If you’ve ever heard someone describe their water as “hard,” but weren’t sure what it meant, we’ll explain it to you today. You might have hard water in your home without ever knowing it.
Hard water might discolor your dishes, but on a larger scale, it can damage your pipes due to limescale development. Limescale accumulation within water pipes reduces water pressure and causes the water to travel more slowly through the pipes.
Hard water is distinguished by a high concentration of dissolved calcium, magnesium, and other hard water minerals. Hard water may harm not just water pipes, but also hair, clothing, and equipment that comes into touch with it.
Some individuals may want to soften hard water just to enhance its flavor. Most people dislike hard water because it has a distinct mineral flavor. For this reason alone, it is usual to soften hard water using a water softener or water conditioning system.
A water softener fights hard water by adding sodium to the water supply to alter the mineral composition and overall mineral accumulation in the water. Don’t be concerned. On this list, we’ve included the top water softeners, as well as a guide to help you recognize hard water and what you can do to treat it.
- The 8 Best Water Softeners – Reviews and Specs
- Best Overall Water Softener
- Best Budget Water Softener
- Best Premium Water Softener
- What Does it Mean to Have “Hard Water”?
- Why Hard Water Poses Big Problems
- How Do Water Softener Systems Work?
- How to Determine if You Have Hard Water
- Features to Consider when Purchasing the Best Water Softener System
- What is the best water softener for well water in 2022?
- Which water softeners work the best?
- What water softener should I buy?
- Why not to buy a water softener?
- Are some water softeners better than others?
- How much is a high quality water softener?
- What is the downside of a water softener?
- How long should a water softener last?
- What is the downside of salt water softener?
The 8 Best Water Softeners – Reviews and Specs
Best Overall Water Softener
GE Appliances Smart 40,000 Grain Water Softener
The GE Appliances Smart 40,000 Grain Water Softener is our choice for the best overall water softener for the following reasons.
To begin, you may adjust the softness of the water. Not all hard water demands the same degree of softening. The GE Appliances Smart 40,000 Grain Water Softener allows you to choose the precise degree of softness you want.
Second, when salt levels fall below a certain level, a low salt warning will sound. Water softeners only function when salt is added to the water. If the salt level in the softener is low, the water will not be softened. The low salt reminder will notify you when the salt level in your water softener is low, allowing you to keep it filled and continue softening your water.
Aside from the water-softening capabilities of this GE Appliances water softener, it also has several highly useful and practical functions relating to water pressure, water flow, and consumption monitoring. This tool may help you optimize your overall water use and perhaps minimize your monthly water bill.
Because the GE Appliances water softener is smart, it can be linked to your home’s Wi-Fi internet to transfer information from the water softener to your smartphone app. When there is a probable leak or running faucet in your house, the water softener will notify you through your smartphone application. This may help to avert a potentially disastrous disaster.
The water softener will also notify you when the salt levels in the softener are low. Low salt levels will prevent the hard water from softening, making the water softener ineffective.
Finally, the water softener will enable you to track your water use to see whether you are using too much water each month. The flow rate is also included in the water use.
Because hard water influences water pressure and flow rate, you may use the water pressure and flow rate statistics in your smartphone app to monitor how well your water softener works. If you need to turn off the water right away, you may use the smartphone app’s automatic shutdown feature.
- Wi-Fi-enabled water softener transmits critical information
- Water softener adjustments may be done simply from the smartphone app.
- The smartphone application allows for automatic shutdown, water flow alarms, consumption tracking, and salt level monitoring.
- Water softness can be adjusted as needed
- You may need to install a Wi-Fi extender in your house to improve internet transmission between the water softener and your phone.
User Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Best Budget Water Softener
Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener
The Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener is the best budget water softener for more reasons than just being affordable. It has many of the features that many premium water softeners have.
The Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener estimates how much salt is required to soften the water being used. There is no need to do any calculations to adjust the salt during each consumption; the Whirlpool water softener will automatically calculate and utilize the salt.
