Best Water Softener Reviews 2018
- 1 Best Water Softener Reviews 2018
- 1.1 What Is Hard Water?
- 1.2 Water Softener Reviews
- 1.3 Things To Consider When Buying A Water Softener
- 1.4 Why Should I Use A Water Softener
- 1.5 Water Softener Reviews
- 1.6 Our Best Water Softener Reviews
- 1.6.1 Fleck 5600sxt digital metered (48,000 Grain) water softener
- 1.6.2 Fleck 7000sxt Water Softener With By-Pass Valve
- 1.6.3 Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
- 1.6.4 Aquios FS-220 Salt Free Water Softener and Filtration System, Blue
- 1.6.5 Air Injection Iron, Sulfur, and manganese Removal Oxidizing Water Filter For Whole House, AI25 2510SXT
- 1.6.6 Clearwave CW-125 Salt Free Electronic Water Conditioner
- 1.6.7 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration Housings – Model AP801
- 1.6.8 Aquios AQFS220C Full House Water Softener and Filter System, Clear
- 1.7 Water Softener Reviews
- 1.8 Frequently Asked Questions
- 1.8.1 What is the difference between city water and well water?
- 1.8.2 Why are whole house water filters considered to be point of entry systems?
- 1.8.3 What is hard water?
- 1.8.4 Does having hard water mean it is contaminated?
- 1.8.5 Is hard water safe to drink?
- 1.8.6 What is soft water?
- 1.8.7 Does having soft water mean it is clean water?
- 1.8.8 Is it safe to drink?
- 1.8.9 Do I need a plumber to install a water softener?
- 1.8.10 Which types of salt are sold for application in a water softener?
- 1.9 Our Water Guides
Looking for a water softener? We have put together our best water softener reviews
Here you will find all the information you need to buy the best water softener for your home. From learning what a water softener does, what type is suitable to your home and which water softener is best suited for you. Our water softener reviews have all the details you need to find the right water softener for your home, so lets start
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, carbonate and manganese. These minerals are absorbed into the water from underground sources that collect dissolved minerals.
The hardness of the water is measured by grains of mineral per gallon (GPG) or parts per million of mineral (PPM). One GPG is the same as 17.1 PPM.
The minerals in the water are not harmful to humans from a health risk, but they can cause issues in and around your home. Theses minerals can cause harm to your plumbing pipes which can get blocked by a build up of lime scale, a water leak can cause a significant amount of damage to your property.
Hard water can also have an effect on your household appliances such as the washing machine, dishwasher, coffee maker and icemaker in you fridge. Hard water can also cause damage to your skin and make your hair look unhealthy.
The high mineral content in the hard water can leave spots on drinking glasses and shower doors, the bath tub could be left with a ring of film around it, the coffee maker has scale deposits and the toilet has a hard to remove ring around the water level. These are all signs that your home has a hard water problem. You can also buy water test kits online.
Water Softener Reviews
Salt Based Water Softener
Ion exchange or cation exchange is the most common type of water softener used in domestic properties. This type of system is used to replace the hard water ions with soft water ions. It uses two tanks, one resin or mineral tank, and a brine tank, and some type of control.
With a conventional cation-exchange water softener, the house water supply pipe is connected to a control valve and timer at the top of the resin tank. The hard water flows down into the resin tank, which is filled with resin beads. These beads have a negative electrical charge that attracts the positively charged mineral ions of hard water while giving off sodium ions. Because of this, the minerals in the water such as calcium and magnesium adhere to the resin beads as the water passes through the tank.
By the time the water reaches the bottom of the tank, it is softened. This conditioned water is then pumped back up through an outlet manifold and distributed to the house.
After a period of time, the resin beads become coated with minerals and must be cleaned or recharged to become effective again.
The water softeners timer and controls automatically run the appliance through cycles to backwash, recharge, and rinse the beads. A control that is designed to recharge based on the amount of water processed is better than a timer that cycles on a schedule. This is because it operates based on need and not on time, which can save in energy, salt, and water.
