About 85 percent of American households have hard water, including homes with city water and well water. But what exactly is hard water, what are the signs of hard water, how does a water softener system work, and how to buy a water softener? We call water hard if it has high mineral content, i.e., 60mg of dissolved calcium, magnesium carbonates, sulfates, and bicarbonates. In some hard water areas, the mineral content goes as high as 180mg. Removing the hardness of water is a bit difficult, but knowing the rewards of water softening can be worth it. After getting your hands on the best water softener all your hard water problems i.e. pale and rough skin, dry hair, stained plates, and dishes, scales on the showerhead, and spotty laundry will vanish.
But wait, let me tell you something!
We evaluated some best-rated water-softening units based on their efficiency, features, expected life, price, reliability, and maintenance needs. Besides water softeners for hard water, we listed down their essentials i.e. water softening salts and resins.
Table of Contents
Top 10 Water Softener Reviews in 2023
We selected these water softener units after testing and reviewing water softener consumer reports. Check out our top recommended products:
|BEST OVERALL: Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Water Softener|
|BEST SALT-BASED: Whirlpool WHES40E Water Softener|
|BEST ALTERNATIVE: iSpring ED2000 Electronic Descaler|
|BEST PORTABLE: OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable RV Water Softener|
|BEST FOR CITY WATER: Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Water Softener|
|BEST ELECTRONIC DESCALER: Eddy Electronic Water Descaler|
|UPGRADED PICK: Fleck 5600SXT Metered On-Demand Softener|
|BEST SALT-FREE: Aquasana Filter System & Salt-Free Conditioner|
|BEST FOR HOME: Nuvo H2O Dphb-a Home Water Softener|
|PREMIUM WATER SOFTENER: Water2Buy W2B800 Water Softener|
Coming from a reputable water softening company; Fleck 5600SXT is the top budget-friendly whole-house water softening system that uses a highly efficient ion exchange process to remove hardness. Fleck 5600SXT comes as an improved version of the well-known Fleck 5600 with significant improvements and new features. The innovative regeneration technology feature reduces the usage of salt and automatically refills your tank on a regular basis.
Fleck 5600SXT consists of a Bypass valve with a 1″ male threaded yoke connection, Touch Controls & LCD, Water Flow Meter & Safety Float, and 8% high-quality cross-linked resin. Its electronic feature allows you to monitor the water treatment process through the interface panel easily. Smart regeneration automatically adjusts to your water consumption and helps reduce salt usage and keeps the soft water flowing. Diagnostic features help to monitor each water treatment process. It helps to understand each process and troubleshoot if you happen to experience an issue.
In case of power disruption, the internal capacitor provides a battery backup for up to 48 hours. The tank has a 10-year warranty and the valve has a 5-year warranty. In addition, the SXT controller offers some great features, including a backlit LCD display, touchpad controls, and a user-friendly interface.
Soft water provides softer skin and clean, smooth hair. Anyone looking for an affordable whole-house water softener with a lower-end price range and high-quality performance. Then the Fleck 5600SXT Water Softener should be your top choice in 2023.
If you want to get rid of replacing faucets, showerheads, and dishwashers then this single-tank salt-based Whirlpool water softener is best for you as it improves the quality of water by removing hardness-causing minerals and high iron from home water. It does not only soften your water but also removes unwanted hard water stains from your clothes, sinks, showerheads, etc. Sounds good?
Whirlpool WHES40E comes with a bypass valve, an installation kit, an instruction manual, and a 1-inch main pipe thread. However, Salt-Saving Technology allows a specific amount of salt during the ion exchange process. So, it is salt efficient. Demand Initiated Regeneration continuously monitors the water usage level. So, it regenerates when the water level is low. So, we can say it recharges automatically using a metered system. This NSF-certified water softening unit has a capacity of 40,000 grains and is perfect for families of up to 6 persons.
Soften your home’s water and remove high levels of hardness and clear water iron up to 11 ppm, including ferrous iron that is invisible to the naked eye. Whirlpool whole house softener is easy to clean. You need to wash it once every four months by using a WHE-WSC cleanser. Hence, the system’s efficiency is improved.
Whirlpool WHES40E Water Softener removes leftover stains by reducing the hardness-causing minerals. Moreover, salt-saving technology and NSF certification make this salt-based product a favorite to try.
Are you tired of filling in salts or changing filters of your water softener? Then try iSpring ED2000 water descaler as it’s an affordable solution for treating scale buildup in appliances, on faucets, and on showerheads. Like all magnetic water softeners, it does not remove the heavy minerals from the water, so clothing may still suffer from untimely fading.
