

  • It does not handle sediment
  • It has high initial costs
  • May require adapter for smaller than 1-inch diameter pipes

7. iSpring 6-Stage RCCA7AK Superb Taste Water Filter with Alkaline Remineralization: Best Reverse Osmosis Water Softener

Looking for the purest form of drinking and home use water? You bet iSpring got your back. The 6-stage reverse osmosis system removes 99% of all contaminants found in water.

Vouch for your Drinking Water

The only accurate way to know what’s in your water is by having a system that removes 99% of contaminants, makes it soft, and re-mineralizes it making it safe to drink. No one likes hard water. It is not aesthetically or maintenance appealing. But with filters that remove everything, you may be left with water without health-preserving minerals.

The 6-stage system starts with a sediment filter which removes sediment, dust, rust, and particulates. It is then sent off to the second stage where cloudiness, color, tastes, and odors are eliminated. In the third stage, it will remove chloramine, harmful chemicals, heavy metals, VOCs, and over contaminants which include calcium that makes water hard.

The RO membrane is in the fourth stage and helps produce clean, safe water at a rate of 75 gallons per day. It also removes precious minerals; that’s why the 6th stage comes in handy. But not before the fifth stage which has a post-carbon filter to eliminate any tastes and odors left behind.

In the final stage, the system re-mineralizes the water and increases the water PH giving it back the natural taste of water.

Ideal Applications

If you worry about the safety of your water maybe you live in an area where contaminants have been reported in your water, this reverse osmosis water filter is an excellent choice.

With three pre-filters it removes large and small contaminants while making the water soft. After removing a large percent of dissolved minerals, this filter will also add back the useful minerals. It allows you to depend on it for drinking and cooking water, so you get to save on bottled water.

For large homes with very hard water, iSpring is a viable option for your needs. With a bigger RO membrane and filters that last longer, it is also a catch for those looking to cut on maintenance.

Installation and Maintenance

For such a large system, it may come as a surprise that it is not difficult to install yourself. Though most people prefer a professional doing it, you will be impressed by the quality it represents. It fits under the sink with leak-free components.

The package will include ½-inch simple push tubing that allows a quick connection to connectors. It should take the average person two hours and less for a professional plumber. The instructions are not straightforward, so you have to depend on videos.

iSpring also has live customer support to help answer questions regarding the system and installation.

You will like that it includes a brushed-nickel European designed faucet. It will also work with regular high spout faucets.

Maintenance is another highlight of this system. All its filters last up to 12 months while the membrane lasts up to three years. You can see how well the sediment filter is doing as it is contained in a transparent housing.

Warranty Info

With iSpring, you have a full year to decide whether the system works for you. If not, you can get a full refund. It is also backed by a 3-year warranty and a lifetime technical support.

Final Thoughts

This system delivers on its promise of providing pure drinking water with the right amount of minerals. It endears on being a low-cost, low-maintenance system that works better than other water softeners systems only.

      Pros

  • Removes 99% of all water contaminants
  • Re-mineralizes water and increases PH in the final stage
  • Its filters and membrane work better for longer than other systems in its price range
  • Maintains water pressure of up to 23gpm
  • Dramatically strengthens skin, hair and nails

      Cons

  • It wastes up to three gallons for every gallon of pure water
  • It needs at least 35psi water pressure for it to work

8. Fleck 5600sxt Metered On-demand 48,000 Grain Softener

Fleck 5600sxt Metered On-demand 48,000 Grain Softener

The 5600sxt model has programmable cycles, on-demand valves, and is digitally metered. Before you evaluate this particular model, bear in mind that it’s coming from one of the best water softeners companies on the market at the moment. It’s safe to say that you can rest assured that Fleck 5600sxt performs great and as advertised.

The first thing people notice about this unit is its unusual design. While most others have a standard “tank” design, this one is slightly different. It’s an elongated tank with an LCD and a capacity of 250 pounds (for salt.) 

