by Carl Jensen
Plumber, Welder, Contractor
> 2 min read
Water softeners primarily reduce water hardness through the use of salt. Salt is a quick and easy method to remove magnesium and calcium—minerals which produce build-up and scale—and replace them with sodium ions. Both magnesium and calcium have various detrimental effects on anything they touch, while sodium does not.
Yet, salt-based softeners are renowned for giving water a slippery texture, which isn’t to everyone’s taste. By getting a salt-free softener, you eliminate this problem and get to experience the range of benefits that come with a salt-free design. Pelican Water System is one of the best salt-free companies on the market, and if you want the best softening unit, read our Pelican water softener reviews.
Top Choices on the Market
- Eliminates hundreds of contaminants
- Features a NaturSoft Filter
- Comes preloaded for easy installation
- Compact unit design
- Reduces chlorine odor and taste
- Doesn’t use electricity
- Has a 99.6% effectiveness rating
- Has a premium stainless steel body
- Comes preloaded and ready to install
- Saves 15% in salt consumption
- Efficient LCD digital controller
- On-demand system design
- Both a softener and conditioner
- Suits 1-3 bathrooms
- Doesn’t need electricity
- Highly durable construction
- Reduces scale by 99.6%
- Doesn’t need salt refills
- Comes in a range of grain capacity options
- Features auto shutoff and safety float features
- Utilizes Vordach technology
Best Pelican Water Softener Systems
1. Pelican PRC-5: Best Overall
This Pelican water softener alternative is an excellent choice for those who live in a hard water area in a district that doesn’t allow a salt-based softening system. Pelican does more than offer a salt-free alternative; it creates stand-alone water softening units that are built to last and provide consistent, high-quality water.
When you purchase the Pelican PRC-5, you’re getting a comprehensive 5-stage filtration system, purifying your water from ALL major contaminants. No other item in this list has such an efficient filtering process, and this alone puts it ahead of the rest.
The PRC-5 is the ULTIMATE water softener and is the first of our Pelican NaturSoft water softener reviews. This is a whole house filtration system and water softener alternative combined in one powerful unit. It is also the only DVGW certified water softener alternative in the U.S.A.
This is a 5-stage filtering system. Stages 1 and 2 use high-grade activated carbon filters to eliminate hundreds of chemical contaminants. Stage 3 features a bacteriostatic copper-zinc oxidation media to minimize bacteria and algae growth. Stage 4 utilizes NaturSoft—Pelican’s salt-free technology—which minimizes the detrimental impact of hard water. And finally, stage 5 uses a 5-micron sediment filter to reduce rust, sand, silt, and other debris.
This Pelican whole house water filter allows every area of your home to run on and produce superior-quality water. The NaturSoft media comes with a lifetime guarantee, and it need never be changed, but you will need to replace the other filters. These replacement needs are minimal but need to be done for optimal functioning.
You can expect the usual Pelican time, energy, and resource-saving features. This unit comes preloaded, includes mounting hardware, is ready to install, and—once up and running—requires no electricity, doesn’t waste water, and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
This unit measures 59.5” x 19” x 19”, it weighs 47 lbs. and comes with a 1” pipe fitting size. This is a 15 GPM system that covers 4-6 bathrooms, meaning you could access 2.5 GPM for each bathroom if they’re being used simultaneously.
Read More: DIY Water Filtration Systems
2. Pelican Water Filter/Softener EZ-Connect: Best for the Money
The Pelican PSE500 is part of the Compact Combo Series that incorporates the benefits of a whole house filter with a Pelican salt-free water softener. You can minimize sediment and chlorine’s influence on the odor and taste of your hard water supply.
This unit is capable of a 5 GPM maximum flow rate, with an 80 PSI maximum operating pressure.
As the name implies, this is a compact system, and this reflects in the overall construction. This unit measures 27” x 24” x 8” and is composed of 3 molded single-channels, making this unit suitable for smaller residences like condos, RV’s or even boats.
Each of the 3 molded single-channels serves SPECIFIC purposes. The first features a 5-micron sediment reducing filter, the second utilizes a NaturSoft cartridge, preventing scale and build-up, and the third and final channel reduces Chloramine by 99%.
