A guide to choosing a water softener for your home

There are few pieces of home tools which are as difficult to understand– or purchase– than water softeners. As soon as you have actually determined that you have “difficult water,” you’re compelled to confront a shopping list of complicated terms as well as concepts like ion exchange, salt-free, dual-tank, material tanks, magnetic conditioners, water descalers and also reverse osmosis– when all you want to do is make your family water healthier, more delicious as well as much less likely to clog up your fixtures.


Not all the terms we have actually listed really describe water conditioning, and also not all are critical to comprehending and also choosing the best water softener on the marketplace. All you need is a cost-efficient way to minimize the amount of troublesome minerals in your water– and also a person who can clarify the process of picking the right one. We can not deliver a water softener to your house, but we can take care of the explanation part and also suggest some of the tools you must take a tough (no word play here meant) take a look at.

We’ll start with the fundamental A-B-C’s of hard water and also why water conditioners could be so crucial in your house, and after that go on to a “water softeners for dummies” take a look at the various kinds of units you could buy. With that background, we believe our water softener evaluations will make sense and also let you pick the best one for your needs.


What is “difficult water,” and also why should you respect it, anyhow? We’ll take care of the second component of that concern first.

Hard water is probably exactly what appears of your faucets, considering that U.S. officials state greater than four-fifths of American houses have an issue with hard water. It’s the reason you might find white scaly down payments obstructing your taps, pipes, coffeemakers and also hot water heater, and also why you might need even more soap than you ‘d expect to clean your meals or your hair. It may also be why your water tastes “poor” or why you could experience unforeseen skin troubles.

It also contains a number of dissolved trace mineral aspects like magnesium carbonate as well as calcium, which are naturally deposited into water from below ground rocks. When the amount of these minerals in your water is too high, the water is stated to be “hard.”.


It’s simpler just to tell by experience, though; if you need to utilize “too much” detergent or soap to clean meals or shower, if your water expense is much greater than it should be, or if you’re seeing white scales building up on your taps or soapy movies sticking to your sinks as well as bathtub, you have difficult water. (The soap trouble is because minerals communicate with soap to lessen its effectiveness, while the water use issue is produced by a build-up of scaly issue in your water heater as well as pipes.

A water softener will eliminate some of those minerals and change them with non-problematic replacements like salt, or connect with the minerals so they won’t be deposited in the kind of film or scale. There are several various devices called water conditioners, but as you’ll discover, several of them actually typically aren’t water conditioners at all.


These devices, likewise known as ion-exchange systems, are connected in your pipes system, so they could change calcium, magnesium and other difficult minerals with salt. It’s not important to totally comprehend how that functions, however there are several details which might affect your purchase choice.

You’re mosting likely to have to regularly include salt to this sort of system; more effective water conditioners will use less salt, which implies a dollar savings as well as less salt in your diet plan. (That’s undoubtedly worth keeping in mind by individuals with high blood pressure, for example– although water conditioners actually place sodium bicarbonate into the water, not sodium chloride.) These units will certainly need to recharge occasionally; old tools would certainly call for hand-operated actions however many contemporary softeners do it by timers or by digital “DIR controls,” which instantly sense when it’s required to recharge. The latter will certainly conserve salt and water by not running up until required. Recharging may make softened water briefly inaccessible, so there are some water softeners which have dual tanks which just charge individually while the 2nd storage tank’s water is readily available for use.

It is necessary to note that some areas have actually outlawed making use of typical ion-exchange water softeners, declaring sodium and chloride from the discharge or recycling of softened water could have an unfavorable result on the area’s total water quality.


The factor they’re not as reliable is that the difficult minerals typically aren’t replaced with potassium chloride; they’re merely bound to it, so they’re suspended in the water and won’t clear up as scale or film. This doesn’t constantly address troubles in water heating units or some pipelines, because the range structure can occur anywhere water merely sits.


These also are descalers, and also apparently turn around the electro-magnetic properties of the tough minerals in water so they will certainly be pushed back by pipelines instead of deciding on them. Scientific researches say these devices don’t have any kind of recognizable result on difficult water, but many who have actually tried them speak highly of them (as do their makers, naturally).


Again, these systems are commonly called water conditioners, but they truly do something totally various. Reverse osmosis (RO) is a very efficient filtering system which eliminates chemical contaminants and organisms which can cause diseases from water. As a by-product, the procedure will remove a lot of the hard mineral material from the water, yet not all of it; in fact, really heavy water (more than 10 GPG) can harm a reverse osmosis system. Most experts suggest just using RO if your water tastes, smells or looks amusing, using it combined with a softener if you have a difficult water problem, and just utilizing it on drinking water sources– unless you enjoy very high water bills, due to the fact that a lot of water is typically squandered in the RO process.

There are other specifics to be aware of when buying a water softener, with dimension the most crucial. The typical individual makes use of 75 gallons of water per day.

Naturally, points are never easy, so some producers will not provide you that specification, instead informing you how much water hardness or just how numerous gallons per min their system can handle. This requirements only applies to standard systems, considering that the others don’t in fact eliminate minerals from the water.

You should additionally seek easy-to-use controls, specific salt needs, electronic charging (if possible), frequency of filter adjustments called for, as well as accreditation by the Water Top quality Organization (shown by the WQA Gold Seal) and/or the independent testing organization NSF International.

