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With water as our number one necessity as human beings, experiencing water issues can cause many problems. And with water hardness as one of the most common issues, purchasing a water softener can put an end to your problems.
Softeners can do miracles with the water quality in your house, as they improve the quality of water by removing hardening minerals like calcium carbonate and magnesium. Apart from softening the water, many softeners will also treat your water for other contaminants that it might contain and check off multiple problems on your list.
But with the high demand for water softening solutions, the market got flooded with new products, making it hard to find the one that fits your needs. To help with your search, we have put a lot of time and effort into scouting some of the best water softeners, so do not hesitate and take a look.
Our first choice for water softening is SpringWell FutureSoft Salt-FreeWater Softening System. SpringWell was founded with the sole purpose of providing the best solutions when it comes to filtering untreated water. It has over 20 years of experience in the water filtration industry and is one of the top-rated companies on the market.
Unlike traditional softeners, which use salt and sodium, the FutureSoft Salt-Free Water Softening System utilizes a physical process called template-assisted crystallization. As a salt-free softener, this system does not actually “soften” the water. Instead, it neutralizes it. This means the minerals are crystallized instead of completely removed. They are still present in the water but in the form of crystals that do not pose a threat to your plumbing and household appliances. Therefore, a water hardness test will not display any improvements.
By retaining the minerals in the water, this system also retains the water‘s pH levels, which can be beneficial. Filters that completely remove the minerals can result in lowering the pH levels, resulting in more acidic water.
Prevents and Cleans Existing Scale
Hard water causes mineral buildup that significantly damages your house’s plumbing and appliances. SpringWell FutureSoft Salt-Free Water Softening System not only extends the life of your appliances but can be of great aid when it comes to clogged plumbing pipes, too. This system reverses the damaging effects of corrosion without the use of any harsh chemicals and salts.
If you live in a home with worn-out plumbing, the FutureSoft Salt-Free Water Softening System will work magic on your pipes. The system will clean your pipes along with the water, and the process usually takes up to 90 days, depending on water usage.
SpringWell FutureSoft Salt-Free Water Softening System crystallizes the hard water minerals (usually calcium and magnesium) without the use of salt and sodium. This means the system does not produce any wastewater and never needs to be replaced. In addition, the template-assisted crystallization technology requires no electricity, unlike traditional salt softeners.
No Drop in Water Pressure
Another great advantage of this system is the fact that it does not leave you with a drop in water pressure. Its innovative technology makes sure the system can handle any water pressure. By using the most advanced technology, the FutureSoft Salt-FreeWater Softening System provides a water pressure that is two times higher compared to standard competitors’ products.
Here is a short overview of the water pressure in households with multiple bathrooms:
1 to 3 bathroom units – 12 gallons per minute
4 to 6 bathroom units – 15 gallons per minute
More than 7 bathroom units – 20 gallons per minute
Protects and restores worn-out plumbing and water appliances
6-month satisfaction guarantee
Lifetime warranty on tanks and valves
Free, fast, and reliable shipping with FedEx
Monthly payments via Affirm are available
No need for replacement
No use of electricity
No use of salt
Does not produce water waste
Does not cause drops in water pressure
Not recommended for homes running on private wells
We believe SpringWell FutureSoft Salt-Free Water Softening System to be the best water softening solution available online. It utilizes state-of-the-art technology that will help protect your household and plumbing without removing the minerals naturally found in the water, contributing to more alkaline water.
Apart from its efficiency, the FutureSoft water softener is also very easy to install and use. The top-notch technology ensures you never have to replace the system. The only maintenance you will have to do is change the 5-micron pre-filter every 6 to 9 months.
Our second-best water softening system is SoftPro Elite. SoftPro is yet another reputable brand dedicated to providing high-efficiency water softening systems.
Apart from their business vision, SoftPro Water System also sets a high incentive on sustainability and the environment. They utilize cutting-edge innovation and technology and make the most ecologically propelling products. Their water softening systems feature an extended lifespan, ensuring you will never have to replace them.
