Best Water Softener – Reviews, Awards, And Discounts 2021
If you live in the United States, you’re probably well aware of the hassles that come with hard water. Even though our health is unlikely to be affected, our home appliances and cookware are those that suffer the most. Due to the hard water’s scaling effects, your plumbing fixtures will always suffer reduced performance and increased waste levels. To help keep your bills lighter and machines longer, today, we’re going to discuss the best water softeners that will keep those problems at bay.
For those of you who aren’t entirely sure about what we’re talking about, we have laid out a simple guide showcasing the most relevant information about hard water and water softeners. If you consider yourself a pro, you can fast-forward to the top-10 list right away. This list will include the best-reviewed products of 2021, their most notable features, prices*, awards, discounts, and more. Some of the soft-water brands have also been thoroughly reviewed by Water Whizz, so make sure to keep an eye out for the review links. Now, what exactly is hard water?
* The price of each water softener was correct at the time of writing. Please note that all prices shown below represent the starting amount of each water softener that is subject to change with different capacities, models, sales, and discounts.
What is Hard Water and How Does it Affect Me?
Hard water is a fluid that’s high in calcium, magnesium, iron, chlorine, or other minerals. The minerals themselves aren’t harmful health-wise, in fact, they’ve been known to have some health benefits like protecting your heart and strengthening your bones.
However, when calcium, magnesium, and other excessive minerals bind with one another, they form a galvanic corrosion reaction.
Whether you recognize the process as galvanic corrosion, soap scum, or limescale build-up, you know that its adverse effects are dreadful. Hard water scaling affects plumbing pipes, washing machines, dishwashers, kettles, boilers, and pretty much everything that comes into contact with the water. This is especially troublesome when you consider that the process causes high water usage, low machine performance, increased electricity & water spending, and in extreme cases – appliance failure.
If the above issues look familiar, but you’re unsure whether hard water is to blame, you can use Hydroflow’s map to evaluate your current location. And if you find that is the case, you’re lucky because we have the magic wand solution for your problem. You need a water softener that will treat hard water and solve common water problems that you never even knew you had.
What is a Water Softener and How Does it Work?
A water softener is a plumbing device that removes, reduces, or conditions calcium and magnesium – the most important culprits in hard water formation. There are different types of water softeners since manufacturers use various technologies to treat hard water. The most renowned water softening strategy is the ion-exchange technology that uses resin beads to exchange the “harmful” minerals with the “helpful” ones. These water softeners are salt-based, and they make up the most extensive water softener production pool due to their high efficacy and guaranteed performance.
Different water softening units include the salt-free alternatives, whole-house water systems, and softener & filter combos. The best water softener for your home depends on the type of minerals in your water supply, so we wouldn’t advise you to go headfirst with a product without a water test. Most water softening systems we’re about to show you come with a free water-testing procedure, so you shouldn’t worry about getting the wrong model. But, to give you a general idea of what’s in store, we have put together a handy guide that will make you a water softening expert in no time.
What’s the Best Water Softener for Me?
As we mentioned before, the first step towards getting the right tool to fight your hard water problem is finding out what causes hard water in the first place. Calcium and magnesium make up the largest amount of hard water, and that’s why most manufacturers use ion-exchange to dissolve these minerals. However, hard water can also comprise aluminum, copper, iron, zinc, chlorine, and manganese – minerals that cause hardness and deteriorate the water’s taste and smell. To test the water, you can either hire a plumbing technician or perform a DIY test by getting a water testing kit. After you’ve assessed the source, you should keep an eye out for the following items.
The most important thing you need to consider when buying a water softener is the extent to which it treats hard water. After you’ve tested your water, your plumbing technician will let you know how hard your water is. Several institutions have already concluded that the U.S. is among the most affected countries suffering from hard water, with more than 85% of its territory residing in these areas. To measure water’s hardness, we use the U.S. Geological Survey estimate, marked on a range from 0 (soft water) to 250 (extremely hard water).
For some reason, this range is initially measured with milligrams per liter or parts per million. Now, because most water softeners are manufactured in the U.S., they use a different degree measured with grains per gallon. That’s why when you’re looking for a softener to match the water hardness of your home, you must do a few calculations first. This may look confusing, but you can use the splendid table of classifications by H20 Distributors that have adapted these numbers for us to understand them better. A general rule of thumb is to keep away from water softeners that can’t sustain water hardness levels above 15 GPG (>180 ppm) since anything below that won’t soften water. After you’ve settled the hard water minerals and hardness level, you move on to the next step.
