The Best Water Softener Salt

Updated: June 10, 2021 by Zac Harding

Water softener salts are manufactured for use in water softeners to help transform hard water into soft water.

The best water softener salt will help prevent scale buildup, keep your hair and laundry soft and bright, and extend the life of your pipes, appliances, and fixtures. With so many choices on the market, how do you find the water softener salt that is best for your system?

We explored the market on your behalf to find premium purity water softener salts. We took into consideration the types of softeners, types of salts, and different forms of salt. After an in-depth analysis, we found nine top products that you can buy today.

Top Pick

Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Water Softener Salt Pellets is our top pick. This is a high-purity product that contains up to 99.8% pure salt. What truly makes this product stand out are the compacted pellets that are specially formulated to prevent bridging and mushing.

Here Are Our Water Softener Salt Reviews:

1. Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Water Softener Salt Pellets — Best Overall

Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Water Softener Salt Pellets

Remove the stubborn hard minerals like magnesium and calcium from your water with these incredible salt pellets from Diamond Crystal. It is the overall best water softener salt for sensitive skin.

This product is acceptable for water softener regeneration and conforms to all minimum requirements. It is intended for use in commercial as well as household systems. These salt pellets are uniquely and specially made to prevent bridging as well as mushing in the brine tank. This always ensures that your water softener is clean. This product may contain SHMP or sodium hexametaphosphate that is very effective at improving bridging and mushing resistance. SHMP is generally considered to be a safe ingredient by the FDA.

We love the two-handled bag design, considering how easy it is to lift, carry, and pour salt into the brine tank.

Key Features

  • 40-pound bag
  • 99.8 percent pure salt
  • Compacted pellets
  • Contains sodium hexametaphosphate
  • Two-handled bag design

Pros

  • The two-handled bag design is easy to lift, carry, and pour
  • The pellets are recommended for both commercial and household units
  • Helps prevent limescale buildup in your plumbing pipes and fixture
  • The pellets are compacted to improve bridging and mushing resistance
  • The recycled material of the bag is eco-friendly

Cons

  • The salt pellets come in a very large and heavy bag
  • The price tag is a little bit steep

Verdict

These water softener salt pellets are made of 99.8 percent pure salt that has proven to be one of the best for reducing the hardness of your water.

Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

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2. Cargill Salt Diamond Crystals Potassium Chloride — Best Sodium Alternative

Cargill Salt Diamond Crystals Potassium Chloride

This product is labeled as a low sodium chloride alternative as it is made up of potassium chloride. Unlike conventional salt substitutes, this model is said to work on all types of water softeners.

This potassium chloride formula is very efficient in reducing brine accumulation in your water softening system. It is highly recommended as a healthier substitute for hard water problems. For people who are truly concerned about the daily sodium intake through their softened water, these potassium chloride pellets are the best solution.

But switching to potassium chloride has its downsides. You may end up spending five times more on maintenance costs, compared to when running a sodium chloride-based system. It is also worth noting that the system will require constant attention.

Key Features

  • 40-pound bag
  • 99.1 percent pure potassium chloride
  • Low insoluble content
  • Manufacturer recommended
  • Easy-grip handle

Pros

  • The crystals are very good at reducing brine accumulation
  • The product is a healthier alternative to sodium chloride
  • Low insoluble content will not interfere with normal operation
  • Most manufacturers recommend this product
  • Comes with an easy-grip handle for lifting and pouring

Cons

  • You may end up spending more money buying several bags
  • A potassium chloride system needs constant attention

Verdict

Although it is expensive to maintain a potassium chloride water softener, the health benefits can outweigh the downsides.

Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

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3. Morton Potassium Chloride Pellets — Best for Reducing Chloride Discharge

Morton Potassium Chloride Pellets

If you have a highly versatile water softener designed to work with both sodium and potassium, then you can opt to use these potassium chloride pellets from Morton.

This product works the same way as sodium-based salt, which removes hard minerals from your water by replacing them with potassium ions in the ion exchange process. It does a good job of preventing limescale buildup without the use of sodium. These pellets will effectively increase potassium in your diet through softened water. The pellets are made up of 98.1% potassium chloride and they’re 100% water-soluble.