The dimensions of this softener are 15”x17”x33”. As you can see, it’s a medium-sized softener, and it can fit almost anywhere.

The installation isn’t as hard as one might expect. As long as you follow the user manual, you shouldn’t have an issue whatsoever. On the other hand, if you feel like it’s a challenging task for you, don’t hesitate to hire a professional. You’ll save a lot of time, effort, and money. 

One thing you should pay attention to when hooking up this softener is the brine tank. Don’t forget to fill the tank with water before the first recharge. The resin comes pre-charged.

One of the notable things about the Fleck 5600sxt is its innovative regeneration system. It will measure the amount of used water and regenerate the tank only when needed. This method is perfect for saving and controlling consumption. The SXT controller has a set of parameters which can be configured to your personal preferences. Also, the setting up isn’t complicated thanks to the LCD and user-friendly controls. If you’re looking for a high-end water softener with an affordable price, this might be the one. Check it out, and you’ll certainly like its handy features and capabilities.

9. APEC Essence Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter

When quality is in question, the APEC ROES-50 is among the best. The reason why people put their trust in this particular unit is the fact that it’s made in the United States rather than somewhere on the Asian market.

As far as the features go, they are mostly standard. The thing you should know about this particular unit is not to expect any auxiliary features. However, the ones that are a part of this product are top-notch. It has everything a medium-sized home needs when it comes to water purity and scale elimination.

The main difference between this product and the others from the same category is the price. While there are a ton of similar models, this one is the most affordable. In fact, it’s recommended for anyone who’s on a tight or limited budget. Investing in a water softener is a one-time thing, and that’s why you should thoroughly revise your decisions before you regret something. 

Other things that separate this unit from the others are the ease of use, maintenance, and installation. You don’t need help from an expert as long as you follow the basic steps written in the user manual.

Even if you never had an opportunity to deal with a water softener, you will have no issues with this one. The set of high-quality steel fittings is great when it comes to preventing leaks. In fact, every part that you get with this product is leak-free. One of the things that people don’t like about it is the 3:1 ratio. 

In simpler words, you’ll get a gallon of fresh water for three gallons of hard water. While it doesn’t seem like an unfavorable rate, it could have been better. Some people don’t find it efficient enough because it spends large quantities of hard water to finish the softening process.

10. Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener

The first thing you should know about this product is that it’s not a conventional softener but rather a descaler. The main difference between a softener and descaler is the fact that you don’t need to hassle with the plumbing if you want to install a descaler.

However, although they are much easier to set up, the difference in quality is noticeable. In simpler words, water softeners are much more efficient than descalers.

However, if the water in your home isn’t very hard, a descaler is a great alternative, especially because of the affordability. A lot of people buy a high-end softener and pay a lot of money and realize they could have had the same results with a simple descaler.

The Eddy model is great for people who are on a limited budget. While it’s affordable, it still packs a set of useful features. It uses a powerful electromagnetic field to separate the ions which are responsible for scale forming. 

As you can see, it doesn’t use salt to purify the water. The absence of salt is of particular importance for people who want to avoid sodium due to health reasons.

The biggest disadvantage of this unit is the significantly less efficiency when compared to a conventional softener. Also, there aren’t any controls; everything is automatic. However, thanks to its simplicity, the installation is a piece of cake. You’ll get two coils that are included with the unit, and all you have to do is wrap them around two pipes. Avoid lead and iron pipes because this model can’t pierce through those materials.

The greatest thing about this model is the lifetime warranty. In other words, once you buy it, it’s yours forever. Whichever problem you stumble upon will be solved in the nick of time thanks to their highly responsive customer support.

