Our experts have researched and tested the six best portable water softener options. My top choice for 2023 is the SoftPro Portable Water Softener based on scale reduction, price, and durability.
Quick Comparison Of Our Favorites
No electricity required
Optional compatible sediment filter
Up to 2,000 gallons of soft water per charge
Built with high grade NSF materials
Great for car washing and hot tubs
In this reviews we’ll explain how portable water softeners combat scaly hard water build-up and protect your skin, nails, and hair. You’ll also learn about the importance of testing your water source to help find the right portable water softener for your RV, car washing, or tiny home. You’ll learn about the unique media portable water softeners use to soften your RVs hard water.
Additionally, you’ll learn about the types of portable RV water softener options currently on the market, the things you should consider before purchasing a portable water softener, why soft water is healthier, and how soft water enhances your lifestyle. Finally, we’ll cover some popular portable water softener FAQs.
We researched and reviewed the six best portable water softeners based on performance, features, and price to find you the best portable water softener for your RV, home, car washing applications, hot tubs, and more.
Best RV Water Softener
- Best Overall: SoftPro Portable RV Water Softener Learn More
- Runner Up: PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener Learn More
- Best Flow Rate: On The Go Double Standard Softener & Conditioner Learn More
- Best NSF Certified: Essential RV Portable Water Softener Learn More
- Best Budget: Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Water Softener Conditioner Learn More
- Best For Car Washing: Camco TastePURE Portable Water Softener Learn More
Portable Water Softener Reviews For 2023
About the size of a 5-gallon water jug, the 31 pound, 21.5″ H x 6″ W, resin-wrapped, sturdy fiberglass SoftPro Portable RV Water Softener tank provides 50% more capacity than competitor portable soft water tanks.
For thirty years, the SoftPro brand has been the portable water softener that RV owners trust. The convenient, rugged construction is ready to use out of the box. You’ll have the tank set up in five minutes!
Attach a garden hose to the double-sided ¾” brass connector, run a backwash for a few minutes until the water runs clear, then enjoy a non-stop stream of fresh, filtered soft water filtered through a 16,000 grain NSF resin.
Using regular table salt, the SoftPro Portable RV Water Softener has lightning-fast regeneration in under 30 minutes. No additional chemicals are needed. The tank provides up to 2,000 gallons of soft water for up to 60 days per charge.
The impressive compact design lets you install the SoftPro Portable Water Softener in tiny spaces, like the RV storage bay or; leave it free-standing outside your camper or dockside near your boat.
SoftPro also offers a compatible sediment filter upgrade. Essentially a must have, you won’t have to waste time & money buying replacement filter cartridges anymore – just wash the filters out and reuse.
- Lifetime warranty
- High flow up to 25 GPM
- No electricity required
- Optional compatible sediment filter
- No waste water
- May require installation help if not DIY inclined
Two words describe the PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener: built tough. American-built PRO + AQUA portable water softeners comprise only high-grade NSF materials. Mini but mighty, the PRO + AQUA is an investment to last for years. The inner tank is high-grade Polyethylene, reinforced with a solid fiberglass wrap. Inside the tank, an additional Polyethylene inner shell houses NSF-certified food-grade premium resin.
PRO+AQUA’s solidly built tank sits on a ten ⅜” base for maximum stability and uses sturdy double-sided 3/4″ high-flow copper ports which attach easily to a standard garden hose. The removable tank head arrives fully assembled and ready to turn hard water soft.
Rounding off the impressive tank construction is a quality-made riser tube and premium top and bottom quality distributors. The regeneration tank and an extra filter cartridge are included!
The Pro+Aqua quickly regenerates in less than 30 minutes with only 2 boxes of table salt. While the 16,000 grain capacity provides up to 2,000 gallons of soft water depending on your hardness and usage.
Weighing in at 35 pounds and measuring 10″ W x 19.5″ H PRO+AQUA Portable Water Softeners combine portability and durability and are an excellent choice for RV, boat owners, and car washing applications.
- Steady 5 GPM water flow
- Softens well or city water
- Provides up to 2,000 gallons of soft water per charge
- Built with high grade NSF materials
- Tank does not include a handle
- No safety caps for the dual ports
The On The Go softens and conditions the water while producing two times the gallons compared to standard portable RV water softener models and is the largest compact RV softener on the market.
Built solidly with the RV owner in mind, the 16,000-grain unit is a perfect fit and supplies approximately 40% more soft water than its competitors. It will allow high flow rates with minimal low-pressure drop.
The water conditioner regenerates with two boxes of table salt in less than 30 minutes to provide up to 1600 gallons of soft water or up to 40 days. The large mouth opening allows for quick salt addition.
The On The GO portable includes a carrying handle for easy transportation. While the high-grade premium resin-wrapped tank and compact design allows it to be installed in even the smallest places.
With a standard garden hose connection between the connector and your RV or Marine faucet, the On The Go requires no tools to install and no electricity to start softening your water.
