Hey there, my name is Mathew. You have probably come across my website as you were searching for the best water softener system for your home. If so, or you are just searching for more information on how they work and how to choose the perfect for your home, then my water softener reviews and guide have everything you need.
Below you can view the water softener comparison chart of the top 10 products. Under it you can get more information in the reviews of each of the models listed. At the bottom of the page you will find the water softener guide that includes all the information on hard water, types of water softeners, how to choose, and more. You can either scroll down or use the table of contents to jump to the section you need.
Top 10 Water Softeners Reviews
Fleck 5600 SXT is one the best rated water softeners and is a favorite of many customers. Fleck brand is considered the most reliable manufacturer of water softeners. So if you want top quality, I would recommend getting a Fleck model.
This is 48,000 grain capacity water softener. However, it’s available in other sizes as well. This is the best water softener for average sized households.
The softener uses an ion exchange process that eliminates both calcium and magnesium. The regeneration process is meter based, which adds convenience and water saving. It works by regenerating only when needed. So it automatically measures your average daily water usage and adjusts the system accordingly.
A nice addition to this water softener is the SXT digital controller. It features an LCD display, touchpad controls, and 48 hour internal power backup.
The company is so sure of the high quality of the polyglass tank that they provide a 10-year warranty for it. The brine tank is designed to hold up to 250 pounds of salt. Also, the unit includes a safety float feature, so you won’t have to worry about overflows.
Watts RV PRO-1000 (M7002)
If you are looking for a water softening unit for on the go, my top recommendation would be the Watts RV PRO-1000 model. It’s perfect for RVs, motor homes, and camping.
Though portable, it’s not a tiny unit. It will still take up some space of your luggage. However, this system is much smaller than whole house systems and considering its ease of installation and use, you will greatly benefit with the use of it during your trip.
One of its benefits is the use of standard table salt. So you won’t need to additionally purchase the special water softener salt pellets.
Watts RV PRO-1000 also features a quick regeneration process, which takes only about 20 minutes. For one regeneration process you will need about 2 pounds of salt. The softener includes a flow restrictor to decrease water waste and make the process more efficient.
WaterBoss 220 is one more model among top water softeners in 2016. It’s a whole house water softening system that’s suitable for both well water and hard city water. It’s a compact unit, so it’s also suitable for small homes. What users like about this softener is that it not only softeners the water, but also filters out sediment and ferrous iron with the use of a 20-micron filter.
With 22,000 grain capacity, WaterBoss 220 has the ability to soften up to 70 grains per each gallon of water.
It features a demand regeneration process, allowing you to save up on salt and water waste. The compact design of the system allows completion of the process in just 18 minutes. For every regeneration process you will need 2.5 pounds of salt. One more thing to love about this water softener is its whisper quiet operation.
Nuvo H2O Manor is also a compact water softening system. One of the main benefits of this product is that it is environmentally friendly as it uses a chelating agent instead of the salt. It uses a water softening technology that converts insoluble metal ions (calcium and magnesium) into soluble. As the result the water is softened and you get rid of all the hard water problems, such as clogged pipes, corroded appliances, and other.
This salt free water softener is the choice if you want an eco friendly model. There’ll be no need to flush salt out of the water, so no water waste. It uses no magnets and no electricity, and all the components are FDA and NSF approved.
Aquasana EQ-SS20 SimplySoft
The Aquasana EQ-SS20 is the choice for you if you are looking for the most affordable best home water softener. This is also a salt free system and it can be used as a standalone unit or as an upgrade to an existing system.
Instead of the salt based water regeneration process for water softening, the EQ-SS20 model uses SLOW PHOS technology. It works without the sodium that damages the environment. This NSF certified technology serves to naturally condition the water, which involves altering the ionic charge of the hard minerals. The result is that these minerals don’t stick together, so there’s no scale or lime buildup.
This water softener incorporates a durable resilient to corrosion tank. The installation is fairly easy and the product comes with detailed instructions. Though be sure to follow proper installation in order to prevent leaks and mess.
Iron Pro 2
Iron Pro 2 is a larger water softening system that is suitable for medium to large sized homes. It comes with the Fleck 5600 SXT digital metered valve. It uses the standard meter based regeneration, so the process will start only it’s needed.
