Have you ever turned on the faucet to grab a drink and smelled rotten eggs? That’s sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in your water. The solution? A salt-free water softener! Have you held the glass up to the light and discovered it’s cloudy? Sulfur and unsafe pathogens or chemicals.
“How long has this been going on,” you ask yourself. Next, you start thinking about how many glasses you’ve consumed. The overall quality of your water. The effects on your health. Don’t let hydrogen sulfide enter your plumbing. The best solution is a whole house water conditioner.
We’ve researched and reviewed the seven best salt-free water softener systems. In this article, we’ll explain how saltless water softeners work. Explain the individual filters that remove impurities from your home’s water.
Finally, we’ll explain how vital a water softener is for cooking, washing clothes, the life of your appliances, and most importantly, a healthier lifestyle for you, your family, and your pets.
7 Best Salt Free Water Softener Reviews
SpringWell salt-free water softeners are highly rated, and for a good reason. The technology built into the FutureSoft salt-free water softener provides 99.6% scale prevention. No chemicals or salt requirements ensure your water pressure never unexpectedly drops or increases.
The salt-free Futuresoft water softening system wastes guarantee no water waste. FutureSoft water softening systems never discharge harmful salt brine into the environment. No more scale on dishes and glassware. Soft water extends the life of major water-powered appliances and makes everyday cleaning tasks easier!
Springwell FutureSoft salt-free water softeners process your home’s water by ion exchange. At a stage called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC), the removal of hard water minerals converts, or “softens” the hardness of the water.
Once the minerals neutralize, they no longer stick to the surfaces, china, and glassware and keep your appliances and water heaters free of annoying scale and build-up.
The neutralizing process is suitable for the water softening system and your home’s plumbing. All harmful minerals flush from the system. Therefore, no extra cleaning cycle is necessary to remove and replace any captured ions.
The durable Springwell FutureSoft salt-free water softener system incorporates 20 years of water quality science and expertise; is manufactured using only the finest certified components to optimize performance and reliability.
If you’re shopping for the best water conditioner, consider the Springwell FutureSoft Salt-Free Water Softener.
Springwell recommends that homes that rely on private well water sources pre-treat to filter out iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, copper, or other contaminants to avoid compromising the Futuresoft filters (media).
Warranty: Manufacturer lifetime from defects plus a 6-year, 1 million gallon water conditioning guarantee.
- No hard water scale, build Up, sticking, etching or bonding
- No wasted water
- Electricity-free system
- FutureSoft “all flow rate” ActivFLo technology
- Affordable replacement filters
- Maintains consistent water pressure at 12+ GPM
- Significant investment
- May require additional professional plumbing installation costs
At Pentair, every day is “world water day!” Water is an essential aspect of our everyday lives and activities. Pentair water conditioning solutions ensure their water systems move and improve quality water through your plumbing.
Everyone in your home deserves to enjoy clean, healthy water. The magic is in the Nutrasoft media filtration.
The Pentair Pelican salt-free water softener system with alternative Natursoft media lets your water flow freely. The construction of the media sustains the life of the filters and is an innovative, safe, sustainable choice.
Each Pentair Pelican includes a prefilter, easy-to-install mounting bracket, unique salt-free water softening alternative system tank bypass valve, and fittings.
The importance of bypass valves on water treatment devices is to allow the user to easily divert water around the treatment device, for example, to a garden hose or integrated sprinkler system.
Each Pelican salt-free water softener system with alternative Natursoft media comes with Pentair’s comprehensive owner’s manual and installation guide. We’ve chosen the Pentair Pelican salt-free water softener system with alternative Natursoft media as the best “runner up” water softener/conditioner.
Warranty: 60-day no questions asked money-back guarantee (plus 25% restocking fee).
- Hassle-free maintenance
- Improve appliance efficiency, use less detergent
- Indoor/outdoor compatibility
- High-quality stainless steel construction
- A maximum flow rate of 15 GPM
- Installation kit not included
- Professional installation is required for homes with new plumbing
The GreenWave salt-free water conditioner is the best eco-friendly system for the environmentally conscious. Unique patented Filtersorb SP 3 media and an industry-leading Vortech distributor plate work in tandem for long-lasting and efficient salt-free water conditioning.
