Are you looking for more information about the best water softening and filtration systems for your home, boat, or RV? Good news! You’re in the right place. We review all of the top brand, models, and systems and compare them, so you can find one that’s right for you.
The fact is there are tons of different products out there. How are you supposed to differentiate between them all and make an information purchasing decision? That’s where we come in. We sort through all products and let you know what ones actually work and what ones are a waste of money.
So what’s the big deal about hard water? Although it is safe to drink, it has many negative side effects including household problems. You have to remember that softening and filtration systems do much more than soften water. They remove contaminates that can actually be harmful to you and your family’s health.
Unfortunately, many people suffer from health conditions because of the water they drink and bath in and don’t even know it. Some Americans suffer from long-term health problems because of the contaminates in their household water supply. Although, hard water is safe to drink, it can cause skin discomfort and many other problems. This is extremely unfortunate and preventable with the filtration systems.
Aside from the health concerns, many homes in the United States have water that causes household problems like plumbing issues. Proper softeners prevent plumbing problems by stopping hard water build up deposits on the inside of pipes. In other words, getting a softener that actually works is the best way to deal with all of these plumbing, personal health, and drinking water issues.
That is why we have created the top 10 best whole house water softeners comparison chart to guide you to the right water softening system and ensure you and your family always have clean, healthy water. We listed the top systems, brands, ratings, and prices, so you can figure out what one will work best for your home. Here is our top water softener comparison chart for the best systems on the market today.
Here’s our picks for the best Water Softening Systems with Rating and Review
There are a ton of different options out there, but these are by far out favorite. They are quality products that can handle the test of time. The last thing you want it is to purchase something that isn’t going to last for a long. Here are the top rated models and brands that we’ve found. Make sure to check the water softener ratings below.
Fleck 5600SXT Digital System
The Fleck 5600SXT is a sleek, digitally metered, 48,000 grain whole house water softening system that will treat up to 12gpm flow rates even with the hardest of water. Since this Fleck system is digitally metered, it is highly efficient and makes programming cycles a breeze.
Its meter based regeneration process adds to the already high efficiency by only regenerating water when it needs to. Fleck decided to go with the 5600 valve, which has an outstanding track record for reliablilty. The fleck 5600SXT is backed by a 10-year warranty on both tanks and a 5 year on the head.
NuvoH20 Manor Complete Water Softening System
The NuvoH20 Manor is a unique water softening system that eliminates the use of salt, electricity, or magnets unlike the traditional softener. Instead, it uses a combination of NuvoH20’s FDA approved, patent pending technology and a process known as chelation. This process creates a natural, healthy eco-friendly solution to your hard water problems.
At only 8”wide and 29” long, the Maner system is extremely compact and is a great solution if you have limited space. But don’t let the size fool you; the Manor system is designed to handle homes 2,100sq/ft and above without effecting your water pressure.
Watts RV PRO-1000 Portable Water Softener
The Watts RV PRO-1000 is a 10,000 grain, portable and compact water softener that requires very little maintenance and cost. The simplicity of the RV-PRO makes it extremely user friendly and a great choice for a hassle free water softener especially since it uses common table salt for the softening process.
Although it doesn’t have all the features that a lot of the models have, it is extremely compact and portable. It’s especially great for marine & RV applications. This means you can not only use this for your home, you can also use it on your boat or in your recreational vehicle while you and your family are on vacation. It’s a great unit.
The WaterBoss 220 is an ultra silent, whole house water softening system that will deliver great results for families up to 4. With a high efficiency 22,000 grain capacity, it can soften up to 70 grains per gallon and significantly reduce the amount of iron, dirt and sediment in your H20.
It also boasts a 16 GPM flow rate at 15 psi to maintain great water pressure. WaterBoss also implemented a great user-friendly controller that is sure to eliminate the headache of overly complicated controls.
Morton Salt MSD34C System Saver
The Morton Salt MSD34C is a 34,000 grain demand regeneration unit that provides easy installation and excellent results. This whole-house system is designed to handle large households with any range of water-hardness.
Morton uses their patented Look Ahead Technology to save you money by only regenerating H20 when you need it. This unit is space saving and compact taking up just 1.3sqft of space and still manages to hold up to 200lbs. of salt.
Aquasana EQ-SS20 SimplySoft
The Aquasana EQ-SS20 is a salt-free 50,000 grain softener that will greatly improve the quality and taste of you water. It uses polyphosphate beads instead of salt to alter the charge of hard mineral ions, which prevents calcium, barium and magnesium buildup.
