Best Water Softener: What Should You Get This 2018

Best Water Softener

Welcome to a review of the best water softener. Hard water destroys water lines, pipes and plumbing fixtures of all kinds. Glassware and flatware never come completely clean. It is responsible for an untold number of bad-hair days.

This review will help you find the best water softener for you.

Best Water Softener

There is incredible diversity in the water softener market.

At one end of the spectrum, we have the traditional methods that involve using sodium chloride (table salt).

On the other end, we have the high-tech solutions, some of which don’t even require chemicals or maintenance.

Some units do more than just soften water. It would be a simple matter to rank the best salt-based water softeners and ignore all the others. However, that would do an injustice to the other options that are available.

For that reason, this review examines a cross section of the water softener market, showing a little bit of everything. Some of the units are so different from each other that it would be impossible to come up with a way to judge which is better than the other.

For that reason, please take the star ratings with a grain of salt as they are just estimates.

How We Chose Our Ratings For The Best Water Softener

Because so many of these solutions don’t lend themselves to a side-by-side comparison, we had to depend on manufacturers descriptions, specifications and customer reviews.

Even with that information, it is difficult to tell which units are best overall. As a potential customer, we leave this up to you. You know your situation better than anyone.

For example, say you are under a doctor’s orders to reduce sodium intake. If you wish to continue drinking tap water, you should probably avoid water softeners that use sodium chloride.

However, if you choose a water softener that uses sodium chloride, you should probably switch to bottled water.

As you will see, there are no perfect solutions to the problems of hard water.

Product

Details

Price & Rating

Fleck 5600SXT

Fleck 5600SXT best water softener

Item Weight: 147 pounds

Capacity: 48,000 grain high capacity

Product Dimensions: 60 x 24 x 60 in Water


Consumption: 12 GPM

Warranty: 12 month warranty

Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener

Fleck IRON Pro 2 best water softener

Item Weight: -

Capacity:
80,000 Grains

Product Dimensions: -
Water Consumption: -

Warranty:
5 year warranty

Tier1 Digital Water Softener

Tier1 best water softener

Item Weight: 135.6 pounds

Capacity: -

Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 62 in
Water Consumption: -

Warranty: -

WaterBoss best water softener

Item Weight: 135.6 pounds

Capacity: -

Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 62 in
Water Consumption: -

Warranty: -

Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener

Eddy Electronic Water Descaler - Water Softener

Item Weight: 1.45 pounds

Capacity: -

Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.6 x 3.5 in
Water Consumption: -

Warranty: 12 month 100% "no quibble" Money-Back Guarantee + Lifetime Repair or Replace warranty.

Fleck 7000 SXT Water Softener

Fleck 7000 SXT best water softener

Item Weight: 132 pounds

Capacity:  48,000Mineral

Product Dimensions: 

10x54Maximum
Water Consumption: 16 GPM Approximate

Warranty: -

EcoPure EP7130 Water Softener

EcoPure best water softener

Item Weight: 132 pounds

Capacity:  48,000Mineral

Product Dimensions: 

10x54Maximum
Water Consumption: 16 GPM Approximate

Warranty: -

Nuvo H2O DPMB Manor Water System

Nuvo H2O best water softener

Item Weight: 20.3 pounds

Capacity:  -

Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 10.5 x 28.4 in
Water Consumption: -

Warranty: -

Aquios FS-220 Salt-Free Water Softener and Filtration System

Aquios FS-220 best water softener

Item Weight: 7.5 pounds

Capacity:  -

Product Dimensions: 

27 x 10 x 8 in
Water Consumption: -

Warranty: -20 year warranty on the housing and valve

Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener

Hard Water Bullet Poly Salt Free Water Softener best water softener

Item Weight: 135.6 pounds

Capacity: -

Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 62 in
Water Consumption: -

Warranty: -

Aquasana Salt-Free Water Softener

Aquasana EQ-SS20 best water softener

Item Weight: 135.6 pounds

Capacity: -

Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 62 in
Water Consumption: -

Warranty: -

Whirlpool WHES48 PRO Model 48,000 Grain Water Softener

Whirlpool WHES48 best water softener

Item Weight: 135.6 pounds

Capacity: -

Product Dimensions: 

10 x 10 x 62 in
Water Consumption: -

Warranty: -

Top 12 Water Softeners

Fleck 5600SXT

There are a lot of features which make a top pick. The unit reviewed is rated at 48,000 grains per day. It’s pretty much everything you could ask for in a salt-based unit.

