by Peter Lombardi
Quality Specialist, Consultant
> 4 min read
Over 80% of US households have mineralized water supplies, meaning you’re probably using hard water regularly.
Often, impurities like calcium, magnesium, and iron will get into city water supplies and “harden” the water. This process has several adverse effects: hard water tends to clog up your household appliances, dry out your skin, and stain your clothes and dishes.
One of the most effective ways of treating this problem is by investing in a water softener. A top-quality water softener treats hard city water, either by removing or neutralizing the positively charged and “hard” elements.
Top Choices on the Market
- No cleaning cycle needed after use
- Removes chlorine and chloramine from water supply
- Built with premium certified components
- Creates salt-free water that breaks down limescale
- Can attach to PVC, PEX, or metal pipes
- Great value for money
- Built-in safety float prevents leakage
- The valve comes with a 5-year warranty
- Control head has a backup memory function
- Includes separate filtering system for removing chlorine
- Produces water that tastes great
- Ideal for a 1-3 bathroom home in the city
- Self-cleaning sediment filter increases home appliance lifespan
- Removes lead and other heavy minerals from city water
- Has built-in charcoal filter for removing chlorine and odor from water
- 10-year warranty
- Self-cleaning sediment filter increases home appliance lifespan
- Lifetime Repair or Replace guarantee
- Effective with all water pipes except iron and lead
- No additional plumbing required
- In-built LED display for regeneration programming
- Resin tank is made with robust, long-lasting polyglass
- Safety float included for preventing overspills
Best City Water Softener Reviews (Updated 2021)
1. SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free Water Softener: Best Overall
This innovative product is our TOP pick for the best water softener for treating city water. The patented SpringWell Salt-Free system uses Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) to crystallize the hard minerals in your water, preventing the mineral build-up you get with standard, salt-based systems.
The SpringWell Water System also ensures that you’ll experience no overall drop in water pressure when you use this product. Make the SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free Water Softener your go-to product for neutralizing your hard city water and reducing scale build-up in your home.
This SpringWell product is top of our list for a wide variety of reasons. We appreciate that you can choose which Futuresoft softener model you want, depending on how many bathrooms you have in your house. Across the board, the flow rates of these softeners are higher than most other options on the market, ensuring you’ll never experience a drop in water pressure, even when everyone needs to shower at the same time.
This SpringWell model is as much a conditioning system as it is a water softener: the TAC function serves to neutralize 99.6% of chlorine and other hardness-causing minerals in your water supply. It conditions your water without any form of ion exchange, meaning you won’t see scale or scum build-up in your showerheads or household fixtures.
We LOVE that this system produces water that feels natural and light on the skin. By contrast, because standard salt-based softeners add sodium chloride to the water, they tend to create shower water and bathwater that’s slightly greasy and slippery.
This product purchase comes with a market-leading 6-month Money Back Guarantee, allowing you half a year to test out the system risk-free. You’ll also get free shipping and high-quality customer service when you buy this water softener and conditioner.
2. iSpring ED2000 Whole House Alternative Water Softener: Best for the Money
The iSpring ED2000 is a multifunctional product that’s excellent value for money. You can easily install this softener by winding its two cables around any water pipe type.
This product is a magnetic softener and conditioner, inducing a fluctuating electric field within the water supply that ultimately creates an unsaturated water zone. This water then works to break down scale and mineral build-up, resulting in a clean, treated household supply that also helps to dissolve thick limescale sediment in your appliances, taps, and showerheads.
Because this softener is salt-free, you won’t have to worry about the extra costs of cleaning sodium deposits from your household fixtures. It’s also healthier; too much salt in your diet can lead to chronic high blood pressure, heart failure, and excess fluid retention.
We LOVE that this affordable, environmentally-friendly product comes with a 1-year Money Back guarantee. As well as having a low upfront cost, this multipurpose softener will save you money in the long-run, by extending the lives of your household appliances.
The only real issue with a magnetic water system like this one is that it cannot remove heavier minerals, like calcium and magnesium, from your water supply. Instead, the product neutralizes these minerals. You’ll have to opt for a salt-based operating system to draw out these metals completely.
3. Fleck 5600SXT 48,000-Grain Water Softener: Best Salt-Based
This Fleck 5600 model is the best salt-based water softener on our list. It’s easy to install and has an impressive flow rate of 12 GPM. This high flow rate, coupled with a 48,000-grain capacity, makes the Fleck water softener an ideal product for sizable families and spacious houses.
We love this model’s auto-regeneration function. The system itself measures your overall water usage and self-determines when to clean its hardened resins. The Fleck 5600 will regenerate less than once a week, making it more cost-effective than many other salt-based systems.
You’ll have to refill the brine tank with salt every four to six weeks, which can be irritating and costly. You also should bear in mind that these softeners tend to take up much more space than salt-free or electronic models. This particular product weighs over 20 lbs. and measures 27” x 17” x 62”, making it less than ideal for a small studio apartment in the heart of the city.
We LOVE the ergonomic LED on the front of this softener, which allows you to program upcoming regenerations and view your water supply’s hardness rating. We also appreciate the addition of the brine tank’s safety valve, which prevents any form of potentially dangerous overspill.