TOP RATED EQUIPMENT

apec-water-filter-system-pricing
  • APEC Essence Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter
  • Item Weight: 25 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 5.2 x 17.5 inches
  • 1 Year APEC
  • Customer Review 4.8/5

water-softener-pricing
  • Fleck 5600sxt Metered On-demand 48,000 Grain Softener
  • Item Weight: 140 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 54 inches
  • 10 year warranty on both tanks, 5 year on head including electronics
  • Customer Review 4.3/5

whirpool-pricing
  • Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener
  • Item Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.6 x 3.5 inches
  • Lifetime Repair or Replace warranty
  • Customer Review 4/5

QUICK PRODUCT COMPARASION

PRODUCT IMAGEPRODUCT NAMETYPESUITED FORRATING:
Fleck 5600 Softener reviewFleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain SoftenerSalt BasedStandard Homes
Eddy Water Descaler reviewEddy Electronic Water DescalerElectronicSmall Homes
APEC Reverse Osmosis Drinking WaterAPEC Top Tier 5-Stage Reverse Osmosis Water Filter SystemSalt FreeLarge Homes

GUIDE TO CHOOSING

Although choosing a softener doesn’t seem like a big deal, you should pay attention to a few critical parameters before opting for one. Take a moment and read these tips, they will help you with the decision.

What Size Do You Need?

The first thing you should determine is the size of the softener. Many people make a rookie mistake and impulsively purchase a product which is either too weak or overkill. Both situations are pretty bad because if you want to make a change when it’s too late – it will cost money.

Determining the size isn’t rocket science. You need to know your water hardness value to choose the suitable model for your household. Grains Per Gallon is the industry-standard for this. If you’re planning to buy a softener that uses salt to purify the water, you’ll need to know its grain capacity. However, make sure that you understand the softener efficiency rating before calculating the grain requirements.

Another thing you have to look for is whether the service flow rate (SFR) of your softener can support the water flow rate in your household. If the values don’t match or are far from each other, the unit won’t have an optimal amount of effectiveness.

Water Softener size

Custom Controls

Being able to control the amount of degraded salt or water flow is quite important, especially for large households. The devices that have custom controls use two primary methods for controlling the cycle. It’s important that you know how long it takes to finish a cycle, and the amount of salt and water used for recharging the tank.

The first method is timer control. If a softener has a timer, it will automatically restore the amount of used water. However, the biggest problem with this method is that it will recap the lost resources regardless of the requirements. As you can see, saving water isn’t its strong size, and that can be a burden if you use a lot of it. For example, if you set the recharge cycle to a particular time, it doesn’t matter how much water you’ve spent, it will commence the process regardless.

Water hardness levels

The second method is the demand-initiated regeneration, also known as DIR. This method is great for saving salt because the unit automatically reads when the resin needs a recharge.

Most people who use large amounts of water opt for this method because it’s more sophisticated than timer control.

The Features

Just like other products, softeners have additional features that might help with water saving, better purification, and more. To find the one with optimal features for your household, you need to think about it and decide which features you need the most.

For example, if you’re living in a smaller house, you don’t need a softener with a massive capacity. Instead, opt for a smaller one, and you’ll save some money. On the other hand, people with big homes tend to buy models with a timer or pre-determined cycles. Pay attention to the features because it’s one of the things that make or break a unit.

The Warranty

One of the last things you should pay attention to is the warranty conditions. Although most companies offer similar warranties, there are some who provide additional services, non-stop customer support, and so on.

Many people don’t take the warranty conditions seriously, and a lot of them end up with a broken product that’s not under warranty, which means you probably have to buy a new one because in most circumstances repairing is often more expensive than the purchase of a new unit.

BENEFITS

Hard water is a dangerous thing both for your health and various appliances. Although it’s not a major health issue, it’s certainly a menace for the devices that process water such as a coffee machine. For example, the heating unit inside the coffee machine will have issues with hard water due to scale build-up. Although it will continue to work, it will need more power to achieve the optimal temperature. As you can see, the electricity bill will be significantly larger.

Eliminating Hard Water

Having the ability to use soft water is great, especially if you’re living in a large household. It makes your skin smoother, hair stronger, and it improves your well-being. Other than that, it also preserves the functionality of your kitchen appliances.

Softeners and filters also eliminate harmful particles such as barium, chromium, arsenic, copper, lead, and more. Although all of these elements are invisible to the naked eye, they have a critical role in one’s health condition.

