Hard water is a common problem in numerous households – around 85% of households in the United States have hard water. This is significant because, while you may not be aware, hard water can cause serious issues, such as affecting your skin and hair and clogging your drains and pipes.
Thankfully, there are water softeners that can reverse the effects of hard water. Water softeners neutralize calcium and magnesium in your water supply, effectively eliminating hard water problems at home.
But are all water softeners created equal, or are some better than others? We’ve collected water softener reviews to help us answer these questions (and more) in this article. But first, let’s learn about the 12 best water softeners of 2020.
How We Tested the Water Softeners:
The following list of best water softeners was prepared by our team of evaluators after trying a number of products from different brands to see which offered outstanding performance as per the need and purpose.
You can follow the method that we employed using a simple test at home.
First, take a glass of unsoftened water and try working a lather with soap or detergent.
Second, take a glass of softened water and do the same.
If it’s much easier to lather up soap bubbles with the second glass, then your water softener is working.
The water softeners mentioned in this review not only represent a wide range of brands but also depict their unique and useful features. All 11 products are best in their own areas but we recommend the ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener as the best water softener of 2020. Equipped with a Fleck 5600sxt valve digital meter, this water softening system features two powerful tanks to maximize how much water can be softened.
Quick Summary of 11 Best Water Softeners of 2020
Water Softener with Massive Capacity
Fleck 9100SXT Dual Tank Water Softener
This water softener comes with a massive capacity of removing 96,000 grains of hardness and softens your hard water with a dual-tank technology.
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Best Water Softener for Well Water with Iron
Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener
Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener is an all-in-one water softener and iron filter that removes hardness, iron, and manganese from your water.
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Best Water Softener for Ease of Use
Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener
As this softener features a single-tank design, it can be used in small offices or shops for economic softening.
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Top Pick for Excellent Performance
Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener
This is an efficient and compact product that uses an ion-exchange process for removing calcium and magnesium to make the water soft.
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Affordable Digital Water Softener
Tier1 Everyday Series 48,000 Grain High-Efficiency Digital Water Softener
The Tier1 Everyday Series 48,000 Grain High-Efficiency Digital Water Softener is a complete traditional system that contains mechanical components necessary for the standard installation of pre-installed water softener connections.
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Best Value-for-Money Water Softener
Nuvo H20 DPHB Home Salt-Free Water System
It is the best value-for-money softener that purifies water which remains unaffected from any adulterants or salt.
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Quality Water Softener With Intelligent Regeneration
GE GXSF30V Water Softener
This water softener is engineered to handle extreme hardness like any high-tech water softener you can find in the market.
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Top Pick for High Hardness and Iron Removal
Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Water Softener
Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Water Softener removes the sticky mineral stains and processes with an ultra-high flow valve.
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Quality Pick for Removing Hard Water Grains
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
This cost-effective water softener crystallizes hard water grains so that they flow harmlessly through the pipes and drainage system.
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Affordable and Easy-to-Setup Water Softener
Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener
Besides being affordable and easy to operate, Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener comes with a lifetime guarantee.
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Salt-Free Water Softener for Well Water
Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener
It is a salt-free water softener designed for handling the hardness of well water.
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Best Water Softener for Tap Water
ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener
The best way to treat your tap water, this water softener comes with two powerful American-made tanks that help in the proper softening process.
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- Fleck 5600sxt valve digital meter
- Preloaded water softener resin media
- Black brine with well and float valve
- Finer resin mesh
- Preloaded two American-made tanks
- Upflow carbon and Reverse Osmosis (RO)
- Easy magnesium and calcium removable
- Easy installation guide
10 X 10 X 54 inches
12 gallons per minute
ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener features one of the most trusted digital valve meters. This type of construction ensures softer water that is beneficial for your laundry, plumbing cleanups, and overall health.
Let’s break down some of the primary features of this water softening system:
The major feature of this water softener is the inclusion of two powerful American-made tanks. These tanks offer excellent water softening as they get to share the load between one another.
This water softener is equipped with a Fleck 5600sxt valve digital meter and it regenerates after a specific amount of water is used. This feature comes handy to prevent the waste of salt and water when consumption is low. Moreover, the system also makes sure the backwash is timely, so you always have quality soft water when you need it the most.
One thing you should keep in mind is that this is not a water filter so it won’t get rid of chlorine. Its main purpose is softening the water by removing the magnesium and calcium sulfate responsible for making the water hard. Also, this water softener doesn’t remove iron.
Adequate Flow Rate
This water softener has a flow rate of 12 gallons per minute which makes it perfect for a medium-sized family. The flow rate ensures the system can keep up with three showers, one dishwasher, one laundry machine, and two sinks– all running at the same time.
ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener comes with an easy installation kit. It makes installation pain-free, which is great for non-professionals.
