Best Water Softeners 2019 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

This article is for those looking for the best water softener.

It has been increasingly common to see many people across the country suffer from hard water, which has the level of calcium carbonate over 120 parts per million (ppm).

Despite many health benefits of calcium, hard water may be responsible for health problems and other inconvenience.

So, many people thinking of getting a water softener to deal with that issue. But they often become confused at a variety of options.

Fortunately, we have researched and made a comprehensive guide with reviews of the best water softener. Check it out!

Top 7 Best Water Softeners 2019

In this list, each product has its outstanding advantages, in terms of price, quality, durability, and efficiency.

Not only can you get to know some top models on the current market, but you will also understand how to choose a suitable system for your situation.

1 Pentair Fleck 5600SXT 3/4″ WS48-56SXT-34 Water Softener – Best Pick by Customers

When we take its reliability, efficiency, and ease of use into consideration, it is undeniable that Pentair Fleck 5600SXT deserves the title as the best water softener this year.

Its softener tank has a high capacity up to 48,000 grains. The softener has an ion exchange process that helps eliminate magnesium and calcium quickly.

Besides, this process is beneficial for the lifespan of your appliances and the plumbing.

The system has a simple mechanism to calculate the level of soft water in the house and regenerate automatically, which guarantees that you will never lack soft water for use. Also, it prevents a massive waste of water, salt, and electricity.

Regarding ease of use, you will find the small LCD screen in the system useful. Even though it may be not as authentic as your TV screen, it can indicate when problems occur to help you start fixing problems as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, its instruction manuals are difficult to understand, according to some users.

PROS

  • Reasonable price
  • High efficiency, comply with NSF standards
  • Easy control
  • Very durable
  • Automatic regeneration

CONS

  • Some people find its instruction manual confusing

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2 Fleck Iron Pro 2 Combination – Best For Water From Well

This water softener is particularly necessary for those who get water from wells.

It usually contains much iron, another harmful substance in addition to magnesium and calcium. But Fleck Iron Pro 2 Combination can eliminate them efficiently.

Fleck has improved its capacity to reach up to 80,000 grains, which is the highest you can find on the market. As a result, it is a fantastic option for large families with 7 or 8 people.

Other models of smaller capacity are also available, between 32,000 and 80,000 grains. The famous Fleck 5600SXT can give you a chance to save a lot of energy, and it is simple to control.

You will get a five-year warranty, so there is no need to worry about anything else.

While it can remove magnesium, calcium, and iron, you can expect to get rid of sediments, rust, and sulfur as well.

However, if the water contains too much iron, the likelihood is that you need another pre-filter along with this filter as it cannot be effective alone in that case.

The addition of a bypass valve is helpful to make the maintenance much more manageable. The plastic cone is also useful to reduce the risk of resin entering your house as you use the system.

This softener also has an automatic regeneration mechanism, which is essential if you want to use it for a long time. The regeneration will happen when the system has used a certain level of water or run after a certain period.

You can control it through the touchpad. The durability is impressive since you can rely on the resin for more than five years.

PROS

  • Can remove iron
  • Durability (more than five years)
  • The capacity of 80,000 grains
  • Have a bypass valve

CONS

  • Confusing instructions to install
  • High price
  • For a high level of iron, you may need a pre-filter

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3 ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600SXT – Best For Energy Use

Who does not want a high-quality softener which comes at a reasonable price? It deserves a place among the best water softeners.

And we are talking about the ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt. Its digital valve from Fleck 5600SXT is very well-known for the ease of use and low energy consumption.

It can get rid of the hardest minerals in the water. Besides, it also goes with two pre-loaded tanks, each of which has a warranty of up to 10 years, so you probably do not need to worry about any possible problems.

You can use the ABC waters softener as a single device although if you want to level up the water quality, it is possible to rely on some combos.

The ideal recommendation is to combine this system and RO to filter all chemicals and contaminants from your water.

The RO can remove sodium and heavy metals to make it more suitable for your consumption.

The instructions are quite simple to follow with a variety of forms, including videos and a text guide. And whenever you need help, you can get technical support easily through many channels.

