Have you noticed stains on your glassware or mineral layers on your water faucet? Are your water-based appliances starting to function inefficiently? Your water could be to blame.
Hard water is common in most households. You may spot residues on tiles or mirrors, or deal with a congested showerhead. This can put your home fixtures and health in jeopardy.
In some cases, limescale hampers plumbing systems, which results in recurrent maintenance. The best water softener removes all minerals that make your water hard. The process involves replacing them with sodium or salt.
Here’s everything you need to know about water softeners, along with our best picks for a laidback shopping experience.
The Top Water Softeners:
- SpringWell FutureSoft – Best Salt Free
- SoftPro Elite – Water Softener for Well Water
- SpringWell Salt-Based – Salt Based Water Softener
Why Do You Need a Water Softener?
Hard water is entirely clean. However, it contains many dissolved mineral composites, such as aluminum, magnesium, iron, and calcium. It will depend on your area and source of water.
While these minerals are not a health threat in general, they can still pose severe issues around the home and business. Hard water tends to damage clothes, plumbing equipment, and even your skin.
Hard Water Affects Pipes & Water Fixtures
When it comes to plumbing structures, limescale is the foremost culprit of damage. The higher the water hardness level, the more damage your fixtures could get. The stains it leaves ruin both the system’s function and appearance. That’s why you always find yourself having water clogs and leaks, or worn-out parts.
Hard Water Encourages Surface Stains
We also mentioned recurring stains. These are usually visible on various surfaces, like toilet bowls, tubs, and tiles. Minerals in the water also defuse detergents and soaps, which adds to the problem.
Hard Water Harms Skin & Hair
Your skin may suffer from hard water contact due to the high mineral and pH content. Acne, itchiness, and dry skin are among the common issues caused by hard water. Those with existing skin complications should avoid using hard water as much as possible since it can trigger more serious problems, like dermatitis.
Sulfur smell is another disagreeable cause of hard water, which emits a foul egg smell. This is due to the increased amount of hydrogen sulfide. The smell discourages you from drinking water directly; hence, switching to bottled waters.
A water softening system solves all of these hitches. Below are some prime reasons why it is a safe investment:
- Extend the life of your appliances – eliminate up to 99.9% of hard water minerals
- Well-functioning pipe systems – reduce your water and energy bills
- Free up your home surfaces from stains – save yourself hours of doing extensive cleaning
- Leave softer skin & fresher hair – wash both your skin and hair more effectively.
- Make your clothes softer – increase fabric longevity when it comes to fraying or fading & prevent stiff and dull laundry.
- Require less use of a cleanser – encourage a more efficient cleaning
Hard water doesn’t only affect how you use water. It can impact the flavor of your cooking and hot beverages as well.
5 Best Water Softeners for Hard Water
These products represent top-notch water softening machines. We have combined product features and benefits to give you accurate information that can help you decide which one best suits your needs.
1. SpringWell FutureSoft: Best Salt-Free Water Softener
The SpringWell FutureSoft has earned the title of the best salt-free water softener for many good reasons. It relies on template-assisted crystallization (TAC) to turn heavy minerals into hard crystals, so you get a clean supply of water.
While the water is not literally softened, it won’t cling to your clothes, dishes, and home surfaces. This cleanse will also prevent scale backlog without causing a dip in water pressure. All machine components are certified by NSF, which equates to high-performance standards.
This machine is mounted on the main water line. When connected, it will start to crystallize hard water. It also clears out the accumulated scale in the plumbing and pipes. Unlike some models, this one doesn’t release salt or waste any water. It promises up to 99.6 percent scale prevention.
Features & Benefits
SpringWell has been in the industry for over 20 years with a record of proven excellence. From their line of products to price range and customer service, SpringWell does exceptionally well across the board.
ActiveFlo Water Technology
This water softener runs at all water flow rate points. It guarantees there will be no drop in reduced water pressure. A pre-filter is also included in the package. It eliminates impurities and large residues from water, such as silica.
Easy Installation and Maintenance
DIYers will have no trouble setting up the water softening system. It has installation instructions along with an online video to quickly assemble parts, program the machine, and enjoy the perks of owning it.