Both tanks have a 10-year warranty. Similarly, the Fleck control valve on this model comes with a 5-year warranty.
- High-end technology
- Easy installation kit
- Features a bypass valve
- 10% more cross-link
- Two drain lines need to be purchased separately
- Doesn’t remove iron
Besides the mentioned features, you shouldn’t underestimate the quality of customer support you get with this ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener. You can also seek free help regarding the installation, operation, and maintenance of your water softener.
- Enormous capacity (96,000 grain!)
- Dual alternating tanks
- An efficient system for saving salt and water
- Easy installation
- Alternating digital metered control
- High capacity resin
- 24-volt electrical system
14 X 14 X 65 inches
20 gallons per minute
It is one of the best water softeners by Fleck. Fleck 9100SXT Dual Tank Water Softener maintains its place among the best water softeners in the market, thanks to its exceptional capacity and innovative features. With dual tanks, a digital metered control, and good flow rate, you get a product that softens your water with high efficiency
Here are the major features of this water softener:
The dual alternating tank offers a top-notch performance when it comes to softening water as they get to share the load between one another.
Alternating Metered Control Head
The alternating metered control head offers a two-tank operation to ensure soft water 24/7. This is a great attribute for homes with high hardness or high water usage. The metered design measures water usage and regenerates when necessary. Additionally, digital control allows for simple adjustments to maximize capacity or minimize salt usage.
Better Flow Rate
Unlike the Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener, this softener has a strong flow rate of 20 gallons per minute. It means that even when you flush the softener, it will be quick.
This water softener removes all the ions which cause hardness in water. Plus, the scale buildup also gets removed, and the resin helps when it comes to iron removal.
There is no need to worry regarding the durability of this product. Each tank comes backed by a 10-year warranty. Similarly, the resin itself should last at least 5 years before having to replace it. The same warranty applies to the control head.
The installation of this water softener is generally a piece of cake. But you do have to do some electrical work and a drain setup, which can prove trickier depending on the weather, landscape, and your local safety regulations.
- Massive capacity
- Strong flow rate
- Easy scalp buildup removal
- Heavy-duty product
- Very bulky
- Resin is extremely heavy
- Resin replacement costs more
What more do you want from the water softener that has grain capacity above 90k and comes with a strong flow rate plus excellent durability? Fleck 9100SXT Dual Tank Water Softener should definitely make it into your purchase list if you live in a large family or plan on using a significant amount of water each month.
- All-in-one water softener and iron filter
- Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve
- Removes hardness up to 75 gpg, Iron up to 6-8 ppm range, Manganese up to 6 ppm
- Almond resin tank
- Round almond brine tank with safety float
- Fine mesh resin
- Large capacity
14 X 7 X 21 inches
15 gallons per minute
If you and your family use water from a well, then you are probably dealing with hard water issues caused by calcium, magnesium, and iron. Since you need to handle the extra burden of iron, we recommend the Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener that is designed to eliminate iron, making the water pure and soft.
Here are the major features of this water softener system:
Metered Control Head
This softener includes a simple and efficient design to eliminate rust stains from ferrous iron as well as scale, water spots, and soap scum. The metered design helps to measure water usage, regenerating when needed. Similarly, digital control allows for simple adjustments to maximize capacity and minimize salt usage.
Auto-regeneration is another great feature of the Iron Pro 2. You can follow two ways for auto-regeneration: either after a certain amount of water or after a certain amount of time. The digital touchpad is easy to control – just a couple of minutes to set things up and let the unit take over.
Designed for Iron
The name speaks for itself. Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener can remove ferrous iron and ferric iron via ion exchange. It also eliminates the root cause of those annoying brownish stains on your tiles and equipment. In addition, you can get rid of buildup in the pipes as well. The iron removal ensures you get rid of metallic taste from the drinking water.
Better Flow Rate
Another great feature of the Iron Pro 2 system is its flow rate of 15 gallons per minute. It ensures there is no interruption in the supply of water when your family needs it the most.
You get a 5-year warranty on this water softener. Not as long as some of the other water softeners on our list, the longevity will depend on your usage rate and the number of people you have in your family.
- Proven valve brand
- Filters iron well
- Huge capacity
- Resin lasts for at least 5 years
- Installation instructions aren’t clear
- Needs pre-filter if the iron content is high
Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener should definitely make into your list as it is the product that removes iron for making your water fresh and pure. However, the installation instructions can be a bit confusing, so make sure to seek professional help (like a plumber) or call for technical support.
- ‘Sixth-sense’ technology
- System monitoring
- Demand-initiated regeneration
- Excellent fitting
- Bypass valve
- Installation kit and manual for ease of use
19 X 18 X 43.5 inches
7 gallons per minute
The Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener is one of the most popular products on the market. It neither occupies too much space nor requires much maintenance. A single-tank design means this softener can be used in small offices or shops for economic softening.
