The Best Upflow Water Softener

Updated: June 10, 2021 by Zac Harding

Upflow brining – how important is it?

Upflow water softeners work on the principle of upflow or counter-current brining. In this unique process, the brine goes through the softener from the bottom up. In other words, upflow systems offer superior salt and water efficiency and reduced leakage compared to downflow systems.

It’s tough to readily know which product is the best upflow water softener as you browse available products on the market. We have done the heavy lifting for you and rounded up the best upflow water softening systems. It took a while, but we managed to find nine top products that are perfect for those who want to invest in an upflow system.

Top Pick

Premier Soft 64,000 Grain Upflow Water Softener is our top pick. This new release has all the features you would be looking for in an upflow water softener. It has a large capacity of up to 64,000 grains and features a high-capacity 10 percent crosslink resin that guarantees the best performance. As an added advantage, the system also comes with a 2 CF carbon filter and a reverse osmosis kit.

The Best Upflow Water Softeners Are:

1. Premier Soft 64,000 Grain Upflow Water Softener — Best Overall

Premier Soft 64,000 Grain Upflow Water Softener

Get the best-tasting softened water from your city or municipal water with this amazing model from Premier Soft.

This premium quality water softener features countercurrent brining, which is considered to be the most effective and efficient regeneration process. It regenerates resin and removes hard minerals like magnesium and calcium in the same direction they came into the system. So, the hard minerals will not pollute the clean resin. The system pushes the hard water to the bottom of the resin and then flows upwards.

The upward carbon filter provides superior filtration without backwashing, which is good because this reduces wastewater. As an added advantage, the system comes with a four-stage undersink water filtration system that uses reverse osmosis for added purification of the water.

Key Features

  • 64,000-grain capacity
  • 10 percent crosslink resin
  • Digital meter control valve
  • Upflow valve
  • Bypass and adapter
  • 4-stage reverse osmosis system

Pros

  • Counter-current brining improves water efficiency
  • No backwashing means no drain line and no electricity
  • The high-capacity resin is long-lasting
  • The bypass valve allows you to bypass the system without shutting off the water
  • Removes hard minerals and contaminants

Cons

  • The carbon media needs to be changed every few years

Verdict

The Premier Soft is our overall best upflow water softener as it not only removes hardness but also extracts contaminants from your drinking water.

Overall Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

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2. AFWFilters Combo Carbon Water Softener — Best for Removing Traces of Sulfur

AFWFilters Combo Carbon Water Softener

If you are looking for a high-performing upflow combo system that is designed for efficiency, then look no further than this great model from AFWFilters.

The system features upflow regeneration, which is great because it uses less water and salt during each regeneration cycle. We truly appreciate the fact that the softener comes pre-loaded with two to three bags of salt, which means reduced maintenance time and cost. The upgraded 10 percent resin offers superior ion exchange capacity and has exceptional resistance against the effects of chlorine found in city water.

The upflow filtration ensures your softened water is free of THM, MTBE, herbicides, pesticides, chloramines, and chlorine.

Key Features

  • 48,000-grain capacity
  • Upflow regeneration
  • Digital meter
  • 10-inch diameter tank
  • Standard brine tank
  • Safety float feature
  • Bypass valve
  • One-inch male threaded yoke connection
  • 10 percent crosslink resin
  • 1.5 CF carbon media

Pros

  • Comes pre-loaded with resin for decreased maintenance cost
  • The resin has a higher ion exchange capacity and it is physically harder
  • Upflow regeneration improves salt and water efficiency
  • Water is first purified and then softened for the best quality
  • The system is capable of removing traces of hydrogen sulfide

Cons

  • The system comes with only one flex line
  • Some models may arrive without an instructions manual

Verdict

This is a great upflow combo system for the money. You can set the system to first purify the water and then remove minerals causing hardness. Just make sure you get the instructions manual.

Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5.0

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3. AFWFilters 56SXT-10% Upflow Water Softener — Best for Removing Contaminants

AFWFilters 56SXT-10% Upflow Water Softener

Have you been looking for a high-performing upflow system that is engineered to remove hard minerals from water? The 56SXT-10% from AFWFilters fits the description.

This system has an eco-friendly upflow design that provides exceptional water hardness removal without backwashing. The upflow brining provides superior efficiency in terms of water waste and salt use. You get more throughput for every pound of salt you add to the system. The upflow pattern also produces softened water that has lower ion leakage. The tank holds approximately two hundred pounds of salt, but you only need two bags of salt to get started.