Filtersorb SP 3 media uses Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC). This process deactivates the hard water minerals, then converts them into harmless, microscopic crystals. Once suspended in the water, they can pass through the system and bypass your plumbing – offering your home clean, clear, softer water!
US Water softener systems focus on removing as much calcium and magnesium as possible by neutralizing minerals that adhere to surfaces and inside your home’s plumbing.
A water softening system to exceed your expectations, the GreenWave salt-free water softener allows water to pass through a pressure vessel, transforming the calcium bicarbonate into calcium crystals. As the NAC reaction occurs, the crystals filter away from your plumbing, allowing the fresh softened water to flow into your home.
Each US Water Greenwave salt-free water conditioner system includes a stainless steel tank, Vortech plate, media to eliminate clogging and build-up, a bypass valve, and an installation manual.
The single tank US Water GREENWAVE SALT-FREE WATER CONDITIONER measures 58.5” H (with bypass valve) x 9” W.
Warranty: No returns on products that have been installed or used.
- 97% effective water softener alternative
- Eradicates scale and build-up
- Protects electric water-powered appliance components
- Complete salt-free system
- Eco-friendly design helps protect plumbing
- Zero water waste
- No electricity is required to operate
- Iron, Manganese, and Copper pre-treat required
- Installation may require professional plumber
- Pre-filter water system upgrade recommended
Aquasana is the leader in reliable, high-performance salt-free water conditioning and filtering. For starters, Aquasana technology includes guaranteed water descaling for six years.
The water heater, washing machine, and dishwasher will never come in contact with harsh, hard water. Your home’s internal plumbing won’t be affected by the adverse effects of high iron levels.
Better yet, gone are the days of lugging heavy bags of salt from the big box or hardware store. And no more scheduling when and how much salt to add to your water softening system.
Aquasana salt-free water conditioners never harm the environment with chemical or salt backwash. Scale Control Media (SCM) salt-free technology keeps the scale buildup from forming in your plumbing. Your water appliances, skin, and hair don’t suffer the effects of anything harsh or irritating.
SCM allows your home’s water to flow effectively and continuously. Mineral causing scale buildup dissolves into microscopic crystal particles. The particles go down the drain, and Aquasana sends fresh conditioned water to your faucets and appliances.
Aquasana’s Salt-Free Water Conditioner is compact, easy to install, and low maintenance making it the best water softener if you’re on a budget. With a small installation footprint of only 27” L x 46” H x 9” D, pulse a 600,000 gallon capacity with a maximum operation of 100 psi, Aquasana has your water softening covered!
Warranty: 6-year filter life, 6-year warranty, and a first 90-day guarantee.
- Quick, simple-change tanks
- Maintain high water pressure in busy homes
- Easy installation and maintenance
- Made from safe high density, triple-lined, food-grade materials
- No electricity or messy drainage required
- Upflow, dual tank design increases water contact time
- Works most effectively with a whole house water filter
If you want the best efficient salt-free water conditioner, with a maximum of 12 GPM and eliminates hard water scaling, look at the SoftPro Elite. For starters, no programming, adjustments, or electricity to operate the system means all you have to think about is soft, conditioned water flowing through your plumbing.
A SoftPro Elite can pay for itself within 3.5 years, Which is almost $500 in real annual savings. Over time your investment in the SoftPro Elite “pays” you. Scale Control Technology (SCT) effectively prevents 99.6% of hard water scaling.
As hard water minerals dissolve during the conditioning process SCT transforms into inactive, harmless crystal particles which pass through your home’s water and go straight down the drain!
SoftPro salt-free conditioner system includes a unique 5-micron NAC sediment and chlorine pre-filter which removes particles in your home’s water that build up over time in water heaters, showerheads, and appliances.
