Water Softener Reviews 2017
Every family wants to be able to enjoy lovely pure water in their home. But not everyone has a water supply able to deliver this. If you live in a hard water area then you need to install a water softener system. This can be for the whole house, or just for a single water supply point. The question is "which is the best water softener to install?"
We provide here a look at the top rated softeners on the market today. For those that have made our top 10 we provide water softener reviews for each of the products including pros and cons of each.
If you are not so much interested in learning all about water softeners, but just want to get to the options then we recommend you check out our best buy table below. For anyone unsure whether they need a softener then check out the buying guide further on down. In that section we detail how these devices work, why you should consider installing one and the benefits of having softer water in your home.
Table of Top 10 Best Water Softeners
PENTAIR Fleck 5600sxt 48,000 grain of UPGRADED HIGH capacity 10% resin
ON THE GO OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener
Portable Water Softener 16,000 Grain Capacity
Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000 Grains Portable Water Softener
Iron Pro 48K Combination Water Softener & Iron Filter with Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Valve
Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve 32,000 grain
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler - Water Softener Alternative
Fleck 7000 SXT Whole House Water Softener 80,000 Grains
Aquasana 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter with Salt-Free Softener
Aquios AQFS220C Full House Water Softener and Filter System
Top Rated Water Softener Reviews
Pentair Fleck 5600sxt 48,000 grain of UPGRADED HIGH capacity 10% resin
No one wants to have hard water in their home and it’s unfortunate that those living in areas with hard water have to persevere with the water. Nonetheless there are millions of water softening systems out there that you can use to counter the situation. But with the many brands also comes the problem of choosing which one is the best. With the Pentair Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 you can rest easy as it is the best water softening machine available right now. It can soften even the hardest of waters on earth and it does the job perfectly. It also comes with a great customer support team and a complete package.
Fleck has many reputable and popular products but the Fleck 5600sxt stands out. It can soften flow rates of up to 12 gpm and it has a large capacity of 48,000 grains. It uses salt making it ideal for small to medium homes. It is also ideal for use in areas that have water with a medium to high hardness levels.
The Fleck 5600SXT is designed with a backlit LCD display and an electronic controller and its touchpad controls make it very easy to control the machine. It uses the standard ion exchange procedure where calcium, magnesium and hard ions are removed from the water first. What makes it even more interesting is that it uses a meter based regeneration process, which means it will only regenerate when it is necessary. It does this by measuring your water use.
In a Nutshell
If you are looking for an affordable water softener that is both effective and easy to maintain, this is certainly the machine for your home. It performs just like most high end softeners, it is affordable and it comes with many extra features that you won’t find in most water softening systems at that price tag. The customer service is also great and the overall performance is out of this world!
On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener
On the go OTG3NTP3M is a standard portable water softener. It offers one of the simplest but effective ways to soften and clean water. The machine yields between 320 to 800 gallons with a hardness of between 15 to 25 grains. This water softener is easy to carry as it comes with a handle, it is has a relatively large mouth opening and it produces very clean and soft water.
Soft water is essential for preventing rust stains, Stain build us, bad odor, improving water taste and increasing appliance’s lifecycle. On the go OTG3NTP3M is a potable water softener that gives perfect results from 4 to zero hardness levels. It comes with a 8,000-grain unit which is suitable for most of the RVs.
The unit regenerates within 15 minutes only using one box of common table salt. The machine can provide water for at least 20 days and it does not require electricity to run. Its small size makes it very easy to store and it doesn’t affect pressure making it even more efficient. Other features of the device include:
- Easy to use.
- Can yield up to 800 gallons.
- Designed with a high flow shut off valve.
- Forty percent more efficient than many other models.
- Comes with a 1 year warranty.
When it comes to cheaper, highly effective and portable water softening machines, nothing beats this system. It is has everything any average home owner would need in a water softening system. In addition it comes with a 1 year limited warranty and a very friendly customer service team. So you have absolutely nothing to lose by trying this machine out.
