The quality of the water that you are using at home is important for you and your family members. To ensure that the water you use is clean from chemical pollutants, a good solution is installing a water softener. If you’re looking for the best water softener system for well water, your residence or company, you have come to the right place.
Below you can find the best home water softener comparison chart of top 10 products and whole house water softener reviews of each one that should help you to find the right water softening system that will be most efficient for your home. Read on for the reviews and descriptions below the chart of the best soft water softener systems based on their performance, quality and water softener ratings.
- nuvoH2O Manor Complete Salt-Free Water Softening System
- Grains: 60,000
- Dimensions: 31.3 x 10.1 x 8.8
- Price: $$$
- Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 Portable Water Softener
- Grains: 10,000
- Dimensions: 21 x 9.5 x 9
- portable, uses standard table salt
- Price: $
- Fleck 5600SXT digitial sxt metered whole house system
- Grains: 48,000
- Dimensions: 10" x 54" tank, 14" x 17" x 33" brine tank
- meter based regeneration
- Price: $$
- WaterBoss 220 Grain Water Softener
- Grains: 22,000
- Dimensions: 18.8 x 14.8 x 25.8
- additional sediment and dirt filters
- Price: $$
- Eddy Electronic Water Descaler - Water Softener Alternative
- Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.6 x 3.5
- descaler, reduces the effects of hard minerals
- Price: $
Water Softener Reviews
- Water Softener Reviews
- Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener
- NuvoH20 Manor Complete Water Softening System
- Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 Portable Water Softener
- WaterBoss 220 Water Softener
- Morton Salt MSD34C System Saver Water Softener
- Aquasana EQ-SS20 SimplySoft Water Softener
- Iron Pro 2 Water Softener
- Green Wave Cascade 15 GPM: Water Softener Alternative
- Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
- How Do Water Softeners Work?
- Top Water Softener Brands List
- What Is A Water Softener?
- Do I Need A Water Softener?
- What Is Hard Water?
- How To Test For Hard Water?
- Types of Water Softeners
- Common Water Softener Problems – Troubleshooting
- Water Softener Maintenance and Tips to Keeping It Healthy
- The Bottom Line
Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener
This Fleck water softener, which is one of the best rated water softeners, is a whole house system that’s designed to eliminate hard water, as well as the scale build up. Getting the water free of calcium and magnesium ions, your household’s plumbing and appliances will have their life extended.
Fleck is one of the most known brands in the water softener industry. They’re known to provide great quality products, and this Fleck 5600SXT is no exception.
The system of this water softener works by removing magnesium and calcium ions using the ion exchange process. It features a digital on-demand control valve allowing you to control the meter based regeneration process. To save water you can regenerate only when you need to use the water. If your water needs increase, this water softener system will regenerate more often to keep you with enough water supply.
This system features the new digital controller from Fleck. The SXT controller comes with several great features, including touchpad controls, an LCD display, a user-friendly interface, and internal power backup of 48 hours.
The tank of Fleck 5600SXT is made of durable poly glass and the manufacturer provides a 10 year warranty for it.
The model includes a standard brine tank that can hold up to 250 pounds of pelleted salt. The system is also equipped with safety measures, among which is a safety float, that’s designed to prevent overfilling and overflow of the drain.
This water system is one of the most popular products of Fleck and it’s perfect for households with 3 to 6 people. It has received the best reviews by its multiple users.
NuvoH20 Manor Complete Water Softening System
NuvoH20 is also one of the top water softeners that provides a natural solution to issues with hard water. The Manor system uses a technology that lowers the pH level of water using the process of chelation. In this process the hard minerals remain soluble and it makes them unable to cling to appliances and pipes.
It’s a salt-free system that will soften the water, remove and prevent hard water buildup that causes corrosion in plumbing fixtures and home appliances.
It has a compact size and the capacity of 60,000 gallons, making it perfect for homes with 6 or more people or with over 2,000 square feet space.
