Most of you who may frequent this site may already know a whole lot about water filters by now... They take out the impurities from our drinking water and give us potable, clean drinking water when we need it most. BLAH BLAH BLAH... I'm sure you've heard us talk about filtering water before but what about "softening" it?
What most people might not understand too well are water softeners. These devices will change the way you look at what comes out of your kitchen tap forever.
Ionization: that’s the big difference between a water softener and a water filter. In a way, you can look at a water softener as a subclass of water filters. Depending on the what you’re filtering out of the water, a filter can turn hard water into soft water.
Water couldn’t be more diverse in this sense. You use it in almost every corner of your house. However, the composition of your water can either make things easy or difficult. This is where the difference between hard and soft water comes in.
The former is filled with negative ions such as magnesium and calcium, making it the more suitable choice for drinking water. On the downside, you’ve got to deal with mineral deposits that end up on your kitchen sink, bathroom floor and even clothes when you use hard water for cleaning and washing. That’s where those dark spots, soap scum and water lines come from.
On the other hand, soft water holds the upper cleaning hand. Instead of sporting magnesium and calcium, it plays host to sodium ions that don’t stick to your dishes or your clothes. That makes it perfect for cleaning as it leaves clothes with a softer finish. It also carries a lesser burden for washing machines that depend on electricity to circulate the water, earning you savings in utility expenses.
Containing calcium and magnesium ions, hard water that passes through a softener goes through a filter that catches these ions and replaces them with sodium ions before allowing it to flow back into your home water system. When this filter has become full of calcium and magnesium ions, it is regenerated and refilled with sodium ions from salt.
It’s more of a question if you can afford both. There is no clear victor between a water softener vs filter. This is because both serve different purposes. You want the hard water for drinking purposes while you want soft water for cleaning use.
Additionally, different water softeners come in different sizes depending on your soft water needs. It’s similar to the way you need to size up your hard water filters so that your filter can accommodate your household’s water consumption rate.
Just like any other product, water softeners are graded based on how well they do their job. In this case, it’s how much magnesium and calcium it can remove from your water. This is measured in the amount of “grains of hardness” a softener can eliminate using a certain amount of filter, also known as GPG or grains per gallon. One grain is equal to 1/7000th pound.
Most water softeners will give you a measurement of how much GPG it can remove, but you don’t always want to go for the higher numbers. It’s all about matching the size of a softener to the amount of softening you need in your home. It’s not about asking for the best in the market.
It’s about asking “what size water softener do I need?”
There are softeners that can remove 24,000, 32,000 and even 64,000 GPG before you have to regenerate your filter. During regeneration, you won’t have access to any soft water. If you buy one that’s too small, you’ll end up regenerating more than cleaning. If you buy one that’s too large, you could end up drinking saltwater for a long time.
To find the right softener for your home, you first need to determine how much hardness you need removed from your water on a daily basis. This is an amount that you can compute for yourself using this simple formula.
Multiply the number of people who live in your house by the average amount of water they consume indoors. When you have that product, multiply it by the “hardness” of your water. The hardness of your water can be measured by visiting the municipal websites that host the levels of minerals in their water system.
The resulting amount will be the total grains of hardness that need to be removed from your water within a full day. However, this doesn’t immediately represent the size softener that fits you and your family. Depending on your daily required hardness removal, there is a certain soft water filter size for your home. You can check that table here.
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Even if you already have those numbers, you still have to find a name to trust. There is a large market for these devices so it’s commonplace to think that there will be a lot of available brands and models in the market. Take a look at this water softening systems review list and find the one that best suits your needs. The best water softener for your home could just be hiding among these finds.
Compared to other conventional water softeners in the market, this one is one-of-a-kind. It doesn’t use salt to remove the calcium and magnesium ions from your water. It uses a special kind of ceramic material that turns these ions into microcrystals that flow along with the water. It doesn’t use electricity to do that either.