The brine tank is paired with the mineral tank to help with the regeneration process. During the cycle, salty water (brine) is pumped from the brine tank into the resin tank. As the water flows down through the resin beads it exchanges sodium with the hard-water ions, regenerating the electrical attraction of the resin beads. Once the brine tank is empty, a slow rinse begins. Followed by a more forceful fast rinse. With both of these cycles, fresh water rinses excess brine from the resin and deposits it down the drain. Then the brine tank is refilled.
There are 3 common regeneration systems available. Timer regeneration, meter regeneration, and manual regeneration. Meter generation means the your water softener will regenerate based on your water usage, and is the most popular choice with less maintenance.
Salt Free Water Softener
Salt free water softener uses a potassium chloride salt substitute instead of sodium. A salt free water softener is more of a descaler as it doesn’t reduce the hard minerals in the water, it just neutralizes them so they do not cling to anything. They do help to prevent damage from your appliances and need very little in the way of maintenance. If you don’t like the idea of using chemicals to soften the water in your home then a salt free softener could be the way to go. This type of water softener is less expensive and easier to install.
Some people say that this type of water softener is not as effective as the salt based water softener, this is because you still have the elements of the hard water and this could still cause a problem to your appliances. Because salt free conditioners use electricity it can take longer to see the results of salt free water softener than the salt-based type.
Magnetic Water Softener
This type of water softener works by passing the hard water through a magnetic field in order to reduce the effects of the hard water. These are placed on your water pipes and when the water flows through the pipe, it collects the microscopic crystals that cause the scale build up.
Electrolytic Water Softener
This is similar to magnetic treatment except that instead of a magnet an electrolytic unit has a zinc body which reacts with the copper in the pipe to produce a charge. This charge acts in the same way as a magnet, which results in no scale build up in your pipes and equipment.
Both of these systems are inexpensive and do not require a drain, which makes them a popular choice, but the efficiency is not that good. It does not offer a permanent solution as the water reverts back to hard water after being paralyzed for 48 hours. You should not use this type of system if your water is over 8 GPG hardness.
Things To Consider When Buying A Water Softener
There are numerous things to consider when buying a water softener. You will need to take into account how much water passes through your household so that you can buy a softener that will allow a high enough flow rate. You want to consider how much maintenance you want to do.
You need to know how much water is passing through your household on average, and at the peak times. You need this information to allow you to get the best usage from your water softener. Most manufacturers will provide you with a flow rate in GPM (gallons per minute). The average person is said to use between 80 to 90 gallons of water per day. If you take this number and multiply it by the number of people living in your house, you will see how much water you are using per day.
Every type of water softener will require some maintenance. Salt based water softeners are the highest maintenance, as you are required to top the softener up with salt. Salt free softener will have a filter that will need replacing on a regular basis. Electric and magnetic softeners don’t require much maintenance but will still need to be cleaned and maintained to get the best out of the softener.
Where To Install The Water Softener
Most households will have the water softener installed as close to where the mains water enters the property. This can be a variety of different places such as the kitchen, basement, utility room, garage or even outside.
Hardness Of Your Water
You can buy a test kit to test how hard the water is in your home. The average home in the US has a rating of 10 GPG. This ranges from 3GPG to 20 GPG, 3 being soft water and 20 being very hard water. If you are unsure about testing the water yourself you can always call a professional plumber to come and test it for you.
Why Should I Use A Water Softener
There are a few main reasons to why you should use a water softener.
- Your appliances will last longer
- No more lime scale
- Softer feeling water
- Spend less time cleaning
Do I Need A Water Softener?
As we have mentioned above there are many problems that hard water can cause to your home and appliances. It can be unhealthy and expensive. So if you have hard water, your best choice would be to purchase a water softener. They can be quite expensive but in the long run you will actually save money, and your health will benefit as well.
What Size Water Softener Do I Require?
The size of your water softener depends on what you are planning on using it for, how often you will use it and how many users there will be on a daily basis.
There are a range of water softeners that are suitable for your home. You need to calculate how many grains per day need to be removed. This can be done by selecting how many people live in your property, multiply this by 80 gallons of water used per day, multiplied by the GPG. The average GPG for the US is 10.
Which Water Softener System Is Best?
Water softener systems work in different ways to eliminate the effects of hard water on your home. Each system works differently and some are better suited for certain situations. There is an on-going debate between the different types and which one is more efficient. The most effective way to remove hard water and the only way is to use a salt based water softener.
