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The 12 Best Water Softener Reviews For Well Water & Whole House [2020]

Last Updated on November 17, 2020

Removing the hardness of water can be tough but knowing the benefits of doing it can be worth it. The easiest way is by getting the best water softener. By doing this, all those problems with your skin, dishes and plates, and stained laundry will disappear. Once you get your hands on our water softener based on the leading products on the market today, you will definitely maximize your available water. We’ve listed hard water models, salt free options, home options, and units to use when your water has iron in it. We’ve rated each model for its efficiency, expected life, cost, maintenance needs, and ease of use. You can read our evaluation of what we’ve found to be the perfect product or learn about the factors you should take into account when choosing your own new unit.

In a Rush? Here are the brands that you should watch out for the top choices in every category:

These are our best water softeners:

  1. SpringWell Water Softener Grains – Overall
  2. Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Water Softener Grain Ships – For home
  3. ABCwaters built Water Softener Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grain with Iron Mesh (others help with sulfur as well) – For well water with iron
  4. Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener 64,000 Grains – For well water

 

How we conducted the test:

We got a team of evaluators and tried a number of products from different brands to see which will give peak performances according to specific purposes. We also logged in the number of hours that we spent in testing the models.

Top Choices on the Market

Image

Product

TOP OVERALL CHOICE

SpringWell Salt Based

SpringWell Salt Based

TOP OVERALL CHOICE

Benefits

  • Great for Hair, Skin, and clothing
  • Removes low levels of clear water iron stains
  • No drop in flow

Specs

  • 13 x 54 inches
  • 36-120 F Operating Temp
  • Flow Rate: up to 20 GPM

CHECK PRICE ON SPRINGWELL

TOP WHOLE HOUSE

ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt

ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt

TOP WHOLE HOUSE

Benefits

  • Long-lasting
  • Compact Design
  • Measures Usage and Schedules Cycles

Specs

  • 27 x 17 x 62 inches
  • 20.8 pounds
  • Flow Rate: 12 GPM
CHECK PRICE ON QWT
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

IRON REMOVAL

AFWFilters Digital

AFWFilters Digital

IRON REMOVAL

Benefits

  • AUTOMATIC REGENERATION CYCLE
  • FINE MESH RESIN
  • REMOVES SULFUR AND MANGANESE

Specs

  • 12 X 48 X 12 INCHES
  • 100 POUNDS
  • Flow Rate: 16 GPM
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

FOR WELL

Fleck 5600SXT Water Softener Well Water

Fleck 5600SXT Water Softener Well Water

FOR WELL

Benefits

  • ON DEMAND METERED SYSTEM
  • LCD DIGITAL DISPLAY
  • WITH BRINE TANK WITH FLOAT ASSEMBLY

Specs

  • 18 X 30 X 62 INCHES
  • 95 POUNDS
  • Flow Rate: 12 GPM
CHECK PRICE ON QWT
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

FOR HARD WATER

Aquasana Water Softener Water Filter

Aquasana Water Softener Water Filter

FOR HARD WATER

Benefits

  • BGOOD FOR HAIR AND SKIN
  • RESULTS CAN BE USED FOR COOKING
  • ENGINEERED FILTRATION MEDIA

Specs

  • 9 X 46 X 54 INCHES
  • 38 POUNDS
  • Flow Rate: 7 GPM

CHECK PRICE ON AQUASANA

Table of Contents

These are our favorites. We’ve arranged the list with well water softeners that are specialized in some way (iron removal, salt-free) at the top with the more generalized models following. We’ve included the grain capacity and price for each model and their features.

Best Water Softeners Reviews – (Updated List 2020)

Overall

1. SpringWell Water Softener Grains – Best Overall

OVERALL RATING: 9.8/10

 


Check Price on SpringWell

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 32000 to 80000
  • WEIGHT: 147 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: up to 20 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 33 x 18 x 13 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Removes limescale/calcium buildup on plumbing, faucets, fixtures, etc
  2. Great for Hair, Skin, and clothing
  3. 11+ GPM flow rate ensuring no drop in water
  4. Removes low levels of clear iron stains on fixtures
  5. Free Shipping, Lifetime Warranty, & 6 month satisfaction guarantee
  6. Includes Installation Kit and programmable head

If you’re looking for the ultimate salt based water softener system to take care of your hard water issues, as well as the orange/brown stains on your fixtures, then SpringWell unit is the choice. They’ve developed a premium whole house system that softens your water through a process commonly called ion exchange.

The innovative design isn’t based on the process itself, it’s based on how efficient the system is with achieving softer water with having less waste. With its state of the art Fleck 5600 valve, it has truly set the standard when it comes to ion exchange technology.

This technology minimizes any buildup of limescale on your appliances and fixtures, which means fewer appliance repairs and plumbing issues down the road. An added benefit is that your scalp will feel healthier and itch less. Plus your clothes will feel cleaner.

 

2. Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener Ships – Best For Home

OVERALL RATING: 9.7/10

Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain

Check Price on QWT

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 48000
  • WEIGHT: 20.8 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 12 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 27 x 17 x 62 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 4-6

Popular Features:

  1. Efficient flow meter
  2. Touchpad Controls
  3. Highly efficient valve that saves salt
  4. Complete assembly
  5. Great for whole house

Going down in capacity and a little in price is the Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener. This is our top water softener overall and might be the product for hard water well water if you have a smaller family. Its filtering performance is just as high as a 64,000 grain model, but regeneration will take place more frequently in a busy home.