Water Supply Source
Before you preoccupy yourself with the details, you must first assess the source that supplies your home with water. This is a crucial component since a lot of what your water is made of depends on its source. The two main distinctions in this department are city water (or municipal) and well water. As you can imagine, city water comes from large wells, lakes, and rivers that are the state’s property. On the other hand, well water is untreated groundwater collected in homes via pumps and other plumbing devices.
The main difference between the two sources can be found in the mineral concentration and iron density. Well water typically contains more minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron since it comes directly from the soil. City water goes through a filtration system before getting into our homes, but it is also “aided” with some minerals like carbon and chlorine for purification. As a result, both sources of water are packed with minerals that we could do without. That’s where the magical water softeners come in, but you should be careful with what you’re choosing.
Manufacturers usually describe their product’s intended purposes, but you should keep an eye out for “impostors” that aren’t honest with their systems’ abilities. For example, a softener designed for well water should remove calcium and magnesium, but the iron reduction isn’t necessary for it to be considered efficient. Some other models have a different approach to softening water, including pH level modification or mineral crystallization. An excellent way to distinguish reliable brands from poor ones is to see the number of specs, reviews, and information they present to the buyers.
The last step you need to take before hopping over to the best models is to find out the correct capacity you need for your softener. Many online vendors attach a handy guide next to their products, but that isn’t always helpful when considering that people have different water consumption rates, patterns, and efficiency levels. Manufacturers measure the water softener’s capacity in terms of bathrooms in a home, members of a household, or square feet of a house. While all three models can help specific models, we prefer a more universal (and more straightforward) approach.
As Aquatell explains, you must begin by assessing the hardness level of your water. Assuming that you’ve already completed this step, you must continue with your household’s water consumption rate. Some technicians advise multiplying the number of people living in your house by 75 gallons of water per person. This can be helpful, but the most accurate method would be to check three of your latest water bills that show the water consumption rate for a specific period. After you have both the hardness and water consumption levels, you multiply them and (most likely) get a four-digit number.
This number represents the daily consumption of your household. Say, for example, you spend about 4000 gallons of water per day. On average, water softeners take about a week to regenerate, so you would have to multiply that number by seven. Since 4000 x 7 equals 28,000, that’s the golden number that we would have to take as a benchmark value for our consumption rate. You should know that the precise amount of a water softener is best measured by a professional. This value can change when you consider the resin’s quality, internal components, and efficiency measures.
The Best Water Softeners of 2021
1. Kinetico Premier Series (N/A*)
* If you buy directly from Kinetico, you will get a 20% discount on all water treatment systems.
The best water softener of 2021 is the Premier Series unit by Kinetico. This salt-based water softening system is designed for households with medium to large water usage, and it comes with ten different models for treating hard water. The first hallmark that makes the Premier Series the best is that it operates with kinetic energy, not electricity. This means that energy-efficiency will be guaranteed from the start, as will the lack of time and effort required to run the machine. The salt-based water softener is designed to run by itself, so it also requires the least amount of maintenance than other water softeners on this list.
To control the water supply, this water softener utilizes a built-in water meter that prompts the unit to work on-demand with your water consumption. The highest advantage of having an on-demand water softener is seen in its regeneration process, as the unit will waste minimal amounts of water and salt in each cycle. That means that your Kinetico water softener can regenerate at any time of day, depending on how the water is being used in your home. Another hero of this easy-regeneration feast is the twin-tank design of the water treatment system. Because of this composition, your Kinetico water softener will provide an endless stream of soft water, even when the unit is regenerating. So, whether you’re entertaining a dozen guests at home or have just gotten back from a ten-day vacation, you can fully enjoy the wonders of soft water and its effect on dishes, drinks, skin, and hair.
Another function that the Kinetico water softener offers is the Overdrive Enhanced feature that improves your home’s flow rate without compromising the water quality. These water softening systems include a premium-grade control valve that can easily handle 50, 000 grains per gallon, which, compared to the industry standard – is a lot and then some. Suppose you would like some professional certification to guarantee your purchase. In that case, you’ll be pleased to know that five models of the Kinetico Premier range were labeled as the most efficient water softeners by the Water Quality Association. This water softener was also awarded the Best-Buy ribbon and the Best Plumbing Product award, so you can rest assured of its undeniable fantastic quality. A Kinetico water treatment system is guaranteed with a 10-year warranty on all parts and labor, but you can trust this unit to be around for much longer.