The process it uses to condition the water in your house is eco-friendly and it provides soft and healthy water that you can use for all of your household needs.
Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 Portable Water Softener
Watts RV PRO-1000 water softener, also sometimes called the M7002, is perfect for an avid traveller as it is easily portable. So if you live in a motor home or travel and camp in an RV and you are having hard water issues, this could be a great choice. Since most of the camping and RV parks usually have very hard water, these water softeners could be a convenient solution to have healthier water all the time.
It will take up some space of your luggage as it measures 8 x 22 inches in size. However, this unit runs on normal table salt, which frees you of the hassle of bringing with you heavy bags of special salt that’s usually used for most of the water softeners.
The installation of Watts RV PRO-1000 water softeners is very easy and it works really fast. In just 20 minutes the regeneration process will be done. Each time for every new regeneration process you will need about 2 pounds of salt.
This unit comes with the included testing strips, allowing to check for yourself the effects of it on the water after its installation.
WaterBoss 220 Water Softener
WaterBoss 220 is designed to provide whole house efficiency. With the capacity of 22,000 grain removal, this is a great water softener for a family of four.
This model has a compact design that you can easily install into tight places. Though small, this unit is very efficient. In as little as 18 minutes with 2.5 salt setting, WaterBoss can finish the regenerating process. Taking less time for regeneration, this unit uses less water.
WaterBoss 220 water softeners can soften up to 70 grains per gallon. They also filter sediment and dirt down to 20 nominal microns, and reduce up to 10 parts per million (ppm) of ferrous iron. All this results in soft and healthy water.
This model is very easy to install and it comes with everything you will need to hook it up.
- Metered water softener with 1.25" Fleck
- Grains: 64,000
- Dimensions: 18" diameter x 33" brine tank
- metered regeneration
- Price: $$$
- Morton Salt Company 34M Wtr Softener
- Grains: 34,000
- Dimensions: 18.2 x 13.2 x 48
- combined brine and mineral tank, "Look Ahead" technology
- Price: $$
- Aquasana EQ-SS20 SimplySoft Salt-Free Water Softener
- Grains: 50,000
- Dimensions: 14 x 5 x 23
- Price: $
- Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT
- Grains: 64,000
- Dimensions: 12 D x 48H
- meter based regeneration
- Price: $$
- Metered water softener with 1.25" Fleck
- MEP media life: 5 years
- Dimensions: 9D x 52.5H
- salt-free, dual-stage carbon filter, no backwashing
- Price: $$$
Morton Salt MSD34C System Saver Water Softener
This water softener system allows you to provide whole house water conditioning without it taking up much space. Unlike many other units it doesn’t have a separate brine and mineral tank, but has them combined in one.
This model is also more cost-effective in its operation than many other water softeners of other brands, using half less salt than them.
To soften the water, Morton MSD34C uses the common ion exchange technology that works by exchanging the magnesium and calcium ions with softer water ions like sodium. The exchange process occurs when the water passes through a chamber that has tiny resin beads.
This is a 34,000 grain water softening unit, so if you have a bigger family, you might need to look for a water softener with a bigger capacity.
The installation is easy and the unit includes everything required for it, as well as an installation guide.
This Morton model also features the patented system saver technology that’s called “Look Ahead”. It learns the patterns of water usage in your household and will regenerate only when it’s necessary, which is useful for saving water.
Aquasana EQ-SS20 SimplySoft Water Softener
This Aquasana EQ-SS20 is an inexpensive water softening model that uses salt-free technology. It uses its own innovative SLOW PHOS technology that provides natural conditioning of the water and protects the plumbing fixtures from corrosion without using the added sodium. This makes it eco-friendly and one more on our list of best water treatment systems.
To soften the water, this technology alters the ionic charge of the hard minerals, which results in reducing their attraction to each other in the water. With their ionic charge altered, hard minerals are unable to lump together and won’t create scale.
