A water softener removes calcium, magnesium, and other unwanted minerals from hard water making it a vital fixture in any living space. We’ve researched and reviewed the five top-rated water softeners, as well as one to avoid.
What are the best water softeners on the market?
✅ 1. GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener Learn More
✅ 2. Iron Pro 2 Learn More
✅ 3. Fleck 5600 SXT Learn More
✅ 4. Aquios AQFS200 Learn More
✅ 5. Aquasure Harmony Learn More
Reviews of the 5 Best Water Softeners, Plus 1 to Avoid
1. GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener
GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener Review: Best Water Softener System The GE 4000 Grain water softener system is also a top-rated salt-based water softener. The SmartSoft technology used in this system monitors your water usage and learns to anticipate future demands. This way, you never have to run out of soft water supply again.
Some of the handy features of this GE 40,000 Grain water softener include programmable operation, indicator lights, and an alarm. The permanent memory of the system offers reliability and hassle-free operation. The GE 40,000 has the convenience and capacity features that will make it an ideal water softener for your needs.
With custom-select blending valves, you can now choose how soft you want the water to be. The salt-saver will reduce your salt consumption by up to 34 percent. You will even save on your water consumption as GE 40,000 water softener uses less than 35 percent water. Moreover, sediment filtration allows self-cleaning functionality, with sediment filters protecting your home’s plumbing.
The low softener reminder feature will send notifications to you when the salt levels are low. All you need is to ensure that it has a Wi-Fi connection. Now you can enjoy cleaner dishes using less dishwashing detergent and fewer water spots.
GE 40,000 water softener offers appliances protections that reduce scaling and build up inside water heaters. This will prolong the life of your water softener as well as maintain its efficiency with maximum hardness removal capacity at 95 grains per gallon. Moreover, this water softener will also remove 7 PPM of iron.
To watch the GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener Review on YouTube, click here.
- SmartSoft technology with Wi-Fi enabled water softener monitoring feature
- Customizable water softening feature as per your preference
- Reduces salt and water consumption
- Reports indicate GE’s customer service leaves something to be desired
- Technicians are hard to find for repairs
- Hard to get your hands-on spare-parts
2. Iron Pro 2
Iron Pro 2 Review: Best Water Softener for Well Water If your home deals with iron-rich well water, then Iron Pro 2 is a solution in the form of a water softener. Having to deal with iron in hard water is a nuisance when you already have to deal with the presence of magnesium and calcium. You can get Iron Pro 2 in 5 different capacity variants ranging between 32,000 grains and 80,000 grains.
No matter how big your household is, the Iron Pro 2 water softener will ensure enough soft water for the entire family. If you get very hard water, this water softener is powerful to handle it with a range of 85 grains per gallon or 1456 PPM.
The Iron Pro 2 has built-in fine mesh resin that prolongs its lifespan by enabling it to survive within iron-rich hard water. This is what makes it different than any other water softener systems available in the market.
The ion exchange technology of the water softener can remove ferric iron and ferrous iron. This will effectively eliminate the root cause of those annoyingly brown stains on the equipment. Moreover, you do not have to worry about build up in your plumbing pipes. The best part about Iron Pro 2 is that it will also help you eliminate that metallic taste in drinking water.
You can set Iron Pro 2 to auto-regenerate after a certain amount of water or time consumption. You also get the convenience to control this water softener via a digital touchpad. Once you have set the right protocols, give Iron Pro 2 a couple of minutes to complete the setup, and you can leave it for a long time to perform efficiently.
To watch the Iron Pro 2 Review on YouTube, click here.
- Perfect for dealing with extremely hard water
- Offers larger capacity than any other water softeners in the market
- Effectively removes moderate concentrations of iron
- You will have to pre-filter if the iron is too high in concentration.
- Iron Pro 2 is heavy, so it will need some manpower for installation
- Copper plumbing pipe modifications may be necessary to meet distance and height of Iron Pro 2
3. Fleck 5600 SXT
Fleck 5600 SXT Review: Best Ion Exchange Water Softener Fleck 5600 SXT water softener is an on-demand digital metered system with 64,000 grain and 2 cubic feet of high capacity resin installed within its tank. Moreover, Fleck 5600 SXT uses Pentair’s mineral and brine tanks (USA) with an ultra-efficient water softener valve. This will not only have you save water consumption, but also salt consumption.
You will also get a one-inch Noryl-threaded bypass made from plastic that will be compatible with any standard flex lines and plumbing pipes. The water softener also comes with pre-loaded resins in its brine tank, making it easier to install. The built-in capacitor technology enables Fleck 5600 SXT to keep memory up to 2 days, and you will not lose the programming in case of any power loss.
The On-Demand system is not that complicated, and the water softener system measures the amount of water you will use in your household via a meter. Once you use any amount of water, the water system regenerates itself and reaches the maximum capacity. You can even program it with a preset cycle that suits your water demands.
Although you may think this feature is relatively simple, it will help you save a lot of energy, time, water, and salt. Using a timed cycle will allow you to use soft water while avoiding excessive energy and salt use. There is a small digital LCD panel that displays the real-time status of your water softener’s performance and settings.