Unlike some softening systems, the EQ-SS20 will maintain your current water pressure and still provide excellent results. If you need a simple, easy to use water softener than this will be a great choice.
Iron Pro 2
The Iron Pro 2 Combination doubles as an iron filter all in one with a 64,000 grain capacity. The Iron Pro 2 includes the digitally metered Fleck 5600SXT as described above, plus the iron filter for eliminating those nasty red stains that ruin your sinks, tubs, showers and more.
Since this unit has a high efficiency meter based regeneration process, it only regenerates when it needs to. If you’ve got excessive amounts of iron in your H20 and need a reliable water softener, than this is a great choice for you.
Green Wave Cascade 15 GPM
The Green Wave Cascade is a salt-free water softener that boasts an easy to install, easy to operate water-softening system. It only gets easier from there. Instead of lifting and transporting heavy bags of salt from the store to your basement, the Cascade’s innovative design only requires a filter change just once a year.
It uses a process known as NAC(Nucleation Assisted Crystallization) to change dissolved minerals into un-dissolved micro-crystals to combat against hard water. In addition, the 5-micron pre-filter removes the harmful contaminants and leaves the beneficial minerals while preventing and eliminating harmful scaling.
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler Electro Magnetic
The Eddy Electronic Water Descaler is great alternative to a water softener! It’s an extremely easy way to reduce the lime scale build up without installing large tanks or filtration systems. It emulates softened water and reduces lime scale by applying an electro-magnetic wave through two coils placed around the incoming water supply.
Since it can be installed on metal or plastic pipes the installation process is quick and easy. The money-back lifetime repair or replacement warranty will make this a confident buy. Keep in mind; this is a descaler and not a softener.
How Does a Water Softener Work?
Although there are several different types of water softeners to choose from, they all really work off of the same principle. They remove minerals like calcium and magnesium that make your water hard and then trade them with, in most cases, sodium. This process is known as ion exchange!
First, your home’s water supply is directed through the mineral tank, which is filled with tiny resin beads that carry a negative charge. Since calcium and magnesium both carry positive charges, they then cling to the beads while the hard water moves through tank. Once the calcium and magnesium is removed, it is swapped with tiny amount of sodium.
After the resin beads are full of minerals, the softener then starts the regeneration process. First, a brine solution is produced from the salt you add to the water softener. Then, the brine is flushed through the resin tank removing the minerals from the resin and replacing them with sodium.
Top Water Softener Brands List
- IronPro 2
What Is A Water Softener?
A water softener is a device that is connected directly to your water supply. The unit then removes minerals like calcium and magnesium that make your water hard and replaces them sodium.
Do I Need A Water Softener?
They’re several clues that will indicate weather or not your water supply needs a water softener, some more obvious then others. Firstly, check your clear glass or plastic dishes. The hard water will cause etching, abrasions and cloudiness and other damage to your once clear dish.
Another obvious thing to look for is scaly, white mineral deposits around your kitchen and bath faucets. This is another result of hard water and can cause very costly permanent damage to your homes plumbing. If your clothes vibrant colors are dulling over time and your once bright white T-shirt becomes dull and gray, you most likely need one. If you are lacking that smooth and clean feeling when leaving the shower and are experiencing dry skin, you have hard water.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that contains a much higher mineral content than soft water. It is formed from water filtering through limestone and chalk, which is consists mostly of magnesium and calcium. Hard water affects more than 85% of the country’s water source and is known wide spread problem. There are not many upsides to having hard water if any.
In fact, having hard water can cost you a tremendous amount of money if not dealt with. Overtime, hard water will ruin appliances, pipes, faucets and almost anything that it comes in contact with. Not to mention the annoying, itchy dry skin that comes along with it.
How To Test For Hard Water?
There are numerous ways to test for hard water. I stated some of the more practical ideas in the “Do I Need A Water Softener” portion. There are more scientific ways to test for hard water and to get a more accurate reading.
- Contact your local water utility and ask for the latest hard water reading.
- If you have well water, ask the local health department where you can send a sample of your water.
If you would like to perform tests right at home here is some more practical steps.
- Fill a water bottle with water right from your tap.
- Add about a teaspoon of dish soap
- Put the cap on and give it a good shake
If the water doesn’t turn to rich, bubbly foam and instead creates a slimy film towards the top of the bottle then you most likely have hard water.