Ask for your free home water analysis report from the manufacturer. Each SoftPro comes with a washable, removable neoprene tank jacket to help reduce condensation and unexpected water pooling at the base of the tank.
Warranty: Return your SoftPro within the first 6 months for a full refund. Valve and tank for life.
- Eliminates the effects of hard water without the use of salt
- Advanced Salt-Free Technology
- Install & Forget-It-Operation
- Great for homes with 1 to 5 bathrooms
- For water hardness up to 17 GPG
- Professional plumber may be required
- Large capacity installation takes up space
Crystal Quest 4-stage salt-free water conditioner softens water using four unique filters. The key to perfectly conditioned water is the Crystal Quest’s ability to transform hard water minerals into mechanically stable and heat-resistant calcite crystals. Calcium is what creates scale in your pipes and faucets which leads to higher utility bills and frequent expensive appliance repairs. Scale can also be a breeding ground for bacteria in your drinking water.
Fortunately, the Crystal Quest Salt-free conditioner uses the latest technology to eradicate all these issues. Lime and calcium deposits simply rinse from the system. All that’s left is clear, fresh drinkable water with positive health benefits.
Stage one, a 20” sediment filter cartridge that removes sediment, silt, sand, and dirt. Stages two and three push water through the Crystal Quest Eagle Anti-Scale media tank, and a 20” solid carbon cartridge to remove volatile organic carbon compounds (VOCs), insecticides, pesticides, and industrial solvents.
In the fourth stage, a 20” 0.2-micron ultrafiltration (UF) membrane uses Crystal Quest purification technology to produce high-purity water quality for your home. UF removes colloids, bacteria, viruses, parasites, plus organic molecules larger than 0.2-micron.
Warranty: One-year limited warranty from date of purchase.
- Significantly reduce energy costs
- Continuous anti-scaling and water conditioning
- Alternative Eaglesorb ES3 scale control media
- Choose from sturdy fiberglass or stainless steel construction
- Dependable filtration
- Difficulty installing the system
If you have a home larger than 1,500 square feet and plenty of plumbing to bring fresh water to your taps, the NuvoH2O Manor Duo Water Softener + Taste Filter System is the ideal water conditioner.
The NuvoH2O Salt-Free Water Softener System uses revolutionary technology. In as little as three impressive steps. First, the NuvoH2O Manor Duo system traps the healthy ‘hard’ minerals. Instead of removing and replacing them like traditional old-fashioned softeners, CitraCharge, bonds to the minerals using a citrus-based formula. Your water flows through your plumbing with no sticking, no mess, and no changes in water pressure.
Next, NuvoH2O continues to soften the water by reducing the pH level water to a near-perfect neutral (7.0). A healthy pH means no scaling on surfaces, or in your water-based appliances. Finally, NuvoH2O works to remove all existing scale buildup from previous systems or not to have one at all.
As the system is softening your home’s water it is also being filtered! NuvoH2O uses a 10-micron carbon filter, and their proprietary Taste System to the water’s quality by removing sediment and chemicals. Up to 95% of Chlorine, VOCs, and inorganic chemicals.
The comprehensive pack up includes a system housing (1 head and 2 sumps) 1 mounting bracket, softener cartridge, carbon taste filter, wrench, tapcon screw pack, system head screw pack, O-rings and lubricant, and an easy-to-read installation guide
Save thousands of dollars by extending the life of your appliances from a reliable NuvoH2O compact, eco-friendly water system backed by the impressive NuvoH2O satisfaction guarantee! The NuvoH2O weighs 44 pounds and measures 26” W x 8” H x 8” D.
Warranty: 90 day money back guarantee and a 5 year limited warranty.
- Compact design – fits almost anywhere
- Revolutionary citrus based filtration system
- Removes sediment and most chemicals from house water
- Cartridge and filter last up to 6 months
- Developed from 30+ years of commercial experience
- Continuous filter and cartridge changes
- An additional extra bypass valve helps the system condition better
Related Reading: Best Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combos
Best Salt Free Water Softeners Buyer’s Guide 2022
At the top of this Best Salt-Free Water Softener System Reviews (AKA Saltless, Salt-Free Conditioner) buyer’s guide and product review, we asked if you’d ever helped yourself to a drink from the tap been horrified by the aroma and appearance of your tap water.