If there is a problem, you will be able to see an error code on the LCD screen. You can cross-reference this error code with the user manual and find out where to look when troubleshooting the water softener.
To watch the Fleck 5600 SXT Review on YouTube, click here.
- Certified to NSF standards
- Auto and on-demand regeneration
- User-friendly controls
- The brine tank has no connection line for the resin tank
- Manual does not explain things very well
- Hard to reach the customer support team
4. Aquios AQFS200
Aquios AQFS220 Review: Best Salt-Free Water Softener Aquios AQFS220 is our pick as the best salt-free water softener. This water softener model by Aquios is both a water conditioner and filter at the same time. Aquios AQFS220 has a proven record of removing and preventing any existing limescale or any other issues associated with hard water.
You can say that Aquios AQFS220 is an all-in-one water softener system that uses a proprietary scale reduction and salt-free media. This allows Aquios AQFS220 to condition hard water without having to replace any of the beneficial minerals and salts during the process.
The water conditioning technology in Aquios AQFS220 reduces and prevents water hardness up to 517 PPM or 30 grains per gallon. Moreover, you will also get carbon block filtration with a rating of 5 microns, and it will eliminate any chlorine taste and odor. There are no magnets, zero bags of salts, and/or any back-flush. IN simple terms, this is the most hassle-free water softener system you can get your hands on in 2021.
Aquios AQFS220 is a Point of Entry (POE) water softener system with a compact and space-saving design. In case you are facing issues such as high manganese and magnesium scale, Aquios AQFS220 will reduce it. The best part is that you get a six-month cartridge life out of it.
The flow rate of Aquios AQFS220 is at 12 gallons per minute at 5 PSI drop. Moreover, you can operate it at a temperature ranging from 40°F to 115°F. The maximum operating temperature of this water softener is 85 PSI.
To watch the Aquios AQFS200 Review on YouTube, click here.
- It can handle water hardness levels of 30 grains per gallon
- It uses Polyphosphate, which is an FDA approved additive to condition hard water
- Anti-scaling effect to suspend magnesium and calcium
- No verified reports or certifications to support anti-scaling effects
- Additive (polyphosphate) is most effective on the water, with a pH range of 8 to 10
- May be expensive due to frequent need to replace the cartridge (depending on usage)
5. Aquasure Harmony
Aquasure Harmony Review: Best Whole House Water Softener System Aquasure Harmony AS_HS6D is an excellent whole house water softener system that offers soft, spot, and scale-free water for your entire household.
The Aquasure Harmony AS_HS6D can treat hard water with up to 64,000 grains. This is perfect for any household with at least 4 to 6 bathrooms and/or up-to 7 persons.
The built-in advanced digital panel has an easy to use control console that allows you to precise backwashing when you need it. This will help you save a considerable amount of water that may be up to hundreds of gallons. Aquasure Harmony AS_HS6D also comes with prefilled 2CF premium-grade resin, and the resin tank has a distributor tube.
This water softener has a 5-inch brine line and an impressive 14-inch drain line. There is a bypass valve with a one-inch in-and-out NPT; however, you can even request the vendor for ¾ inches. The brine tank also comes with an overflow regulator.
Aquasure Harmony AS_HS6D has a mechanism built for performance that will allow three types of regeneration. This includes meter immediate control, time clock-delayed control, and meter delayed control, meaning you will have full control over your water softener system and optimize its performance to fit your water needs.
The digital control head will efficiently calculate the amount of treated water and backwashes as and when needed. This will save water and lessen the need for unnecessary salt replacement. Aquasure Harmony AS_HS6D comes with a durable and high strength polyethylene tank lined with fiberglass that is also corrosion resistant and lined with.
To watch the Aquasure Harmony Review on YouTube, click here.
- Scale-free soft water supply
- Healthy and vibrant skin
- Energy-efficient and works effortlessly
- You can only contact customer support via website chat
- Long waits on reporting issues
- Common leakage issue if not installed correctly.
Avoid – On The Go Water Softener
On The Go Water Softener Review: Best RV Water Softener Are you looking for a portable water softener system? Then look no further because On the Go Water Softener offers a portable 16,000 Grains water softener system that is a top pick as a RV water softener.
This two-in-one On The Go water softener and conditioner system produce twice the amount of water in gallons than any other standard portable model available in the market. This is also one of the largest compacts On the Go Water Softener you can buy today.
However, this water softener system is only for the RVs; if you are looking for a water softener for a household, we would suggest avoiding this one. That said, this system comes with a compact and space-saving design that will allow you to fit it in the tightest places. On The Go water softener can provide you with soft water and allows high flow rates.
One of the unique features of this water softener is that it is easy to carry with a handle on top. The largemouth opening will allow easy access to the salt addition process. You do get high-grade premium quality resin with travel-friendly options to cap and plug.
This will help you prevent any leakages, and you also get quick and straightforward regeneration with this On the Go water softener. You can use a standard home-use garden hose connection between your RV and park faucet.
