You want the highest quality of water available for your family to drink, cook with, bathe with, and use for laundry and other household routines. Water that is “hard” contains minerals, usually calcium and magnesium, which can build up and leave deposits in your appliances, sinks, and tubs, or even in your plumbing. Hard water also may leave the skin feeling dry or itchy, leave water spots on your dishes, and also may require a significantly greater amount of soap in order to create suds.
So what’s the best way to fight hard water? With a water softener, of course! Here are our top 5 compared
- Dimensions: 9 x 44 x 46 inches
- Removes 97% of chlorine for up to 1,000,000 gallons
- Price: $$$$
- Dimensions: 10" x 54" tank, 14" x 17" x 33" brine tank
- Digital metered, on demand valve
- Price: $$$
- 1 How do Water Softeners Work?
- 2 Deciding Which to Buy
- 3 Top Picks
- 4 Top Water Softener/Filter Combo
- 5 TOP Compact Traditional Water Softener
- 6 TOP Affordable Water Softener
- 7 Top Capacity Water Softener
- 8 Top Warranty Water Softener
- 9 How do water softeners work?
- 10 Top Water Softener Brands
How do Water Softeners Work?
When choosing a water softener, it is important that you understand how the unit works and to consider the cost of upkeep as you determine affordability and functionality. These appliances typically work by using a process of ion exchange, whereby the water is exchanging the pesky minerals that you don’t want
Deciding Which to Buy
A water softener is a large purchase that you want to make well. Deciding which brand and model to buy can be difficult when considering all of the options that are available. In order to make the most intelligent and affordable choice for your family, you should have access to recommendations. Rather than hearing from the companies about how great their products are, you may want to hear from actual customers who give the best water softener reviews—and that’s exactly where our recommendations come from!
Rankings from 1-5 don’t always mean much, so here we’ve categorized our top picks based upon various categories and the best water softener reviews we could find!
Top Water Softener/Filter Combo
Aquasana Premium Rhino (EQ-1000-AST)
This system offers unique upflow engineering with dual tanks so that there is increased time for the water to be in contact with the media that removes contaminants. This is a top notch system that includes SimplySoft Salt-Free Water Softener, Whole House Water Filter, and Pro Installation Kit.
- Product: 10 Year Salt-Free Softener + Filter
- Model #: EQ-1000-AST
- Dimensions: 9” x 54” x 46”
- Flow Rate: 7 GPM
- Max Pressure: 100 PSI
- Warranty: 90-day guarantee/10 year limited warranty
How it Works
SimplySoft uses Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC) softening technology, conditioning the water without ever having to add salt. The system works without having to remove minerals from the water, but instead it alters the structure of the minerals to prevent them from producing buildup and scale. Softens the water in the whole house in conjunction with the filtering system and is proven to reduce scale by up to 99.6%.
Aquasana UV Sterilight filtration system is built to maximize performance without clogging. It removes 97% of chlorine from regular tap water and reduces heavy metals, organic chemicals, and industrial solvents. This makes for tastier drinking water, improved cooking, healthier skin, and even easier breathing.
- Salt-free conditioning means no excessive amounts of salt added into shared water systems.
- Does not demineralize water and these trace minerals in drinking water can be healthy.
- Dual tank filters up to one million gallons of water.
- Whole house filter lasts for 10 years.
- Professional grade installation kit.
- Risk-free warranty with free return shipping and a full refund.
- Top of the line retail price at over $2800 but available for under $2000 with FREE shipping.
- Requires professional plumber installation to keep the warranty intact.
- Fittings are ¾” and included connectors for 1” fittings are plastic and not durable.
- Water may not feel as “soft” on the skin as with traditional salt softeners.
If you are looking for the Cadillac of whole-house water filtration systems and conditioners, this is definitely a contender. You get the sound mind of knowing that your family is not ingesting unhealthy chemicals and the convenience of having your water filtration and softener systems interconnected. Most reviewers love this product and are excited about the results.
TOP Compact Traditional Water Softener
The WaterBoss 220 is a compact water softener which uses traditional Sodium Chloride to prevent scale buildup, keep fixtures clean, and reduce the cost of cleaning supplies by making soap much more efficient. It can also make appliances run more efficiently and may be better for your skin and hair.
- Product: WaterBoss 220
- Model #: 220
- Dimensions: 18.8” x 14.8” 25.8”
- Weight: 73 pounds
- Flow Rate: 12 GPM
- Voltage: 12
Warranty: 3 years on valve and electronics/10 years on media tank and outer cabinet
How it Works
WaterBoss 220 is an efficient, traditional water softener that uses salt to soften and also reduces ferrous iron while filtering dirt and sediment. This compact model is ideal for use for up to four people and fits perfectly in a small space for condos or smaller homes.
- Regenerates in as little as 18 minutes.
- Built-in 20-micron whole house filter which is self-cleaning.
- Quiet operation.
- Regenerates on demand for best efficiency and no waste.
- Fine mesh resin reduces salt consumption and uses less water.
- Simple, 3-step installation.
- Designed to soften up to 70 grains per gallon of hardness.
- Consumers report effective customer service from the manufacturer.
- Adds trace amounts of salt to drinking water.
- Removes minerals which may be healthy.
- Not useful for families larger than 4 people.
A great little affordable appliance, the WaterBoss 220 takes up very little space while working rather efficiently. Cost is mid-range at around $700 plus shipping, and if you are looking for a smaller version of a traditional water softener then this seems to be a well-loved model.