This Aquasana is a salt-free system, so it won’t demineralize your water. Also it doesn’t excessively add sodium into the water system, making it safe for the environment.
The water softener system reviews for this model are mostly positive. The users are satisfied with the price and the performance of the unit.
Aquasana is a popular brand that except whole house water softening systems also manufactures shower filters.
Iron Pro 2 Water Softener
Iron Pro 2 uses meter based regeneration and can treat up to 16 GPM. The resin made of fine mesh is made to filter better and last longer. It effectively eliminates hard water and prevents scale buildup. The system can also remove ferrous iron and manganese.
Using the meter based regeneration the unit will regenerate only when it’s needed. If you increase your water needs, the system will work to keep up with it. And if otherwise, the water usage decreases, it will make according changes to save water.
Iron Pro 2 system features the Fleck 5600SXT digital controller and is built on 5600 valve. The controller comes with great features, such as a backlit LCD display with a user friendly interface, 48 internal power backup, and touchpad controls.
Green Wave Cascade 15 GPM: Water Softener Alternative
This is one of the water softener alternatives and it is the most advanced system that allows to remove scale buildup without use of chemicals, salt and electricity. This system is a more pricier alternative, but it offers quality.
The installation of Green Wave Cascade is almost effortless, as it requires no backwashing filter and no drain. The system maintenance also won’t create any hassle, as there won’t be any heavy bags of salt or resin to deal with.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the traditional water softeners, this is a great choice.
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
This is a low cost and eco-friendly alternative to standard water softeners. Using electromagnetic waves, Eddy water descaler reduces the effects of magnesium and calcium ions in hard water without altering its chemical hardness. It doesn’t remove them, as it is not an actual water softener, but reducing their effects it prevents and removes scaling in pipes.
To install this unit you won’t need to do any plumbing and it’s really easy. Also the system doesn’t require any maintenance.
Eddy water descaler system is a more affordable alternative to water softeners. It doesn’t provide as good results as water softener, so if your water is not extremely hard, it will effectively help you to deal with the issue.
How Do Water Softeners Work?
To understand the concept behind the process of how water softeners work the video below will be very helpful.
Using hard water on a daily basis can have many negative side effects. You might experience dry skin and hair, as well as rough clothes and more.
To find the best water softener, there’re several important details you should know. First, you will need a unit that will be able to provide enough softening water for the whole family. So look for a powerful enough unit, but at the same time it shouldn’t be too powerful, as it will be a waste of money.
Secondly, you should find an appropriate space to accommodate the water softener and buy one with the size that will fit that space.
If you have decided to purchase a water softener system, you probably know what hard water is. When water is passing underground rocks and soils, it carries with it the so-called hard minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and other metals. Hard minerals in the water you use at home can have the following negative effects on you and your home.
Scale from dissolved magnesium and calcium will build up in the plumbing fixtures, and will cause erosion and clogged pipes.
The hard minerals will make the fabric of your clothes rough and dingy, thus in short time they might start looking worn out.
Water Softeners works by destroying calcium, magnesium, and certain other hard minerals in water. They are usually measured by the capacity of grain removal. Water softeners usually require salt for their operation, however, some of the units can also work on such alternatives as potassium chloride or no salt at all.
Top Water Softener Brands List
Below we have listed some of the most popular water softener manufacturers that stand out and which consistently receive top ratings from users.
- Fleck – one of the oldest water treatment brands. Fleck has been on the market for over 50 years and has led the way in implementing the advancing technologies in control valves, water softeners and filtration applications. It is the top recommended brand of water softeners. Fleck products have the best reviews and highest ratings.
- Waterboss – one more brand with long experience in helping people improve the water quality in their homes. They have a range of water softeners with quite high ratings. The water softening systems they produce are made with the concept of reducing the water wastage. So their units use less water than any other water softener on the market.