An installation kit is included with the tank. It comes with a sediment filter and pre-filter housing, a spanner wrench to tighten pipes and fittings, and a bypass valve. Additionally, you get a mounting bracket, O-ring, and MNPT fittings. Hence, you won’t need an urgent visit to the hardware store.
As for maintenance, there are no excessive costs you can expect. Monthly maintenance is not necessarily required – there is no salt to add and no cartridge to change. You only need to replace the filter once every year.
After receiving the product, buyers automatically get a six-month warranty period to help them decide if the salt-free water softener perfectly fits their needs. There is also a lifetime warranty for the parts, which will save you money over time.
Moreover, SpringWell provides after-sales care and technical assistance. If you need expert help to install and/or maintain your unit, send a message or call the customer representative.
- 12 GPM water flow rate
- Quality use of electricity & water
- Get the health benefits of water since it doesn’t remove minerals
- Lifetime capacity
- Installation is easy and quick
- Maintenance is relatively low
- An environmentally friendly option
- Prolong the life of your appliances
- Offers a 6-month money-back guarantee
- Receive lifetime warranty on all parts
- It comes at a steep price
- Resin requires frequent replacement, which is quite a hassle
- You cannot get all the benefits of softened water since the minerals are preserved
The SpringWell FutureSoft Water Softener is indeed a one-of-a-kind investment suitable to households and offices with one to three bathrooms. It works with city and well water, plus it’s an eco-friendly alternative to most salt-free water softening machines.
FutureSoft guarantees an entirely safe and natural water conditioning process. Using this machine, you get to finally enjoy food with better taste and plumbing systems with longer life.
We love SoftPro’s efficiency and high-quality build, which is also pocket-friendly. It is the best-rated salt-based water softening system for wells. The accurate resin charge helps you save water and salt usage. It also means saving money in the long run.
Take advantage of the different grain capacities and user-friendly LCD screen. There are several modes to make the operation hassle-free. The process of purifying water is done through a state-of-the-art method called Smart Precision + Brining. It can preserve salt by thirty percent. Additionally, you can save about 2000 gallons of water every year with adjustable backwash frequency.
And to make it even more appealing, this system uses an electronic flush setting to prevent bacteria from developing and spreading. If you want a low-maintenance water softener machine, we recommend going for it. There are extra combo packages that go along with the system, including SoftPro Well + Pro Iron, SoftPro Well + PH Buster, and SoftPro Well Ultimate.
Features & Benefits
The SoftPro Elite offers eight different grain capacities – 24000, 32000, 40000, 48000, 64000, 80000, 96000, & 110000. If you have, let’s say, a family of four to five, you may choose the 48000-grain capacity to supply you with fresh water. Use the calculator provided on the website for exact measurements.
Different Filter Options
You get the chance to select which type of filtering technology to use. The filtered drinking water with alkalizer, also known as the R/O system, clears out around seventy-two percent of water regularly.
The KDFF media guard filter is a good alternative if you want to remove chlorine, bacteria, and hard metals in water. It promises to eliminate up to 99 percent of these impurities. Lastly, you have the Upflow filter, which is designed as a whole water softener system.
The SoftPro Elite comes with a safety float that shuts the liquid off once the water level rises. It is a must-have feature if you spend most of your time on the road. It prevents damage to concrete, wood, and drywall.
Complete Package & Easy Installation
The device features a gigantic electronic LCD control screen, but the programming is pretty easy for people with plumbing knowledge. For extra assurance, you can always hire a plumber.
As for the package, several basic tools are included such as brine line, safety float, valve basket, brine tank, fine mesh resin, bypass valve, protective neoprene jacket, and support gravel.
Your purchase is protected with an amazing warranty. SoftPro offers up to a 10 year warranty on the control valve and a lifetime warranty on brine and mineral tanks. Quality Water Treatment is notable for its top-notch customer care, so you can expect the same quality treatment for your product and investment.
