Best Water Softeners
If you clicked this post you must have problems caused by hard water. And probably you are very confused right now.
I get it.
The sheer amount of information available today is massive, it can get confusing pretty easily.
That’s why I have made this post to see what’s the real deal with water softeners according to consumer reports.
Below, I have handpicked the best five water softeners you can buy right now. They are made by reputable manufacturers, so quality and performance are assured.
#1 SoftPro® Elite Water Softener for Well Water
The soft pro elite water softener is made especially for well water. It is a potent system that can be configured based on your needs. You can have up to, 80000-grain capacity and depending on your well pump up to 11+ GPM (gallons per minute).
And if you require extra filtration, you can add more filters to the system. You can have up to 30 ppm filtration of iron if you really need it, a kdf filter, and even a pH neutralizer.
What’s really awesome is the refund policy that the producer offers to you.
If you don’t like the system in the first six months, you can get a full refund for your money.
- Precision brining – This feature will help you save a lot more salt than other water softeners. The system will pre-make only 70% of the brine. Right before the regeneration process starts, the system will calculate the exact amount of brine needed to regenerate the depleted resin. Which can help you save up to 50% salt.
- Salt recharge – When the total capacity of the softener goes below 3% a 15 minutes recharge process will start to restore additional capacity. This will allow the softener to work until the usual regeneration process starts at 2 AM.
- Soft Water Brine Tank – Instead of adding hard water inside the brine tank, this system will fill it only with clean soft water. This will help keep the tank cleaner and avoid the problems caused by contaminated water.
- Smart cleaning – If you don’t use the water for at least 7 days, the softener will perform an automatic refresh in order to prevent bacterial growth and other problems caused by sitting water.
- Economical – This water softener will not only give you soft clean water, but it will also help you save money. Your household appliances will last longer, detergent and soap will lather better, and the salt cost will be reduced.
Overall, this water softener is an excellent choice for well water, according to consumer reports. It can be configured based on your filtration needs, it will help you save money, and it has modern features some other systems don’t.
- High efficiency this softener does not waste any salt, it calculates the exact amount of salt you need for a regeneration.
- Soft water in the brine tank, it will help prevent the usual problems encounters when softening hard water.
- Smart — it has a lot of smart features the softener will take care of itself, you’ll just enjoy soft water.
- Great money-back policy, you’ll get a full refund if you don’t like the softener the first six months.
- Cheaper and more effective than systems.
- It can occupy a lot of space.
- You have to call a specialist to install it.
#2 Matrixx Water Softener With Smartphone Integration
This water softener is a high-efficiency system featuring industry-leading technology, which also comes with premium-grade resin to ensure the best working conditions for your system.
These features help you save money and be kind to the environment. The matrixx water softening system works either with salt or potassium.
You can choose between various flow rates starting from 7GPM – 10GPM – 15GPM and a maximum of 20 GPM with ¾ and 1-inch outlet/inlets.
And if you want to prolong the life of your water softener by using a pre-filter, you can add the Magma 5-micro filter. Which is the only filter on the market with a Posi-Seal tech that guarantees 100% filtration with no bypass.
- Advanced technology – The Matrixx water softener combines both the industry-leading Vortex tank tech and the smart valve. Which gives the softener better filtering and softening capabilities compared to other systems. It also comes with battery backup so in case of a power outage the softener will still be running.
- Smartphone Integration – This softener smart valve can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth 5.0. All you have to do is down the app called Waterlogix which is free by the way. Then your water softener and the phone will be paired, and you’ll gain access to real-time info about your system. You can also adjust the hardness of your water in the app and track how much water you’ve used.
- Economical – Not only you’ll have clean soft water, but by using a water softener you can also dramatically reduce the costs in your household. The matrixx softener can help you save up to 70% on salt, 40% on energy, and 50% on cleaning products.
Having soft water is beneficial for your appliances since they won’t have stains and clogs which extends their life. Soap and all cleaning products work better with soft water meaning you’ll have to use less quantity of a product to get the job done.
Overall, the matrixx water softener is a technology-focused system that offers clean soft water efficiently and helps you save money by reducing the cost throughout your household. It’s also eco-friendly, so it won’t affect the environment.
- The smart valve can be programmed and tuned using your phone.
- High flow rate, it can be configured with up to 20 GPM flow rate
- Premium 10% crosslink resin which comes with lifetime warranty
- 10 Years warranty on the electronics and valve
- The app can be complicated for some people.
#3 Crystal Quest Smart Whole House Water Filtration System
The crystal quest smart water softener system is a complete package of filtration not only you’ll get soft water but get rid of contaminants as well. This softener is designed for ultimate performance, ultimate filtration capability, and low maintenance.