- Morton – a known brand by many mostly because of the salt products. It’s been producing salt for over 160 years and is still the leading salt producer in North America. Except different types of salt, in their line of products they also have water softeners. There are several units available that have received a wide range of positive reviews from buyers.
- Aquasana – this well-known brand has also been on the market for a while providing products for clean water and healthy environment. They focus on providing water filtration and softening products but with keeping the environment in mind. The products are engineered with minimal waste and reusable parts. They have some good whole house water softening systems, shower head filters and faucet filters.
- Culligan – this trusted name has been on the market of water treatment industry for around 75 years and has proved to be a reputable brand. They have a wide range of water treatment products.
What Is A Water Softener?
A water softener is a home appliance that uses an ion exchange process in order to remove hard minerals from the water running in your home. The hard minerals that get to be removed are calcium and magnesium. These minerals are absorbed from the earth.
There are many disadvantages of using the water with these minerals in it: it causes residue and buildup in the home appliances and pipes, the soaps and detergents don’t lather well, it creates white buildup on the dishes and makes your hair and clothes look dull.
Most of the time water softening units consist of two tanks: a water tank and a brine tank. One of the tanks contains resin beads, which have an opposite electrical charge to that of calcium and magnesium. As a result, when the water flows into the tank, an ion exchange process occurs and the hard minerals are exchanged with soft ones. The soft minerals can be either sodium or potassium chloride. These minerals you need to regularly add to the water softener in order for it to regenerate.
Do I Need A Water Softener?
When considering if you need a water softener or not, you will first need to find out if the water in your home is hard or not. Below you can find more information on how to test and determine if you have hard water and what it really is.
After determining that you do have in fact hard water, you will need to decide if you do want to purchase a water softener to combat it. Also when testing the water you should determine the hardness level it has, so if you do decide to obtain a water softening system, you would be able to get the right one for your needs.
As we have mentioned above there are many problems that hard water can cause to a household. It can be not just inconvenient, but also unhealthy and expensive as hard water affects your skin and hair and also shortens the lifespan of home appliances. So if you have hard water, your best choice would be to purchase a water softener. They can be quite expensive but in the long run you will actually save money, and your health will benefit as well.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that contains high quantity if dissolved minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium. It’s a very common problem that affects more than 85% of households in the country.
What causes hard water? The rainwater falling onto the ground is naturally soft. But when it makes its way through the ground and eventually into our home waterways, the water picks up from the rocks and underground sand minerals like lime, chalk, and mainly calcium and magnesium. Some people prefer drinking hard water as it contains the essential minerals. It has health benefits and a good flavor, while soft water usually has a salty taste and not always suitable for drinking. But why would we want to soften our water then?
The difference you can spot when doing household chores, in the shower and on the appliances and clothing. It takes a toll on home appliances, which leads to them using more energy. It leaves spots and residue on faucets, bathtubs, dishes and dishwasher. It makes the clothes look dingy and doesn’t let soap lather well.
The hardness of the water can be measured in two terms: either parts per million (PPM) or grains per gallon of water (GPG). In most of the U.S. households the hard water level is between 3.5 and 10.5. Below 3.5 GPG you will probably not notice any negative effects of the hard water.
How To Test For Hard Water?
To determine if you have hard water issues, before purchasing a water softener you should do a water test. You can either do a test with just some home tools or get a test kit that will give you results on all types of contaminants in the water.
For the unscientific home test you will need just a plastic bottle and soap liquid washing soap. Take an empty small plastic bottle and fill it up with water about halfway. Then add 5-6 drops of liquid soap and screw on the bottle cap. Give the bottle a couple of good shakes and remove the cap. If it’s full of soap suds, you do not have hard water. But if the water didn’t foam up but only created a soapy film on the surface of the water, then most likely your water is hard.
If you know that your home water is hard, you can get a DIY test kit to more specifically measure the hardness. There’s a wide range of these kits available for purchase on Amazon.