Water Softener Reviews
Our Best Water Softener Reviews
The fleck 5600sxt digital metered salt based water softener is flecks best selling system for domestic properties. Lets take a look at what makes this system so popular.
In terms of softening hard water, the fleck 5600 is the best system because it is extremely effective at softening hard water, it has large capacity and is meter regenerated which means it runs off your water meter automatically. The down side to this system is it’s heavy and quite bulky. The running cost can also mount up with the usage of salt pellets depending how many people are in your home using the water.
Specification of the Fleck 5600sxt
The salt-based system has a 48,000 grain capacity. It uses resin beads and salt pellets to soften the hard water and requires regeneration to clean the resin beads.
The design of this system means that it is almost maintenance free, with a simple to use meter-based control system. Just set your figures into the display computer and all you have to do is replace the salt pellets.
When you buy this system you get the computer programmer, and a large brine tank. You will need a drain, and standard 120v power outlet. Made for a medium to large home, the size is 10″ x 54″ (tank) with a 14″ x 17″ x 33″ brine tank. Quite a large system in comparison to others on the market, so make sure you have sufficient room before you purchase.
The meter on this system helps to reduce the running costs because it will only regenerate based on your water usage.
Is this system right for me?
If you have a home with 3 standard bathrooms or less and have no more than 6 people living there then this is the water softener for you. It takes care of its self day to day and is simple to use. You can use this water softener if you have hard water and the salt based water softener is the only option if you have very hard water.
Fleck 7000sxt Water Softener With By-Pass Valve
The Fleck 7000, 64,000 grain capacity water softener, is a serious water softener. Being such a large system, you’ll want to be sure it’s the right one for you. Being the latest model from fleck, with some new features, this system has some big shoes to fill after the success of other Fleck water softening systems, such as the 5600 model we spoke about before.
This is another wonderful product from Fleck. The 7000 model is surely one of the best products that the brand has released in the last few years. It has efficiency and durability. Certainly a must buy for homeowners. Suited for large, to very large households, and even light commercial situations.
Specification of the Fleck 7000sxt
The fleck 7000 is very efficient at softening the hard water and can handle high usage. It has a bypass valve that turns the system on and off with the flick of a switch and standard 2-tank design. It as a high capacity of 64,000 GPG, which is perfect for larger homes.
Fleck 7000sxt allows you to set and forget. You don’t have to worry about reprogramming the unit or resetting the time. It has been fitted with an internal capacitor that protects against power outage. This ensures that your time is always set for 48 hours and will not suffer from memory loss. In case you loose power.
As previously indicated, it has a high capacity valve. With a rating of 7000, the valve allows a higher rate of water flow. This is perfect for larger households and other areas that have a higher water demand.
The regeneration process in this system is only carried out when required. This means that the system has a higher efficiency since there is minimal release of brine to the environment.
The fleck 7000sxt can hold around 250lbs of salt that is normally added after 12 weeks.
This is a solid, high performance system that is suitable for small commercial and large homes. So if you have a small house with 1 or 2 bathrooms, we suggest you to go for the smaller model. Fleck 5600sxt, which is more efficient for a smaller home.
Still not sure which Fleck water system is right for you. Have a look at our Fleck Water Softeners and Filters page
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
The Eddy Electronic Water Descaler has installed a magnetic field that enables it to descale the hard water effects. It interrupts the lime scale build up in the water system and keeps it clean and soft for up to 48 hours.
There are a few misconceptions that it is not a water softener. The system works by reducing the lime scale build up. For this reason, it is safe to say that it prevents the damaging effects caused by the effects of lime scale build up. It paralyzes the water but does not actually remove the minerals that cause the hard water.
Eddy electronic water descaler is compact in size and is relatively easy to install. You can install the water softener on any type of pipes but I would recommend not using it on lead or iron pipework. This is due to the components this system uses and could cause a reaction which could impair the function of the system.
The system works using a magnetic wave that controls the water supply. There are two coils that are installed on the pipe where the water supply enters the property. The magnetic waves that travel through the electronic cable catch the components that cause the lime scale. This helps to decrease the flow of the lime scale.
