Save Salt and Money with a Genesis water softener.
We’ve done our homework and reviewed the Genesis On Demand metered digital water softeners to help save your water softening research. These include upflow information, high-performance systems, installation, features, efficiency, expected lifespan, maintenance, and price. You can see our quick picks below or read the full write-up for each of the 5 new standard models.
We’ve included models for small to large homes, homes with city water, and homes with iron or sulfur in their well’s water. Some of the models feature a downflow system while others have an upgraded upflow design.
HOW WE DID OUR TEST:
Top Choices on the Market
How to Pick the Right One for Your Needs?
The largest factors in deciding on a water softener will be the condition of your water and how much water you use at any one time and cumulatively throughout the day. You’ll also need to decide if you want a more economical model for a higher initial investment or if you’re looking for the least expensive model that can meet your needs.
1. Pick the right grain rating
All of the water softeners (and many other conventional models) are rated by grains. The grains are particles of minerals that the model will filter out before it regenerates (more on this in a moment).
The particles of minerals (grains) are mostly calcium and magnesium. These mineral particles are what bond to the insides of your pipes, onto fixtures, leaves spots on your dishes, and stains in your sinks.
When the water flows through the water softener, the resin (material in the softening tank) filters out the calcium and magnesium. But each softener can only filter out a certain number of grains. When it reaches its filtering capacity, it needs to regenerate.
Regeneration occurs when salt water from the brine tank is pumped into the resin tank and rinses the resin. The mineral grains and salt water then drain harmlessly into your septic system, and the resin tank is ready to start filtering again.
The question is: how many grains do you need to remove from your water?
If you haven’t already done so, you can test your water to find out how many grains are in each gallon of your water. You’ll also be able to see if there are other contaminants in your water that you should be aware of.
For the sake of an example, we’ll use the average 15 grains per gallon for city water and 40 grains per gallon for well water. City water is partially treated before it reaches your home.
We’ll also use the figure of a person using an average of 80 gallons of water per day. That might sound like a lot, but 80 gallons per day includes all bathing, drinking, cooking, using the commode, running appliances, etc.
If a person uses 80 gallons per day, their water softener needs to filter out 1,200 grains if they have city water and 3,200 grains if they have well water. If they have a family of 4, the water softener would need to filter 4,800 or 12,800 grains per day.
How many grains your softener is filtering matters because it will use salt and water every time it regenerates. If you can buy a larger resin tank that regenerates less often, you’ll save money on salt and water usage in the long run.
2. Which to choose - Downflow versus upflow?
A downflow water softener is the most conventional type of system. Salt water from the brine tank is pumped into the top of the resin tank. The salt water flows downward through a central tube, and then, when it reaches the bottom, it comes back up through resin, rinsing as it rises. It is a proven method but the design does have its drawbacks.
Over time, minerals can accumulate on the bottom of the tank, and the indirect water flow through the resin doesn’t clean it as thoroughly as it could.
An upflow water softener reverses the design. It pumps the water downward through the resin and then back up through the central channel. The result is a cleaner resin tank that can continue to filter hard water grains more accurately.
The direct flow of water through the resin also allows the system to use less water and salt than downflow systems. It’s the difference between direct and indirect water pressure. Direct water pressure cleans the filtering material more thoroughly, and with less water and salt.
Upflow systems will cost more than downflow softeners but will save you money in long run by using less salt and water.
3. Determine the water softener's flow rate
We said that a person uses an average of 80 gallons per day. But how many gallons are being used at the same time in your house?
As water flows through a softener, it decreases the water pressure your home’s plumbing system can supply. It slows the flow. Smaller resin tanks slow the flow rate more than larger tanks, and adding a filter to the softener might slow the system down even more.
The key is to determine how many gallons your home needs per minute during peak periods. Do two people need to take a shower at the same time? Does the washing machine need to run while someone’s getting ready?
Here are the averages for how much each fixture uses:
Add up your usage to determine your minimum needs at the busiest times of the day. A family of 4 usually doesn’t need more water pressure than 10 gallons per minute. If you water your lawn or have a pool or hot tub, you might need a flow rate of up 15 gallons per minute.
3. How hard is your hard water?
City water is treated with chlorine and chloramines to kill bacteria and viruses. The water doesn’t taste very good, though, and it can dry out your skin and hair.
Well water can have iron, sulfur, or manganese in it, leaving reddish-orange stains, black marks, or the smell of hardboiled eggs.
