by Peter Lombardi
Quality Specialist, Consultant
> 4 min read
If you live in an area with a hard water supply, it’s a great idea to invest in a top-notch water softener.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “What is a water softener system?” These products work to remove or neutralize the hardness-causing minerals in the water, prevent scale buildup in your household appliances, and provide cleaner, safer drinking water.
High-quality water softeners can be either salt-based or salt-free systems. While some people prefer salt-based units because they physically remove the hard particles from your water, others prefer salt-free designs since they tend to be easier to maintain and less expensive.
Top Choices on the Market
- No need for extra cleaning cycles
- Self-adjust function ensures no system waste
- Your household’s water pressure won’t drop
- Takes less than 15 minutes to install
- No need to cut any pipes when setting up system
- Comes with 1-year 100% Money-Back guarantee
- Best suited for households of between 1 to 4 people
- WHE-WSC water softener cleanser makes system easy to clean
- Extends the life of your household appliances
- 1” high-flow valve ensures no drop in household water pressure
- Up to 64% savings on water compared to other salt-based systems
- Designed to regenerate at 2 AM every morning
- Fleck 5600SXT digital valve monitors water usage
- Purchase comes with a 5-year warranty
- Tank has a safety float to prevent leakage
- Optional install kit contains brass fittings and shut-off valves
- 5-step filtration system cleans very hard well water
- The UV filter destroys harmful bacteria and viruses
- Produces no wastewater or chemical discharge
- Salt-free system ensures no limescale buildup
- Designed for medium-to-large households with 4-6 people
- Comes with 4’ brine tube and 14’ drain tube
- Quick connection fitting makes setup of digital control center easy
- Valve body is constructed from stable and impact-resistant Noryl
- Can go 40 days without needing to regenerate
- RV softener with the greatest capacity on the market
- Helps to prevent rust stains in faucets
- Can treat water up to 20 GPG hardness level
- Cables fit around all standard, non-metallic pipes up to 1.5” in diameter
- Exceptionally lightweight design
- Doesn’t waste any water or salt
- Extends the lifetime of your kitchen appliances
- Uses chelation technology to lower water’s pH level
Best Water Softener System Reviews (Updated 2021)
1. SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free Water Softener: Best Water Softener
When it comes to the BEST water softener around, this salt-free SpringWell model is our number one choice. This product uses Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) technology to physically alter the hard minerals in your water supply, removing existing scale and preventing future deposits.
Unlike salt-based options, this softener is easy to maintain. All you need to do is change the filter once every year. Make the SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free Water Softener your go-to product for crystallizing the hard minerals in your water supply and cleaning up your household appliances.
This SpringWell product is top of our list for several reasons and is the best whole house water filtration and softener system.
The groundbreaking TAC technology outperforms most other options on the market when it comes to effectively removing heavy metals and minerals from your water supply.
One of the main benefits of this system is the fact that it crystallizes the hard minerals in your water supply, turning them into non-stick crystal elements that flow right through your pipes instead of binding to your faucets and appliances. This all means you won’t have to run any form of cleaning cycle after you’ve softened your water.
The Futuresoft filtration system is extensive and useful. Stage 1 removes heavier sediment like sand and silt, while Stage 2 extracts potentially harmful chlorine and chloramine contaminants from your water supply.
We also LOVE that the team at SpingWell prioritizes the flow rate of its models. Higher flow rates across the board ensure that you’ll never experience a drop in household water pressure, even if you and your family members are using multiple showers or faucets at once. When you choose a SpringWell salt-free softener, you choose between a 12 GPM, 15 GPM, and 20 GPM flow rate, depending on how many bathrooms you have.
This product really is the best whole house water softener on the market right now.
2.YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System: Best for the Money
This YARNA electronic water descaler is the top softener system on this list when it comes to value for money. Not only is the product’s upfront cost relatively small, but the ongoing operating costs are negligible, especially when compared to most salt-based systems.