When the salt in the water softener is low, a low-salt light on the Whirlpool water softener interface will blink. When the light is solidly lighted, the water softener is operational.
The Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener comes with a one-year part and labor guarantee, with an optional two-year warranty.
- Extremely useful, with many water softening processes and alarms incorporated into the water softener.
- Easy to install
- One-year parts and labor warranty included
- All functions must be configured directly on the water softening machine, and all readings must be taken via the water softener interface; Wi-Fi is not supported.
User Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Best Premium Water Softener
APEC Water Systems FUTURA-15 Premium Water Softener
The APEC Water Systems FUTURA-15 water softening is not only the greatest premium water softener on the market, but it is also the safest. This is due to the fact that the premium water softener does not utilize salt or chemicals to soften the water.
Instead, it crystallizes the hard minerals. When minerals crystallize, they become harmless and unable to cling to the walls of water pipes, your skin, clothing, or dishes.
Because it is the healthiest and safest water softener on the market, the FUTURA-15 premium water softener is the best premium water softener on the market today. Extra sodium is not added to the water if salt is not used to soften it. This implies that you don’t ingest or absorb extra sodium levels from water softeners that utilize salt to soften the water.
The water is suitable for dogs, plants, and those who need to restrict their total daily sodium consumption since no salt or chemicals are added to it.
The FUTURA-15 is covered by a 10-year limited warranty as well as lifelong customer service.
- Healthiest, safest, and cleanest water softener
- Softens water without the use of salt or other additives.
- 10-year limited warranty
User Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars
Water2Buy W2B800 Water Softener
Another smart water softener that can handle a building with up to ten bathrooms is the Water2Buy W2B800. Every day, the water softener can produce 1,060 gallons of purified water. This water softener has a number of features, all of which may be operated directly from the smartphone app.
If you need to initiate a fresh regeneration cycle, you may override the system manually. This may be done directly on the water softener equipment or through the smartphone app. A digital meter detects how much water is consumed and automatically regenerates as required.
An adjustable hardness regulator will automatically change the amount of salt needed to allow water to flow freely through the pipes. When water use is at its lowest, the water regenerates automatically around 3:00 a.m.
The smartphone app also includes reminders, such as monthly salt reminders. This reminder alerts you when it’s time to replenish the salt in your water softener.
- Wi-Fi-enabled water softener that utilizes a smartphone app to manage the appliance as required.
- Water automatically regenerates daily at 3:00 am
- The large water capacity can produce 1,060 gallons of water each day, enough for up to ten bathrooms.
- The water softener comes with an adjustable hardness regulator, a digital meter, and built-in reminders.
- No manufacturers warranty included
User Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
EcoPure EPHS Conditioner Water Softener System
The EcoPure EPHS Conditioner Water Softening System uses accurate calculations to eliminate lead, chlorine, sediment, calcium, magnesium, and iron in your water. The water softener will determine how much salt is required to soften the water and minimize hard mineral accumulation.
This water softener is a whole-house system that can service up to six rooms, including bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas.
The simple interface at the top of the water softener enables you to operate several elements of the appliance, such as selecting your preferred salt level, regenerating the water, or setting your salt alert.
The clean light will illuminate to alert you that you should perform a cleaning cycle and then replenish the salt in the water softener.When this water purification system runs out of salt or advises a cleaning, the low salt indicator lights up.
- Salt-saving technology determines the precise quantity of salt required to soften water.
- Mineral buildups such as iron, magnesium, calcium, lead, and chlorine are reduced.
- Easy to set up and use
- Low salt indicator light
- 5-year warranty available to purchase
- No smartphone application or Wi-Fi technology
User Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Yarna Capacitive Electronic Water Softener
The Yarna Capacitive Electronic Water Softener crystalizes the minerals in the water, preventing them from clinging to the sides of the pipes and causing limescale accumulation. Instead of removing the magnesium and calcium with salt to avoid limescale accumulation, the Yarna electronic water softener merely crystallizes the minerals to prevent them from accumulating inside the pipes.