That means you get healthier soft water that’s also ideal for consumption. There’s zero sodium content that makes it potable. You also won’t have to worry about replacing the filters or dumping more salt into the filter every now and then. You also won’t have to worry about added utility charges.
The only drawback to this great machine is that it may be too expensive for some budgets. This APEC softener costs more than your average mid-range softener. You might want to double back if you’re on a budget. If you are happy to invest on long-term product for a permanent household, this is one of the best investments you will ever find.
Despite that though, it’s got some of the best soft water system reviews on Amazon. Compared to other expensive home systems in the same range, the APEC works well and doesn’t require any maintenance. It’s plug and play. That saves you thousands of dollars on salt and utility expenses that you normally incur with other softeners. That’s why it’s one of the best rated water softeners available right now.
Fresh from 602abc, this softener boasts of a by-pass valve that provides you with more control over your softening. This is a 1.25 inch standard connection that fits right on top of the filter itself. This Fleck 7000 Valve operates using a microprocessor chip that allows the machine to regenerate efficiently, saving you on salt replacements. It’s a large and powerful machine that it perfect for large homes.
You’ll also need large help to get this thing set-up. Most customers appreciate the 24-hour customer support but wish they could have called for help when it came to lifting this filter and setting it in place. The internal filter medium used by this machine comes in 100 pound bags. That’s going to take some serious muscle power to pour in.
It’s pretty decently ranged for a state-of-the-art filtering system. Even if you’ve got 3 bathrooms in the house, this softener can still dish out softened water with a flow rate of 28 GPM.
IF you’re looking for something smaller and more portable, you’ve got the Wet Spot Super. It’s one of the oldest in the market and has established itself as the original portable softening system in the market.
Because it’s portable, it has to be recharged and regenerated manually. That makes it perfect for yachts and RV’s that need soft water constantly. The best part about this machine is that it doesn’t need electricity. It’s great for long trips that keep you away from any outlets.
That’s why they’re the preferred choice of boat owners. All that time submerged in hard water can cause serious damage to boat interiors and finished. The meticulous boat owner needs soft water to clean their boat. There’s also cooking purposes. Fish grilled on hard water taste like boots compared to Grilled fish with soft water.
With the Wet Spot Super, you can get all the advantages of soft water within the range of most homeowner budgets. The only problem is that it needs manual recharging. This can take a while and eat out of your time fishing or taking care of your boat.
One method to ensure continuous soft water generation is by installing two filter tanks in your home. When you solve the problem of continuous soft water, you then end up with the problem of switching tanks every now and then. On top of that, you would have to monitor both tanks to see when you need to switch from one tank to another. With the Fleck 9000 control valve, you don’t have to worry about that. You can simply place the control valve over your dual tank system and it will do the rest for you.
It’s great for commercial systems that have heavy water usages and need a steady flow 24/7. The control valve will detect the water usage levels and will automatically switch tanks when necessary. It’s a low-maintenance system that will keep your water soft for as long as needed; without any breaks
It’s a great investment for large households that have heavy water usages. The only problem here is that the control valve comes as a replacement part for an already existing dual tank system. This means you would have to get the dual tank system separately before you can enjoy the function of the valve. Although it has high water softener ratings, it seems to be a pain to have to purchase a separate valve.
General Electric provides their own version of softeners with this heavy-duty 40,000 grain softener. It can remove up to 125 GPG from your daily usage.
Just like any other GE product, it provides users with plenty of control. The GXSH40V comes with an easy-to-understand control panel that will allow you to adjust the level of water softness you want. It also estimates how long your salt is going to last you before you need to regenerate/recharge. It also comes with a salt-saver mode that stretches the utility of the machine a little longer if you feel that you’re going to need it to go a few more days without recharging.
It’s also pretty affordable for most budgets. The GXSH40V is your perfect gateway softener. Try this one out if it’s your first ever water softener. It’s not too painful on the budget and it comes from a trusted home-brand.