Even if you do have a larger family, its flowrate of 12 gallons per minute ensures that it can keep up with 3 showers, a dishwasher, a laundry machine, and two sinks running at the same time. It would simply need to regenerate more frequently and thus use more water and salt than a higher grain model. For reduced costs, we recommend using this model in a home with fewer people or only slightly hard water.

As a bonus, this model comes with a USB drive detailing installation instruction, programming the control head, and how to care for your water softener. It even comes with a water test kit so that you’ll have a better idea of what to input as the grains per gallon.

The control is covered by the standard 5-year warranty and the salt and resin tank for 10 years. You can purchase the Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener and get an expected 27-year lifespan. This is the water softener for hard water in smaller family homes.

Note that this water softener does not filter iron or sulfur.

Read More About Fleck 48000

3. SoftPro Elite High-Efficiency City Water Softeners

OVERALL RATING: 9.6/10

SoftPro Elite High-Efficiency City

Check Price on QWT

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 64000
  • WEIGHT: 158 to 198 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 14 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: Mineral tank 13 in x 54 in, brine tank 20.3 in x 37.4 in
  • HOUSEHOLD: Up to 6

Popular Features:

  1. 2 different warranties for each unit
  2. Tested by a third-party company
  3. Highly efficient valve that saves salt
  4. 3 filter options
  5. Vacation mode
  6. Only load the softener 2-3 times yearly

If you’ve been suffering from hard water – streaky dishware, lackluster laundry, sticky hair – then a water softener can help. If your hard water is because you’re on city water, then you need a water softener that’s built explicitly for a municipal water supply, like the SoftPro Elite High-Efficiency City Water Softener.

The SoftPro Elite is part of a new generation of water softeners, and it comes in different grain capacities to suit all lifestyles. There are 3 filter options, one of which alkalizes your water and another that reduces the number of heavy metals.

The SoftPro Elite is a high-efficiency model that only uses 15 lbs. of salt per regeneration, a much smaller amount than other models. Upflow regeneration makes resin much more efficient, and the SoftPro comes pre-loaded with resin, making installation even more straightforward.

You may need a professional to install it for you, but you’ll be astounded at the difference a water softener like the SoftPro Elite can make once it’s installed. With a clear LCD and an easy user interface, this water softener can make a world of difference if you’re on hard city water.

4. Pelican Water 15 GPM Whole House Water Filtration Softener System

OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10

Pelican Water 15 GPM Whole House Filtration and NaturSoft

Check Price on Pelican Store

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 80000
  • WEIGHT: 47 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 15 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 19.02 x 32.01 x 59.49 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 4-6

Popular Features:

  1. Both a water softener and a conditioner in one
  2. Salt-free conditioning reduces the slippery feel of treated water
  3. Sufficient for a house with 4-6 bathrooms
  4. No added sodium

Three elements comprise the Pelican PSE2000 Whole House Water Softener – a pre-filter, a carbon filter, and a saltless conditioner. The carbon filter is used in both stages 2 and 3, so there are 4 water treatment stages included with your Pelican PSE2000 water treatment system.

Stage 1 consists of the micron pre-filtering system, also called the sediment filter, which takes out any larger sediment. The second and third stages drastically reduce scale build-up with the Catalytic Granular Activated Carbon Media. In the fourth stage, the Pelican media guard works with copper and zinc oxidation media.

The benefits of going with a salt-free water softener alternative are reducing the amount of wastewater, any added sodium, and the slimy feeling in which salt-based softeners often cause. This water treatment system is additionally eco-friendly in that it uses no electricity and produces little waste.

Pelican describes its process of reducing the amount of scale – dissolved calcium and magnesium salts – that is often the cause of dingy clothing, irritated skin, and lackluster hair. The salt-free alternative uses precipitation and calcium carbonate crystal structures to attract the scale and then eliminate it.

The multiple-stage filtration system is ideal for removing contaminants like chlorine and chloramines, to give you fresh-tasting and feeling water from every faucet in your home.

5. ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt 64,000 Grain Water Softener

For Iron Removal

OVERALL RATING: 9.4/10


Check Price on QWT

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 64000
  • WEIGHT: 147 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 13 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 48 x 12 x 12 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Great for water with iron
  2. Removes manganese stain
  3. Contains Installation Kit
  4. 10 year warranty for brine and mineral tanks
  5. Excellent Tech Support

If your home operates on a well, there’s a high chance that you have a significant amount of iron in your water. Iron discolors tubs, sinks, and clothes worse than the regular calcium and magnesium grains. Regular products will help, but if you really want to stop the iron flowing through your pipes, try the ABCwaters built Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grain with Iron Mesh.

It is one of the perfect units to begin with, even without the iron removal specialization. The specially licensed control head features our favorite Fleck valves. The 5600 SXT series monitors the amount of water being processed through the resin filter and triggers a regeneration cycle as it nears its grain capacity (64,000 grains in this case).

The large grain filtering capacity provides an economical use of water for familes of up to 7 people. Less family members means even fewer regeneration cycles and thus less water and salt wasted.

You can adjust how often the water softener regenerates by keeping an eye on your water and turning the GPG setting up or down. Small adjustments will keep your water clean while conserving more it.

With the power to provide 13 gallons of softened, iron free water every minute, you’ll never experience a lack of water pressure in your busy home.

The difference with this model, part of the Iron Man Series, is that the resin mesh is finer so that it’s able to filter iron and larger hard water grains. With a 64,000 grain capacity capable of regulating itself and regenerating as needed, this is truly great ones that you can buy.

The Fleck control valve comes on this model comes with a 5-year warranty. Both the brine and resin tank come with a 10-year warranty.