This top whole-house water softener is easily installed on all types of pipe, including PEX and PVC. The ED2000 starts working by wrapping two antenna cables around the main water pipe, creating a complex, frequency-modulated, and electronic magnetic waveform. The coil induces an oscillating electric field in the water that results in water molecule agitation. sufficient enough to trigger the release of carbon dioxide. As a result, calcium bicarbonate precipitates, and carbon dioxide is released.
This magnetic water softener breaks up the existing scale deposits and prevents their formation. The resulting water will allow soap to lather up more effectively and make hair and skin healthy. This iSpring descaler is best for water below 25 grains of hardness and an iron removal filter is used for high iron content.
Finally, for all those who are tired of hard water, making their skin ashy and hair dry, the iSpring ED2000 is the best salt-free water softener available on the market. Moreover, it eliminates the despite causing mineral ions. Also, turn them into beneficial mineral ions.
Are you a lover of traveling in your RV? This portable water softener is designed for use in RVs, motor homes, trailers, and even tiny homes. This Double Standard Softener & Conditioner produces twice the gallons of softened water as compared to its competitors. It uses common table salt to regenerate in less than 30 minutes and provides soft water up to 1600 gallons or up to 40 days.
However, despite its compact size, there is no reduction in water pressure after installation. Moreover, the space-saver design allows it to be installed in the tightest places. So, it is the largest compact RV softener available in the market. Furthermore, no tools or electricity are required during installation. In addition to smart design, it includes a handle for carrying on the top, a largemouth opening for easy salt addition, and high-grade premium resin. Travel-friendly option of cap & plug to prevent leakage.
The soft water from this unit prevents rust stains, avoids scale build-up, and increases the lifespan of appliances. OTG4-DBLSOFT can be easily stored in your storage bay or dockside locker. This compact water softener includes hardness test strips, storage inlet/outlet caps, handle, back-flush adapter for quick reverse connection, and a full cradle base which makes it durable.
Any RV owner knows how important it is to have the top water softener to accompany you on your travels. Moreover, the smart and compact design of the OTG4-DBLSOFT Portable RV Water Softener makes it the perfect choice.
Over 85% of American homes water contains enough calcium and magnesium for it to consider as hard water. Scrapping the limestone deposits on your sink, dishwasher, and even in the toilet is a tiring job. Pentair WS48-56sxt10 solves all hard water problems. A digital metered control head panel allows you to customize settings and provide information regarding the current status of water. However, we can also troubleshoot errors quickly. Thus, this salt-based softening unit is easy to use.
This Pentair Softener comes with a 14 x 33 inches brine tank which can hold approximately 250 pounds of softening salt. A mineral tank made up of high-quality poly glass material which is fully loaded with resin inside for easier installation. A bypass valve made up of Noryl plastic and adapter. Moreover, an instruction manual for easy installation and the liquid sanitizer for sanitizing is in the pack.
Besides this, a box of water testing strips to test water hardness. So, it uses these strips for testing hardness levels in the water. An upgraded 10% premium cross-link resin that has a longer life and is more chemical and chlorine resistant.
Note: This Pentair unit comes in two packages, a mineral tank and a brine tank with valve and fittings inside.
Finally, you can say this softening unit is a complete package i.e. water testing kits, digital control head, and installation kit making Pentair WS48-56sxt10 the best water softener in 2023 for city water.
Eddy Water Descalers is a UK-based company that markets the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler as the number one alternative to salt-based water softeners. However, this Eddy’s Model is the simplest and easiest to maintain when it comes to limescale buildup. Our home water supply contains dissolved magnesium, calcium, manganese compounds which form limescale deposits. As a result, water flow decreases, and the overall lifespan of plumbing systems as well as water heaters, showerheads, faucets, washing machines, and other household appliances are decreased.
Eddy water softener produces complex electromagnetic waves to achieve its goals. The system is installed around your incoming water supply pipe and uses electromagnetic waves to change the adhesion property of limescale and prevent them from sticking into your home pipes and appliances. Moreover, Eddy does not alter the chemical composition (TDS) of the water i.e. beneficial effects of calcium and magnesium will preserve. However, calcium reduces the incidence of heart disease. This method of water conditioning is far more economical than other methods, wasting no water and requiring no salt for the process.
The Eddy descaler works effectively on all types of pipes(except lead and iron). However, it comes with a lifetime repair and replacement warranty and a 12-month money-back guarantee.