Portable Water Softener 16,000 Grain Capacity, Perfect for Your RV, Boat or Car Washing
The Portable water softener 16,000 grain capacity is a great option if you want to clean your boat, car or RV. It is the most suitable unit for any RV; it has the capacity to eliminate your hand water regenerates in a matter of few minutes using a table salt which lasts for about 2000 gallons between the regenerations.
It is highly efficient and most reliable unit on the market today. It is easy to carry around, easy to set up and easy to use. It comes with 16k portable water softener and brass gardener hose fittings. Portable water softener 16,000-grain capacity is the ideal unit for your RV, boat or car washing.
The Portable water softener 16,000-grain capacity is an ideal unit for any RV and clears your hard water. It uses table salt to regenerate which makes it, even more, cost effective. It will produce about 2000 gallons of water every regeneration. It also has a compact design, with 10 x 18 dimensions. It also comes with a warranty which guarantees buyers that the manufacturer stands behind his products 100 percent.
Other features include:
- Comes with a warranty, friendly customer support and easy to use guidelines.
- Regenerates water very fast. Each regeneration produces 2000 gallons.
- Compact design that is portable.
Portable Water Softener 16,000 Grain Capacity, is perfect for Your RV, Boat or Car Washing. It is easy to use, durable and highly efficient. It is light, small in size and easily portable. It is also more affordable, serves small family and comes with a five-year warranty. Portable Water Softener 16,000 Grain Capacity, Perfect for Your RV, Boat or Car Washing now to get best discounts, and value back for your money. It comes in different colors including blue and black.
Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000 Grains Portable Water Softener
If you are looking for a great water softening system that supplies your home with ample drinking water that is safe for cooking as well, then the RV systems are best suited for the job. Not only are they more affordable compared to the other water softening systems, they are also more capable on delivering on the job and this is more so the case for households that require sufficient amounts of water.
- Custom designed flow valve: Permits the water softener to be regenerated using salt without having to disconnects and reconnect the system.
- Full cradle base: for enhanced stability and, security when on the move.
- High rate of flow: it has the capability of high output of 4 gallons per minute, making it suitable for homes with need for lots of soft and clean water.
- Built in drain line flow resistor – vortex. This increases the system capacity.
- Highly functional resin – the Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000 Grains Portable Water Softener comes with the ability to deliver 1/3 of cubic foot premium resin.
- It is highly portable. Weighs only 24 pounds, with 9 inch and 21 inch diameter and height respectively. It can be easily fitted and stored in the house. It also gives you easy time during transportation.
If you are travelling, the Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000 Grains Portable Water Softener is your perfect option. It is light, small in size and easily portable. It is also more affordable, serves small family and comes with a five-year warranty.
Iron Pro 48K Combination Water Softener & Iron Filter
The type of water you use at home is very important. And to ensure that you are only using clean, tasty and fresh water, one of the best options is installing a high quality water softener. A good example is the Iron Pro 48K Combination Water Softener & Iron Filter with Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Valve. It can treat up to 16GPM and uses meter based regeneration. Its resin is made of fine mesh which ensures it lasts longer and it filters better. The resin completely prevents scale buildup and removes hard water.
The Iron Pro 48k combination water softener and iron filter was basically designed for two main purposes: To filter iron and to soften water. It is ideal for both average to large families because it offers a high flow of water with high efficacy which is enough for the whole house. It eliminates iron up to 6 to 8 ppm range, hardness up to 75 gpg, rust, sand, sediment and manganese up to 6 ppm.
It also has resin for eliminating calcium, manganese and magnesium that make water hard. Iron is also eliminated through the standard iron exchange process. The softener is designed with a Fleck 5600SXT Digital control system that comes with a five-year warranty on the valve.
Wrapping it up
Blending 2 purposes in a single unit, the Iron Pro2 is a great option. The water is softened and at the same time a wide array of impurities are eliminated from the water enhancing its quality significantly. The meter regeneration feature is also a very handy feature as it saves the amount of resin used and water.
Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener Iron Filter Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Valve
It is a fact that hard water is a huge problem today in both residential and commercial settings. And that is where the Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve comes in handy. It is one of the most functional and inexpensive machines available. The machine basically gives you peace of mind knowing that you will be having fresh, clean and soft water anytime and whenever you need it.