This system also works with well water, which means it is capable of removing hard minerals and significant levels of iron. But make sure you test the hardness of your well water so that you can set the digital meter correctly.

Key Features

  • 48,000-grain capacity
  • 10 percent crosslink resin
  • Digital meter valve
  • 12 GPM recommended service flow
  • Upflow carbon media
  • NSF-approved parts

Pros

  • Removes hardness without backwashing
  • The high-capacity 10 percent resin lasts longer than 8 percent resin
  • Digital meter valve is easy to program for effective regeneration
  • The parts that come with the system are NSF-approved

Cons

  • Some models may not come with all the necessary installation accessories
  • It is not designed to remove the sulfur-like smell from water

Verdict

The AFWFilters 56SXT-10% is a must-have upflow water softener if you want to reduce wastewater and improve salt efficiency. But always check to confirm that the system comes with all the installation accessories.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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4. AFWFilters WS48 GreenFlo Upflow Water Softener — Best RO Kit

AFWFilters WS48 GreenFlo Upflow Water Softener

The WS48 GreenFlo from AFWFilters is a high-quality, high-performing upflow water softener that is designed to deliver great-tasting water to every tap in your home.

This is an upflow system, so it uses less amount of salt and water in each regeneration cycle as compared to downflow traditional systems. This upflow model comes equipped with a high-quality Fleck valve that does a great job of measuring your water usage and regenerating only when needed.

The water softener comes with an upgraded 10 percent resin, which is a highly durable media with a higher ion exchange capacity. It is a great resin that will not be easily damaged by the high levels of chlorine found in city water.

Key Features

  • 48,000-grain capacity
  • Fleck 5600SXT valve
  • 10 percent crosslink resin
  • 12 GPM service flow rate
  • 1.5 CF carbon media
  • Reverse osmosis kit
  • Leak detector system

Pros

  • The counter-current regeneration improves salt efficiency
  • The upgraded 10 percent resin offers high ion exchange performance
  • Upflow filtration does not need backwashing or electricity
  • The brine tank is fitted with a safety float to prevent overfilling
  • Comes with a reverse osmosis kit for sediment filtration

Cons

  • Finding accessories locally may not be easy

Verdict

This is a system worth your money. Apart from upflow regeneration and filtration, you also get a high-performing reverse osmosis kit for sediment filtration.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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5. AFWFilters 56SXT GFCRBWS48 Upflow Water Softener — Most Ergonomic Connections

AFWFilters 56SXT GFCRBWS48 Upflow Water Softener

Are you looking for an upflow system that requires less maintenance and uses salt more efficiently? The 56SXT GFCRBWS48 from AFWFilters fits the description.

This good-quality model comes with heavy-duty porting, giving you maximum flow rates with reduced pressure loss. It uses modern technology regeneration (counter-current) to save you a lot of salt and water. The upflow regeneration does a great job of preserving unused resin from unnecessary ion exchange. The system calculates the precise amount of salt it needs during every regeneration cycle.

We believe this model could perform better with an upgraded 10 percent crosslink resin instead of the 8 percent crosslink resin it comes with.

Key Features

  • 48,000-grain capacity
  • 8 percent crosslink resin
  • 12 GPM flow rate
  • Large brine tank
  • Safety float
  • Digital meter
  • Easy to use connections
  • Upflow carbon media
  • NSF-approved parts

Pros

  • Delivers maximum flow rate for effective hardness removal
  • The upflow brining preserves unused resin during regeneration
  • It saves on salt and water to reduce maintenance cost
  • The digital meter valve regenerates only when needed
  • The safety float ensures the brine tank doesn’t overflow

Cons

  • The 8 percent resin isn’t as long-lasting and durable as the 10 percent resin
  • Could be better if it came with an RO kit

Verdict

Get salt and wastewater savings with this great model from AFWFilters. It is a good deal for the money.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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6. ABCWaters 5600SXT Upflow Water Softener — Best Service Flow Rate

ABCWaters 5600SXT Upflow Water Softener

This high-performing system from ABCWaters is innovatively designed to remove hard minerals while maintaining high salt and water efficiency.