Hard water causes white residues on showerheads, sinks, dishwares, and plumbing appliances. This AFWfilters model comes with a Fleck 5600SXT control valve that eliminates hard water that causes limescale buildups and reduces soap efficiency. This Fleck model uses an ion exchange process in which hard water-causing ions(calcium and magnesium) are removed and replaced with sodium ions. So, sodium ions do not interfere with soaps and detergents. Nevertheless, ion exchange is also efficient in removing toxic metals from water.
This salt-based softening unit uses a meter-based regeneration process which measures the usage of water and often regenerates when it needs to. However, the metered softener does not schedule a regeneration until the specified amount of water has passed through the softener. Fleck metered softener valve measures your water usage and saves water and salt and is also easy to install.
The new feature Pentair Scan and Service application has important information about your water softener at the touch of your fingertips. It provides access to detailed configuration, technical documents, spare parts, and a troubleshooting error manual. Moreover, other components include an upgraded Paddlewheel Meter, 1-inch Noryl plastic male threaded bypass, 1/2 inch Drain Barb, and safety float. The square brine tank (14″ x 14″x 34″) can hold about 250 lbs. of salt. Safety float prevents overfilling and the overflow drain acts as an additional backup.
Scan app feature, 5600SXT digital metered control valve make this upgraded Fleck 5600SXT Metered On-Demand Water Softener a top product.
Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter and Salt-Free Conditioner is a 2-in-1 water filter and conditioner for people looking to filter and soften their water. The Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000 is Aquasana’s biggest whole-house unit that provides you with healthy, clean, great taste water by removing up to 97% of chlorine. However, it also reduces the harmful containments i.e. pesticides, herbicides, mercury, and lead for up to 1 million gallons or 10 years. Rhino comes with a 5-micron pre-filter that catches rust, sediment, and silt. Moreover, it has a filter tank, conditioner tank, 20″ pre-filter, post-filter, brass fittings for 1” or 3/4” pipes, bend supports, and shut-off valves.
Featuring carbon & KDF filtration media combined with scale control media, the Aquasana whole house filter, and conditioner reduce the formation of scale buildup and filter out chlorine effectively from drinking water. However, the system will not reduce TDS and keep healthy minerals in the water. Aquasana Rhino is a cost-efficient whole house filter and water softener combo. Moreover, the unit doesn’t waste water like other softeners, and the manufacturer claims that you can clean water for less than $0.01 a gallon.
Filters can be replaced after every month to get the best filtration and flow rate. Thus, making it low maintenance and fuss-free.
In the end, the Aquasana filtration system makes water taste good by removing unwanted substances. Cost-Efficient & Long Lasting and Easy Maintenance make Aquasana Whole House Water Filter & Salt-Free Softener one of our top picks.
The NuvoH2O Home Water Softener removes the existing scale from your home pipe, showerhead, plumbing system, water heaters but also prevents hard-water buildup. This compact water conditioner follows a revolutionary technology chelation process to lower the pH of water. However, a citrus-based chelating agent (FDA-approved) binds calcium and magnesium ions and prevents the formation of scale deposits. Moreover, NuvoH2O DPHB reduces chlorine and other contaminants which are toxic for health, skin, and hair.
NuvoH2O salt-free water softener improves the water softness by keeping the minerals soluble in the water. The quality of water is improved and provides great-tasting water for your whole house. This Nuvo H2O model comes with a 20-inch Cartridge, instruction manual, a mounting bracket, screws, and a housing wrench. Furthermore, this earth-friendly softener needs no salt or electricity and creates no wastewater.
Enjoy healthy, salt-free soft water that not only prevents, but also removes hard-water buildup that clogs in-home pipes. This Nuvo water system will enhance the performance and extend the lifespan of water heaters, plumbing fixtures, and appliances by removing unwanted chemicals and scale deposits. This NuvoH2O unit comes with a lifetime warranty. However, Nuvo will repair, modify or exchange a malfunctioning system for free.
Premium Water Softener
- Style: Salt-Based Softener
- Size: 19.69 x 8.86 x 43.31 inches
- Weight: 55.1 pounds
- Capacity: 90 Liters
- Family Size: Up to 10 Persons
The Water2Buy W2B800 water softener system is an excellent yet budget-friendly product that removes all the unwanted limescale necessary to soften the water. After connecting to the water supply, this top-rated softener provides complete limescale-free water for a family of 10. However, it filters over 3680 liters of water daily for both city and well water. This Water2Buy model is designed to be installed in a garage or basement as it is a bit large in size.