Fleck 5600SXT has the power to remove manganese and ferrous iron. The system does away with the ferric iron, and the black slimy buildup and stain on the surfaces. The system is designed to use a meter-based regeneration process. This basically means that the water you are using is measured accordingly, and the system only regenerates when it is absolute necessary. When more water is needed, the system responds and vice versa.
Other features of the machine include:
- 32,000 grain capacity.
- Designed with an iron filter and water softener system which means high flow of water every time.
- Fine resin mesh for high iron removal and longer life performance.
- Features iron up to 6-8 ppm range, removes hardness up to 75 gpg, Manganese up to 6 ppm, sand, rust and sediment.
When it comes to water cleaning and softening machines, Fleck is one of the most reputable brands. The Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT is not an exception to this either. It lasts longer; it is affordable, reliable and comes with great guarantees and warranties. So if you are looking for a good quality water softening system that will serve you for several years, you won’t go wrong with this machine.
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler Review
If you have been shopping around for a good water softener, there are high chances you have come across the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler severally. It is lauded as one of the best water softening systems on the market currently. Basically it does everything any traditional water softener would do, but it is more effective and awash with many extra features.
This machine is a bit different to many water softening machines as it only utilizes magnetic fields to counter hard water effects. It does not eliminate the items that cause lime buildup but it suspends them which mean your water will not trouble you for at least 2 days. The magnetic fields interrupt the lime build up which in turn keeps the water soft and clean for at least 2 days.
It is also designed in a compact size which makes installation or transportation easy. This also means that you do not have to be an expert to install it; anyone without experience can install it. Another great feature about this product is that it comes with a 1 year money back guarantee. If it does not meet your expectations you will be refunded your money back. In addition if you are already using the machine, you will be given a life time warranty. This is great as you do not have to spend a dime whenever the machine breaks down.
You should certainly consider this system if hard water is a menace in your household. It is easy to maintain, easy to install and affordable. In addition it is a great device for the average household and with 1-year 100 percent money guarantee, you have nothing to lose. So you can try it and if it works that’s great if it doesn’t return it and get a full refund.
The Fleck 7000SXT Whole House Softener
Designed for both light commercial spaces and large capacity homes, the Fleck 7000sxt is a very effective and reliable water softener. The machine prevents calcium and scale build up so as to prevent white spotting on dishes, clothing and other appliances. Also because of its ecofriendly architecture, it is affordable, durable and a high performing option.
One of the main outstanding features about this tool is the electronic display that allows users to program it according to their needs without having to reprogram the machine every now and then. The softener is also designed with a smart technology feature that measures a user’s water needs and then regenerate only what is necessary. In the long run this means low salt consumption saving you money and water. Other features of the water softening system include:
- Provides clean and fresh large water flow without affecting pressure in large homes.
- With an 80,000 grain capacity, it is one of the largest and ideal for large households.
- Designed with a metered control.
- The tank comes with a 10 years warranty.
- The tank comes with a 10 years warranty.
- The tank can last up to 20 years if maintained and installed well.
The Fleck 7000SXT whole house softener is slightly cheaper than other similar softeners on the market, but it has a reputation that is equal to many high quality and expensive water softening brands. The adaptability of this tool is also out of this world. It is very easy to connect to different types of plumbing systems and its longevity is also amazing as you will spend less on replacements and repairs. What’s more is that it uses less salt and energy which makes it very eco-friendly.
The Aquasana 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter
The Aquasana 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter with Salt-Free Softener and Professional Installation is another high quality water filter machine from the Aquasana range. The machine promises to provide tasty, clean and safe water throughout your house for at least ten years which is about one million gallons without any huge maintenance apart from the pre-filters.
The machine’s output is about seven gallons/minute and the water passes through a 3-stage system that significantly minimizes the amount of impurities in your home water by over 90 percent. It will also eliminate microscopic impurities and other dirt from your water making it tasty and fresh. The three main stages that the water goes through include:
- The sediment pre-filter stage-for eliminating rust, dirt, dust and more
- The main filter stage-The filter contains mineral stone, activated charcoal and copper zinc to eliminate water soluble minerals, chlorine, inhibit bacteria, reduce herbicides and other harmful chemicals.