The water softener is controlled by a premium-quality digital valve meter, which features an LED display that shows the regeneration cycle in progress, remaining capacity, and time of day. This unique control valve monitors your water usage and regenerates only when needed. The system uses an upgraded 10 percent crosslink resin, which is good because it is physically harder, has a higher ion exchange capacity, and is generally longer lasting.

The upflow brining only regenerates the amount of resin the system needs to recharge. This way, you get to save a lot on salt and avoid excess wastewater.

Key Features

  • 48,000-grain capacity
  • Digital meter control valve
  • Upgraded 10 percent crosslink resin
  • Up to 12 GPM service flow
  • Upflow carbon filtration
  • Installation kit included

Pros

  • The system only regenerates when needed
  • The counter-current brining is highly salt and water-efficient
  • No electricity or backwashing is necessary for filtration
  • Supports a high service flow of up to 12 GPM
  • A suitable choice for a household of two to five people

Cons

  • Possible to receive a carbon filtration system that leaks
  • Quality control seems to be an issue with some of the models

Verdict

This outstanding quality water system is engineered to deliver great-tasting water that is not only soft but also free of scale, sediment, dirt, and sediment.

Overall Rating: 4.1 out of 5.0

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7. DuraWater Fleck 5600SXT Upflow Water Softener — Best Combo System

DuraWater Fleck 5600SXT Upflow Water Softener

The DuraWater Fleck 5600SXT is an innovative and high-performing combo system that is great for removing hard minerals from your water.

The system is operated by a heavy-duty digital meter valve, which is fully programmable. The valve is creatively engineered to measure your water demand and then regenerate as needed. This valve has a power backup that will keep your current settings for up to 48 hours in the event of a power outage. During a power failure, the control usually goes into a power-saving mode.

This great water softener features countercurrent brining, which means you get better efficiency and reduced leakage. You also don’t need to backwash or use any excess water.

Key Features

  • 48,000-grain capacity
  • Upflow filtration
  • Digital meter valve
  • Reverse osmosis system
  • Touchpad controls

Pros

  • The system is incredibly easy to install after consulting the manual
  • It has a significantly large capacity that is ideal for four people
  • The digital meter valve is demand-initiated and very efficient
  • Upflow brining reduces leakages
  • The reverse osmosis system ensures your water is purified

Cons

  • The system is slightly expensive for a tight budget
  • It is possible to receive a model with some missing accessories

Verdict

This upflow system is easy to install and operate. Just make sure you receive a model that comes with all the installation accessories to avoid incurring additional costs.

Overall Rating: 4.1

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8. Genesis 2 Premier 40,000 Grain Upflow Water Softener — Best Auto System Refresh

Genesis 2 Premier 40,000 Grain Upflow Water Softener

Are you looking for an upflow water softener that is large enough for a family of four people? Look no further than the Genesis 2 Premier with a capacity of 40,000 grains.

This heavy-duty water softening system uses advanced counter-current regeneration, which is great because it saves you up to 64% on water and up to 75% on salt on every regeneration. It has one of the smartest digital meters when compared to standard on-demand systems. All you have to do is dial in your settings using the touchpad controls. The full-feature display will rotate the settings on the screen, which include the remaining volume until the next regeneration, last regeneration date, and flow rates.

We also appreciate the fact that the digital meter has a non-volatile memory that will retain your programmed settings for up to 48 hours in the event of a power loss.

Key Features

  • 40,000-grain capacity
  • 10 percent crosslink resin
  • A service flow rate of 13 GPM
  • 2.4 GPM backwash rate
  • 11.25 pounds salt used per regeneration
  • 62.7 gallons per regeneration
  • Automatic system refresh

Pros

  • It saves you a lot of salt and water during regeneration
  • The digital meter needs to be programmed once
  • Non-volatile memory remembers setting in case of a power loss
  • The high service flow rate ensures all hard minerals are removed
  • The system flushes stagnant water to prevent bacterial growth

Cons

  • Reports of non-responsive customer support representatives
  • The instructions manual needs to be detailed

Verdict

The Genesis 2 Premier 40,000-Grain is one of the most popular upflow systems. It is truly efficient as far as salt and water usage is concerned.

Overall Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

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9. Premier Water Systems Upflow Water Softener — Best Whole House Design

Premier Water Systems Upflow Water Softener

This good-quality whole house upflow water softener from Premier Water Systems is just what you need to supply purified, softened water to your new home.

