Hard water can be a real problem for your plumbing, your appliances, and your dishes. If you have excessively hard water in your home, the best solution is to install a water softener. To help make shopping a bit easier, we’ll review five of the best water softeners.
After our reviews, we’ll discuss what you should be looking for when you compare systems and then answer some of the most frequently asked questions
- Best Water Softeners – Reviews
- Buyer’s Guide
AFWFilters AFW Filters IRON Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve for whole house (64,000 Grains, Black)
Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener with High Efficiency Digital Metered Control Head (64,000 Grains)
DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Iron Pro 48,000 Grain Water Softener Ships Pre Loaded with Resin In MIn Tank for Easy Insatllation
Best Water Softeners – Reviews
AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener and Iron Filter
Suppose you need an extensive and high-capacity water softening system for a large house, and you want something that can also deal with that pesky iron. In that case, the AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener could be right for you.
One thing that stands out about the AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener and Iron Filter is its size. With a capacity of 64,000 grains, it’s about as big as residential water softeners get, barring some exceptions. This large unit should be able to handle a house with five bathrooms with no problems. It is designed to process up to 16 gallons per minute.
It’s important to note that the AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener and Iron Filter is primarily designed as a water softener and contains components designed to remove iron from the water.
Therefore, this unit not only makes your water taste better but also prevents rusting, brown iron stains, scaling, and those dirty white water spots from occurring.
The massive amount of resin that this system can handle is ideal for filtering large quantities of very hard water. On a side note, the AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener and Iron Filter also remove manganese from water, something that can cause black and slimy buildups.
It removes hardness up to 70 gpg, iron up to the 4-7 ppm range, and manganese up to 6 ppm. It also removes rust, sand, and sediment from the water.
You may also like how the AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener and Iron Filter comes with the newest Fleck SXT controller, which is very easy to program and use. It’s fitted onto the popular, time-tested 5600 valve.
Included are an installation kit, sanitizer, lubricant, instructions, a standard brine tank, and the required bypass valve. Finally, it only regenerates when it needs to, which helps save water and resources.
The good part about the AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener and Iron Filter is that it not only removes sediment, rust, dirt, iron, manganese, and other minerals from your water, but it can do so at a very fast pace. This system is an absolute beast, and it’s fantastic for large homes.
What is not so great about the AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener and Iron Filter is the price; it’s certainly not cheap. On a side note, the installation instructions are relatively poor.
- Great processing speed
- For iron, manganese, hard water, and more
- Great warranty and support
- Theoretically easy to install
- Poor installation instructions
Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener/Whole Home Filter
The Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener/Whole Home Filter is a good home water filtration system that can remove a variety of contaminants and substances from your water, as well as soften your water.
What really stands out about the Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener/Whole Home Filter is that it is a water softener and a whole house water filter. First off, in terms of water softening, this unit has a 31,000-grain capacity. This should be enough for homes with up to five people or three bathrooms.
The Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener/Whole Home Filter features a hardness removal rating of 20 grains per gallon, as well as an iron removal rating of 3 ppm. This helps reduce both brown and white stains, prevent scaling, and prevent the loss of water pressure due to clogged pipes.
Moreover, the Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener/Whole Home Filter is also designed to remove various contaminants from the water, including chlorine, rust, sediment, and many others.
In terms of water filtration, it’s not a reverse osmosis filter, so there is only so much it can do, but that said, it cleans the water, unlike basic water softeners.
What is really beneficial about the Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener/Whole Home Filter is that it features a demand-based regeneration system; the system only regenerates when it needs to save water, salt, and money. This system cleans its own filter, so you won’t ever have to replace a filter.
Keep in mind that everything required for installation is included with your purchase.
We like the Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener/Whole Home Filter because you can purchase this single unit, and it works to both soften and purify water, thus eliminating the need for two systems. This unit is NSF certified.