TOP Affordable Water Softener
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
- Product: Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
- Model #: ED6002P
- Dimensions: 6.7” x 1.6” x 3.5”
- Voltage: 110 volts
- Wattage: 5 watts
- Warranty: 12 month money back guarantee/Lifetime Repair or Replace warranty
How it Works
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler fights against
- Retains minerals that can be important to health.
- No plumbing installation necessary.
- Salt free system is considered eco-friendly.
- Super lightweight and compact, weighing less than 2 pounds.
- Makes glass easier to clean.
- Costs only around $200.
- Water may retain the feeling of “hardness” on skin.
- May not be effective on extremely hard water.
Many consumer reviewers like the Eddy, but those who compare it to water softeners agree that it isn’t quite up to the same standards. But since it also isn’t up to the same cost, this qualifies as an exceptional, affordable alternative to high-cost water softeners with less upkeep. With a one-year money back guarantee, this is a pretty low-risk purchase and is worth a trial for those who are looking for something small, affordable, and alternative to traditional salt water softeners.
Top Capacity Water Softener
The Fleck 5600SXT water softener has a good reputation and is a commonly used model. Ideal for a home housing 3-5 people, this Fleck has 48,000 grain upgraded high capacity and works best on
- Product: Fleck 5600sxt Upgraded Water Softener
- Model #: 5600SXT Digital Control
- Dimensions: 15” x 34” brine tank, 1.5 cubic feet
- Shipping Weight: 130 pounds
- Warranty: 5 year valve warranty/10 year tank warranty
How it Works
Traditional salt based water softener system uses ion exchange process to eliminate scale buildup from hard water and increase efficiency of soap use. Solid and reliable, the Fleck is a well-known and respected brand. Keeps appliances free of buildup to extend life.
- Cross linked resin upgrade for longer life.
- 48 hour internal power backup.
- Backlit LCD display; easy to program.
- Meter based regeneration means water is only regenerated when needed, for more efficiency.
- 5600 valve has been tested to run up to 27 years. You may never need another water softener!
- Safety float to prevent over filling; overflow drain avoids messes.
- Mid-range affordability.
- Water may feel “slimy” to those who like hard water.
- Minerals that could be healthy for drinking are eliminated.
- Installation may be challenging/time consuming. Some users may want to hire a plumber.
This automatic metered on-demand appliance offers whole house softening in the traditional salt ionizing process. Affordable and reliable, this is a solid, standard choice which top capacity for those who aren’t looking for bells, whistles, or new-fangled technology.
Top Warranty Water Softener
The nuvoH2O is a Salt-Free alternative water softening system that provides whole house conditioning without salt, magnets, electricity, or waste. This little unit is compact but power-packed to removed existing scale from fixtures, appliances, and pipes as well as increasing the efficiency of the water heater.
- Product: nuvoH2O Manor Complete Salt-Free Water Softening System
- Model #: M42150
- Dimensions: 31.3” x 10.1” x 8.8”
- Capacity: 2100 sq. ft. house or larger
- Warranty: 90 day money back guarantee/lifetime warranty for modification, repair or exchange at no cost. Transferable with sale of home. Must use nuvoH2O brand replacement cartridges.
How it Works
This system uses an innovative chelation technology to lower the PH level of the water. Similar to the process used in the Aquasana Simply Soft, the metal ions in calcium and magnesium are bound to the proprietary citrus formula which softens and conditions the water.
- Lifetime Warranty—if you use replacement cartridges by nuvoH2O.
- Affordable at just under $1,000 and low shipping costs.
- Extremely compact, weighing only a few pounds.
- Minerals that may be healthy are not removed from water but transformed to make water softer.
- Large capacity for homes 2100 square feet or larger.
- 60,000 gallon capacity for each filter.
- Replacement cartridges can be a bit pricey compared to salt bags.
- May not be able to keep up with residue from extremely hard, lime scale.
- Replacement cartridges may be heavy for some people to change.
- As with most non-salt softening systems, the nuvoH20 has mixed reviews from people who either love it or cannot get used to it.
It seems like most people who use this system either love it or hate it. There really is no middle of the road. If you’re looking for an alternative to salt then this compact setup may be just what you want. But if you are looking for a system that acts exactly like a salt system, this probably isn’t going to do it. The good news is that because of the 90 day money back guarantee there is little risk, except for possibly some shipping costs and installation time.
How do water softeners work?
Having hard water has many adverse side effects, but one of the worst would be the effect it has on your skin and hair causing dryness and irritation. Your clothes may also be affected and come out of the wash feeling hard and brittle. Generally the life of your fabrics will be cut very short.
Top Water Softener Brands
There are a few water softener manufacturers on the market, only a few stand out in terms of quality and design:
- Fleck – With over 50 years of experience behind their belt, Fleck is one of the front-runners when it comes to water softener solutions, leading the way in technology and innovative designing. Fleck come highly
reccommended world wideand have the best all around reviews on Amazon currently.
- Waterboss – Another well established brand in the water softening arena, Waterboss is also very highly rated and are well known for providing quality solutions. With water wastage a very high priority, their units therefore use less water than the rest.
- Morton – North Americas leading salt producer, Morton are very well known for their different kinds of salt. They also produce salt based water softeners which are rated very highly on Amazon with a lot of great reviews.
- Aquasana – With "green" at the forefront of their units, Aquasana's focus is on providing both water softeners and water filtration systems that reduce environmental footprint and water waste. If it's good for our environment and it's a quality product, Aquasana gets the all clear from us.