Best Water Softener Salt Reviews of 2021
Whether you’ve just purchased a water softener or have been around one for long enough, you will know that it is a life-saving unit. More than 85% of households in the United States suffer from hard water, which indicates many of these families rely on water softeners to thrive.
The bad news is that these machines aren’t a life-long solution since even the best softener will last for up to 20 years. The good news is that there’s a speck of magic dust that prolongs this period – water softener salt.
For those of you who are new here, we ought to tell you that the salt in your water softener is what makes the unit run as smoothly as possible. Good quality salt will enhance the water softening efficiency and make sure your softener is there for you in the long run. If you would like to know more about your options, you can continue reading the quick guide on the crucial things you need to know about salt. If not, you can skip forward to the best salt for water softener list below.
What to Expect From Water Softening Salt
Salt-based water softeners are the most effective method of combatting hard water. They work through a process called ion-exchange that switches the minerals that cause water hardness with those that are desirable for the human body. To do this, your water softener system utilizes a powdery substance known as resin, whose beads clear out the hard water minerals and allow for soft water to pull through. After the maximum capacity of these beads is reached and they can no longer soften the water, they will need to be cleared up – a process in which our magic salt comes in.
When this capacity is reached, the water softener salt will backflush the resin beads and clear them of any hard water minerals left. This process is usually done on the brine tank, where there are special salt cartridges that have to be refilled now and then. The amount of salt level depends on your water softener model, but adding salt usually has to be done every month or so. There are many handy guides on salt-maintenance online, one of which you can find on Water Whizz’s review on the best water softeners of 2021. Here, you will find everything there is to know about water softeners, from the best-reviewed products to installation and over at maintenance.
Finding the best water softener salt can be difficult when you don’t know what you’re looking for, but we’re here to help you with that. There are three main things you need to decide on: structure, quality, and amount. Structure refers to the shape in which your water softener salt comes in, a feature that mostly affects a softener’s ability to dissolve salt properly. Quality refers to the salt’s purity levels, which are decided from the components used to assemble the product. Lastly, the amount of salt refers to the quantity of product required and how often it needs to be bought. These hallmarks will all be discussed in further detail if you read below.
What Type of Salt Structures Are There?
If you browse the web for water softening salt, you will find an overwhelming number of products that aren’t necessarily the best. Many of them have different prices, means of measurements, and even purity levels. The first thing you need to know so you can narrow down the search is to decide on what shape you’d like your softening salts to come in. Even though the structure is the most prominent feature, there are some other hallmarks you need to keep an eye out for.
- Evaporated Pellets – Water softening salts are most commonly found in a structure known as evaporated salt pellets. These water softener salts have a high purity grade that can go up to 99%. As the name suggests, they are evaporated through a steaming process that requires a lot of processing to reach the final pellet shape. The evaporated salt pellets go through a thorough screening process that takes time and effort, so you can expect these models to be pricier than others. However, they are the best choice for large families as they can sustain heavy-duty water softening while avoiding the inevitable buildup known as salt bridging.
- Solar Crystal – The solar salt crystal is the second-best water softener salt as it has a purity rate of up to 99.6%. With a white, opaque layout, these natural salt components are usually withdrawn from sea salt or similar brine mixtures. Through a similar evaporating process (as the evaporated pellets), these water softener salts are dissolved from the rest of the minerals and brought into the pure salt form. As the second-best salt for water softeners, this composture will prevent bridging and ensure thorough water softening, all while being more affordable.
- Salt Blocks – While some salt is evaporated to achieve high purity, there is also a structure that is manufactured with practicality in mind. How block salt is made differs with each brand, but most companies press moistened salt by applying external heat. This causes the block’s exterior to maintain a hardened structure while its interior remains spongy. Salt blocks are cheaper than solar crystals and evaporated salt, but they’re also trickier in terms of dissolvability. Because they’re denser than the previous models, they require more backflushing power to be efficient in the water softening process. Their purity levels can range from low to high, but you just have to make sure that your water softener’s brine tank can handle them.
- Rock Salt – Another (quite) common water softener salt form is the rock salt, which can be found in most US markets. Rock salt is created by evaporating salty water found on seas, lake beds, or other bays. The evaporated salt contains large deposits of sodium chloride, which are the main components of table salt. Because rock salt is formed by natural deposits, it not as pure as the salt structures mentioned above, so it may cause salt bridging. However, sodium chloride salt is the cheapest alternative in the market, and as long as you don’t use it in the long term, your water softener’s brine tank should be alright.
What’s the Best Salt for Water Softeners?