With a maximum capacity of 48,000 grains, this model will effectively meet the demands of a household with three to six people or two to four bathrooms. It is engineered to regenerate in the counter-current direction, which means it uses less salt to recharge the resin to its full capacity. The softener tank comes prefilled with a premium-quality 10 percent cation resin that has exceptionally high ion exchange capacity.

The system is controlled by the Fleck valve, which is good because it automatically controls the regeneration cycles and backwash to keep the water softener working at optimal performance.

Key Features

  • 48,000-grain capacity
  • 10 percent cation resin
  • Fleck valve
  • Large brine tank
  • Safety float
  • Preloaded resin
  • 1.5 CF filtration media

Pros

  • Large hardness removal capacity for a home of up to six people
  • Upflow brining ensures that you use less salt for reduced maintenance cost
  • The resin is preloaded to minimize the need for maintenance
  • The Fleck valve automatically controls regeneration to optimize performance
  • The upflow carbon filtration media removes a variety of contaminants

Cons

  • The price tag may be a little bit expensive for a limited budget
  • The brine tank seems to have a large footprint

Verdict

This model from Premium Water Systems is a great choice for the money. It is built for efficiency and long-lasting performance.

Overall Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

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Things to Consider When Looking for Upflow Water Softeners

When we compare upflow and downflow brining, upflow systems generally bring better salt and water efficiency. But with so many products available on the market, it can be tricky finding the right one.

Here are the most important factors to consider when looking for the best upflow water softener:

Size of the Water Softener

Finding the right size upflow water softener for your home doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to know a few things to simplify the process, and these include the following:

  • The number of people in the household
  • How many gallons of water each person uses per day
  • The hardness of water running in your home
  • The level of iron in your water (if it is well water)

We recommend that you contact your municipality to find out what the hardness of your city water is. In most cases, this information is usually available online. But if you are running well water in your home, then you will need hardness test strips to determine the hardness of your water.

In a household of three people, each person consuming 75 gallons per day, the hardness of the water being 15 grains per gallon (GPG), and running city water, then the total grains need to be removed in one day for this home will be 3*75*(15+0), which is 3375 in one day. So, in a week, this home will need 23,625 grains of hardness to be removed. When you match this capacity to a sizing chart, the most ideal system will be a 32,000-grain capacity upflow water softener.

Decide Between a Timer and Meter-Controlled System

A model that is timer controlled will repeat a regeneration cycle at a preset time (which you have to set). This is regardless of the amount of water you use in your home. A model that is meter controlled will only regenerate after a preset amount of water has been used, which is more efficient compared to a timer control system.

FAQs

What Is an Upflow Carbon Filter?

This is a filtration system that usually comes with upflow water softeners. This unique type of filtration will remove contaminants from your water without the need for backwashing like THM, MTBE, herbicides, pesticides, chlorine, and chloramines. Carbon media come in different sizes like 1.5 cubic feet or 2 cubic feet.

What Does a Reverse Osmosis Kit Do?

Some upflow water softeners come with a reverse osmosis kit. This is a filtration system that uses a membrane separation process that helps remove dissolved and undissolved material from purified water.

Can I Install an Upflow Water Softener Outside?

Most manufacturers don’t recommend outdoor installation and doing so will automatically void the warranty. The electrical control head of the system needs to be protected from the elements. Exposing a water softener to the elements could also lead to rusting, and the control head could easily be tampered with.

Does the Upflow Water Softener and Carbon Media Combo Remove Sulfur?

The carbon media in the combo will help remove a certain level of sulfur. But if the water has high sulfur levels, then you will have to consider other water treatment options like a platinum air injection system for the best results.

Which Is Better Between a 10% and 8% Crosslink Resin?

A 10 percent crosslink resin is the better option because it is harder, has a higher ion exchange capacity, and the beads in a 10 percent resin take longer to fracture and break down. The maintenance cost is lower for a 10 percent resin.

Final Thoughts

For this roundup, the winner is Premier Soft 64,000 Grain Upflow Water Softener. This is a complete whole-house system that will remove hard minerals like magnesium and calcium without using too much salt and also filter out contaminants in city water like chlorine and chloramines. The countercurrent brining of the system helps save a lot on salt and water.

This system has a significantly large capacity of 64,000 grains, which makes it ideal for a household of two to five people. The digital meter control valve does an impressive job of monitoring and measuring water usage and will only regenerate when needed. The touchpad controls are extremely easy to use.

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