If you want to treat any of these issues, you have to go beyond the basic water softener models. They’re only useful for removing calcium and magnesium. It’ll take specialized filters to remove anything else.
Make sure that you buy a model that addresses the specific condition of your water.
Looking for an alternative brand?
Our buying guide will help you decide which model is right for you. We’ll explain the common terms you’ll need to know when shopping for a water softener, such as “grains per gallon,” “flow rate,” and “upflow” versus “downflow.” We’ll also give you some examples to help you evaluate your needs.
These are our favorite Genesis water softeners for each category. If you don’t know what you need, read our buying guide before making a purchase decision.
Genesis Water Softener Reviews (Best Guide 2021)
Our assessment of the best water softeners are arranged for homes with the lowest needs first and ending with the highest. Each model has a range of sizes available. We’ve chosen those that meet the needs of the homes they were designed for, but you might find a smaller or larger size fits your specific needs and budget more accurately. We start with the Econosoft model for homes with relatively soft water and end with two models for homes that need to filter chlorine from city water or iron and sulfur from well water.
1. Genesis Water Softener Premier (48,000 Grains)
9,720 lbs (salt) and 32,400 gal (water) saved for a family of 4
The Premier Water Softener 48,000 Grains is an upflow, metered, on-demand water softener. Like the EconoSoft model above, the Genesis Premier tracks your water usage and initiates a regeneration cycle as it nears its filtering capacity.
There are four main benefits that you’ll read about in any Premier water softener product list. The first is the control head. Not only does it trigger regeneration cycles based on water flow, but it has an LED display that shows your current flow rate, when the last regeneration cycle was, and how many gallons of water it can filter before it performs the next regeneration cycle. It also never resets your programming, even if the power goes out.
The second benefit of the Premier system is the upflow regeneration design. By cleaning the resin with more direct water pressure, this unit keeps your resin tank cleaner and helps the resin itself last longer while using less salt and water. It also keeps your water softer as the meter can keep a more accurate count of how many grains the tank can filter.
The third benefit of the Premier is that it will flush any water that has been in the resin tank for more than 7 days. Water that sits too long can grow bacteria. If you go on vacation or need to travel for a business trip, you won’t need to worry about stagnant, bacteria-carrying water coming out of your pipes when you return home.
The last upgrade from the EconoSoft model is a longer warranty on the control head. The Premier comes with a 10-year warranty on the control head and a lifetime warranty on the tanks.
The Premier is just as easy to install and comes with all the fittings you need for a ¾” or 1” supply line. It supplies 15 gallons per minute, an ample flow rate for larger homes.
We recommend this size as an economical choice for homes with city or well water, but it might not be right for every home. You can purchase the Premier in larger or smaller sizes according to the hardness of your water and your home’s water usage.
2. Genesis Water Softener Duo 32,000 Grain Whole House
Chlorine Filtration System
6,480 lbs. (salt) and 28,900 gal (water) saved for a family of 4
The Duo 32,000 Grain Water Softener and Whole House Chlorine Filtration System combines the Premier upflow softener with a large carbon filter. It’s the ultimate chlorine removal system.
It comes with all the benefits of the Genesis Premier, including the easily-programmable control head with LED display, metered upflow regeneration cycles, 7-day purge cycle, and the longer 10-year warranty for the control head. The tanks are guaranteed for a lifetime.
The carbon filter removes chlorine and chloramines from city water to give you healthier hair and skin. The 10% crosslink resin in the softener protects it from any chlorine that does get through. Both the softener and filter are cleaned during regeneration.
With a filtering capacity of 32,000 grains, this model will go more than a week between regeneration cycles. Its 7-gallon per minute flow rate provides enough water pressure for up to 4 people. You can also purchase the Duo in 40,000 grain or 48,000 grain sizes for a higher flow rate and longer regeneration gaps.
The 32,000 Grain Duo comes with ¾” connections and everything you need to easily install all 3 components.
3. Genesis Upflow (96,000 Grains)
Water Softener and Katalox Iron and Sulfur Filter
19,440 lbs. (salt) and 51,120 gal (water) saved for a family of 4
If you have well water with iron, sulfur, or manganese, you’ll want the Genesis Upflow (96,000 Grains) and a Genesis Katalox Iron and Sulfur Filter. Both feature metered valves to measure the amount of water your home is using and regenerate when they reach filtering capacity.
The upflow water softener includes the short recharge cycles of the Revolution model to keep your home supplied with soft water until the full 2am regeneration cycle.