If you have any worries about other minerals, like iron, it may be necessary to install a filter before the softener. Besides, its lack of some capacities makes it difficult for some users to choose.

PROS

  • High efficiency
  • Very durable
  • Excellent customer service and technical support

CONS

  • Only one capacity is available – 48,000

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4 Water Softener Fleck 5600SXT by Dura Water – Best Save on Salt and Water

If you seek for a water softener which not only has a high capacity but also saves the salt and water consumption, give this Dura Water Softener a try.

As many other Fleck 5600SXT machines, this water softener has a high capacity up to 48,000 grain.

The brine tank comes at 14 x 14 x 34″ in dimensions to hold about 250 Ibs – quite enough for daily usages.

More excitingly, this model is upgraded with other fantastic technologies which improve the water softener performance and save your money as well.

For example, there is a metered control valve to prevent the hard water by removing the magnesium and calcium during the icon exchange process.

As a result, your plumbing and appliances becomes more durable. Dura Fleck 5600SXT use a meter based regeneration process, by which the system will only regenerate if necessary.

Even better, the safety float is in place to avoid overfilling and the overflow drain is useful as a backup to prevent the water messes. So, it saves on the salt and water usage.

I just do not like the low salt warning voice. It is a bit noisy, especially at night when you are asleep the the voice starts yelling – Kind of screepy. I think a low salt light is enough.

New Pentair Scan and Service Application is a big bonus to make all information about the water softener machine such as the detailed settings, troubleshooting, or spare parts at your fingertips.

PROS

  • High capacity
  • Additional parts (e.g. metered softener valve, safe float, paddle wheel)
  • A certified True Blue Dealer

CONS

  • Need of some basic plumbing skills to start with the installation
  • Noise of the low salt warming

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5 Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck Water Softener 48K – Best for Durability

Compared to Pentair WS48-56SXT-34 model, the WS48-56xt10 remains the high-quality features and more.

The standard 14 x 33’’ brine tank with the safety float supports up to 48,000 grains of softened water, so you do not have to worry about the water shortage.

The bypass valve and flexible adapter complete the system to ensure the highest water flow.

And, the yoke connection makes the installation a peace of mind. You can even adjust the yoke size to match your plumbing and water lines.

However, you might find it hard to install without having several basic plumbing skills. The manufacturer provides a detailed instruction in the USB drive but it turns out being confusing and helpless. In case you have any problems, call the customer service rather than stick around the manual.

The LCD screen brings a nice experience when it comes to operate the machine. You can check the current status or detect any errors at a glance, then adjust the settings quickly using the touchpad controls.

What I like the most is the high capacity resin.

High capacity softening durable resin. Specifically, the 10% longer cross link results in a significant improvement in the life of the resin. In fact, it can last 2 or 3 years longer than the 8% cross link.

PROS

  • High capacity
  • More durable resin
  • The easy operation

CONS

  • The useless installation guide

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6 Tier1 48,000 Grain High Efficiency Digital Water Softener – My Pick for Best Water Softener

Black and blue models are available for your choice. Made in the USA, Tier1 48,000 Water Softener is partly guaranteed about its quality.

The actual features perform so good that I strongly recommend it as one of the best water softeners in 2019.

Say goodbye to skin itch after a shower due to the hard water combined with soap since this machine can handle two drawbacks of the hard water – the calcium phosphate and the magnesium.

Thankfully, the helpful minerals are remained during the softening process. And, the capacity is as high as 48,000 grain.

The structure is more compact than many other water softeners.

The mineral tank comes at only 10 inches in diameter, along with the 54’’ narrow component. The brine tank is always enough for 4-5 salt packs.

There is also a LCD screen with digital meter control valve in order to change the water pressure and the flow rate in a matter of seconds. Great!

However, the machine has no water-proof feature, which means you should not either install it outside or allow the cold temperature. Otherwise, the integrity will go wrong seriously.

Anyway, this unit is helpful to save money on replacing the shower heads and faucets frequently as the limescale is removed, or at least, reduced significantly.