Perhaps the main disadvantage of buying from Kinetico is the lack of upfront prices. On our Kinetico review, we explained that you wouldn’t know the exact cost of your softener until your assigned Kinetico technician will evaluate the best water softeners for your home. Based on online water softener reviews, a Kinetico water softening unit ranges from $500-$5000, which is above the market value for water softeners. However, what Kinetico offers that other brands don’t is cost-effectiveness, making the water softener pay for itself in less than two years. Being among the most-rated water treatment brands in Consumer Affairs, Kinetico has gathered a 4.6 score that we’re all too pleased with. Ultimately, buying a Kinetico softener means investing in a long-term solution for water hardness and iron reduction, whether for well water or a city source.
2. Fleck 5600SXT ($629*)
* On Amazon, you can find the 24, 000-grain model starting from $580.
If you’re somewhat familiar with the best salt-based water softening systems, you have probably heard of the Fleck 5600SXT. By maintaining a top-5 position on online reviews and being a fan favorite in terms of reliability, this water softener is as good as it gets. What makes this ion-exchange unit stand out from the rest is its remarkable control head. This component is designed with a Noryl valve body that poses an effortless installation and maintains minimal energy consumption levels.
The 48, 000-grain unit will soften water by using one of the most sophisticated electrical meters that observe and modify the water flow. The Fleck 5600SXT water softening systems only have one internal moving part in the water stream, so if the unit is faulty, you’ll immediately know where its problem lies.
This salt-based water softener comes in four distinct models, the smallest of which has a grain capacity of 26, 000 GPG, and the largest – 70, 000 GPG. To combat hard water minerals and reduce iron, the twin-tank water softening system also utilizes a 3/4″ bypass valve with easy-to-install pipes that will keep your water supply in its best condition. Destined for heavy metals and minerals that are otherwise hard to treat, the Fleck 5600SXT will make for a perfect addition to any home or type of water source. The second best water softener is equipped with an integrated SSD computer that allows you to control the system’s water supply, regeneration cycles, timers, operation modes, and much more. The city & well-water softening system hosts a 48-hour capacitor that will preserve the softener’s settings for up to two days after a power outage.
What we love best about the Fleck 5600SXT water softening system is that it packs a lot of great features under a very budget-friendly price. Finding a premium-grade softener that will hold up a grain capacity larger than 50, 000 GPG and still maintain a perfect flow rate is quite a challenge. The Fleck 5600SXT not only does that but also ensures that its double-backwash feature will provide the utmost efficient spending of both salt and water. This salt-based water softener operates with a turbine-electronic meter system similar to the renowned on-demand unit we talked about in the Kinetico review. With the Fleck 5600SXT, you will have four modes of regeneration that will utilize the softened water supply to grant you a constant water flow rate of 7-20 GPM.
Another feature that makes this salt-based softener among the best is its high-grade brine tank that includes a salt-grid and a safety float system. This way, you won’t have to worry about the brine tank overflowing or any disruptive issues with the pipes. When we researched Fleck, we saw that the brand had a 4.6 score in Quality Water Treatment and many positive water softener reviews. Customers seem to be incredibly pleased with the unit’s ease of installation, efficiency, and practicality with removing heavy metals from any type of water source. On the other hand, the professionals are especially delighted with Fleck’s premier bypass valve and high-quality brine tank. And when you add a 10-year warranty to the mix, it’s hard to find any significant flaws.
3. GE GXMH31H Softener & Filter ($799*)
* If you sign up for G.E.’s Smartorder, you will get a 5% off of all orders as well as free shipping.
Our third choice for the best water softeners online is G.E. Appliances‘ softener and filtration system. By combining a superior water softening unit, an advanced filtration system, and an iron & sediment remover, the G.E. will grant clean, pure, and softened water for any source. With a 30, 000 grain capacity, this ion-exchange system will soften water with an intermittent water flow rate of 22 GPM, which will turn your showers into a dreamy experience. Like the previous models, the single-tank G.E. softener works by utilizing an electric on-demand meter that adjusts to your home’s water use.
This is further enhanced thanks to G.E.’s SmartSoft technology that “learns” the water consumption patterns of your home for further use. Part of why customers love this salt-based water softener so much is also within its easy installation that is guaranteed from the DIY-kit upon delivery.
