Best Water Softeners 2021


Irritated skin, recurring plumbing issues, and persistent stains in your laundry – all of these have one root cause, which is hard water!

In specific terms, hard water contains 60 to 180 mg of calcium and magnesium. While it may not pose a threat to your health, a high concentration of calcium can cause various problems. Moreover, since the water supply is constant, it can worsen the pipeline and skin problems like dermatitis and eczema.

The two most popular methods to treat alkaline water are whole-house filtration and whole-house water softening. However, the former is rather pricey, while the latter may not be efficient enough. Thus, a combination of the two is the most highly recommended method.

To help you find the best of the lot, we have picked eight top-notch water softeners. Get ready to bid farewell to stubborn stains and residue, and say ‘Hello’ to soft skin, smooth hair, and spotless laundry!

Our Top Pick

AFWFilters IRONPRO2

A combination of water softener and iron filter at the price of one? Sign us up!

With 64,000 grain capacity, this two-in-one electronic water softener will ensure just the right amount of pH level so you can enjoy crystal clear water. Its refined mesh resin design enables it to remove calcium, magnesium, and iron content. You can read the instructions to easily install this whole house water softener, or call up the friendly customer care for more help.

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What Is Hard Water?

Hard water is a result of continuous percolation of water through deposits of limestone, gypsum, or chalk. It contains high amounts of calcium and magnesium salts, along with ferrous iron in some cases.

Consequently, out of all sources of water, groundwater contains the maximum amount of hardness causing minerals. Thus, the hardness level in water can vary from region to region.

Although it does not have direct health hazards, hard water needs to be treated as it causes a lack of foam, residue formation in utensils, and more. However, in an industrial setting, it needs immediate treatment to avoid expensive plumbing repair in the future.

While the presence of calcium bicarbonate in water causes temporary hardness, other salts result in permanent hardness. This is because when water is boiled, calcium bicarbonate converts into insoluble carbonate.

Temporary hardness can be treated by lime softening. On the other hand, permanent hardness is more difficult to remove and requires a water softener. Depending on the level of hardness and iron content, there are different types of water softeners available in the market.

The Problems With Hard Water?

Why do we need to treat hard water if it does not cause serious health issues? Well, that’s because it can cause a number of problems in households and industries. Let’s get into the details.

1. Dry Skin And Scalp

Since hard water contains highly alkaline pH levels, it can lead to dryness, which further causes itching, flaky skin and scalp. If you are suffering from severe skin issues like eczema or dermatitis, the condition can worsen with the continuous use of alkaline water. The residue can even clog pores and result in acne and irritated skin.

We can see similar effects of hard water on the scalp as well. From increased dandruff production to dullness, hard minerals are some of the major causes of unmanageable, brittle hair.

2. Build-up In Pipelines And Appliances

Limescale in hard water can result in build-up, which can damage and block pipes or household appliances that come in contact with it. From broken parts to leakage and even clogging, the accumulation of minerals can be very harmful to certain surfaces.

That said, boilers, water heaters, and pipelines, where water remains stagnant for long hours, suffer the worst consequences of hard water. Moreover, showerheads, faucets, and bathtubs get covered with stubborn stains and do not supply water with full pressure.

3. Staining

Just like other surfaces, clothes also get their fair share of staining and spotting when washed in hard water. The minerals present in it tend to mix with soils from dirty clothes and form insoluble salts that are difficult to wash off. Further, it causes the detergent residue to stick on the clothes.

With continuous use of hard water, your clothes will end up looking dull and worn out. From damaging fibers to neutralizing soap – doing the laundry becomes a physically draining task.

On the contrary, soft water provides ample amounts of lather to ensure squeaky clean results when it comes to dishwashing and laundry. Since you won’t be scrubbing too much, your clothes will not wear out, and appliances will last longer.

Moving on, the water supply will not face any decrease in pressure while ensuring a natural and odorless feel. Moreover, dry and flaky skin will no longer be a cause of concern, and your hair will retain its volume and luster.

