The Nuvo Water Softener – Hero or Hype?

The Nuvo Water Softener

The Nuvo water softener is one of the brands making waves in the market, but is it all it's reported to be? Is a salt-free system really effective?

In many parts of the world, water is full of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. When these minerals accumulate to high levels, the water becomes hard. Hard water is safe for drinking, cooking, and washing, but it can cause problems over time.

These problems include water stains, corrosion in pipes and appliances that use water, and ruined clothing. A water softening device is needed to reduce these minerals to manageable levels.

What Is the Nuvo Water Softener H20?

The Nuvo water softener is a salt-free system. These systems have generated a lot of interest because they don't require salt pellets to work and leave you with fresh, clean-tasting drinking water. There is quite a bit of debate, however, about the efficacy of a salt-free system.

Products like the Nuvo water softener work by passing your water through a catalytic medium that converts the hard minerals in the water to crystals. Crystals are unable to bind to anything, thereby reducing scale buildup. This is technically not water softening, but water conditioning.

The hard minerals are still present in the water, they just aren't attaching to your pipes, dishes, clothes, or other problem areas.

The only way to truly remove hard minerals from your water is with a salt-based water softener. With a salt-based system, calcium and magnesium are removed through a process called ion exchange. It's a more complicated process than a salt-free system, but it works very well and your water will be mineral-free.

Nuvo Water Softener H20 Specifications

There are three sizes of Nuvo H20 water softeners: the Studio System, the Home System, and the Manor System. Each is designed for a specific size of space and can handle a certain volume of water.

Product

Image

Price & Rating

The Studio System

Home System nuvo water softener

The Home System

Home System nuvo water softener

The Manor System

Manor System nuvo water softener

The Complete Manor System

Manor Complete nuvo water softener

The Studio System

This size is intended for less than 1,000 square feet with only one bathroom and low water use. It is ideal for condos, apartments, and townhomes.

  • Size: 5 inches by 14 inches
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Capacity: about 20,000 gallons
  • Water flow: 12-15 gpm with ¾-inch ports
  • Maximum pressure: 100PSI (6.8 bar)
  • Built-in pressure relief valve
  • FDA and NSF approved
  • Uses 2-by-10-inch replacement cartridges

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent customer service and product works great
  • A review said it is not durable in hot weather

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

The Home System

This is a good size for homes between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet with normal water use.

  • Size: 5 inches by 24 inches
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Capacity: about 35,000 gallons
  • Water flow: 12-15 gpm with 1-inch ports
  • Maximum pressure: 100PSI (6.8 bar)
  • Built-in pressure relief valve
  • FDA and NSF approved
  • Uses 2-by-20-inch replacement cartridges

Pros

Cons

  • Water’s quality improves – your skin and taste buds will definitely enjoy this newly softened water
  • The inlets might require connectors with the proper diameter

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

The Manor System

This size is for homes over 2,000 square feet, households that have a higher-than-normal water use, or homes with very hard water.

  • Size: 8 inches by 29 inches
  • Weight: 14 pounds
  • Capacity: about 50,000 gallons
  • Water flow: 15-18 gpm with 1.5-inch ports
  • Maximum pressure: 100PSI (6.8 bar)
  • Built-in pressure relief valve
  • FDA and NSF approved
  • Uses 4-by-20-inch replacement cartridges

Pros

Cons

  • No salt or additives required
  • Cartridges will need changing relatively often – ever 50 000 gallons

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

The Complete Manor System

Manor Complete nuvo water softener

This system contains the softener described above.


Additionally, it includes a whole-house water filtration system with a 10-micron carbon filter.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to use and operate
  • Requires replacement filter cartridges 1-2 times per year

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

The Cost of the Nuvo Water Softener H2O

The Nuvo H20 system can be purchased from big box home supply stores, online marketplaces, and the Nuvo H20 website. The prices vary widely according to retailer, so it is imperative to comparison shop.