- The sub-micron post filter stage-here any organic or sediment compounds are removed
In addition, the machine has a large capacity which means it can cope with all whole house water needs. It also comes with a free professional grade installation kit.
Apart from its high initial cost, this water filter is perfect for any house. It doesn’t require a lot of power and the filters that require replacement regularly are very affordable. In addition it does not waste any water and the 10 year warranty means that if it breaks down you won’t spend a dime. So if you believe in "expensive is cheap in the long run" then the Aquasana Whole House water filter is the ideal machine for your household.
Aquios FS-220 Salt-Free Water Softener and Filtration System
The Aquios AQFS220 model both filters and softens your water giving you the best-desired quality. The water softener has been proven to remove and also to prevent existing lime scale and other similar challenges related to hard water. This is an all-in-one unit that adopts a salt-free, FDA approved and food grade that has your water conditioned without removing the beneficial minerals while at the same time adding carbon block filtration with 5 microns rating. There are no magnets, no salt or back-lush.
An Aquios AQFS220 is an ideal solution for persons who need both filtering and making hard water soft. The system works as a non-salt unit which has the hard water conditioned and removes the existing buildup of scale in the household appliances and pipes. The carbon filtration system is rated 5 microns implying that the results are very clean water, very fresh and no chlorine smell or any aftertaste.
Aquios FS-220 Salt-Free Water Softener and Filtration System, Blue uses a natural and commercial power technology to deliver soft water. It comes in compact and sleek design and well packaged by the manufacturer.
The system removes the sediments, chlorine and unrequired impurities from the water leaving you with clean, soft and tasty water. It also eliminates calcium, magnesium and other materials that make water hard ensuring no buildup in the appliances, pipes, and fixtures. The results are pure, clean and healthy water that can be used by the entire family.
Other features include:
- 20 yr. warranty.
- 40,000 gallon capacity.
- Compact design.
- Commercial strength water conditioning and filtration, 6-month cartridge life.
If you are looking for a portable, cheaper and yet highly functional water softener, the Aquios FS-220 Salt-Free Water Softener and Filtration System, Blue is your ideal option. Online reviews also show that it is one of the best water softeners products in the market today. Get it today and take advantage of best prices, manufacturer warranty and genuine products.
Guide To Buying a Good Quality Water Softener
How Do Salt Base Softeners Work?
Salt-based water softening systems will use an ion exchange method to rid the water of the excess minerals, like carbon and magnesium. These minerals can be damaging to your pipes and cause skin irritations. Salt-based systems are designed with tanks to filter the water and can be found as a single tank or dual tank unit.
These devices are the most effective way to transform your hard water into soft water.
An ion exchange unit or carbon exchange unit will cycle the hard water through two tanks. One tank houses resin beads arranged in columns which attract the mineral ions found in hard water. As the water moves down the tanks the calcium and magnesium minerals adhere to the beads in exchange for sodium chloride or salt.
This process results in softened water once it reaches the bottom of the tank. Once there it is pumped through an outlet manifold and riser tube to be re-distributed back through the house pipes.
The resin beads will need to be cleaned regularly to remove the mineral build up. The units are equipped with a timer. This timer automatically performs a ‘recharge’ of the beads when necessary. A recharge is where the water back cycles through the beads to recharge and rinse them.
During this time, the tanks will not provide soft water and will typically be set to perform this cycle in the evening or overnight hours.
Dual tank softeners will use two resin tanks where one is in use and the other is regenerating. These tanks will provide a continuous soft water supply, which a single exchange unit will not.
They function in the same way as a standard ion exchange unit and operate on demand but will take up more space.
What is Hard Water and How is it Caused?
Although hard water may not pose severe health risks it can be damaging to your pipes and plumbing. It also makes it difficult for soaps and detergents to be effective at properly cleaning and killing off germs and bacteria.
Hard water, in simple terms, is the result of high traces of minerals, most often this is calcium and magnesium, being present in the water.
Water will pick up impurities fairly easily since it is one of the best solvents. As it moves through rocks or soil and into water pipes and systems the water will dissolve a number of minerals and hold these in its solution.