If you are not sure what is the exact issue with the water in your house, then these kits will also help you to find out that. They test for all the water contaminants, so after the test you will be easier for you to decided what kind of water treatment unit: a water softener or a water purifier.
Types of Water Softeners
Basically there’s just one type of water softeners – the traditional one. All the standard water softeners use for their hard water processing either sodium or potassium chloride. Using one or the other has its own benefits and disadvantages, and it’s more to individual’s preference. Mostly, however, people use sodium chloride.
Except standard units, there are several other water softening systems, such as salt-free water softeners, electronic and magnetic water softeners.
Salt-free systems usually just condition and descale the water, though they are still sometimes called water softeners. For changing the hard minerals’ composition these systems use template assisted crystallization (TAC). In the result of the crystallization the minerals don’t stick to each other and don’t adhere to pipes. So this type of water descaling might not soften the water, but will help to prevent clogging in pipes and appliances.
Electronic water softeners consist of wires that are wrapped around the water pipes and act by changing the charge of the hard mineral ions. Just like the salt free units, these systems don’t soften the water and the hard minerals are not removed. They are only prevented from adhering to pipes and other plumbing fixtures.
Magnetic water softeners are made with a similar concept to electronic water softening devices. They are strong magnets that are attached to the pipes. The idea behind it is just like with electronic ones. The magnets disrupt the charge of the hard minerals’ ions, and as a result the clogging in the plumbing fixtures is prevented.
Common Water Softener Problems – Troubleshooting
Water softeners are a complex system and as with any complex machine, it has the potential to have problems. Most of the water softener companies offer technical assistance. However, a lot of the problems can be easily solved by the user himself without the professional help which can turn out to be quite costly. However, if you are not sure about the cause of the issue, it’s best to advise a technician. Also make sure that your warranty is not invalidated if you try to troubleshoot the appliance yourself. Below are some of the common problems that could occur in the process of water softener’s operation.
If your water softener has stopped running completely and doesn’t seem to be doing anything, to find the problem start by checking the following.
- Check the bypass valve. The bypass valve is the fixture that keeps the water flowing through the unit. So make sure that it’s open.
- Check the power. If your water softener is an electricity powered unit, make sure that it’s plugged into a live outlet and check that it has power.
- Check the brine tank if it has enough salt.
- Do a manual regeneration cycle. On most of the units you will find a lever on the control box, pushing which will start manual regeneration.
Other common problems of water softeners that you can troubleshoot without a technician’s help include blockages, salt bridges, motor failure, user error, or resin beads breaking.
As the salt and minerals flow through the pipeline, after some time they can start to accumulate and create deposits. The created deposits block the line of the water flow, thus impeding the path through the tank. Blockages usually occur either in the brine line or the filter screen.
One of the signs that the water softener has a line blockage is a considerable difference in the softening of water. If you discover a huge decrease in the water softening, you should check the lines for blockages.
However, this problem can be easily fixed. Start by turning off the water supply to your water softener by either turning off the incoming faucet or the bypass valve. Tap the salt or other buildup until it breaks up. Using a scoop or just a container, remove the loose buildup.
Sometimes sodium can create a deposit inside the brine tank, forming a hard crust at the bottom of it. Several factors could cause the salt bridges to form. It could be that you are using the wrong kind of salt, high humidity of the area where the water softener is installed, or water temperature of the area where the unit is operating.
Salt bridges create an empty space between the water and salt. So it prevents the regeneration cycle of the system since the salt can’t dissolve in the water. So if you notice that the water softener is not softening the water, there’s a high chance that the cause is a salt bridge.
Salt bridges are also quite easy to fix. You can either hire expensive professional help or fix the problem yourself by just using something like a broom to break up the crust. All the loosened build up, as well as the crust around the edges, should be cleaned out.
As with any other appliance, the motor is vital for proper work of your water softener. If the system fails to start, the issue is most likely the motor. However, before concluding that it is a motor failure, check that it’s not the disconnected cables that are causing the issue. If the issue is with the motor, it’s best to contact your manufacturer who will send a technician to check the system or offer a replacement motor.