The bag is exceptionally easy to lift, open, and pour into the brine tank, thanks to the sturdy plastic handle with two cutouts.

Key Features

  • 40-pound bag
  • Salt alternative
  • 98.1% potassium chloride
  • 99% sodium-free
  • Prevents scale buildup
  • Pellet form

Pros

  • The product is 99% sodium-free
  • This product is the best salt alternative for people on a low-sodium diet
  • The pellets are very effective in reducing chloride discharge by about 20%
  • The pellets help remove magnesium and calcium from the water
  • The sturdy plastic handle is fitted with cutouts for ease of use

Cons

  • A single bag is twice the price of a sodium-based salt
  • You may have to use several bags for effective regeneration

Verdict

This product is a great sodium alternative for softening water. Apart from being 99% sodium-free, the pellets reduce chloride discharge by about 20%.

Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0

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4. Morton 1499 Clean Protect Water Softening Pellets — Best Portable Bag

Morton 1499 Clean Protect Water Softening Pellets

Improve the performance of your water softener and the quality of the softened water with these great pellets from Morton.

This product is small enough for maintaining a home with lower water consumption. It features resin-cleaning additives, which help improve the softener’s operation. The salt is uniquely formulated to reduce buildup of iron in your plumbing faucets and fixtures. The pellets allow for a very effective ion exchange process that ensures most of the hard minerals are successfully removed to improve softness and taste. You will not have to worry about soap scum on your clothes, hair, or skin.

It comes fitted with a very comfortable grip handle that allows for easy lifting and pouring of the salt into your water softener.

Key Features

  • Made in the U.S.
  • 25-pound bag
  • Pellet form
  • Heavy-duty bag design
  • Comfortable grip handle
  • Manufacturer recommended

Pros

  • Delivers a very effective regeneration process for best results
  • Reduces any buildup of iron in your plumbing pipes and fixtures
  • Helps improve efficiency of your appliances and water heater
  • The product is endorsed by many water softener manufacturers
  • The comfort grip handle makes it easy to carry and pour

Cons

  • The bag size is too small for the indicated price tag

Verdict

You don’t have to struggle to lift a 40-pound bag when you can get this 25-pound bag. Not to mention that it contains pure salt.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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5. Morton Clean and Protect Water Softener Pellets — Best for Rust Defense

Morton Clean and Protect Water Softener Pellets

This amazing product steps up the game with a five-in-one system. It has similar features and quality as Morton’s salt and natural product with enhanced built-in rust defense.

What makes this product amazing is its pellet design. Bigger salt crystals are shaped in the process of formulating this product. This salt not only creates significantly less scale buildup it also leaves your hair and skin feeling even softer and smoother. It improves cleaning jobs without spotting or streaking, providing fresher, cleaner tasting water.

It is the best salt for water softener to look for when you want to prevent rusting. The rust defense properties are very effective for your household’s water heater and pipes, especially if your home is a few decades old where iron is the main metal. This product works fifteen times more compared to plain salt to remove scaling and keeps rust from accumulating in your plumbing pipes.

Key Features

  • 40-pound bag
  • 5-in-1 formulation
  • Built-in rust defense
  • Pellet formation
  • Ergonomic plastic handle

Pros

  • Built-in rust defense prevents rust accumulation in your plumbing
  • Pellet formation is highly durable and doesn’t cause bridging
  • The pellets are very effective at preventing limescale buildup
  • Improve the quality and taste of water in the long run
  • The ergonomic plastic handle makes lifting and pouring easier

Cons

  • It is quite expensive for a 40-pound bag of salt

Verdict

This product comes highly recommended for older households with iron pipes and it works intuitively with most water softeners on the market.

Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

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6. Morton Pure and Natural Water Softener Crystals — Best for Preventing Hard Water Spots

Morton Pure and Natural Water Softener Crystals

If you are looking for the best water softener salt that guarantees the regeneration of soft water faster and more efficiently, then look no further than this model from Morton.

The 4-in-1 system is all-natural, which is great because it removes hard minerals and prevents scale buildup. It leaves your hair and skin feeling softer and allows for easier cleaning with less soap. These crystals are amazingly gentle on plumbing and soft water.

