Fleck control heads and valves are featured on some of the best water softeners available, and Fleck makes multiple heads for different models. Our reviews include the 2510 SXT, 5600 SXT, 7000 SXT, and 9100 SXT models.
We’ve also included models for general use, models specifically designed for well water, and models that filter iron, sulfur, and manganese.
In each review, you’ll find all the pertinent information you need regarding efficiency, features, installation, required maintenance, terms of the warranty, and price for each model.
But don’t just take our recommendations without knowing what you’re buying. Our buying guide will explain everything you need to know about how the products work. We’ll tell you what grains are and what your softener does with them, as well as why you need salt in the first place and how a softener can affect your water pressure.
Reading our buying guide and individual reviews will help you pick the best Fleck water softener for your home.
In a Rush?
These are our top picks for the following categories.
Best for general use
5600 SXT 48,000 Grain
9100 SXT Twin Tank 80,000 Grain
Best for Iron and Sulfur
5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Eradicator 2000
Read the reviews for each of these recommended models below, along with a couple of alternatives you might want to look into.
How to Pick the Best One?
The most important considerations for choosing a water softener are how hard your water is and how much water you use at peak times during the day and in total over the course of the day. These two factors will determine how economical a water softener will be in your situation. You’ll also have to decide if you would rather invest in a more expensive model in order to save money on salt and water over the life of the softener or if you need to buy a less expensive model to meet your present needs.
How hard is your water? You can test it with a water test kit to find out. It will tell you how many grains of minerals are in each gallon of your water.
Mineral grains aren’t bad for you. In fact, you need them in your diet. But you don’t need them clogging your pipes and making spots on your dishes as they dry.
All products (and all salt-using softeners) are rated by how many grains of minerals they can filter out of your water between regeneration cycles. To explain what a regeneration cycle, let’s briefly explore how a salt-using water softener works.
There are three major components to a salt-using softener: the resin tank, the salt (or brine) tank, and the control head. The resin tank is filled with small beads that capture mineral (calcium and magnesium) grains. But the resin beads can only capture so many grains at a time.
That’s where the control valve comes in. Fleck SXT models measure the amount of water flowing through the resin tank. When it calculates that the resin tank has reached its filtering capacity based on the hardness of your water and how much water you’ve used, it triggers the next step in the process.
The next step is to empty the resin tank and pump salt water into it. The salt water removes the mineral grains and carries them down the drain. Fresh water then rinses the remaining salt out of the resin tank.
The entire process from emptying the resin tank to rinsing out the salt is called regeneration. When it’s finished, the resin can continue filtering out hard water grains, and the control valve resets its count.
If you have a resin tank with a higher grain capacity, the softener will be able to run longer between regeneration cycles. The fewer regeneration cycles your softener needs, the less you’ll spend on water and salt.
To illustrate how grain capacity can affect usage, let’s take the example of a family of four using well water and a family of four using city water. The average daily water usage per person is 80 gallons. So, a family of four would use typically use 320 gallons per day for all of their needs: bathing, laundry, dishes, drinking, cooking, watering the lawn, etc.
The family with city water has an average hardness of 15 grains per gallon, the typical grain count delivered by city water systems. The family with a well has 40 grains per gallon in their water. Wells can vary, depending on the soil of the area, but 40 is the national average.
Did you know?
If both families used a model with a capacity of 48,000 grains, the family with well water would trigger a regeneration cycle every 3.75 days. The family with city water would trigger a cycle every 10 days. If they were each using an 80,000 grain water softener, regeneration would only occur every 6.25 days and 16.7 days, respectively.
A higher grain rating can dramatically reduce regeneration cycles, conserving salt and water used for regeneration.
Products are also rated by flow rate. The flow rate is how many gallons of water it can supply per minute. The flow of water coming from your supply line slows down when it enters the softener to give the softener time to filter it. The softener, is, in effect, a smaller section of pipe that the water needs to feeds through.
To properly judge a softener’s flow rate, it’s important to know how many gallons of water you need during peak periods of the day.
For instance, if our example family of four had a husband, wife, and two teenagers who needed to get ready in the morning, there would be four people trying to use the water at the same time. Two people might be taking a shower (2 gallons per minute each) while one started a load of laundry (1.5 gallons per minute) a fourth was cooking breakfast at the kitchen sink (1 gallon per minute). The family would need a minimum flow rate of approximately 7 gallons per minute during that time.
