Are you looking for a solution to your hard water?
Do you want a great water softening system that you can rely on for your water hardness needs at home or on the road?
What are the best water softening options available on the market?
If you’ve got hard water at home, you are most likely looking to soften it. Chalky films, mineral deposits and scale development, as well as dry skin and hair after washing, are all problems that water softener devices avoid. Scale forms in your pipes as a result of hard water, which can harm equipment like dishwashers and washing machines. You may avoid these issues by using a great water softener. Calcium and magnesium are abundant in dissolved minerals in soft water. It also saves you money on electricity and extends the life of your detergent. All in all, it’s a great idea to soften your water at home.
Water softeners operate by either removing heavy minerals from the water through an ion exchange process or neutralizing them so that they can’t bond together. To reduce the amount of hardness in the water, water softeners employ ion exchange technology for chemical or ion removal. A resin base is used to exchange calcium and magnesium ions with soluble sodium ions in a salt brine solution. They are not the same as water filters in that they do not eliminate germs or viruses, but some systems do come with filtration options. Regardless, if you’re looking for a great water softening solution for your home, you’re definitely in the right place.
Take a look at some of our top water softener picks below:
- Our Top Pick: GE Water Softener System
- Our Best Runner Up Pick: APEC Water Systems FUTURA-15
- Our Favorite Replacement Valve: Fleck 9000 SXT Digital Water Softener Control Valve
- Great Portable Option: On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable
Our Choice Recommendation: GE Water Softener System
General Electric provides their own version of products with this heavy-duty 40,000 grain product. This option 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. This offer also estimates how long your salt is going to last you before you need to regenerate/recharge. This choice 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. This offer is also pretty affordable for most budgets. The GXSH40V is your perfect gateway product. Try this choice 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.
Option #2: APEC Water Systems FUTURA-15
Compared to other conventional products in the market, this one is one-of-a-kind. This option doesn’t use salt to remove the calcium and magnesium ions from your water. This offer uses a special kind of ceramic material that turns these ions into microcrystals that flow along with the water. This choice 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 water softener costs more than your average mid-range product. 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 products. That’s why it’s one of the best products available right now.
Option #3: Fleck 7000SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener
Fresh from 602abc, this option boasts of a by-pass valve that provides you with more control over your water softening. This option 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. This offer is 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. This choice is pretty decently ranged for a state-of-the-art filtering system. Even if you’ve got 3 bathrooms in the house, this offer can still dish out softened water with a flow rate of 28 GPM.
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 product 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. This choice is 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 This option is 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.
Option #5: NuvoH2O Home Water Softener System
Another salt-free product 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. This option 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 product investment. The mixed water softener system review on this option 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 offer is, ironically, with a pinch of salt. This choice is one of the most affordable salt-free best products in the market right now but you might want to reconsider because of the mixed nature of its reputation.
Option #6: Fleck 7000 SXT (94FL-7000S)
One thing you’ll notice about Fleck products is that they’re big on product 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 option 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 product is made from another country, you might have some trouble fitting this valve. This option is 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. This offer gets good product system reviews mostly from owners of large houses and small businesses that require a constant supply of soft water.
Option #7: AFWFilters 5600SXT Water Softener
Another control valve, Fleck manages to stay on top of the market with their by-pass valves products. Concentrating less on the filtering and more on the control these Fleck water softener 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 product to regenerate automatically based on how much water you’re using. That allows you to save on salt pellet refills. Unlike the Fleck 7000 water softener, the Fleck 5600 does not come with the same out flow control. So, you might be better off getting the 7000 product instead. This is especially true if you own a large house that needs a constant supply of soft water. The 5600 water softener 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 product models that it’s hard to ignore how well they work with other products 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 product control valve. That means you still get the same control and regeneration features that come automatically with any Fleck water softener control valve. You’ll be surprised to know that these product valves come with a 5 year warranty. The water softener 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. This choice watches itself and regenerates on its own. If you’re on a strict budget, you might want to consider this offer instead of the earlier bids. This offer is slightly more affordable but still packs the same features and benefits. The only problem with this choice, 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.