You can purchase other Iron Man Fleck models with lower grain capacities, but the larger size will prove to be the more economical choice in the long run. It’s comes with an easy installation kit.

The ABCwaters built Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grain with Iron Mesh even comes preprogrammed to save a little more time, but you can easily change the settings if needed. It’s one of those available at the most affordable price.

Read More About Fleck 64000 Grain

6. Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grains Water Softener for Well Water

Softening Hard Water

OVERALL RATING: 9.3/10

Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grains

Check Price on QWT

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 64000
  • WEIGHT: 180 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 18 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 48 x 12 x 12 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Complete assembly
  2. With Backup Supply
  3. Auto Regeneration Cycle
  4. Full Replacement Warranty

The Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grains is another model by Fleck itself and is one of the great products that you’ll find. The high grain filtering capacity ensures that it can go 5 or more days without regenerating even in homes with very hard water. The Fleck SXT control valve measures your home’s water flow rate and ensures that it regenerates at just the right time.

The control valve also features a back-up power supply that prevents the control head from losing its settings and memory in a power outage. The back-up capacitor keeps it charged and operational for 48 hours. After that, it’s a simple task to reprogram the head and trigger regeneration, ensuring that you won’t miss a cycle.

Like all Fleck SXT’s, the valve keeps tracks of the gallons of water it processes and triggers an automatic regeneration cyclebased on the grains per gallon you’ve programmed into it. If your water still seems hard after installing, increase the grains per gallon setting to allow it to regenerate more often and clear your water of any pass-through minerals.

The flow rate for this model is 18 gallons per minute, one of the highest flow rates you’ll see in an in-line model.

The Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grains comes with a full replacement warranty of 5 years on the SXT control head and valve and 10 years on both resin and salt tank. The actual lifespan is expected to be 20 or more years.

Its low price with high grain filtering capacity makes this one of the top water softeners for hard water that you can buy. Note, however, that this model is not designed to filter iron or sulfur.

5. Fleck 5600SXT Water Softener Well Water

OVERALL RATING: 9.2/10


Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Well Water Softener Iron & Sulfur Eradicator 2000

Check Price on QWT

Check Price on Amazon.com

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 48000
  • WEIGHT: 95 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 12 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 18 x 30 x 62 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. On Demand Metered System
  2. LCD Digital Display
  3. With brine tank with float assembly
  4. Stainless By-pass

The Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Iron & Sulfur Eradicator 2000 is made by Fleck itself, so you know it’s going to be a high-quality water softener.

It perfectly filters hard water that has up to 50 grains of minerals per gallon. That will take care of some very hard water. We do wish that it had a higher grain filtering capacity though. In a home with hard water, iron, and sulfur-rick water, this model might be used by families of 2-3 people.

It does feature the 5600 SXT control valve common to all of these units. If you know or have accurately estimated the grains per gallon in your water, you can set the SXT to regenerate as needed. It will use the gallons per grain you program into it to automatically perform regeneration after processing so many gallons.

The Eradicator 2000 also comes with a fine mesh resin to filter iron. Added KDF-85 Mediaguard helps to filter sulfur and manganese. Calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur, and manganese will all be captured and flushed away into your septic system.

The Fleck Eradicator 2000 comes with the standard 5-year warranty on the control head and a 10-year warranty on both the resin and brine tanks. That’s a little steeper than the ABCwaters Fleck model for less grain capacity, but you’re also getting iron and sulfur removal in this model by the original manufacturer of the industry-standard valve system.

For a fair price, mineral, iron, and sulfur removal, we’re confident in calling this one of the top water softeners for water with iron available today. It’s easy to install and comes with all the connections you’ll need.

Read More About Fleck

6. DuraWater 64k -56sxt-10al 64,000-grain water softener, Almond

OVERALL RATING: 9.1/10


DuraWater 64k -56sxt-10al 64,000-grain

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 64000
  • WEIGHT: 53 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 16 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 12 x 52 x 12 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 6-8

Popular Features:

  1. Set-it-and-forget-it installation
  2. Commercial-grade resin for long-lasting durability
  3. System is ready for installation when it arrives
  4. Hassle-free design

The strongest asset of the DuraWater water softener is the 10% cross-linked resin beads. The more cross-link resin media has, the stronger and more long-lasting it is.

The commercial-grade resin in the DuraWater is pre-loaded to make installation and upkeep as straightforward as possible. Since the resin is already in the system, you won’t have to reload as often as other models, resulting in a hassle-free water softener.

You can easily set this water softener to function and forget it. With Fleck’s unique 5600 SXT control head, you can maintain an overview of your water softener system without having to make any adjustments.

The brine tank comes with a convenient float, and the whole system takes up about 26”, 14” for the brine tank, and 12” for the softener tank.

The whole aim of this water softening system, from the full setup shipment to the long-lasting resin, is designed to make it as easy as possible to put the system in and keep it running optimally.

With east-to-read DIY instructions and a fully set system by the time it leaves the manufacturer, you don’t have to worry about messing up your new system.

The DuraWater water softening system is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to spend too much time, effort, or money on a complicated system.

 

7. Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener with High-Efficiency Digital Metered Control Head

OVERALL RATING: 9.0/10


Aquasure Harmony Series

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 48000
  • WEIGHT: 120 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 12 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: Brine tank is 15” x 33”; softener tank is 10” x 54”
  • HOUSEHOLD: Up to 5

Popular Features:

  1. Serves 2-4 bathrooms
  2. Backwashes only when it needs to
  3. Can be used on well water too
  4. LCD and touchpad

Some of the strongest qualities of the Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener are that, although it needs added salt and new resin to work optimally, it has many features to ensure that the system, once installed, is easy to run and monitor.