PROS

  • Compact design taking less space
  • High efficiency
  • Full control over regeneration cycles

CONS

  • No water-proof structure

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7 Eddy Electronic Water Descaler – Best Water Softener Alternative

Though this unit is advertised as a water softener, I better say it is an alternative. As you can see from its name, it is exactly an Electronic Water Descaler.

So, what makes it worthy to mention in this list of best water softeners?

Let’s get insight into the features! This water descaler does not add or remove any substance from your water.

Instead, it produce an electromagnetic wave to prevent the limescale from building up. In turn, it is deposited from your pipes and your water.

Make it simply, this machine does not add salt to the water like the water softeners so that the calcium remains intact.

Be careful, the Eddy Water Descaler is 100% electric without waterproof. Once the malfunction happens or the machine gets wet, it poses a serious life threat. And, the hard water is not softened exactly, your skin might feel annoying.

One plus is the installation. It is a piece of cake since the unit comes along with 4 wires and without any plumbing changes.

All you need is to plug the machine, mount it anywhere safe and out of the children’s reach, and forget about it.

Just make sure you coil the wires around the pipe properly.

PROS

  • Small and easy to use
  • Remain the minerals
  • Good at defeating the nasty limescale buildup
  • Cheap and effortless to maintain

CONS

  • Not soften the hard water properly
  • Dangerous when exposing to moisture and electrical leaks

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What Is Hard Water?

The hard water contains salts of magnesium and calcium. While calcium bicarbonate causes temporary water hardness, the other salts might result in a permanent effect.

It is important to note that the hard water is generally safe to drink, even beneficial with the presence of essential minerals. However, you will never like the feeling of hard water, especially on your skin.

For example, your body becomes dry and your hair turns to be limp after having a shower. Or, the hard water reduces the cleaning capacity of soaps and detergents, leaving the cloth dirty and tearable.

Frequently, the plumbing fixtures such as faucets, shower head or pipes, as well as the cooking utensils like the kettle or dishwashers are built up with limescale. To get rid of such the frustration, you should invest in a water softener system.

Hard Water Solutions

Typically, you can cope with water hardness in several possible ways.

Water Filtration

Water filtration systems are a fantastic option in case you want to eliminate rust, sediments, and many harmful contaminants in the water. But when it comes to the elimination of minerals, they do not seem to be good.

On the market, the reverse osmosis (RO) is the only filter which can help you address hard water effectively. But it comes at a very high price, in addition to the expensive maintenance and installation.

Water Softener

If you only have a limited budget, water softener seems to be a better option. It works by either transforming their forms or replacing them with sodium to prevent limescale.

Water softeners can have several disadvantages, especially when they may give too much sodium into the water and not entirely remove all harmful substances.

To solve it, people usually combine a water softener and under-sink RO filter. So, are you fully aware of how beneficial it is if we have a water softener to prevent all of these problems?


Water Softener Systems: Solving Hard Water Problems And More …

No matter where you are in the globe, a water softener may be an essential item for your family to get out of a widespread problem – hard water, which usually has significant levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, as well as other particles.

It can have many adverse effects on your daily life, starting with more frequent maintenance of pipes and faucets. As things become more seriously, you will suffer from skin irritations because hard water is responsible for itchiness and dryness on the skin.

As a result, it is urgent to find out methods to deal with hard water.

Smooth Skin and Hair

If you have ever noticed white powder on your skin or brittle hair after a shower, it is highly likely that you are using hard water.

While hard water is harmful to your skin and hair, soft water is beneficial for them. It is not to mention the fact that soft water improves the fabric of clothes, so you may find your clothes cleaner than it was.

On the other hand, the combination of hard water and detergents usually causes a layer of powder on your clothes after washing.

Prolong the Lifespan of Appliances

Hard water leaves many minerals on your water pipes, which are responsible for the appearance of limescale and damages the pipes severely.

As a result, you will have to maintain or even replace the pipes more often.

Water softeners reduce the risk of this problem and prevent it before it happens. It can save you a lot of money when we think about the cost of too frequent maintenance.

Also, other appliances in your house can avoid limescale and its consequences as well. We are talking about your dishwasher, coffee machine, washing machine, and even ice maker if you have one.