The only way you can decide on the best water softener salt is by evaluating its components and how well they fit your water softener system. The main thing to look for is purity since even the best water softener salt will produce residue in your brine tank. This residue is the main culprit in salt bridging, an error that prevents the resin from doing its job correctly. On more serious occasions, impure salt pellets can also damage the brine tank completely, leaving you with high maintenance costs that could’ve been prevented by buying the right type of salt. We suggest you leave rock salt as a last resort, but you don’t necessarily have to go for the most expensive alternative. Many types of salt are both affordable and of excellent quality, some of which we have shown you here as well.
For those of you who are somewhat acquainted with hard water, you know that softening water isn’t always straightforward. Except for the common hard water minerals (calcium and magnesium), wells and city water supplies are also contaminated with other minerals that affect the water’s taste and odor. While this isn’t necessarily harmful, it is quite aggravating when all you’re looking for is a nice cup of water or a smooth, relaxing shower. Things like rotten egg smell or chlorine taste on the water take away from the drinking experience in which even the best water softeners can’t do much. Luckily, there is a type of salt for almost every water problem, and the most reliable ones are shown below.
Resin Cleaning Buddies
Except for sounding super adorable, resin buddies are a type of water softening salt used to clean the resin beads from hard water minerals. While a water softener is busy producing soft water for us to enjoy, its resin beads get tangled with hard water components like rust and iron, which it can’t easily shake off. If there’s no median salt to clean up the poor beads, this resin will be used in another regeneration cycle in which it will be ineffective in softening water. “Special” salt pellets negotiate this exchange and make sure that the rust or iron traces are flushed out entirely from the resin layer. Since they’re not aimed for regular use, they make for a very reasonable purchase that ought to be used once or twice a year to ensure your water softener’s optimal performance.
Descaling Salt Pellets
As we all know, one of the most crucial issues with hard water is scaling, which comes as a result of dissolved calcium and magnesium. Even though a softener’s primary purpose is to make sure scaling doesn’t happen, some systems can fail to prevent it at 100%. In that case, descaling salt crystals claim to ensure that you don’t have to invest in a new water softening product since they enhance the softening abilities of your current one. Descaling salt is also great for protecting your water softener itself since one of the most common malfunctions in these systems is scale buildup in the brine tank.
If you’re wondering how salt can be salt-free, we’re here to present you with the potassium chloride product. In all truthfulness, potassium chloride is indeed salt, but it doesn’t come with any of the disadvantages that sodium does. In salt-based water softeners, a potassium chloride product will mediate the ion-exchange technology the same way regular salt does. With the same amount of efficiency, the potassium chloride alternative is ideal for those who have dietary restrictions that deprive them of regular salt. In the battle between potassium and sodium, the former is known for antagonizing the latter’s adverse health effects. However, potassium chloride pellets are more expensive than sodium ones, and they need to be bought in bulk due to constant refills.
Other Products to Look Out For
To make sure your water softener is working as efficiently as possible, you can also use other products that aren’t tied down to sodium or potassium. Water softener cleaners are designed to remove the hard mineral residue tied down to the resin beads through the water softening cycle. This process usually involves a chemical reaction that changes the beads’ composture, so the beads are easily flushed out. The reviewers at Best Water Softener Systems have put together a helpful list of the 12 most-rated products in this field, which should come in handy if you opt for a salt-free solution for your softener. Our own no. 10 product showcases such a cleaner, so you can get familiar with what the market has to offer.
How Much Salt Product Do I Need?
Before we get down to the products, there’s one more thing you need to know, and that is how much salt your water softeners need. The general rule of thumb is to estimate the water consumption levels and the number of people in your household. The precise amount varies with brand, water softener type, and water hardness levels, but an average household uses about 40 lb of salt for each month and a half. Hague Water paints a beneficial picture in this regard, as they advise us to start with 40 lb and see how that plays out. As the company explains, if you’re in a family of four, you should maintain a half-full salt tank and see if the 40 lb is sufficient. This tank should be kept more than half full for smaller families, whereas larger ones should aim for a three-quarter fullness. If you think you’re ready to go, we invite you to read about the top-10 best softener salt products of 2021.
1. Morton Clean & Protect Bars (20 lb-$5.97)
The best water softener salt is manufactured by Morton, and it goes by the ‘waves’ label. The salt-designed bars are very lightweight, easy to carry, and compatible with most water softeners on the market.
The great thing about the Morton waves salt bars is that they can easily replace your previous salt pellets, even if they were already in your last top-off. The WQA-approved salt bars can also be combined with existing salt crystals to ensure premium-grade water softening. The sodium chloride bars are also neatly designed so that you can stack them on top of each other for added convenience.
One of the best things about these water softener salts is that they are made of the same award-winning formula that Morton is renowned for. You can add salt bars from the Morton package with great ease while stacking them on top of each other in any direction. The sodium chloride salt bars will ensure that you have soft water while protecting the water softener from scale buildup and other minerals. As a result, the life expectancy rate of your softening product will be significantly prolonged while you sit back and enjoy the great taste and smell of your recently softened water.