Financial Benefits

Although it may not seem so obvious, you will save a lot of money in the long run. If you’re wondering how is that possible – it’s pretty simple. The first thing you’ll notice is the reduced use of detergents and washing powder. In fact, some of the latest studies have shown that brand-new appliances use up to 50% less detergent with soft water.

Softeners also prevent scale build-up which means that your pipes won’t get clogged as easy. Without a softener, you would have to occasionally change or unclog the plumbing which is a pretty demanding and costly task.

Preventing Scale

Other than being bad for the heating elements in the kitchen, scale also has a negative impact on some other things. The best way you can see the adverse effect of scale is to clean a mirror with hard water. Once the mirror dries, you’ll see a bunch of leftover stains. Those stains are incredibly persistent and hard to clean, especially if you don’t have soft water.

The impact is also visible on your clothes. Soft water makes your clothes much softer, and it helps in preserving the bright colors. On the other hand, hard water often tends to kill the brightness of your laundry in a couple of sessions.You will also need a lot less soap and detergent when using soft water. Hard water makes it difficult for the soap to bubble which leads to increased consumption of soap and other cleaning products.

Health Benefits

Some people argue that soft water doesn’t have many health benefits. Although it’s not completely wrong, it’s a slight overstatement. For example, clean water regulates the pH levels in your body which affect one’s physiological condition. Being well-hydrated is crucial for your well-being because dehydration can cause serious issues such as high blood pressure, fatigue, loss of energy, and even diabetes.

Saving the Environment And Power

One of the major benefits of these units is that they save energy and the environment. By using less energy (with scale-free appliances), you indirectly affect the reduction of pollution on a global level. Devices that use less energy also reduce the carbon emission, which is beneficial for the planet.

TECHNOLOGY

Comprehending the technology and the way these things operate can help solve some issues and also help you to determine whether you need a softener in your household. It isn’t a complicated piece of hardware, but some elements may not be so straightforward and comprehensive.

The Important Minerals

While water is still underground, it picks up various minerals on the way to your plumbing. Many of those minerals are harmless, but a few of them cause some issues (primarily scale build-up.) The two most concentrated ones are calcium and magnesium. You may have heard that calcium and magnesium are sometimes used as health-boosting elements, which is true. However, the main difference between “good” and “bad” lies in the amount and structure. The unprocessed minerals from the ground aren’t beneficial for your health in any way. In fact, they do more harm than good.

The Process

Once water enters the system, it gets filtrated through a set of membranes, tanks, and valves. Thanks to the ion exchange process, the magnesium and calcium found in water get swapped with other minerals, most often sodium.

The “brains” of a softener is the tank. It contains small beads of a material called zeolite, which is negatively charged. Calcium and magnesium are positively charged minerals. Consequently, calcium and magnesium “stick” to the zeolite as the hard water passes through the tank.

Once these zeolite beads get drenched, the unit enters a 3-phase recharging cycle. The first phase reverses the flow direction to eliminate the dirt out of the tank. In the second phase, a concentrated salt solution is injected into the brine tank through the mineral reservoir. The sodium then collects on the zeolite beads thus replacing the minerals that were stuck on these particles. Once this is finished, the mineral reservoir is cleaned of excess brine.

softening process

Different Controls

The most popular models usually have an automatic regenerating system. The basic ones have a timer which can recharge the system on a pre-set schedule. However, during the recharge process, the soft water is not available.There is also a type which uses a computer that follows the consumption. When it hits a certain limit, the system triggers the regeneration process.

Devices with this system usually have a separate tank with soft water that can be used during the recharge. The third type uses a meter to measure the values and initiate the recharge process. One of the advantages of these models is that they don’t need any electrical components whatsoever. Also, the tank is recharged on demand. While one of the tanks is regenerating, the other one is always available for use.