Water softener is a system that requires the user to input certain settings. So it’s a manual process and with any manual process things could go wrong due to user error. Most of the water softening systems are easy to use. However, some of the more advanced systems require more technical knowledge. To avoid the user error, make sure that you properly follow the instructions of the manual. And if you do get a user error, refer to your manual again for troubleshooting.
Resin Beads Breaking
Resin beads are only present in salt-based water softeners. Usually, they should last a lifetime. However, like with anything else, there’s still a chance of it breaking. It’s easy to determine if the beads are not working properly, as you will see small particles of the beads floating in the softened water. Also, if your system requires more frequent recharging, check the beads working improperly as a potential cause.
The solution to this issue is either to clean them or completely replace them. For more details, you can check the user manual for your system.
Water Softener Maintenance and Tips to Keeping It Healthy
Water softeners usually with very little maintenance can last a long time. However, it’s advisable to perform regular checks to make sure its optimal functioning. So below are some answers to some of the most common questions that there are regarding the water softener maintenance.
How often should I add salt?
Salt is an essential part of the whole water softening process. Either it is using sodium or potassium chloride, the system will require you to regularly add it for the regeneration process. So if you are not sure how much salt you need to add, the following factors will help you determine how much is needed for exactly your system:
- The size of your brine tank.
- The level of water hardness in your area.
- Quantity of people in your household.
- Your average household water consumption.
So if you have a larger family, you will probably require more water and will have a bigger sized water softener, consequently you will need more salt. To make it easier for you to control the regular salt addition, most of the water softeners and conditioners have valve control panel. This panel does all the calculations and you’ll know exactly when you will need to regenerate and when to add salt.
How much salt should i keep in the brine tank?
At all times the brine tank should be about a quarter full with water softening salt. However, you should also keep it no more than six inches below the top of the tank which will provide optimum efficiency.
The salt level should always remain about a few inches above the water level. Before adding more salt to the brine tank, make sure that there’s no salt crust sticking to the base or edges of the tank. So if there’re, loosen and break them up, after which remove it from the tank. If it’s difficult to break up, pour some hot water over it.
How much salt is required for my water softener?
For each water softening system the amount of salt required will differ. It will also depend on your water usage. So when buying a water softener, it’s important to size correctly. An average residential system will use about 10 pounds of salt per week.
How much water should there be in the brine tank?
Usually the brine tank also contains some water at the bottom of it. But usually it’s not more than 12 inches high.
Other Useful Tips
- Use salt pellets with iron remover. Regular rock salt might be less expensive, but the contaminants can cause problems in the long run. It can create sediment buildup in the brine tank. Also, it can clog the injector and the control valve.
- Add the salt only when almost all of it in the tank is already used up. Also, when refilling the tank, make it no more than two thirds full.
- Iron-Out is very helpful at cleaning the resin bed, as well as the parts in the control valve. So you can use it once a year, to keep the system clean.
- Once a year perform cleaning of the brine tank of its contaminants.
The Bottom Line
The top 10 water softeners we have included in this article are all whole house water softening systems. They provide softened water to all water supplies in the house, including the shower, kitchen and others.
If you’re looking to prevent scale buildup in your household or certain appliances, there’re also other systems that help with that. For certain appliances you can use inline water filters. For particular taps you can use reverse osmosis water filters, that will reduce the salt level and purify the water, making it alkaline.
The best water softener reviews included on this page are based on our research of different brands and models available on the market in this industry. We have reviewed their ratings, features, and reviews of users who have purchased these models.
There are other good models that are also very effective and also near to these top rated water softeners. One of them is On the Go portable water softener. It’s benefit is that it doesn’t require special installation and you can use it in your RV.
We hope that the information we have provided in these water softeners reviews was helpful for you and that you were able to choose the right water softener for your home, the one that will fit your needs and your price range.