The Katalox filter removes staining iron and smelly sulfur that might be present in your well water while continuing to maintain a flow rate of 21 gallons per minute.
Both come with all the fittings you need for individual installation, but you will need a coupling to link them. When installing them together, place the water softener first in the supply line, followed by the Katalox filter. Doing so will protect the resin tank from chlorine degradation.
We recommend the 96,000 Grain water softener as the most economical resin tank for homes on well water. Well water contains as much as 3 times the amount of grains in city water. By installing a tank with a higher grain filtering capacity, you will reduce the frequency of regeneration cycles and save money on both salt and water.
Both controls heads are guaranteed for 7 years, the tanks for a lifetime.
4. Genesis EconoSoft (24,000 Grains)
The EconoSoft Water Softener (24,000 Grains) is a metered, on-demand, downflow unit, perfect for small homes or homes with relatively soft water.
It’s built for easy installation and comes with connections for both ¾” and 1” pipes. Take your old softener out or cut into your supply line, and this model will be ready to go. Simply connect it and set your grains per gallon.
After you program your grains per gallon, the metered control head will count how many gallons of water you use. When you’ve used enough water to meet its grain filtering capacity, it will automatically enter a regeneration cycle.
If you have a small home, use very little water in your home, or have relatively soft water, this could be the most economical choice for you. If you don’t need to filter that many grains either because your water doesn’t contain as many grains or you don’t use much water to begin with, the EconoSoft might only regenerate once per week.
This unit is best used with city water as the pre-treated water will contain fewer grains than well water. The EconoSoft also includes a 10% crosslink resin, specially designed to last longer in chlorine.
The 24,000 Grain EconoSoft supplies 8 gallons per minute. That’s plenty for 1-2 people and sufficient for families of 4. With 8 gallons per minute, you could run two showers, a dishwasher, a washing machine, and the kitchen faucet.
This 24,000 grain unit is available for less than what you'd expect. If you want the same model but need a larger grain capacity, you can purchase the EconoSoft model in 32,000 grain, 40,000 grain, or 48,000 grain sizes.
The EconoSoft line of water softeners comes with a 7-year warranty on the control head and a lifetime warranty on both the resin and the brine tanks.
5. Genesis Revolution (64,000 Grains) Water Softener
12,960 lbs. (salt) and 60,480 gal (water) saved for a family of 4
The Revolution (64,000 Grains) Water Softener is the next upflow model, delivering 20 gallons of softened water per minute. It comes with the standard 1” and ¾” fittings for an easy installation job.
The main benefit that we’ll mention in this is the short recharge cycle.
Most water softener models either regenerate immediately when they reach filtering capacity or wait to regenerate until 2 or 3am. Immediate regeneration could cause problems because the water softener can’t process water while it’s regenerating. That’s why many models delay regeneration until the middle of the night.
Delayed regeneration, however, lets unsoftened water pass through your system. The unit has already reached its filtering capacity, but will continue to supply water until the middle of the night when it can regenerate.
The Revolution tracks how much water you use, and when it reaches 3% of its filtering capacity, it enters a short regeneration cycle to partially cleanse itself without a long interruption of service. It will continue to perform these short recharge cycles until 2am when it will fully regenerate.
The Revolution also features the 7-day automatic flush cycle to purge stagnant water and prevent bacterial growth.
With 10% crosslink resin and larger filtering capacity, the Revolution 64,000 Grain Water Softener is a smart choice for homes with city or well water. It comes with a 10-year warranty on the control head and a lifetime warranty for each tank. You can purchase it or select a different size to better fit the needs of your home.
Genesis Premier Water Softener 48,000 Grains
Unless you have other contaminants in your city or well water, the Genesis Premier Water Softener 48,000 Grains is a smart choice for your money. It’s a mid-sized, mid-priced model with all the features you’ll need:
- Metered control head
- Upflow regeneration
- 15-gallon per minute flow rate
- Easy to install – comes with two sizes of fittings
- Easy to program
- LED display showing flow rate and regeneration timing
- Anti-bacterial 7-day purge cycle
- 10-year and lifetime warranty on the control head and tanks
That’s a lot of features, a long warranty, and an economical filtering capacity. Install the Premier and see for yourself how effective and reliable it is.
About the Author
George Simms is a Salt Lake City based plumber and contractor, with a focus on aiding homes and businesses (particularly farm) solve problems with hard and contaminated water. Walter is here to share his wealth of job experience and a knowledge of both modern and antique plumbing.
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Last Updated on May 6, 2021