Option #9: Waterboss 365 36400 Grain Water Softener
Another high-powered product, this model also comes with a dirt and sediment filter to get rid of other impurities in your water. This choice is 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 products in the market right now. It’s also very quiet. This option was designed with efficiency in mind. This option does so much but you won’t notice it doing anything at first. Just like most other water softener models, this option 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. This offer is more affordable that the previous Fleck mention. It’s a great product 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 offer 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 water softener models, this choice would suit your needs best. Soft Water system reviews on this option 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 water softener is the best entry product model for your household. This choice is the most affordable salt-free filter in the market right now. Using special cartridges that trap magnesium and calcium ions, the Aquios water softener 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 best products on Amazon. This option is great value for your money and even if you’re on a budget, you can’t do without this one. This offer effectively gets you softened water into your house for a fraction of the price of other products 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 product design, this Morton water softener provides a slightly more powerful water flow compared to the Aquios water softener. You can get over 11 gallons per minute. That’s perfect for larger households with multiple bathrooms and large water consumption rates. This choice only spans 43 inches tall and 17 inches wide. Although it’s bigger than the Aquos product, it fits well in almost any corner of the house. This offer 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 product takes care of that for you. Despite all that, the water softener installation may be a bit of a truffle for you. This option 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 product.
Portable Water Softener Options
Option #12: Wet Spot Plus
If you’re looking for a smaller and more portable product solution, you’ve got the Wet Spot Super . This option is 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. This offer is great for long trips that keep you away from any outlets. That’s why they’re preferred by 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.
When you talk about portable products, 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. This choice is powerful but travel-friendly. There are only a handful of other portable products that can eliminate 16,000 grains of hardness out on the road. Take note that you don’t even need electricity for this offer. This option 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. With this RV water softener, even grocery-grade sodium will do. It’s quite a steal. You might just want to provide some space for this choice. All that power comes in a not-so-portable size. This offer is 22 inches high and 9.5 inches in diameter. This offer almost looks like a product.
This is for the more modest camper that isn’t looking for too much. Working at a 10,000 grain rate, the Watts portable product is great for those with smaller camping needs and less powerful RV’s. Think of it as a gateway water 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. This choice is also one of the most affordable products 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 product when your needs grow and start to complicate. Installation isn’t a problem either. The whole water softener package sets up in minutes. The product installation kit walks you through the whole thing. Many RV owners stand by this choice 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 option to even things out inside the RV.
From Mobile Soft-Water , this portable product doesn’t just take care of the calcium and magnesium in your water. This choice 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 offer a must-have for the active RV user. This option is also quite portable, coming in at only 9 inches in diameter. This option can fit in almost any cupboard in your RV. The water quality is quite good for a portable water softener filter as well. The removable resin cartridges make it easy to regenerate even without the use of electricity. This offer also comes with a full list of instructions that makes installation and product maintenance a piece of cake. This offer is ideal for first-time RV users who are struggling to find a good product. On the downside, you’ll be exchanging portability for control with this choice. Since you’re using a portable product, you won’t have the luxury of pressure control that is needed for most high-end RV’s in the market. This choice comes as a necessary evil, considering that it’s a really affordable water softener option. This choice is meant for those who have blown their budgets on other trip necessities but still need a water softener to complete their RV vacation plans.
Best Water Softener Runner-Up?
The reviews mentioned above span a wide range of product products that fit homes, RV’s and even boats. It’s hard to find the perfect water softener model that can fit all categories. We mentioned our own top product recommendation at the start of this post, but if we wanted to highlight another great water softener contender from this list for the title of “best home water softene”… This option would have to be the APEC water softener. APEC Water Systems FUTURA-15 With the APEC salt-free product, you never have to worry about anything else once the whole water softener 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 best products will always have a certain set of requirements to meet. Those will be safety and ease of use. With the APEC water softener 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.
Types Of Water Softeners
What kind of water softening system will suit your needs the best? Water softening systems may be classified into four main groups based on the technology and materials they employ:
Ion Exchange Water Softener (Salt-Based)
The most common and successful technique to get rid of hard water is to use ion exchange softeners or salt-based water softeners. To minimize mineral concentrations, they rely on sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It is believed that the amount of salt in water “softened” in this manner can be harmful to your health, so it’s probably best to drink as little as possible.