In order to set up this softener, you wind the impulse cables around any household water pipe. Many electronic descalers don’t work when wrapped around metal pipes, but the YARNA does.
These impulse bands give out electric charges that induce an electromagnetic frequency field within the water. This field breaks down magnesium and calcium crystals and turns them into ions that cannot stick to your appliances and showerheads. This means that you’re preventing chalky limescale buildup in your household fixtures without actually getting rid of these metals.
Keeping calcium and magnesium in your water supply, albeit in a changed form, is a great idea. When you drink water containing calcium, you help promote your body’s blood circulation and bone growth. Magnesium improves your muscle function and has anti-inflammatory properties, helping to boost your immune system.
One issue with this YARNA descaler is its relative inefficacy at removing iron from water. If you live in an area with particularly heavy or hard water, you might want to invest in a softening system with more extensive filtering properties.
3. Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Softener: Best Salt-Based
This Whirlpool model is the best salt-based water softener on our list and one of the best well water softeners. We love this model’s innovative, integrated auto-regeneration technology. The system takes various data from your water supply’s hardness level and your household usage to calculate when best to regenerate.
This function means that the softener only treats hard water when needed, resulting in massive salt and water savings for you and your family.
This Whirlpool design is one of the best water softeners for well water with iron. That’s because this product effectively treats very hard water, with the capacity to remove 8 ppm of clear-water iron from your supply. Unlike most filtration-based systems, this softener can also extract dissolved ferrous iron from your household’s water.
The unit itself comes with a 1-year part and labor warranty, as well as a market-leading 10-year warranty on the softener tank. This tank can hold up to 30,000-grain capacity, meaning you won’t have to refill it with salt too often.
There are a few issues with salt-based water softener systems, not least the fact that they operate by exchanging hardness-causing calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. This process means that your water supply becomes salted.
If you drink water that contains too much sodium, you run the risk of developing high blood pressure or experiencing frequent headaches and chronic thirst, so you may need an additional faucet filter for tap water you use for drinking.
4. SoftPro Elite High-Efficiency City Water Softener: For Large Households
According to several home water softener reviews, this SoftPro model is one of the top products around. The upflow regeneration capacity forces the hard alkaline minerals out of the system and away from the unused resin, preserving these grains for the next regeneration and limiting system waste.
All SoftPro models also have a built-in Smart Clean feature, ensuring the system stays fresh and disinfected when you’re away on vacation or a work conference.
The LCD control screen is slick and easy to use, with an integrated computer that figures out how much fresh brine is necessary for effective regeneration. This automated process saves you from wasting resin and water.
We love that this product comes with 2 distinct warranties: One for the system itself and one for the high-efficiency valve. You can choose between various grain capacities to pick the SoftPro model that suits your family best.
All SoftPro designs have a high flow rate. The 24,000-grain model has a 10 GPM rate, while the 64,000-grain option has a flow rate of 20 GPM. You’ll never have to worry about drops in household water pressure with these SoftPro softeners, which is why home water softener system reviews rate this design so highly.
Unfortunately, this design does have a few issues. It requires more maintenance than salt-free and electronic models. You’ll lose 9 lbs. of salt during each regeneration, so you’ll have to refill the tank with fresh resin over 70 times each year. Even though the SoftPro is far more efficient and cost-effective than most other salt-based options, these operating fees add up to around $100 a year.
5. AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 Combination Fleck Water Softener: For Well Water
This AFWFilters model is the best water softener system for well water on our list. Well water, or groundwater, tends to be high in minerals like manganese, calcium, magnesium, iron, and sulfates.
These minerals come from rocks on the Earth’s surface that have dissolved and broken down into the water supply. This Pro2 water softener also serves as a specialized iron filter, removing clear water iron and ferrous iron up to 8 ppm from your well water supply.
This product also removes both manganese and sulfur from well water. Manganese is a chemical element that reacts with oxygen to cause nasty, dark stains on your clothes or dishes.
