Best Water Softener Reviews – Comparison of the Top Rated Systems!
What do you get when you have itchy skin, ugly shirts, spotty glasses, and a broken coffee maker? Certainly not a date!
The answer is a water softener. You get a water softener.
Hard water has been ruining pipes, appliances, and relationships for years. If hard water has entered your life, you can learn how to soften hard water and eliminate the problem for good.
Stick around to learn what hard water actually is, how to diagnose the problem, and most importantly, which type of water softener is right for you.
Best Water Softener Reviews
If you’re not sure where to start when looking at water softener brands, take a look at some of the top models in several Amazon water softener categories. You can also watch this video for some inside water softener buying tips.
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter
Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener
OTG4-DBLESOFT-Portable Water Softener
Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener
Aquios FS-220 Salt Free Water Softener
Signs of Hard Water
Does your home have hard water? When water has high levels of magnesium carbonate, calcium, and manganese, it’s classified as hard water. Signs that you have hard water include:
- Mineral build-up around faucets and fixtures
- Shortened appliance lives
- Dry or itchy skin
- Hard to remove soap scum
- Uncomfortable and dull clothing
- Spots on dishes and glassware
Softening Your Water
If you believe hard water is flowing through your pipes, softening your water is a wise decision. Installing a soft water system can remove mineral build-up from your water and eliminate the associated consequences.
There are several types of water softener systems. This guide will explain them in detail and provide you with a variety of options based on water softeners reviews to meet your needs and budget.
Types of Water Softener Systems
Below, you’ll find three of the most common types of water softener systems. If you’re part of the estimated 85% of American homes with hard water, one of these systems can alleviate the issue.
Salt Based Systems
A salt based water softener system is usually a dual-tank water softener. Hard water enters the first tank which is full of tiny resin beads. These beads hold onto sodium and as the hard water flows through, the sodium is exchanged for the minerals.
Once the resin beads are full of hard water minerals, a regeneration technique takes place in the second tank. Brine is pumped through the resin tank which flushes out the minerals. The minerals exit through a drain. The water softener is then ready to remove more minerals from hard water.
These machines need to be stocked with salt but most designs use less than 10 bags a year.
If you prefer to soften your water without using salt, whether for personal or dietary reasons, a salt-free system is ideal. Instead of salt, a substitute called potassium-chloride salt is used. Think of this system as more of a descaler than a full softener.
Instead of removing the minerals from hard water, the potassium-chloride salt prevents minerals from being deposited as scale in pipes and on surfaces.
Though not as effective as a salt based system, the best salt-free water softener can improve the quality of your home’s water and protect pipes, appliances, and clothing.
If you’re having doubts about a salt-free system, this video will address your questions and concerns.
Magnetic systems are considered a bit controversial. There are conflicting studies surrounding their effectiveness. But for those who do use a magnetic or electric water descaler, they’re more than happy with the results.
The systems are clipped onto incoming pipes where they set up a magnetic field which changes the electromagnetic properties of the mineral build-up, preventing it from collecting in pipes and causing damage.
Based on water softner comparisons, salt based water softener systems are by far the most popular. But knowing that there are other options will help you make an informed decision about what’s best for your home.
The ‘Hardness' of Your Water
If you’re not sure if a water softener is necessary for your home, you can test the hardness of your water to see where it falls on the water hardness scale.
You can purchase a home kit from a home improvement store. Just make sure that it tests for overall quality and safety. These tests are easy to administer and only take a few minutes.
You can also complete a DIY test with a plastic bottle and dish washing liquid.
- Simply fill the bottle about a third full with tap water.
- Add about 10 drops of dish washing liquid.
- Shake the bottle vigorously for several seconds.
- Set the bottle down and examine the suds.
A bottle with a lot of suds on the top layer with relatively clear water below signals soft water. But if your bottle contains very little foam and the water beneath is cloudy, chances are you have moderately hard water.