It not only softens the water, it also holds back the contents of calcium and magnesium. Which means the water still has its essential minerals in it that are beneficial to the body.
The best part of this water softener is that it comes with a 12month warranty, and offers a full money back guarantee. it is an eco-friendly product that can be used on any type of property and no pipe work system requires to be changed to accommodate the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler.
The product dimension are width 6.75 inch x height 3.5 inches x diameter 1.5 inches.
Aquios FS-220 Salt Free Water Softener and Filtration System, Blue
The double acting system works to soften and filter hard water at the same time.
This is a salt less system, which works to soften water without the use of any salts. Instead, it uses a commercial, natural technology that ensures that these minerals do not build up in your pipes and appliances.
Aquios FS 220 uses a carbon block filtration cartridge, which sits inside the tank to filter water after it has been softened. This means other sediments and minerals are removed from your drinking water, something a standard water softener can’t do.
It requires cartridges for the filtering process. One is included in the original purchase, which is estimated for 40,000 gallons of usage. It’s a slim system, and the filtering process happens inside the system, so only one tank is required and no electricity is needed for it to work. No salt is required to run this system and that can be amount to a saving, as there is no need to replace salt, and its also a huge advantage if you are on a sodium restricted diet.
No programming at all is required with this system, all you have to do is install it and then change the filter cartridges when required. Salt-less systems work to change to structure of the water running through your pipes, meaning scale build up is actually reduced over time fixing potential problems. This is one of the thinnest systems on the market, which makes it perfect for tight spaces. It measures 27 x 10 x 8 inches. It comes with an attractive 20 year warranty and a 60 day no questions asked return if it is not for you.
Filter cartridges require replacing for the filtering to be effective. Time between replacements will vary depending on your usage. If your water is very hard this system may not be so effective at solving the problem. We would not recommend if your GPG is 10 or above.
The Aquios FS 220 is best suited for customers who want a water softener and a filter but don’t want to purchase both. It is ideal for use on medium size households with 2 or 3 bathrooms and for people who are on a restricted sodium diet as there is no salt used in the system.
Still not sure which Aquios Water Softener is right for you. Have a look at our Aquios Water Softener Buyers Guide
Air Injection Iron, Sulfur, and manganese Removal Oxidizing Water Filter For Whole House, AI25 2510SXT
The Air Injection Platinum System, Uses the principle of oxidation. The system uses a patented piston inside the Fleck 2510SXT to create a bubble of compressed air at the top of the tank. As water begins to flow through the system the contaminates are forced into contact with oxygen. This causes them to oxidize into a larger form, which is then trapped by the Filox media.
Every few days the system automatically backwashes itself, rinsing the contaminates off the media and replenishing the air bubble. This system is chemical free, and is able to remove higher contaminate levels than most other tank systems on the market. You can say goodbye to your iron, sulfur and manganese problems without worrying about dangerous chemicals. Complete system includes tank, riser tube, deflector, control head, media, and bypass valve. Online installation instructions provide detailed steps on filling, installing, setting up, and maintaining your system.
The patented piston design allows for air injection in a single tank, which is a significant advantage over two tank systems. By containing the oxidation process to a single tank routine maintenance is reduced, parts replacement costs are reduced, and less space is required.
This system can outperform some of the more popular systems. In fact, this system has the highest removal capabilities you can find in a single tank system.
The Air Injection Platinum System is capable of removing up to 10 ppm of iron and 2 ppm of magnesium. It can also remove up to 6ppm of hydrogen sulphide and treats a constant flow of 7 to 10 gallons per minute.
Clearwave CW-125 Salt Free Electronic Water Conditioner
First of all we would like to point out that this is not a water softener but is a water softener alternative and this is why it is called a salt free water conditioner. If you are buying a water softener to reduce the lime scale build up and not to fully eliminate it then this machine is a great option.
Clearwave CW-125 Salt free electronic water conditioner is a magnetic based system. It works in a different way to traditional water softeners and does not use a brine tank, salt pellets or any kind of filters. It paralyses hard water minerals to stop them clinging to the pipe work.