Many units like this waste substantial amounts of water during the regeneration phase. This alternative is very stingy with water. There is a flow meter at the heart of this system which manages the regeneration cycle.

For moderately hard water, this unit will support a household of up to 6 people at a flow rate of 12 gallons per minute. The salt comes in the form of resin beads which are non-toxic and can be safely discarded once they are depleted.

There is also a model that will soften 64,000 grains per day.

We are comfortable labeling this the best water softener reviewed.

Pros

Cons

  • Gives excellent water quality
  • Some reviews say that they had a hard time installing it

Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener

What makes this a combination water softener? It’s the addition of an iron filter. This is rated to soften 64,000 grains of water hardness per day.

This has enough capacity to soften the water for a large house. It is also available in 32,000, 40,000, 48,000 and 80,000 grain sizes. Part of the secret to the success of this water softener is the inclusion of the highly efficient Fleck 5600SXT control valve. 

It also removes manganese and filters out sediment, sand and rust. This is a multipurpose appliance which does virtually the entire job of water filtration and conditioning.

Pros

Cons

  • Good unit with excess capacity Relatively straight forward install
  • If the smell is really strong you will want to add an acid neutralizer.

Tier1 Digital Water Softener

This digital system incorporates the Fleck 5600SXT control unit for higher efficiency. One thing that makes this different is that it allows you to control the water pressure and flow rate of the water. 

The model reviewed is rated for 48,000 grains. The Fleck control unit allows regeneration cycles to be programmed by time or amount of water used rather than a fixed schedule.

This feature will minimize water wasted during regeneration.

Pros

Cons

  • Very similar to Fleck but with some nice features
  •  It uses too much salt

WaterBoss 700 22,000 Grain Capacity Water Softener

Not everyone needs a big whole-house water softener. The WaterBoss 700 only softens up to 22,000 grains per day. If 22,000 meets your needs, this masterpiece of simplicity is for you. Regeneration takes 18 minutes, 16 gallons of water and 2.5 pounds of salt. It can also function as an iron water filter.

WaterBoss also manufactures a model 900 rated at 36,400 grains.

Pros

Cons

  • Very small unit, that was easy to install
  • A drain is required nearby the system

Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener

This is the first model reviewed that does not need salt or any other chemical to make it work. Strictly speaking, however, it is not a true water softener.

One of the problems with hard water is that it damages plumbing. The calcium builds up in the pipes and damages them. While it is building up you will notice that the water pressure and flow become less and less.

The Eddy Water Descaler uses electricity and magnetic fields to change the composition of calcium such that it will not accumulate on the inside of the pipes.

The calcium is still in the water and the water is still hard, but your plumbing is protected.

Pros

Cons

  • Small & compact size
  • Must be installed inside.

Fleck 7000 SXT Water Softener

At 30,000 grains, this whole house water softener handles fewer people with moderately hard water.

It is efficient because regeneration is not driven by a schedule. Rather, it is driven the hardness of the water and the amount of water used. It also removes clear-water iron.

Pros

Cons

  • Great Tasting Water when paired with an awesome filter!
  • It is extremely heavy

EcoPure EP7130 Water Softener

This is a large whole-house system rated at 64,000 grains. It’s very efficient with its use of salt and water. The system is more costly than other comparable systems, but the efficiency of operation should more than offset that cost over time.

It is backed by a five-year warranty and comes with lifetime support.

Structurally, this is superior to other units, and this quality is reflected in the weight. Even the salt comes in hundred-pound bags which can make refilling it a two-person job.

Pros

Cons

  • The low salt indicator reminds you every time you need to replenish the salt in the system. 
  • Homeowners may find the manual a little hard to understand.

Nuvo H2O DPMB Manor Water System

This water softener is different from the others being reviewed in several ways. First, it is a cartridge-based system. Each cartridge can soften approximately 35,000 gallons of water.

Second, it uses a substance other than salt. It contains a proprietary agent that lowers the PH level of the water, changing the calcium and eliminating its hardening effect.

In addition to treating the water, it works at reversing the damage caused by the calcium buildup in the pipes. It is reasonable to expect that the technology behind this device may one day take the lead in the world of water softening.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to use and operate
Cell

Aquios FS-220 Salt-Free Water Softener and Filtration System

This is a cartridge-based system that combines water softening and filtration. However, as with a previous review, the water softening is not true water softening.

It is water softening in the sense that it will not only stop calcium buildup but will also reverse the effects of previous deposits. The water itself, however, is not soft.

The hard water characteristics that negatively affect washing and bathing are still present in the water.