Another salt-free softener system, the Nuvo H20 uses a special cartridge that removes calcium and magnesium ions from the water. This means your soft water is healthier and ideal for washing and consumption at the same time. It weighs 8 pounds and 24 inches long which paints an easy instalment picture.
The system also promises to remove mineral build-up that has already accumulated in your house when you have it installed. That’s a lot to expect from a relatively fair softener investment.
The mixed water softener system review on this product give it a very gray area. There are those who say it works and some who say it doesn’t do anything at all. Both sides have pictures and proof to their claims. The best way to go about this product is, ironically, with a pinch of salt. It’s one of the most affordable salt-free softeners in the market right now but you might want to reconsider because of the mixed nature of its reputation.
One thing you’ll notice about Fleck Softeners is that they’re big on the control valves. This sets their machines apart in the notion that they provide more control over your softening. On top of that, the high flow-rate valve makes this softener perfect for large homes and commercial spaces that need a constant supply of soft water.
In addition to improved service flow, the Fleck valve comes with some nifty features such as soft water brine tank refill and double backwash. These additional features make maintenance twice as easy. You get a really good management device with this control valve. The only problem with this is that it only supports standard 1.25 inch openings. If your softener is made from another country, you might have some trouble fitting this valve.
It’s not a bad idea for your house. You get the control and the pressure that you need to supply every corner of your house with soft water. Modern homes with several bathrooms will benefit greatly from this. It gets good water softener system reviews mostly from owners of large houses and small businesses that require a constant supply of soft water.
Another control valve, Fleck manages to stay on top of the market with their by-pass valves. Concentrating less on the filtering and more on the control these Fleck valves make it easier for you to monitor and control the softening of your water.
Coming with an LCD display, you’re immediately in-the-know about your softening levels, water pressure and even regeneration schedules. You can also set the machine to regenerate automatically based on how much water you’re using. That allows you to save on salt pellet refills.
Unlike the Fleck 7000, the Fleck 5600 does not come with the same out flow control. So, you might be better off getting the 7000 instead. This is especially true if you own a large house that needs a constant supply of soft water. The 5600 is better suited for smaller households that consume a lot of water in a day. You’ve got high volumes but low pressure requirements.
You might be surprised about the amount of Fleck water softening systems in this set of reviews. Their control valves fit nicely with most other models that it’s hard to ignore how well they work with other softeners in the market. These valves have the best water softener review feedbacks in the market. People appreciate the ease of control, the ability to change softness and pressure and even plan out regeneration schemes.
Although more affordable because of the smaller tank, this package still contains the popular Fleck 5600 control valve. That means you still get the same control and regeneration features that come automatically with any Fleck control valve.
You’ll be surprised to know that these valves come with a 5 year warranty. The tanks, on the other hand, are warranted for twice as long. That’s almost a decade of dedicated softening that you won’t have to worry about. The automated regeneration settings will ensure that you won’t have to step into the garage from time to time just to check on it. It watches itself and regenerates on its own.
If you’re on a strict budget, you might want to consider this one instead of the earlier bids. It’s slightly more affordable but still packs the same features and benefits. The only problem with this one, like with all other Fleck products, is that you have to install the whole thing yourself. Their advertisements estimate about 1-2 hours of installation with basic plumbing knowledge.
Another high-powered softener, this model also comes with a dirt and sediment filter to get rid of other impurities in your water.
It’s capable of softening up to 90 GPG. That’s a lot of power for something small. It’s roughly 31 inches tall and 15 inches wide. That makes it fit perfectly into that ignored corner in your basement or garage. That’s what makes this filter one of the best rated water softeners in the market right now.
It’s also very quiet. This machine was designed with efficiency in mind. It does so much but you won’t notice it doing anything at first.
Just like most other models, this one needs to be installed manually. To make that easy, it comes with a helpful instructional CD to ease you through the installation process. It’s like having WaterBoss personnel instruct you themselves.
It’s more affordable that the previous Fleck mention. It’s a great softener for starters who want to experience what it’s like to drink and wash with soft water.
