Best Water Softeners of 2021 – No more hard water

Hard water can be a real menace for homeowners, what with the scaling and staining it can cause in your pipes and on your water fixtures. The best way to get rid of hard water is to install a water softener to treat the water before using it, and with so many products on the market today, our guide for the top 10 best water softeners 2021 is just what you need to get the water softener that’s right for you. 

Simply put, a water softener is a device that can be used to convert hard water into soft water. What is the difference between hard water and soft water then, you might ask?

Well, hard water is the term used to describe water that is rich in dissolved minerals like iron, manganese, and calcium, giving the water a “hard”, textured feel. While these and other minerals are still found in soft water, they are in much, much lower concentrations, which makes soft water feel lighter and more slippery.

While hard water is safe to drink and doesn’t cause any serious health issues (which is why your municipal water suppliers aren’t required by law to remove the minerals), it can still be quite troublesome.

Having a water softener installed can, therefore, be quite beneficial, as it converts the hard water supply from your mains before it is fed to the rest of your house.

The most common method (and perhaps the only real way) to remove hard water minerals is through the process of ion-exchange, the driving principle behind ion-exchange water softeners. Let’s take a closer look at how they work

BestChoice
Best
Choice

Pentair
WS48 Fleck
The best choice for a water softener for an entire household, packed to the brim with great features.

BestBudget
Best
Budget

iSpring
ED2000

A salt-free, budget-friendly water softener alternative that takes care of scaling efficiently.

Editor’sChoice
Editor’s
Choice

Whirlpool WHESFC Pro
All-in-one system that combines a whole house filtration system and a whole house water softener into one fantastic package.

Image Name Specialty Type Grains Salt usage Price
Pentair WS48 Fleck Best overall Ion-exchange 48,000 High Check Price
iSpring ED2000 Budget choice Electronic de-scaler N/A N/A Check Price
Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Best Hybrid Ion-exchange 31,000 High Check Price
Eddy ED6002P-US Best electronic de-scaler Electronic de-scaler N/A N/A Check Price
On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT Best portable Ion-exchange 16,000 Low Check Price

Best Water Softeners 2021

1. Pentair

Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck water softener – Best Overall

Our number one spot has to go to the Pentair Fleck water softener. This is hands down the best water softener for the entire house and has all the features that are the mark of a great water softener.

Digital control meter with auto rejuvenation cycles? Check. A bypass valve for easy maintenance? Check. 48-hour backup and user-friendly controls? Check. The company even offers its customers a 10-year warranty on the tank and a 5-year warranty on the 5600-valve used inside it.

All in all, if you’re hunting for a water softener for the entire house, you really won’t find a better product than this.

Pros

  • 48,000-grain full-size water softener. Great for the entire household
  • 10 + 5-year warranty
  • User-friendly controls
  • Bypass valve for easy maintenance
  • Meter based automatic regeneration cycles

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Tough to install without proper tools

2. iSpring ED2000

 iSpring ED2000 Whole House Electronic De-scaler – Best budget choice for hard water problems

As much as you may want to invest in one, an ion-exchange water softener like the Fleck might just be too expensive for you to afford given your small budget. And although a water de-scaler can’t technically soften water, the iSpring ED2000 electronic de-scaler is still a great investment since it tackles your biggest problem with hard water: the scaling.

Scale buildup can slowly, but surely, damage your heating elements and clog your pipes, which is why when you can’t afford a proper water softener, the iSpring ED2000 is a good replacement to help you avoid these problems.

And when you consider the fact that it’s super easy to install and requires virtually no maintenance, the ED2000 is really a steal.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Prevents scaling on water fixtures and inside pipes
  • Requires no maintenance
  • No need to refill salt, just supply electricity
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Does not soften water, only prevents scaling

3. Whirlpool WHESFC

Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series – Best Hybrid

A water softener is a must-have for homeowners that struggle with hard water, but what if your water supply is contaminated with dirt, chlorine and other particles too? Should you get a separate filter to use in conjunction with your water softener? Well, why not buy a product that both cleans your water AND softens it too!