Pros

Cons

  • Combined water softener and filtration system
  • No indicator of when filter capacity / replacement is approaching

Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener


This small unit could be considered a point-of-use device. It removes calcium from the water using polyphosphates. In addition to filtering calcium, it also removes iron.

You could easily put this in a kitchen or in a laundry room.

Pros

Cons

  • Awesome and Simple
  • Some buyer say it is overprice

Aquasana Salt-Free Water Softener

This is a high-end system with a price to match. Of course, that may not be a bad deal since it was designed to operate for 10 years and filter a million gallons of water.

In addition to softening water, it removes most chlorine as well. It also reduces the levels of heavy metals. It uses no salt or other chemicals, so it doesn’t harm the environment. The installation process looks to be more difficult than the average water softener.

The salt-free operation is the result of something called SCM technology. As with some other water softeners, the purpose is not so much to soften the water as it is to protect the plumbing.

Pros

Cons

  • Awesome and Simple
  • Some buyer say it is overpriced

Whirlpool WHES48 PRO Model 48,000 Grain Water Softener

Whirlpool WHES48 best water softener

Whirlpool is a well-respected name in the world of home appliances, so it is no wonder that they have a presence in the world of water softening. At 48,000 grains, this water softener is big enough to handle a house with six people and moderately hard water. 

Its Demand Initiated Regeneration and its salt conservation technology make the system efficient and cost-effective. It can also remove iron deposits from the water. 

One of the best features is a control panel from which you can track gallons used and the flow rate of the water. The control panel also tracks the total amount of water being consumed (including regeneration) and the level of salt remaining in the tank. The salt used is embedded in a resin. 

Whirlpool adds one especially nice feature. Because this water softener is a member of their PRO Series, the price includes delivery and installation. If it was purchased to replace a different water softening system, they will also take that old unit away at no additional charge.

Pros

Cons

  • Illuminated LCD display allows for easy viewing in bright or low light situations
  • Cartridge replacement can be expensive

Things to Think About When Selecting a Water Softener

When it comes to sizing water softeners, it’s not about physical size. It’s about the hardness of the water and the amount of water that needs to be softened daily. 

All the information you need for this is on the Internet. However, there are plenty of water softening professionals around who would like to help you and sell you their water softening solution. 

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, water hardness test kits are available at hardware stores. These will tell you a number that signifies how hard your water is, measured in grains. A high value for grains means that your water is very hard. 

Next, calculate your water usage per day. If you don’t have an actual number, assume an average of 80 gallons per person per day. Multiply that number by the number of grains. That will tell you the number of grains of hardness that need to be removed from your water daily. 

If, for example, your calculation results in 50,000 grains, you need a water softener that is rated 50,000 grains or more.

Will a Water Softener Affect My Water Pressure?

Flow rate and water pressure are other important issues. A water softener, filter or anything else you put in the water line is going to reduce the pressure and flow rate. If you don’t like the water pressure you have now without a water softener, you are sure to like it less after the water softener is installed. 

If water pressure is already a problem, be sure to look for solutions that impact water pressure as little as possible.

Should I Call a Plumber to Install It?

Flow rate and water pressure are other important issues. A water softener, filter or anything else you put in the water line is going to reduce the pressure and flow rate. If you don’t like the water pressure you have now without a water softener, you are sure to like it less after the water softener is installed. If water pressure is already a problem, be sure to look for solutions that impact water pressure as little as possible.

What About the Environment?

This subject seems to get stickier every day. 

For example, you’re not supposed to flush unused medications down the drain. You have insecticides and herbicides washing off the land into the water supply. You have fertilizer finding its way to the ocean, causing algae blooms. 

Today, there are millions of water softeners around the country that are dumping salt water into municipal waste treatment plants. It’s only a matter of time before that becomes a problem. With that in mind, maybe you should be proactive and try to find a salt-free system for your next water softener.

In Conclusion

Whether you are thinking about your first water softening system, a replacement for an existing one or a portable one for your cabin or recreational vehicle, you have a lot of choices. 

If you are just getting started and want to collect some information, don’t forget your local hardware store. There is a lot that can be learned there. 

water softener is a significant investment and you want to get the best water softener you can. If you get stuck and have questions, ask. All the companies that manufacture water softeners want to sell you one, but they also want you to be happy with it after it’s installed. They want you to get the unit that’s right for you. 

Happy customers tell their friends, but unhappy customers tell everyone! They want you to be a happy customer.


Featured image via Amazon

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