Drinking water that contains too much sulfur can have serious adverse effects on your body, damaging your brain cells and causing nausea and dizziness. To avoid these health issues, get a water softener that removes sulfur and sulfates from your well water supply. This product removes sulfur up to the range of 2 ppm, making it the best water softener for hard well water on the market.
The Pro2 combination model is relatively efficient for a salt-based system. The built-in valve meter monitors your household usage and regenerates accordingly, saving you on resin and water.
At 120 lbs., this 2-in-1 product is challenging to transport and install. You may need to hire a professional plumber to help out with the initial setup.
6. Aquasana Well Water Rhino: Salt-Free for Well Water
This Aquasana Rhino model is the best salt-free water softener for well water on our list. This particular design is a whole-house water system with 4 different filters that treat your well water supply and catch even the smallest contaminants and polluting microns.
The hard well water goes through the sediment pre-filter, a 20” tube that catches larger sediment and residue pieces. This water then flows into the SimplySoft tanks, where the hardness-causing particles are crystallized by the patented Scale Control Media (SCM). This salt-free process means you won’t experience any scum or residue buildup in your faucets or appliances.
After this crystallization process, the water moves through an activated carbon filter that uses chemical absorption to remove chemical compounds like pesticides and herbicides.
The water then enters the 0.35-micron post-filter, which removes the SMALLEST bacteria and organic matter particles in the supply. Finally, this water passes through the UV filter, which uses germicidal ultraviolet wavelengths to damage and destroy any remaining harmful microbes.
This model’s flow rate is relatively low at 7 GPM, so you might experience a drop in water pressure if 3 or more of you are using household water at the same time. Aquasana only guarantees this unit for 5 years. After that, you may have to start replacing parts of the system, as hard well water is more likely to damage the filters than softer water.
7. Pelican Water Whole House Carbon Water Filtration System: For Preventing Scale Buildup
This Pelican product is one of the best home water filtration and softener systems on our list, with 4 built-in filters for treating your supply and ensuring you won’t have to deal with chlorinated, dirty water EVER again.
The 5-micron pre-filter removes silt and sediment particles from your water. Meanwhile, the Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) media traps and absorbs harmful chemicals that are floating around in your household supply.
After this, the patented Pelican Media Guard uses copper and zinc filtration to convert dissolved water contaminants to a more physiologically inert and chemically inactive form. This process means that these impurities and pollutants won’t be harmful to you any longer.
This model is also highly effective at reducing scale buildup in your household fixtures. The ionic-exchange system is salt-free, meaning that it doesn’t produce any excess brine or mineralized discharge that can clog up your showerheads and kitchen taps. This Pelican design is proven to prohibit up to 99.6% of limescale and scum buildup, making it especially useful at lengthening the lifetime of your household appliances.
This system is also eco-friendly, requiring no electricity to work and producing no chemically harmful waste products.
Finally, this unit is easy to install. You can set it up either inside or outside, providing you’re not exposing it to freezing conditions.
Related: Twin Tank
8. Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener
This Aquasure model is the best whole house water softener on our list, designed to treat up to 64,000 grains of water hardness before regeneration. This design also contains a built-in digital control head that helps you save on water and salt. This control function calculates your household water usage and the amount of water the system has to treat. The digital technology then backwashes the system if and when needed.
This Aquasure water softener comes prefilled with professional-grade resin, saving you some money, a 1” NPT Yoke adapter for the tank, and an in-and-out bypass if you wish to redirect your water supply.
The resin tank is made with durable, lightweight polyethylene and reinforced with impact, chemical, and heat-resistant fiberglass. This robust construction ensures that the Aquasure whole house system can last you quite a bit longer than the 5-years guaranteed by the company with their market-leading warranty.
If you’ve got a large household with up to 6 separate bathrooms, you’ll LOVE this water unit. Its large grain capacity and water-saving digital function make it ideal for whole-house treatment.
Unfortunately, this system is salt-based, meaning you’ll have to dedicate time, energy, and money to routine maintenance such as salt refills and flushing away the hardness-causing minerals during regeneration. You’ll also likely have to regularly clean out your faucets and fixtures to prevent scale buildup of excess sodium ions in the water supply.