It also has a few features that make it easy to keep a keen eye on your water and salt usage, like the bypass valve and the metered regeneration option. The bypass valve lets you work on your water treatment system without turning off the water, and you also have a digital control console to oversee backwashing.

The Aquapure is also a workhorse when it comes to getting scale and mineral build-up out of your water. With a 12 GPM survive rate flow and the ability to handle moderate to very hard water, the Aquapure gets rid of your scale problems quickly and effectively.

The Aquapure has a high-capacity brine tank so that refills are far fewer than they are with traditional water treatment systems. Even though this system doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, its features allow for keen observation of your family’s water usage, and you have complete control over the system with 3 options for regeneration.

 

8. AFWFilters Digital Water Softener

OVERALL RATING: 8.9/10


AFWFilters New Iron and Sulfur Filter Pro 3 5600 SXT 64,00W0 Grain Well Water Softener

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 64000
  • WEIGHT: 100 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 16 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 12 x 48 x 12 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Automatic Regeneration Cycle
  2. Fine Mesh Resin
  3. Removes Sulfur and Manganese
  4. 4- month Money Back Guarantee

Released as an improvement on their Iron Pro series, the AFWFilters New Iron and Sulfur Filter Pro 3 5600 SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener helps to remove the eggy sulfur smell that some water carries.

Water that stains everything orange and smells like hardboiled eggs is almost unusable. If it carries both, the Iron and Sulfur Filter Pro 3 will take care of both.

It has the same grain capacity as the ABCWaters model above, meaning that it will filter 64,000 particles of hard water mineral grains before it needs to regenerate, or flush the filter with salt water. It also features a Fleck 5600 SXT control head and valve.

The Fleck SXT valves automatically trigger a regeneration cycle when your home’s water use approaches the 64,000 grain setting. The frequency is determined by how many grains per gallon you’ve programmed into the control head. A lower GPM estimate allows more gallons of water to flow through the tank while a higher GPM triggers it flush more frequently, providing you with cleaner water.

The AFWFilters New Iron and Sulfur Filter Pro 3 also has a fine mesh resin for filtering iron particles. In addition, it has KDF-85 added to the resin to remove sulfur and manganese. If you’ve ever seen a black, slimy stain in your shower, dishwasher, or sink basin, you’ve seen manganese in your water.

With a high grain capacity regulated by a Fleck SXT valve, the ability to remove sulfur and manganese, and a flow rate of 16 gallons per minute, the AFWFilters Pro 3 is a great model available.

It comes with a 4-month money-back guarantee.

 

Salt Free Units

If you want to skip the salt and save on water consumption, these are the three rated salt free water softeners options available on the market. Salt-free water softeners are used with well water that isn’t too hard. If you have very hard water but still want to use a salt-free softener, consider using a combination of these options or couple them with a magnetic water softener, such as the Magnetic Water Technology Two-Unit Combo.

9. Aquasana Water Softener Water Filter

OVERALL RATING: 8.7/10


Aquasana Whole House Water Filter and Softener

Check Price on Aquasana

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: Crystallizes grains
  • WEIGHT: 38 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 7 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 9 x 46 x 54 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Good for hair and skin
  2. Results can be used for cooking
  3. Engineered filtration media
  4. UV Sterilight Filtration

If you have softer water or want to add one of the other salt-free water softeners to your supply line, you might enjoy the Aquasana Whole House Water Filter and Salt-Free Softener.

Like the Hard Water Bullet, this Aquasana model crystallizes hard water grains so that they’ll flow harmlessly through your pipes and drainage system. It uses no water to flush itself and no salt.

It is an in-line water softener and filter that yields 7 gallons of soft, clean water per minute. That’s a high enough flow rate for a family of 3-4 people to never experience low water pressure, even when running two showers, a washing machine, and a kitchen faucet at the same time.

The Aquasana Whole House Water Filter and Salt-Free Softener’s price might seem high but it is guaranteed to last 10 years or to process 1 million gallons of water. That’s a total yearly cost of a whole lot of water.

You will, however, also need to replace the water filter every six months. You can purchase 4 replacement pre-filters (10-inch) and 4 replacement post filters (20-inch) cost very cheap. The SimplySoft polyphosphate material should be replaced approximately every 5 years.

Despite its higher initial price tag and filter replacement needs, the Aquasana Whole House Water Filter and Salt-Free Softener remains one of our top picks. It is effective at removing hard water grains and filtering sediment from pumps. It is not effective for iron or sulfur control.

Read More About Aquasana

10. Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System

OVERALL RATING: 8.6/10


Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE:Uses electrical current, not grain
  • WEIGHT: 1.25 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 15.4 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 5.9 x 1.8 x 2 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 4-6

Popular Features:

  1. Uses electricity to rid water of scale
  2. Easy to install
  3. No upkeep or extra hardware

Some consider electronic descalers to be the most effective tool at decreasing the wear and tear on your plumbing and other appliances. The Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System uses electrical impulses to reduce scale and build-up in your water.

These water treatment systems increase the magnesium salts’ solubility and dissolved calcium in your water with coils wrapped around the water pipe. These coils transmit electricity, which changes the crystals that are in the water.

The Capacitive water system is simple to install and maintain with a self-adhesive backing and no hardware or switching out of filters or parts. Even though it is a workhorse, it only weighs 2.23 lbs. You don’t have to cut through any pipes to install it, and it can mount on either a pipe or a wall.

The only catch is that, to install it, you need a pipe that is 2” in diameter and at least 10” long to accommodate the device. But once installed, the Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler requires no maintenance and very little oversight.