Our Top Product Picks

1 OUR TOP PICK

AFWFilters IRONPRO2

A combination of water softener and iron filter at the price of one? Sign us up! With 64,000 grain capacity, this two-in-one electronic water softener will ensure just the right amount of pH level so you can enjoy crystal clear water. Its refined mesh resin design enables it to remove calcium, magnesium, and iron content. You can read the instructions to easily install this whole house water softener, or call up the friendly customer care for more help.

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Pros

  • Two-in-one water softener and iron remover
  • Convenient digital display with backlight
  • Four modes of regeneration to choose from
  • Efficient fine mesh resin and high grain capacity
  • Memory backup

Cons

  • Needs a lot of space
  • Difficult to install

What Could’ve Been Better?

Compared to the first product, the WS48-56SXT is devoid of a dedicated iron filter. So, although the unit will soften water, you need a separate filtration system along with it.
Due to its large size, you need to ensure that this whole house water softener will fit in your pipeline before making the purchase. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up buying a water softening system that’s too big for you to use.
Lastly, although we found this product rather easy to install, some users have complained about it being difficult. So, this factor could be subjective.

Why Buy This Product?

EWG’s drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the California State Water Resources Control Board, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 – March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

1. Effective Fine Mesh Resin

Equipped with fine mesh resin, its design allows this product to eliminate hard water salts and ferrous iron efficiently. So, you will not have to deal with red and brown iron stains on your laundry or bathroom surfaces. It effectively treats water with iron levels ranging from 0.5 PPM to 5 PPM.

2. Generous Grain Capacity

The grain capacity of a water softening system determines the longevity of the softening phase. Due to its high capacity of 64,000 grain ion-replacement, IRONPRO2 removes 75 GPG of chemicals, 6-8 PPM iron, and up to 6 PPM manganese. Further, it eliminates any sort of sand particles, sediment, and rust.

3. Advanced Fleck 5600SXT Digital Control

This system is decked with Fleck 5600SXT digital metered control that enhances efficiency. On top of that, the digital control allows ease of use with fewer moving parts. You can easily adjust the settings to minimize salt usage and more.
Additionally, the Fleck 5600 valve features a turbine electric flow meter for measuring the amount of water being treated. Compared to a timer or manual flow meter, this system promises better accuracy and rate of regeneration.

4. Different Modes Of Operation

This water softening system offers four modes of operation. You can choose from immediate meter regeneration, delayed meter regeneration, delayed time clock regeneration, and day of the week regeneration.

5. High-Quality LCD Screen

The IRONPRO2 bears an LCD screen with a backlight that shows figures regarding the amount of water to be treated, the number of days to regeneration, and more.

2

PENTAIR WS48-56SXT

One of the most popular picks from the brand, this electronic water softener regenerates the perfect amount of water required without causing waste. Treating hard water will be a breeze with its fleck water softener and user-friendly digital controls. In fact, the best feature is its low maintenance automated system. Overall, along with its 10-year warranty, this product is reliable and durable without burning a hole in your pocket.

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Pros

  • Programmable regeneration
  • Memory backup during power cuts
  • Water and money-saving system
  • Accurate flow meter produces timely regeneration cycles
  • Easy-to-use backlit LCD

Cons

  • No iron filter
  • Large size

What Could’ve Been Better?

Compared to the first product, the WS48-56SXT is devoid of a dedicated iron filter. So, although the unit will soften water, you need a separate filtration system along with it.

Due to its large size, you need to ensure that this whole house water softener will fit in your pipeline before making the purchase. After all, you wouldn’t want to end up buying a water softening system that’s too big for you to use.

Lastly, although we found this product rather easy to install, some users have complained about it being difficult. So, this factor could be subjective.

Why Buy This Product?

1. Impressive Ion Exchange Process

This water softening system by Pentair uses an ion exchange process to remove calcium and magnesium salts efficiently. Since the build-up of scale deteriorates pipelines and causes plumbing problems, investing in this product can save you from years of expensive repair and maintenance bills.

2. Various Modes Of Operation

Much like our previous recommendation, the WS48-56SXT allows users to choose from the four modes of operation mentioned earlier. This ensures a convenient and customizable user experience.

3. Water Saving Regeneration

Unlike most softening systems, this unit accurately measures and regenerates only the amount of water needed – nothing more and nothing less. This saves a lot of water from getting wasted, thereby saving money in the long run. So, you can do your bit in the following sustainability with this product.