The Clearwave conditioner is tiny and will be easy to install, remove, and manage. This product is relatively low cost to purchase when compared with other systems and costs virtually nothing to run. Since there is no need for Brine tanks, discharging, salt pellets, or anything else you would normally be dealing with, the clearwave water softener is environmentally friendly.
Using a magnetic system means you still get the health benefits of drinking hard water. This system neutralizes hard water minerals in order to prevent them to sticking to surfaces they touch, however its still hard water. Hard water is full of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, so it’s great to drink. If you were to use a salt-based water softener system, you would have to install a by-pass valve to see these benefits.
The clearwave need to be installed indoors and protected from the weather conditions. If you have constant hard water problems and have more than 3 bathrooms in your property then this system will not do a great job. If you are looking for a low cost system and are not too bothered by the hard water being removed from your home then this is an ideal product. It is popular due to the price range and the size of the product. Measuring in at just 4 x 14 x 12 inches and weighs 2.6 lbs.
3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filtration Housings – Model AP801
By filtering chlorine taste and odour sediment particles as small as five micron, the 3m aqua-pure whole house water filter Replacement will ensure you continue to serve the highest quality water possible.
This filter usually only requires replacement once a year or after 100,000 gallons of usage. This really depends on the quality of water in your area and should only be used as a guide. The replacement water filter is easy to install thanks to its sanitary quick-change and the lightweight design. It will keep producing the great water you expect when you order the 3m aqua-pure whole house water filter Replacement. Replacing the disposable filter cartridge is a clean and simple process, requiring no tools and no contact with particulate laden filter material.
The cartridges feature a five micron carbon block filtration with a non-woven blended pleat media. They have a flow rate of 20 gallons (75.7 litres) per minute and a temperature range of 40-100°F. The pressure ranges from 25-125 psi.
A whole-house water filter may reduce a variety of contaminants in the water supply, including rust, particulate, and chlorine taste and odour. A whole-house water purification system may save money in a variety of ways. Depending on the contaminants reduced, the filtered water helps protect and improve the performance of appliances.
Aquios AQFS220C Full House Water Softener and Filter System, Clear
Like other salt-free water conditioning systems, Aquios uses polyphosphate siliphos beads in a crystallization technique, which converts the mineral ions such as calcium and magnesium to smaller particles. The crystallized particles are able to flow through the household water system without clinging or sticking to the pipes and appliances. This avoids a build up of minerals and lime scale, as well as flushing out existing scale that has built up over time while leaving the healthy minerals in the drinking water.
The AQFS 220C Water conditioner and filter combined into one unit to save space and money. It removes 99% of chlorine taste and odour, reduces rust and sediment as well as iron. No salt is used which means there is no extra sodium in the water for those who might have restricted sodium diets and the healthy minerals such as magnesium and calcium remain in the drinking water. The filter minimizes the presence of dirt, iron, and rust which is especially prevalent in well water.
Natural process is eco-friendly and does not dump salt brine into the community water system. The unique in-head valve is designed for fewer breakages and has brass insert fittings included in the kit for high quality installation. Existing lime scale over time will get flushed away as water flushes through. It is a highly efficient system with no need for regeneration, which means access to conditioned water all the time.
Very low maintenance with the exception of changing the carbon filter every few months. You get a limited 20 year warranty with proof of purchase and a limited 1 year warranty without proof of purchase. There is also a 60 day money back guarantee for a full refund of the purchase price, no questions asked.
The Aquios AQFS220C does not actually remove the hardness from the water but simply changes the particles to make them smaller and less able to adhere to pipes and appliances and only works in running water, not for water that is still.
May need to replace filter cartridge. Replacement cartridges may cost around $60-$80 and should be replaced every 4-6 months for a family of four.
If you’re looking for a salt-free alternative for your household and you like the additional convenience of a water filter included then the Aquios AQFS220C is a reliable and affordable option. With simple installation, no electricity, and taking up very little space. The Aquios AQFS220C combined water conditioner and filter will fill your whole house with fresh tasting drinking water that is good for your body, and clean smelling water that will keep your pipes and appliances running smoothly.
The system dimensions are 23,4 inches by 5.4 inches and the weight is 8.4 lbs. it has a flow rate of 12 gallons per minute and the operating pressure is 100psi with the operating temperature 45 to 115 degree F.