Now let’s break down the primary features of this water softener:
This is one of the most important features you can find in Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener. The sixth-sense technology allows the softener to calculate the amount of salt required to regenerate, which makes the system use just the right amount of salt. With this feature, you can save both water and salt.
Another way this Whirlpool water softener doesn’t let you waste salt or water is by halting the regeneration process when you are on vacation or away from home for some time. This is possible because of its demand-initiated regeneration feature. The demand-initiated regeneration is also based on the hardness level of the water.
You do not need to worry about the performance of this water softener. It is engineered to remove hardness in the water of up to 95 grains per gallon. Similarly, it can remove up to 8 parts per million of iron deposits from your water.
Ease of Use
This water softener is easy to use and maintain. It comes with fittings of approximately one inch so that you can tie it into your existing plumbing lines. Besides, the system requires very little maintenance, making it durable and less costly.
The control head of this water softener comes with a warranty of three years. Plus, the tank can easily last up to 10 years.
- Sixth-sense and demand-initiated regeneration technology
- Low-salt light
- Ideal for families of 1 to 4
- Space-saving design
- Not ideal for a large family
- The bypass valve is somewhat leaky
Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener has the right features at an affordable price point. The main features you will love this softener are the low-salt light and the smart salt-using technology. This should be your choice if your family consists of 1 to 4 people.
- High quality and convenient
- Easy to operate
- Comes with pre-loaded resin
- Top-class technology
- Standard black brine tank with safety float
- Metered control head
- An LCD display with system information
- Ultra-efficient digital on-demand water softener valve
48 X 12 X 12 inches
12 gallons per minute
The Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener is a compact and efficient product that uses the ion-exchange process to remove calcium and magnesium for making the water soft and clean.
Some of the major features of this water softener are:
On-Demand Metered System
This water softener is equipped with a digital meter and it regenerates after a specific amount of water is used. This feature prevents the waste of salt and water when consumption is low-- such as when a family is on vacation. Besides, it also makes sure the backwash is timely, so you always have soft water even when there is high demand.
Convenient Flow Rate
This water softener is great for large families – the flow rate of 12 gallons per minute ensures that the system can keep up with three showers, a dishwasher, a washing machine, and two sinks running at the same time.
Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener comes with a well-rounded package. You get the tank, resin, control head, brine tank with safety float, bypass valve, brine tubings, and connectors in the package. That’s pretty much all you need to install and run the system.
The tank of this water softener is made with durable poly glass material. With that, you get a 10-years warranty for the tank by the manufacturer. Besides, the control is covered by the standard five-year warranty.
This water softener removes the magnesium and calcium ions from water which are responsible for making the water hard. In the end, you get water that is soft and pleasant to taste, which can be used for bathing, cooking, and washing.
Installing this system is a breeze even for non-professionals. The major task involves some electrical work and a drain setup, which can prove trickier depending on the weather, landscape, and local safety regulations.
- Great durability
- Superior technology
- Easy to use features
- Great capacity
- Resin is not the best
- Removes just a low level of iron
- Somewhat pricey
This compact and effective water softener comes equipped with all the components needed for operation: the tank, resin, control head, and brine tank with safety float. Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener is the right choice for you thanks to its durable design, convenient flow rate, and easy installation.
- LCD display along with the Fleck valve
- Digital meter control valve
- Space-saving and effective
- Easy calcium phosphate and magnesium removal
- Energy efficient
- Smart design
- Complete package
15.5 X 15.5 X 66.5 inches
11.2 gallons per minute
Don’t get confused with its long name, this high-efficiency digital water softener does have key advantages worth mentioning. It is affordable, space-saving, and smartly engineered.
Here are some of the major features of this water softening system:
Digital Meter Control Valve
By using this digital meter control valve, you can decide on the water pressure and the flow rate that you get out of your faucet. Besides, the LCD display along with the Fleck valve offers you not only convenience but also protection.
This water softener is energy efficient as well. It enhances the effectiveness of soaps and detergents to keep your skin soft, hair shiny, and laundry bright. And, because it consumes less energy, you save more money.
Complete Traditional System
The system comes with a brine tank, pre-filled mineral tank with 1.5 cubic feet of Cation Resin, control valve, ¾ inch water line connections, brine tubing, and drain line. Also, it contains mechanical components necessary for the standard installation of traditional water softener connections.
This Tier1 Digital Water Softener removes two main components of hard water, calcium phosphate, and magnesium. During the process, useful minerals are retained in the water.
- Can be installed outside
- Full control over regeneration cycles
- The set comes with everything needed for installation
- Capacity could have been better
- Not great value for money
A proper flow rate suggests Tier1 Everyday Series 48,000 Grain High-Efficiency Digital Water Softener is a product to look out for if you have a large family. Plus, we like how the model comes with all the handy equipment needed for the initial installation.