Moreover, the digital meter can be programmed to regenerate the system as and when needed or after every fortnight.

4. Turbine Electronic Flow Meter

This water softening system is equipped with a compact meter with fewer moving parts. It shows an accurate measurement of water flow and reduces the chances of breakage.

5. Handy Backlit LCD Display

Its digital display clearly specifies the amount of remaining hard water, and the backlight makes it convenient to read at night. In addition to that, the digital panel sports touchpad buttons that ensure a user-friendly experience.

6. 48-Hour Memory Backup

Similar to the IRONPRO2, this unit also retains the data and settings for 48 hours in case of a power cut or accidental unplugging. This implies you will not have to fret about resetting the system after electricity is restored.

7. Additional Features

For better efficiency, the regeneration cycle performs one slow and one rapid backwash. Furthermore, the brine tank prevents overflow of water with its safety float and sports an outlet to be linked to the backwash drain.

8. Easy Installation

Well, relatively easier. Of course, if you are a beginner, you might take longer to figure out the installation process. However, unlike most systems, professional intervention is not a compulsion when installing this unit. With its adequate user manual, you can successfully finish the task within two hours.

3

Whirlpool WHES40E

If you’re worried that ferrous iron will cling to the resin of the water softener and ruin it, this unit by Whirlpool is your best bet. It is an affordable option for tackling hardening minerals and iron. Considering its small size and salt-saving regeneration system, you will be saving water, salt, space, and a lot of money. With its revolutionary Sixth Sense Technology and a whopping 10-year warranty period, Whirlpool has a lot to offer than just soft water!

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Pros

  • Affordable
  • Low salt and water flow indicators
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Removes hard minerals, ferrous iron, sand, sediment, and more
  • Relatively smaller

Cons

  • Cannot avail full warranty without paying extra
  • Poor shipping

What Could’ve Been Better?

Despite having a combined tank that offers excellent value for money, there are a few drawbacks that you shouldn’t ignore. Although Whirlpool attracts many with its 10-year warranty, availing the full contract requires additional payment.

While the brand is known for its superior quality, you never know when the system might need a replacement. So, the warranty system seems rather sketchy.

Moreover, many users have complained of careless shipping and handling, which often results in dents in the unit. The fact that the customer care service is not prompt does not help either

Why Buy This Product?

1. Effective Water Softening

This unit is the perfect amalgamation of the brine tank and the mineral tank, making it compact. The resin media present in its mineral tank effectively eliminates up to 125 grains of hardening salts per gallon. Also, it removes 10 PPM of ferrous iron deposits, thereby providing clean, odorless water.

2. Sixth-Sense Technology

Whirlpool’s patented “Sixth-Sense Technology” prevents wastage of water and salts. Much like our previous recommendation, the WHES40E boasts a smart mechanism that accurately calculates the amount of salt required for regeneration. It identifies your water usage pattern and uses the exact amount of salt needed.

3. Automatic Regeneration

Like the feature we just discussed, its demand-initiated regeneration technology also calculates the amount of salt and water required and regenerates only when necessary.

4. User-Friendly Control Panel

First is the option of setting your desired time and frequency for the regeneration cycle to take place. Although it performs the regeneration automatically, you still have the option to adjust it according to your water usage.

Additionally, the control panel bears a “Recharge” option that triggers an immediate recharge and displays the time left to complete the process.

The control panel has another essential feature – the low salt indicating light. It ensures timely refilling of the brine tank and uninterrupted water softening process. Moreover, the water flow indicator helps recognize plumbing defects at an early stage.

5. Built-in Memory

During a power outage, its built-in memory saves the control panel settings and resets the system when electricity is restored. So, you do not have to worry about toggling the settings all over again.

6. Easy Installation And Maintenance

With its single tank and detailed instruction manual, installing the WHES40E feels like a breeze! Although prior plumbing experience is a definite plus, it is not absolutely necessary.

Since the single tank has a smaller footprint, you wouldn’t need a lot of space to install it as well.

