The Michigan-based company makes different models with varying capacities. Our list of products reviewed include the Whirlpool 30000 Grain, WHESFC Pro Series, WHES40E 40000 Grain, and Central Water Filtration System. It's salt-saving technology and high-flow valves make for some of the best water softeners available.
Note that each presents you with comprehensive information on the individual models’ price, distinct features, terms of warranty, installation procedures, and maintenance guide.
We also encourage you to look deeper than our recommendations, so that you’ll know exactly what you’re buying. Reading through the buying guide will enlighten you concerning all the relevant details you need to be aware of if you’re considering the brands models.
In the following sections, we elaborate on what grains are and what exactly happens to them in a given unit. You’ll also learn why you need salt for this process and how a softener can affect your water pressure.
We have no doubt that after going through our buying guide and individual evaluation, you will be more prepared to choose the product for your home.
HOW WE DID OUR TEST:
Top Choices For You
How to Pick the Perfect One for Your Needs
The most important considerations for choosing a unit 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.
1. Decide on the grain rating
When it comes to grain rating, you first have to determine how hard your water is. That is something you can find out easily with a water test kit. It will help you measure hardness in terms of the number of grains of minerals that are in each gallon of your water.
We derive many health benefits from mineral grains. While they might be a regular feature of our diet, they have no business obstructing the flow of water in your pipes or forming colored spots on your drying dishes.
All water softeners, like all salt-using softeners, are rated based on regeneration cycles and how many grains of minerals can be filtered out of your water between such cycles. Salt-using types give us a good idea about what a regeneration cycle is.
All salt-using softeners include three major components, namely a resin tank, control head, and a salt/brine tank. You’ll find small beads that trap mineral grains like magnesium and calcium in the resin tank. These do not carry out this task alone.
Did you know?
They have help from control valves. That is certainly the case with grain types. When said valves calculate that the resin tank has reached its filtering capacity using your water usage and the hardness of your water, they trigger the next step in the process.
That entails emptying the resin tank and pumping salt water into it. Why? Because salt water is needed to remove the mineral grains and carry them down the drain. Following that, fresh water rinses the remaining salt out of the resin tank.
We earlier alluded to regeneration cycles. That is the term used to describe the entire process from when the resin tank is emptied to when the salt is rinsed out. After that happens, the resin keeps filtering out hard water grains, and the control valve resets its count.
Grain capacity influences regeneration cycles. Softeners run longer between such cycles if the capacity of the resin tank is higher. Furthermore, if you see fewer regeneration cycles, you are bound to spend less on water and salt.
Grain rating calculation
We can get the sense of how grain capacity can affect usage by considering what will happen if, for example, a family of four uses well water and a similar-sized family uses city water.
If a person in either household uses 80 gallons on the average, a family of four would typically use 320 gallons per day for all of their needs: watering the lawn, laundry, bathing, dishes, cooking, and drinking.
In general, the grain count delivered by city pipe-borne water and other systems when evaluated using GPG is a hardness of 15 grains per gallon on the average.
When it comes to families using well water, that figure is generally higher at approximately 40 grains per gallon. That is the national average, so variations do occur depending on the soil of the area.
If both families used a Whirlpool model with a capacity of 44,000 grains, the family with well water would trigger a regeneration cycle every 3.44 days. The family with city water would see a longer cycle: every 9.17 days. If they were each using an 80,000 grain, 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.
2. Determine the flow rate
Another rating you should get acquainted with is the flow rate of Whirlpool units - how many gallons of water it can supply per minute. It causes the water coming from your supply line to slow down as it enters it, giving it time to filter the water. So, you could liken this product to a smaller section of pipe that the water needs to feed through.
You won’t be able to judge a product's flow rate properly without knowing just how many gallons of water you need during peak periods of the day.
Think about our family of four again. If it had a husband, wife, and two teenagers who needed to get ready in the morning that would make for four people looking to use the water at the same time.
Two people might be taking a shower (2 gallons per minute each) while one begins doing the laundry (1.5 gallons per minute) and the fourth person could be making breakfast at the kitchen sink (1 gallon per minute). The family would need a minimum flow rate during that time of approximately 7 gallons per minute.
If, for some reason, the flow rate was less than 7 gallons per minute, all four of them would notice a reduction in water pressure as their various faucets, fixtures, and appliances delivered less water than normal.
As a general rule, it makes economic sense to use a unit that can provide 2 gallons of water for each member of your family. A household of four should have a flow rate of approximately 8 gallons per minute, a family of 5 a flow rate of 10 gallons per minute, etc.
Of course, you won’t want to be so conservative if you have a pool or Jacuzzi or if water your lawn regularly. Your flow rate requirements would certainly be higher if that were the case.