The only issue you’ll be having with this model is the lack of control. Only coming with a by-pass valve that lets you change the pressure, there’s little you can do about the level of softness in your water. If you’re more into plug and play models, this one would suit your needs best. Soft Water system reviews on this machine sport complaints about the water being too salty after softening.
If you’re conscious about your water quality and you really want to avoid salt water, the Aquios Softener is the best entry model for your household. It’s the most affordable salt-free filter in the market right now. Using special cartridges that trap magnesium and calcium ions, the Aquios won’t just soften your water, it will also get rid of the damages that have already been caused by hard water deposits in your sinks and bathrooms.
It’s inconspicuous as well. At only 27 x10 x8 inches in dimension, it’s sure to fit in almost any corner of your house. Installation is a breeze as well because it doesn’t use electricity. It’s one of the top rated water softeners on Amazon.
It’s great value for your money and even if you’re on a budget, you can’t do without this one. It effectively gets you softened water into your house for a fraction of the price of other softeners in the market.
Because you’re using salt-free soft water, it’s also safe for consumption. It’s better for people with heart conditions and diabetes who are trying to recover from their conditions. It’s also great for baths. Step out of the shower twice as clean as when you would step out from a hard water bath.
Another compact design, the Morton provides a slightly more powerful water flow compared to the Aquios. You can get over 11 gallons per minute. That’s perfect for larger households with multiple bathrooms and large water consumption rates.
It only spans 43 inches tall and 17 inches wide. Although it’s bigger than the Aquos, it fits well in almost any corner of the house.
It also has state-of-the-art regeneration systems that only activate at certain levels. This allows you to save on salt and worry less about salt levels because the machine takes care of that for you.
Despite all that, installation may be a bit of a truffle for you. It comes with several different parts, connectors, nuts and washers. If you have zero plumbing experience, you might want to have the phone at the ready so you can call customer service for some assistance. The installation kit may prove to help you organize everything, but it may not be that helpful when it comes to actually setting up the whole device.
When you talk about portable water softeners, you’re more concerned over ease of use and applicability. When you’re out on the road, you don’t have much to rely on. When you have a water softener that can still work with common table salt, you know you’ve got something dependable.
That’s what On The Go is. It’s powerful but travel-friendly. There are only a handful of other portable softeners that can eliminate 16,000 grains of hardness out on the road. Take note that you don’t even need electricity for it.
It also regenerates in a breeze. Using regular table salt, you can regenerate in about half an hour. You can spend more time enjoying your trip and your water instead of waiting for it to happen. You can say goodbye to specialized pellets and cartridges that only cost a fortune over the months. Whith this RV softener, even grocery-grade sodium will do.
It’s quite a steal. You might just want to provide some space for this one. All that power comes in a not-so-portable size. It’s 22 inches high and 9.5 inches in diameter. It almost looks like a home softener.
This is for the more modest camper that isn’t looking for too much. Working at a 10,000 grain rate, the Watts portable water softener is great for those with smaller camping needs and less powerful RV’s.
Think of it as a gateway softener for the beginner RV owner as well. You’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of cleaning with soft water without the hassle of using a bulky softener.
It’s also one of the most affordable in the market right now. This is the perfect beginner’s tool that will help you develop a better appreciation of water softening. From there, you can opt to go for another device when your needs grow and start to complicate.
Installation isn’t a problem either. The whole package sets up in minutes. The installation kit walks you through the whole thing. Many RV owners stand by this product and speak highly of how it stops the spots on their dishes and washes better than other shower heads. When you’re on the road and you don’t know how the water works, it’s best to have this softener to even things out inside the RV.
From Mobile Soft-Water, this portable softener doesn’t just take care of the calcium and magnesium in your water. It also gets rid of Lead, Iron and even Radium. Although these metals aren’t everywhere, they are present in the water at some point for every RV owner. That makes this softener a must-have for the active RV user.