If the answer is yes, and you’ve come this far into our buyer’s guide, and you’re still in need of clear, refreshing, tap water, free of harmful minerals and awful rotten egg smell, the answer is simple: it all starts with your home’s water quality. But what defines water “quality”? First, you test the water, and then you examine the results.
Testing your home’s water is easy. You contact your local water municipality or buy a water testing kit or both! Understanding your water composition – hardness, pH, levels of bacteria, metals, and sediment – helps you determine how much filtration you’ll need.
Water Flow And Pressure
Singing your favorite tune in a relaxing hot shower can come to an abrupt and shocking halt when an unexpected blast of col water releases itself through the showerhead. That means you have lousy water pressure. Once the faucet turns on in the kitchen, the rest of the faucets suffer.
Understanding the correct water pressure for your home keeps your pipes from bursting or your taps drying up. And you need efficient water pressure in the winter months to keep your lines from freezing.
But, nothing is more critical than water pressure on your whole home water conditioner and filtration systems. The Gallons Per Minute (GPM) flowing through the cartridges and filters determines how long they will last, which should be the manufacturer’s recommended six months or more. You’ll save tons of money, and your showers will stay hot from beginning to end!
Once you’ve determined your water flow and pressure, it’s good to tour your home and count your faucets, water-powered appliances, showerheads, toilets, and any other inflows.
Some water conditioners and filters use no electricity, while others require a dedicated outlet. You’ll need to determine the compatibility and the type of technology that works best for your home to rely consistently on your whole house water softener.
To DIY or not to DIY. Suppose you’re not a professional plumber and have no clue how to install a whole house water conditioner or filter; at least Google how to install the system and read the instructions before you begin.
If installation seems out of your wheelhouse, call around for a free estimate and when the plumber arrives, ask probing questions about the system you’ve purchased. Most of all, ask how much the installation will cost. Some reviews we’ve read state consumers paid upwards of $400-600. You don’t know what you don’t know, so ask yourself, what is my budget?
It’s better to know upfront what you want to spend than cheat yourself out of the water conditioning system you want because you need to pay a professional or get caught off guard with a plumber’s bill you can’t afford when you realize you have no DIY skills.
If a maintenance-free whole house salt-free water conditioner sounds like a good fit for your home’s water conditioning needs, go that route first. Most systems need little more than a regular filter change and no additional water to run or clean. Most salt-free water conditioner system manufacturers use materials that can allow them to be installed inside or outside and face the elements.
If you want to commit to having time to maintain a whole-house salt-free water softening system, the good news is that you won’t be dragging heavy bags of salt home from the big-box garden centers. The bad news is you’ll be maintaining a system and not making a professional plumber’s wage.
We covered the warranty for each of the whole house salt-free conditioners we’ve reviewed but be warned: most manufacturers only offer a 6-9 month money-back guarantee at the time of purchase. If the system comes with a warranty, make sure you fully understand what parts are covered and if the system can be returned when it kicks in.
Certifications & NSF Standards
Look for the NSF “seal of approval.” If you see it on your salt-free whole house water softener and conditioner system, you know it was rigorously tested by the respected leader of global independent product testing organizations.
It is easy to take the safety of your water, food, and consumer products for granted. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) ensures industry standards and safety regulations. The NSF holds companies accountable to these standards when producing the vast array of products we use daily.
Physical Space Available
When researching your whole house water conditioning system, you’ll discover that each model comes in varying sizes.
From a compact, wall-mountable 27″ L x 46″ H x 9″ D, like the Aquasana Salt-Free Water Conditioner, to taller individual vertical cylinders measuring several feet high.
Be sure to walk the perimeter of your house – inside and outside – and locate your home’s inlet where the filtered, conditioned water and the external water source meet. Take vertical and horizontal measurements, then shop for the salt-free water conditioning system that fits into the suitable space and your budget!