- Features compact, fiberglass design
- Manageable LCD display
- Huge grain capacity; available in different grain sizes
- High water flow rate
- Easy to install, operate, & maintain
- Prevent misuse of water
- The tank can be purchased at a reasonable price range
- Quality customer service and support
- Limited lifetime warranty on all components
- Installing the tank can be somewhat complicated for beginners
- Base model not included
- Requires power connection and salt fill-up
With all the features and benefits, we can say that SoftPro Elite Water Softener is one of the best investments you should make this year, especially if you’re too worried about the heavy minerals in your water. It is well-designed, portable, powerful, and cheap to run – which are very rare to find for a water softener.
SpringWell has recently introduced its traditional salt-based water softener. It makes use of an ion-exchange process to get rid of hardness-causing minerals and provide your home or office with a clean, healthy water source. As a result, you have fewer plumbing repairs and maintenance, longer-lasting appliances, and beautiful skin, hair, and nails.
A Connected Series bluetooth head is used to achieve water softening. The best part is you can program and control the settings using your mobile device. You can view historical information and water consumption data, valve status and settings, set up backwash or regeneration, and so much more.
One of our favorite features of the SpringWell salt-based water softening system is the extended warranty on various components. This manufacturer boasts over twenty years of experience in water quality, so there are countless reasons to trust the team. Transform how you use water, and your appliances, plumbing machines, and health will thank you.
Features & Benefits
This water softener comes with 10% crosslink resin, which could last for years. Everything from the tank to the fittings and extras are all covered by a generous warranty.
You have until six months after the purchase to return the product if you are not delighted with its overall function. We suggest reading the warranty details thoroughly to avoid costly mistakes.
SpringWell is one of the few companies that dedicate time and effort to ensure you are getting what you paid for in quality. If you find LCD screens a bit tricky, the Legacy App can save your day.
Access everything with just a simple touch of your mobile or tablet screen. Maintaining a stable soft water supply has never been so painless. You are also saving more water than conventional machines.
Easy to Install
Installing the SpringWell Based-Salt Water Softener doesn’t require in-depth expertise. As long as you have some plumbing experience, then you’re good to go. The company can assist you through their manual guide, or how-to video. Otherwise, you can decide to get the help of a skilled plumber.
The filtration system is packed with an installation kit to reduce your total cost and encourage easy assembly. This includes a brine tank, hose clamp, electronic head, bypass valve, and a 50-inch drain line. A UV lamp is an excellent add-on because it can destroy all sorts of viruses and bacteria, such as E. coli.
- Certified components
- Available in different flow rates
- Better tasting drinks and foods
- Guarantees no limescale backlog
- Smoother, healthier skin
- Save money from fixture repairs and replacements
- Ideal for one to three bathrooms
- Benefit from fast and free shipping
- Up to 6 months money-back guarantee
- Offers a lifetime warranty on the tank and valves
- The tank comes at a posh price
- Laborious installation process
- You may need an extra charge to hire a plumber
SpringWell did not disappoint us with their salt-based water softener. It is durable, highly-efficient, and rich in innovative features. This softener takes care of all hard water problems with extreme ease, even the strange stain colors on your fixtures.
The cost is somewhat high and may not accommodate all pockets. Fortunately, the company offers a monthly installment plan for anyone interested in purchasing.
The Fleck 5600 SXT is one of the best salt-based machines you’ll find. It comes as a complete package and is ideal for residential and commercial properties with a medium to a very hard water supply. This whole house water softener features a flow rate of 12 GPM.
We specifically like the Fleck 5600 SXT’s remarkable build quality and easy installation. You don’t need to acquire technical expertise or spend more cash hiring a handyman or specialized plumber. This machine is packed with essential features, too.
In addition to the colossal capacity tank, the Fleck 5600 also has 1.5 cubic feet of resin and salt brine alongside the safety float – with a tank dimension of 15 x 17 x 36. The LCD shows information about the unit status or if there are error codes.
Features & Benefits
One thing you will notice about the Fleck 5600 SXT is its high-end, sturdy design. It can serve your family for countless years and boasts an automated interface panel with diagnostic and innovative programming features.
When talking about value and longevity, Fleck is usually included on most buyer’s lists. It has a test kit you can use before and after installation to calculate water softness development.