Online Marketplace

  • Studio System - $575 to $600. Replacement cartridges run about $50. 
  • Home System - $620 to $650. Replacement cartridges run about $70. 
  • Manor System - $700 to $750. Replacement cartridges run about $95. 
  • Complete Manor System – Doesn't carry this product.

Big Box Home Supply

  • Studio System - $465. Replacement cartridges $50. 
  • Home System - $650. Replacement cartridges $70. 
  • Manor System - $950. Replacement cartridges $90. 
  • Complete Manor System - $1500. Replacement carbon filter and cartridge $122.

Nuvo Water Softener Website

  • Studio System – Doesn't carry this system, but does have the replacement cartridges. Replacement cartridges $50. 
  • Home System - $650. Replacement cartridges $70. 
  • Manor System - $950. Replacement cartridges $90.

Comparing Nuvo Water Softener H20 to Other Salt-Free Water Softeners

As the Nuvo H20 is actually a water conditioner, not a water softener, we will begin by comparing it to other salt-free water conditioners that call themselves softeners. 

Product

Image

Price & Rating

Pelican Water Systems

No products found.
 
No products found.

Aquasana Simplysoft 
Salt-Free Water Softener

Aquasana nuvo water softener

Nuvo Water Softener

Manor System nuvo water softener

Pelican Water Systems

No products found.
No products found.

The Pelican works the same way as the Nuvo H20: by converting hard minerals to crystals and therefore avoiding scale buildup on your plumbing and appliances. It does not truly soften your water by removing minerals. The minerals are still there.  


The Pelican comes in two sizes: one that accommodates one to three bathrooms, and one that accommodates four to six bathrooms. The smaller has a price tag of $1,485 while the larger is $1,782. A replacement sediment filter which needs changing every three or four months is $20. 


We give the following ratings to the Pelican Water System: 

Feature

Details

Ease of use

The Pelican is virtually maintenance-free after installation.

The NaturSoft cartridge filter needs to be replaced every three to four months.  

Assembly time

The assembly is relatively simple to install and comes with good instructions. However, you have to buy an installation kit which is another $145-$180. It seems like the installation kit should be included. 

Build quality

Pelican uses high-quality materials and components. 

Warranty

The limited lifetime warranty covers tanks, valves, heads, bypasses, fittings, and housings for defects and workmanship under normal use.

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to use and operate
  • Requires replacement filter cartridges 1-2 times per year
 
No products found.

Aquasana Simplysoft Salt-Free Water Softener

Aquasana also changes minerals dissolved in the water into crystals that do not adhere and build up scale. The minerals are left in the water, so technically the water is still hard. The Aquasana only comes in one size that has a flow rate of seven gallons per minute. The price is $800. Replacement filters are $26. 

We give the following ratings to the Aquasana Simplysoft Salt-Free Water Softener: 

Feature

Details

Ease of use

The Aquasana is easy to maintain. Filters need to be changed every few months. 

Assembly time

Installation and assembly are simple and within the reach of most homeowners. All the hardware you need is included. 

Build quality

The Aquasana is built to last six years, then the entire unit needs to be replaced. 

Warranty

It has a good warranty but the appliance only lasts six years.

Pros

Cons

  • No need to lug heavy bags of salt around
  • Needs professional skills to install correctly

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

Nuvo Water Softener

Feature

Details

Ease of use

This system has little maintenance other than changing the cartridge as needed. 

Assembly time

 The Nuvo H20 is the most complicated to install. Some homeowners prefer to hire a plumber to do it. 

Build quality

This system is made of high-quality material and components. 

Warranty

If your softener proves defective, Nuvo will replace, repair, or modify your unit at no cost to you within five years of purchase. Improper installation voids the warranty.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent customer service and product works great
  • A review said it is not durable in hot weather

Quality

Price

Rating

$$$

Pros and Cons of the Nuvo Water Softener

There are some advantages to choosing the Nuvo H20 Water Softener over the other popular salt-free brands.  