Cost Involved (Upfront Cost and Ongoing Maintenance Costs)
The cost of installing your whole house salt-free water softening system varies depending on the cost of the system itself. Do you want to go big? Go big! But, before you break the bank, test your home’s water and consult with a professional to understand what will work best for your square footage.
Don’t forget that the cost of your whole house salt-free water softener system may cost more if you’re treating well water and the water leans towards the hard side and doesn’t have a near-perfect pH balance.
You’ll save on your energy costs since most salt-free water conditioners don’t need electricity to condition your home’s water supply. And you’ll save a lot of money never buying bags of salt anymore!
How do salt-free water softeners work?
A saltless water softener uses potassium in place of sodium. The potassium produces a chemical transformation that crystallizes the mineral buildup. This is useful in that it prevents the minerals from clinging to your plumbing, laundry, and other surfaces that hard water can develop scale on.
Do salt-free water softeners really work?
Yes! In a process known as ion exchange salt-free water conditioners (softeners) exchange the sodium ions in your home’s water supply by displacing the calcium and magnesium ions that create hard water.
What are the benefits of a salt-free water softener?
You can expect reduced scale buildup and longer-lasting appliances. Salt-free water softeners are virtually low maintenance, easy to install, and require no drainage or regeneration. That equates to an environmentally-safe product. In addition, salt-free water softeners don’t use electricity and cost nothing to operate, which means significant savings on your monthly energy bill.
What are the negatives of a salt-free water softener?
Remember, a salt-free water “softener” is a water conditioner. Water conditioners remove unwanted smells and tastes in your home’s water. They don’t filter the water.
If you can’t get a handle on a blanched pH, hard water spots will continue to appear on your glasses and dishes, and soap-scum buildup will persist on your shower doors.
You’ll ultimately waste money and up to 75% more on soaps, detergents, and shampoos. And your water heating expenses could increase by 30 percent.
Which water softener is better, salt or no salt?
Salt-based water softeners altogether remove hard water minerals and do it well. As a result, they eliminate many of the problems associated with hard water.
Salt-free water conditioners use ion exchange to capture and replace the harmful minerals but may not necessarily tackle any or all of your home’s hard water issues.
How long does a salt-free water softener last?
Most salt-free water softener manufacturers guarantee 6-year shelf life. Be sure to contact customer support if you have questions. Read the fine print and warranty information to understand the value and lifespan of your salt-free whole house water softener.
Are salt-free water softeners more expensive?
The cost of installing a salt-free water conditioner is relatively low, considering there are usually no electrical or elaborate plumbing connections involved. Not having to lug heavy bags of salt from the big-box hardware stores saves time and money, and you don’t have to schedule maintenance or system flushes and refills.
Can you use a salt-free softener for well water?
A water softener is able to remove most of the minerals from the water which are present in excess thereby improving the taste as well as the quality of the well water and making it completely fit for human consumption. This method is cheaper and safer than boiling water every time you need it for drinking or cooking
sulfur, manganese, iron, tannins
Does a salt-free water softener filter water?
No, salt-free water softeners/conditioners are not water filters. They don’t use special media filtration and do not work to remove many of the harmful metals POCs and bacteria that a water filtration system is designed to do. So, adding a whole house water filtration system to your salt-free water softener is a fantastic investment.
Final Thoughts on Buying a Salt-Free Water Softener System
Water sources vary, but the living bacteria, VOCs, and hard minerals and metals live in groundwater and well water. They accumulate over time along with that nasty sulfur bacteria we referenced at the top of our buyer’s guide. And while this occurs naturally, mainly due to decay and chemical reactions between the soil and rocks. When it enters your home’s plumbing, it needs to be conditioned as soon as possible.
If sulfur is the culprit flowing into your faucets, there is a good chance hard water is flowing in from your water source as well. Treating your home’s water with a salt-free water softener (conditioner) is an excellent first step in filtering out what you don’t want to drink and having confidence that every drink from the tap is healthy and, most importantly, “egg-free.”