The SoftPro Elite utilizes an Upflow technology, which directs the water from the bottom to the top of the tank in a swirling motion. The unfiltered water passes up through the depleted resin, resulting in both salt and resin savings. In contrast to this, traditional downflow softeners are not as efficient and waste more salt and resin.
The upflow technology ensures high precision of resin recharge, allowing the system to recharge depleted resin and reuse what is left.
The most important benefit of the Upflow regeneration process is its cost-efficiency. This product uses a lot fewer resources in the process of filtration and reduces the salt waste up to 75% and the water waste by 64%, compared to competitors’ products. This technology also reduces the amount of resin needed by precisely recharging only the depleted resin.
Apart from the excellent value for money you get from the SoftPro Elite City Water Softening System, you will also get some additional gadgets to promote better efficiency and user experience.
To reduce condensation and water waste, SoftPro Elite comes with a free neoprene jacket guard. It will boost the performance of your system and give it a classy look.
Another free feature that comes with the softening system is a Quick-Connect Hose Kit. This upgrade box will furtherly simplify the already easy installation process and allows you to fit clamps directly onto copper, CPVS, or Pex plumbing.
Programmable Control Valve
Along with the most innovative technology, SoftPro Elite also features a programmable control valve. It provides many preset features that reach whole new levels of customer convenience.
Activating the vacation mode on your softener will take it to a hibernation mode and prevent it from regenerating while you are away. This mode performs a weekly refresh in order to keep bacteria from growing inside the system.
Auto Variable Backwash
This economical feature will help you save water. In contrast to traditional water treatment systems that perform a backwash every time the system regenerates, the innovative Auto Variable Backwash feature allows the SoftPro Elite to skip a couple of cycles while running on clean water supplies.
Smart 2 AM scheduled regeneration
Quick 15-minute recharge in cases when the capacity falls below 3%
Significant savings on water waste, salt, resin, and operational costs
Free bonus features
A cost-efficient solution, with a return of the initial investment estimated at 3.5 years
IAPMO, ANSI, NSF, and ISO-certified
Limited lifetime warranty
6-month satisfaction guarantee
Does not remove total dissolved solids and fluoride
SoftPro Elite is an excellent option for anyone looking to purchase a salt-based water softening system. The salt usage is minimal compared to other conventional systems, and apart from the minimum salt use, the SoftPro Elite also lowers the consumption of water and resin.
This system features a programmable control valve that comes with some fantastic pre-defined features to help you make the most out of your daily use. Its intelligent features allow it to detect low capacity levels and recharge, perform an automated backwash, and run occasional refreshing processes to eliminate any bacteria that might synthesize in the system.
Another great water softening system coming from SpringWell Water is its salt-based softener. With extensive experience and expertise, SpringWell recognized the need to offer both a salt-based and salt-free system for water softening.
Their innovative ion-exchange softener removes all unwanted minerals from the water and prevents hard water scale and buildup, leaving you with expressively “softer” water.
The water is softened through ion exchange, and the system measures water using the best electronic water softener valve placed on top of the resin tank. Once it reaches the saturation point, the cleaning cycle begins. Trapped minerals are flushed out during the cycle, while sodium and potassium chloride are exchanged with calcium and magnesium, resulting in “softer” water. After a cycle has finished, the salts are replenished in the resin bed, ready for the next cycle.
SpringWell is one of the few manufacturers using premium certified components, making their products very enduring. Apart from their extensive experience, this company also vouches for the quality of its products with a 6-month money-back guarantee.
Innovative Bluetooth Head
SpringWell’s salt-based water softener offers the ultimate customer convenience by allowing you to fully control and program it through your smartphone. It will enable you to adjust system settings, including timing, regeneration and backwash cycles, refreshing frequencies, and a lot more.
All valve settings and statuses are quickly available through SpringWell’s mobile app. From it, you can easily change bypass valve settings, start a cycle, as well as view soft water usage information and historical data.