- FDA & NSF approved
- Eco-friendly: no salt, no waste water, no electricity
- Prevents scale buildup and removes existing hard water scale
- Compact design
- Extends the life of your water heater and appliances
5 X 5 X 24 inches
15 gallons per minute
Nuvo H20 DPHB Home Salt-Free Water Softener System is the best value-for-money product available on Amazon. One of the major features of this softener is that it doesn’t use salt for softening the water. The water purified by this product is free from all adulterants or salt.
The main features of this water softener are:
The cartridge of this water softener is salt-free, as a result, your water tastes better and your skin feels less dried out after a shower. Besides, the life of the cartridge is usually up after 50,000 gallons which means that a family of two will be able to use it for six months without having to replace it.
Reduction of Corrosion
The corrosion will be significantly reduced and buildup can be cleaned easily thanks to this handy water softener. However, don’t expect the system to have iron-free water as it is not built to deal with iron.
The Nuvo H20 DPHB Home Salt-Free Water Softener System uses a revolutionary technology that helps to lower the pH level of water based on the basic scientific process of chelation. The mineral ions causing hard water are bound to the chelating agent in NuvoH20’s FDA-approved formulation which keeps the minerals soluble and unable to cause any hard water problems.
Easy Installation Box
You get a box filled with all the mounting hardware that you need with this water softener system. These tools make your installation process convenient and easy.
- Offers great value-for-money
- Improves water quality
- Eco-friendly with no salt
- The set comes with all the necessary tools
- Good flow rate
- Easy installation
- Cartridges need to be changed after a certain time
- Inlets might require connectors with the proper diameter
- Can’t be used on its own when processing well water
Nuvo H20 DPHB Home Salt-Free Water Softener System is a competitive product on this list as it comes with a good flow rate and also improves the quality of water. Since you do not have any salt or resin, you need to change cartridges regularly if you buy this water softener.
- Digital control head
- Metered-based regeneration
- NSF certified
- Digital display
- Easy Installation
22.5 X 14.4 X 43.2 inches
7.5 gallons per minute
The GE GXSF30V Water Softener is one of the most affordable water softeners available on Amazon. It is engineered to handle extreme hardness like any high-tech water softener on the market. However, its limited water flow rate means this water softener is best suited for a household with up to 3 members.
Meter-based Intelligent Regeneration
This model keeps track of the amount of water used and activates the regeneration cycle accordingly. It calculates the amount of water consumption in the house, and based on the result, the system automatically changes its settings to meet the needs. With the help of this special feature, any water wasted gets minimized.
Another key feature of this water softener is the automatic flush system. It comes with a control head that keeps track of water used daily. The system supplies the salt into the resin tank and automatically flushes it as per the requirement of the household.
The availability of digital display makes it easy for you to check the system status. It assists to keep track of daily water consumption, the time before the system needs to regenerate, and also the water flow rate. In addition, the display beeps to warn you when the machine is low on salt.
This water softener is designed to serve well for small households. The 7.5 gallons per minute flow rate is more than enough for a family of three. This system removes up to 95 grains of hard minerals per gallon of water and has a capacity of 30,000 grain capacity per regeneration cycle. Similarly, the system is capable of removing 7ppm of iron per gallon of water which makes it an excellent mid-end water softener.
Like many other water softeners, this product comes with an easy guide on how to install the system properly.
GE provides a 1-year warranty on all the parts of this water softener. The electronic monitor has a further three-year warranty and the brine and resin tanks can run smoothly for at least 10 years.
- The digital control head allows quick and easy setup
- Metered- based regeneration
- Easy installation steps
- Low maintenance cost
- NSF certified
- Removes 7ppm of the iron particle from the water
- Not suitable for bigger households
- Has a limitation in use with a maximum of 1-inch pipe
If you are from a small household that consists of around three people, then GE GXSF30V Water Softener is the best water softener option for you. With an affordable price, this model delivers optimum performance. Plus, a long-term warranty hints towards the durability of the product.
- Demand-Initiated regeneration
- Salt-Saving technology
- High-hardness removal
- Iron removal
- Low-salt light
- Ultra-high flow valve
- Tank light
- Easy installation kit
19 X 18 X 48 inches
8.5 gallons per minute
Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Water Softener is a great product for high hardness and iron removal and is ideal for families of more than 6 people searching for a safe way to soften their water. It removes sticky minerals stains and uses less detergent in the wash for cleaner and softer fabrics.
The main features of this Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Water Softener are:
One of the primary features of this Whirlpool water softener is that it includes a demand-initiated regeneration. This attribute helps to halt the regeneration cycle when there is no need for water supply in your household. With that, you can save salt or water when you are on a long vacation or away from home for some time. This regeneration process is also based on the hardness level of the water.