Salting water may raise sodium levels in humans, plants, and animals. Assume your pets or family members are salt sensitive or have high blood pressure. In such situation, you should avoid using a salt-based water softener to remove minerals from your water.
Instead, use a water softener that crystallizes minerals to prevent them from sticking to water pipes and causing limescale. This will soften your water and keep hardness at bay.
The Yarna Capacitive Electronic Water Softener is backed by a 365-day money-back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with the Yarna Capacitive Electronic Water Softener during your first year, Yarna will refund 100% of your money.
- Uses electric impulses instead of salt
- Safe for plants, pets, and people
- 365-day risk-free 100% money-back guarantee
- There are no customization options or smartphone apps.
User Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Aquasure Whole Home Water Softener System
The Aquasure Whole Home Water Softener System has a grain capacity of 64,000 and can serve a complete family of up to 8 persons.To soften the water, the Aquasure Whole Home Water Softener System may employ either salt or potassium. This is useful if you have pets or family members that need to manage their salt consumption on a regular basis.
Aquasure assures that their method eliminates all hardness from the water rather than just decreasing it. They also provide a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with the outcomes of the water softening system. In addition, the system comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s guarantee.
The head unit on top of the system displays system information such as the volume of days left till water regeneration, programmed regeneration, double backwash function, and days override feature ranging from 1 to 28 days.
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- Many different programmable features
- To entirely eliminate hardness, potassium or salt are used.
User Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
GE Appliances 30,400 Grain Water Softener
The GE Appliances 30,400 Grain Water Softener is comparable to our recommendation for the finest overall water softener. The only difference between this water softener and the greatest overall water softener is that the first one has Wi-Fi Smart technology. Because it lacks Wi-Fi Smart technology, this water softener costs about half as much as the GE Appliances Smart Water Softener.
The characteristics of this 30,400-grain water softener are also comparable. You will just have to manually pick the programs or instructions on the water softener system’s head unit rather than through a smartphone app. You can see the salt level, hardness, and how many days remain before the next cleaning cycle.
The water softener also assures that it will consume up to 20% less water than if it is not utilized. This eventually saves you money in the long term by minimizing waste and abuse of water.
Should something malfunction inside the device, GE Appliances provides a one-year limited warranty on the complete appliance.
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- One-year warranty on the entire appliance
- Reduces your overall water usage by 20%
- No smartphone or Wi-Fi technology compatibility
User Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
What Does it Mean to Have “Hard Water”?
The United States Geological Survey defines hard water as water that has a mineral accumulation, most notably iron, magnesium, calcium, lead, and chlorine. These hardness minerals can collect in your water and produce a variety of problems, all of which may eventually impair the regions where they are utilized.
The amount of hardness minerals present in water is used to determine its hardness. The hardness of the water is determined by the following measurements:
- Less than 1 grain = soft
- 1 to 3.5 grains = slightly hard
- 5 to 7 grains = moderately hard
- 7 to 10 grains = hard
- 10+ = very hard
When you wash your dishes with hard water, they will have a dirty coating on them. When washed with hard water, it may also harm your hair and clothing, and your body will likely have a filmy residue that persists after washing or showering.
When hard water is utilized, all of these places suffer tremendously. This is why it is critical to understand whether you have hard water. Softening hard water will greatly lessen the damage caused by hard water consumption.
Why Hard Water Poses Big Problems
Dishes, clothing, skin, water pipes, and appliances are just a few of the things that may be harmed by hard water. Don’t go anyplace if you’re not sure whether you have hard water or if you believe it’s not a major concern. You should read this before anything else.
Hard Water and Pipes, Appliances, and Water Pressure
When hard water travels through your home’s water pipes on a daily basis, it causes a buildup of rust, corrosion, limescale, and calcium. When this occurs, the diameter of the pipe continues to shrink. When you switch on your water, the water pressure drops and the flow rate slows. This is often one of the first signs that you have hard water.
This not only destroys the fundamental water lines throughout your house, but it also ruins the appliances that consume water. Dishwashers, washing machines, and hot water heaters fall under this category.