Because the sodium ions in the resin run out and need to be refilled with salt, most houses will need to rehydrate their water softener once a week or so. These water softeners are also significantly bigger than salt-free or magnetic softeners, making them unsuitable for tiny homes.
Salt-Free Water Softeners
Salt-free water softeners do not utilize salt to effectively remove minerals from your water; in fact, they do not remove them at all. A template assisted crystallization method, which uses polymeric beads to retain tiny nucleation sites, is used in salt-free softeners.
The potassium in these systems causes a chemical reaction, which causes the mineral accumulation to crystallize. The minerals are maintained in the water in this situation, but their crystal structure prevents them from adhering to water pipes, appliances, clothes, as well as other surfaces. They provide the same effects as salt-based water softeners without adding any sodium to your diet.
Because these versions are smaller than salt-based systems, they may be utilized in homes ranging in size from small to big. They may, however, struggle with extremely hard water and homes that consume more water than the usual.
Magnetic Water Softener Systems
Magnetic water softeners extract calcium, magnesium, and other impurities that produce hard water from the water itself using electromagnetic coils. The water recovers to its hardened state 48 hours after exiting the magnetic field. Magnetic softener filtration resin beds have a long life expectancy, lasting up to 40 years.
The disadvantages of this system include the fact that water exiting the magnetic softener becomes hard after 48 hours, causing scale to form in a water heater and other equipment. Magnetic softeners aren’t as effective as some of the other options. They don’t really remove minerals from the water; instead, they change its chemical makeup.
Reverse Osmosis Water Systems
A reverse osmosis water filter is made up of numerous filtering stages, each having its own function. These devices are designed to address two distinct issues: polluted water and hard water. If you’re looking to buy a salt-free softener and a water contamination filter, the combined solution might save you a lot of money.
Water is filtered via many whole-house filtering steps throughout the softening process to remove typical pollutants. After that, it’s pushed through a high-pressure RO membrane, which filters out even more impurities, including minerals that produce hard water. Reverse osmosis can filter about 99.9% of impurities from water while also improving its flavor and quality, making it safer to drink.
What To Consider When Purchasing A Water Softener
Water Softener Capacity
The capacity of a water softener refers to how much water it can filter before requiring a regeneration cycle. Grain per gallon (gpg) is a unit of measurement for water hardness or softness, with one grain equaling 0.002 ounces of calcium carbonate dissolved in 1 gallon of water. The more grains the system must process, the harder your water is. A typical three- to four-person domestic water softener has a grain capacity of 32,000 to 40,000 grains.
Water Bypass Valve
By keeping your water softener from consuming too much salt or energy to soften the water, a bypass valve may save you time and money. A bypass valve allows you to move water away from the softener, which is handy in a variety of scenarios. The valve guides the flow from your plumbing system past the hardener system when it is switched on. If you’re performing garden work, for example, it could be a good idea to redirect some of the water. When utilizing a large amount of water and water hardness isn’t a concern, a bypass valve might be advantageous.
Available Area For Water Softener Installation
As these products tend to range in size quite a bit, it will be helpful to measure your intended installation area in advance to prepare for your softener purchase. Water softeners that are salt-based, dual-tank, or even salt-free can take up a lot of room. Always remember to compare it as well to the manufacturer’s installation guidelines.
5 Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Water Conditioner
- Check your water hardness level. Knowing the exact hardness of your water is essential in order to choose the right size and type of water conditioner.
- Choose a system that fits your needs. Consider factors such as the size of your home, number of people living in it, and how much water you use on a daily basis.
- Look for a system with an efficient regeneration cycle. Regeneration cycles are important because they help keep the system running smoothly and efficiently.
- Consider maintenance costs. Make sure to factor in any additional costs associated with maintaining the system, such as filter replacements or repairs.
- Research different brands and models. Compare features, prices, warranties, and customer reviews to find the best option for you.
ALSO: Consider investing in a salt-free descaler if you're looking for an eco-friendly alternative!