Ideal for Households Running on Private Wells
SpringWell’s salt-based ion exchange system is an excellent improvement of the FutureSoft softener for households running on private wells. Apart from softening the water by neutralizing minerals such as calcium and magnesium, this system also treats the water for harsh contaminants, including iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, and copper.
Apart from directly eliminating scale and water hardness buildup as the main feature of this system, the salt-based water softeners significantly improves the water quality and provides many other benefits, including:
Healthier and Better Tasting Food
Once you install this salt-based softener, you will notice a change of taste in the food you eat. And as much as we would like to compliment your cooking skills, the enhanced flavors you will experience are largely accounted for by the purity of the water.
Healthier Skin and Hair
The usage of SpringWell’s salt-basedwater softener will also benefit your skin and hair’s health. With pure water at your disposal, your bathing routine will result in cleaner, more refined, and softer skin and hair.
Reduced Laundry Detergent Usage
Water free of harmful chemicals is proven to be better for clothes. Washing your clothes with softened water will retain their color and give them additional freshness. Since the water is purer, any dirt can dissolve more quickly, lowering the amount of detergent you use.
Easy access and control over the softening system via a mobile app
Low salt consumption
No drop in water pressure
Manufactured with certified components
Lifetime warranty on brine tank and bypass valve
6-month satisfaction guarantee
Free, fast, and reliable shipping with FedEx
Monthly payments via Affirm are available
People with sodium sensitivity might experience some issues from the additional sodium added to the water
If you are looking to purchase a salt-based house water softener with ease of use and extended user convenience, SpringWell’s softener could be the right choice for you.
This softening system provides excellent efficiency in filtering the water hardness-causing minerals, as well as other potentially harmful chemicals from the water. As a result of its efficiency, the quality of the water in your household will significantly increase, and along with it, your overall life quality.
Apart from the efficiency it offers, this water softening system also provides its customers with the feature of remote control. SpringWell’s salt-based water softener comes with a bluetooth head that allows you to quickly connect to the system and take over control or keep track of the different processes.
#4. Fleck 5600SXT: Trusted Name for Both Water Filtration & Softeners
Coming from another reputable water softening company, the Fleck 5600SXTwater softener is yet another great deal for you to consider if you are experiencing issues with water hardness. Fleck 5600SXT comes as an improved version of the well-known Fleck 5600, and its rigid Noryl bypass valve body offers low power consumption and a precise assembly. The most significant improvement on the 5600SXT is the conversion from the old mechanical meter to the trouble-free SXT electronics.
Fleck 5600SXT also features innovative regeneration technology, which means the unit only operates when you need it. It reduces the usage of salt and releases you from the nagging task of refilling your tank on a regular basis.
Its electronic features allow you to monitor the water treatment process through the interface panel easily. If you are a more experienced user who wants to make some more advanced settings, the 5600SXT offers you the possibility.
Reliable Electronic Interface Panel
The new and updated electronic interface panel features a couple of extended programming and diagnostic settings.
Smart regeneration. This feature automatically adjusts to your water consumption and helps reduce salt usage and keep the soft water flowing.
Diagnostic features. The updated system includes new diagnostic features that will help you monitor each water treatment process. It will provide you with a better overview and understanding of each process and help you troubleshoot if you happen to experience an issue.
Battery backup. Fleck 5600SXT comes with a new onboard capacitor that will last up to 48 hours during a power outage.
These, along with a few more features, will provide you with the best experience you can get out of a water softening system. Thanks to its all-digital operation, you can easily set it and forget it, as after you have programmed in your settings, you never have to set it up again.
The simple design of Fleck 5600SXT is easily approachable for DIYers, plumbers, handymen, and basically any of your friends that are willing to help. If you decide to take on this manageable task yourself, we suggest you take a look at the installation guides and videos available on the website.