- High flow rate and minimal pressure drop
- Provides 1600 gallons of soft water per charge
- Easy, tool-free, installation
- Great results for hot tubs and car washing
- No longer includes a shut-off valve
- Plastic hose fittings require plumber’s tape
- A slightly higher price tag
For RVers on the move, the Essential portable RV water softener comes pre-assembled and ready to go! It features a 3/4″ high-flow port, 16,000-grain resin media capacity guaranteed to last for up to 60 days or 2000+ gallons before the recommended recharge.
No electricity is required to operate this water conditioning system. The Essential portable RV water softener is also low maintenance, and the installation is easy. The company even claims, “a five-year-old can do it.”
Essential uses certified NSF materials to ensure you’re safely softening your water for your family and pets. Essential portable RV water softener tanks are as rugged as they get; built using polyethylene, covered with fiberglass, and sit on a stable, tip-free 10 3/8″ base.
Inside the tank, Essential grain resin media reduces hard water causing minerals and other harmful metals and contaminants. Essential’s proprietary resin media can last for up to 5 years. Recharge the Essential portable RV water softener with ordinary table salt.
Essential portable RV water softeners have been proudly made in the USA by water experts since 1992. Measuring 10″ W x 10″ D x 20″ H, you can tuck the 31.8-pound Essential portable RV water softener in a convenient location in your RV and forget about it!
- Made with NSF Certified Rugged Tank Materials
- 16,000 grain capacity
- 2000+ gallons of soft water per charge
- High flow inlet/outlet connection
- Custom no-kink water hose
- Hose fittings and test strips are incremental add on
If your water source contains heavy levels of Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Lead, and other heavy metals, fear not; the Mobile-Soft-Water 16,000 Grain water softener is perfect for your RV or car washing applications.
Regenerate without electricity; the portable Mobile-Soft-Water system is as easy to use as it is to regenerate. The tank comes pre-loaded with 1/2 cubic feet of highly charged, high-capacity water softening resin beads.
Treat up to 5 gallons of water per minute. Your Mobile-Soft-Water water softening system will ship with 10-inch fiberglass reinforced plastic pressure vessel, lead-free nylon inlet & outlet connectors made from NSF listed materials, and male hose connection.
Designed for 150 psi operating pressure, the Mobile-Soft-Water system weighs 33 pounds and measures 10” W x 10” D x 21.63” H. Best of all, it comes with a one-year limited warranty on materials and components.
With a Mobile-Soft-Water system, you can extend the life of your appliances and protect your home’s plumbing from harsh Iron and hard water mineral build-up.
- Removes total hardness and soluble Iron
- Lead-free NSF approved tank connectors
- 16,000 grain capacity
- 5 gallon per minute flow rate
- May need to replace nylon fittings with brass
You better believe Camco thought TastePURE was a great idea to catch RVers attention! This ready-to-use portable water softener is ready to reduce the hardness of your RV or boat’s water straight out of the box!
The Camco TastePURE Portable Water Softener uses premium 10,000 ion exchange grain resin to remove harsh calcium and magnesium, iron, and many other minerals and contaminants you don’t want to consume.
The 25 pound tank, measuring 8½” in diameter by 20½” high boasts a smooth and steady flow rate of 4 GPM. The efficient technology and compact, space-Saving design allows for storage in the tightest RV space. A large mouth opening makes adding salt for the regeneration process easy, and the convenient carry handle lets you move the tank wherever you need!
Each Camco TastePURE Portable Water Softener includes the tank, fifty water testing strips, a 4-foot hose, and a male-to-male hose fitting for perfect waste-free regeneration. While you’re on the move, the garden hose plug and specially designed cap keep the tank’s contents secure.
- Hardness water test strips included
- High flow with no pressure restriction
- 10,000 grain capacity
- Solid stainless steel connectors
- 20-minute fast rinse after each regeneration
2023 Buyers Guide to the Best Portable Water Softener
How Does A Portable Water Softener Work?
Getting the most out of your portable water softener purchase means knowing how it removes the hard water minerals and makes your drinking water soft, fresh and pure.
For the best water filtration and softening systems to work at maximum efficiency, they require the best filters, or media, to trap the different size particles of minerals and harmful contaminants as they pass through the water softening system and up into your tap.
The models use resin bead filtration media firmly packed into the tank. As the hard water passes through the beads, calcium, magnesium, and other harmful minerals and metals, stick to them, like metal to a magnet, and in the process, exchange them for sodium or potassium.
Finally, as the resin beads get covered with sodium ions, they swap places with the calcium and magnesium ions until they contain nothing but calcium and magnesium. At that point, it’s time to change the resin bead media to keep the soft water flowing.
Benefits Of An On The Go Water Softener
With an on the go water softener you can get all the benefits of a whole house softener system, but at a fraction of the cost and with minimal maintenance. Additionally, they are portable water softeners so you can easily move them around. Most of the models even come with handles on top.