With no large tanks or refills needed, you can make sure you and your family have clear, clean-tasting water with only one small water treatment system.

 

11. Poly Triple Action Water Softener Well Water

No Need for Salt

OVERALL RATING: 8.4/10


Bullet Poly Triple Action Water Softener

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: Uses polyphosphates
  • WEIGHT: 4 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 30 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 4.5 x 4.5 x 10 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Very compact
  2. Comes ready to be installed
  3. No need for cartidges
  4. No backwashing; no need for electricity

This is the Hard Water Bullet Poly Softener. It’s different from a conventional water softener in that it does not remove hard grains from your water. Instead, it crystalizes and coats the grains in polyphosphate so that they don’t stick to your pipes, sinks, tubs, hair, and clothes.

Polyphosphates are used in city water treatment facilities and pose no risk to your health, to your appliances, or your plumbing. It does have a 30-micron filter to catch sediment and provides 30 gallons of softened water per minute.

The Hard Water Bullet connects as a pass through onto your water supply line. Weighing only 4 pounds with a 9” x 10” profile, you’ll hardly know it’s there. Just bolt it to the wall with the bracket, and save yourself some floor space.

The Hard Water Bullet Poly Softener is greatly made and durable. To care for it, simply turn your water supply valve off, run a faucet until the line is empty, and unscrew the softener’s lid. Remove the filter and rinse it in a washtub while you flush the core with a vinegar solution.

You’ll also need to re-fill the Hard Water Bullet with polyphosphates every 6-12 months. Adding polyphosphates is an easy task. Simply turn the water off and empty the water line before unscrewing the lid and pouring in the polyphosphates.

You can purchase the Hard Water Bullet Softener Poly at a relatively low price. Its effectiveness in softening water, along with its maintenance needs and a low price make this model the a top choice. Note that this water softener won’t help with iron or sulfur though.

Read More About Bullet Poly Triple

 

12. Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener

OVERALL RATING: 8.3/10

Eddy Water Descaler Electronic Water Softener

Check Price on Amazon.com

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: Uses electricity
  • WEIGHT: 1.45 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: N/A; 110 volt
  • DIMENSIONS: 6.7 x 1.6 x 3.5 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. 12-Month Money Back Guarantee
  2. Can descale entire system
  3. Removes hard deposits
  4. Does not alter chemical hardness

The Eddy Water Descaler is a surprisingly effective water softener for well water. It is a small unit that plugs into a standard 110-volt outlet and softly clamps onto your hot and cold water supply lines. The box and coils deliver an electro-magnetic wave to passing water, suspending the grains in the water until they eventually exit your home through the drainage system.

Because it is not even a pass-through system in your supply line, it does nothing to hinder your plumbing’s flow rate. There are no filters to change and no chemicals to add. It’s also the least expensive models.

If that weren’t enough, the Eddy Water Descaler comes with a lifetime warranty. If you have particularly hard water, you can add the Eddy to a Hard Water Bullet Poly or an Aquasana water softening system for added effectiveness.

Because homes with hard water will have calcium and magnesium deposits built up in their pipes, you should give the Eddy Water Descaler a month before judging its performance. It might take that long to clear your pipes of past mineral grains and show the true effectiveness of the electro-magnetic technology.

The Eddy Water Descaler does run continuously, so you might see a slight increase in your energy bill. The amount, however, is negligible compared to the cost of salt, water consumption, and electricity needed to run a conventional water softener.

For its effectiveness, low price, long warranty, small size, and minimal energy costs, the Eddy Water Descaler is one of our top picks for salt free water softeners. Once again, however, this water softener will not help with iron or sulfur in your well water.

For Hard Water

These are conventional water softener options. The main differences between them are grain capacity and price.

Read More About Eddy Scaler

13. Fleck 9100SXT Dual Tank Water Softener

OVERALL RATING: 8.2/10


Pentair Fleck 9100 SXT Twin Tank 80,000 Grain

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SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 80000
  • WEIGHT: 95 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 22 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 13 x 13 x 65 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Functions alternately to ensure availability of water for daily use
  2. Anti-memory loss
  3. Back-up Power Generator
  4. Same installation as single tank

When you need even longer intervals between regeneration cycles or want the water to keep flowing during a regeneration cycle, the Fleck 9100 SXT Twin Tank 80,000 Grain Water Softener is a smart choice. The twin tanks ensure that you’re never without soft water.

Each tank filters 40,000 grains of hard minerals. As they reach their filtering capacity, the 9100 SXT control valve triggers one tank to regenerate and then the second when the first is finished. A single-tank water softener can’t process water while it’s regenerating. Having two tanks allows your system to continue processing water through one tank while the other cycles.

This SXT model also features the anti-memory loss back-up power capacitor common to 5600 models and above. It remembers how many gallons you’ve used and when the next regeneration cycle should be up to 48 hours after your power goes out.

The flow rate is 22 gallons per minute. That’s enough to supply a small business, and, in fact, we do recommend this as a commercial model. You can take advantage of commercial power and capacity at home. The 80,000 grain filter capacity will also save you money by regenerating less frequently, less than once per week in most cases.

The Fleck 9100 SXT Twin Tank 80,000 Grain Water Softener comes with a 5-year warranty on the 9100 SXT head and a 10-year warranty on all tanks. You can install it as easily as a single-tank water softener and will enjoy just as few maintenance needs.

With the highest grain filtering capacity between regeneration cycles, a reasonable price, extremely high water flow, and alternating regeneration tanks, this is definitely one of the top water softeners for hard well water.