Introducing the Whirlpool WHESFC Pro, a water filter & softener hybrid that brings you the best of both worlds in one convenient package.

This system is the ultimate water filtration solution, and with great features like automatic filter cleaning (no more replacements!) and metered automatic softener regeneration, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better hybrid than this on the market.

Pros

  • Water softener and filter hybrid
  • Automatic filter cleaning
  • Metered automatic regeneration cycles
  • Easy installation
  • User-friendly interface

Cons

  • Not as efficient as the Fleck water softener
  • Some people have complained about damages in shipment

4. Eddy ED6002P-US

Eddy ED6002P-US Electronic Water Descaler – Best electronic descaler

If the coarser taste of hard water and the lack of lather on your shampoo never really bothered you, then a full-fledged ion-exchange water softener might not be the best investment for you. Chances are the only thing you’re really concerned about is scaling, and you probably don’t want to invest too much into a water softener.

If this is the case, then what you need is a de-scaler, and when it comes to electronic de-scalers, you just can’t go wrong with the Eddy Electronic water de-scaler. This unit is powerful enough to take care of descaling for the entire house and requires absolutely no salt to run. Just plug it into an electric socket, wrap the coils around your mains pipe, and you’re good to go.

Pros

  • Best electronic water de-scaler prevents scaling in the entire house
  • Cheaper than ion-exchange water softeners
  • Easy to install
  • No maintenance or salt required
  • 12-month warranty

Cons

  • Does not soften water

5. On The Go

On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable – Best Portable

If you own an RV or a camper, you’re probably someone who likes to travel a lot. And in the many trailer parks, you may have set camp in over the country, you may have found yourself forced to resort to the local hard water supply at one point or another.

However, if you had the OTG4-DBLSOFT by your side, obtaining soft water on the road would no longer be a problem for you.

Designed to be compact and lightweight, so that it can be carried from location to location, while still large enough that it can be used by an entire family, the OTG4 is the best solution to soft water on the go. It’s even a great choice for people who live alone or in small homes.

Pros

  • Portable water softener
  • Large enough to cater to entire full-size RV
  • Compact, space-saving design
  • Allows for high flow rates
  • Quick regeneration cycle (only takes 2 boxes of common salt and 30 minutes to regenerate)

Cons

  • Not suitable for the entire household

Image Name Specialty Type Grains Salt usage Price
Whirlpool WHES40E Best single unit softener Ion-exchange 40,000 High Check Price
Aquasure Harmony AS-HS48FM Best for iron removal Ion-exchange 32,000 or 48,000 or 64,000 High Check Price
AO Smith Conditioner Best TAC de-scaler TAC water de-scaler N/A N/A Check Price
HQUA 5000E Easiest to install Electronic de-scaler N/A N/A Check Price
On The Go OTG3NTP3M Best for short trips Ion-exchange 8,000 Low Check Price

6. Whirlpool WHES40E – Best Single Unit

Whirlpool WHES40E – Best Single Unit

Afraid of the extra costs of salt and power you’ll have to bear every month with your ion-exchange water softener, on top of the already high initial cost? Then why not buy the Whirlpool WHES40E?

This single-unit water softener can soften an entire household’s water while making sure it uses the least amount of salt, water and power possible.

This softener is even great for iron removal, which is great considering how iron can cause some nasty staining on your sink and other water fixtures.

Pros

  • Efficient use of salt and water
  • Great for removing iron from water
  • User-friendly interface
  • Metered automatic regeneration cycles

Cons

  • Not good for large households

7. Aquasure Harmony

Aquasure Harmony AS-HS48FM Series Water Softener – Best for iron removal

While dissolved calcium and magnesium are big menaces when it comes to scaling, if your municipal water supply contains dissolved iron then you’re in for a world of pain.

This is because iron causes one more problem besides scaling: leaving ugly orange stains wherever it goes. Not all water softeners are great at handling dissolved iron though, so you need to be extra careful when buying one.

Luckily for you, the Aquasure Harmony Water softener is the best in the market for iron removal, and with all the other great features you’d expect from a quality water softener, this is a great product if you use well water rich in iron.