High Hardness and Iron Removal
This water softener can remove a maximum of 125 grains per gallon of hardness, making it an ideal choice for houses with a high level of hardness. Besides, the system triggers an additional backwash cycle to rid your water supply of excess non-ferrous iron. The iron removal can go up to 10 parts per million.
Tank Light and Low Salt Indicator Light
For visibility, a light is installed in the tank that lets you see the salt levels inside. Also, a steady light indicates that the softener is working efficiently. It starts blinking once the salt levels start getting low, informing you a few days in advance to refill.
The installation process is made easy with the availability of a do-it-yourself kit that includes a bypass valve and detailed instructions. Thanks to this, you don’t need to be a professional for setting the system up.
- Refilling less often
- Saves energy and time
- A super-high flow valve
- Low salt indicator
- Easy program set
- Not suitable for a small family
Demand-initiated regeneration is one feature that makes this water softener popular among users. With a one-year manufacturer’s part and labor warranty, a three-year limited electronics warranty, and a 10-year limited warranty on tanks, this is one water softener we definitely recommend considering.
- UV Sterilight filtration system
- Engineered filtration media
- Unique upflow and dual-tank design
- High-performance filter system
- Cost-effective and long-lasting
- Easy maintenance
- Top-grade installation kit and components
9 X 46 X 54 inches
7 gallons per minute
The salt-free water softener Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System is an effective water filtration system that is engineered with many exciting features. It comes with the pro-grade installation kit that includes brass fittings, a pre-filter, a post-filter, and all the support and shut-off valves.
The major features of this water softener are:
Hard Water Crystallization
This water softener crystallizes hard water grains so that they flow harmlessly through your pipes and drainage system. The system never uses salt and water to flush itself.
Good Flow Rate
The system offers a decent flow rate of 7 gallons per minute. It is enough for a family of three or four. This rate makes sure that there is enough water pressure even when running two showers, a washing machine, and a kitchen faucet at the same time.
Despite a high initial price, Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System is guaranteed to last 10 years or more. Plus, it can conveniently process one million gallons of water – meaning this water softener was built to last.
Another major advantage of using this model is the pro installation kit it comes with. All the components included in this kit are of high quality, so you shouldn’t have any problems with leaks or faulty parts.
- Good flow rate for a small-sized family
- Minimizes use of salt and water
- Contains genuine parts
- Pex Crimper is needed for installation
If you have a small-sized family, then Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System is the right product to go after. Despite its high price, this system is effective at removing hard water grains and filtering sediment from pumps. However, if you’re looking specifically for iron and sulfur control, consider another product.
- Easy installation
- Lifetime repair or replacement warranty
- Protection from scale sticking to the pipes
6.7 X 1.6 X 3.5 inches
If you want a water softener for a long-long time without worrying about its durability, then you don’t have to look too far! Just grab this affordable Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener and take full advantage of its warranty-backed quality.
Now let’s explain some of the primary features of this water softener:
One of the key features of this water softener is its design itself. This is technically an electronic device and not an actual cartridge. The system has coils that are perfectly wound around your piping.
Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener produces an electromagnetic wave that interacts with the water, helping to stop limescale from sticking and depositing itself into your pipes. The system emulates softened water and makes sure than nothing will build up inside your faucets and pipes. Plus, no salt is added to the system.
The installation of this water softener is very easy. You don’t need wrenches or nails, just a mounting bracket will do the job. The process doesn’t require plumbing as you can plug the machine and attach it to a wall or let it rest somewhere safe. Make sure you coil the wires around the pipe properly.
One of the greatest advantages of this water softener is that you get a lifetime repair/replacement guarantee. This shows how good the quality of this product is.
- Lifetime guarantee
- All minerals of water are retained
- Helps defeat the scale buildup
- No plumbing required
- Cheap to maintain
- Affordable price
- Doesn’t make water fit for drinking
- Not waterproof
One thing you should keep in mind is that this water softener is not designed to remove or add anything to your water. It makes sure that nothing builds up inside your faucets and pipes. The sole reason to buy this product is the inclusion of a magnetic field that helps defeat all the nasty buildup.
- Compact design
- No need for cartridges
- No backwashing
- No need for electricity
- Comes ready to be installed
- Salt-free type
- Uses Polyphosphates
- Extremely lightweight
4.5 X 4.5 X 10 inches
30 gallons per minute
Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener is a perfect salt-free water softener designed for well water. It comes with a 30-micron filter that catches sedimented particles and allows the smaller mineral grains to pass through the polyphosphate coating material.
Now let’s have a look at some of the key features of the Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener:
Use of Polyphosphates
This feature makes the product different from a conventional water softener. It doesn’t remove hard grains from your water; instead, it crystallizes and coats the grains in polyphosphates so they don’t stick to your pipes, sinks, hair, and clothes. The polyphosphates are used in city water treatment facilities and they pose no risk to your health and your plumbing.
