Water Softener Reviews and Buying Guide

You drink it, you bathe in it, and you even wash your clothes in it; so shouldn’t you be taking better care of it?

Dealing with hard water isn’t necessary, and if you want the very best for you and your home then you need a water softening system.

By reading our reviews of the best water softeners and following our simple guidelines, you will be absolutely sure to find a system that is efficient for both your home and wallet.  Don’t be the person who wastes money on buying the first unit they see, there are a few important details you need to know that can save you time, money, and possibly even a headache.

 

 Water Softener Reviews

Below we have compared and reviewed some of the most popular water softeners currently available on the market today. If you need help deciding which model to get based on proper sizing then scroll down to the bottom and read our buying guide.

  • Morton MSD34C System Saver
  • 34,000 Grains
  • Combined mineral and brine tank with "Look Ahead" technology
  • $$$
  • Fleck 5600SXT
  • 48,000 Grains
  • Meter based regeneration
  • $$$
  • Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
  • None
  • No salt alternative that emulates soft water
  • $

Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Water Softener

Fleck 5600SXT water softener review

If you’re looking for a water softening system that is both reliable and affordable, then you can’t go wrong with the Fleck 5600SXT. This unit has more five-star reviews than any other and does a great job of eliminating hard minerals in your water. The 5600 valve works extremely well and even comes with a five year warranty; not to mention it has been tested to run continuously for up to 27 years. The SXT controller is built upon the 5600 valve and adds a lot of great features such as a backlit LCD display, 48 hour internal power backup, and touchpad controls.

With meter-based regeneration this unit will only regenerate when it needs to, this will save you a lot of money over time. Not only will you have to spend less on both salt and water, you’ll be more eco-friendly as well.

The actual tank on this unit is made with a durable polyglass and comes with a 10 year warranty. The brine tank that is included can hold up to 250 lbs. of salt pellets and comes with a safety float to prevent overfilling and an overflow drain just in case.

If you have some basic plumbing skills you should be able to easily install this unit in 1-2 hours.

Morton MSD34C System Saver Water Softener

morton msd34c system saver

Unlike most water softening systems that have a separate brine and mineral tank, the Morton 34M combines them both into one. This allows you to save space and is the perfect solution for homes with limited room to spare.

This 34,000 grain water softener comes with their patented “Look Ahead Technology” that learns your patterns of water usage over time. This allows your unit to regenerate only when necessary, which allows you to use up to 50% less salt compared to other similar units. Not only will you save more money, but you’ll also have to make less unnecessary trips to the store to buy more salt pellets.

For added convenience an 8 hour power interruption protection is added. This is great for whenever your power unexpectedly goes out which is eventually bound to happen.

Eddy Electronic Water Descaler

eddy electronic water descaler

Are you tired of the unappealing lime scale that covers your sink, faucets and showers, but don’t necessarily want to buy a water softener? Well then the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler might just be the perfect solution for you. Instead of eliminating the hard minerals through a process known as ion exchange, a descaler simply alters the properties of the minerals and keeps them from forming into lime scale for a small period of time. It does this by placing two coils around the incoming water supply pipe that releases an electro-magnetic wave.

While this doesn’t give you all the benefits of soft water, it does get rid of the formation of lime scale on clean surfaces, in your pipes and plumbing, and in many of your water appliances. Wherever water sits for an extended period of time though lime scale will still begin to form.

The benefits of using this descaler is that it is much cheaper than buying a softener, doesn’t require any salt or maintenance, and is very easy to install without any changes to your plumbing. This makes it very economical and not to mention more eco-friendly than your traditional salt-based unit.

  • Watts RV PRO-1000 or M7002 Portable Water Softener
  • 10,000 Grains
  • Runs on ordinary table salt
  • $
  • WaterBoss Model 220
  • 22,000 Grains
  • Demand regeneration operation
  • $$$
  • Iron Pro 2
  • 64,000 Grains
  • Fine mesh resin made for high iron removal
  • $$$$

Watts RV PRO-1000 or M7002 Portable Water Softener

Watts RV Pro-1000 or m7002 portable

If you’re in need of a portable water softener for your mobile home or RV, then you can’t go wrong with the Watts RV PRO-1000, also known as the M7002. Since most camping grounds have a serious hard water problem, this unit is almost necessary addition to any camping trip.

Unlike traditional units, the RV PRO-1000 runs on ordinary table salt. This is extremely convenient so you don’t have to carry around a giant bag of salt pellets everywhere you go. Testing strips are even included so you can see the levels of hardness in your water before and after the installation.

Installing the unit itself is extremely easy and straightforward, and at a size of 8 x 22 inches it doesn’t take up much space at all. All that is required for regeneration is 2 pounds of salt and you’re good to go. The whole regeneration process only takes around 20 minutes.

WaterBoss Model 220 Water Softener

WaterBoss Model 220

The Model 220 is an extremely compact unit that is built to give whole-house efficiency for families up to 4. At a measurement of 14 3/4″ wide, 18 3/4″ in depth, and only 25 3/4″ tall, this softener really is small and powerful.

With the ability to soften up to 70 gpg (grains per gallon), reduce up to 10 ppm (parts per million) of ferrous iron, and filter dirt and sediment down to 20 nominal microns makes this unit really great at softening water as well.

Due to the small size of this unit it can regenerate in a short time of around 18 minutes at a salt setting of 2.5 pounds. Being able to regenerate so quickly means less water is used so you save more money. The best part is the installation is very simple and easy to follow.