Pros

  • Best water softener for well water with iron
  • Metered automatic regeneration cycles
  • High corrosion-resistant fiberglass lined tank
  • Available in 64,000 grains size, great for large households
  • Bypass valve for easy maintenance

Cons

  • Expensive

8. AO Smith Whole House

AO Smith Whole House Salt Free Water De-scaler – Best TAC de-scaler

While electronic de-scalers are cheap and convenient to use, they’re not able to de-scale/condition water as good as their TAC counterparts. Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) uses special media to clump mineral ions together, thus preventing them from scaling.

This process is very effective and can even tackle dissolved iron unlike electronic descaling, which makes the AO Smith TAC de-scaler a stellar product when all you want is something that can descale your water.

The AO Smith is also more than capable of providing de-scaled water to the entire household, without any loss in pressure whatsoever.

Had it not been for the higher price of this system (compared to electric de-scalers) and lower lifespan (compared to other ion-exchange water softeners) however, this product would have been much higher on our list.

Pros

  • Best TAC de-scaler
  • More effective than electronic de-scalers
  • Requires no maintenance
  • Requires no power usage
  • Can provide water to the entire house

Cons

  • More expensive than electric de-scalers
  • Does not soften water 

9. HQUA 5000E

HQUA 5000E Electronic Water Descaler – Easiest to install and use

Installing an ion-exchange water softener can be a nightmare for the inexperienced homeowner, what with all the complicated plumbing it entails. At the same time, you’d rather not pay a horrendous amount to a professional to install the system for you.

In these situations, an easily installable system like the HQUA 5000E is honestly a godsend. Wrap the coils around your mains pipe, plug them into the electronic component, and plug the power cord into an outlet, and you’re good to go. It really doesn’t get simpler than that.

Pros

  • Easy to install and use
  • No maintenance required
  • No salt or water used
  • Cheap
  • Prevent scaling and protect water fixtures and pipes

Cons

  • Does not soften water

10. On The Go OTG3NTP3M

On The Go OTG3NTP3M – Best for short camping trips

While the OTG4 was a great choice for a portable water softener for your RV, it’s far too bulky a system to lug around on short camping trips. Fortunately, On The Go has you covered here too with its OTG3NTP3M, a more or less downsized version of the OTG4.

This water softener is small and light enough that it can easily be carried by one person, making it far more portable than the larger OTG4. And to top it off, it only uses one box of common salt for its 15-minute regeneration cycle, which is enough to supply soft water for 20 days! 

Pros

  • Small and lightweight, very portable
  • Uses very little salt and only takes 15 minutes to regenerate
  • Great for short trips
  • Compact, space-saving design
  • Relatively cheap

Cons

  • Not suitable for large households or full-size campers/RVs

5 Tips for Buying a Water Softener

For the average homeowner, buying a water softener can be a pretty daunting task. Odds are you’re not too well-versed in how water softeners work or why you even need one in the first place, and so you probably don’t know how to buy a water softener that’s perfect for your house and situation. 

Luckily for you though, we’ve compiled a neat list of 6 things you need to consider when buying a water softener to ensure you get only the one that’s best for you! Take a look:

For the average homeowner, buying a water softener can be a pretty daunting task. Odds are you’re not too well-versed in how water softeners work or why you even need one in the first place, and so you probably don’t know how to buy a water softener that’s perfect for your house and situation. 

Luckily for you though, we’ve compiled a neat list of 6 things you need to consider when buying a water softener to ensure you get only the one that’s best for you! Take a look:

Water Softener Buyer’s Guide

Understand the difference between ion-exchange water softeners and water de-scalers

The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to invest in an ion-exchange water softener or a hard water de-scaler. Both these products are commonly referred to as water softeners but perform very differently, so it’d be best you learned the difference between the two. At least from a buyer’s point of view.

Without going into a full explanation of how these products work (for more details, click here), the crux of the matter is that only ion-exchange water softeners turn hard water into soft water, while de-scalers can only limit scaling. 

Soft water has a number of advantages over hard water (for more details, click here) making an ion-exchange water softener the better product overall, but they cost more both initially and during maintenance.