Excellent Flow Rate
This is one feature that keeps this water softener among the top products. The system has a 30-micron filter to catch sediment and also provides 30 gallons of softened water per minute. Impressive, right?
Filling the hard water bullet with polyphosphates is a must every 6 to 12 months. Thankfully, the refilling task is easy. All you need to do is turn the water off and empty the water line before unscrewing the lid and pouring in the polyphosphates.
This Poly water softener is greatly made and durable. To maintain it, turn your water valve off, run a faucet until the line is empty, and unscrew the softener’s lid. Now remove the filter and rinse it in a washtub while you flush the core with a vinegar solution.
- Works with salt-free technology
- You can install it inside or outside your house
- Made with BPA-free plastic
- Accessories are replaceable
- Outstanding warranty
- Doesn’t remove chloramine and iron
- You may need connectors as the inlets are one-inch in diameter
An exceptionally fast flow rate, effective water softening, and small size make this water softener one of the top picks for well water.
Best Water Softeners Comparison Chart
|SN||Product Name||Weight||Flow Rate||Capacity|
|1||ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener||148 pounds||12 GPM||48,000 grains|
|2||Fleck 9100SXT Dual Tank Water Softener||53 pounds||20 GPM||96,000 grains|
|3||Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener||119.5 pounds||15 GPM||64,000 grains|
|4||Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener||102 pounds||7 GPM||30,000 grains|
|5||Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener||180 pounds||12 GPM||64,000 grains|
|6||Tier1 Everyday Series 48,000 Grain High-Efficiency Digital Water Softener||10.4 ounces||11.2 GPM||48,000 grains|
|7||Nuvo H20 DPHB Home Salt-Free Water Softener System||8 pounds||15 GPM||NA|
|8||GE GXSF30V Water Softener||80 pounds||7.5 GPM||30,000 grains|
|9||Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Water Softener||112 pounds||8.5 GPM||40,000 grains|
|10||Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System||77.7 pounds||7 GPM||Crystallizes grains|
|11||Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener||7.8 ounces||NA||NA|
|12||Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener||4 pounds||30 GPM||Uses Polyphosphates|
How to Choose the Right Water Softener?
Before you decide to purchase a water softener, you should consider a few key important things.
Know your budget
It is important to know how much your water softener costs before you decide to purchase one. Water softeners are available at different price ranges. A residential water softener can cost anywhere between $500 and $2500. Higher-grain water softeners tend to be more expensive than low-grain ones (we will explain about the grains later). Evaluate your budget and make a purchase accordingly.
Also, don’t forget to add installation and maintenance costs when you plan to make a purchase. A typical homeowner can pay as low as $400 for DIY installation, while professional installations can cost upwards of $4000.
Determine the capacity
The capacity of the water softener is directly related to the amount of water hardness it can remove before the regeneration cycle. The hardness of water is measured in grains per gallon (GPG). The capacity can range from 8,000 to 80,000 grains or even higher.
Let’s look at how that works in an example:
If your meter reads 20 grains per gallon and your family uses 500 gallons of water per day on average, then your water softener has to remove 20 X 500 = 10,000 hardness grains each day.
Now if you want to limit regeneration to one cycle per week, your water softener has to have a minimum capacity of 7 X 10,000 = 70,000 grains.
Water Flow Rate
Another crucial thing to consider before buying a water softener is the water flow rate. The water flow rate is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). It helps to determine how many water outlets you can use at the same time without losing pressure. If you live in a larger household, you should buy a softener with a higher water flow rate.
The following is the typical water use of modern outlets:
- Faucets: 1.0 GPM
- Toilet: 3.0 GPF (gallons per flush)
- Shower: 2.0 - 2.5 GPM
- Dishwater: 6.0 - 16.0 GPL (gallons per load)
- Washing Machine: 25.0 GPL
If you live in a medium-to-large family with two or more bathrooms, we recommend a water softener with a minimum flow rate of 12 gallons per minute. Single households should be fine with below 7 GPM.
Here is a more precise instruction for you:
- 2 people = 5 GPM
- 3 people= 6 GPM
- 4 people = 7 GPM
Water softener regeneration
Water regeneration is a process when the minerals attached to the resin bed via an ion exchange are washed off leaving some space for new salt to start softening the water again. This process should occur no more than once every three days and no less than every fortnight.
There are usually three different methods for water regeneration:
- Metered: Metered (also known as demand-initiated) regeneration is used by digital systems to trigger their regen process based on the previous water output. This is one of the most common regeneration methods because it is cost-effective, environment-friendly. This system only uses excess salt and water when absolutely necessary.