- Ultimate Filtration – The crystal water softener system features 6 stages of filtration which can remove various types of contaminants and heavy metals. Contaminants such as herbicides, pesticides, pharmaceutical by-products, petroleum, and chemical compounds such as the four trihalomethanes. It can also get rid of chlorine/chloramine, and thanks to the water softener heavy metals such as magnesium and calcium.
- Economy – Not only you’ll have soft water throughout your household, but also you can save more money by using this water softener. You can save up to 70% on soaps and detergents and up to 25% on hair products and personal care items. Your clothes will also benefit from it because they can be last up to 33% longer without losing their colors.
- Efficiency – A water softener has many benefits to offer, a quite important one is that it increases the efficiency of your household appliances. According to the manufacturer, it can increase your water heater efficiency up to 29%. Soap and shampoo will lather better, meaning you’ll have softer skin and hair; dishes will be cleaned easier with fewer spots. And kitchen and bath fixture soap usage will be decreased.
- Better Tasting Water – Ever notice that tap water tastes or smells funky? Well, contaminants can be a cause for it. Normally you don’t need to filter tap water because it can contain essential nutrients. But a water softener can improve the taste of water, add more flavor to meals and tea
How does the filtration process work?
The first step is pre-filtration with a 20-inch cartridge for sediment which removes dirt, sand, sediment, and slit.
For post-filtration, water flows through a 20-inch solid carbon cartridge to remove VOCs (volatile organic carbon) and any other pesticides, industrial solvents, and herbicides.
The third filtration process is water passing through the patented Smart water filter media. It includes two types of coconut shell GACs (granulated active carbons) – catalytic and standard, combined with Eagle Redox Alloys® 6500 & 9500.
The fourth step is where the “softening” happens which turns hard water into soft water using the ion exchange process. In this step, heavy metals like calcium and magnesium are going to get removed from the water.
The last steps are tourmaline and ceramic balls in order to achieve alkaline PH water and the final process is post-carbon block.
Overall, the crystal quest is a powerful water softener system and at the same time very flexible, you can configure it to fit best for your household necessities. It can have a capacity of up to 1,500,000 gallons, you can even add an oxidation system to it, a UV water sterilizer, and a non-salt water softener.
- High filtering capacity, this softener features 6 stages of filtration to ensure the best quality for your water
- Alkaline pH, this system has a special filter that will maintain a high pH level
- Can get rid of viruses and microorganisms by adding the UV water sterilizer.
- High price, this water filtration system can be more expensive than some other models.
#4 Springwell’s Salt Based Water Softener System
Springwell is one of the few manufacturers that use only premium-grade components, ensuring your water softener’s long-term performance and durability.
With over 20 years of experience in water treatment, their goal is to provide you with the best price-performance products. Their 6-month money-back guarantee is also awesome to have.
The Springwell water softener is an impressive system that can offer multiple choices of filtration and has modern features that other systems do not.
The base model is capable of proving soft water for 1 to 3 bathrooms, but the advanced model softens water for up to 7 bathrooms.
If you require extra filtration, you can add a UV water purification system and even a reverse osmosis system.
- Prevents Scale Buildups – Hard water is known to cause household problems including stains, scale buildups, clogs, and others. Using the Springwell water softener, you will prevent these issues and increase the life of your appliances and plumbing system. Through the ion exchange process, hard water will be filtered into soft water.
- Innovative Technology – You can connect your phone to the water softener through the free app found in PlayStore and AppStore using Bluetooth. Using the app you can adjust softener settings like backwash cycle, regen, timing, and much more. You can also see useful information about the water softener system and how it’s working. You can connect to all the valves in the system but only if they are all legacy view valves.
- Economical – The technology used for this water softener helps you save thousands of gallons of water each year, and I’m not exaggerating. The connected series head is top-notch at handling the ion exchange process, and it’s known in the industry for its efficiency and quality. Soft water is known to be beneficial for detergents consumption, it will help you reduce it by 40%. While also helping maintain clothes’ bright colors.
Overall, the Springwell water softener is a solid choice, it is made with premium-grade materials, and it features innovative technology which ensures efficiency and helps you have money.
- You can control the valve head with an app, with it you can change settings and view useful information.
- High water flow, you can buy this softener with up to 20 GPM.
- 6 months money back and lifetime warranty for the tank and valves.
- You’ll have to top up the salt manually, which leads to frequent maintenance.
#5 Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System- Yarna CWD24
The yarna cwd24 is a water descaler system designed to filter water for the whole house
So how does it filter water?
It filters water using electric pulses generated by an electronic unit which is controlled by a microchip.