Contrast them to the electronic or TAC water de-scalers which don’t cause as much to buy or maintain, and are thus a more practical option if all you want is to protect your water fixtures from scaling. Which means it really depends on a case to case basis when deciding which would be a better investment for you in the long run.

So, before you look into anything else, decide what product you actually want to buy. And be careful you don’t fall for any scams; let’s just say that not every product that claims to be a water softener (implying that it converts hard water into soft water) may in actuality be one. Trust us, we’ve seen far too many de-scalers falsely advertised like that.

One-piece or two-piece?

Traditional ion-exchange water softeners mostly come in two shapes, either as a combined unit or as two separate tanks for the resin and saltwater. Both types function almost identically, but single-unit water softeners typically have the edge when it comes to efficiently using power, water and salt, though the results usually vary from brand to brand. 

What single piece water softeners are famous for however is their superior user interfaces and extra features that let them filter water as well soften it. These extra features do end up costing you more though, so if all you want is softened water, then a two-piece water softener might be a better investment for you.

Single unit water softeners are also great space-savers, which is something you might want to consider if you don’t have a lot of space in your home, to begin with.

Look for water softeners that use non-proprietary parts

Though this is rarely a problem that comes up with most water softeners available today, some water softeners are manufactured to use only proprietary parts from the company that made it. This is usually done as a measure to prevent users from tampering with the product on their own and forcing them instead to call the company’s servicemen every time a problem occurs.

As you can tell, this already puts you in a tough spot, having to rely solely on the company’s repairmen every time something goes wrong. However, what’s worse is that sometimes companies abandon production of the parts that you need entirely, meaning you’re left with absolutely nowhere to go and no possible substitutes that you can use.

The solution? Opt for a water softener that uses standard, easily-available parts and fittings.

Bypass valve

A bypass valve is another thing you need to keep an eye out for when buying a water softener, since it lets you bypass the water softener, easily letting you access it for maintenance and service without needing to do a fair bit of plumbing. 

A bypass valve is also handy if you’re trying to save on your water softener running costs; disconnecting the softener from flowing water means no salt is used to soften the water. Pretty handy for days when you don’t really need soft water, or when you’re leaving the house for days on end for vacations.

Luckily, most quality water softeners today come with pre-installed bypass valves that are fairly easy to operate.

However, if the water softener you’ve got your eye on doesn’t already offer this feature then we suggest you install a bypass valve yourself before the water enters the system using good old-fashioned plumbing. The parts you’d need are easily available and it’d save you a load of trouble in the future.

System monitor and meter

A good system monitor that reliably tracks the condition of the water softener (salt levels, rejuvenation cycles) is a crucial feature to look out for when buying a water softener, and one we absolutely DO NOT recommend you skimp out on. 

It does 80 percent of the maintenance work for you, automatically keeping track of the salt level in the brine tank, and alerting you as soon as it falls below the desired level.

It will also track the resin quality inside the main tank and will schedule rejuvenation cycles only when the softener really needs it, saving you power, salt, and water, all at the same time.

But the best kinds of these monitors are so smart, that in the off chance that something does go wrong, they’re automatically able to detect what the problem with the softener is, saving you the hassle of prodding around the machine yourself.

Reputable companies and reliable products

Last but not least, we recommend you always buy products from reputable companies who have been manufacturing water softeners for quite a while now. This may sound like a no-brainer, but since water softeners are such a niche product, it’s easy for even seasoned e-commerce customers to get swindled and buy unreliable products. 

A good idea would be to look for a company with great reviews online, or whose products you may have heard good things about from friends or coworkers. Bonus points if you already know someone who’s satisfied with using their products for the past couple of years.

Why invest in a Water Softener – Benefits of Water Softeners

While water softeners are the only practical option if your municipal water supply is rich in hard minerals, many people aren’t too keen to invest in one. After all, water softeners are by no means an inexpensive investment (for a comprehensive buying guide, click here), and the initial installation and maintenance costs certainly don’t help its cause. So why buy a water softener? What are the benefits of a water softener that justify its costly setup?