9. On The Go 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener: Portable
This On The Go RV water softener is the best portable water softener on our list. This system weighs just 32 lbs., with compact dimensions of 22” x 9.50”, making it perfect for RV road trips and camping adventures.
We LOVE how powerful this unit is, especially when you consider its modest size. The tank filters between 500-1,600 gallons of hard water before needing to regenerate and has an impressive maximum pressure of 120 psi.
We also appreciate that this model can run perfectly well with 2 boxes of supermarket-bought table salt in the tank. There’s no need for you to waste lots of money and effort trying to buy premium-grade resin for the ion-exchange process.
Once you’ve filled the tank with salt, this compact unit produces treated, soft water in under 30 minutes. You simply use the included cable to connect the system up to your RV or motorhome, and you’re good to go because the system doesn’t need any electricity to run.
If you’re looking for a softener and filter system that will treat your household water supply, this isn’t the model for you because the tank doesn’t have a suitable capacity. However, if you often spend your vacations camping in wild areas with untreated water supplies, you’ll LOVE this ergonomic design. It’s easy to use and has a built-in plug that stops water spillage.
10. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler: Easy Installation
This Eddy product is easy to install and set up. You simply wind its two coils around any non-metallic pipe in order and connect the system up to a power outlet. You won’t need to buy any expensive resin or salt, nor modify your plumbing system.
This electronic descaler works by producing electromagnetic waves that move through the water between the 2 coils. This process induces a magnetic field in your water supply, which changes the limescale structure and makes this sediment less adhesive. This process means there’ll be no more scale buildup in your household appliances, saving you the money and effort of cleaning or replacing them.
Like other salt-free models, this Eddy descaler doesn’t change the hardness of your water supply. Instead, it breaks up pre-existing clumps of heavy deposits and prevents scum buildup inside your household piping system.
By never changing the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water supply, the Eddy system allows you to continue benefiting from the bone and cardiovascular-strengthening functions of hard minerals like magnesium and calcium in your tap water.
We LOVE the 1-year money-back guarantee that comes with purchasing this Eddy model. As a customer, you’ll also benefit from the industry-leading Lifetime Repair or Replace warranty.
11. Nuvo H2O Home Water Softener System: For Small Households
This Nuvo home water softener system is designed specifically to remove alkaline minerals like magnesium, calcium, manganese, and iron from your water supply. If you drink water that’s disproportionately high in alkaline levels, you risk developing various skin and gastrointestinal issues. Over time, drinking alkaline tap water might even alter your body’s overall pH level, causing chronic illness.
We love the compact, ergonomic design of this system. At 5” x 24” x 5”, the central unit can fit anywhere in your home.
If you’re looking for a softening system that can treat a very hard water supply for a large household, this isn’t the right model. However, if you live alone or with one other person and have a medium-to-hard water supply, you’ll LOVE this product’s small, practical shape and high 15 GPM flow rate.
This package includes a 2” x 20” softener cartridge, instruction manual, and a mounting backplate and bracket for easy installation. The Nuvo H2O DPHB system comes with a generous lifetime guarantee.
There are plenty of durable and practical models on the market for high-quality water softeners. However, we think that the SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free Water Softener is the number one choice overall.
This model is environmentally-friendly and easy to install, requiring no electricity to run. It’s also incredibly efficient when it comes to removing pollutants and bacteria from your water supply. The 5-micron pre-filter helps remove heavier silt and sand particles before the tank gets rid of chlorine and organic contaminants. This unit’s high flow rate means you’ll never have to worry about experiencing a drop in household water pressure.
The salt-free technology means you won’t have to waste money or time on extra cleaning cycles to remove scale buildup. You also won’t need to refill the tank with salt or initiate regeneration regularly.
If you’re looking for a premium-grade water softener that’s easy to maintain and effective at cleaning hard water supplies, look no further than the SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-Free model.
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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