The model also has an alert mode for when salt is running out. Moreover, it is one of the best salt-based softeners with iron extracting ability. Despite modernity, the installation job is challenging.
- Best choice: GE Appliances SMART 40,000 Grain Water Softener
- Best Salt-based softener: EcoPure EP7130 30,000 Grain Water Softener
- Best for well water: iSpring RCC7AK Drinking Water Filter System
- Best budget: Tier1 Essential Series 48,000 Grain Water Softener
- Best capacity: Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
Before your purchase, the following parts are a few criteria to help you determine which water softener suits your demand.
Generally, water softeners are divided into two types: salt-based and salt-free. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Salt-based softeners, also known as ion exchange softeners, are standard among consumers. These models can pull out the minerals without filtering any other substances.
Inside these softeners are resin beads with a negative charge. When water passes through, there will be a chemical reaction. The charged calcium and magnesium positive ions will swap with the beads’ sodium ions. In other words, the resin beads act as magnets and attract mineral particles.
These models are affordable but are costly in the long run. You need to replenish salt and clean the resin bed regularly. Note that the salt used here is crystallized salt pellets. The more complex the water is, the higher the sodium level gets. And as it gets higher, it will do more harm than good to you.
The salt-free softeners (water descalers), on the other hand, work in a different approach. Instead of removing the minerals, these models change the very characteristics, hindering them from sticking.
Economically, salt-free softeners are usually cheaper than salt-based ones. However, they operate not as quickly as salt-based. Due to the calcium not being detached, these models don’t prevent clogging and jamming appliances.
2. Capacity and unit size
Capacity is an assessment to evaluate how much the product can “soften” water before regeneration. Regeneration is when the softener utilizes salts and water to clean the resin beads from minerals.
A water softener’s capacity runs from eight thousand to eighty thousand grains, which equals the range from half a kilogram to five kilograms at maximum.
Usually, capacity is determined by the model’s size. The bigger the unit, the stronger it is, vice versa. Therefore, you need to choose the right size for it, unless you want to cost extra and own an unfit softener that doesn’t adapt to your water system.
Most models on the market have descriptions of how many grains per gallon (g/g). You can do a simple math calculation to see the size that fits your home.
First, you multiply the number of your family members by 75 (gallons), which is the average amount of water a person uses daily. Then you multiply it by the number of grains of minerals in one gallon of water in your home. And the result is the capacity of the softener that you need.
Don’t forget that the product’s size should be adequate so that your home has enough space to store it.
If you look up some models, you will see that they come with some certifications awarded by some organizations. These accreditations can prove products’ qualities and make them more trustworthy.
There are two big independent organizations that you should look for when purchasing: the Water Quality Association (WQA) and the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF International).
The final factor is price, which is just as important as the three factors mentioned above. To make your ideal purchase, you have to find a reasonable price model.
Some softeners are affordable, but they contain some flaws. And there are those with top-level features, but their values are immeasurable.
In case you want to buy a water softener while on a budget, consider the Tier1 Essential Series 48,000 Grain Water Softener.
Last update on 2023-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API
1. Where should I install my whole house water softener?
Your softener should be in a place near the waterline. We recommend it be close to the supply and before the heaters because it is vulnerable to hot liquid.
Some people place it somewhere remote, such as in the garage or down the basement.
2. Can water softeners work with iron and chlorine?
Yes, they can. Water softeners can absorb both iron and chlorine. You can check your household water nutrients before and after being processed if you still have doubts. There will be a decline in the water content.
But the quantity of iron that it can remove is limited. That means the model can only deal with a small amount of iron. If your hard water is high in iron, you will need to add an extra filter for your softener and clean the brine tank regularly.
Chlorine is the primary substance responsible for mineral scales’ build-up on many appliances. Fortunately, the water softeners are designated for this task. That’s why the softeners, both salt-based and salt-free, work effectively in taking out chlorine.
3. Why does my water softener have a rotten egg smell?
It looks like you need to check your brine tank. Don’t worry! It is a problem that many customers have faced before.
The culprit behind the stench is sulfur bacteria. The tank’s sodium has seduced these bacteria as they let out hydrogen sulfide. This chemical compound is renowned for its distinctive smell.
To avoid the problem from happening again, you have to clean the brine tank frequently.
4. Is it true that using a water softener costs me extra on the water bill?
Yes, indeed. Using a water softener means your water bill will increase a bit. It is due to the regeneration feature of the model.
When the tank’s mineral ions are full, the softener will release them by using water. The harder the water is, the more often it has to regenerate, and the more water will be wasted.
5. Is the amount of salt a salt-based softener produces excessive?
No, it isn’t. Though salt-based softeners release sodium, the amount is always under control and should not harm you. Even if your water is high in mineral content, the released salt would only be a few dozen milligrams.
A water softener is an essential tool for any household. It deserves to be a reliable gadget for its great benefits.
We have assisted you in picking the product that suits your needs. Now we will give you our two best water softeners.
The first pick is the GE Appliances SMART 40,000 Grain Water Softener. The reason we choose this model is because of not only the capability but also the innovative features.
Besides the 40,000 grain per gallon capacity, this model can soften water from anywhere in your home, and it can also detach a considerable amount of other substances like iron.
What's more, the model comes with digitally programmable settings and advanced technology enabling adaptability.
The other one is the EcoPure EP7130 30,000 Grain Water Softener. This model is convenient and eco-friendly, suitable for households of average size.
The softener possesses AutoSense Technology, which controls salt and water output in regeneration. It helps save your money and reduces the water wasted in the process.
If you have made it here, we are confident that you have in mind what to add to your shopping cart. We hope you can find the best water softener for your home after finishing this post.