Limescale results in leakage in these appliances if it stays there for a while.

Energy Efficiency

When your appliances stay away from lime scale and function throughout time, the likelihood is that you can save a lot of energy as well.

This benefit is not visible immediately, but you will see your electricity bills lower.

Improve the Effects of Detergent and Soap

The mix of detergents and hard water can be a disaster for your clothes.

However, when you use soft water, it can enhance the effectiveness of soap and detergent. In other words, you can reduce the amount of detergent and soap you need for daily use.

Remove Stains

Soft water is useful for not only preventing cloudy residue on the surface of your faucets but also treating the problem caused by hard water before.

If you have suffered from stains for a long time due to hard water, it is time to remove them entirely with the help of water softeners.


Types of Water Softeners

Now that we understand why water softeners are so popular around the world, it is time to shed light on different kinds of water softeners.

Getting to know their advantages and disadvantages allows you to choose the best water softener by yourself.

Typically, you will see four different types:

Salt-Based Softener

This type of softener eliminates hard minerals by applying ion exchange or replacement. It replaces magnesium and calcium in your water with sodium before it kicks them out.

The efficiency is high, so it is undeniable that salt-based softeners are the most popular option.

Even though you need to change the resin bed regularly, it is still one of the most affordable products. It is money-saving since it reduces the damage of hard water on your pipes.

The problem we find with this type is the addition of sodium into your drinking water. The quantity is dependent on how hard your original water is, but it may be an uncomfortable feature for people who follow a low-salt diet.

If you want to get rid of salt in water, the recommendation is to get an RO filter under your sink.

Salt-Free Water Softener

The title “salt-free” may sound very attractive to you in case you want to avoid salt in the water. However, the truth is that salt-free softener is not as efficient as other types in the list when it comes to removing hard minerals.

It does not eliminate hard minerals. Instead, it only reduces scale formation and helps condition your water. You still find limescale concentration on the pipes, although it happens at a slower speed.

So, in spite of its reasonable price, you should think about its efficiency. It may not be what you want, especially when you want to get rid of hard minerals.

Duo Tank Softener

The regeneration process makes it impossible for salt-based softeners to release soft water. It happens at night, but you can experience some inconveniences during washing or cleaning activities.

In that case, duo tank softener may be a better answer for you. It is bigger with a more complicated mechanism. You will get two tanks, in addition to the salt container.

As a result, they help you deal with hard water constantly and guarantee that you never lack soft water. The price of this type is also a little bit higher. However, you can get better results in the long term.

Magnetic/Electronic Descaler

Magnetic descaler is at the bottom of the list, which comes from the fact that it is not a favored option. It refers to electrical devices which are attached to the pipes. So, there is no installation.

The only thing you need to do is to coil several wires around the pipes. This device works in the same way as salt-free softeners.

It does not remove hard minerals in your water. Instead, it only transforms their forms to reduce the risk of their concentration onto surfaces.


How Do Water Softeners Work?

Getting to know the real mechanism behind each water softener is also a fantastic idea to determine whether it is suitable for your house or not.

Our primary purpose is to dig deeper into the features of each product, rather than compare different types. For salt water softeners, ion exchange plays an essential role in removing all contaminants and metal particles from the water.

You can consider it as the magnetic sponge which removes those harmful minerals and gives you soft water.

Typically, water comes from the main supply line and passes a tank which has resin. In this stage, a resin which contains many tiny ionic beads will eliminate magnesium, calcium, as well as contaminants.

Later, soft and clean water gets taken back to your house for use. You can notice the two tanks in this type. The main tank with resin is responsible for cleaning and softening water.

The other, known as the brine tank, contains salt, helping to clean and remove hardness ions inside the resin tank. You can maintain your resin tank very effortlessly, by providing the brine tank with more salt.


2 Easy Steps To Choose The Best Water Softener

With all the above factors considered, here is a comprehensive guide to help you make the best decision when choosing water softeners:

Step 1: Know the Hardness Level

You can use soap to check your hard water. Pour several drops into a bottle of pure water and shake it fast. After 15 seconds, check the amount of foam and bubbles in the bottle.