It’s also quite portable, coming in at only 9 inches in diameter. It can fit in almost any cupboard in your RV. The water quality is quite good for a portable filter as well. The removable resin cartridges make it easy to regenerate even without the use of electricity.
It also comes with a full list of instructions that makes installation and maintenance a piece of cake. It’s ideal for first-time RV users who are struggling to find a good water softener.
On the downside, you’ll be exchanging portability for control. Since you’re using a portable softener, you won’t have the luxury of pressure control that is needed for most high-end RV’s in the market. It comes as a necessary evil, considering that it’s really affordable. It’s meant for those who have blown their budgets on other trip necessities but still need a softener to complete their RV vacation plans.
The reviews mentioned above span a wide range of products that fit homes, RV’s and even boats. It’s hard to find the perfect model that can fit all categories. If you really had to pick the best home water softener, it would have to be the first mention in the list: The APEC.
With the APEC salt-free softener, you never have to worry about anything else once the whole thing is installed. For this review, the best water softener system is one that you don’t have to mess with once it’s already working.
The top water softeners will always have a certain set of requirements to meet. Those will be safety and ease of use. With the APEC system, not only do you get soft water. You will also get salt-free soft-water. That completely eliminates the risk of taking in too much sodium from your water. That’s perfect for people with heart and lung conditions.
If you’re not too keen on specific models, why not take a look at some of the bigger brands in the market? Just like there’s a GE Water softener which once had a market share of 50%, there are other big names in the industry that have been dominating the market, setting the standards of water softness for the private household.
As one of the more popular brands in the market, Fleck has been making waves as one of the best providers. Originally a sub-brand of Pentair, Fleck is part of a 150-year-old company that has been dominating the market for the longest time. Many Fleck Water softener review comments mention that their valves and softeners work just as well as Pantair’s other products.
If you want to compare water softeners, there’s one other company that stands tall against Fleck and Pentair: Nuvo.
Nuvo isn’t as old as Fleck, but it’s putting up a good fight in terms of market share. The no drains, no electricity and no-salt approach of their softeners has been opening the eyes of customers to their H20 Water Softener product lines. Nuvo Water Softener Reviews are full of satisfied customers who never had to replace a filter or keep an eye on regenerating their filter at any point in time.
While on the topic of water softener comparison, throw in some big names like Northstar and Rainsoft.
Specializing in water conditioning and treatment products, Northstar has been in the market for quite some time. This amount of experience shows in the fact that they don’t just have water softeners. They’ve got other filtration systems, reverse osmosis systems and even commercial water treatment solutions. This wide range has allowed NorthStar conditioning to stay on top of a very diverse market.
On the other hand, Raisoft has been slowly making a name for itself in the water treatment scene. They’ve been in the business since 1952. Their E4 and TC series are their pride and joy, representing their name in the water conditioning industry. Rainsoft filters are “designed to last a lifetime”. In that sense, you know you’re money is well worth the investment. They also come with their own patented control valves that give as much control as function as Fleck control valves.
Artesian has been specializing in water treatment technologies since 1955. These people know their way around water. That’s why they’ve been able to cater to both residential and commercial clientele through their products and services. They’ve got iron filters, arsenic removal systems and eve demineralizers to accompany their Artesian water softener line on the market.
On the other hand, you might be surprised to find Morton on a water softener list. Sure, they cater salt, but softeners? That’s where you’re wrong. With their M30, MSD30D and MSD34C models, you will surely find a softener that is the right size for your house. Because they specialize in salt, trust that they know all about using salt to soften your drinking water.
Finally, you’ve got Kinetico. Although not as old as Morton or Pentair, Kinetico has been slowly biding its time since 1973. Their website hosts some very impressive statistics. 97% of their Kinetico water softener reviews say that they are satisfied with their product. On top of that 96% of their customers will recommend the brand to a friend because of the Kinetico water softener cost. Their sales staff will work with you to come up with a good deal. Kinetico Water softener parts aren’t hard to find, either. A quick call to customer support and their team will hook you up.