There will be no wild guesses on your part about what’s lacking or what’s happening inside the system. The integrated small LCD screen keeps you updated – and is located on the control head. It sends an error code whenever the unit faces an issue.
Don’t get intimidated by the touchpad. It’s as simple as using a remote control, but with an intuitive design. You can always rely on the user’s manual for point of reference.
Fleck’s metered regeneration system refreshes based on authentic usage. This means the flow meter tracks your water consumption before deciding when to restore the resin. We think this distinct function makes the unit extra special, surpassing other salt-based products. It saves salt, water, and electricity since it only regenerates at the desired time.
The water softener is ready to install and program once it arrives at your doorstep. Expect your complete package to include a resin tank, brine tank, bypass valve, backwash filter, and drain line connector. The brine tank has a safety float, brine well, and brine line.
- Made in the USA, which secures top-class quality
- Completely removes mineral-containing water
- The unit is certified by NSF
- Simple control, beginner-friendly
- First-rate technology
- High grain capacity, hence perfect for larger families
- It comes with a pre-loaded resin
- Get a lifetime warranty for the resin tank
- 5-year warranty for the control valve and a 10-year warranty for the tank
- Some owners had a tough time installing the system
- Since it is salt-based, you need to clean and maintain the unit from time to time
- The regeneration process wastes loads of water
- It only comes with 8 percent resin
- Iron is not removed, so stains and buildup are still an issue
If you’re in the market for a lightweight, practical salt-based water softener for your office or home, the Fleck 5600 SXT might be what you need. It will not leave limescale residues on your appliances, fabrics, plumbing systems, and skin.
It excels at removing deposits, sulfur, and rust up to 2ppm. We think it is a great bang for your buck, and could be an excellent addition to any household.
Pelican is another gigantic name in the water treatment market. It produces a wide array of water treatment products, with the Advantage Series Salt Water Softener as the newest addition to the family. This water softener system is highly effective and eco-friendly – making it a perfect option for individuals, families, and commercial sites.
The Advantage Series Salt Water Softener is a top-rated saltwater softener with upgraded features and procedures. The GPM flow rate is improved, plus the backwash cycle will save you water. The high-capacity tank is something to look forward to, with a dimension of 62.5 x 11 inches. To soften water, Pelican recommends using potassium or salt for better results.
The Advantage Series comes in two models – PS48 and PS80. The PS48 is good to use for one to three bathrooms, while the PS80 model can lodge four to six bathrooms. Both offer a lifetime warranty on the electronic head. They are capable of removing heavy chemicals as well as extra magnesium and calcium present in the water.
Features & Benefits
Sturdy, Cleaner Design
Neat design and powerful function are a superior combo, and Pelican’s Advantage Series knocks both out of the park. The chrome jacket over the machine provides a cleaner, slicker, and livelier appearance that’s hard to resist. It will look excellent on other household appliances and decors.
The safety float is an essential feature contained in the kit. Water softeners tend to overflow at some point, and what this small equipment does is switch off the water when it reaches a high level. Therefore, protecting your surface and concrete from water damage.
The Advantage Series Salt Water Softener integrates high-capacity resin, a metered delayed backwash to reduce water waste, treated water restoration for optimal cleaning and function, and a four-button pro series electronic head.
These programmable buttons are user-friendly. They ensure efficient and quiet performance. You can set the control head for delayed or immediate regeneration.
Variety of Packages
The large-capacity tank is just one of the many items included in this package. You’ll also get a brine tank along with the drain line and safety float, bypass valve, one-inch fittings, and of course, an instruction manual.
- Attain a cleaner, brighter appearance that can complement any household décor
- Treated regeneration cycle & metered delayed backwash
- Large tank capacity with programmable settings
- A very effective water softener system
- Setting up and using the tank is simple – you don’t even have to call a plumber
- Clean water in your home for the coming years
- The set includes everything you need to complete the installation job
- Discounted rates to lighten the overall cost
- Automatically receive replacement filters once you join the Water Shield Autoship Club offered by the company
- The water softener is a bit heavy on the wallet
- Users complain that the lifetime warranty is not genuine. Your investment will only get covered for a maximum of 12 years
All in all, the Pelican Advantage Series Salt Water Softener provides great-tasting clean water. It can be a go-to option for those looking to treat their city water, or for those who need a simple yet operative filtration system.