For those looking to find a heavy-duty system that goes beyond the softness of skin and hair, you may find that the G.E. water softener will be the best bet. The easy-to-install softeners have a maximum hardness removal rate of 120 grains per gallon, which will go far beyond reducing calcium and magnesium. If you found Kinetico’s pressure drop impressive, you’ll be exalted to know that the G.E. operates with an even lower one of just 6.5 PSI. When it comes to regenerating softened water, this system will take about 105-152 minutes, equating to only about 54.7 gallons. The unit is also designed to be efficient with any standard mesh resin and salt, so you won’t have to spend extra bucks on those fancy beads. And thanks to its high-flow bypass valve, the single-tank softener will preserve a consistent and high-pressured water flow rate that reaches its peak at 25 GPM.
What makes this softener a leading contender for the top spots is the fact that it integrates a premium-grade water filter at a very reasonable price. Due to its mixed-method filtration system, the G.E. unit will combat almost all minerals that contaminate hard water. That means that your well water will no longer suffer from calcium and magnesium, chlorine, iron, or excessive sediments that give it the weird taste and odor. Depending on the chlorine concentration, this water filter can reach a removal capacity of 2 ppm, which is quite alright when you consider that unit is a combined softener & filtration system. The NSF-Certified unit has a self-cleaning pre-filter, which means that your time maintaining the system will be replaced with time enjoying the soft water it produces.
Because the water filter & softener is made of an entirely electric-driven layout, all of the work will be cut out for you. Due to the lack of head-scratching with the pipes and valves’ installation, you will get to notice the difference in the water quality right away. The G.E. water softening system also has indicator lights for salt refills, days to empty the brine tank, low-salt levels, salt-saving modes, and everything in between. The 71 people who bought this system on G.E.’s official website gave it a 4.7 score that celebrated both the unit and G.E.’s customer service. As for its warranty, the G.E. water filter & softener comes with a one-year guarantee on the entire appliance, ten years on the brine tank, and three years on the electronic monitor (that’s most prone to errors).
4. Pelican NS3 Natursoft Series ($1,359.20*)
* If you use the code COMBO on your purchase, you will get a $100 discount on all combined systems.
For those of you who hung around waiting for the best salt-free water softener – the wait is finally over. Pelican is the first salt-free softener brand we want you to consider, and that’s because it is the most reliable manufacturer that doesn’t use ion-exchange to soften the water. The NS3 salt-free water softener utilizes template-induced crystalization, which is just a fancy word to describe the minerals being hardened and then removed. In salt-based ion-exchange systems, calcium and magnesium are combated through ions who exchange these minerals with sodium, which gives the water that soft texture we love. Contrarily, TIC simply crystallizes these minerals and increases their density until they can no longer harm pipes, plumbing, or home appliances.
Even though that’s a revolutionary technology, you should bear in mind that it’s less potent and intrusive than its salt-based alternative. Many salt-free water systems that claim to soften water are actually just conditioning it, but that’s not the case with Pelican. The Natursoft salt-free softener is certified as 99.6% effective to prevent hard water scaling that we’re all too accustomed to. The salt-free system is also on par with all IAPMO & NSF standards that protect its structural integrity and effectiveness for reducing the water hardness. Like Kinetico, this Pelican water softener requires no electricity to run either since it’s powered through pure water flow. And when you consider that the innovative water softener system wastes no salt, electricity, and little to no water, the 1K price tag makes for an all-too reasonable investment on personal bills & environmental protection.
According to Pelican, the Natursoft water softener will also save you money on maintenance since they estimate an annual $876-check in routine yearly repairs. When you add reduced cleaning, soap, and detergents to the mix, the Pelican system will help you spend about 40% less than you would with a salt-based water softener. The good news about this salt-free water softener is that it’s suitable for both city and well water, so it will be an excellent addition for any home. Depending on how large your home is, you can opt for its 1-3 bathroom system ($1,529.10) or the 4-6 bathroom system ($1,844.10). Because this salt-free water softener operates with kinetic and not electrical power, it will support a moderate flow rate of 12 GPM. And thanks to its pre-set components and provided DIY installation kit, you will get the salt-free water system up and running in no time.