The pulses are transmitted through the flat impulse bands which are wrapped around the pipe, preventing limescale build-up and the negative effects that come with it.
- Salt-Free – since this is a water descaler system it uses electricity to filter water, and it doesn’t need to use salt. This water filter can reduce the effect of limescale without wasting water and salt. Compared to a traditional water softener, it does not remove some essential minerals needed by our bodies.
- Easy Installation – this salt-free water softener is completely DIY, and it does not require help from a specialist or any tools. The installation process should take you only 15 minutes, without requiring any more maintenance afterward. What’s really convenient is that it works with various types of piping up to 1-inch thickness.
- Heavy-duty materials – Quality will be assured with this saltless softener since it is made from durable abs plastic. It will be able to withstand physical impacts, and also it is resistant to chemical corrosion, making it ideal even for unfavorable environmental conditions.
Overall, the Yarna water descaler system is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a salt-free water softener. It is made from durable materials and with a single device you can filter unlimited water for your household.
If you are not satisfied with the product, you can return and get all your money back. It comes with a 365-day risk-free money-back policy.
- Kinder for the environment since it doesn’t discharge any salt waste.
- No more salt bags lifting.
- Easy to install, no need for a specialist.
- Less filtering capacity, this is not as potent as a water softener.
How To Choose The Right Water Softener? – Buyers Guide
There are a lot of water softeners out there, with different technologies, grain capacities, and so on. It can get confusing pretty easily which is normal.
That’s why it is important to know what features to look out for and choose the best option for you. Now there is not a general rule for everyone, each household has different water sources and filtering needs.
So, the first thing you should do is test your water using a water testing kit or either send it to a lab. After doing so you will know exactly what kind of contaminants are present in your household water and make a choice more fitted best for you.
After you found out the level of contaminants, there are also some crucial aspects that you need to know about a water softener such as:
This is a quite serious factor to take into consideration when buying a water softener. If a softener is not well maintained periodically, it could lead to serious problems with the system itself and the quality of water.
To get more context, let’s quickly remind you how a softener works:
The hard water from your household flows inside the softener, then the softener system filters it to soft water using the ion exchange process.
Now the problem is that the hard water is flowing through the softener and can damage it.
Every water softener system has a manual and inside it, you will find the required maintenance needed for it to function properly.
So be sure to check how often you need to do maintenance for the desired softener and if you can afford to do it to avoid future problems.
The required amount of maintenance varies between softeners technologies, and some don’t require any attention from you at all.
This is a very misunderstood aspect of a water softener by consumers. You’ll find in most online stores and even your local store softener systems with various types of grain capacities ranging from 10,000 to 32,000 or even more.
The grain capacity is the amount of water hardness that is removed before the regeneration process starts.
So, you could say that the grain capacity is the weight of heavy metals compounds that are removed before the water softener regenerates. One grain weigh about 65 mg according to Wikipedia.
So, the bigger the number the better is the softener, right? Well, it’s not that easy apparently. You also need to look out for the softener efficiency.
To keep it simple and to avoid confusion, do not buy a water softener only because you used an online calculator and it told you to buy e.g., a 32,000-grain water softener. You need to buy a softener that states its grain size and efficiency.
An inefficient softener will use lots of salt and lead to higher costs and maintenance. So buying an efficient softener will assure that you never run out of soft water and use a minimum amount of salt.
When buying a water softener, you will come across various certifications, which possibly you may not know anything about them.
You can think of certifications as an assurance that your softener will work as intended.
Third-party certification organizations perform tests on different water treatment devices to assure their quality and that the equipment is performing as intended by the manufacturer.
So, their main goal is to approve devices and to make sure that the consumer does not get scammed by shady manufacturers.
There are three main certification organizations:
- The Water Quality Association (WQA)
- The National Science Foundation (NSF)
- The Association of Plumbing and Manufacturing Officials (IAPMO)
Each of these certification bodies has different standards for products. Understanding what those certifications are will assure that you get the right product for your household filtering requirements.
When buying a water softener, you want to look for the following certifications:
- NSF/ANSI 44 – This is the certification made especially for water softeners, it will ensure that the softener will work accordingly and is built using safe materials.
- WQA S-100 – The certification used by WQA for commercial, household, and portable water softeners, their standards are similar to the NSF. Products certified by the WQA will have the Gold Seal Certification Program sticker.
- IAPMO – This organization has an independent lab that will examine products against the WQA/NFS/ANSI standards. They have their own certification body as well (IAPMO/ANSI Z601) – which is made to ensure that water filtering devices can remove scale.
All certification bodies will perform regular audits to ensure that the standards still apply to the water filtering equipment.