7. Additional Backwash

To ensure complete removal of iron deposits, the unit produces an additional backwash. Since it will leave no residue while backwashing, you can rest assured of its durability.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Despite having a combined tank that offers excellent value for money, there are a few drawbacks that you shouldn’t ignore. Although Whirlpool attracts many with its 10-year warranty, availing the full contract requires additional payment.

While the brand is known for its superior quality, you never know when the system might need a replacement. So, the warranty system seems rather sketchy.

Moreover, many users have complained of careless shipping and handling, which often results in dents in the unit. The fact that the customer care service is not prompt does not help either.

4

Aquasure AS-HS48D

Soaps that do not lather and dingy clothes after every wash can take a toll on your budget, skin, and quality of clothes. But with this water softening system by Aquasure, you can finally get rid of such problems on a budget. With its premium quality resin and ability to remove 48,000 grains of hardness, your hard water problems will be gone in a jiffy! Let’s find out what makes this model worth your hard-earned money.

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Pros

  • Programmable regeneration
  • Easy-to-use digital display
  • User-friendly instruction manual
  • Built to last
  • Sufficient capacity requiring fewer refills

Cons

  • No iron filter
  • Salt tank gets quite heavy when completely filled

What Could’ve Been Better?

Being a budget-friendly product, there are certain drawbacks you would want to keep in mind before purchasing this one.

First is the large salt tank. Although the footprint of the entire product is relatively small, the salt tank gets heavy when it is filled to the brim. Thus, moving it from one place to another can become quite a task.

Furthermore, it is not equipped with an iron filter. So, if your water contains iron levels of 2 PPM and above, you might want to invest in a combined tank or an iron pre-filter.

Why Buy This Product?

1. High Grain Capacity

Ideal for a family of five, its 48,000 grain ion-replacement is sufficient for moderately hard water. It is the perfect size that ensures the removal of excess calcium and magnesium without regenerating unnecessarily.

However, we suggest that you check the amount of hardness in your water and opt for a suitable softener from this range. The AS-HS48D is available in grain capacities of 32,000, 48,000, and 64,000.

2. Programmable Regeneration Cycle

This model offers three types of regeneration cycles: time clock delayed control, meter immediate control, and meter delayed control. You can choose one according to your daily water consumption. Also, you have the option to rely on its highly efficient digital control that regenerates only when required.

With the ability to calculate the exact amount of water treated and backwashes triggered, the AS-HS48D saves water, salt, and your money.

3. Durable Bypass Valve

To ensure better durability, Aquasure has equipped this softener with a bypass valve and pre-filled resin with anti-corrosion properties. Due to the bypass valve, users can easily carry on maintenance activities without turning off the water supply.

4. Safety Float

Its overflow control system consists of a safety float in the brine tank. In case of a malfunction, which is highly unlikely, the safety float turns the water off when the tank is full. This feature is especially helpful in avoiding accidental overflow of water when you’re away.

5. Relatively Small Footprint

Despite consisting of various tanks and components, the AS-HS48D requires just 4 square feet for installation. However, we suggest leaving some extra space, if possible, to allow easy maintenance in the future.

6. Convenient Digital Display

The easy-to-read digital panel allows users to access the system even at night, thanks to its backlight. The advanced digital interface efficiently controls the regeneration cycle and ensures precise backwashing.

7. Easy Installation

Since this product includes a detailed and well-illustrated manual, you can handle installation without much professional intervention. With the right set of tools, you should be good to go. If not, you can always call the prompt customer care team or refer to tutorial videos on the company website.

What Could’ve Been Better?

Being a budget-friendly product, there are certain drawbacks you would want to keep in mind before purchasing this one.

First is the large salt tank. Although the footprint of the entire product is relatively small, the salt tank gets heavy when it is filled to the brim. Thus, moving it from one place to another can become quite a task.

Furthermore, it is not equipped with an iron filter. So, if your water contains iron levels of 2 PPM and above, you might want to invest in a combined tank or an iron pre-filter.

5

iSpring ED2000

A relatively inexpensive option, this electronic water softener is compact, efficient, and does not use any salt. Along with its convenient size and settings, it is quite easy to install, so you don’t need to worry about calling a plumber. Measuring just 7 x 3.5 x 2 inches, its small size is inversely proportional to its high functionality. A salt-free water softener that produces minimum waste, this is the best bet for any environment-conscious user.