Their prices aren’t that bad either. Their Powerline and Essential model series are designed to work well on most households without putting a dent on your utility budget. These models provide just as much efficiency and power as their Premiere and Signature Series but at a fraction of the cost. Take a look at some Kinetico water softener price quotations here. You can request for quotations at no extra charge. Talk about some great customer service.
Of course, each customer has different needs when it comes to a water softener. There are other places and settings that could always use a good helping of magnesium-free water. This is where special kinds of soft water systems come into play.
Most other softener systems only cover one room or two bathrooms. For those with a larger budget and a larger household, it’s better to go with a whole house water softener. Among whole house water softener reviews, the best whole house water softener you can get is part of the Fleck series.
One big problem you’ll find in whole house water softener system reviews is that the device is unable to provide soft water to every room in the house. This is because of poor water pressure. Because these devices are built to convert and not transfer water, owners of large homes suffer from a lack of soft water in certain areas of their homes.
This is where a control valve comes in. Fleck Control Valves don’t just monitor the softening and the quality of the water. It also monitors the pressure and if needed, applies more to the take so that soft water can reach every corner in the house.
There are also reverse osmosis water softener whole house packages that don’t just give you a good source of cleaning water. It also gives you a good source of drinking water that’s free from microbes and parasites.
In exchange for getting rid of the calcium and magnesium contents of hard water, soft water contains higher amounts of sodium. This can be a problem for people who have health conditions. Drinking soft water might become detrimental for their health. In this review, the APEC saltless is the best salt free water softener in the market right now. It may be the most expensive at the start, but the long-term saving potential is huge.
That’s why there are salt-free water softeners. There are some great salt free water softener reviews for the previously-mentioned APEC no-salt no-electricity softener. They’re full of great health benefits. You don’t get the unnecessary minerals in hard water plus you avoid the dangers of over exposing yourself to sodium.
Some of the best salt free water softener models use cartridges that contain special substances that attract the heavy metal ions. Instead of using resin, salt free softeners can choose to use ceramics and other materials that have ion-attracting properties. If you or anyone in your family is suffering from heart diseases or digestive disorders, try to invest in one. Saltless water softener reviews are all about more lather in your soap, healthier livers, and bigger savings on utility expenses.
If you’re really on a tight budget and you can’t find the means to get yourself a whole house softener, why not invest on a small portion of your house instead? Have you ever heard of shower water softeners?
These are easier to install. That’s because all you need is a smaller tank for your shower water and a shower head. Five minutes and you’re done. Of course, you’ll only be able to enjoy soft water in your shower, but it’s a start. Your come out of the shower fresher plus your hair looks better.
They’re also pretty affordable for most homeowners. Check it out if you are looking for something that will not break the bank.
You’ve also got other types of water softeners that are built for certain situations. Some of the mentions in the article are examples of an RV water softener. These are portable, run on zero electricity and are regenerated manually. They’re a little more troublesome but they’re great for long camping trips. Compared to portable electronic water softeners, they’re cheaper and easier to maintain.
You can also get an under sink water softener the same way that you can get a water softener for your shower. It’s a lot cheaper and allows you to enjoy a cheaper source of soft water for washing the dishes.
If you have a well near your house, you can also opt to get a specialized water softener for well water. The composition of this kind of water is different. That’s why the best water softener for well water will depend on what kinds of minerals it removes. Be sure to check the labels on those.
If you’re really out of options, you can simply create your very own DIY water softener. Many survivalist sites such as this and that show you how to construct your own softener. That would fit nicely in a bomb shelter or a dugout or panic room.
For all the trouble you’ve gone through to read about water softeners, one this is for sure: you need them. No matter where you are located, your water is always going to come with a little “extra” that will either make it good or bad for your household. A good water softener will even out these odds and turn your hard water into a potent cleaning and washing tool. It would a great addition to any family.
Check out this quick video of how these products actually soften your water.