Iron Pro 2 Water Softener

iron pro 2 - best water softening system

Have a decently big home and a serious problem with iron or manganese in your water? If so then the Iron Pro 2 64,000 grain water softener is the perfect solution. This is because of the fine mesh resin that is made to last longer and filter better in water with heavy amounts of iron. Besides filtering ferrous iron and manganese out of your water more efficiently, this model treats hard water extremely well at a rate of 16 gpm (gallons per minute). This unit removes hardness up to 75 gpg, Iron up to 6-8 ppm range, Manganese up to 6 ppm, as well as filtering out the rust, sand and sediment.

With the meter based regeneration this unit will only regenerate when absolutely necessary. If you increase your water usage then the system will regenerate more often, if decreased then less often. This saves you money on not only water but on salt pellets as well.

Included is the Fleck 5600SXT digital controller which is built upon the 5600 valve. This digital controller comes with features such as a backlit LCD display, 48 hour internal backup and touchpad controls.

 

How to Find the Best Water Softener for Your Home

Water is one of the most important factors in every person’s life, and yet it’s one of the most overlooked.  By using hard water in your home you are dealing with the many negative side effects such as dried hair and skin, rough clothes, and much more.

In order to get the best water softening system for your home there are a few important details you need to know. First make sure that you buy a unit that is capable of softening enough water for your entire family. This is where most people go wrong by not buying a powerful enough unit, or vice versa too powerful which is a waste of money. You also need to know if the system will fit in the appropriate space you have accommodated for it, if not you will have to deal with customer service with getting a refund or returning the system.  Most importantly you need to make sure that you actually have hard water.  While 85% of the United States deals with hard minerals you could be the rare exception. Look at the map below to get an idea of the hardness levels in your area.

usa hard water map

 

How to Tell if You Need Hard Water Treatment

So you’ve decided to buy a home water softener system, but are you positive you actually have hard water? Do you even know what it is? Well when water passes through rocks and soils underground it carries along with it the “hard” minerals known as calcium, magnesium, and other metals. These hard minerals cause many negative side effects to both you and your home, and the best solution to remove them is by ion exchange, or otherwise known as water softening. Below are some of the main side effects associated with hard minerals.

 

Negative Effects of Hard Water

  • Scale from dissolved calcium and magnesium will build up in your plumbing fixtures resulting in clogged pipes and erosion, thus reducing water flow.
  • Reduces the ability for soap to lather, causing you to use more.
  • Hard minerals enter into cloth fabric to make clothes feel rough and look dingy, shortening the life of your favorite shirt by as much as 40%.
  • Soap mixed with hard minerals will leave a sticky soap curd that can damage your skin, hair, and cause you to clean your shower or bath tub more often.
  • Any appliances used to heat water will have a shorter life and an increase in utility bills (scale is a bad conductor of heat so more energy is needed).
  • The minerals affect the taste of coffee and tea.
  • Hard minerals will leave dishes with a film and looking spotty, especially when cleaned with a dishwasher.

 

Hard Water stains

Hard Water Stains

If you have noticed any or all of these effects in your home then you have hard water. But actually knowing you have hard water isn’t enough; you need to know the actual level of hardness to make sure you get the best softener for your home. Hardness is generally measured in grains per gallon, or GPG. When measuring in grains per gallon, if the hardness level is 0 to 1.0 then it’s considered soft, 1.0 to 3.5 is considered slightly hard, 3.50 to 7.0 is moderately hard, 7.0 to 10.50 is hard, and 10.50 and above is extremely hard. In order to find out the levels of hardness in your home you will need to buy a water test kit, you can find the top rated test kits here. Knowing this number will help you find the most efficient system for your home.

If you don’t have hard water in your home but would just like to improve the overall quality of your water then you should consider getting a water filter. There are many different types of filters you can buy depending on your specific needs. A few popular options consist of reverse osmosis, shower head filters, and water filter pitchers.

 

Ultimate Buying Guide

 

So now that you are positive you have hard water, it’s time to find the system that fits your home best. I’ve had countless occasions where I go to install a unit that was already bought; only to find out it’s not the right capacity size for their home and family, or it was too big to fit in the proper accommodated space. By following these simple guidelines you will be sure to find the perfect system for your home and have it working with full efficiency in no time.

 best water softener reviews and consumer reports

 

How to Choose the Right Size

 

To find the right size unit to buy for your home, you need to do a little bit of math; this is where the test kit comes into play. The way that water softeners are measured is in the capacity of grains or grain removal. Softeners come in sizes of 15000, 24000, 32000, 40000, 48000, 64000, 80000, and 110000 grain removal capacity. Buying a size too small can lead to hard minerals making their way through, pressure drop, and even fluctuating water temperature. Buying a size too large will just cost you more than needed but will allow you to regenerate less often. Regeneration is when the hard minerals are flushed out of the resin tank and replaced with sodium so that your water will continue to soften. This should occur only once a week to avoid wasting money.

To find the right sized unit you have to take the number of persons in your home, times it by the average usage of gallons per person (80-100), then times this number by the GPG that your test kit revealed. You then take this number and times it by 7 for each day of the week. Make sure this number is lower than the capacity size of the unit you buy to ensure you will still be free of hard minerals even in times of heavy water usage. If you don’t want to purchase the test kit then you can go by the average hardness levels in the United States which is 10. To find the right capacity size for the average family of 4 your calculations would look like this:

Persons = 4

Daily gallon usage per person = 90

Overall daily gallon usage = 4 x 90 = 360

Daily gallon usage x GPG = 10 x 360 = 3600

Grains used per week = 3600 x 7 = 25200

A 32,000 grain softener would be the perfect fit for this household, by putting in your own measurements you will know the proper size for your home so you can get the best unit possible. Couple this with reading water softener reviews of high rated units of the right grain capacity and you will have a highly efficient unit that will bring great results and save you money in the process.