2. Morton Rust Protection Bars (20 lb-$7.47)
The Morton range occupies most of this list since it manufactures some of the best softening salt currently on the market. To stay true to that legacy, Morton’s creators have combined the previous ‘waves‘ product with rust dissolving additives that ensure double protection for your water softener system.
The sodium chloride is fantastic since it maintains 99.6% purity salt levels, which means that your water softener will appreciate it immensely. Each evaporated salt block rests easily in your hand, so you can say goodbye to the hassles that come with regular type salt refills.
On our Morton review, we emphasized that the brand produces some of the best water treatment products that are reliable in the long run. That’s why when we say that the rust protection bars are one of the most effective catalyzers out there, you ought to take our word for it. Like the previous Morton product, these salt bars are also certified by the WQA to comply with other sodium chloride pellets or table salt alternatives. By using these water softener salt bars, you will pose a long-term solution for protecting your brine tank and remove high iron content from your soft water.
3. Diamond Crystal Bright & Soft Pellets (40 lb-$4.97)
We’ve established that Morton is fantastic, but Diamond Crystal is another brand that is definitely worth the while. The Bright & Soft sodium chloride pellets are made of some of the purest natural salt components as they maintain a purity rate of 99.8%.
The Diamond Crystal water softener salt is specially composed to prevent salt-bridging and mushing in your brine tank, so it will undoubtedly kick your water softener up a notch. The soft water pellets are designed with two-handheld bags to make lifting and carrying more comfortable so that you won’t encounter any difficulties refilling your tank.
Thanks to these sodium chloride pellets, your water softener, home appliances, plumbing, and water pipes will all gain an increased lifespan and bettered performance. Whether you plan on upgrading from table salt, rock salt, or lower-quality softener salt pellets, the Bright & Soft product will most likely make you notice the difference. The Diamond Crystal water softener salt has over 2000 reviews in Home Depot, where it maintains a 4.7 score.
4. Morton Pure & Natural Crystals (40 lb-$5.97)
Another Morton product that will enhance your water softener by a mile is the Pure & Natural crystal one. This water softener salt is a classic product in the water treatment world since it has gathered some of the past years’ most loyal buyers. As such, the Pure & Natural salt is made of high purity salt crystals that have several benefits. The sodium chloride in this water softener salt will ensure less scale buildup in your fixtures, a softer feeling on skin and hair, and easier cleaning for dishes. The salt will also prompt you lower detergent use since its mineral content has high cleaning properties.
To promote a premium-efficiency use, these Morton salt crystals are combined with high-grade resin – the best of which you can find in our resin review.
However, the water softener salt is also compatible with all salt types, whether they’re in the shape of rocks, bricks, pellets, or solar salt. The Morton water softener salt is NSF-certified, which means that it poses no health risks or other hazards. The salt pellets currently have 883 ratings on Home Depot, which have granted it a 4.8 score.
5. Morton Potassium Chloride Pellets (40 lb-$28)
If you are seeking a potassium chloride for their water softener, we present the Morton pellet product. For those of you who skipped the buying guide, potassium chloride poses a healthier alternative for water softeners, primarily aimed at people who are sensitive to sodium. Due to the high production cost, potassium chloride is almost five times the price of regular salt, but it is also more reliable. As such, the Morton pellets are made of 99.6% pure potassium chloride that will not only treat your water softener to the experience of a lifetime but make sure that your health is kept in check too.
The potassium chloride components of this salt aren’t the only things that make it ideal for people living in acute conditions.
Morton has also designed this salt’s packaging so that it is easy to carry, open, and add salt into the brine tank. These pellets work with all water softeners, so you won’t have to worry about your system’s compatibility. The high-quality salt product is also one of the most efficient ones in the market, as you will only have to refill every other month. For now, the potassium chloride pellets have a 4.4 score out of the total 5 (in Home Depot).
6. Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter Pellets (40 lb-$6)
Another trustworthy mechanism for fighting iron content in hard water comes from Diamond Crystal, this time in salt pellets. These salt units utilize sodium chloride for intravenous therapy, which revitalizes the water softener for added efficiency. The budget-conscious salt pellets are some of the most effective iron-fighters since they have a 99.6% purity level.
To maintain this range, Diamond Crystal has treated the salt pellets with citric acid and SHMP, which make the salt incredibly effective in removing rust stains from fixtures, laundry, plumbing, and tubs. The Diamond Crystal salt is currently sold at a bulk price, so you will get a great deal out of it.