Scale, or limescale, is a hard, off-white chalky deposit that collects on surfaces due to hard water. It’s not only an eyesore in bathrooms or on kitchen faucets but can cause serious damage to your pipes and appliances.
As already mentioned, hard water has high levels of calcium and other minerals. When water is heated, these minerals will precipitate out, leaving build-up in pipes and appliances.
Scale can cause clogs or water damage in pipes and drastically shorten the lifespan of your appliances, like coffee makers and dishwashers.
Signs of scale issues in a home include:
- Decreased water flow throughout the entire house
- Clogs and backflow in plumbing
- Weak soap lather
- High water and energy bills
If you notice scale in your bathtub or find yourself calling a plumber on a somewhat regular basis, installing a water softener can prevent further damage to your home’s infrastructure.
Having hard water doesn’t need to hinder your day to day life. A simple water softener installation can keep your clothes looking great, your skin feeling great, and your home operating great. It’s time to install a water softener and enjoy your water again.
Why You Should Soften Your Water
So, you may be wondering what would lead you to wanting to soften your water. Well, there are a few things that can lead you to it. If you are having difficulty using any type of soap or detergent, it is likely due to your water. People who are picky about the lifespans of their appliances also should look into water softening. Softening your water can actually increase the durability of many home appliances that utilize your water.
Water Softeners 101- How It Works?
When talking about how water softeners work, it is important to understand that they focus on removing calcium and magnesium. Both of these can end up causing clogs and issues inside your pipes. There is also something known as 'soap scum' that can be left behind after cleaning using hard water. The issue with soap scum is if you leave it unattended for too long, it can be very difficult to remove.
As discussed above, soap scum is produced when you try and clean with hard water. More specifically, the minerals in your hard water mix with both soap and dirt to produce this 'soap scum'. It manifests into a white layer that can show up in your bathroom and sometimes in your laundry. Hard water is the main culprit here as the minerals in it do not like each other very well. This becomes extremely dangerous once left unattended because the soap scum will continue to build up and eventually combine with mold to become extremely hard(sometimes as hard as concrete).
Getting rid of soap scum depends on the level that it has reached. One of the best methods is using a water softener so that you do not have hard water to produce this in the first place. Frequent cleaning is also a great solution to prevent the buildup of soap scum. You typically do not have to worry too much about soap scum until it has had enough time to buildup.
To summarize, we will discuss some of the things that you should be looking for when deciding on a water softener. Each of these things should help you with picking the water softener that best suits your needs and will save your some money in the long run.
Salts costs tend to creep up on people. Making sure your salt tank is full is important. Several factors will influence how much salt you need including the hardness of your water and the regeneration process you have. Make sure to try and take the salt costs into account before choosing a water softener.
Hardness of Your Water
We discussed the hardness of your water above. It is probably the most important aspect of choosing a water softener. Knowing the hardness of your water is vital. So, you can always use a test kit to determine this. The harder your water, the more money you should expect to spend. You will need a strong water softener to get the job done.
When it comes to added benefits of a water softener, you should always take into account things like a warranty. The main goal here is to get as much as you can for what you pay for. Water softeners are not cheap and having this added insurance can make a huge difference. If the water softener you are ordering offers a nice warranty, it should take priority over other softeners you may be looking at.
Salt Based vs Salt Free
Now that you know more about salt based and salt free systems, you should be able to make a more informed decision between the two. Both have their ups and downs. When it comes down to it, however, you should use a salt based system if your water is extremely hard. Salt free systems are more of a defensive and prevention route.
Water Flow Rate
Thinking about water softeners, they are designed to take into account how much water your home needs. So, knowing what your water flow rate is and how much water your house needs will help you in buying the right water softener. The more water, the more you should expect to pay.
References, Further Readings.
Our Number One Choice
Aquasana 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter with Salt-Free Softener
The Aquasana Rhino is a top rated water softener and exceeds NSF standards by removing 97% of the chlorine in your water. You’ll enjoy great tasting water and improved indoor air quality by reducing chemicals that vaporize in shower steam, helping with allergy control.