You’ll need to plan for filter changes. On average, the filter will need to be changed every six months.
Like other pelican products, this unit doesn’t use electricity, it doesn’t waste water, and is easy to install. You don’t need a drain line, and it can be installed in the most convenient location—either inside or outside. Simply mount the unit to the wall, and it’s ready for use!
As always, this Pelican water filter model comes with a limited lifetime warranty and is DVGW certified.
3. Pelican PSE2000: Best Whole House
The Pelican PSE2000 is a whole house filter and water softener alternative. It is available on the market in a 1-3 bathroom and 4-6 bathroom option. Both come with the standard Pelican limited lifetime warranty.
Although not as affordable as other Pelican models, this unit goes a step beyond your basic water filtration needs, making it worth the investment. After all, this is the only water softener alternative certified as 99.6% effective!
This model has an 8 GPM flow rate or a 12 GPM flow rate at its peak. It has a 1” pipe connection size and operates best between a 36-120°F temperature range.
The PSE2000 utilizes a hard-wearing premium stainless steel body, and the tank is made from strong reinforced fiberglass. The unit measures 59.5” x 32” x 19”, making this one of the larger models on the list but still well-sized for the majority of households.
It’s a hygienic option as the bacterial static media impedes the growth of bacteria.
This model uses 3 different preloaded filtering mediums to purify your water supply: NaturSoft, a carbon filtration media, and a sediment filter. You never need to replace NaturSoft but will need to change the sediment filter every 6 - 9 months and the filtration media every 5 years.
This particular model contains a Pelican NS6 system, which is IAPMO, and NSF/ANSI certified for material safety and structural integrity.
4. Fleck 9000sxt: Digital-Metered Pentair
The Fleck 9000SXT is a salt-based water softener designed to produce a CONTINUOUS SUPPLY of soft water any time you need. Fleck is owned by Pentair—the same company which owns Pelican—and produces several water softeners which have the same high-quality but with a few differences which may appeal to some people.
This model features an LCD digital controller, which is user-friendly and easy to operate.
Although this is a salt-based system, it’s designed to use salt efficiently. Since a reserve doesn’t need to be set with this unit, you can save up to 15% in salt consumption. This is one of the benefits of this unit’s on-demand nature; it regenerates water based on use, not time.
The dual tank design alternates treatment, ensuring reliable, consistent, and efficient results. The brass valve body is built for durability and comes with a 5-year warranty.
The specifications for this unit change depending on the grain capacity. In general, the lower the grain capacity, the lower the specifications, such as flow rate and tank size. However, despite some differences, every option comes with a 0.75” digital metered smart memory valve.
This is an easy to install system, thanks to the simple system connections and thorough instruction manual. Some people may benefit from a professional installation, but this isn’t required.
Buy with confidence thanks to Fleck’s risk-free 100% money-back guarantee and the 10-year resin tank warranty.
5. Pelican NS3: Best Water Conditioner and Softener
The Pelican NS3 is a water softener alternative and conditioner and is suitable for 1-3 bathrooms. However, this model is also available with a larger 4-6 bathroom capacity.
This unit is one of our favorite of all our Pelican salt-free water softener reviews. It offers a premium Natursoft system, CERTIFIED for 99.6% scale prevention, for an eco-friendly alternative to the standard water softeners. It also doesn’t need electricity, it doesn’t waste water, it doesn’t need a constant supply of salt pellets.
You can expect a 10 GPM service flow rate, a maximum grain capacity of 75, and a maximum hardness of 75 gpg.
There are certain benefits to water softener alternatives. Pelican uses NaturSoft to condition and soften water without completely eliminating water minerals. It just stops them from adhering to surfaces and causing damage. It’s also a cost-effective way to produce superior quality water. You don’t need to spend a dollar after the initial purchase.
What powers this unit is Natursoft and the 5-micron sediment filter. This filter minimizes rust, silt, sand, and other debris in your water supply, providing another layer of protection.
