Having a well-water home has its advantages: no water bills to worry about and having access to water that is usually fresher and higher in nutrients than any other water. But having a well water home requires special care and attention that most other people usually don’t worry about. The onus of the quality of your water is exclusively on you and having hard water can really affect your day-to-day lives.
So what’s the solution to this? Well, the first step is a quality water softener for your home. It’s probably dizzying looking through hundreds of different water softening systems and trying to determine what’s the best one for you. Well, not to worry! We’ve got the five best water softeners on the market and a helpful buying guide for all of your water softening needs.
For a low-tech budget solution to your hard water mishaps, Aquasana SimplySoft is the cheapest option on this list. It’s a small and easy-to-install system that is made for specific water softening tasks. Its straightforward design makes it easy to install it right to the water source.
Some people don’t have very extensive hard water needs, which makes this perfect for people in smaller homes or for people with naturally softer water already. Aquasana SimplySoft works especially well with smaller homes as it has the most compact design than any other water softener on this list. It’s easy to install and is a great salt-free water softening option for any number of small tasks you need to be done around the house.
Although it’s perfect for those small tasks, if you just want a water softener for a whole house system, then you’d probably want to steer clear of this one. It’s great for those small homes but for those with particularly hard well water and whole-house needs, it won’t be the right fit.
I absolutely love the ease of using this product. Aquasana does a great job of creating a budget-friendly solution to those pesky day-to-day hard water issues, so don’t even hesitate to grab one of these beauties next chance you get!
- Easy to Install
- Little to no maintenance
- Perfect for task-specific water softening
- Not good for whole-house needs
When it comes to installing and maintaining, the Pelican brand has got you covered. It works to reduce the water’s surface tension and specializes in reducing hard water scale. Something that seems like a roaring consensus amongst all of the customers is the taste and quality of water. This produces the cleanest and freshest tasting water. This also has a stainless steel outer shell, so it’s guaranteed to keep working in even the coldest temperatures.
If you want something that is very easy to maintain and install, the Pelican Water Natursoft is right up your alley. I love that it is one piece so there aren’t any parts you may need to replace in the future. Although it’s well-known for being a reliable brand in water softening, Pelican also offers a lifetime warranty with every unit which makes it a great investment!
Well with all of the amazing pros, it’s bound to come with a caveat. Unfortunately, this is one of the pricier systems on this list and has definitely turned away a customer or two because of it.
Though it is pricey, the Pelican Water Natursoft system is definitely a smart investment. With minimal maintenance and one of the best salt-free water softeners on the market today!
- Easy to Install
- Lifetime Warranty
- Great for people living in colder environments
Whirlpool is a well-known brand for all home appliances, so it’s no secret that a Whirlpool brand water softener was on this list as well. Being at the forefront of home appliance technology, Whirlpool doesn’t fall short with their salt-based water softener systems either. With a 30,000 grain capacity and the option to control the softness of your water, this system is one of the best whole-house water softeners for 2019.
What makes this one shine above the rest is their smart technology that predicts how much salt and water is necessary to regenerate, saving you from water waste. Saving all of that water means saving a lot of money as well. Its settings are completely customizable, making it adjustable for any sized home. It is also extremely affordable, being one of the cheaper options on this list.
This Whirlpool water softener is overall a very reliable system, but if something were to happen to the system, I have to warn you that the maintenance fees would be very high. For a system that is so affordable anyways, it might even be beneficial to just replace it completely should any major issues arise.
It’s a tall order to find much wrong with this system. The water softening system is one of the best on the market and it’s backed by the best brand in home appliances. If you want a guarantee for a reliable system, Whirlpool would be the way to go.
- Smart technology for minimal water waste
- Great for any sized home
- A well-known brand, reliable system
- High maintenance fees
Fleck is a little bit different than the other softeners on this list as it is a dual tank water softening system. This system is perfect for those with larger homes or high water usage. It’s great, especially for those who live in iron-rich areas, that’s great at extracting those dense, unhealthy minerals from the water.
For those who have large homes and large families, this is the softener system for you. It’s great for processing large amounts of water and because of the two tanks, there is no interruption in the flow of soft water.
I wouldn’t recommend this system for smaller homes at all. One drawback is the amount of space it takes up. So if your water softening needs are pretty tame or if you just can’t commit enough space to a water softener, then this system is probably not the one for you.
Have a large home? Live with particularly hard water? Then you should waste no time in getting this system! It works really well at filtering out iron and denser minerals and is hands down the best softener for well water you’ll come across.
- Great whole-house water softening system
- Good for large families/high water usage
- Dual tanks promise no interruption in hard water
- Not for smaller homes
SpringWell is hands down one of the best salt-free water softening systems on the market today. Their system is a stand-out because they don’t use any traditional techniques to softening your water. They actually have their own system based on template-assisted crystallization. Which relies on physically removing unwanted minerals from water instead of relying on chemicals or salts.
Installing a water softener might be a taxing task even for professionals but SpringWell’s salt-free softener comes with everything you need for installation and makes the whole process easy. They are incredibly low maintenance as well; only needing a filter change once a year. They even come with a lifetime warranty on all of the parts!