According to the manufacturers, this water softener salt has one of the highest water solubility rates, as it can dissolve in water almost at 100%. This is excellent because it keeps the salt from harming the brine tank by causing salt-bridging or other related issues commonly found with water softeners. Thanks to the reparative features of this salt, your water softener won’t experience mushing or rust-buildup. This salt has been bought by over 500 buyers in Home Depot, where it currently maintains a review score of 4.6 points.
7. Diamond Crystal Sun Gems Pellets (40 lb-5.97)
If you’ve been scrolling this far to find a solar salt product, the Diamond Crystal gems will be your next stop. This 40 lb water softener salt gives water a clean, soft texture that will be delicious to drink and efficient to use. The Diamond Crystal creators describe the solar naturalist as entirely made of sun, wind, and time, so it doesn’t have any additives that will aggravate the brine tank or the rest of the water softener. One of the most important things to note about this solar salt is that it is 99.6% pure, which means that it will dissolve effortlessly into the soft water.
Like most Diamond Crystal products, the sun gems pellets are certified by the NSF for high efficiency in softening water and no risk of harming the environment.
The unique solar cubes employ a relatively large size, which means that the tank refill will be effortless. The best part about this water softener salt is that it is specifically made to be efficient, so you won’t go back and forth to purchase refills for your water softener. The water softener salt is available in different sizes, some of which are ready for purchase on Home Depot. In this platform, the solar softener salt currently has a 4.6 rating.
8. Nature’s Own Chloride Crystal Cubes (40 lb-$27.97)
We’ve already established that Morton and Diamond Crystal are the elite brands for water softener salt, but Nature’s Own makes quite a case for itself as well. One of the best things about this water softener salt is that it comes with a full-refund guarantee, which isn’t something you often see on these products. However, we believe that this warranty will remain intact as Nature’s Own crystal cube salt is more than efficient in treating hard water. The salt is NSF-certified and endorsed by the WQA, so it maintains the highest structural integrity.
Like the Morton pallets, these water softener salt units employ the same sodium-free solution that we’re all too fond of. The potassium chloride bars will not only keep the plumbing in its crystal clear condition, but it will also supply your entire family with the supplements required for healthy growth. Following the lines of the best water softener salt, this product is even fit to use with all water softening systems, as long as they function with a salt-based design. Nature’s Own water softener salt currently has over 300 purchases in the Home Depot, where it celebrates a 4.6 score.
9. Sprite Showers Dechlorinating Salt (40 oz-$17)
Conventional salts only go as far, but other substances can also be made to ensure that your water softener is working as efficiently as it can. One solution is Sprite’s Mediterranian dechlorinating bath salt. Its primary function is to neutralize the chlorine content in water, so this salt product is most efficient in homes supplied from city water. The Sprite salt is very mild on your skin and completely safe to use, so it is an excellent choice for those looking for a temporary solution for their water softener. However, the Sprite bath salts are just an alternative, so you can’t use them in the long term.
This product will work on your water softener because it contains the same sodium chloride components that traditional water softener salt is made of.
Specifically, the Sprite bath salts have no added fragrance or artificial dyes, so you won’t have to worry about them ruining your water softener’s components. Sprite is very reliable as a brand since it uses an eco-friendly approach to its water treatment products. If you would like to learn more about them, you can do so on our top-10 list of the best water softener shower heads.
10. Pro Rust Out Water Softener Cleaner (76 oz-$118.80)
The final product we want you to consider uses a somewhat different approach to cleaning water softener systems. The six-pack liquid cleaner is ideal for homes where iron is most present, so if a well water source supplies you, this is your best bet.
The Pro Rust-Out water softener cleaner uses a chemical mixture that covers the resin beads and bulletproofs the water softener of rust stains caused by iron. This mixture alters iron and rust by shapeshifting them into an easily rinsed solution with each water backwashing cycle it goes through.
Even though the Pro Rust Out isn’t as soft as regular water salt, it isn’t abrasive to the system itself. This water softener cleaner’s advanced formula contains more than five chemicals that clean, regenerate, and descale spots caused by hard water minerals. If you’re unhappy with the water softener cleaner, you can return it within 180 days of the initial purchase, while the cleanser itself is warrantied for one year. As of now, the water cleaning system has a 4.7 score on the Home Depot.
Aren’t Set Down on a Water Softener Yet?
If you’re here browsing for water softener salt, chances are you’ve already got a system working at home. However, if you’ve had your water softener for more than 15 years, you may want to consider a replacement since investing on maintenance products only costs you more on the long run. For those of you who aren’t decided on a water softener yet, we’ve put together some system reviews that will help you make an informed, unbiased purchase. The brands shown below have all been researched by independent reviewers, so whichever brand you decide to go with, you can rest assured that it will be of highest quality, performance, and ease of maintenance.
- Kinetico Water Systems
- Fleck Waters
- GE Appliances
- Morton Water Softeners
- Culligan Systems
- NuvoH20 Waters