If they had a lower flow rate than 7 gallons per minute, each of them would notice a drop in water pressure as their various faucets, fixtures, and appliances supplied less water than normal. A good rule of thumb is to buy a water softener that can supply 2 gallons of water for each member of your household. A family of four should have a flow rate of approximately 8 gallons per minute, a family of 5 10 gallons per minute, etc.
If you water your lawn or have a pool or Jacuzzi, you might want to increase your flow rate requirements for the added water usage.
Additional Hard Water Problems?
Be aware that it takes a specially designed system to take care of special water conditioning needs. If the family of four was on city water, for instance, and they noticed that their hair and skin was too dry, they would want to buy a water filtering system that removed chlorine. The chlorine and chloramines that city treatment facilities add to water kill bacteria and viruses that might be present, but you don’t need those safeguards once the water enters your house.
If the family had well water, they might notice orange stains in their shower from iron or black stains from manganese. Their water might smell like hardboiled eggs due to the presence of sulfur in their water. They would want to get a water softener or filter to remove these elements.
Likewise, if they tested their water, they might see an abundance of nitrates, herbicides, or pesticides traveling through the groundwater into their well. Or they might have a bacteria strain growing in their well. They would need a water filter, not a softener only, to filter out these contaminants.
Most water softeners only soften water, filtering calcium and magnesium. To do anything more, they need additional filters added into the tank or to have separate filters added before or after them in the supply line. Chlorine, for instance, damages the resin in a water softener, so you would place a chlorine filter before the water softener to extend the life of the resin.
Top Choices on the Market
Top 5 Fleck Water Softener Reviews
Our list of the top products is arranged by control head model number, starting with a 2510 SXT model and ending with a 9100 SXT model. We’ve also included two Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 grain water softener and 7000 SXT unit.
Not all of these models are made by Fleck. Some are made by other manufacturers licensed to use patented Fleck control heads. To clarify, Fleck does make all of the heads for these models, not all of the tanks.
2510 SXT 80,000 Grain
The 2510 SXT 80,000 Grain is a commercial-grade, sturdy model for homes, offices, stores, and factories. It’s durable in every regard, and with 10% crosslink resin, you can even use it with city water and not have to worry about chlorine degrading the filtering material.
It’s easy to install and comes with all the connections you’ll need. Once it’s installed, all you’ll need to do program it is enter the time of day and how grains per gallon are present in your water.
Once programmed, the 2510 SXT control head will keep track of how many gallons of water you’ve used and calculate how many grains it’s filtered. When it reaches its filtering capacity, it will schedule a regeneration cycle for later that night. And with a capacity of 80,000 grains, it should take a few days before it needs to regenerate.
The aspect that some 2510 evaluations fail to mention is that the control head has a backup capacitor that will keep the meter powered up for up to 2 hours in a power outage. By keeping the control head powered on, the backup capacitor ensures that you won’t lose your settings and have to reprogram it. It also ensures that you don’t miss a regeneration cycle because the meter keeps running if you have city water and picks up right where it left off when the power went out if you have well water.
With the 2510 SXT 80,000 Grain Water Softener, you’ll enjoy a flow rate of 20 gallons per minute. That’s more than most homes can use at any one time, making it a great option for small businesses.
The warranty covers the control head for 5 years and the resin and brine tanks for 10, but you can expect this model to last much longer than that. This is easily a 25+ year model. It’s available for less than $1,100, a very affordable price for the capacity and longevity that it offers.
Going down both in capacity and price is our first 5600 SXT model. The 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain is our top, site-wide pick for general use water softeners.
With a flow rate of 12 gallons per minute, it’s perfect for families of 5-6 people. You can run 3 showers, a washing machine, a dishwasher, and two sinks all at the same time with 12 gallons per minute.
With 8% crosslink resin, you can use this model in homes with well or city water and know that the resin will last. It’s easy to install, and it even comes with a USB drive with videos and instructions to give you an extra bit of help. You can also take advantage of the included water test kit to more accurately program the control head.
Just like the 2510 SXT, the 5600 SXT has a backup power capacitor to preserve its cycle and program settings, and measures how many gallons you’ve used and triggers an automatic regeneration cycle to take place overnight. It comes with a 5-year warranty on the control head and a 10-year warranty on both of the tanks, but you can expect this model to last 25-30 years. At a current price of less than $550, we can’t see too many reasons not to buy it.
5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Iron & Sulfur Eradicator 2000
The 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Iron & Sulfur Eradicator 2000 is specifically designed for treating well water. Instead of including crosslink resin to withstand the chlorine from city water, it includes KDF 85 Mediaguard to filter out sulfur and manganese and a fine mesh filter to remove iron.