Water2Buy W2B800 comes with corrosion-resistant fiberglass, a polyethylene tank, adjustable water hardness, and prefilled premium-grade ionX resin. A pre-Fitted bypass valve maintains water pressure and easily bypasses the water softener in an emergency. Water2Buy easy connect app provides ease for the installation of the water softener. Similarly, it helps to keep an eye on the limescale and softness levels. The Digital meter controller measures the amount of salt and water used. However, It is capable of self-cleaning and can initiate the regeneration cycle automatically when the water is not in use (i.e. 3 am). Approximately 90 liters of water is used during regeneration.
The pre-filled premium ionX resin removes 100% limescale. So the soft water from this Water2Buy unit increases the lifespan of kitchen and plumbing appliances, makes clothes brighter after washing, and takes care of your skin and hair.
In the end, the smart easy connect app (live support, salt remainder), digital meter controller, and huge capacity make the Water2Buy W2B800 Water Softener a top choice.
Why Do I Need A Water Softener?
Hard water is a common problem in almost every household. Somehow, the level of hardness varies from city to city and country to country. So, now you will be thinking about how to test your water at home. Firstly, you can buy a water testing kit to check out your home and well water hardness level. Secondly, there is no need to buy water testing strips. However, signs of hard water will be right in front of you to make a decision.
- The hardness of water is confirmed when you see yellowish-white stains on your sink, faucets, and showerheads.
- Hard water stains on glassware can be a nuisance. Glassware becomes impossible to fully clean without resorting to hand polishing or special rinses, which may result in higher water use.
- Hard water also makes your hair and skin extra dry and frizzy. High hardness levels may also cause skin irritation and may lead to severe allergies in the long run.
- The increasing deposits not only start causing plumbing problems but also create hurdles in water flow. Thus, making the flow of water slower.
- The buildup deposits around the valves of the dishwasher and washing machine create leaks in the devices. Hence, reducing their life expectancy.
- Furthermore, hard water reduces the efficiency of washing powder, soaps, shampoos, and dishwashing liquids. Clothes washed in hard water are negatively affected as it makes soap and laundry detergents less effective and leaves behind a scummy residue.
How can you beat that? Just using water softener systems can solve all your problems at once. As they use different technologies to reduce the deposits of limescale by neutralizing the content of calcium and magnesium carbonate in the water. Thus, solving all your hard water problems.
Check Out: How to install a water softener?
How does a water softener work?
Whole-house water softeners come in various sizes and styles to accommodate the size of your home and family. Usually, different water softeners have different working processes. Like Salt-based water softeners use salt to soften water, salt-free softening units often soften water without using salt and electronic descalers use electricity to produce electromagnetic waves. So, the process varies for each water softener brand and its softening style.
A typical water softener consists of a tall, narrow water-softener tank, and a short, wide brine tank. The softener tank is connected to the home’s main water supply and a small tube connects the brine tank to the softener tank. The softener tank is filled with formulated resin beads and the brine tank is filled with salt pellets. Moreover, a discharge hose connects the softener tank to a nearby dry well for drainage.
A water softener works by removing the magnesium and calcium present in your water supply through a process of ion exchange. Water enters the top of the water-softener tank and went down through the resin beads. Here resin negative charge ion attracts positively charged minerals. The mineral deposits stick to the resin and soft water flows throughout the house. However, when the beads reach maximum capacity, then the softener tank needs regeneration. Salty water from the brine tank flows up the fill tube and into the softener tank during the regeneration cycle. A rinse cycle starts in which salty water washes the mineral deposits off the resin beads. The regenerated water is flushed out of the discharge hose. The system then automatically reverts back to softening the incoming water.
Check Out: Types of Water Softener Systems in 2023
How to Buy a Water Softener? (Buying Guide)
A lot of people are confused about decision-making and ask how to buy a water softener. Because a lot of softening units are available in the market. For those who don’t have specific information about the product, the decision can be more robust. Here are all the major factors that you need to keep in mind when buying the best-rated water softener in 2023.
Water softener capacity is basically indicated by how many particles the system will filter out before needing a regeneration cycle. Capacity generally ranges from about 16,000 grains for small water softeners to 80,000 grains for heavy-duty softener systems. An average-sized water softener for three to four-person households is usually in the range of 32,000 to 40,000 grains. Large families (5-8 persons) need a water softener between 48,000 to 64,000 grains.
There are three main types of water softeners: salt-based softeners, salt-free water conditioners, and electromagnetic conditioners or electronic descalers.
Salt-based softeners are the most popular systems for city water and well water. They use an Ion-Exchange process in which they replace calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. However, they require maintenance and you have to check the supply of sodium chloride or potassium chloride on daily basis. As we have to keep the softener tank full of salts for regeneration.