Well, there are two things that might put a damper on SpringWell’s system. For one, as with anything of such high quality, it comes at an equally high price tag. And for two, because it is proprietary, if you need to replace any parts, it won’t be a quick trip down to the hardware store to get it. You’ll have to go to SpringWell directly for any parts you may need.
SpringWell is a powerhouse in the water softening market. They are a true standout and if you don’t mind the price tag then I don’t suggest you pass up on this system.
- Low maintenance
- Easy to install
- Lifetime warranty
- Might be too expensive for some
Why Finding the Perfect Water Softener Isn’t Hard At All – A Detailed Buying Guide
When trying to look for the best water softeners system for your home, you shouldn’t just look at the top softeners; you should consider what is best for your specific home and needs. There are a lot of amazing water softener systems that weren’t on this list that I encourage you to explore on your own and find the one that will suit you best.
The perfect water softener will reduce the amount of hard water scale that tends to build up in your plumbing. The quality of your water affects the wellness you, your family, and even your clothes! Water that is free of unwanted sediments and minerals taste better, your dish soap and laundry detergent are more effective. So what makes the perfect water softener so perfect?
Salt vs Salt-Free
It’s not lost on you that there have been terms floating around this article like “salt-free softeners” and “salt-based softeners”. But what does a salt-free softener mean? And is it better than a traditional salt-based softener? Well, usually salt-based water softeners replace ions, such as calcium and magnesium, from water and replace them with sodium ions. This doesn’t mean that your water will be salty in any way but it does mean that your detergents and soaps will work better since magnesium and calcium ions impede on your soaps ability to clean.
Salt-free water softeners take a different approach to removing unwanted minerals from the water. Usually, salt-free means that the minerals still stay in the water but they are crystallized in a way that they don’t build up in your plumbing. Some people prefer salt free water softeners, claiming the taste is better. One the other hand, some people who live in areas where the very hard groundwater has minerals that no one should ingest at such high quantities (like iron or magnesium), so the preference is usually to use salt-based. In the end, it’s really up to your water needs and you can never go wrong with either!
The upkeep required for your water softener should be taken into account as well. How much time are you willing to commit to upkeep for your water softening system? The best water softening system shouldn’t be that much upkeep; oftentimes only once or twice a year. So it’s important to pay attention to all of the different components of your system to find the best one for you.
A low maintenance and long-lasting water softening system will be made out of one piece, with no need to replace any parts. They usually only need to have their filters changed once a year. But be careful of systems with multiple parts. Some that are name brand usually only work if you use their name brand parts so if you need a replacement you probably won’t find their parts at a hardware store. So when looking at a water softener just keep in mind how the upkeep might look in the future.
Large homes in the suburbs will definitely have different needs than smaller homes in the mountains. Understanding the location of your home and your specific water needs is very important to understand what you need in a water softener. Having a home that is in an area that is iron-rich and very hard water should have a salt-based water softener with a large grain capacity. While a home that is in an area where they have to install their softener outside should go for something that is more weatherproof.
Dual tanks are always king when it comes to those extra-large families and their homes. They guarantee 24/7 water softening with no interruptions in soft water. But a smaller home might not need that. Often times a single tank will do the trick, especially since smaller homes are pressed for storage space. There are a lot of appliances that help keep a home running so don’t ever underestimate the space you’re willing to dedicate for your water softening system!
How Does Softer Water Make My Detergent Work Better?
So detergents and soap don’t really mix well with hard water. There’s this reaction that occurs that causes scum to form and that scum can stick to your clothes, dishes, and even skin and nails! You might notice your clothes not coming out as bright and your glassware drying with spots all over it and if you didn’t know any better, you might try to switch soaps or try using more of it. This just wastes money and time while doing nothing to get your home any cleaner. It also affects your skin and hair when you bathe or shower in it, making it dryer and duller. It’s all pretty gross and not at all sanitary which is a big reason why softening water is not just good for your home but it’s good for your health.
Does the Salt in a Salt Based Water Softener Get into the Drinking Water?
Nope, not at all. The salt in salt-based water softening systems is only there to extract the Calcium and Magnesium ions from your water. The process is an ion exchange that draws those unwanted ions to make water safe for everyday use. It’s easy to deduce that all of those salt goes straight into your water but it’s simply not true. It just keeps your water drinkable and usable!
Can My Water Be Too Soft?
This is also a no. Water can never be “too soft” but it can be too soft for your liking. Some people find that softened water has a slick or slimy feeling that they don’t like, so they try not to soften it as much. Some people just don’t like the taste of soft water. If you have those preferences, a customizable water softening system will probably work best for you. As long as it’s safe for consumption, you should never worry about your water being too soft!
How Long Does a Water Softener Last?
Like many other home appliances, water softeners last a long time but will last even longer with proper maintenance and upkeep. Being aware of these needs will add many years to your water softener. Looking to buy for life? Try to find ones from long-standing, well-known brands that offer lifetime warranties. You may treat your water softener perfectly but, over time, extra maintenance may be required and when that happens, that warranty will come in handy.
The Bottom Line
Nobody likes the scaly residue, the scummy film, or the general taste that hard water can bring into a home. So remember to choose one that is best for your home’s needs and one that suits your preferences as well. Whether it’s a salt-based or a salt-free, whether its a single or dual tank, I hope your water stays fresh and clean!