When these appliances are harmed by hard water, the entire lifetime of the item is considerably reduced, forcing you to replace an appliance that would otherwise have many years of life remaining.
Hard Water Makes Dingy Dishes and Ugly Stains
If you’ve ever taken a clean glass out of the dishwasher and observed a dirty film residue on it, you have hard water.
Changing the dishwashing detergent or wash cycle will not remove the film or remove the soap scum that remains on the dishes after being cleaned in hard water.
Dingy dishes aren’t the sole indication of hard water. There will also be stains on kitchen faucets, spigots, toilet basins, and showerheads [link to finest kitchen faucets article]. To remove the stains from these surfaces, you will most likely require a strong stain remover and descaler.
Hard Water and the Body
Bathing, washing your hair, and washing your clothing in harsh water will most likely irritate your skin. This is due to the high concentration of minerals that settle on the skin once it comes into touch with hard water. This happens via secondary sources as well, such as garments laundered in harsh water.
Itching, redness, and inflammation are all symptoms of skin irritation. It may seem subtle or be attributed to other difficulties, such as new soap or laundry detergent, when it is really due to the degree of hardness in the water.
When using hard water, you may get more significant skin problems. This can include acne breakouts, dermatitis, eczema, clogged pores, scalp irritation, and scalp dryness. In addition to softening your water, you may need to see a dermatologist to address the problems if they become serious.
Using a water softener can substantially enhance the feel of your skin, likely removing any redness, itching, and irritation.
How Do Water Softener Systems Work?
Water softener systems are installed and linked to your home’s water system. This is due to the fact that the water softener requires access to the water pipes and numerous spots around your home in order to eliminate mineral buildups and accumulations. Water softener systems function by adding salt or potassium to the water to eliminate minerals that settle and accumulate in the water and along the sides of the water pipes.
The most prevalent forms of water softener systems are salt or potassium because they are simple to operate, effective, and often inexpensive.
If no salt or potassium is utilized in the water softening system, the minerals will be converted into crystals to avoid limescale formation in the water pipes.
Both of these procedures are excellent in reducing or removing hard water minerals. When the minerals are reduced or eliminated, the water softens, resulting in a water that is safe and effective for all uses.
To guarantee that every bathroom and every appliance that utilizes water gets softened water, you will need to install a whole-home water softening system. A water softening system that is too small for your house or is only centered in one spot, such as one bathroom, will not cure your water hardness issue.
Water hardness might still affect you when you wash your clothes or take a shower. This is why you need a whole-house water softening system that can effectively decrease the quantity of grains in your water.
How to Determine if You Have Hard Water
Purchasing a water hardness testing kit is the most reliable way to determine whether you have hard water. A water hardness testing kit is used to determine the amount of TDS (total dissolved solids) in the water.
L multiplied by 17.1, which is the conversion factor for milligrams to grains.Typically, the test will provide a value indicating the amount of milligrams of minerals per liter. You may simply convert milligrams per liter to grains by dividing the mg by the grain weight.
If you take L and divide it by the 17.1 conversion factor, you’ll receive a difficulty level of 8.77.This implies that if you have a 150mg mineral collection,
The USGS water hardness map may also be used to assess whether you have hard water. You will use the map to assess if you reside in an area with hard water or not.
This approach isn’t perfect for determining water hardness in your house, but it’s an excellent place to start. The simplest approach to find out whether you have hard water is to get a water testing kit and measure the total dissolved solids.
Features to Consider when Purchasing the Best Water Softener System
As you can see, there are several water softener systems to pick from, each with its own set of features and functions that set it apart from the others. So, how can you make the greatest decision while looking for the finest water softener?
These are some of the top qualities to consider while making your pick!
PPM (Parts Per Million) Capacity
Water softeners lower the amount of minerals in water at a rate known as PPM. PPM is an abbreviation for parts per million, which signifies that minerals are decreased at a certain number of minerals per million. This ratio is equivalent to milligrams of minerals per liter of water.
As a result, the PPM capacity of the water softener is critical. The smaller the PPM capacity, the fewer minerals eliminated, while the larger the PPM capacity, the more minerals removed.