This system not only softens the water, but also removes ferrous iron, some ferric iron, sediment, sand, rust, and manganese.
The softener features a special fine mesh resin that is made to last longer and provide better filtering. The digital metered valve, which comes with a 5 year warranty, offers easy programming of the system and its improved efficiency.
Aquios FS-220 is a multifunctional system that does both water conditioning and filtering. It’s a salt free system, so it does not remove the hard minerals, but ensures that they don’t accumulate. The technology it uses involves a polyphosphate additive called Siliphos. It inhibits scale deposits and over time the scale buildup on the appliances and fixtures will be removed.
In addition, the filter of the Aquios removes sediment, chlorine and other undesirable materials. So it provides both protection for your pipes and appliances and pure and healthy water for your family.
One of the benefits of the Morton MSD34C water softener is its Look Ahead technology. It works by calculating the average water usage in your household and working according to it. If the water usage increases or decreases, the softener adjusts accordingly. This means spending less on salt and reduced amount of water waste. The compact design is a space saver.
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler – Water Softener Alternative
If you are looking for an affordable solution to hard water scale and lime buildup, but don’t have the space for installing a bulky standard water softener, then consider the Eddy electronic water descaler.
This water softener alternative works without any salt and you won’t need to do any plumbing changes to get it working. You just need to place the two coils of the unit around your incoming water supply line and then the system will work by producing electro-magnetic waves through them. So as the water gets subjected to the ever changing magnetic field, the adhesion properties of the limescale are changed. The result is that it won’t create deposits on surfaces, pipes and appliances.
This process does not alter the chemical hardness of the water. The water still retains the beneficial effects of calcium.
On the Go RV Water Softener
The last model on our list of top rated water softeners is another great option for RV travellers. The On the Go water softener features a space saver design, but at the same time offers 16,000 grain capacity, which is the largest capacity for a portable unit.
Like the Watts model, it also uses standard table salt. The regeneration process that requires 2 boxes of salt takes up to 30 minutes and provides about 16,000 gallons of softened water. The system provides a good flow rate and you will barely notice any pressure drops.
The connection requires no tools or electricity to get it running. The large mouth opening allows easy addition of the salt. It features a high grade premium resin and a 360 degree swivel for connecting the inlet hose.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water comes from the underground sources, where it collects dissolved minerals from rocks. These dissolved minerals particularly include calcium, magnesium, and manganese. These minerals are what causes hard water.
The hardness level is measured in grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (ppm). Technically, if water contains more than 1 GPG, it is considered hard. However, realistically, water is still relatively soft with 3.5 GPG. If you have water with over 10.5 GPG, you have very hard water. To find out the hardness level of the water in your household you can buy a water test kit online.
Why Is Hard Water Bad?
Plumbing problems. Hard water creates limescale buildup on your plumbing fixtures. Over time, as it will continue to build up, it will cause the pipes to clog up and the water flow to decrease.
Reduces the life of appliances. Any home appliances that heat water will also have scale deposits building up and as a result will have a reduced efficiency and life span.
Damage your clothes. After some time clothes washed in hard water will have a dingy look and will feel scratchy and harsh. So continuous laundering in hard water will also shorten their life.
Soapy film. Bathing in hard water leaves an invisible soapy film on skin, making it dry. It also leaves an excess filmy shampoo residue on the hair, making it look dull.
Diminish soap lathering. Calcium and magnesium diminish cleansing capability. You have to use more soap and rinsing it off takes longer.
Soap scum. These are deposits that hard water leaves on the dishes, tile, sink, and bathtub.
What Is a Water Softener?
A water softener is a mechanical appliance that removes calcium and magnesium in hard water by using an ion exchange process. The operating principle of this process is trading the hard minerals for something else. In most cases they are traded for sodium.
The water softener is plumbed into the home’s water supply line. The heart of the system is a mineral tank. This is where all the water softening takes place. Water softeners also include a brine tank and a control valve. The brine tank is designed for storing potassium or salt. The control valve controls the water flow to and from the brine and mineral tanks during the process of regeneration.
Some smaller capacity models and portable water softeners usually combine the mineral and brine tanks into one unit.