14. ABCwaters Pentair Well Water Softener Fleck 5600 SXT

OVERALL RATING: 8.0/10


ABCwaters Pentair 5600 SXT 80,000 Grains with 10% Resin

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  • GRAIN SIZE: 80000
  • WEIGHT: 110 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 12 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 65 x 13 x 13 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Fine Mesh Resin to remove iron
  2. Digital valve for efficient control
  3. Can remove 6-8ppm of Iron, and up to 6 ppm of salt and dust
  4. Easy DIY Installation

The mid-priced ABCwaters Pentair Fleck 5600 SXT 80,000 Grains with 10% Resin provides the higher filtering capacity of the twin-tank model in a single tank. You won’t need to worry about the 10% resin upgrade in homes with well water (it helps preserve the life of the resin in chlorinated city water), but you will enjoy the savings of less frequent regeneration cycles.

This is the highest grain filtering capacity you’ll find in a single-tank model. It features the improved Fleck 5600 SXT control head that can last up to 27 years. It’s guaranteed for 5 years in case of manufacturing defects or early failure and the tanks are guaranteed for 10 years.

It doesn’t have the alternating tanks like the twin tank model, so you’ll have to wait for softened water until it’s finished running its regeneration cycle. It does, however, keep track of your water usage and will run the regeneration cycle at a typically low usage time (usually in the middle of the night) before it reaches its filtering capacity.

As an added bonus, you can purchase this model in blue, black, or almond to blend in or appear more attractive in finished basements. It also comes with video instructions for installation and programming. Follow along and complete the job in a couple of hours.

The ABCwaters Pentair Fleck 5600 SXT 80,000 Grains with 10% Resin is available with such a long lifespan and infrequent regeneration cycles. It’s one of the top water softeners for hard water. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help with sulfur or iron.

15. Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener with Upflow Carbon Filtration

OVERALL RATING: 7.9/10


Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener with Upflow Carbon Filtration

Check Price on QWT

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SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: 48000
  • WEIGHT: 20.8 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 12 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 27 x 17 x 62 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 4-6

Popular Features:

  1. Efficient flow meter
  2. Uses less salt and water
  3. Touchpad Controls
  4. Highly efficient valve that saves salt
  5. Complete assembly
  6. Great for whole house

The Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener with Upflow Carbon Filtration is similar to the model above except for the fact that it doesn’t drain and thus uses less salt and water. It also filters out chlorine and chloramines out of city water and herbicides and pesticides out of well water, combing some of the nicest features of conventional and full filter systems.

The salt water does not drain out of the system after it regenerates and the only electricity it uses is to power the control head. The control head is the same Fleck 5600 SXT that measures your water flow and automatically regenerates the night before you need it to. It also has the same 12-gallon per minute flow rate, sufficient for a family of 5-6 people.

The upflow system keeps the filtering material cleaner and helps it to last longer. The included filter also removes chlorine, which can eat away at the resin. And the fact that it filters common pollutants found in well water makes it a great choice for any home.

An upflow system does take longer to regenerate as it cleans the resin more thoroughly. To minimize any inconvenience, the dual tank system ensures that you’re never without soft water, even in the middle of the night during a regeneration cycle. A true soft water system for your home.

The Fleck 48,000 Grain Upflow model comes with the standard 5-year warranty on the control head and a 10-year warranty on the tanks.

This is our second favorite general use whole house unit not for lower performance (it actually filters more) but because it is more expensive and takes up more floor space for the twin resin tanks. If you have room for it and want to take advantage of the additional filtering power, longer lasting resin, and lower salt, water, and energy costs, this might be the water softening system for you.

16. Aquasana Rhino 6-Stage Water Softener

OVERALL RATING: 7.7/10


Aquasana Rhino 6-Stage Water Softener

Check Price on Aquasana

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • GRAIN SIZE: Crystallizes grains
  • WEIGHT: 38 pounds
  • FLOW RATE: 7 GPM
  • DIMENSIONS: 9 x 46 x 54 inches
  • HOUSEHOLD: 5-7

Popular Features:

  1. Good for hair and skin
  2. Results can be used for cooking
  3. Engineered filtration media
  4. UV Sterilight Filtration

The Aquasana Rhino 6-Stage 500,000 Gallon Well Water Filtration System with SimplySoft Salt Free and UV Filter is an improved version of the above model. It still coats mineral grains in polyphosphate and filters out chlorine and groundwater contaminants. It also includes a larger filter and a UV light to kill bacteria and viruses.

If you have well water, this is the whole house water filtration and softener system you can buy. The larger 20-inch pre-filter catches sediment from your well while the rest of the filters take care of hard water grains. The UV light keeps your water healthy, neutralizing any living germs in your well water, thus serving the same purpose as chlorine in city water.

The UV light will need to be plugged in, and it will be on continuously, but it won’t take any more electricity than a normal lamp.

The only maintenance you’ll need to do on the unit is replacing the polyphosphates every 5 years, changing the pre-filter every 6 months, and changing the post-filter every 6 months. The Rhino filter is rated to last approximately 5 years in homes with well water, after which you can replace it.

You can purchase the Aquasana Rhino 6-Stage 500,000 Gallon Well Water Filtration System with SimplySoft Salt Free Water Softener and UV Filter to treat your well water.

Final Verdict

Overall


Check Price on SpringWell

By choosing Springwell, you’ll not only have an efficient salt based water softener giving you scale free water as well as softer skin, hair, and cleaner clothes, but you’ll also receive a 6 month satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty on all parts. No need to replace this system after the standard 10 years!