Choosing a water softening system just based on PPM should not be the main deciding factor for which water softener to choose. Still, it should definitely be considered, especially if you have a water hardness with a large accumulation of sediments and limescale buildup.
NSF Certified water softeners are those that have been certified by the National Sanitation Foundation. The National Sanitation Foundation guarantees the safety of NSF Certified water softener systems for consumer use. This assures that the water softener system you are purchasing is safe to consume, wash, and absorb.
Similar to the PPM capacity is the water softener systems grain capacity. Grain capacity refers to how many minerals the water softener must reduce or eliminate each day.
Water softener systems differ in grain capacity from 20,000 to 50,000 grains, so calculating how many grains you will need is simple.
To get the grain capacity required, multiply the number of people living in the residence by the average gallons of water consumed per person per day. Then you double that figure by the amount of water hardness in your water.
The average amount of gallons used each day is roughly 75, so if you have four persons in the house, multiply 4 by 75 to get a total of 300. Then take 300 and double it by the hardness level of your water.
A 30,000 to 35,000-grain water softener is usually enough for most four-person houses.
Reducing Minerals by Salt
To soften the water, most water softeners employ salt to minimize the mineral grains. The salt prevents limescale and other corrosion from forming in the pipes. It also eliminates the limescale and corrosion that has built up on the pipes.
When limescale, rust, and corrosion build up on water pipes, the water pressure drops and the flow rate slows. These are often the first signs that you have water hardness and should get the water analyzed.
Other signs of water hardness might be noticed on dishes or the fabric of cleaned items. Clear glass plates will have a dirty film left on them after being cleaned. This coating indicates that the water is quite hard.
Low Salt Indicator Light
Water softeners that utilize salt to decrease and remove minerals from water will have an indicator on the system that tells you how much salt the system need to function properly. When the salt level is low, the system does not perform at full capacity, reducing the quantity of minerals that the water softener can remove.
This is why a low salt indication light is essential. Knowing that the salt is low will ensure that it is replaced as required to ensure that the water softener operates at full capacity throughout each cycle.
Reducing Minerals by Crystallization
A water softening system that eliminates minerals via crystallization is another option. This procedure is said to be safer and healthier than utilizing a salt-based water softener.
Minerals that are decreased or eliminated during crystallization become dissolved crystals. This will eliminate the minerals and prevent them from building up limescale, corrosion, and other buildups on the walls of the water pipes. Because there is no salt or sodium added to the water, this method of water softening is considered safer and healthier.
When you add sodium chloride to your drinking water, you will unavoidably eat and absorb more salt than usual. This might be worrisome for anyone living in your house who are salt sensitive or need to control their sodium consumption.
You may be confident that the people, pets, and plants in your house will not suffer from sodium chloride overexposure if you utilize a water softener system that crystalizes minerals to remove them rather than salt.
Water Softener Systems with Smart Technology
Smart technology is defined as wireless internet connectivity between a gadget and your smartphone. When you pick a smart water softening system over a regular water softener, you will establish a wireless internet communication link between the device and your smartphone.
This will allow you to operate the water softener using the app on your smartphone. This is advantageous since you will eventually be able to operate all operations and programs of the water softener system straight from your smartphone.
Some of the locations on the smart water softener system that you may monitor using your smartphone app are as follows:
- Water usage
- Salt levels
- Water regeneration schedule
- Leaks or running faucets
- Water pressure and water flow speed
- Manual shutoff or overrides
A smart water softening system is typically more costly than a water softener system without Wi-Fi compatibility, but for good cause. You do not need to be at home to check your water softening equipment.
This means that if you are away from home and discover that your water softener system is displaying a running faucet or a possible leak, you can either turn off the water through the smartphone app or call a neighbor or the utility company to turn off the water at the water main. This might help to avoid a catastrophic catastrophe in your house while you are abroad.
You should not base your choice just on price, which is why we have put it towards the bottom of our list of aspects to consider; nonetheless, we recognize that price might play a significant influence in your decision.