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Pros

  • Recommended for sodium-free diets
  • Economical and eco-friendly alternative
  • Easy installation and programming
  • Slim and compact design
  • Retains beneficial minerals

Cons

  • Not suitable for very hard water that contains iron

What Could’ve Been Better?

Since the ED2000 is a water conditioner, it is not equipped with an iron filter. So, if your water supply contains high levels of ferrous iron, you will need to install a pre-filter or look for another model. Also, if the hardness level of the water exceeds 25 grains, this salt-free alternative may not be ideal for you.

Lastly, since this product is not exactly a water softener, it does not remove all the hard minerals from the water. So, although the water will be significantly soft, severe skin and hair issues may not be resolved.

Why Buy This Product?

1. Salt-Free Conditioner

A salt-free electronic descaler, the ED2000 comes with the effectiveness of a salt-based water softener at an affordable price tag. Since it does not rely on salt or any other chemical, it is suitable for sodium-free diets. Maintenance cost will also be negligible, and there will be no problem of lifting heavy salt bags.

None of the factors like salt levels, resin quality, and more can affect the performance of the ED2000. Overall, it is a more economical and eco-friendly alternative to your regular water softener.

2. Compact Design

With its compact and slim design, you can easily install the system in small spaces. It is easy to carry and move, which adds to its ease of installation and programming. You can even install it vertically if required. Thus, it is a great space-saving alternative to any traditional salt-based water softener.

3. Easy Installation

Installation requires no prior plumbing experience, though you might require a pair of helping hands to sail through the process. A significant reason behind this is the fact that you do not need to cut through your pipe system. The unit bears coils that easily wrap around the pipes.

However, if you happen to face any difficulty with installation, you can contact the customer service for help.

4. Retains Beneficial Minerals

Some of the minerals present in hard water are required for a healthy diet. Thus, this electronic water softener ensures softness without removing the necessary minerals like calcium and magnesium. Because of this, your water will better retain a natural feel and taste, especially compared to the chemical-like taste of soft water.

5. Cost-Effective

Since this system does not require salt, you will be saving money on salt refills. Most salt-based water softeners require regular maintenance and the bills keep piling up. However, that will not be the case with this product.

Moreover, unlike many salt-free conditioners, this descaler does not require you to incur a huge initial cost. Hence, you will be saving a lot of money while making a good investment. And honestly, that sounds like a win-win to us!

6

DuraWater 64k-56sxt-10al

With an upgraded 10% cross-linked water softener resin, this one from DuraWater is a premium product. Its 64,000 grain capacity enables it to remove all sorts of water-hardening minerals. Being an advanced and easy-to-use system, once you complete the installation process, you can rest assured that the Fleck 5600 SXT head will do its job. Moreover, the brand promises zero compromises in the quality of materials used. So, you can expect this model to last for years.

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Pros

  • Upgraded resin mesh
  • Generous grain capacity
  • Easy-to-use LCD screen
  • Adjustable regeneration cycle
  • Beginner-friendly installation and programming

Cons

  • No iron filter
  • Expensive

What Could’ve Been Better?

Right off the bat, when compared to other water softeners, this unit is pretty expensive. On top of that, the fact that it does not include a dedicated iron filter is disappointing. So, if your water contains high iron content, this product is not for you.

Moreover, some users have complained about receiving defective pieces and not being able to return them. Although a very subjective factor, some may even find it challenging to install and program.

Of course, none of these drawbacks is a deal-breaker, but spending this much on a flawed product does not sound like the best deal.

Why Buy This Product?

1. High Grain Capacity

With its generous 64,000 grain ion replacement, this electronic water softener is perfect for a family of 3-4 members. Its grain capacity is sufficient for moderately hard water as it removes calcium, magnesium, some iron deposits, along with sand and sediment. By efficiently softening water, this unit ensures well-functioning pipes, smooth skin and hair, and clean, odorless laundry.

If the hardness level of water is very high, you might want to opt for the 80,000 grain variant of the same brand. Other size options include 24,000 GPM, 32,000 GPM, 40,000 GPM, and 48,000 GPM. If your average water consumption is low and the water supply does not contain many hard minerals, you can choose the smaller size options.