How Do Water Softeners Work?
As we have mentioned above all water softening systems consist of three components: mineral tank, brine tank, and a control valve.
The mineral tank features special media in the form of plastic beads that are usually made of polystyrene or resin. These plastic beads carry a negative charge, while calcium and magnesium carry a positive charge. As the water passes through the mineral tank, calcium and magnesium are attracted to these microscopic beads. So the hard water minerals are trapped in the mineral tank and the water comes out softened.
To clean the beads that are saturated with calcium and magnesium, a water softener then uses a regeneration process. This process includes three stages: backwash, recharge and rinse.
The control valve on the water softener determines the time for cleaning those plastic beads and starting the regeneration process. Older models usually use a timer, while newer models are designed with a computer controlled meter that automatically adjusts the regeneration time based on your actual water usage.
So the regeneration starts with the backwash. During this cycle the water flow is reversed and it flushes out the debris out of the tank and out the drain.
The recharge cycle involves the brine tank, which pumps the salty brine solution into the mineral tank. The highly concentrated sodium solution carries a positive charge, so it attracts to the negatively charged plastic beads, thus driving the calcium and magnesium off the beads. The salty water along with calcium and magnesium is then flushed out the drain.
During the last stage the mineral tank flushes out the excess brine and then refills the brine tank. So the beads are coated with salt that has a smaller electrical charge and much diluted quantities. As the tank is filled again with hard water, the hard water minerals are again attracted to the beads, while replacing the salt and suspending it in the softened water. When the hard water minerals coat almost all the beads again, the regeneration process starts from the beginning.
Do I Need a Water Softener?
If you are not sure if you need a water softener or not, you can first do some tests. I would recommend buying a water testing kit. After the tests you will also be able to know the level of hardness. This will help you in choosing the right water softening system. Alternatively, you can just perform a simple unscientific home test with a bottle and some liquid soap. Fill the bottle halfway with water and add a couple drops of the soap. Shake up the bottle and after that if you see that the water is not full of foam suds, but only has a soapy film, than most likely the water is hard.
What Size Water Softener Do I Need?
If you don’t know how to size a water softener, the following information should guide you. The size of each water softener is determined by the amount of grains of hardness it can cycle before starting a regeneration process. Small units offer about 12,000-16,000 grains, medium sized units have 20,000-40,000 grain capacity, and large once can soften more then 40,000 grains.
On average a person uses daily about 75 gallons of water. So multiply this number on the number of people in your home.
You will also need to determine your water hardness. That’s where you will need a water hardness test kit that will tell you the grains per gallon (GPG).
Next multiply the household daily water usage on the GPG. According to the received number you can choose the appropriate capacity of the softener.
Types of Water Softeners
- Salt based. These softeners work on the principle of an ion exchange process that substitutes the hard minerals with sodium. Salt based units include a tank filled with resin beads and another tank with brine solution.
- Salt-free systems. Instead of sodium, the system uses potassium. This option is more suitable for those concerned about the environment and those who are concerned about salt intake. However, these softeners are descalers. So while they prevent the hard water minerals from depositing onto surfaces, they are not as effective as conventional water softeners.
- Electronic and magnetic. These water softener alternatives also condition water, not soften. They clip onto the incoming pipe and change the electromagnetic properties of the hard water.
Water Softener Brands List
- Fleck. The oldest and the most reputable manufacturer of water softeners. The company has been on the market for over 50 years. Their products include advanced technologies in control valves and water softeners. On Amazon, these products are the best sellers and top recommended water softeners.
- WaterBoss. Another company that also has been on the market for quite a while. It offers a range of water softeners that are designed with the concept of providing more softened water with less water wastage.
- Morton. A well known brand of salt products. They have also started producing water softeners. They don’t have many models in the line, but they have been receiving good reviews and ratings.
- Aquasana. This brand has been providing the market with great quality water filters. In their manufacturing line they also have whole house water softeners that are engineered with reusable parts and are designed to produce minimal waste.
The Bottom Line
I hope that the guide and water softener reviews will help you in making a purchasing decision. These best water softener systems were chosen after thorough research that included water softener ratings, comparison of the features they offer, their price, efficiency, and water softener system reviews of multiple users.