What’s not exactly fantastic about the Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener/Whole Home Filter is that although it filters the water, the filtration capabilities are pretty limited. For instance, it won’t remove TDS from the water.
- Demand-based regeneration
- Self-cleaning filters
- Great two in one system
- Energy saving
- Easy installation
- Limited filtration capabilities
- Has arrived damaged on several occasions
Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener
If you are looking for a dedicated water softener that does nothing but soften water, albeit, with extreme efficiency, this Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener is worth a closer look.
This is an absolutely massive home water softener with a huge 64,000-grain capacity. That is large enough to accommodate a house with up to 8 or 10 people and up to 5 or 6 bathrooms.
The Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener is one of the most durable units out there. It’s made with a durable 1” bypass valve, a high-strength and corrosion-resistant fiberglass-lined polyethylene tank, and a dependable control unit.
The control unit (AQT-56SE) happens to be one of the best units on the market. It’s pretty easy to program and operate. Moreover, the control unit really stands out because it provides three types of generation, including a time-delayed control, meter-immediate control, and meter-delayed control.
This allows you to optimize the Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener to suit your needs; this saves money, water, and salt, by only regenerating when needed. The double backwash feature is not too bad.
Finally, in terms of installation, although it’s best to have a professional do it for you, if you have a bit of plumbing knowledge, you could probably manage on your own.
We really like the Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener because it’s a really high-quality, durable, and dependable unit. It’s not cheap, but it is big, strong, and it gets the job done. The fact that it has multiple regeneration options is a benefit.
One negative about the Aquasure Harmony Series Whole House Water Softener is the price. It’s definitely not cheap, but that said, you get what you pay for, and what you get here is quality. Also, customer service for this company is very lackluster.
- Ideal for large houses
- Great processing rate
- Extremely efficient water softening
- Low maintenance
- Many regeneration options
- Very durable and high-quality
- Relatively expensive
- Poor customer service
DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Iron Pro Water Softener
If the water in your home is very hard and contains a lot of iron and manganese, you need a whole home water softening system. The reasonably priced DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Iron Pro Water Softener is something to look into for a medium-size home.
The DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Iron Pro Water Softener features a 48,000-grain capacity, making it quite sizeable. It is rated as being ideal for homes with up to three bathrooms or five people.
When it comes to the actual removal of hard water minerals, iron, and manganese, the DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Iron Pro Water Softener performs very well, probably even better than advertised.
This system can remove all hardness from water (not just a certain amount), iron up to 6-8 ppm, and manganese up to 6 ppm. What’s really nice is that it also removes sediment, rust, sand, and dirt from your water.
You may also like the DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Iron Pro Water Softener’s Fleck 5600 SXT control panel, one of the most popular, used, and trusted controllers. Not only is it straightforward to program and operate, but its advanced design allows for meter-based regeneration, which means that it only regenerates when it needs to, based on usage, thus saving you money, water, and salt.
The brine tank and bypass valve are included with your purchase. If you have basic plumbing knowledge, you should be able to install this unit in about two hours; however, in all honesty, it is probably best to leave this to the pros.
We’d also like to say that most of the components, mainly the valve, tank, and meter, are all made in the US, so you can rest assured that they are durable and dependable.
There are many good things about the DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Iron Pro Water Softener that we could stress, with the main being that although this unit is not exactly cheap, it’s also moderately priced based on its performance. Moreover, the regeneration capabilities allow for money saving. It’s a cost-effective softener.
Although you would assume that the tank is also made by Fleck, it is not. This is a problem because Fleck refuses to honor the warranty on the tank, seeing as it is not actually theirs.
- Made in the US
- Ideal for medium-sized homes
- Usage-based regeneration
- Reasonable price
- Installation is not too difficult
Issues with the tank/warranty
YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System
The YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System is a magnetic salt-free water softener that doesn’t use salt, has no tank, and doesn’t require regular maintenance.