2. User-Friendly Digital Screen

As mentioned earlier, a digital user panel makes it much easier to go through the settings and adjust them according to your needs. This product also boasts a similar digital display along with touchpad controls. Hence, you can conveniently customize the regeneration cycle according to your water usage.

Also, this digital display holds a lot of importance while recognizing error codes and troubleshooting accordingly.

3. Customizable Regeneration Cycle

By now, we’ve understood how useful customization can be. From the clear and convenient digital display, you can easily toggle through the settings and change the regeneration cycle as and when required.

However, it does not have any pre-programmed settings for regeneration. On average, the regeneration process uses 8 lbs of salt and 60 gallons of water, which may vary according to your custom settings.

4. DIY Installation Instruction Manual

Since this system comes with a descriptive installation guide, you will not have to hire the services of a plumber, thereby saving on the installation cost. While facing difficulties, you can call the friendly customer care team, and they will guide you through the process.

Programming the system is not a hassle either. With a helping hand and required tools, you can easily do the task within an hour. Right from installation to programming, this unit is hassle-free and user-friendly in the real sense!

7

FutureSoft FS1

One of the pioneers in the water filtration industry, the FS1 is yet another salt-free water softener. It prevents scale build-up without using salt or other chemicals and improves the quality of water. Thus, you will be protecting your appliances, overall health, skin, hair quality, as well as the environment. Also, this product requires no maintenance and replacement so you will be saving a lot in the long run.

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Pros

  • Safe for the environment and your overall health
  • Cost-effective formula
  • Does not require much space
  • Produces impressive water pressure
  • No electricity and replacement needed

Cons

  • Expensive initial cost
  • Serious skin issues may persist

What Could’ve Been Better?

One major drawback of this product is its steep price. Even after paying the hefty amount, you will have to pay extra for upgrades like an installation kit and a UV protection system. However, since the maintenance costs will be close to none, the product can be a good investment for some.

Like the ED2000, this water conditioner may not be suitable for extremely hard water. Since it crystallizes hardening salts instead of replacing them with sodium, the resultant water may not help you get rid of severe skin issues. Consequently, it is not as effective as electronic water softeners.

Why Buy This Product?

1. Prevents Scale Build-up

The FS1 offers 99.6% of limescale prevention and removal. This results in longer life for your clothes and appliances (especially dishwashers, heaters, and so on), softened hair and skin, and natural tasting water. With no scale build-up on showerheads, faucets, and more, you won’t be spending on plumbing issues as often.

In addition to that, it has the ability to remove 35,000 hard minerals and 3 PPM of chlorine.

2. Compact And Unique Design

This model measures 6 x 35 inches (39 inches with head), making it slim and compact enough to fit in congested spaces. If the need arises, you can even shift the system to another spot without any difficulty. Additionally, its cylindrical body with glossy stainless steel makes this water conditioner look unique and sophisticated.

3. High Water Flow Rate

An average home requires less than 5 gallons of water per minute at any given time. With its ActivFlo Technology, the FS1 generates a flow rate of 12 GPM, which is ideal for large households. Also, it can operate effectively under low to high flow rates. This ensures no decrease in water pressure, even while being used by multiple people in different rooms.

4. Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC)

Since it works without salt, it uses a physical process called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC). Hardness-causing minerals are converted to a hardness crystal that does not leave any stubborn stains and residue.

Moreover, salt-free water softeners do not actually “soften” water, rather condition (neutralize) it. Hence, such conditioners do not trap minerals, saving you from regular cleanup and maintenance. So, it is also a better option for users with health complications caused by high sodium.

5. No Replacement Required

Considering that the salt-free formula wastes no water and requires no electricity or regular maintenance, it never needs to be replaced as well!

6. Optional UV Protection

If you’re willing to spend some more bucks, you can invest in an additional UV purification system. This eliminates 99.9% of pathogens like bacteria, viruses, E. coli, and many more. Given the current pandemic, this feature is beneficial to safeguard the health and well-being of your family.