Hard water is measure in GPG, which stands for “grains per gallon” which measures the amount of dissolved minerals. 4 GPG or higher is consider hard water.
Types of Water Softeners
There are four main types of water treatment systems available today. Some work. Some don’t. Some just have different applications. A few of these systems consist of new technology that seems to be catching on and becoming more popular while others use traditional methods of treating harsh minerals in drinking water. Here are the four main types of systems.
- Salt Based Systems
- Salt-Free Systems
- Reverse Osmosis Systems
- Magnetic Systems
The most common system is salt-based. The main reason this system is so popular is because it actually works. No other system treats hard water problems as well as a salt-based system for a variety of reasons. It uses a process called ion exchange to simply exchange the harmful minerals (hard ions) with sodium (soft ions) inside the salt chamber. It requires you to fill the container with salt pellets a few times a year depending on the model and keep a drain near by, so the brine tank can be drained when needed. These are by far the most effective way to treat hard water, but we don’t recommend them for drinking water. Usually a salt-based system is installed for the entire house and a separate filter or purifier is used for drinking water.
Salt-based Systems: The best hard water treatment solution. Period.
Saltless or Salt Free Systems
The salt-free softening systems takes a different approach on softening water. Instead of replacing the minerals with sodium, it uses a process known as NAC (Nucleation Assisted Crystallization) to change dissolved minerals into un-dissolved micro-crystals to combat against hard water. A filter is also used to root out any harmful contaminants. The fact that these systems don’t use salt to treat the water appeals to a lot of people. That’s one reason why salt-free systems are becoming more popular, but keep in mind that these systems don’t work as well as salt-based systems. They just don’t. If you have really hard water, these probably won’t take care of it no matter what the manufacturer says.
Saltless Systems: Best used for mild cases of hard water.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Many people get reverse osmosis confused with water softening. These systems don’t actually soften water. They simply filter it and remove the impurities. Reverse osmosis systems use pressure to feed water through a one-way membrane that doesn’t allow contaminates and hard minerals to pass through. Thus, it separates the bad stuff out of the water and only allows clean water to pass through. Typically a reverse osmosis system filters an entire tank of water at a time and turns off until the tank is used up. It’s kind of like how a household hot water heater works.
Reverse Osmosis Systems: Do not soften water. They only filter it.
Magnetic softening systems are becoming more popular because they are pretty cheap compared to a traditional salt-based model, but to be honest they don’t work. Most people have very bad experiences with magnetic systems and end up going back to the proven salt systems. If I were you, I wouldn’t waste my money on something like this. Just go with a product that actually works.
Magnetic Systems: They don’t work. Don’t waste your money.
Our Recommendation – Here’s What We Think
So that’s a summary of the top 10 whole house systems. These systems are big enough to treat all of the water coming into your house. If you go with one of these systems, your entire house’s water supply will be treated at once. You don’t need a separate unit for each faucet and shower in your kitchen and house.
Whole house systems will remove contaminates in the water supply before it gets to your appliances and pipes. This way you won’t have any plumbing issues or problems with scale build up in your dishwasher or other appliances. This also means you don’t need a separate inline filter or softener for your dishwasher or laundry machine. Your whole house system will take care of everything for you.
One thing that you might want to look into other than the whole house systems we reviewed on this page is a reverse osmosis system. A reverse osmosis filter can have tons of benefits for your home including removing iron and other contaminates that make drinking water taste bad. Since water with a high iron content is almost undrinkable, not to mention it can be harmful at certain levels, an osmosis system is really nice.
Keep in mind that the models we reviewed, compared, and rated on this top ten page are not very portable. If you are looking for a compact portable softening system to wash your car, put in your RV, or use on your boat, you should check out our top 10 comparison page for those. We walk through the best portable systems and show you how we rate them based on their features and customers’ experiences with them.
If you don’t have a ton of money to invest in your family’s drinking water and you just want something small to filter and purify the actual water you drink, you might want to look at getting a pitcher or countertop filter. Both of these options are less expensive than whole home systems and can do the job of providing clean water for drinking if that’s all you need.
But if you have a full family, a simple pitcher probably won’t work fast enough. You should look into getting a real unit that can used for the entire water supply of the house. That way all the water in your house is drinkable and won’t cause any health problems.
We hope this review of the best water softeners and filters helps you decide what water treatment system will work best in your price range and for your family.