Every water softener has to use the regeneration process to work properly. The resin beads will get clogged, and they need this process in order to get clean and filter water again.
If you want to know more details about the whole process of ion exchange, check out this article about how does a water softener work?
Now not every softener system regen process is the same they work differently, and in some cases, it requires you to set it manually.
Here is how the regen process can work:
- Timed-initiated – This kind of system regenerates during the week, usually overnight when water is not used. This will assure that you will not run out of soft water. But it can also increase water and salt usage since it will possibly regen when it’s not needed.
- Automatic – Some modern softeners can start the regeneration process only when it is required. For this to work, you only need to set the required hardness of the water. Then you don’t have to do anything you can just enjoy soft clean water.
- Manual – This is the most convenient way since you can program your regeneration cycle. And since you have full control of the system you can reduce salt waste and water usage.
Resin durability and percent
If you don’t know, resin is the material needed for the ion exchange process to soften hard water. The resin is stored inside your softener tank and when water flows through it filters the minerals from it.
When it gets clogged with contaminants the regeneration process aforementioned start and cleans it.
There are two types of resin:
- Fine Mesh Resin
- Standard Resin
Fine mesh resin as the name suggests is smaller thus it can hold more resin beads inside the bed than the standard one. This means that the filtering capacity is also increased compared to the other.
Resin also has a crosslink percent which determines its durability. Most water softeners use 8% which in perfect condition it can last up to 10 years. Recently it has been developed a 12% crosslink resin which in optimal conditions can last 20 years.
As I said, the lifespan of the resin is guaranteed only if it is in perfect conditions. If your household water has a high hardness level, then the lifespan of resin is decreased. Usually, minerals like chlorine and iron reduce it.
If you want your resin to last longer, a prefilter for the softener to remove chlorine and iron is a good idea.
A bypass valve is definitely a requirement. You don’t want your water to go through the softener all the time.
Soft water is good for your appliances and household in general, even for your skin and hair. But a softener can remove essential minerals from water that are needed for a healthy diet.
Or when you want to fill your pool but don’t you don’t want to filter the water. It’s also very handy when you want to service your water softener.
Without saying this is also an important aspect of a softener, the higher value the better. Usually, systems come with a flow rate between 6 and 12 GPM. You want to have at least a flow rate of 10 GPM, which is considered reliable.
Generally, you get a 5-year warranty on the control head and 10 years for the tank. This is enough for most users, but some systems come with a lifetime warranty which is impressive.
The required space
I think this is a little too obvious to say but don’t buy a big softener if you don’t have the space for it. Some even come with dual tanks setup one iron tank and one resin tank.
So, taking into consideration how much space you need to have for it is a must.
You’re not the DIY type? Then you might have problems installing a system of this kind. For sure, there will be included a manual that comes with instructions for installation. But if you’re not very familiar with plumbing, then it is a good idea to call a specialist to install it for you.
Alternative: Salt-free water softener
If you want a cheaper, easier to maintain, and stress-free softener then a saltless softener is the right choice for you. In general, a water softener can cost you between $1000 and $1500, but it can go way higher if you add extras. A saltless softener is way cheaper to buy and to maintain as well. But for sure do not expect to get the same filtering result as a traditional softener because you’ll be disappointed.
In this post, I have recommended the Yarna capacitive electronic water descaler system, which is a saltless softener with decent filtering capacity. It’s very easy to install, and made from durable materials. Also, the manufacturer offers a 365 money-back policy.
But you can also check out another type of softener that uses citric acid to filter water which I have reviewed here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a bigger water softener better?
The size of a softener is calculated in grains capacity, choosing a bigger size for a softener is usually not be the best idea for you. It is way more important to choose an efficient softener rather than a bigger one. You can easily increase the normal maintenance costs for a softener if you choose the wrong one.
What are the disadvantages of a water softener?
I think for most people the first disadvantage would be the price since it is a big investment for your household. You also have to consider maintenance and installation costs since most people can’t install a water softener by themselves.
Also, a water softener can remove some essential minerals needed by our bodies for a healthy diet.
How long do most water softeners last?
Softeners, in general, have a long lifespan it can be between 5 and 10 years, some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their products. But how long a water softener last is heavily dependent on your water hardness.
The advertised lifetime by the manufacturers is valid only if the system runs under optimal conditions. Water with high levels of contaminants will drastically reduce the life of a water softener.
Is salt-free water softener better?
That is heavily dependent on your filtering needs if your water doesn’t have a high level of hardness then saltless softener might be a better choice for you.
As always, test your water and find what kind of hardness and contaminants your water has, then choose based on that information.