3. Know how hard your water is
Water softeners are specially designed to condition water appropriately.
That is why, if, for instance, our imaginary family observed that hair and skin dryness was becoming an issue, they would want to buy a water filtering system that removed chlorine. It is common knowledge that chlorine and chloramines are indispensable for water treatment, but once the water gets to your faucets and other installations, they are no longer needed.
Our imaginary family using well water might eventually notice orange stains in their shower from iron or black stains from manganese. The presence of sulfur might lead to the water smelling like boiled eggs. They would want to get a water softener or filter to remove these elements.
Additionally, if they tested the water, and they saw an abundance of pesticides, nitrates, bacteria strains, or herbicides moving through the groundwater into their well, they would need a water filter, not a softener only.
The majority of products on the market only soften water, filtering calcium and magnesium. So, to take care of any extra situations, additional filters would either have to be added into the tank or added separately before or after them in the supply line. Chlorine, for instance, negatively affects the resin in a unit’s tank and so a chlorine filter before the tank would make a lot of sense.
Whirlpool Water Softeners Reviews [UPDATED]
For 1-4 people household
Salt Saving Technology
The 30,000 Grain combines the resin and brine tank into a single, compact unit. The grain rating makes it an ideal fit in homes of 2 or 3 people. You can even use it in small offices or light duty shops for economic softening. The electronic control valve keeps track of your home or building’s water usage and only regenerates the filtering resin tank when it’s necessary. The tracking system helps to conserve salt and water, so you’ll spend less on both.
We also like the low-salt indicator on this model. It’s a light that alerts you when you need to refill the brine compartment.
The size and compact design helps you save floor space in your utility closet or basement. It’s only 18 inches wide and 19 inches deep with a height of less than 43.5 inches.
It also comes with 1-inch fittings, so that you can easily tie it into your existing plumbing lines. And the only power you’ll need is a standard household outlet.
Keep in mind that it is a lower-grain model, though, so you’ll only want to use it in low-volume homes. It’s also great to use with city water as you’ll get more filtering time between regeneration cycles than you would with city water.
The warranty covers the controls for 3 years and the combo tank for 10 years.
2. Central Water Filtration System
Central Water Filtration System
Multi-layered media bed
The Central Water Filtration System could be used in tandem with any of the water softeners we have described above. With no filters to replace and no maintenance to perform, it’s an easy solution for your whole-house water filtering needs.
The most attractive feature of this model is its use of FilterSense Technology. With FilterSense, the resin filters sediment from a well or chlorine from city water continuously. And it cleans itself without you having to do any maintenance. It will enter into a cleaning phase once every two weeks, or you can program it to clean more or less often depending on the condition of your water.
It works perfectly with Whirlpool including the 33,000 grain, 40,000 grain, and 44,000 grain.
3. WHES40E 40000 Grain
For up to 5 person household
Salt Saving Technology
The WHES40E 40,000 Grain is perfect for up to 5 persons. It’s a compact brine and resin tank combination unit with the only difference from the above being that it’s a little taller (approximately 49 inches). It utilizes demand-initiated regeneration and, as such, uses 25% less salt than previous models.
It features a single tank design and salt saving technology for significant savings on your use of salt and water by calculating how much salt it will need for cleaning its resin. That way, it will never use more salt than necessary.
With standard 1-inch fittings, installation should be a fairly easy job. Connect it to your existing plumbing lines, and as long as you have a 3-prong power outlet nearby, you’ll be ready to go. It comes with a full parts and labor warranty.
4. WHESFC Pro Series
For up to 5 person household
6th Sense Technology
The WHESFC Pro Series is for 4-5 person homes. The brine and resin tank combination unit is also suitable for small offices and shops. This model utilizes demand-initiated regeneration and, as such, uses 25% less salt than previous models not featured on our list. You won't be having problems with replacing the filters too because WHESFC Pro Series automatically drains, flushes, and cleanses it's internal filters.
As with the above, this model also features salt saving sixth-sense technology. It will help you save on salt by calculating how much salt it needs to regenerate the resin tank each time.
It’s also almost the same size as the 30,000 Grain model (18” wide x 19” deep x approximately 43.5” high). It comes with 1” fittings, the common size for home installation.
It comes with a 2 year full parts and labor warranty as per the company’s official website.
Every single one of the models we checked will improve your water quality immensely. Having said that, we’re recommending the Whirlpool 30,000 Grain as the best deal. Here’s why.
- Reasonable price
- High flow rate
- Demand-initiated regeneration technology
- Full coverage warranty on the equipment
- Single tank design
- Salt-saving sixth-sense technology
- Salt storage capacity of 200 pounds
- Long lifespan, 25+ years
- No maintenance required
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