The main one is the different size options. The Nuvo is the only brand to come in three different sizes to accommodate small, medium, and large homes. The Pelican has two size options, and the Aquasana only comes in one size. The Aquasana may underperform if you have a larger home, and the smallest Pelican may be too large if you live in a small condo or apartment.  

Another pro for the Nuvo H20 is the price. Because it comes in three sizes, you can pay less if you have a smaller home. The studio system can be found as low as $465. Compare this to the smallest Pelican at $1,485 and the Aquasana at $800, and you have a real bargain. Even the largest Nuvo system runs from $700 to $950, depending upon the supplier, while the largest Pelican is $1,782. The Nuvo H20 is the clear winner in price. 

One of the disadvantages of the Nuvo H20 is the installation. It is a little more complicated to install than its competitors. It is possible to do it yourself, but most customers hire a professional. This does increase the initial cost of the product. 

Another con to the Nuvo H20 is the warranty. It has a very comprehensive warranty for five years, but after that it provides none. The Aquasana has a six-year warranty, but after the warranty expires the entire unit needs to be replaced, which isn't much of an advantage. The Pelican has the best guarantee of quality with a limited warranty lasting the life of the product.  

The Nuvo H20 has the most expensive replacement cartridges, running from $50 to $95 depending upon size. The Pelican replacement filters are $20 and the Aquasana are $26. As often as these cartridges need replacing, this represents a substantial cost over the lifetime of the Nuvo H20.

Pros and Cons Compared of Nuvo Water Softener to Salt-Based Water Softeners

We must say a word about the Nuvo H20 in comparison to the traditional salt-based water softening systems, as this is a somewhat controversial area. As mentioned above, the Nuvo, the Pelican, and the Aquasana systems are not true water softeners, despite their names. They are actually water conditioners because the minerals that make the water hard are left in the water. They are changed to crystals, but not removed. 

The Nuvo and the other salt-free systems have the advantages of initially being lower in cost than salt-based systems. However, the Nuvo cartridges are expensive so the costs will add up quickly. Nuvo also requires no electricity or salt to run and produces no waste water. The biggest pro of the Nuvo H20 is that it leaves you with drinkable water that tastes great and is safe for lawns and pets. The salt-based systems remove the minerals from the water, but then the water still needs to be filtered before you can drink it due to the high sodium content. 

However, many people, particularly those with extremely hard water, find the Nuvo H20 and other salt-free systems to be ineffective. As they are not actually removing minerals, just reducing scale buildup, they aren't changing the nature of the water. This means you might still feel the minerals in your hair and on your skin. They may still be building up on your clothing and towels and wearing them out sooner.  

When it comes to purchasing any salt-free water softener, including the Nuvo H20, it is definitely a case of buyer beware. You are not getting a water softener, but rather a water conditioner, and it may not solve the problems associated with your hard water. It's best to consult with a water professional in your area about the efficacy of salt-free systems before you invest your time and money in these products.

The Final Verdict: Nuvo Water Softener

The Nuvo H20 does a good job of conditioning water. It successfully changes minerals to crystals, which does reduce scale buildup in your pipes, appliances, and bathroom fixtures. The different size options make it more affordable than its competitors if you live in a smaller home. The system is easy to maintain once it has been installed. You will be left with water you can drink without additional filtering. 

On the other hand, it is misleading in that it is called a water-softener. This implies the minerals are removed from the water, which they are not. If you need the minerals removed due to extremely hard water, skin sensitivity, or other reasons, the Nuvo H20 will not do this for you. It is also somewhat difficult to install and the cartridges, which may need replacing up to four times a year, are expensive. 

Bottom line, the Nuvo H20 works well for homes where hard water is a minor issue. If you have major problems with your water, you need a salt-based system. We give the Nuvo H20 a rating of three stars out of five. 

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