Then, replace the pure water with your tap water. This time, if the amount of foam is still the same as pure water, then you are using soft water. If more soap is needed to have a similar amount of foam, it is hard water.

Besides, a less complicated way is to bring your water to check at a professional laboratory. You will get specific information about the hardness level of the water.

Step 2: Determine The Grain Capacity

The average use of your family will affect the size you need. If you get something not suitable for large families, you may suffer from a lack of soft water when necessary.

Typically, a family of 4 people will use more or less than 2,000 liters daily. So, they may need a water softener of 15,000 – 60,000 grains.


What Else to Consider about Water Softener?

Once you understand different types of water softeners, you are ready to start looking for the best water softener for your family.

Facing thousands of options on the market, you will need to know how to get one.

Here are several essential factors that you have to consider when choosing water softeners.

Capacity

One of the fundamental factors is the resin capacity. You can know your demand by calculating the average amount of water you use daily.

It is also affected by how large your family is, higher throughput means that your softener will need fewer regeneration times.

Typically, the lowest capacity is 16,000l, and you get several units that come up to 96,000l.

Space

It is essential to think about the available space in your house when you choose a water softener. Otherwise, you may end up struggling with a massive machine in a small area.

Some dual tank systems go with a big brine tank, and you will need to allocate a big area for them. To make sure that it is a wise investment, you can ask the manufacturer for the dimensions before purchasing. Or you may do it on the Internet.

Bypass Valve

The bypass valve is another vital factor you need to pay attention to. The primary purpose of it is to enable water to bypass the softener.

For example, when you want to fill a pool, soft water may be unnecessary, so the valve is very helpful. The valve needs to be easily found and operated, not causing any difficulty for even beginners.

Fleck is a brand that has done very well in terms of the bypass valve. It provides water softeners with the most reliable valves that are simple to use as well.

Regeneration Setting

Regeneration setting can have significant impacts on your use of water softeners. You need to choose between a metered or timed water softener.

The metered system allows the resin to regenerate when you have used a certain level of water. The number is up to you. Meanwhile, the timed system repeats the automatic regeneration process after several days.

The disadvantage of this type is that when the amount of water used exceeds the previously planned amount, you will possibly suffer from a lack of soft water.

Besides, if you are away for a long time, the timed softener still regenerates, leading to wasted water and salt.

Installation and Maintenance Price

Low costs for both installation and maintenance are something which all of us want. You can save your budget by researching and asking professionals for advice before going into the market.

Make sure that you get a softener with minimal maintenance costs, even though its price may be a little bit higher. A low-quality product which requires maintenance too often only makes you broke in the long term.

Budget

The price of a water softener can range from $500 to $2,500.

Even though having the same capacity, the cost of a salt-based softener is often higher, especially when you have to consider its maintenance costs. But it is a worthy investment if you are struggling with high hardness water.

In case you have a tight budget and the problem is not so serious in your area, getting a descaler is a great idea. Last but not least, check other factors, such as certifications or automatic features, to make sure that you will get a satisfying product.


How to Install Water Softeners

The installation for most filtration systems is not too different from each other, which is not easy. If you are new to it, the recommendation is to have a professional do it for you.

Here are several main steps for installing water softeners:

  1. Turn off your main water supply
  2. Find the inlet pipe
  3. Attach the pipe connection in the place before it goes into your house. There find three valves: one to prevent water from going into the softener, one for going out, and one bypass valve
  4. Keep the connectors in the right place. You can do some soldering to check the condition
  5. You should connect the media tank to its brine tank with the help of a 3/8 plastic tubing
  6. Get a hose clamp to connect drain line and drain elbow
  7. Finally, you need to make the connection between the discharge pipe and the wastewater drain

The Bottom Line

So, you have finished reading our reviews on the best water softeners on the market. Have you made your own decisions?

Overall, most softeners have their specific advantages and disadvantages. You ought to consider them carefully before making the decision.

Remember that it will affect you and your family every day.

If you find this post is useful, do not hesitate to share it with those who seek for the best water softeners but can not make a choice yet.