If you would like to kick the water treatment system up a notch, you can also opt for its whole-house water filter & softener alternative with U.V. protection. Besides softening well water and reducing minerals, this combo system will also remove iron, dissolve sediment and destroy viruses and bacteria using the Pelican Pro U.V. system. Whichever system you decide to go with, you can rest assured that it will make hard water a thing of the past. If you don’t trust us, you can trust the 140 customer reviews on Pelican that have given the system a 4.7 score. The brand itself has a 4.6 rating in Consumer Affairs, and the buyers on both domains seem to be over the moon with their salt-free water treatment alternative. All Pelican systems come with a 10-year warranty on parts and labor, except for the units that host pre-filter compounds that have to be replaced every five years.
5. Springwell SS1 ($1152.78*)
* The price above includes a 45% discount that comes from Springwell’s factory direct savings.
One of the most crucial features that draw the customer towards buying a whole-house water softener is the warranty period. And rightly so, because these units pose a life-long (and expensive) solution to treating water hardness. That’s why we’ve put Springwell’s SS1 system as the last champion of our top-5 list. This salt-based water softener comes with a lifetime warranty and six-month money-back guarantee, which remains one of the industry’s leading warranties to this time. This easy-to-install water softener comes with a handy installation kit that includes a premium-grade electronic head, a 50” drain line, a durable brine tank, a hose clamp, and a high-flow bypass valve. As such, the SS1 water softener can be installed on any city or well water source and will grant you a 40% reduction in cleaning and maintenance costs for one year.
The SS1 comes in three models, each of which supports a 32, 000, 48, 000, and 80, 000-grain capacity. As such, this system’s operating pressure range goes from 25-80 PSI, whereas its maximum flow rate can reach 20 GPM service. Another feature making this water softener system one of the best is also the pH modifying components it hosts. As you may know, hard water isn’t always characterized by large mineral value or iron concentration, but high pH levels as well. That’s why the SS1 water softener has been designed to treat a pH range of 6.5-10, always ensuring that soft water is of near-perfect quality. And if that wasn’t enough, the manufacturers over at Springwell have also made sure to preserve a minimal pressure drop on all three models. That’s why the SS1 water softeners are sold based on the number of bathrooms of a home rather than the unit’s grain capacities.
Besides its lifetime warranty, this salt-based water softener is also renowned for its limescale prevention, removal, and after-protection. That means that the whole-house water softener won’t merely reduce the scaling minerals that harm the pipes but also remedy the existing build-up that occupied your plumbing before the softener installation. Because the system is entirely electrical, you will be able to adjust its settings like regenerations, timing, backwash cycles, salt-related operations, and more. Its 5-cycle metered control is also customizable through Springwell’s phone app that’s connected via Bluetooth. Using this app, you will have access to your unit’s bypass valve settings, current water usage patterns, and control of the system’s backwash & regeneration cycles.
For those looking to upgrade their water softener a bit, you can combine the system with a U.V. water purification unit that will remove almost 100% of the bacteria in your well water source. This water softener has a 4.9 score on Springwell’s official website and a 5-star rating on the Best Osmosis Systems. Finally, the most definite advantage to the Springwell soft-water system is no other than its lifetime warranty that is merely splendid compared to other manufacturers. This warranty includes the media, tanks, housing, bypass valve, control head, and other internal components. If for any reason you’re dissatisfied with the system within the first six months, you can also take advantage of its money-back guarantee that will allow you to return the unit with no strings attached.
6. AWF Filters Iron Pro 2 ($779*)
* For a limited time, this model is on sale at $649 on AWF Filter’s official page.
Remember Fleck’s 5600SXT control head we talked about earlier? Well, AWF Filters has decided to incorporate that component in creating one of the most sophisticated whole-house water softeners to date. With a capacity of 64, 000 grains per gallon, this whole-house system includes a water softening mechanism and iron removal components that remove spotting in dishes and scaling in pipes. Considering its budget-friendly price, this salt-based water system performs significantly better than some of its competitors.
Many customers who bought the Iron Pro 2 system were especially pleased with its easy installation. Considering all the necessary kits are provided, this home-based system will be up and running before you try to remember what living with hard water was like.