 

For Well Water: Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grains


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Assuming that you don’t also have problems with iron and sulfur in your well water, the one that you can buy for the price is the Fleck 5600 SXT 64,000 Grains.

It’s built by Fleck with a Fleck 5600 SXT metered valve and control head. It has a high grain filtering capacity to limit regeneration cycles and a back-up power capacitor so you don’t lose your settings in brief power outages. It has a flow rate of 18 gallons of water per minute, meaning it can fill your hot tub, run 3 showers, and every sink and appliance in your house without a problem.

It can reliably last more than 20 years. Why wouldn’t you buy this model? It’s the perfect whole house water softener for well water.

 

For Whole House: Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain


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The Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain is the top unit for its price. Once it’s installed, it will run itself with automatic regeneration cycles and continue to provide you with a 12-gallon per minute flow rate.

The resin filtering system is the most effective at removing hard water grains, and the salt flush periodically cleans the resin. You don’t have to perform any maintenance other than checking the salt level once a month.

It comes with instructions for easy installation, and will most likely last more than 20 years.

 

You can also check out other options here.

 

How to Pick the Right One for Your Needs?

When you’re looking for the top product, you also don’t want it to cost more than it needs to. We’ll help you decide what you need in a water softener to meet your home’s needs.

Grain Rating

Conventional water softeners are rated by grain. Your source supplies water that contains hard water “grains” or mineral particles of calcium, magnesium, and others. A conventional water softener will state how many grains it can remove before it has to regenerate.

best water softener

Did you know?

What is the regeneration cycle? Regeneration is when the salt water rinses the filter of mineral grains so that it can continue filtering. The salt is then rinsed with fresh water, sending the minerals and salt safely away into your septic system.

What grain rating do you need for your home?

That depends on how hard your water is (how many grains per gallon it contains) and how many people live in your home.

To determine the hardness of your water, you can either test your water or estimate its hardness by the effects it leaves on your plumbing, basins, appliances, and clothes.

Your water might contain as high as 40 grains per gallon. City water contains an average of 15 GPG.

If the average person uses 80 gallons of water per day to shower, do laundry, wash the dishes, wash their hands, and cook, you can multiply that number by the number of people living in your home. A four-person family, for example, will use 320 gallons per day. That means that their water softener would need to filter 12,800 grains of hard water minerals per day.

Now comes the question of regeneration. How often do you want your water softener to regenerate? It will use approximately 30 gallons of salt and fresh water as it rinses the resin (the filtering material). Purchasing a water softener with a higher grain capacity will ensure that it regenerates less often, saving you money on water usage and salt over time.

Hard Water Effects

You can tell if you need a water softener with a higher grain capacity or need to increase how often your water softener needs to regenerate by paying attention to the following signs.

Slightly hard water?

  • Dishes dry with mineral spots

Hard water?

  • Faucets show calcium deposits
  • Soap scum sticks to shower walls
  • White clothes come out of the washer looking dingy

Extremely hard water?

  • Dries out your skin
  • Makes your look and feel dull
  • Leaves stains in sinks and basins
  • Clogs pipes and water supply tubes

Flow Rate

You’ll also want to note the flow rate of each water softener. The flow rate is how many gallons of water they can supply per minute. A shower needs 2 gallons of water per minute, a dishwasher or washing machine 1.5, and a faucet 1. Running any of them simultaneously requires adding the water supply demands together, so running the shower and a washing machine at the same time would take 3.5 gallons per minute.

You can combat hard water by purchasing a water softener with a higher grain rating and increasing the estimated grains per gallon you program it into it, signaling it to regenerate at the appropriate time.

The number of people in your home who need to use water at the same time will determine how high of a flow rate you need. You typically want a minimum of 4 gallons per minute (GPM) with an additional 1-2 for every person.

  • 2 people = 5 GPM
  • 3 people = 6 GPM
  • 4 people = 7 GPM, etc.

Additional Hard Water Problems?

Besides mineral grains in your water, you might also have iron creating orange stains, sulfur smelling like hardboiled eggs, or manganese leaving black stains. Be sure to select a water softener specifically designed to combat these problems.

To filter out iron, sulfur, and manganese, a unit needs to have additional material in the resin tank. KDF-85 is what you need for filtering these troublesome elements. It also controls algae and bacteria that might be present in your water.

Water Softening Technology Options and Pricing

Water softeners function in different ways. Conventional models will be excellent for hard water, but if you have naturally softer water or want to combine smaller models into a system, you could use the salt free options.

Conventional

Small beads called resin filter mineral grains out of your water. Salt water cleanses the beads when they reach their filtering capacity. The models we have selected as options range in price.

Salt-Free

Salt-free water softeners can be electronic, magnetic, filtering, or coating.

Electronic and magnetic options suspend hard mineral grains in the water so that they pass through your pipes and drainage system. Electronic models use an electro-magnetic wave while magnetic options use hard magnets. These range in price.

Filtering water softeners crystalize mineral grains, stopping them from sticking to pipes or other surfaces. Coating softeners also crystalize the grains but then coat them with polyphosphate for additional effectiveness. Filtering and coating models require filter changes or added chemicals and range widely in price, but you can see the cost of our recommendations below.

Why Do I Need One?

Just because you might have learned how to live with water scale doesn’t make it a good idea. The residue of scale causes a lot more problems than people realize. It starts out when you notice that pale, white residue that sticks inside your tea kettles or cooking pots after you’ve boiled water, and it also shows up inside the coffee pot. That is actually the residue of mineral deposits that are slowly starting to block the pipes in your plumbing throughout your entire home. It’s mainly calcium and magnesium bicarbonate, a chalk-like substance.