8

SoftPro Elite

Available in two variants for well water and city water, this highly functional water softener provides the best result while minimizing wastage. Both the models feature a brine tank, a fine mesh resin, an LCD screen, and more for a user-friendly experience, right from installation to regular programming. Like most water softeners, this one may seem a tad expensive at first. But since it does not need maintenance and salt refills, the high cost turns into a valuable investment. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this product!

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Pros

  • DIY installation process
  • Waste reducing process
  • Compact
  • Upgraded 10% resin mesh
  • Prevents mold and tank condensation

Cons

  • Initial cost is very high
  • Models with higher grain capacity are larger and bulkier

What Could’ve Been Better?

The model we reviewed offers a grain capacity of 24,000. Systems with higher grain capacity are larger in size, thereby, requiring more space.

The upfront cost of the Elite model is also on the higher side. Moreover, if you require the KDF filter, the Catalytic Carbon Filter, or an R/O system, you will have to spend more. Needless to say, having as many protective filters as you can yields the best results, but the overall upfront cost becomes too high.

Why Buy This Product?

1. Efficient Performance And Waste Reduction

Irrespective of the variant you choose, it is equipped with a brine tank, a mineral tank, and a fine mesh resin. The soft water tank contains potassium chloride, which plays a pivotal role in ion replacement.

SoftPro’s Smart Precision+ Brining feature calculates the exact amount of brine needed to deliver high-performance value while conserving up to 30% of salt usage. The waste reduction is not just limited to salt, though. You can adjust its backwash frequency which can help save up to 2,000 gallons of water per year.

Additionally, it employs an automated system flush technology that reduces the growth of bacteria. Certified by NSF/ ANSI standards, quality and performance are always top-notch with immediate regeneration whenever needed.

2. Effortless Operation

The LCD control screen meter is easy to read and operate in both systems. Users can conveniently inspect the level of water, adjust the system settings, and more. Thus, programming this unit will never cause any hassle.

3. 10% Cross-link Resin

This model features an upgraded 10% resin that lasts five times longer than the standard 8% resin. Since resin plays a crucial role in the ionizing process, it needs to be replaced immediately in case of a “foul” (breakdown). Most of the time, a “foul” occurs in water with high iron or chlorine content.

Such cases often call for expensive repairs and refilling of the tank. However, since SoftPro uses 10% cross-link resin, this product is more durable. Furthermore, because the resin is preloaded, you will not have to spend an extra hour over it during installation.

4. Neoprene Jacket Shield

This protective jacket effectively reduces mold infestation and prevents tank condensation. The jacket covers the tank in both city water and well water systems.

5. DIY Installation

With the right set of hardware and some plumbing experience, you should be able to install the system yourself. However, most customers agree that even beginners can get the job done with the adequate instruction manual included in the package.

Since it is compact, preloaded, and has very few additional parts, the installation process is no big deal.

Things To Consider Before Buying A Water Softener

How much capacity do you need… What is the role of a bypass valve… How does regeneration work…

Are these tricky questions making your head spin?

Of course, not everyone has prior plumbing experience and may not know what these jargons mean. Just knowing the best water softeners and conditioners is not enough to pick the ideal one for your home. So, we are here to take you back to the basics and explain all the specs, characteristics, and fancy terms these brands use to describe their products.

Let’s take a look…

1. Types Of Water Softeners

There are four broad categories of water softeners. Here’s a brief description of each…

A. Magnetic and Electronic Water Softeners

Also known as descalers, these units reverse the electromagnetic characteristics of hard minerals. From our list of recommendations, the iSpring ED2000 falls under this category. It promises effective descaling of water to prevent scale build-up and damage in pipes.

B. Ion Exchange Water Softener

These salt-based water softener units are connected to the pipeline and contain resin beads that substitute hard minerals with salts. Pentair WS48-56SXT uses this grain ion replacement process to get rid of calcium, magnesium, and ferrous iron. Most homeowners opt for these types of water softeners.

C. Dual Tank Water Softeners

When regular recharging starts to feel like a hassle, dual tank softeners become a convenient option for uninterrupted soft water supply. The two tanks can be used alternatively while either one is being recharged.

D. Salt-free Water Softener

A more sustainable option, this system uses potassium chloride to soften water without using salt. It works best for moderately hard water and for those who require a low sodium diet. FutureSoft FS1 is a salt-free water softener that is suitable for those who wish to live free from the inconvenience of regular maintenance.