As for its packaging, the Iron Pro 2 water softener includes a bypass valve with 1” connectors, a round brine tank with safety float, and a fine-mesh resin for removing the minerals. Each component within the Iron Pro 2 water softener is fantastic and aids the system to a completely-efficient performance. The Fleck 5600SXT valve utilizes the 64, 000-grain capacityto soften water hardness of up to 75 GPG and reduce iron composites on a range of 6-8 ppm. According to Water Filter Guru, the Iron Pro 2 requires a bit more maintenance than other similar systems on the market. Specifically, the unit’s resin beads and sodium tank require the most care, as they need to be replaced so that clogging and overfilling is prevented. The resin beads have an average expectancy rate of five years, whereas the sodium has to be topped up more frequently to keep the system in its best shape.
The brine tank also requires regular cleaning since the salt built-up can risk jamming the pipes and ruining the system’s performance. The Iron Pro 2 water softener is advertised as a simple two-in-one system, but the truth is that it offers much more than that. As if the 64, 000 grains per gallon capacity wasn’t enough, this soft-water machine also takes care of iron, sediment, sand, rust, and all excessive minerals that ruin pipes, appliances, dishes, and more. This system joins a mineral tank and a brine tank that operate with each other in a circular motion to perform the iron reduction cycle. The iron-removal water softener also includes a handy bypass valve for added convenience, so you can bypass the water system for any reason without having to shut-off the water supply of your home.
The crème de la crème of this water softening unit is the smart digital control meter it hosts. This water-managing system is entirely electrical and designed to read the water consumption patterns of your home and perform accordingly. The water meter’s control panel is also user-friendly, so you can effortlessly adjust its settings, salt intake, regeneration times, and everything in between. On Amazon, this salt-based water treatment system has a 4.5 rating out of 255 reviews. The customers praise the unit’s fantastic ability to improve the water quality soon after its initial installation. It’s no wonder that the Iron Pro 2 water softener is one of AWF Filter’s flagship products, which is still a best-selling system even after ten years of being on the market. The iron-aiding Iron Pro 2 water softener comes with a 5-year warranty on all parts and labor.
7. Kenmore 38520 Elite ($849.99*)
* If you apply for an A.F. payment plan, you can take the system home for $50 and pay for the rest later.
Because we love combined water softeners and can’t have enough of them, we’re going to continue with Kenmore’s Elite hybrid system. Kenmore is a water system manufacturer that has been in the game for some time but played for different teams. The award-winning brand has designed some of the best water softeners in the market, but today we’re going to shift all focus to its 38520 system. The 31, 000-grain water softener is made for larger families, to who it promises to provide soft, clean water. The Elite salt-based water softener is made of a water softening unit, a chlorine water filter, and an iron-removal mechanism.
The three-in-one water system does all its magic on a single-tank design, so its installation and maintenance should be easy if you’ve been around pipes for long enough.
Another reason why this unit’s maintenance is a piece of cake lies in its pre-filter design. Kenmore knows how tiring it can be to look after a 30k grain system, so they’ve designed its water-filter to require no installation, adjusting, or modification. Another feature that the buyers seem to love with this system is its 200 lbs salt tank that’s neatly positioned on the back of the unit. Thanks to its ergonomic design, the Elite water system somehow makes salt refills less of a hassle. The system is created with an automatic LED tank light, so the unit will notify you of low-salt levels or other system errors as they happen. Salt moderation is also a feature that Kenmore was troubled with, as the water softener will make sure to use minimal amounts in each regeneration process. The same principle is followed by water consumption too, and it’s all due to the unit’s 124-minute regeneration cycle.
The salt-based water softener system operates with an operating pressure of up to 120 PSI, so you won’t have to worry about drops while showering. The unit’s water hardness capacity is 31 GPG, which is poorer than heavy-duty models’, but just enough for medium to extremely hard water conditions. One of the most prominent features of this single-tank water softener is the ultra-high valve that utilizes the water flow. Thanks to this beast of a component, the water softener will give a flow rate that’s 41% higher compared to regular water softeners’. And to ensure that all hard water minerals are kept at bay, the unit also hosts a premium-grade carbon filter that is ideal for people with sensitive skin and hair. It’s important to note that all parts of this water softener are NSF-certified, so you won’t have to worry about the tank spotting or the pipes clogging after some years of use.
The system also utilizes a premium-grade water meter that helps the system run more smoothly according to your family’s water consumption patterns. That means that the water softener will regenerate at all idle times while leaving you to enjoy an endless stream of soft water. The most important thing you need to know about this water softener is that it is efficient in all performance, energy, water, and salt consumption. On our Kenmore review, we saw that the brand had been the recipient of many awards that celebrated the brand’s cost-effective designs, including the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Energy Star Rating. The system’s cost-effectiveness is further established when you consider that for less than $1000, this system hosts a water softener, a chlorine pre-filter, an iron reduction unit, and an extra carbon filter. All the system’s internal parts are supported with a one-year labor and parts warranty, except for the tank that isn’t included.