All you will need to finish the installation process are a couple of standard tools, such as a flathead and phillips head screwdriver, pliers, an adjustable wrench, a pipe cutter, and teflon tape. To help you with the already easy installation and ensure you do not end up missing a part, the manufacturer also provides a couple of extra quick connectors with each system.
Upgraded 10% crosslink resin
Simple DIY installation
10-year warranty on the tank
5-year warranty on the bypass valve
6-month satisfaction guarantee
KDF filter is pre-installed and should last from 7 to 14 years under typical use
Alkalizer included in the bundle
Slightly lower grain capacity, varying from 24,000 to 64,000
If you are looking for the best water softeners that you can just “set and forget”, we strongly recommend Fleck 5600SXT. This softener will provide you with soft water for a whole eternity, and thanks to its low maintenance, you really might even forget it exists.
However, if you know your softeners and want to have a more personalized water treatment, Fleck 5600SXT will not let you down either. Through its interface panel, you can easily monitor the details of every process that is currently running. If you do not like what you see, you can even adjust a couple of properties and customize the way it works.
Apart from satisfying your needs for low maintenance or a customizable solution, the Fleck 5600SXT will most certainly exceed your expectations in terms of water quality. But, do not simply take our word for it. Take it from the many satisfied customers who testify for the high quality and reliability of this product.
We are concluding our list of the best water softeners with the Pelican Advantage Series Salt Water softening system. This company is dedicated to providing customers with reliable solutions for clean water, and they set the industry standard by offering intelligent and sustainable water solutions.
The main advantages of this system are the many optimizations and customizations you can perform with the help of its metered programmable head. The metered head allows more experienced users to get into the detail of every process performed by the water softening system. You can quickly check regeneration and refreshment statuses and make a couple of optimizations if you are not satisfied with the results.
The Pelican Advantage Series comes with a lot of programmed settings that will make your use of the system effortless. It features three different modes of operation, a double backwash feature for optimal regeneration, 36 pre-set regeneration cycles, an override feature ranging from 1 to 28 days, and a lot more.
Along with the metered head comes a heavy-duty microprocessor that will quickly and efficiently perform all preferred operations. With the Advantage Series’ processor, you will never have to worry about the system getting stuck or malfunctioning.
High Tank Capacity
This softener features a high tank capacity and is ideal for environments where you do not have uninterrupted access to water. The large tank allows you to fill it up at your own convenience and forget about it for an extended period of time.
Households in rural areas that are not connected to a regulated water supply could benefit from this feature. Along with its high tank capacity, this softener also has a high resin capacity, ensuring you will have a clean water supply at all times.
Different Modes of Operation
Based on your preferences and convenience, you can set when the softening system performs a regeneration cycle.
This mode initiates an immediate regeneration cycle once the water volume remaining display reaches zero gallons. It is an excellent option if you are in constant need of water and cannot afford a water shortage.
The meter delayed mode initiates a regeneration cycle at a previously set preferred time of the day once the water volume remaining reaches zero gallons. This is a perfect option to delay the regeneration to a more convenient time if your access to water is limited to a particular time of the day, or you simply do not want the regeneration cycle to distract you during the day.
Time Clock Delayed
You can also schedule a regeneration cycle on your Pelican Advantage Series regardless of the remaining water volume. It can be done by setting a limit to the days since the last regeneration, and the set limit will trigger the regeneration and refresh your water supply once the predefined days have run out.
National Sanitation Foundation-certified
Premium bypass valve included
Large salt tank size
High resin capacity
Straightforward electronic water softener
Minimal water waste
Treated water regeneration for optimal performance
Higher priced than similar competitors’ products
The Pelican Advantage Series water softening system is all about convenience. It allows its users an unconditional overview and access to all processes that are being performed at the time. Thanks to its high tank capacity, it is an ideal option for off-grid households or houses that simply have a high demand for water.
An enormous satisfaction of the straightforward installment process is something we have encountered across almost every customer’s feedback. Customers ranging from experienced plumbers to self-taught DIYers praise the simplicity with which this water softening system can be assembled and installed. Along with its low maintenance and heavy-duty materials, this product is perfect for anyone looking for a hassle-free solution to their water issues that will last them a lifetime.