Well, the question that really needs to be asked is what are the benefits of soft water over hard water, as a water softener’s main purpose is to convert the latter into the former. And as for that, we present you with 7 irrefutable arguments. Take a look:

The benefits of soft water (and therefore water softeners)

Prevent unsightly scaling and staining

The first thing you’re going to notice if your house is supplied with hard water is the formation of white sediment on all your glasses and sinks etc. This white sediment or scale sets in your kitchenware and appliances, and washing it with soap and water has little or no effect.

Cleaning this scale off requires the use of vinegar or lemon, but with the scale returning in only a couple of days, you’re bound to get tired of these constant cleaning cycles pretty soon.

And as if the white scale wasn’t unsightly or annoying enough on its own, those with high iron content in their water are much worse off. Instead of a white powdery scale setting in, the iron causes your kitchenware and bathroom fittings to stain a disgusting orange color, which is all the more difficult to remove. 

This kind of scaling and staining from hard minerals is an unavoidable consequence of using hard water, and cleaning on a regular basis is far from an effective method of handling this situation.

Using soft water, on the other hand, will ensure scaling/staining never happens, letting you keep both your kitchenware and bathroom fixtures clean indefinitely. (Click here to learn more about how water softeners work to prevent scaling)

Protect water pipes and faucets

Making your utensils and faucets look ugly and unclean isn’t all scaling can do; it is also very harmful to the long-term health of your faucets and pipes. After all, the process of scaling is simply the deposition of dissolved minerals in hard water on surfaces the water touches or passes through. And what happens when these deposits accumulate over time? Trouble, that’s what.

In the case of your faucets, you’ll constantly find their openings to be either partially or completely blocked, reducing the amount of water that flows out of them. This is especially annoying in the case of showerheads, where deposits tend to sit inside the tiny holes through which water is to flow through. Trust me, taking a toothpick to poke out these holes once every week is far from a fun activity.

More damaging, however, are deposits that accumulate inside your pipes over time. While this process generally takes a couple of years (depending on how mineral-rich the water coming to your house is), the deposits build up little by little, until the flow rate is heavily affected by the constriction of the water path in the pipe. If left unchecked, this deposit can solidify and become difficult to remove, forcing you to replace the pipe altogether. 

So, if you’d rather not go through the hassle of replacing your pipes and fixtures whenever they get clogged, a water softener is the way to go.

Protect hot water fixtures

Scaling on its own is a pretty big issue for regular water fixtures and pipes, but this problem is exponentially compounded when we consider the damage done to hot water fixtures and water heaters. This is because the scale builds up a lot faster in these cases (evaporating water leaves behind dissolved minerals) and eventually comes to cover the entire internal surface of your water heater and heating element.

The scale on the heating element is highly unfavorable for two reasons: For one, the scale creates a boundary between the heating element and the rest of the water, which means it takes longer for the heat to reach the water and thus the efficiency of the heater is reduced. For the other, the scale buildup on the heating element can render the heating element useless over time, thus decreasing its life greatly.

A water softener can ensure this never happens since there will be no hard minerals that can scale over the heating element. In this way, you could save a substantial amount of money in the future due to a longer-lasting and more efficient water heating system.

Saving the amount of detergent/soap you use

Owing to the chemical nature of the dissolved minerals in hard water, using it in combination with soap or detergent will cause a significant amount of wastage. This is because the minerals react with the soap particles to reduce the amount of lather produced, meaning you’ll have to use more soap every time with hard water to get the same amount of lather, than if you were to use soft water instead. 

However, this added cost of detergents, shampoos, and soaps every month can be done away with if you install a water softener in your house. No hard water = no hard minerals reacting with your soap = less soap used overall; it’s pretty simple to understand.  

Vibrant clothes out of the wash

When washing clothes with hard water, not only will you have to use more detergent to get the dirt and stains out of them, but you’re also going to get clothes that are stiffer and look more faded than when you put them in the wash in the first place. And the reason for that, you guessed it, is the hard minerals depositing between the fibers of your clothes, making them lose their vibrant color and soft feel.

Washing your clothes with soft water, however, won’t damage your clothes like this, thus making them both attractive and comfortable to wear again.