Water Softener Reviews
Frequently Asked Questions
We will now take a look at what some questions that are often asked when deciding on which type of water softener to choose, we want to make the process of choosing a water softener as easy as possible and produce all the correct information so you can make an informed choice.
What is the difference between city water and well water?
City water is pre-treated to make sure it is free of bacteria, viruses and common contamination sources. City water is regulated so that the contaminants regulated by the EPA fall within or below EPA guidelines. Well water is untreated water from an underground aquifer that is pumped into a house. Well water may contain higher than average levels of iron or sulphur and other contaminants.
Why are whole house water filters considered to be point of entry systems?
The filtration system is installed at the point where the main water supply enters the home, delivering filtered water to all subsequent outlets.
What is hard water?
Hard water contains a higher than average amount of dissolved minerals and a higher concentration of multivalent cations. Hard water is mostly a nuisance as these dissolved minerals can cling together to produce lime scale, which can harm your internal pipes, plumbing, and home appliances.
Does having hard water mean it is contaminated?
Hard water is more of a nuisance than a health issue, and is not considered contaminated. Most water sources in the USA are considered hard.
Is hard water safe to drink?
Yes, hard water is healthy enough to drink.
What is soft water?
The most recognizable trait of soft water is how much more soap lathers, as opposed to hard water, in which soap lathers less due to the higher concentration of minerals. Water softeners reduce the negative effects of dissolved minerals in water that can clump together and produce lime scale build up.
Does having soft water mean it is clean water?
Soft water does not mean clean water. Your water can be soft and still have contaminants present in the water.
Is it safe to drink?
Yes, soft water is as long as the water has not passed through a sodium-based water softener. Drinking water from a sodium-based softener increased your daily intake of sodium, which can lead to health problems in sodium-sensitive individuals.
Do I need a plumber to install a water softener?
We recommend that you have a licensed plumber to install the system for you. This ensures that the system is installed properly and most licensed plumbers carry insurance to cover any damages caused by an installation error. Having a licensed plumber install the system for you will give you the security that the work has been done properly and that the installation is backed up by the plumbing company’s insurance plan. Not having the system installed by a licensed plumber could void the warranty so please check with the manufacturer.
Which types of salt are sold for application in a water softener?
For water softening there are three types of salt are generally sold
- Rock salt
- Solar salt
- Evaporated salt
Rock salt is used as mineral occurs naturally in the ground. It is obtained from underground salt deposits by traditional mining methods. Also contains between 98% and 99% sodium chloride, and has a water insolubility level of about 0.5% and 1.5% being mainly calcium sulphate. Its most important component is calcium sulphate.
Solar salt as a natural product is obtained mainly through evaporation of seawater. It contains 85% sodium chloride and has a water insolubility level of less than 0.03%. It is usually sold in crystal form and sometimes it is sold in pellets.
Evaporated salt is obtained through mining underground salt deposits of dissolving salt. The moisture is then evaporated, using energy from natural gas or coal. Evaporated salt contains between 99.6% and 99.99% sodium chloride.
Is it harmful to mix different kinds of salt in a water softener?
It is generally not harmful to mix salts in a water softener, but there are types of softeners that are designed for specific water softening products. When using alternative products, these softeners will not function well.
Mixing evaporated salt with rock salt is not recommended, as this could clog the softening reservoir. It is recommended that you allow your unit to go empty of one type of salt before adding another to avoid the occurrence of any problems.
How often should one add salt to a softener?
Salt is usually added to the reservoir during regeneration of the softener. The more often a softener is regenerated, the more often salt needs to be added.
Usually water softeners are checked once a month. To guarantee a satisfactory production of soft water, the salt level should be kept at least half full at all times.
Our Water Guides
- Need a water softener system? Read our Best Water Softener Guide
- Want to read more about Water Filter Systems. Read our guide now
- Looking for the right water filter for your refrigerator. Read our guide now
- Read our under sink water filter guide
- Your shower might need filtering too. Read our Showerhead Water Filter guide
- Looking for a specific faucet filter for your kitchen. Have a look at our guide
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- Prefer a Home Water Distiller instead of a water filter. Have a look at our Home Water Distiller guide