Salt-free water softeners don’t use salt to remove minerals. Instead, they crystallize the minerals, making them unable to attach to pipes. Salt-free softeners are typically more expensive than ion-exchange softeners.
Electromagnetic water conditioners don’t require discharge lines or salt replacements. They’re affordable, and they take up little space. However, they’re only recommended for small spaces or light-hard water issues.
A high-flow bypass valve is another vital feature you should look for in the best water softeners. It is essential if you want to keep water supply pressure high across your household. Many water softening systems will lower your water pressure, so you have to keep an eye on such water softeners that will not interrupt water pressure.
Now, let’s move toward your budget, there are water softeners that are the cheapest but they add high operational costs and maintenance issues in the future.
Operational costs refer to the amount of salt your softener will require, electricity consumption, water waste, resin beads, and filter cartridge replacement based on the type of your softener. That is why most of the softening systems we have reviewed above are highly economical and affordable. However, some of them do not even run on salt or electricity. If you want to avoid irritation and a tiring job we will suggest you not look at your budget much as it will save you money in the future. Some cost-effective softeners have a smart regeneration feature that will lower your electricity bill, less water consumption, and save salt.
Check Out: Best Water Softener Brands in 2023
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the best water softener for the money?
When we talk about some best, top-rated water softeners then there are hundreds of softening units. However, after researching and analyzing consumer reports of water softeners some best water softeners for hard water are these: (Best Overall) Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Water Softener, (Best Salt-Based) Whirlpool WHES40E Water Softener, (Best For Home) Water2Buy W2B800 Water Softener and (Best for Well Water) Fleck Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener. We selected these top-rated water softeners based on the type, quality of the water softener, and installation costs.
2. How do I know which water softener to buy?
To determine about buying a water softener, you must keep water softener size, style of softener, hardness level, and your family size in mind. However, to find out water softener size multiply the number of people in your home by the gallons of water each person uses i.e. 80 gallons per person is the average. Suppose family size is 5, 5 People X 80 Gallons per day = 400 gallons per day. 400 gallons per day is water usage. However, to calculate daily softening requirements, multiply grains per day (400) with water hardness (i.e. 7-11 grains per gallon for hard water) = 4000 grains per day. Hence, the softening unit will remove 4000 grains per day. Moreover, you can calculate water hardness with water testing kits. Water with hardness above 11gpg considers very hard.
However, a water softener regenerates once a week. So for a hardness level of 10gpg and family size is 5, you need a water softener of 30,000 grains capacity. So, Whirlpool WHES30E water softener is ideal for this case.
3. Do electronic water descalers work?
Electronic water descalers use electromagnetic waves to change the chemicals i.e. calcium, magnesium, and manganese. They work in the sense that they help reduce the impact of hard water on your pipes and plumbing appliances. Hence, scales do not stick to your pipes, showers, and appliances. However, electronic water conditioners are affordable, require no maintenance, and are widely available. So, Yes, they work in the sense that they help reduce the impact of hard water on your pipes and appliances.
4. What are the disadvantages of soft water?
Regularly drinking soft water is a bigger concern for people with high blood pressure as it increases a person’s sodium level. Soft water is also more likely to pick up lead from the inside of older water pipes that haven’t been treated to block the leaching of lead. Water consumption can also increase by owning a water softener which may spike your water bill after installation.
5. Is it safe to drink water from a water softener?
The water from the water softener is safe to drink if there are no harmful particles. As water softener does not filter and remove harmful particles – water softener only removes hardness minerals. However, no softener salt gets into the water supply itself and the softening salt is only used to clean and regenerate the resin. So, you can drink softened water.
6. How much iron can a water softener remove?
High iron water is a frustrating problem for homeowners after hard water. Water softeners remove a small amount of iron up to 1 ppm or 1 mg/L. However, the amount of iron differs due to geological makeup and groundwater quality. So for high iron content, you can try AFWfilter Iron Pro 2 Water Softener.
Check Out: How do you clean a water softener?
Why Trust The Pro Water Softener?
The Pro Water Softener Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After writing down the products, we do extensive research again to conclude whether these products meet our standards. Once, we conclude the research phase – we write a user-friendly article that includes our recommended products with complete information to help homeowners make the right decision.
The benefits of using a water softening system are countless as a softener protects water pipes and appliances, maintains the quality of clothes, and contributes to healthier skin and hair. For this reason, we recommend Fleck 5600SXT and Whirlpool WHES40E for their excellent efficiency and product life. Now, we hope you can easily buy the best softening unit in 2023.