OK, enough info already. Let’s reach our evaluations of the most effective water softeners to consider; we’ve consisted of choices from all the various types of tools readily available.



Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water SoftenerThis is a typical ion-exchange water softener which is big sufficient to take care of a huge home with moderately-hard to tough water. The 5600SXT has many of the functions of the biggest-name water softeners you see advertised on a regular basis.


Aquios Full House Water Softener as well as Filter SystemThe Aquios is a salt-free chelation system which combines filtration as well as descaling, with using a food-grade polyphosphate called Siliphos as opposed to potassium. It basically does the same thing, however, protecting against minerals from landing as well as building up on home appliances and pipes and gradually decreasing the accumulation that’s already there. At the very same time, the water goes through a carbon block filter to get rid of contaminants. It does not require regeneration or various other maintenance, although you do need to change the filter after every 40,000 gallons of water that’s processed, which can obtain costly over the cost of the system itself. It’s a good selection, however, if you can not or don’t want to use a traditional system.


Swirl Electronic Water DescalerHere’s one of those “you enjoy it or you do not” digital descaling systems, which utilizes an electro-magnetic field to stop minerals from accumulating on your pipes as well as in your showerheads and taps. Simply don’t expect it to be a wonder employee in a home with very tough water; you’ll require a conventional water softener for that.



602abcWATER Streak 5600sxtThis is essentially the exact same gadget as the Fleck we evaluated earlier. It has a 48,000 grain ability, recharges immediately, and also uses salt to do the ion-exchange function. The bottom line is that it substantially decreases scaling throughout pipelines as well as appliances for all degrees of firmness.


APEC Water Filter System (ROES-50) This RO system is developed to fit below a cooking area sink, with a tank that’s simply 11 x 11 x 15 inches and easy-connect, lead-free fittings and a chrome developer faucet, to filter your alcohol consumption or cooking water. As we’ve gone over, this reverse osmosis isn’t a key service for water softening, yet elimination of many of the minerals in your drinking water is a spin-off of its usage.


iSpring RCC7 Reverse Osmosis 5-Stage Water FilterFrom its dimension (under sink), to its style (5 phases), to its manufacture (in the UNITED STATE) to its designer faucet as well as easy-connect installations, and even for its low-end price, the iSpring RCC7 reverse osmosis device is tough to separate from the APEC device we have actually simply evaluated.

They’re both well-built, both outstanding water filtering systems, and also both valued very moderately. We might select the APEC because it has a much longer filter life than the iSpring (6-12 months vs. 3-6 months), but then again the iSpring has a flood alarm system not offered on the APEC. Just throw a coin as well as you’ll be right.


Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN UV SoftenerA descaling system, the EQ-1000 from Aquasana uses NAC, which is a slightly different technique than the a lot more usual electromagnetic method. Rather compared to reversing the charges of the difficult minerals in water, it provides them a physical matrix to affix to, apparently eliminating their electrical costs totally as well as making them unable to affix to pipes.


NuvoH2O states the truth that it uses citric acid additionally lowers the naturally alkaline pH of water, so that it’s less most likely to produce scaling. It really depends on the quality of your water supply. If you want to try this water softener, its cost is a little on the premium variety.


Aquasana EQ-SS20 SimplySoft Salt-Free Water SoftenerHere’s yet another take on a chelation system; Aquasana utilizes slowly-dissolving polyphosphate beads to reverse the fee of minerals in the water, much like the Aquios unit we have actually examined previously. Aquasana’s method is licensed by NSF, and while it won’t come close to the performance of a salt-based gadget, it does a pretty good task at descaling for a low-end priced water softener. This is a tiny unit and can be used either on a whole-home or local basis. It does have a cartridge which has to changed every six months, however that’s it regarding upkeep goes.


This isn’t really a water softener, however it’s a solid combination showerhead/filtration system which makes water fresher as well as cleaner by eliminating chlorine and natural chemicals by means of copper, zinc and, think it or not, coconut covering carbon filters which have to be replaced every 6-8 months. The showerhead itself has flexible settings for various types of water circulation, from spray to massage therapy.


Hopefully we have actually been able to demystify the often-confusing globe of water softeners and have prepared you to go shopping for one. When you have actually figured out if your region permits salt-based gadgets, your essential step will be to deciding whether you intend to go the traditional ion-exchange course or if you intend to give among the no-salt options a shot.

Just remember exactly what we’ve reviewed; chelation isn’t mosting likely to be as reliable as ion-exchange, and turn around osmosis is created to filter water instead of remove the problematic minerals from tough water. Stabilizing your demands and also your budget plan will certainly allow you to pick the most effective system for your residence.

And one final suggestion: you may not be conserving loan over time by deciding to set up a difficult ion-exchange device yourself, considering that also the very best systems will not soften hard water unless they’re put in and also set up effectively. Those aware of residence plumbing jobs shouldn’t find the job as well arduous, however if you have any kind of question concerning your capabilities around hacksaws as well as soldering torches, working with a specialist might be well worth the fee. Good luck and also we hope after reviewing our water softener reviews you could currently with confidence go out and also select the best one for you.


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