Smoother skin and better hair

Do you suffer from dry skin and/or an itchy scalp? Does your hair feel coarser and duller after taking a shower or a bath? Well, if you’re using hard water to clean yourself, then this is definitely the case for you. It’s also a well-researched fact that eczema and other skin conditions are only aggravated by bathing in hard water, which is all the reason someone suffering from these conditions should need to invest in a water softener. 

Plus, soft water has a lighter and more slippery feel to it than hard water, something that many people appreciate when taking a shower. You may not think of this as a big deal, but do go ahead and try it out for yourself. We promise you’ll come to love it after all.

Better tasting water

While drinking hard water poses little to no health risks, it must be pointed out that hard water does have a rather chalky (owing to the dissolved calcium no doubt) or chemical taste to it. And even though the taste is not completely unbearable (most people get used to it after a while), one should remember that soft water provides a better taste; just one more reason on the long list why a water softener might be worth your money after all.

How do Water Softeners work

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve been advised by a friend/plumber to look into water softeners to help with the scale buildup inside your water pipes, water heaters, and on your faucets and showerheads. And not having the first clue about what water softeners are and how they could have anything to do with this white/orange buildup, you’ve decided to get to the bottom of the mystery yourself.

So, what are water softeners? How do they work? What “alternatives” to traditional water softeners can you look into? Let’s find out.

How Ion-exchange water softeners work

An ion-exchange water softener consists of two main tanks, one that holds the resin that is integral to removing hard minerals from the water, and the other for holding brine (concentrated saltwater). Ion-exchange water softeners work in two basic stages: mineral removal and salt rejuvenation, with the first stage, only involving the resin tank, and the second involving both.

In the first stage, water from your mains supply flows into the resin tank to have the hard minerals removed from it. The resin is the key player at this stage and is composed of very small plastic beads that are bonded to positive sodium ions. 

As the hard water flows into the resin tank, it passes over the resin beads and the dissolved minerals (also existing as ions themselves) collide with them as they do so. On collision, the resin beads bond with the dissolved minerals, thus removing them from the water that passes over the beads. The beads also release their sodium ions in the process (hence the name “ion-exchange”), which dissolves into the water flowing over them.

At this point, the water passing through the tank has been treated of hardness (the increased sodium ions in the water do not cause the negative effects of hard minerals like iron and the like), and the water is now soft. Therefore, the water that comes out of the resin tank at the end of the stage is then ready for use and is connected to the rest of the house.

But if the water is already soft at the end of the first stage, why do we even need a second one? This is because as soon as the resin beads treat the water (losing a sodium ion to trap a hard mineral), they become inert and lose their ability to soften hard water any further. This is why in order to keep this system running and the resin beads reusable, we need to periodically rejuvenate them with sodium ions in the next stage.

In the second stage of ion-exchange water softening, water supply from the mains and water supply from the resin tank to the house are first blocked off. Then, brine solution from the second tank is pumped into the resin tank and to wash the resin beads off of the hard minerals. Sodium ions in the brine solution bond with the resin, while hard water minerals are let go into the solution, the exact reverse of the process in the first stage.

The resulting solution is now heavily concentrated with hard minerals, collected over a period of one or two weeks (depending on your wash cycles). Since this hard water is of absolutely no use to us, it is promptly disposed of by the water softener into your waste drain.

“Alternatives” to ion-exchange water softeners & how they work

One of the biggest gripes that people have with ion-exchange water softeners is how much salt they use and how they increase the sodium content in the water. While the amount of sodium released into the water for the average household is quite minimal (far less than even two slices of bacon!) and not a health risk, those watching the levels of sodium in their diet do find this concerning. And so, the need to pass water through a Reverse-Osmosis (RO) filter becomes prominent before using it for drinking or cooking.

However, surfing on the web for water softeners, it won’t be long before you come across one or two products that claim to be salt-free water softeners or alternatives to water softeners. The manufacturers of these products argue that these are better than the ion-exchange water softeners since they don’t increase the sodium content in the water. And while their salt-free claim is, in fact, true, there is just one catch: they’re not really water softeners at all.