Water does need a certain level of minerals in it to sustain itself. But, it is when these minerals become excessive that the water will turn hard. Aside from magnesium and calcium hard water can also have a large amount of iron, sodium, bicarbonates, and sulfates present.
Your water supply really needs to have a healthy balance of minerals or mineral salts. Even in a natural environment water will have various minerals present in it. The higher the percentage of minerals found in the water will be what determines the water's hardness or softness.
The hardness of water is measured in grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (PPM). Harder water will typically have a 10.5 GPG or more.
How to Test for Hard Water.
Hard water will often give visual signs such as a scaly build up around fixtures. It also causes soap scum build up in the bathtub, spots of dishes, and water heater failures.
It will also leave the skin dry, itchy and irritated. Your clothing can be ruined by hard water and appear duller and rough. If you are experiencing any of these issues it is highly likely that you have hard water.
You can quickly find out the hardness of your water by simply asking your water supplier if you utilize a municipal water system.
Your supplier should provide you with the quantities of the minerals present in the water, usually in part per million or PPM. This can be converted to grains per gallon, or GPG, by dividing the quantities by 17.1.
For private water supply, many water testing laboratories will offer free hard water tests and water treatment facilities. They should also be able to provide you with a hardness water test. This will often require you mailing in a sample of your water or they will mail you testing kits. There are also more effective hard water tests that you can purchase. These tests can also also test for a number of other harmful elements in your private water supply.
Types of Softener
A water softener is any types of device that can turn you hard water into soft water. There are also softeners that will only prevent mineral build up on your pipes or faucets.
They essentially fall into two main categories: salt-based systems and salt-free systems. They can come in various sizes to be used in a standard sized home, large sized homes and even RVs.
Salt-based systems utilize an ion exchange unit. Through this process resin beads occupy one tank where the hard water is passed through. The hard minerals are collect on the resin beads and in exchange are substituted with sodium or salt.
Salt-free units, on the other hand, are more like water conditioners or descalers. They do not actually remove the minerals found in hard water but instead can help reduce the buildup in pipes and around faucets. Salt-free softeners are often recommended for those who need to closely monitor their sodium intake.
The most common salt-free devices are magnetic devices. The device clips onto the pipes and needs to be plugged into use. A magnetic field is a setup to change the electromagnetic properties of the minerals in the water so they do not attach to the pipes.
Salt-free softeners are not effective for water heaters, though. Your hard water will still cause build up and limescale in the hot water tank. Depending on where you live will also have an effect on how well a salt-free unit will work because the different region will have different contaminants in the water supply.
While salt-based units are more effective at ridding your water of the minerals that make it hard, salt-free units will cost less. Salt-free units will also waste less water since they do not have to perform regularly resin cleanings.
Why Are Softeners Needed?
Studies have shown that by drinking hard water you benefit from small amounts of calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water which are a necessary component of your diet.
However, that is pretty much where the benefits end. In everyday living, hard water has a number of unwanted effects.
- Clothes washed in hard water do not feel right and often look unclean.
- When bathing in hard water you end up with a film of soap that is difficult to remove from both you and the basin / tub in which you bathed.
- Dishwashers do not like hard water and it can cause spotting and filming on your dishes.
The major problem however with hard water is the problems is can cause in your water boiler systems and pipework. Over time hard water builds up a scale inside pipework (limescale deposits). Eventually such pipework becomes clogged which is expensive and troublesome to repair and sometimes replace.
Other Reasons For Installing a Softener
Other factors to consider as reasons for installing a portable water softener system include:
- Hard water often means you use more water which is likely to cost you more money.
- Hard water can cause leaching of metals from water, a factor which is potential harmful to the environment.
- Hard water often has an unpleasant taste due to increased sodium content in the water.
These systems can be leased or bought and you want to focus on getting one that can go at least 3 days before having to regenerate (for salt-based systems).
To calculate the right size, you need multiply the number of people living in your home by 75 (average number of water a person using in one day by gallons), then multiply this number by the GPG hardness of your water.