It also has the ability to filter out 50 grains of calcium or magnesium per gallon of water. That’s a higher hardness rating than the national average, so the Iron & Sulfur Eradicator 2000 is built to handle very hard water with a host of problems.
Like most 48,000 grain models, the Eradicator has a flow rate of 12 gallons per minute, suitable for families of up to 6 people.
Even though it does more, it’s just as easy to install with no added pieces. Everything is included in the resin tank and is controlled by the same 5600 SXT head and valve that will monitor your water usage and trigger regeneration cycles overnight as often as needed. The head also includes the standard backup capacitor to keep your meter running when the rest of the electricity goes out.
You can purchase the 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Iron & Sulfur Eradicator 2000 for less than $800. It comes with the standard Fleck warranty of 5 and 10 years on the control head and tanks.
The 7000 SXT 48,000 Grain is the next model up but still priced at less than $960. The primary feature that Fleck 7000SXT must mention is that this model backwashes twice.
Regeneration still occurs in the same fashion; the SXT control valve measures water flow and triggers a regeneration cycle when the resin tank reaches its filtering capacity. But instead of the salt water rinsing the resin once, it rinses it twice. The extra rush of salt water ensures that the resin is as clean as possible.
In other systems, minerals build up in the resin tank over tank over time as no salt rinse can remove every particle during regeneration. If there were 100 particles left in the resin tank after the first rinse, the capacity of the tank would only be 47,900. The meter, however, would still consider its capacity to be 48,000, so 100 grains would slip through into your water supply.
After the next regeneration cycle, 200 grains might enter your water. The accuracy of the meter compared to the resin tank’s actual capacity would slowly diminish, and your water would get steadily harder. Double backwashing gets the tank cleaner, so the meter stays more accurate, and you continue to get softer water.
The 7,000 SXT models are just as easy to install with a couple of quick plumbing connections to make and numbers to enter into the control panel. With the backup power capacitor, you won’t need to worry about missing a regeneration cycle or losing your settings in a power outage.
When you’re finished programming it, the 48,000 grain model will supply 16 gallons of water per minute. That’s enough water for a very large home or a medium-sized business.
As with all models, you’ll have the assurance of a 5-year warranty on the control head and a 10-year warranty on the resin and brine tanks. The actual lifespan of the model, however, is in the 25-30 year range.
Pentair 9100 SXT Twin Tank 80,000 Grain
Jumping back up in filtering capacity, the 9100 SXT Twin Tank 80,000 Grain has two primary advantages. First, it doesn’t need to wait until the middle of the night to undergo a regeneration cycle. With two tanks, it can perform regeneration on one and then the other.
With immediate regeneration in alternating tanks, it can keep your water supply as soft as possible without interrupting service. This is the first benefit that all Fleck 9100 reviews should mention.
The second benefit is the flow rate itself. With two tanks, this water softening system can supply 22 gallons per minute. That makes it an ideal choice for large estates or business properties.
The 80,000 grain capacity in two 40,000 grain resin tanks ensures that you’ll save on salt and water consumption as the system undergoes fewer total regeneration cycles.
As with all SXT models, the 9100 comes with the anti-memory loss backup capacitor. It will keep the meter powered up for 48 hours in a power outage so that you don’t lose your settings or miss a regeneration cycle.
Even though it has an extra tank, it’s not any more difficult to install, and you still won’t need to worry about performing any maintenance. Install it, program it for your hardness level, and you’re done.
The Fleck 9100 SXT Twin Tank 80,000 Grain is available for less than $1200. It comes with a 5-year warranty on the 9100 SXT head and a 10-year warranty on all the tanks. If you need to keep the water flowing and want immediate regeneration, this is the model for you.
Final Verdict: The Best for Your Money
All of these models have significant benefits, but we’re still recommending the Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain as the best deal. Here’s why:
- Low price, less than $550
- 12-gallon per minute flow rate
- 8% crosslink resin for protection against chlorine
- Metered control head for measured regeneration
- Easy installation with USB drive illustrations
- Easy programming with water test kit included
- 5-year warranty on the 5600 SXT head
- 10-year warranty on each tank
- Long lifespan, 25+ years
- No maintenance
For the price, we can’t see how the Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener isn’t a great deal. If you don’t need iron, sulfur, or manganese filtration, don’t hesitate to order this model.
How about comparing 2 brands? Find out the winner between Fleck vs GE.