The main qualification for being a water softener is pretty simple: the device should be able to convert hard water into soft water, by physically taking the dissolved hard minerals out. And as of yet, ion-exchange is the only practical option we have for removing hardness minerals from water that comes in our homes. Which means if it’s not an ion-exchange water softener, it’s not a water softener at all.

Then why are these products advertised as alternatives to ion-exchange water softeners, you might wonder? Well, that’s because while they don’t convert hard water to soft water, they do take care of scaling, one of the biggest problems people face with hard water. Which is why it might be more accurate to describe them as de-scalers or water conditioners. 

In a nutshell, these devices are great if all you want to do is protect your water fixtures from scaling, without needing to invest in a full-fledged water softener. They also require little to no maintenance and cost less to install. There are two major types in the market these days: electronic de-scalers and TAC water conditioners. 

Electronic D\de-scalers work by feeding electromagnetic pulses into water flowing through it, causing hard minerals to bond to water molecules, and thus become less likely to leave the solution and cause scaling. TAC water conditioners, on the other hand, use special media to cause the hard minerals to clump together into minute crystals (in a process called Template Assisted Crystallization). The crystals thus formed are less prone to leave the solution and cause scaling.

It must, however, be pointed out that de-scaling is all these devices can do, and any other soft water advantage associated with them (no dry skin, less detergent used, etc.) is simply false advertising. So be sure to keep an eye out for these false promises and always know exactly what you’re buying.

All in all, if you need the benefits of soft water, your only real choice is to get an ion-exchange water softener (for help with buying a water softener, read our water softener buyer’s guide. If the added sodium concentration is a real issue for you, then we’d recommend getting an RO filter to treat your water before using it for drinking or cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, hard water has been researched adequately to show that it has no adverse effects on the body when consumed. It can, however, cause you to experience dry skin and scalp.

Water softeners don’t need to be cleaned too often, and mostly only need to be dusted on the outside. For more details on cleaning and maintaining your water softener, click here.

As the scale dissolves into the soft water flowing through the pipe, the build-up will eventually recede, but this process can take a long time to occur.

A water softener typically runs rejuvenation cycles 2-3 times a week, but this number highly varies with your particular use of water. The more water you use on a regular basis, the earlier your water softener needs to rejuvenate itself.

A water softener uses only minimal amounts of electricity, and that too only during rejuvenation cycles. The amount of electricity it consumes on an annual basis is very much comparable to that of a digital alarm clock.

The average water softener uses around 5-7 liters of water per rejuvenation cycle. With around 2 rejuvenation cycles per week, that comes around to 14 liters of water used a week, which isn’t even a quarter of what you use when taking a shower.

The amount of salt you need to fill the brine tank is usually indicated by a marker on the inside of the tank or on your product manual.

Depending on your use, you might have to add a full bag of salt about once every month. You can find salt bags online or at your local department store.

The best kind of salt for use in a water softener is evaporated salt. As an alternative, you can use rock salt and solar salt, but these carry more impurities, causing you to clean your brine tank more often.

No, using a water softener does not affect the pressure of water in your taps. Far from it, it reduces the likelihood of your pressure dropping due to scale buildup! For more reasons to invest in a water softener, click here.

A typical water softener will last you about 10 years, but with proper care and good maintenance, it can last upwards of 15 years too.

Water softeners only add a minuscule amount of sodium to the water, which is far from what the normal healthy person needs to worry about.

Since the amount of sodium added is very small, soft water is safe for drinking and cooking. However, those watching levels of sodium in their diet should invest in a RO filtration system just to be on the safe side.

No, a water softener can only remove hard mineral ions from your water through ion-exchange. For removing dirt, chlorine and other impurities you may need to invest in a nano-filtration system.

A filter before the water softener will block all dirt and impurities from entering the softener, increasing both its efficiency and lifespan, and is therefore recommended. However, it is not a requirement for most households, since rejuvenation cycles wash out most impurities anyway.

No, your septic tank is safe from brine discharged from water softeners.

Conclusion

And there you have it, the ten best water softening solutions on the market in 2021. Be sure to use our buying guide to ensure you get the water softener that’s just right for you!

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