The stainless steel exterior enhances durability; it naturally resists rusting, oxidation, and stains. This is an excellent quality if you’re looking to install your NS3 outside since you’ll know it can withstand the elements—you just need to ensure it’s protected from freezing. With this model, you get the choice about whether an indoor or outdoor installation will better suit you.
You can’t beat the NS3’s limited lifetime warranty and the NSF certification and WQA testing.
6. Pelican PSE1800: 4-Stage
The Pelican PSE1800 is the last of our whole house water filter and softener reviews, and with this system, you get the best of both worlds. This unit will both filter and soften your household water supply using two of Pelican’s outstanding water-purifying treatments.
Its water softening capabilities reduce scale by 99.6%, help EXTEND the life of valuable household appliances, and improve the condition of your clothes, dishes, and food.
This is a 10 GPM unit, ideal for households with 1-3 bathrooms, allowing each bathroom to potentially use 3.3 gallons per minute simultaneously.
This model uses a comprehensive 4-stage purification process. Stage one utilizes a 5-micron pre-filter system, stage two, and three features Catalytic Granular Activated Charcoal media (GAC) to catch unwanted substances, and stage four features a bacteriostatic copper-zinc oxidation filter to address any issues with algae or bacteria.
Each stage further PURIFIES the water, minimizing and eliminating sediment, bacteria, algae, chemicals, sediment, and other contaminants.
This Pelican combo system has a reinforced fiberglass tank that is highly durable and comes preloaded and ready for installation.
The sediment filter needs to be changed approximately every 6-9 months, while the carbon filtration media is good for 650,000 gallons—approximately 2 years. Since this unit doesn’t use salt, there are no salt refills, and Pelican’s salt replacement—NaturSoft—comes with a lifetime guarantee and needs no refill.
Measuring 18” x 49.5” x 27”, this is a well-sized unit, one which doesn’t require electricity, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This does have a higher price point, but this is an average Pelican water systems cost.
7. Fleck 2510 SXT: Salt-Based
The Fleck 2510 SXT model comes in a range of grain capacities, from 24,000 - 64,000. This is great for those who live in an extremely hard water area and want ULTIMATE COVERAGE. It's also a suitable solution for larger properties that demand a high water supply.
This is an electronic demand water softener that uses salt—unlike the other Pelican options—and features a large salt tank with auto-shutoff and safety float features.
One of the unique selling points is the built-in Vortech and Mid-Vortech technologies. This design keeps the media bed fluid and extends the unit's capacity to remove contaminants. These features ensure a remarkable reduction in water consumption and salt use, making this an eco-friendly option.
Mid-Vortech removes any need for a second media tank. Instead, the filtration technologies are combined in a single tank, but kept physically separate, making for quite the space-saving solution!
Connect this unit to your water supply with either a 0.75” or 1” stainless steel bypass valve. You’ll need to attach this to a female thread inlet and outlet.
When you purchase this model, it comes with a risk-free 100% Money Back Guarantee. This unit is on the lower end of the price-point spectrum yet is still a significant investment. Thankfully, it’s possible to choose multiple payment options, including 4 interest-free payments.
Choosing the right water softening system for your household can radically alter your water supply. Pelican water systems is known for its environmentally friendly water filtration units and creates highly-efficient products with the user in mind.
It achieves its eco-friendly status by running without electricity, not wasting water, and not using harsh chemicals. The inclusion of NaturSoft media elevates every Pelican water softener to a multifunctional softener and conditioner for better quality water from every faucet in your home. And the couple of salt-based non-Pelican softeners that we added to our reviews help highlight the revolutionary nature of this feature.
The best Pelican water softener is Pelican PRC-5. There were a lot of stand-out features and consistently high quality throughout these reviews, yet this particular model simply features everything you’d need in a water softener and will be suitable for the majority of people. If you're looking for an alternative then we recommended fleck softeners for it's highly performing systems with a lots of good feedbacks.
About the Author
Carl Jensen is a plumber with over 50 years of experience in the industry, as well as related jobs like underwater welding. He runs a successful plumbing practice in Tampa, Florida, and contributes his plumbing expertise to our DIY articles, and helps to fact check and consult on most of our other stuff to boot.