Some of the top brands and units to consider include:
Fleck brand softeners are some of the most popular and trust units. Fleek water softeners all utilize an ion exchange unit and most come with warranties often including a 5-year warranty on the head of the unit and a 10-year warranty on the tank units.
Fleck softeners can be found in various sizes and they manufacture dual tanks and single tank units.
The most recommend units are Fleck 5600 SXT, 7000 SXT and the 9100 SXT (dual tank unit).
The Culligan brand is consider one of the most reliable when it comes to water softening units. Their products use an ion exchange method and they also have a selection of water conditioners if you are looking for a salt-free option.
Some of their softeners utilize a patented smart technology which reduces the water, salt, and energy needed to effectively soften your water.
The most recommended units include: The Culligan High-Efficiency Water Softener System, The Culligan High-Efficiency Progressive Flow Water Conditioner, The Culligan High-Efficiency Municipal Water Conditioner, and The Culligan Gold Series Water Softening System.
The Pelican brand prides themselves on being eco-friendly and offer salt-free and salt based softeners systems in multiple sizes.
The salt based systems can be ordered to use salt or potassium resins and their salt-free systems do not utilize electricity so you save on energy waste.
Their salt-free systems are also one of the only salt-free softeners that are proven to be 99% effective.
Their top softener units include NaturSoft Salt-Free Water Softener with UV Protection and the NaturSoft Salt-Free Water Softener, Pelican Advantage Series Salt Water Softeners.
Common Problems Encountered With Water Softening Systems
With the proper maintenance, care, and usage most softeners should not pose any problems. However, it is not uncommon for some malfunctions to occur in both salt-based softeners as well as salt-free systems. While most of these problems are typically present in salt-based softeners, salt-free systems can pose some of these similar issues.
Blockages are one of the most common problems for salt-based softeners. These blockages will typically occur in the filter screens and brine lines when the salt and minerals accumulate. This is often an easy issue to resolve and can usually be done by referring to the user manual.
When the sodium accumulates at the base of the tank a salt bridge can form. While it is common for salt to build up inside the tank a salt bridge will prevent the unit from functioning properly.
Not only will this prevent the water from being softened but it will also prevent the system from running its regeneration cycles.
Salt bridges more common for those using extra coarse solar crystals. These bridges can be easily broken apart by using a rubber mallet and hitting the side of the brine tank. You will want to refill the salt tank and in just a few days this problem should be eliminated.
Damaged Resin Beads
Resin beads are supposed to last for the lifespan of the system but they can break or become damaged, which result in them not functioning properly. If you notice particles in the softened water the is a high probability that the resin beads are broken. If the resin beads are broken then they will need to be replaced, but sometimes a thorough cleaning can restore them to proper functioning order.
This problem can be common in both salt-based and salt-free systems. Motor function is always a concern for any appliance or device that utilizes one and if the motor on your unit malfunctions you might need to buy a replacement motor, which can sometimes cost just as much as buying a new water softener unit.
They can feature a range of settings and this can often cause a system or user error to display. Changing just one of the settings on a softener incorrectly can result in the whole system not function properly.
Unless you have a clear understanding of what everything does you should not attempt to adjust any of the settings on the system without the user manual close by.
Setting errors most commonly occur if there has been a recent power outage. Also, double check to make sure the system displays the correct time of day and not the time of the regeneration.
When the softener displays the wrong it could end up cycling water through a regeneration process and therefore only hard water will be running into your home since no water can pass through the system.
Stuck in Regeneration cycle
When the device is stuck in backflow or regeneration mode it can cause overflow and flooding. It can take a few days for this problem to cause flooding and can be the result of a damaged control panel, stuck control valve, or a stuck brine float.
If you have ruled out all the other possible problems and the softener is still producing hard water, then something in it needs a repair. This is usually a rare occurrence but can be an inconvenience. Many people will run through the troubleshooting tests provided in the user manuals to help diagnose and fix the problem.
Many of these problems can be easily fixed without calling a professional, but regular maintenance and checkups should be done on any water softener systems to ensure it is proper functioning order. With regular check-ups, proper use and considerate care most water softener systems can last up to 20 years.