This solar salt is ideal for safeguarding sensitive skin because it makes sure that your laundry is completely free of any detergent residues after washing.

Key Features

  • 40-pound bag
  • Solar salt crystals
  • 4-in-1 system
  • Compatible with all types of water softener
  • Ergonomic handle design

Pros

  • The product is naturally harvested from saltwater
  • Naturally opaque, white, high-purity salt
  • The salt is very efficient and quick in removing hardness
  • The sturdy plastic handle allows for easy lifting and pouring
  • This product is manufacturer recommended

Cons

  • The price range is a little bit high considering the size of the bag

Verdict

These high-purity salt crystals will completely transform your hard water into softer, better-tasting water. They will help you achieve softer hair and skin.

Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

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7. Diamond Collection Sun Gems Water Softener Salt — Best Solar Salt

Diamond Collection Sun Gems Water Softener Salt

Hard water can cause a wide variety of household issues like scale buildup in your pipes and appliances and rough hair and skin. These are problems you can easily solve with this good-quality water softener salt.

This product is made up of high-quality white solar salt, which can effectively reduce the accumulation of residue in your brine tank. This helps ensure that your water softening system is always clean. The product is 99.6% pure solar salt, which dissolves more readily and easily, compared to other conventional salts. This unique salt type will prevent clumping in your tank.

The bag, however, doesn’t come with a clear cutout handle. So, you will have to be creative and figure out how you will lift and pour the salt into the tank without dropping the bag inside.

Key Features

  • 40-pound bag
  • Solar salt
  • High purity salt (99.6%)
  • No additives or conditioners
  • Heavy-duty bag

Pros

  • The product contains 99.6% pure salt
  • High purity salt is very good at removing hard minerals like calcium
  • Does not contain free-flowing or anti-caking conditioners or additives
  • The salt is uniquely shaped to prevent bridging
  • The bag is made of high-quality, eco-friendly material

Cons 

  • No clear cut-out handle on the bag for easy lifting and pouring
  • The bag may be a little bit expensive for a tight budget

Verdict

The high purity nature of the white solar salt guarantees efficient and effective regeneration for softer, cleaner water.

Overall Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0

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8. Diamond K-Life Potassium Chloride — Most Ergonomic Bag Design

Diamond K-Life Potassium Chloride

Have you been looking for a premium quality sodium chloride alternative for healthy water softening? Look no further than the Diamond K-Life Potassium Chloride.

This product contains up to 99.1% pure potassium chloride, which means you will not see any sodium residue in your tank after the water has gone through the regeneration process. The crystals have low insoluble content, which is good because they ensure your water softener runs smoothly. Unlike sodium ions, potassium ions are generally more septic-friendly and will hardly affect your lawn when watering. This product is very good at improving the smell, taste, and color of your water.

The bag is fitted with two ergonomic handles, which allow you to lift and pour the content into your tank from either of the sides.

Key Features

  • 40-pound bag
  • Sodium chloride alternative
  • 99.1% potassium chloride
  • Low insoluble content
  • Two ergonomic handles

Pros

  • It is a high-performing sodium salt alternative
  • Contains pure potassium chloride which delivers softer, cleaner water
  • Low insoluble content allows the system to function properly
  • It is equipped with a handle at the top and bottom for added versatility
  • This is a great product for people with sodium-related health issues

Cons

  • It is double the price of a similar size water softener salt bag
  • You must change the settings of your system to improve efficiency

Verdict

This low-sodium alternative is a reliable solution for people who have sodium-related issues. However, be prepared to pay more.

Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0

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9. Cargill Salt 7304 Water Softener Salt — Best Polybagged Package

Cargill Salt 7304 Water Softener Salt

Looking for a cleaner and more efficient water softener salt compared to rock salt? This product from Cargill Salt is an excellent choice.

This product features high-quality solar salt that is white crystalline and coarse screened. The crystals are recommended for both commercial and residential water softeners. Solar salt crystals are normally cleaner and more efficient than rock salt. The best thing about this product is that it doesn’t result in bridging, mushing, or channeling.