Stains and Slimes

Hard water will also leave lots of stains in your sinks that are very hard to clean unless you use a highly acidic solution like vinegar. It also stains glassware very easily, and it will eventually make the glass become more brittle and fragile by “aging it” so that it breaks with very little effort. It will make both your skin and your hair start to feel more dry and itchy because most soaps and shampoos can’t completely remove the mineral deposits that settle on your skin. That’s why many people with hard water get more skin irritations, blocked pores and more breakouts.

Scale Build up

The scale buildup is actually clogging your pipes, and you’ll gradually get more plumbing problems as the pressure inside the pipes prevents water from flowing as fast and smoothly as it should. These plumbing problems become serious quickly. Limescale that collects around the valves of your washing machines and dishwashers stops the valves from closing and creates leaks, so your appliances won’t last as long as they should.

Consumption

Even worse, your bills will begin to skyrocket because your pipes have to work so much harder to get a good flow through them. Call your local utility company to analyze it and find out how “hard” the water really is in your home. Then you’ll know which kind of unit you need most.

The Popular Types Used and How Does It Work?

There are many types of options our there. Here is a brief description of how each one works and the reasons why you might want them, along with the price of our favorite models in each category. See our more complete evaluation of each model in the next section.

Conventional

These appliances use resin beads to filter incoming water and then regenerate the resin with salt or potassium. They are still the most effective at removing mineral grains and come in a variety of grain filtering capacities. The following options are all resin and salt-based.

  • Single-tank downflow: The standard. Ex. Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain.
  • Single-tank upflow: More efficient. Ex. Fleck 5600 SXT 48,000 Grain with Upflow Carbon Filtration.
  • Alternating twin tanks: Ensure 24/7 supply for busier homes. The Fleck 9100 SXT 64,000 Grain.
  • Compact combinations: The resin and salt tanks are combined into one unit for smaller homes. GE, Morton, and Whirlpool all have high-quality options.

Electronic and Magnetic

Both of these solutions function by magnetizing the water passing through your supply types. Electronic systems send an electromagnetic wave. Magnetic systems rely on magnets changing the physical properties of the passing water.

Neither removes the mineral grains from your water. Instead, they keep the grains suspended so that they pass back out through your drainage system without clinging to pipes or other materials. Electronic and magnetic softening systems are suitable for homes with pre-treated supply or as additions to conventional models.

These salt-free solutions are small and easy to install on the outside of your pipes. They include the following types.

Filter

These options alter the physical properties of the minerals in your water, transforming them into crystals, or coat them in a poly-phosphate so that they pass cleanly through your pipes, appliances, and drains. Full filters will also remove chlorine and chloramines as well as herbicides, pesticides, bacteria, and viruses from well water.

We recommend most filter systems for homes. By removing chlorine, they will help you get softer skin and hair, while also conditioning your water for any remaining mineral grains.

Filter systems include the following.

  • Crystalizing: Ex. The Aquasana Whole House Filter and Salt-Free
  • Coating: Ex. Hard Bullet Triple Action Poly Salt-Free.

How To Install Your Product Unit

Because of the advancement of technology, it is quite easy to install your unit nowadays. But if you are a novice in the assembly, do not worry. All products come with instructional guides and complete manuals in placing them in your own home. Some even come with videos and USBs for the convenience of the consumers.

Here are the basic steps on how to install a unit:

  • Find the control valve to stop the flow of water to your home. Close the valve and check if there is any flow inside the pipe.
  • Decide on the portion in which you will install the unit. Make sure that you are buying the right size for your house.
  • Locate your meter and cut the pipe after it. You will install 3 valves on the line. One to hold it prior to the unit, one as a bypass for maintenance purposes, and the third one after the unit.
  • Check all fittings that you connected. If you need to solder some parts, do so.
  • Connect the tanks to be used. See if the tubing are already included in the package. If not you have to buy from your nearest hardware store. They have standard sizes so you need not worry about the measurements.
  • A drain line is used during cleanup and maintenance. Connect it using a clamp.
  • Connect the pipe from the unit to the line going to the inside of the house.

Comparison Chart

Product Capacity Flow Rate Weight Dimension Price

SpringWell Salt Based

80000

20 GPM

19 pounds

54 x 13 inches

ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt

64000

13 GPM

147 pounds

48 x 12 x 12 inches

AFWFilters Digital

64000

16 GPM

100 pounds

12 x 48 x 12 inches

Fleck 5600SXT

48000

12 GPM

95 pounds

18 x 30 x 62 inches

Poly Triple Action

Uses polyphosphates

30 GPM

4 pounds

4.5 x 4.5 x 10 inches

Aquasana Water Filter

Crystallizes grains

7 GPM

38 pounds

9 x 46 x 54 inches

Eddy Water Descaler

Uses electricity

N/A; 110 volt

1.45 pounds

6.7 x 1.6 x 3.5 inches

Fleck 5600 SXT

64000

18 GPM

180 pounds

48 x 12 x 12 inches

Fleck 9100SXT Dual Tank

80000

22 GPM

95 pounds

13 x 13 x 65 inches

Fleck 5600 SXT Ships

48000

12 GPM

20.8 pounds

27 x 17 x 62 inches

ABCwaters Pentair

80000

12 GPM

110 pounds

65 x 13 x 13 inches

Fleck 5600 SXT with Upflow Carbon Filtration

48000

12 GPM

20.8 pounds

27 x 17 x 62 inches

Aquasana Rhino 6-Stage

Crystallizes grains

7 GPM

38 pounds

9 x 46 x 54 inches

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