Maintenance

Although it’s not a technological element per se, it’s paramount that you regularly maintain your unit. Various types of bacteria and fungi can form in the resin which lowers the effectiveness drastically. Occasional general cleanup is advised because hard water contains much more harmful elements than just calcium and magnesium. All these particles can stand in the way and lower the efficiency of the unit.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF SYSTEMS

There are four most popular types of softeners. Every one of those has its advantages and shortcomings. While one of them is the most popular, it’s important that you comprehend the difference to see which one suits your needs.

Salt-based Models

These are by far the most popular ones. They cycle water through two tanks of which one is filled with resins while the other is full of brine. The process of purification is called ion exchange. The concept is pretty simple, hard water enters the system, and the harmful minerals get swapped with sodium thanks to their different charges.

While zeolite particles are negatively charged, the minerals are positively charged which makes them adhere to the resin beads. The only disadvantage of this type is that people who are intolerant to sodium can’t use it.

Salt-free Models

Salt-free softeners use potassium chloride instead of sodium. As you can assume, this type is significantly better for people who have to take care about their sodium intake. However, these units are often descalers rather than softeners.

So, instead of reducing the number of minerals, they prevent them from being deposited as scale. These are mainly portable units, and the consensus is that these are better than none. However, they are much less efficient than a conventional softener.

Dual Tank

The softening process is practically the same as in salt-based models, but these models have two tanks. They are better because you can still use soft water while the system is recharging, thanks to the dual-tank system. The only thing that bothers most people about it is the price. These are among the most expensive models on the market. Also, they require a lot of space.

Magnetic Descalers

Descalers are not softeners. These units use an electromagnetic field to isolate the minerals from hard water. Although they are much less effective than softeners, they don’t require any maintenance and installing them is a piece of cake.

FAQ

Q: What is hard water?

A: When water is referred to as hard, it usually means that it contains a lot of minerals. The two most frequent ones are calcium and magnesium. They cause scale which can build up in your pipes and cause clogging.

Q: What is water softening?

A: Water softening is a process of eliminating minerals that cause issues when the water dries. Most softeners use salt as a base element, but there are other types available such as descalers, salt-free models, and more.

Q: Why is hard water bad?

A: Hard water usually affects your kitchen appliances the most. Although you might not see it, scale serves as an insulator between a heating unit and water. Due to this phenomenon, the element needs more power to accomplish the optimal temperature. Other negative effects include dry skin, fragile hair, increased detergent consumption, and more.

Q: Which type of salt should I use?

A: Three types of salt are sold for softeners: - Rock salt - Evaporated salt - Solar salt Rock salt contains a lot of elements that aren’t soluble in water. Therefore, if you use rock salt, the tanks have to be cleaned regularly and frequently. Solar and evaporated salt contain less insoluble elements but are more expensive than rock salt. To determine which type to use, you need to see how much salt does your softener use, how often does it regenerate, and how often are you planning to clean it.

Q: Can I mix different types of salt?

A: While it shouldn’t be an issue, it’s not advised. Also, some softeners are specifically designed to handle only one type of salt. Make sure that you read the user manual before ordering a different type of salt.

Q: Do I need to hire a professional to install a softener?

A: In most cases – no. In fact, all you have to do is connect three pipes to the existing plumbing system. However, if you’re not sure about it, call a plumber.

Q: Can I take my softener with me everywhere I go?

A: A lot of softeners are portable, but most dual-tank ones have to be fixated to a particular base.

Q: Can I drink softened water?

A: Yes, you can. Two groups of people to whom softened water isn’t recommended are babies and individuals who have issues with sodium tolerance.

Q: Can I water my garden with soft water?

A: Yes, you can. However, there are no particular benefits in comparison to hard water .

Q: How long does it take to get rid of the scale layers when I start using soft water?

A: It usually takes about - Six weeks for the kettle - Six months for the heating elements - Two years for the plumbing

Q: Are these units noisy?

A: Not at all. The only noise you’ll hear is during the recharge process. However, it’s barely noticeable.

Still Not Sure Which Water Softener System to Choose for Your Household?