Beneficial Information For Readers
These beneficial items are a must-have for anyone wishing to raise the standard of their water. They can aid in reducing the development of hard water, which can harm plumbing and appliances and leave ugly stains on surfaces and fixtures. Additionally, using softened water keeps skin and hair feeling softer and cleaner. Additionally, it might aid in lessening the accumulation of soap scum in tubs and showers. There are a number of things to take into account while selecting a water softener. The size of the unit should be determined by how hard the water supply in your home is; larger units are required for higher degrees of hardness. Additionally, it's important to choose a system that works with your current plumbing setup because some systems need additional installation or modification to work effectively. You should also research each system type's maintenance needs because some demand more frequent cleaning or filter replacements than others. In conclusion, homeowners seeking to raise the quality of their home's water can reap a number of advantages by making an investment in a high-quality water softener. not just.
Usage Ideas: How Should I Be Using Them?
First, these solutions can assist in lowering the concentration of hard minerals like calcium and magnesium in your water. This is significant because these minerals can contribute to the accumulation of scale on pipes and fixtures, which would necessitate expensive repairs. Second, by removing unfavorable tastes and odors brought on by these same minerals, they can also help your water taste better. Finally, they can aid in preventing hard water damage to your appliances. This is particularly valid for washing machines and dishwashers, which are more susceptible than other appliances to the accumulation of scale over time. With all these advantages put together, it is simple to understand why many homeowners looking for a practical approach to improve their water quality favor these dependable products.
The Disadvantages: What To Expect
Despite the many advantages of these useful items, there are a few disadvantages to take into account. First of all, these dependable items need a lot of care and upkeep. Regular salt replenishment is required for the system, and filter replacement is required every few months. Due to their intricacy, these systems can also be expensive to install and maintain. Fortunately, there are strategies to lessen these drawbacks. For example, homeowners can choose a low-maintenance system that needs fewer salt refills or filter adjustments every few months. Additionally, they can research less expensive solutions including salt-free potassium chloride systems and magnetic products, which employ natural minerals rather than salt. Finally, they might think about setting up a whole-house filtering system, which would do away with the requirement for a water softener entirely.
By What Criteria Should They Be Evaluated?
The ability to lower water hardness levels, salt efficiency, and durability are the three most crucial quantitative metrics for assessing these useful products. Testing the water's calcium and magnesium levels both before and after the softener helps determine how hard the water is. The amount of salt required to regenerate the softener's resin bed determines salt efficiency, while the length of time it takes for the resin bed to become saturated with minerals determines longevity. When evaluating a water softener's performance, additional elements including cost-effectiveness, noise level, and convenience of installation should also be taken into account.
First-hand Usage Experience: What To Expect
Reduce the amount of hard minerals in your drinking water by using these practical things. Calcium and magnesium are two examples of the minerals that can accumulate in pipelines and appliances, requiring expensive repairs. By employing a water softener, you can aid in avoiding these issues. Additionally, because it won't leave behind any residue or soap scum, softened water is great for your skin and hair. In order to tailor a water softener to your needs, seek for one that has a regeneration cycle that is adjustable. Also take into account the unit's size; bigger units can handle more water at once, but they could take up more room in your house. To avoid running out of salt suddenly, be sure to comprehend how much salt is required for each regeneration cycle. A high-quality water softener should last for many years and supply your family with clean, safe drinking water if used and maintained properly.
The main procedures for employing these sorts of softeners are as follows: First, check to see that the plumbing system in your home is connected to your water softener and that it is correctly installed. Next, add salt or potassium chloride to the brine tank. Third, modify the control valve's settings to reflect the degree of water hardness in your area. Fourth, make sure that all connections are reliable and that there are no operational leaks. Fifth, regularly check the system to make sure it is operating correctly, and add salt as necessary. Finally, your home can have softer water! You can easily use a water softener to enhance the quality of your drinking water if you keep these easy procedures in mind.
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About The Author
Joseph Bartley, also known as the WaterFilterFanatic, is a seasoned content writer who specializes in water filtration and water quality topics. On AllAboutWaterFilters, he has written a range of water filtration system reviews, water health and quality articles, swimming pool, hot tub and aquarium filtration guides, DIY methods to assist people clean their drinking water, and much more. Joseph enjoys spending his time working with the #AllAboutWaterFilters Editorial Team to provide some of the best quality water filtration content available on the web.