Many factors influence the pricing of water softeners, including size, Wi-Fi technology, and the number of functions the water softener system provides. The more simple the water softener, the lower the cost. The same is true for selecting a smaller water softener, since a smaller water softening system will most likely be less expensive than a bigger water softener system.
A water softener system with Wi-Fi technology, on the other hand, will almost always be more costly than versions without.
As a result, the price of the water softening system should not be the first characteristic you examine, but it should also not be totally ignored. Just make sure you realize how the price of the water softener systems will vary based on their size, features, and technology.
Warranties and Money-Back Guarantees
A water softener with a manufacturer warranty or a money-back guarantee is always suggested. This ensures that you wont be out a large amount of money for something that may not work how you need it to.
You should have a system that is suited for the task as long as you acquire a water softener system that is big enough to manage the number of gallons of water utilized in the house on a daily basis as well as the water hardness level inside the home.
The greatest water softener will be efficient, useful, and simple to operate. It should nearly totally decrease the hardness of your water, or at the very least to a soft or mildly hard level, about 3.5 grains or less.
Using a water softener to reduce the hardness of your water can benefit a number of places in your house. The water pressure in your house will be raised, the water flow rate will be quicker, your dishes will be cleaner, less stains will collect on faucets, and your skin will be substantially less irritated.
Hard water affects all of these areas, and utilizing the greatest water softener can considerably improve all of them.
If you are still unclear about what to look for when selecting the finest water softener, consider the following brands when making your selection, since they are the top water softener brands on the market today: Water softener brands you can trust include GE Appliances, Whirlpool, APEC, EcoPure, Aquasure, and Water2Buy.
They all offer a variety of functions, features, and guarantees that will ensure your hard water is softened throughout every usage for many years to come.
What is the best water softener for well water in 2022?
We compared the most popular well water softeners based on performance, extra iron removal capabilities, price, and user comments. The SpringWell WS-SS1 achieved the top rank in this category in 2022.
Which water softeners work the best?
Based on our research, the following are some of the top water softeners on the market.
BEST IN CLASS: 40,000-Grain Water Softener by Whirlpool.
WaterBoss 36,400-Grain Water Softener System is the best bang for your buck.
DuraWater 48,000-Grain Water Softener is an excellent upgrade option.
Rheem Preferred 32,000-Grain Water Softener is the best salt-based water softener.
What water softener should I buy?
To estimate the size of water softener required, multiply the water hardness by the amount of water used in the residence. A residence that consumes 225 gallons of water per day and has a water hardness of 10 grains per gallon, for example, need a water softener with a capacity of 2,250 grains per day.
Why not to buy a water softener?
The Drawbacks of Soft Water
The softening process also makes the water more volatile, which means it takes up more undesired components from your pipes. These elements may include lead, making it potentially hazardous. For every 1,000 gallons of water, a water softener wastes up to 120 gallons.
Are some water softeners better than others?
The effectiveness with which these hard water minerals are eliminated distinguishes a good water softener from a poor one. High-efficiency softeners regenerate with significantly less salt and water, minimizing waste and energy expenses.
How much is a high quality water softener?
Depending on the kind of equipment, a water softening system might cost between $500 and $6,000. The cost of replacing a water heater may vary from $820 to $3,500. The typical plumbing job costs between $150 and $500.
What is the downside of a water softener?
Home water softening disadvantages
Additional salt may have negative health consequences. Regular water testing and softener maintenance are required to ensure that the softener is operating correctly. The usage of salt has a negative influence on the ecosystem.
How long should a water softener last?
A water softener should last between 10 and 15 years. If your unit is showing signs of wear and tear, it might be due to poor maintenance or very harsh water. One option for extending the life of your water softener is to install a pre-filter.
What is the downside of salt water softener?
The following are some disadvantages of salt-based water softeners:
To keep the resin operating effectively, softeners must be maintained on a regular basis by adding salt and, at times, a conditioner. Failure to do so may lead to early fouling, making the system inoperable. The cleaning procedure is lengthy, and a lot of water is lost when using this approach…