This is a really excellent water softener, mainly because you don’t need a tank, salt, or any of that other stuff. The YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System works with magnets and electricity.
Without getting too technical, this system works by using electrical pulses to discharge or demagnetize the minerals.
This results in the individual mineral molecules not sticking to each other, not crystalizing, therefore not forming scale. Interestingly, this unit does not remove those minerals from the water but instead neutralizes them and renders them ineffective.
The YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System does not waste water or salt; it doesn’t require any regeneration or maintenance, and installation is very easy. This system comes at a very reasonable cost. It can fit onto any 1” pipe, and you don’t need tools to install it.
Perhaps the best part about it is the 365-day risk-free guarantee, so if you are not happy with it, you will get a full refund.
Without a doubt, the best aspect of the YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System is how it requires no maintenance. This has to be one of the most user-friendly water softening systems out there.
We think the only bad thing with the YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System is that it doesn’t filter water.
- Low maintenance
- Super easy installation
- Very effective
Does not filter water
Before you go out and spend a lot of money on a water softener for your home, it is a good idea to take a look at our buyer’s guide, so you can determine what you are looking for and what will suit your needs.
Types of Water Softeners
There are six different kinds of water softeners to choose from. There are salt exchange softeners, also known as ion exchange softeners. There are also salt-free, portable showerhead, reverse osmosis, and magnetic/electronic water softeners.
If you need soft water and nothing else, we recommend checking out the salt exchange or salt-free options. However, if you want to save money in the long run and never want to deal with regeneration or replacing salt, the magnetic variety is best.
That said, if you want clean and filtered water, it’s either a reverse osmosis system or a softening and filtering combo unit you will need.
Size and Water Flow Rate
The size of the water softener will determine how much water it can process in a set amount of time. Obviously, the bigger the tank, the more it can process. From our reviews, the largest of these units can do about 16 gallons per minute.
The more people and bathrooms in your home, the higher that gallon per minute rate should be.
Of course, the size of the unit is going to make a difference. In terms of grain capacity, as you can see from our reviews, 64,000 grains is ideal for very large homes, 48,000 grains for medium-size homes, and anything smaller should be fine for a home with just one or two bathrooms.
The grain capacity is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing a home water softener.
These units are very similar in terms of installation, but that said, a basic understanding of plumbing is required. For the most part, you’re probably better off paying for a plumber to do it.
There are also NSF/ANSI certifications that the unit should have. Your softener should be NSF/ANSI 372 certified (lead content). You should also look for NSF 61, 42, and 53. The more of these certifications the system has, the safer and healthier it is.
Now that you know what you are looking for, and have a few products to choose from, let’s answer the most pressing questions about water softeners for your home.
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that contains a lot of dissolved minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium. Hard water can cause plumbing and appearance issues.
Do I Need a Water Softener?
If you notice that you have scale buildup with white water spots on your shower, your sink, and even on the dishes coming out of the dishwasher, or if you notice that your water pressure has decreased, chances are that you could probably use a water softener. Simply put, if your home has hard water, you need a water softener.
What Size Water Softener Do I Need?
If you have a home with 8 to 10 people or 4 to 6 bathrooms, you will want a water softener with a capacity of 64,000 grains. A home with up to 5 people (or 3 bathrooms) should have a softener with a 48,000-grain capacity. A capacity of 32,000 (or even 24,000) grains is ideal for small homes.
Will a Water Softener Remove Iron From Well Water?
A standard water softener will remove small amounts of iron from the water, but not much. If you want iron removal, you will need a system designed explicitly for such.
Will a Water Softener Make My Water Safe to Drink?
A water softener removes dissolved minerals from water – nothing else. So no, a water softener on its own will not filter or purify water in any way besides for basic mineral removal.
Looking for the best water softeners? If you want a high-quality, high capacity, and super-efficient water softener, we recommend DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Iron Pro Water Softener. However, the YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System is a top contender for magnetic water softeners.