- Timed: In this method, you set a specific regeneration time yourself - ideally at night when everyone is sleeping. The softening system then backwashes, recharges and rinses at specific time intervals. It always uses the same amount of salt and water regardless of your prior water consumption.
- Manual: This method is convenient but only common with portable water softeners. All you need to do is add salt directly into the media tank and give it time to displace the hard minerals stuck to the resin.
Certifications and warranty
When purchasing a water softener, you should also look for NSF/ANSI or World Quality Association (WQA) certifications that substantiate a manufacturer’s performance claims. Products with these certifications are considered to be of high-quality. These certifications guarantee:
- Material safety
- Structural integrity
- Salt efficiency
- Water efficiency
- Reduction of hardness
Likewise, you should also look for warranties just to make sure that you don’t need to pay again to repair or replace your water softener in case something goes wrong.
Note: Pay attention to the warranties as some companies provide separate warranties for different system components.
Why Do You Need Water Softeners?
The main purpose of water softeners is to make the water more suitable for use in your home. This is achieved by removing hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium ions and replacing them with sodium and potassium ions.
Here are the top four reasons that justify the need for water softeners:
1. Water Tastes Better
For many, the taste of hard water isn’t the best. As a result, they consume less amount of water which is not good for your health (and is especially bad for growing children). With water softeners, you can reduce or eliminate the minerals that cause water to taste bad in the first place.
2. Safety From Scaling
Scaling is the least desirable side effect of hard water. It can stain anything it touches, even your skin. The good news is that a good water softener can either reduce or eliminate the amount of scale build-up you have to deal with.
Note: For eliminating scaling, you can use salt-based water softeners. Besides, salt-free softener would also work for the short-term.
3. Protection of Plumbing
Over time, hard water can affect your plumbing. Hard water leads to scale build-up in pipes resulting in congested water flow and weakened pipes over the course of several months. Thankfully, a good water softener assists in prolonging the life of your plumbing and draining the clog build-up.
4. Easy Washing
Hard water requires more water and soap for laundry or cleaning. A good softener removes the hard minerals from the water or changes the way they behave. As a result, washing becomes easier and you will also save money on your utility, water and soap bills.
Benefits of Water Softening Systems
You can find many benefits of water softening systems. Some of them are:
- Softer skin and hair: Hard water can cause skin irritation and dry hair. Water softeners minimize these effects. The same goes for your clothes as well. Since soft water treats your skin gently, it will also protect the fabric of your clothing and maintain the overall softness.
- Prolongs appliances’ life: The lack of scale buildup ensures better functionality of the appliances and devices that use water at home.
- Energy efficiency improvements: As your appliances function properly, they use less energy for operation. This way, your heating bills should reduce to some extent.
- Reduction in the use of soap and detergent: Soaps are less efficient when used with hard water. Soft water ensures your detergents perform well thus reducing the amount that you require for washing your clothes, or utensils.
- Surfaces remain stain-free: Water softeners either remove or alter the structure of the minerals causing hardness, thus preventing them from sticking to the surface. As a result, you will no longer see a calcium film on your glasses and mirrors after a wash.
The Most Popular Types of Water Softeners
Generally, there are four types of water softeners common in households around the world. They are:
1. Salt-Based Water Softeners
These water softeners are the most popular, so much so they are termed as the standard. In these softeners, water is softened using salt ions. The hard ions get replaced with soft ions like sodium or salt ions. Additionally, the machine has a compartment known as a brine tank. In order to make the softener perform efficiently, you need to top up the brine chamber regularly.
Regular regeneration is important for this system to work smoothly. This requires you to flush as soon as the chamber gets filled with ions. The system also includes a metered, timed, or manual regeneration.
Though the name sounds interesting due to the absence of salt, the effectiveness of this type of water softener goes nowhere near that of the salt-based softener. The major feature of this Salt-Free Water Softeners is nanotechnology. These softeners are actually water conditioners that make it hard for the existing minerals to form a buildup inside your pipes. This way, a smooth flow of water is ensured.
The salt-free water softeners do not soften the hard water but they condition the water. The minerals get transformed and still remain in the water.
These types are considered to be the big boys of water softening as they come in a pair –- you get two large iron tanks and a brined one. This system is suitable for a household with lots of water consumption.
The working process of Dual Tank Water Softeners is also simple. When one of the tanks regenerates, the other one becomes fully functional and provides soft, processed water. Although the investment for a dual tank water softener is higher, you will most likely enjoy cost-savings in the long-run.
4. Magnetic Water Softeners
The magnetic water softeners are small in size and not too expensive. However, they aren’t as efficient as other softeners. In magnetic water softeners, the softening of water is carried out with the help of magnetic wires or bars that do not interfere with your piping system. Besides, no installation is required and there are no bypass valves. The magnetic field produced by the system changes the atomic structure of water.
In this process, the softening is carried for a specific period of time. After the time limit, the water becomes hard again.