8. SoftPro Elite High-Efficiency ($1,265.50*)
* Until an indefinite time, you can get the SoftPro water softener on sale at $1,153.
Softpro is a brand that specializes in designing high-efficiency, premium-grade water softeners that we’re all too fond of. The system we want to show you today is the Elite model that will combat hard water by using its superior engineering layout. First, the Softpro water softener is designed with a straightforward installation that only requires standard tools and basic plumbing knowledge. The entire coating of the water softener is laid out with a neoprene jacket, so the system is protected from all weather conditions or external damage.
The SoftPro Elite water softener has six models to choose from, with grain capacities from 24, 000 GPG to 80, 000 GPG. The system’s easy installation is granted thanks to Proprietary Multiple Quick-Connect features that allow the bypass valve, the drain line, and the power cord to be connected seamlessly with one another. The home water softener will protect your appliances, dishes, plumbing, and pipes while employing a high-efficiency operation that requires little to no salt. According to Batelle Institute, the Elite water softeners will use 75% less salt and 64% less water than other water softeners on the market. Translated to exact numbers, those percentages amount to about 7,500 lbs of salt, 125,0000 gallons of water, and $2,750 in operating costs.
One of the most remarkable features of this water softener is its brine tank designed so that it conserves soft water and cleans the tank in one go. This tank also incorporates a handy turbine meter that evaluates the water consumption rate of the house. This control has practical option modes for removing the hard water minerals that can be adjusted according to the meter, vacation, clock, or calendar settings. The good news about this feature is that it is aided by a self-charged capacitor that keeps these settings up to date within 48 hours of a power outage. The water softener’s valve settings are also preserved in a permanent memory function, so you won’t have to adjust the system every time an error occurs or the power won’t cooperate with the system.
Because all ships are loaded with 48, 000-grain resin, this system will allow you to enjoy the wonders of soft water as soon as you finish installing it. The system’s smart valve tech will host adjustable backwash frequency modes that conserve up to 2000 gallons of water per year. Thanks to its automatic system flush feature, the system also prevents bacteria growth on the pipes, tank, and the softener’s internal parts. To operate the water softener, you will have to access the unit’s four-line LCD with touchpad controls. This twin-tank water softener has a 9/10 review on Water Filter Spot and a 4.6 customer rating in Quality Water Treatment. And just like the Springwell model, this water softener also comes with a lifetime warranty on the control valve and brine tank.
9. NuvoH20 Manor Duo ($1,499*)
* You can get the salt-free Manor Duo for just $999, thanks to NuvoH20’s Holiday Sale.
Softening hard water from your local water supply is one thing, but protecting the environment while doing it is a whole different story. On our salt-free water softeners review, we talked about how the industry is making continuous efforts in finding innovative approaches to replace the ion-exchange technology that isn’t so eco-friendly. One of the industry’s leaders in that domain is NuvoH20, who has designed the world’s first citric-acid water softener. This salt-free method utilizes the chelating agents of citric acid that lower the pH levels of hard water minerals.
The citric-acid technology has been endorsed by Batelle, who found that these salt-free water softeners are 98% efficient in preventing scaling on home appliances, plumbing, and pipes.
What we want to show you today is NuvoH20’s Manor Duo salt-free water softener. This multi-purpose system is designed for homes larger than 1500 square feet, so it can easily replace the standard 48, 000-grain softener model. The Manor Duo is advertised as a salt-free water softener and taste system, so it goes beyond softening hard water minerals. The FDA-approved system has a 10-micron carbon filter that’s 95% effective in removing (or reducing) chlorine, inorganic chemicals, VOC, as well as turbidity from your hard water supply. As a result, the soft water produced by the salt-free unit will keep the dishes clean, pipes strong, and meals tasty and free of excessive taste and smell.
This salt-free water softener includes the filter housing and their cartridges, a handy manual, a mounting backplate, mounting brackets & screws, and a wrench. Contrary to traditional water softeners that require some plumbing knowledge for installation, this system is entirely DIY. And thanks to its compact design, you can easily place the salt-free water softener anywhere you want it to, as long as it’s connected to your main water supply. If we go down to the specifics, we will see that the Manor Duo softener can take up a water hardness of 25 GPG, in which it will host a flow rate of 15-18 GPM. For optimal performance, the NuvoH20 system requires a water pressure range of 40-60 PSI, for which it will treat hard water without any resulting pressure drops.
