An efficient water softening system will increase the lifespan of your clothes, improve your plumbing, and protect your appliances.
Is your skin always dry and itchy? Are your sinks and shower areas riddled with stains? Are your clothes looking dingy and soiled despite having just been washed? If so, then you probably have a problem with hard water.
Hard water leaves a scale that ruins the aesthetics of a lot of bathroom and kitchen features. Not only that, the scale sticks to interior surfaces of water heaters, increasing their risk of failure. A study commissioned by the Water Quality Research Council at New Mexico State University found that water heaters operate up to 30% less efficiently when coated in a hard-water scale.
With thousands of water softeners available, we’ve created this piece to draw your attention to five of the best products on the market.
Table of Contents
- iSpring ED2000 Whole House Electronic Descaler Water Conditioner, Alternative Water Softener
- Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener Iron Filter Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Valve 64,000 Grain, 64k for Whole House
- Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, Off-White
- Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener Digital SXT Metered Whole House System
- Hansing Whole House Water Softener System, High-Efficiency Water Descaler, Heavy Duty Hard Water Filter - Reduce Scale and Chlorine for Heater, Shower Head, Dishwasher, Kitchen Sink and Laundry
- Buyers Guide:
- Frequency Asked Questions
- Final Verdict
This product is ranked as one of the leading water softeners by The Spruce and MSN. Its popularity is mainly because it costs less than many of the cheapest salt-based chemical softeners available.
Petite and inexpensive, this product is also easy to install. You simply wrap the coils provided around your pipe, plug the device in, and your descaler is in immediate operation.
This device uses electromagnetic force. This means that you’ll never have to worry about noise from machine regeneration or spend money replacing salt every few months.
Most users have claimed to notice immediate improvements. Bathtub rings, toilet stains, and showerhead scale buildup have suddenly vanished. Others have claimed that their skin irritation has improved and that their hair and body soaps lather better after purchasing and using the iSpring ED2000.
This product comes with a range of different capacity options, ranging from 32.000 grains to 80,000 grains. The technology that this machine uses means that it can provide the correct amount of soft water, no matter the size of your household.
Considering hardness scaling, it’s a fact that water with more than seven gpg or 120 ppm lies in the category of hard water. The Fleck 5600SXT is powerful enough to handle incredibly hard water, with scales of up to 85 gpg or 1456 ppm.
This particular softener can remove, via ion exchange, ferrous iron and ferric iron. This means that it can completely eradicate iron from your water system. Say goodbye to brown stains on tiles and equipment, as well as sediment buildup inside your pipes and plumbing systems.
This particular model is ideal for households of 1-4 people and can remove up to 8ppm of clear water iron.
It’s NSF certified to decrease hard water symptoms like the buildup of scale on plumbing and faucets, spotting on dishes, and stains on clothing.
Whirpool is an excellent brand, and their water softeners automatically calculate how much saltwater is needed to regenerate, only using the necessary amount to balance out your water. This leads to significant savings in water and salt over time.
This model comes with full 1-year parts and labor guarantee. However, this can be extended if you purchase three bottles of Whirlpool WHEWSC water softener cleanser.
The WHES30E is also designed, assembled, and engineered in the USA.
This complete, whole-house water softening unit has a high-efficiency Fleck 5600SXT Digital ‘On-Demand’ control valve. It also uses high-capacity extra long-life resin, as is prevalent in all of the Fleck water softening systems.
Hard water is removed using an ion-exchange process that removes the magnesium and calcium that cause hard water. By eliminating this hard water, you will extend the lifespan of all your plumbing and appliances.
This particular system uses a meter-based regeneration process. This measures all the water that you use and only regenerates when necessary. If your water needs increase, the system will automatically regenerate more often to meet your demands.
The valves on these systems have a 5-year warranty and have been tested to work continuously for up to 27 years!
This model is a salt-free water softener that uses ¾” FNPT Stainless Steel threading. It’s able to soften water with no added phosphorus or sodium, with an efficiency rating of up to 98%.
With this machine, there is no requirement for routine maintenance tasks associated with water softeners such as fouling, salting, and programming. Softening technology uses coconut activated carbon and polysaccharide, making it healthier than industrial alternatives and chemical-free.
Water will no longer form a scale on household appliances, but some essential minerals can be retained. The manufacturer states that 99.5% of odors, chlorine, and bad tastes can be removed.
The housing of this model is made entirely from 304 stainless steel, and the efficiency of this particular product is still able to reach 95% with up to 45 grains of hard water.
Excluding filter systems, there are three main categories of water softener solutions available:
Salt-based water softeners use salt to replace hard water ions, resulting in a softening of the water. These units use a tank for resin beads and a brine tank or salt chamber, which must be topped up to keep the machines running efficiently.
A process called ‘regeneration’ refreshes the resin beads and in turn, softens the water. These models are typically low-maintenance, as they usually are timer or meter-based. However, they are often relatively large and must be installed close to a drain so that all wastewater can be efficiently drained.
Salt-free systems utilize nano-technology to transform the atomic structure of water and soften it up. If limescale has already started to build up your home plumbing system, this form of water softening efficiently removes this from the plumbing so that the situation doesn’t worsen.
The running costs of salt-free systems are generally lower, and easy to maintain. Additionally, they have the advantage of not needing to be installed near a drain. They are considered eco-friendlier, but they can be ineffective in totally removing all of the hardness from your water.
For those that have small apartments or want to save space, electromagnetic systems are the most minor units available. They work by placing magnetic wires around water pipes, changing the structure of water molecules, and softening the water. These systems are perfect for low to medium-hard water and are also environmentally-friendly. They are also easy to install and low maintenance, as well as being inexpensive to run.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Water Softener:
The majority of water softeners work by using salt to remove minerals from your water supply. Water softener salts are available in salt ‘cake’ form or crystalline form. Some filters will work with any kind of salt, while others will need to work with a specific type of salt. Check beforehand so that you can make the most practical decision depending on the mineral content of your local water supply.
Bigger tanks with bigger filters typically last longer and require less maintenance than smaller tanks. This has an impact on running costs for the device and the types of filters that it will use.
Efficiency is vital for any product that you decide to purchase to soften your water. Consider the size of the reservoir, the amount of salt that it contains, and how long the supply will last before it must be topped up. Also, take into consideration how long the filters will last before they need replacing.
Frequency Asked Questions
How Much Does a Good Water Softener Cost?
The cost varies depending on the manufacturer, the type of softener used, and the quality of the machine itself. Homeowners can pay as little as $400 for DIY installation, with prices rising as high as $4,000 for a professional installation.
Are Water Softeners Worth It?
Although they can be expensive, they are worth the investment as softened water has a host of benefits. Water softeners can improve the efficiency of hot-water, plumbing, and heating systems. 1.6mm of scale buildup can cause a 12% decrease in heating efficiency.
How Long do Water Softeners Last?
As with all appliances, water softeners only last for a certain amount of time. Eventually, their components break down, electrical problems can occur, and they can stop working. Although they can last much longer if well maintained, they have a generic lifespan of between ten and fifteen years.
Having looked at a range of products, we recommend the iSpring ED2000 as it’s efficient, cost-effective, compact, easy to install, noise-free, and chemical-free and popular. For those looking to spend a little extra for a more premium product, the Hansing Softener System is another excellent salt-free, whole-house water softening product.