4. Pelican Whole House Water Filter & Water Softener: For Treating Chlorine and Chloramines
This Pelican water filter and softener is an ideal product for treating hard city water for several reasons. We love the built-in 5-micron pre-filter system, which breaks down heavier sediment and dirt deposits to 5 microns, or 5 millionths of a meter. This filter prevents excess debris from blocking up your household appliances.
This water softener also contains a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter that works to remove chlorine, chloramines, and any hydrogen sulfide from your water supply. City water tends to be relatively high in chlorine, so this filter is beneficial for removing this mineral from your water supply. If you have too much chlorine in your tap water or diet, you run the risk of developing bladder and respiratory issues.
The patented Pelican Media Guard breaks down any algae and microbes within your household water supply through various oxidation reactions. The system produces water that is tasty, healthy, and highly drinkable.
Finally, we appreciate how easy this multifunctional system is to maintain. Because it’s a salt-free softener, you don’t need to worry about scale build-up on the filters. You also don’t need to refill your salt or regenerate your resin. All you have to do is replace the filter’s carbon media every five years.
5. Water Boss #950 City Water Softener: For Small Studio Apartments
This Water Boss model is our top pick for studio apartment owners. This product measures at a compact 19.5” x 32” x 16” and comes with an easy-to-follow installation CD to help you with the set-up. It doesn’t require any additional plumbing to run and can fit pretty much anywhere in a small studio flat or office.
We LOVE the built-in charcoal filter, which effectively removes volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from your water supply. This filter also extracts chlorine from your household supply, helping to reduce those nasty smells that we tend to associate with city tap water.
This small, stylish product’s two separate filters for dirt and sediment improve your health. Drinking dirty tap water can cause gastrointestinal problems, including stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
The Water Boss model also has a handy LED, which allows you to program future regenerations. The regeneration process takes less than 20 minutes.
This water softener has a smaller capacity than most other salt-based options, with a 22,000-grain capacity. It also has a lower flow rate than the others, at 8 GPM. For these reasons, we wouldn’t recommend purchasing this softener if you live in a house with more than 2 bathrooms since the relatively low flow rate will likely lead to a drop in water pressure when 2 showers are in use.
6. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler: Electronic
This Eddy product is the best electronic water softener on our list, and for a good reason. You install this descaler by winding its two coils around your water pipe. These coils induce a magnetic field in your water supply, which prevents limescale from gaining traction and sticking to your faucets and household fixtures.
These electromagnetic waves also break up pre-existing clumps of heavy, mineralized deposits within your water supply, making your tap water safer to drink. More specifically, the Eddy softener removes magnesium and manganese alloys from your city water supply. It does this without changing the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water, meaning you still benefit from the bone and cardiovascular-strengthening properties of calcium and magnesium whenever you drink the treated water.
This electronic unit is easy to install and doesn’t require any additional plumbing. We love the 1-year Money Back guarantee that comes with your purchase and the Lifetime Repair or Replace warranty.
This compact, lightweight product will increase and prolong the efficiency of all household appliances. It keeps ALL fixtures operating effectively by removing existing limescale and preventing scum from forming inside taps and showerheads. Furthermore, you’ll never have to worry about dealing with the regular refills that salt-based models require.
7. Abundant Flow Water Complete Softener: Twin Tank
This almond-colored Abundant Flow model is ideal for households with an iron and calcium-heavy water supply. This product has an extraordinary capacity and ability to soften even the hardest of water.
This salt-based twin tank softener has a maximum flow rate of 12 GPM, meaning you’re not likely to experience any drop in your household’s water pressure while it’s in use.
It works by negatively charging the brine tank’s sodium ions to attract the positively charged calcium and magnesium ions in the water. These heavy minerals then exchange places with the sodium molecules, leaving the water supply soft, if lightly salted.
If you have a large family and use a lot of water in your household, you’ll LOVE this product. That’s because together, the two tanks hold up to 3 square feet of ionic resin. While one tank regenerates, the other keeps running, continuously supplying you and your family with a soft water supply.
We love the built-in safety float on the top of the tanks, which prevents any leakage or overspill. We also appreciate the durability of each of these tanks. They’re both constructed with top-notch, waterproof polyglass material and will last you a long time.
There are plenty of high-quality water softeners that can treat hard city water effectively. However, we believe the SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free Water Softener model leads the pack in ergonomics, capacity, and overall efficiency.
This SpringWell product uses Template Assisted Crystallization technology to condition and neutralize your water supply’s heavy minerals. This innovative process prevents excess sodium sediment buildup on your faucets and appliances that salt-based systems cause. It also ensures that you don’t waste money on regular cleaning cycles to clear out those sodium deposits.
We LOVE that the SpringWell team prioritizes the flow rate of their Futuresoft products, meaning you’ll never experience any drop in household water pressure while the softener is at work.
When it comes to economical design and long-term efficacy, there’s only one winner. Make the SpringWell Futuresoft model your number-one choice for a water softener today.
About the Author
Peter is a Los Angeles based water quality specialist, and works as a surveyor for businesses and communities looking to be informed and active about the quality of their water. He shares his expertise with 64 oz. to ensure everything is accurate, and to prevent the spread of misinformation about water contaminants.
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