It comes in a 40-pound polybagged package with an ergonomically made handle at the top for easy gripping. You can creatively use the handle to pour the right amount of salt into your brine tank.

Key Features

  • 40-pound bag
  • Polybagged
  • Crystal form
  • Solar salt
  • Easy-grip handle design

Pros

  • The product is made of solar salt, which has high purity
  • Solar salt doesn’t result mushing, bridging, or channeling
  • The user-friendly handle allows easy lifting and pouring
  • The crystals are cleaner and more efficient compared to rock salt
  • Recommended for both household and commercial systems

Cons

  • The cost seems to be a little bit steep for the package size
  • Could be better if the bag had two handles

Verdict

This product from Cargill Salt could be your go-to option if you are fed up with the messy performance of rock salt.

Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0

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Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Salt for Water Softener

Here are the most important things you need to consider:

Potassium Vs Sodium Chloride

Water softeners are designed to work with either potassium chloride or sodium. But most water softeners are usually designed to work with sodium chloride. Sodium and potassium chloride are both naturally occurring minerals. During ion exchange, hard mineral ions are replaced with either potassium or sodium ions, depending on the type added into the brine tank.

Potassium chloride is considered to be a healthier option for people on a low-sodium diet, and it is also septic-friendly. One thing to consider is the price. A bag of potassium chloride can be twice the price of a bag of sodium chloride. Also, for optimum hardness removal, you will need three times more bags of potassium. With sodium chloride, you will only need one bag for the regeneration process.

Type of Salt

There are four popular types of salts you can consider for your softener:

Salt Crystals: These are formed by expelling a mixture of water, brine, and salt to the wind. This process creates 99.6% salt.

Solar Sea Salt: This type of salt is created by solar evaporation ponds. Saltwater is pulled into the ponds and evaporated. Then the salt is harvested, washed, and packed. This salt is usually 99.5% pure.

Rock Salt: This is the least processed form of salt. The salt is taken directly from the mine and used as it is. The salt is only crushed and screened to get a size range of crystals that are convenient for use with water softeners.

Evaporated Salt: This salt is obtained by refining salt crystals into one hundred percent sodium chloride. The salt is usually in pellet form, and it is the most expensive.

Vacuum Granulated Salt: This salt is created from brine that is chemically purified and then undergoes a mechanical compacting process to form 99.7% pure salt.

FAQs

Why Is a Bag of Salt Overpriced Online?

You would probably get a 25-pound bag of salt at approximately $5 locally, but at about $20 online. This is mostly because of the shipping charges, but if you are after convenience, then online is the way to go.

What Brands Are Highly Recommended by Water Softener Manufacturers?

The brands that are highly recommended by manufacturers are Morton and Cargill. But there are other good brands of water softener salts out there that you can consider buying.

What Is Salt Bridging?

Salt bridging occurs when there is caking or crusting of the salt above the brine level. This usually causes a void space between the salt and the brine, and undersaturated brine is produced as a result. This can easily lead to poor softening of the hard water. This problem can be difficult to identify because the salt may appear normal when you inspect it from the top of the tank. So, what you should do is avoid cheap salt like rock salt.

Can Potassium-Softened Water Be Used for Watering House Plants?

You can use softened water obtained from a potassium water softener as long as you allow excess water to drain from the bottom of the pot. This type of softened water can be a good source of potassium, which is an important plant nutrient.

Do I Need to Empty My Tank to Switch to Potassium Chloride Pellets?

No. You don’t have to do that because there is no incompatibility between sodium and potassium chloride. You can simply add potassium chloride into an existing softener that already contains sodium as long as the system is compatible with potassium. But you may have to adjust the settings on the control panel for effective regeneration.

Final Thoughts

For this roundup, the winner is Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Water Softener Salt Pellets. This product features 99.8% pure salt that has superior purity. The heavy-duty, two-handled bag contains compacted pellets, which is great because you will never have to worry about bridging, mushing, or channeling in your brine tank.

This product is made of pure sodium chloride, which is very effective for water regeneration. So, you would probably need only one bag at one time as opposed to potassium chloride that would need several bags to get the same results. The compacted pellets are made of vacuum granulated salt, which is one of the highest purity types.

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