Unlike other water softener models, the Duo Manor system operates by utilizing specific-capacity cartridges that are replaced when their citric-acid components are wasted. This salt-free water softener comes with two replacement cartridges for both the water filter and the softener. These cartridges have an expectancy rate of six months and can sustain up to 50,000 gallons of water, so you should be prepared to invest a couple of bucks annually. Even though this salt-free water softener isn’t fit for heavy-duty consumption, it has a proven legacy of extending the life of water heaters, boilers, plumbing fixtures, or other appliances. As for its warranty, the salt-free water system is secured for five years on all parts and labor, as well as supported with a 90-day money-back guarantee.
10. Genesis 2 Premier ($1,686*)
* On Cyber Monday Savings, you get 40% Off and up to $225 discounts on Genesis Upflow Systems.
The last water softener system we want you to consider is manufactured by Genesis, and it goes by the Premier Duo label. This salt-based water system is also known asthe Econosoft water softener since it employs some of the most innovative technologies in terms of eco-friendliness. The fantastic system has a starting grain capacity of 24, 000 GPG, but you can find models with as much as 96, 000 GPG too. Using an upflow system, the Premier will reduce the hard water components while also “fighting” iron composites on the go.
The salt-based unit is fitted with a 1.25” control valve that utilizes premium-grade ceramic discs and electric sensors. Genesis also claims that this is the only 1.25″ control valve you can buy online, and as such, it is also the highest-flow alternative.
To back that claim with some data, Genesis has presented a model comparison guide that shows the Premier water softener reaching a flow rate as high as 25 GPM. Moreover, the salt-based Premier unit also comes with 10% Crosslinx Aldex resin, which remains one of the best resin sold in North America. Thanks to its upflow regeneration, this system will save you a lot of salt and water on its quest to altogether remove hard water minerals from your supply. Put in real numbers, the Genesis water softener will save a family of four as much as 6,480 lbs. of salt and 28,900 gallons of water in a single year. This is because, unlike downflow models, the upflow nature of this water softener will calculate the exact amount of brine required to regenerate.
When coupled with the automatic backwash variable, this salt-based unit will match your water quality’s frequency and save you 2000 gallons of water and 30% more salt on each regeneration. When compared to the renowned Fleck 5600SXT, it turns out that the Genesis Premier 75% more salt-efficient and 64% more water-efficient. Thanks to its soft-water recharge mode, this water softener will provide soft water even with heavy water consumption. This feature is also favorable because it keeps the tank and injectors cleaner while fighting off bacterial growth chances. The salt-based system also hosts a reverse-flow regeneration feature that saves the unused resin beads and uses them on the next regeneration cycle to save salt in the process.
Another feature that this hard water system provides is the automatic system refresh that flushes stagnant water after seven days of not using it. This is fantastic because the main problem with brine tanks and water softener pipes is salt-residue, causing the units to malfunction over time. With Genesis, you will have a spot-free system that efficiently removes hard water minerals, iron, and sediment from any city or well water supply. On Discount Water Softeners, this system has a 4.9 score, whereas, in Consumer Affairs, Genesis has a 4.3 rating. If you want to dive deeper into the buyer’s reviews on Genesis water softeners, you can head over to Water Whizz’s guide. Similar to Springwell and Softpro, the Genesis water softener is supported by a lifetime warranty on the unit’s control head, valve & tank, as well as a 10-year warranty on the resin. And when you consider the price, reviews, and comparison guides, the Premier Duo model is rightfully among the most-reliable softener models online.
Want to Learn More About Water Softeners?
Hard water isn’t only hard on the home appliances, plumbing, and cookware, but also the customers who are having a hard time picking the best water softener for it. Here at Water Whizz, we are well aware of the challenges tied to choosing water softeners online – there are simply too many! Since the only way to make the right decision is to be informed, we have gathered everything you need to know about water softeners in one place. If you want to learn more, head over to the following guides.
- Best Water Softener Salt
- Best Water Softeners for Well Water
- Best Salt-Free Water Softeners
- Best Whole-House Water Softeners
- Best Water Softener Resin
- Best Water Softener Showerheads