Moreover, you do not require any electricity or tools.
Again, if you are looking for a water softener system for your household, there are better options available than getting an On the Go water softener.
To watch the On The Go Water Softener Review on YouTube, click here.
- Compact design
- Quick regeneration
- Easy to carry anywhere
- Not suitable for heavy usage
- Sometimes regeneration may not be as per what you expect
- The limited capacity of water at a time
*Water Softener Review on YouTube*
2021 Buyers Guide to the Best Water Softeners:
Buying your home’s water softener can be an arduous task, much like selecting a reverse osmosis system or whole house water filter. The devices seem complex and installation feels nearly impossible. But the cost of not addressing your home’s hard water will add additional cost to running your household, and may negatively impact your family’s health.
Hard water means that your water supply carries a lot of extra minerals like calcium, magnesium and heavy metals such as iron. Finding the right water softener to combat this requires consideration of these key points, which affect the water softeners overall performance and lifespan.
4 Main Points to Consider:
- Salt-Based or Without Salt: Salt-Based water softeners basically exchange the unwanted calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and more for harmless ions. This is done in the tank, so the salt isn’t in the flow of your water. When the hard water passes over salt media inside the tank, it goes through an “ion exchange.” So, this way when the water is done passing through the salt it is softer. Your water doesn’t taste salty, and your appliances are protected. Salt-Free water softeners are actually “water conditioners” because they don’t technically soften water. Instead, they remove some particles like sodium and magnesium with a filter. Then they prevent lime scale and disruption to your pipes and appliances because the unit breaks the minerals ability to bond to metals. For many homes, this is enough and will protect your appliances.
- Water Hardness: Are you sure your water is hard? The tell-tale sign is that your detergents aren’t as effective. If you’re pulling out glasses or plates with water spots and streaks, then your detergents aren’t as effective as intended. Hard-water is probably the culprit. But, there is some grey area when it comes water hardness. If you’re looking for the best water softener for your home, start by checking your water’s hardness. There are several kits that are inexpensive. Because water softeners are expensive, you don’t want to go out, and by the biggest one out there is your water is only moderately hard. The scale on water hardness starts with “soft” and ends with “very hard.” Soft water is 0-1 grains per gallon and slightly hard is 1-3.5 grains per gallon. If you’re in this range, you could use a less intense water softener than a house that registers as “hard” in the 7.0-10.5 grains per gallon range.
- Water Flow Rate: Finding out your water flow rate isn’t an exactly a science. The water flow rate of your home is determined by how much water is regularly used. Most people make an estimate based on these factors: How many bathrooms are in the home?How many people are living in the home? How many water-based appliances are in use?Take into consideration appliances like your washer, and the dishwasher then counts them almost like another person in the household. Usually, bigger tanks have faster water flow rates, but the biggest on this list is the Iron Pro 2. It features the fastest water flow rate available at 16 gallons per minute. If you’re really not sure and considering a salt-free system, then you’re in luck. There are many salt-free models that don’t affect the water flow rate. However, many salt based systems can track and adapt to your water flow needs.
- Regeneration Process: Throughout our research, the “regeneration process” came up a few times. This sounds really technical but is fairly simple. This is how long it takes the water softener to completely recover from a period of hard use. Each model has a different regeneration rate. For some people, this isn’t a make or break aspect, but if you constantly use large amounts of water in your home, you could have difficulty with a long regeneration time frame. Many of the best water softeners can track and time their regeneration process. The best water softener should have the ability to track your water flow rate and time its regeneration process only when necessary. That way it uses the absolute minimum amount of water and salt necessary.
How does a water softener actually work?
It’s a simple question with a very technical answer. However, examining how a water softener works sets the salt-based and salt-free systems clearly apart. Understanding how they work can help you decide which is the best water softener for you.
A salt-based water softener uses water softener salt as a resin media. This means that as the water passes through the resin media, it undergoes an ion exchange. It removes the minerals and some of the heavy metals then, it replaces them with harmless ions. Basically, it takes out the stuff that hurts your appliances and replaces it with filler, which in the case of water is just water. When the unit is holding a large amount of calcium or magnesium, it begins its regeneration cycle.
A salt-free water softener system works a little differently. Instead of removing the particles it removes the minerals ability to bond. Where calcium and magnesium are known to attach to pipes and inside appliances, it simply won’t be possible. After chemically altering the state of the unwanted minerals the water is technically conditioned, not softened.
Final Thoughts on Buying a Water Softener
Are you living in the United States looking for a water softener system? According to Google Trends, here are the top 5 US states with the highest demands for water softeners: Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Arizona.
Living in a location with hard water, potentially amidst a large household, running multiple water-based appliances, can determine whether water softener is necessary or not for your home.
At this point, you’ve probably recognized that, for most, it’s a wise preventive measure.
Remember, a water softener aims to remove magnesium, calcium, and other dissolved minerals from hard water, making it “softer”.
Your skin and hair will likely feel healthier and less dry, may be reason enough to invest in a water softener system that suits your family’s needs.