Of course, the biggest benefit to your water softener system is that it will allow all of your appliances to last longer, and reduce scale buildup on your water fixtures, while providing soft water for healthier skin.
Types of Portable Water Softeners
Household water softeners are ion exchange devices. Ion exchange involves removing calcium and magnesium hardness ions and replacing them with non-hardness ions, typically sodium supplied by dissolved sodium chloride salt or brine.
Saltless water softeners (AKA salt-free conditioners) are instant money savers as you aren’t required to buy, haul and schedule refilling the water softener with salt. Salt-free water softeners use potassium in place of sodium. Potassium produces chemical transformations during the water softening process. The potassium “sticks” to the hard water deposits during this crystallization process.
Don’t worry about any potential mineral buildup clinging to your RVs plumbing. The existing water source at the campground laundry, and other surfaces that hard water can develop on scale; the potassium exchange flushes the hard water creating minerals down the drain!
As the name implies, electronic water descalers are a water treatment system that reduces your RV water’s hardness by allowing the water to pass through a magnetic field.
Using an electronic field created by wires wrapped around the outside of your RV’s plumbing, the force alters the hard water mineral ions as it enters your RV’s plumbing system.
Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Reverse Osmosis is a popular water purification and softening system specifically designed to filter out up to 99.9% of minerals and contaminants found at the water’s source before entering your tap. RO systems use a semipermeable membrane to remove lead, harmful chemicals, pesticides, and bacteria commonly found in well and municipal water supplies.
Be cautious when considering an RO filtration system. RO water filters are not hard water-specific, and the filters can wear out quickly when calcium and magnesium particles flush through the system. Consider adding a compatible portable RV water softening system to your existing RO system to preserve the RO system’s life.
Things To Consider Before Purchasing A Portable Water Softener
You’re not going to break the bank when shopping for a portable RV water softener tank. Be more concerned with the space you have to store the system. That said, look for thoughtful construction, a fiberglass-wrapped tank, stainless steel or copper connectors, and high-capacity resin bead media. You can expect to pay between $185 – $300.
Type of Portable Water Softener
Before determining the type of portable water softener you want, you need to test your water. Whether you’re a full-time RVer or a summertime adventurer, all along your route, you want to test the hardness of the water continually. And while you’re at it, check the water for the levels of chemicals, metals, bacteria, and other contaminants.
Your portable water softener is the last tank the water will run through. To be safe and ensure you’re drinking the healthiest water, consider a water filtration system to accompany your water softener.
Remember, you’re hooking up to many different water sources. Try to get the results from the permanent water source you call home. Conversely, call the municipalities so you can determine the type of portable water softener you need for your journey.
If you don’t want pulp in your juice, you push the fruit through the finest mesh sieve. Same goes for your portable water softener. Consider the “pulp” of all the contaminants and hard water causing minerals you don’t want in your drinking water. Consider the grain capacity of the “fine mesh sieve.” The higher the grain capacity the less volume of water passes through the grains, guaranteeing the best, soft water results.
The good news is you don’t lose water pressure or experience a lower flow rate. The fine grain resin media is designed especially to allow the hard water to pass through freely while trapping the hard water causing minerals and contaminants. Look for portable RV water softeners using 10,000 – 16,000 grain NSF certified resin.
Installation and Maintenance
Besides the ease of use and ability to soften water safely and economically, the installation of your portable RV water softener equates to connecting a water hose to the tank connector and letting the water flow!
Maintaining your portable RV water softener is easy too. Determine how much water you usually filter, then after 10,000 – 16,000 gallons, you have a fresh batch of resin media. Out with the old, in with the new!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will a portable RV water softener affect my water pressure?
No, most portable RV water softeners can soften 4-6 GPM with a psi of 150. Check your flow rate at the source to determine how many gallons can flow through the resin media. It will determine how efficiently the system works to keep fresh, healthy, and soft water flowing.
How do I store my portable water softener when not in use?
Make sure your portable RV water softener includes some soft silicon cap protectors. When the portable water softener is not in use, protect the tank’s connectors from the elements. It’s best practice to lessen the time you need to back flush the system, and waste potentially good water when it is time to rotate it back into service.
How long does a portable water softener last?
Portable RV water softener tanks can last up to ten years. If the connectors are brass, copper, or stainless steel, you won’t run the risk of unexpected leaks. Just make sure to schedule regular resin media changes to keep the inside of the tank healthy and ready to soften water when you need it.
Final Thoughts on Buying a Portable RV Water Softener
Do you live the RV life? Got itchy skin and mineral stains in your RV shower? How about a cloudy shower door and low water pressure? Hard water is plaguing your RV’s plumbing. The good news is, treating your RV’s water isn’t a costly undertaking.
A portable water softener is easy to install onto your existing water line and plays well with your mobile vacation accommodations.