The first thing you should decide in order to narrow down your choices is what type of water softening system would work best for you. Based on the technologies they utilize, softening systems can be divided into four different categories:
Salt-Free Water Softeners
Salt-free softeners, or usually referred to as salt-free water conditioners, are the most preferred type, and they utilize potassium instead of sodium.
The potassium in these systems produces a chemical reaction that crystallizes the mineral buildup. In this case, the minerals are retained in the water, but their crystal form prevents them from sticking to water pipes, household appliances, laundry, and other surfaces.
The advantages of softeners free of salt are endless. They do not add any sodium to your diet while providing you with nearly the same effects as salt-based water softener. Also, they are very convenient to use since you never have to refill the system with salt.
However, there are also a couple of downsides to salt-free softeners. First of all, they do not actually remove the minerals from the water — they simply crystalize them. So, the overall quality of the water is left intact.
Secondly, these softeners are not designed to treat other harsh contaminants, including iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, or copper. If your water has high levels of these contaminants, you should consider purchasing another filter that will treat the water before making it to the salt-free softener since it might damage it.
Ion Exchange or Salt-Based Water Softener
Ion exchange softeners or salt-based water softeners are the most traditional and effective way to get rid of hard water. They rely on sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium to reduce mineral concentrations (calcium and magnesium in particular).
These softeners rely on resin to attract the hardening materials from water. Following this process is the exchange of ions in the water with sodium, potassium, or magnesium ions, therefore removing the sodium ions that cause water hardness and improving its quality and taste.
When purchasing salt-based water softeners, you should always be aware of the amount of salt they consume. Besides the savings you can make with more efficient softeners, they also add a smaller amount of salt into your diet through drinking water. And while it is not certain if salt levels found in “softened” water can pose a threat to your health, you should always go on the safe side and take as little as you can.
Salt-based water softener is considered to be the most effective option for softening hard water, and it is mainly due to the fact that calcium and magnesium ions remove all mineral buildup from your water.
Reverse Osmosis Softeners
Reverse osmosis systems remove both contaminants and minerals from water through several filtering stages. Thus, a reverse osmosis water filter consists of several filtration stages, with each of them serving a different purpose. Reverse osmosis systems feature a semi-permeable Reverse Osmosis system membrane, which is the essence of the capacity of these systems.
In the water softening process, water passes through several whole house filtration stages to filter out common contaminants. After that, it is forced through the RO membrane at a high pressure, which further filters out the smallest contaminants, including minerals that cause hard water.
During the process, the Reverse Osmosis system membrane is constantly draining out the contaminated water, resulting in a water waste by-product from the process of reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis can remove almost 99.9% of water contaminants and improve its taste and quality, making it healthier for consumption.
These systems offer solutions to two different problems — contaminated water and hard water. The integrated solution could save you a lot of money if you are considering purchasing a salt-free softener along with a water contamination filter.
Magnetic water softeners use electromagnetic coils to separate calcium, magnesium, and other particles that cause hard water from the water itself. But, this approach is only beneficial to water that comes within reach of the magnets. 48 hours after leaving the magnetic field, the water returns to its hardened stage.
Magnetic water softeners are a low-maintenance option for water softening, and they are also more affordable than other softeners available on the market. Filtration resin beds of magnetic softeners have extended durability, as they can last up to 40 years. By being a salt-free option, they are not a threat to sodium-sensitive people.
Along with their advantages, magnetic softeners also feature a couple of disadvantages. They do not actually remove minerals from the water; instead, they prevent scaling by altering its chemical composition.
Magnetic softeners are not as efficient as some other alternatives. Water leaving the magnetic softener will become hard after 48 hours, meaning that a water heater, along with many other appliances, will still build scale.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Water Softener
If you have carefully read through our detailed reviews but are still uncertain about which water softening system to choose, we have a few things you should consider before making a decision.