How To Install a Water Softener
While it may sound complicated, installing a water softener system is usually pretty easy. A good thing about house filtration systems is that their installation is more or less the same. As long as you follow the steps mentioned below, you should have no problem getting your softener up and running in a couple of hours.
1. Secure All Needed Tools
Make sure you have all the necessary tools in your hand. The tools include:
- Water softening system
- System manual
- Resin beads
- Masking tape
- Flexible tubing
2. Read the Manual Properly
After you gather the necessary equipment, go through the manual carefully. Make sure you understand each step clearly before you begin the installation process.
3. Turn Main Water Supply Off
Find the main switch valve and turn off the main water supply. You should then unplug the water heater and turn on all the faucets in your home so that you can easily drain the remaining water in the pipes. Make sure that there is no trace of liquid inside the pipes as it can interfere with the softener installation process.
4. Determine Best Place for Water Softener
You should keep the water softener in an area that is dry and near a drain. Plus, there should be enough room for two tanks.
5. Measure and Connect
Measure the distance between the bypass ports and the cold water line before connecting the water softener tanks. Once you determine the distance, cut a piece of copper tubing to fit it.
6. Install Discharge Tube
For this method, refer to the manual as the process depends on the type of water softener you are installing.
7. Attach Overflow Tube
The overflow tube needs to be attached to the water conditioner tank. Both the discharge tube and the overflow tube should be connected to the drain.
8. Install Bypass Valve
To complete this step, you need a screwdriver. The bypass valve should be placed on top of the conditioner’s head valve. After that, it needs to be secured into place using the clamps. Once you complete this step, connect it to the tubing that supplies the water to the valve. At last, connect the water conditioner to the water lines and you are all set.
9. Ensure Everything Fits Properly
Before using the water softener, make sure everything fits properly. Check the connections properly and ensure there are no leaks. You should scrub and solder the fittings. If you solder the fittings, apply flux and use a propane torch to melt it. If you are uncomfortable with a propane torch, you can use Shark Bite connectors instead.
10. Turn the Water Back On and Start-Up the System
This is the final step. To complete the water softener installation, turn the water back on and start the system. Refer to the manual for steps to turn on the water softener system if you face any difficulties.
Water Softener Size
It is crucial that you get the right size when you buy a water softener. Here are a few key points to look for when choosing an appropriate water softener size:
- Determine how hard your water is: The hardness of water is measured in grains per gallon (GPG). It usually ranges from 3 to 20 grains. You can check the hardness level with the help of a water softener test kit. If the result is 3, it means the water is relatively soft. Similarly, 20 means the water is extremely hard.
- Determine daily and weekly water usage: A normal person roughly uses 80 to 100 gallons of water daily. Now multiply this with the number of members of the family in your home to find the daily water usage. You can multiply this result by 7 to find out the average weekly usage of water.
- Determine hard water grains to be removed weekly: Multiply the daily water usage of your household by the number of grains in hard water.
For example, if you consume 3,000 gallons of water per week and the number of grains in hard water is 10, the number of hard water grains to be removed is:
3,000 gallons X 10 grains = 30,000 grains a week.
- Determine the right water softener capacity for your household: You can find water softeners with a capacity of 8,000 to 80,000 grains. After you measure the weekly liquid grains to be removed, make sure that the number is lower than the water softener capacity you buy.
Note: If you buy a water softener that is too small in size, it regenerates more frequently and will cost more. Likewise, if the size is larger, the initial cost will be higher but it will regenerate less frequently, helping in saving money after the initial expenditure.
FAQs About Water Softeners
Some of the most popular water softener manufacturers are:
Typically, water softeners are designed to last 10 to 15 years. Like any other appliances, they will last longer if you maintain them properly. Your initial installation can also influence the durability of your softener, so work through the process carefully for long-run use.
The installation cost can vary depending on the contractor and the type of water softener you use. You may have to pay around $400 for a Do-It-Yourself installation while a professional installation cost can go as high as $4,000.
You should always use a salt that dissolves well. The ones that dissolve well are easier on the water softener system and will flush away without any problems.
First, identify what valves direct the water into the system. Turn those valves off so that the water no longer passes to the water softener. The hard water will no longer flow through the water softener before entering your home. To completely shut down the softener, disconnect the power supply.
Water softeners get rid of most of the impurities and chemicals found in the water supply. Therefore, it makes your water safe to drink. However, it doesn’t mean that it produces the best kind of drinking water.
A conventional water softener is not designed to remove chlorine from the water supply. If you are concerned about chlorine, you can look for a water filtration system that is designed to remove chlorine and other chemicals.
Yes! Though they can be expensive, water softeners help to soften the water that does offer some significant benefits. Soft water is easier to manage and it also takes good care of your hair and skin. So why not go for it?