Installation is trouble-free since the instructions are well-specified. Either challenge your DIY skills by doing the work alone or pay additional cash and let a skilled person complete the installation.
The Pelican Advantage Series Salt Water Softener is one of the pricier options on the market, but an excellent value for the money. Both models have good reviews, so we are confident they won’t disappoint you.
Types of Water Softeners
This water softener has four common types: salt-free, magnetic, dual-tank, and salt-based. The salt-based option is the most popular.
Salt-Free Water Softener
As its name suggests, salt-free water softening machines do not remove all the mineral residues found in hard water. Instead, it makes use of a Template Assisted Crystallization system to clean out the water.
The perks of salt-free softeners include retaining the nutritional value of minerals and using less electricity. Most models are reasonably priced. You don’t need meticulous installation and maintenance either.
But since the water is not completely softened, it might be less useful for minimizing spots and stains on cars, faucets, and many other surfaces. This unit is also not ideal for well water sources and locations where the hardness level reaches 75 grains/gallon or higher.
Salt-Based Water Softener
Also known as Ion Exchange Softener, it is the most popular type of water softener on the market. Anyone can install and use salt-based softeners in their home, office, or RV. It implements an ion exchange process where substantial mineral deposits are pulled in a resin bed and then replaced with salt.
Salt-based softeners are proven to be effective at protecting faucets, home appliances, and skin. It won’t leave any traces of minerals and calcium. The added salt is only in a minimal amount, and you won’t even notice it at all.
One drawback we found is that you need to recharge the resin with salt at least once per week. It is also not suitable if you’re practicing a low-salt diet. Most salt-based softeners are full-sized compared to magnetic or salt-free, so you will need ample space to own one.
Magnetic/Electronic Water Softener
If you’re living in a small home or apartment, a magnetic water softener is by far your best option. Similar to salt-free machines, this option also does not remove all heavy minerals from the water.
This option relies on the operative use of a magnetic field to neutralize the water. Magnetic water softeners convert minerals into crystals to prevent the harmful buildup of limescale. It is just a tiny device connected to the pipe system.
While it is not as effective as salt-based options for cleansing water content, magnetic softeners are still a dominant alternative, especially when talking about ease of installation and maintenance. A magnetic water softener is an economical option as well. You can benefit from nutritional elements contained in water.
Dual-Tank Water Softener
One tank contains resin, while another tank is where you create a brine. This option is specifically created for those with high water demand and have a substandard water supply. The dual tank softener operates around-the-clock even throughout the regeneration process.
That means you can still enjoy soft water since the other tank is fully functional and delivers processed water. The machine’s bulky size makes it unfitting for residential properties. Installing it might require technical expertise.
Furthermore, this option has a premium price tag and requires in-depth maintenance. But as we have indicated, you can use it to handle more water and never run out of supplies. It tends to serve large families or commercial properties for longer.
How to Choose Your Water Softener?
Now that you know bits and pieces about the different types of water softeners, the next step is determining what features to look for in a product. Here’s what we can share with you.
First, how do you classify hard water? Countries actually have their own sorting of water hardness. It is measured through grains per gallon or gpg.
For the US, 3.5 to 7 grains per gallon is considered moderately hard, 7 to 10.5 grains per gallon is hard water, and 10.5 grains per gallon and above is very hard. The former is still ideal to use in households.
The machine’s capacity refers to the number of grains per week that it can store before completely refilling.
Small water softening machine: has 16,000 to 32,000 grains per week capacity; perfect for small households, apartments, and recreational vehicles
Medium water softening machine: has 40,000 to 64,000 grains per week capacity; ideal for medium to large houses
Large water softening machine: has 80,000 to 100,000 grains per week capacity; can be used for bigger families, mansions, industrial, and commercial buildings.