Retaining Water Pressure
A high flow bypass valve is another vital feature you should look for in the best water softeners. It is crucial if you want to have an uninterrupted water supply across your household.
A lot of water softening systems will lower your water pressure, which is why you should always keep an open eye for softeners that will retain an unchanged water pressure.
Removing Other Contaminants
Another crucial factor you should consider if you do not have access to pre-treated water are softeners that remove other contaminants along with the minerals that cause hardness in water. This is essential if you use the system to provide you with safe drinking water.
Some softener types, including reverse osmosis systems, provide an overall solution to both contaminated and hard water. On the other hand, others might even require you to install additional filters to pre-treat the water so it does not damage any parts of the system.
Iron is a critical component you can find in the water, and the presence of iron causes corrosion and rust. Households with older plumbing installations might suffer significant damage due to iron in the water systems, and it can also alter its taste and color and could pose a threat to your health if consumed in large amounts.
So, if you want to purchase a water softening system that will solve all of your water-related issues, the best thing you can do is run a couple of tests in advance. Buy a couple of testing kits for harsh contaminants that might be present in your water, and based on the results, find the best solution that will help you get rid of them all.
Operational Costs and Maintenance of Water Softening Systems
Considering how much money and time it will take you to maintain your water softening system is also very significant. There is no point in scouting for the cheapest softener if it is going to add high operational costs and maintenance issues in the future.
Operational costs usually refer to the amount of salt your softener will require, electricity consumption, water waste, and resin and filter upgrades, based on the type of your softener. That is why most of the softening systems we have reviewed above are highly economical, and some of them do not even run on salt or electricity.
If you are looking to save some money in the long run, it is always best to spend a couple of dollars in advance, as that will keep you from future costs. Intelligent softening systems feature a lot of cost-effective properties, including smart regeneration features that will lower your water consumption, vacation and hibernation modes that will reduce water and electricity consumption while still retaining the hygiene of the system, and so on.
FAQs: Water Softeners
Q1. Will a Water Softening System Provide Safe Drinking Water?
This varies between different softener types. Salt-free softeners are well-known due to the fact that they do not even remove the minerals found in water but simply crystallize them in order for the minerals not to stick to your plumbing or appliances. Reverse osmosis systems, on the other hand, offer you protection against many harsh contaminants in addition to removing the minerals that cause hard water.
Q2. Can I Install a Water Softener System?
Yes, all of the softeners we have reviewed and most of the other softeners on the market are designed to offer you an easy installation. Many manufacturers feature installation guides and even videos that will walk you through the process and guide you step by step. All you need are a couple of standard tools, including NPT female connectors, tubing and water pipes, drain tubing, teflon tape, pipe cutter, pliers, and a flathead and phillips screwdriver.
Q3. What Is the Best Place to Install a Water Softening System?
If you want to protect your house’s plumbing, installing the water softening system the furthest you can is the best practice. By going further from your home and closer to your water supply network, you lower hard water exposure to your pipes and protect them from scale buildup.
But, this does not go for all softeners. For instance, magnetic softening systems are only effective within the area of their reach, and water treated with magnetic softeners goes back to its hard state within 48 hours after it leaves the magnetic field.
As a result, they are best placed in a central location of your house to ensure the water is still softened when it reaches the faucet or any appliance. Regardless of where you decide to install the softener, make sure you have easy access to it, as you will have to check it from time to time, replace a filter, and add resin or salt.
Final Thoughts – Best Water Softeners
The benefits of using a water softening system are endless. By increasing your water quality, a softener will also protect your water pipes and appliances, maintain the quality of your clothes, contribute to healthier skin and hair, and help you clean faster.
We hope our article has helped you understand what to look for as the best solution for your water issues. However, we recommend either SpringWell or SoftPro for their excellent efficiency and product life. And with a bit of luck, it might even help you find the absolute best water softener for your convenience.