2. Capacity

You need to figure out your average water consumption per day to decide the size of the ideal water softener for your family. Multiply the number of family members with the amount of water used per person. Accordingly, choose a system offering the appropriate grain capacity.

An important point to note along with the capacity should be the water pressure at which the system functions. An ideal water softener/ conditioner should be able to maintain the water flow rate without any drop in pressure. This feature is especially useful for households with multiple bathrooms that family members may use simultaneously.

3. Space Required

Speaking of capacity, you need to be careful about the space your water softener will require. Even if you need one with a large capacity, you cannot blindly purchase a bulky unit if the intake pipes are too congested.

Usually, a two-piece system consisting of a brine tank and an iron tank is sufficient yet compact enough to fit in most types of water pipelines. Most dual-tank softeners feature a huge brine tank. So, ensure that you consult the manufacturer for exact measurements before making your decision.

After all, who would want to splurge on an essential item only for it to be too big to fit?

4. Regeneration Cycle

Most systems offer two options when it comes to the regeneration process – metered and timed.

A metered unit triggers the regeneration cycle after a certain amount of water has been consumed. Users can decide that amount or invest in “smart” units that calculate the number automatically. A major advantage of metered systems is that the regeneration process only occurs when required, saving you from unnecessary power and water consumption.

On the other hand, a timed unit regenerates regularly after a set number of days. Since it works on an assumption of the amount of water used, it is not a foolproof method. There would be days when you use more water than usual and run out of soft water. You could also end up using less soft water sometimes, yet the system would continue its regular regeneration.

5. Bypass Valve

A bypass valve prevents water from passing through the softening part of the system. For instance, during maintenance, you can use the bypass valve to turn off the softening process while having water flow through your pipeline. Moreover, if you need to water the lawn or indulge in any activity that does not need soft water, a bypass valve comes in handy.

A bypass valve features two red arrows. Simply turn them to point towards each other to allow water to bypass.

6. Types Of Filter

Most water softeners in the market provide the following two types of filters to choose from.

A. KDF Filter

Made of copper and zinc, KDF filters are a popular pick for removing bacteria, viruses, harmful metallic substances, and impurities. You can use these filters alone or with carbon filters for softer and cleaner water.

B. Multi-level Carbon Filters

As the name suggests, some of these filters contain 10-12 layers, thereby ensuring the purest level of water for your household. Each layer is designed to remove one type of bacteria or hard mineral.

7. Shower Water Softeners

If you don’t require a water softener for the entire household, you can get one for the shower to maintain lustrous hair and healthy skin. A cheaper and more portable option, there are two types of shower filters to choose from.

A. In-line Filters

These filters do not feature a showerhead. If you don’t wish to replace the showerhead, you can insert these filters between the main shower and the water supply.

B. Showerhead Filters

These filters look and work like a regular showerhead, only better! You can install it on the shower or even your faucet. These types of water softeners are the best in eliminating harmful contents from water while retaining the pressure.

8. Budget

Striking the right balance between efficiency, quality, and affordability is key when it comes to buying the best water softener. In the name of being budget-friendly, a product may come with defective parts, low-quality construction, and more. Such a softener would do more harm than good.

Thus, we recommend choosing the best one from our list and ensuring that you go through the customer reviews before buying.

Final Words

With growing pollution, our water reservoirs are full of impurities that mess up the pH level. Hence, installing a water softener, preferably with a filter, has become a necessity to safeguard the health of our families.

We hope you could find the perfect pick for your household with our list of the best water softeners and a comprehensive buyer’s guide. Ensure that you choose one according to your daily needs, available space for installation, and budget. After all, choosing the best from these top-notch options depends on you!

Before we take our leave, here are some of our favorites. Without a doubt, AFWFilters IRONPRO2 is the best overall. PENTAIR WS48-56SXT is another useful model with an impressive warranty period. If you’re environment-conscious and have a tight budget, iSpring ED2000 is your best bet.

Let us know which one is your favorite water softening system in the comments section below. We’ll be back with more informative guides soon. Till then, stay healthy and hydrated!

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