Also, note that it is not only about how small or large your area is. The harder your water level is, the more grains you will need. We suggest using a test kit (TDS or total dissolved solids meter) to conclude if you have hard water.
But sometimes, the kit doesn’t provide an accurate result. Another option is sending a water sample to a certified professional laboratory for inclusive analysis, that is, if you’re willing to pay the extra money. Most countries provide a water hardness map for specific areas, so you can also utilize that.
First, you have to measure the area where you plan to install the unit. Most companies indicate their installation specifications online or along with the product.
If space is not an issue, you can opt for a salt-based or dual tank machine. Though, some salt-free models do not take up too much room. Magnetic softeners, on the other hand, use the smallest amount of space.
Particularly for salt-based softening units, the device needs to energize or restore once it runs out of salt. Here, you have two options – time salt or metered.
A timed water system will automatically regenerate at your most convenient time. You have full control over the entire process, which is a good thing. However, it would also mean using more salt than required (short regeneration cycle) and dealing with hard water (long regeneration cycle).
A metered water system is a popular option for homeowners who tend to travel or go outdoors often. It automatically regenerates when necessary, so less worry on your part.
This feature may seem to have no value, but the valve allows you to access hard water. You can use this for other activities that don’t require soft water, such as washing the floor or filling up a pool.
Is the water softener authorized to get rid of certain compounds?
NSF International & Water Quality Association (WQA) are two organizations that certify water softeners. It is actually not a lawful requirement, but products with certifications assure you that they went through laborious testing to meet industry standards. So, you can expect top-quality, safe functions.
Other extra features may draw your interest, but obviously, they come at an additional cost. For example, some water softening units have an automatic feature that alerts owners if the salt is in short supply.
There’s also a DIR, or demand-initiated regeneration, that detects if the resin bed requires replacement. This can help you conserve more water.
Installation and Maintenance Cost
The costs of installing and maintaining a water softener system vary from one manufacturer to another. The total expense will add up if you choose to hire a plumber for the job. Salt-based and dual tank machines are usually more expensive. Upkeep also costs extra money when compared to salt-free and electronic systems.
How to Install Your Water Softener?
If you love a good challenge, then you may want to include water softener installation on your to-do list. Don’t sweat it, since the instructions are well-provided. It is also a bonus to have some plumbing skills.
Let’s walk through the fundamental steps:
- First, of course, make sure you have all the supplies and parts required for the installation. Purchase the accessories at a local store beforehand. Don’t forget to use a clean and safe working area.
- Switch off the primary water supply, the power, and the water heater electricity. Drain the pipes.
- Determine where you want to install the water softener alongside the mainline. Be sure it is well protected from the cold, water floods, and any rough weather conditions.
- Get a copper or PVC cutter to slice into the mainline. Cut only a small section to create two open ends.
- Install three valves on the pipes. The first valve is to prevent water from entering your water softening system, another to prevent water from going out of the machine, and the last one is a bypass control valve.
- Use plastic tubing (with a preferable measurement of 3/8 inches) to attach the resin tank and brine tank.
- Now, use your hose clamp to merge the drain line and drain elbow.
- Lastly, link the release pipe to the wastewater drain.
Some machines require stuffing the brine tank with salt and water. Keep in mind, the installation process differs depending on the product and manufacturer. Companies supply their customers with a detailed user manual for reference.
Check for the programming schedule and the accurate cycle of backwashing the water softener. The guide must also include specific maintenance procedures. Follow the instructions properly and enjoy softened water for years.
Conclusion: Should You Get a Water Softener?
Hard water is a global problem, with over 80 percent of American households being burdened with it. Your appliances’ operation and lifespan are decreased, your laundry will become stiff, and your skin and hair will endure severe damage.
Hard water affecting the taste of your favorite dishes and drinks makes matters even worse. Thanks to these best water softener systems, you can reverse these issues, plus save yourself a lot of trouble and high expenses.
These products are guaranteed to address many water quality concerns. They have the advanced features required to purify your water and preserve good health. Cleaning and maintenance are hassle-free too. So go ahead, pick a product you like most, and your household items will thank you.
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