Thanks to modern plumbing, most of us take tap water for granted. We drink it and bathe in it, rarely pausing to think about what it contains and how it affects our homes and appliances.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with soft water, none of this poses a problem. But hard water? That’s a whole different matter.
Mineral-rich (or hard) water is not dangerous per se. Some people love drinking it because of the extra magnesium and calcium it adds to their diet. However, hard water can be quite the household nuisance, and a strain on your budget too.
For one, all of your glasses and plates never seem quite clean, thanks to the soap scum that no amount of washing can defeat. More importantly, mineral buildup inside your water-reliant appliances forces them to break down way before their time.
The same goes for your plumbing. The mineral buildup also increases your energy bills since devices need to work extra hard to do their job properly.
Yet, despite the fact that hard water poses a serious threat to the normal functioning of your appliances and pipes, you can easily prevent damage. The extra minerals don’t stand a chance against the best home water softener systems.
If hard water is giving you trouble, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, I’ll show you how to choose the best softening system for your household’s needs. Let’s get started!
Final Comparison — My Top 10 Picks for the Best Home Water Softener Systems
|Fleck 5600SXT||This water softener has a high enough capacity for a medium-sized household. It comes with meter regeneration and a nifty bypass valve. Moreover, the 10-year warranty is an excellent advantage.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|Whirlpool WHES30||The capacity and water flow of the WHES30 system is best suited for smaller families. The system includes a bypass valve and demand-initiated resin regeneration, which makes it quite energy-efficient.||X||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|Whirlpool WHES40E||This water softener has all of the benefits of the WHES30 but is better suited for a larger family. The single-tank build ensures the system doesn’t take up much space.||X||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|APEC Water Systems RO-90 Ultimate Series||The APEC RO-90 might not soften water much, but it is perfectly suitable for filtering impurities out of drinking water. Moreover, the faucet’s modern design is a nice touch.||X||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|iSpring ED2000||The iSpring ED2000 is an alternative to water softeners and doesn’t use any salt. The simple installation and maintenance are its main advantages. It also doesn’t take up much room.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|Aquasure AS-HS48D Harmony Series||A real powerhouse, this water softener system has all the options and functionalities you might need. It is ideal for the needs of a 5-person household and has a 5-year warranty.||X||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|Eddy Electronic Water Descaler||The Eddy descaler is a space-saving solution that you can use without messing up your plumbing or affecting the water chemistry. It’s a low-maintenance, salt-free alternative to bulkier water softeners.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener||This water conditioner will keep all the healthy minerals in your home’s water supply while removing unwanted contaminants. It is easy to maintain and requires less space than most systems.||X||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|Nuvo H2O Home System||The Nuvo H2O home system purifies tap water through the use of a chelating agent. It can fit nearly anywhere — it doesn’t require much space. However, its filtration capacity is limited.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
|HQUA 5000E||This highly compact unit has a better design than most electronic descalers. It does an excellent job of removing limescale from water with low to medium levels of hardness.||Prime||CHECK FOR PRICE|
Buying a Water Softener System: Everything You Need to Know
Before you start looking into water softening systems, you have to see whether you really need one. To determine this, you should obviously check if the water in your home is hard or soft.
Hard vs. Soft Water
Depending on where you live, the chemical composition of the water you get in your home will vary. You might be in the same country, even in the same state as me, and still have a different water hardness level. Some cities are lucky enough to have a supply of water that is already pretty soft, but that’s not always the case.
But what is “hard” and “soft” water? These terms refer to the level of trace minerals (usually calcium and magnesium) found in water. When the mineral content in water is high, we call that water hard. In contrast, when there aren’t many minerals present, that kind of tap water is considered soft.
Note that “hard” doesn’t mean “contaminated.” Hard water is still safe to drink and may even be good for your health, thanks to the extra calcium and magnesium. However, the mineral buildup is terrible for your utensils, appliances, and even your pipes.
The hardness level of your water may not always be easy to discern. I only realized I was dealing with hard water when I noticed how quickly the color of my bathtub changed. Not everyone has had that experience.
The surest way to find out what water you have is to send a sample for testing. Water hardness is measured in milligrams per liter. If the measurement is below 20 mg per liter, you have soft water. Hard water is typically above 120 mg per liter. Results in between indicate that your water is somewhat hard.
If you’re not sure where to send a water sample for testing, you can also try a DIY test at home using some liquid soap. Still, trusting a lab to do the water analysis will give you more accurate results.
The Negative Effects of Hard Water
What should you do if it turns out that you have hard water, after all? As I mentioned above, hard water is no reason to panic. Drinking it is safe and contributes to your daily intake of essential minerals. However, this minor health benefit comes at a high, likely hidden cost for your household.
- It Doesn’t Look Good
One of the most obvious adverse effects of hard water is that your glasses and plates never look as clean as they ought to. The minerals in hard water leave a residue on your dishes and cutlery. This soap scum is not exactly aesthetically pleasing. Plus, it also shortens the lifespan of your kitchenware.
- Things Fall Apart
All of the appliances that come into contact with mineral-rich water are also bound to suffer. Electric kettles, water boilers, heaters, even your iron, will accumulate mineral residue. As a result, your appliances might not last for as long as they should.
Furthermore, all of the extra minerals in hard water will slowly build up inside your pipes, causing damage and corrosion. Maybe you don’t mind buying a new kettle once a year. But replacing the pipes in your house is a slow and costly process that you can easily avoid if you get a house water softener system.
- Shower Trouble
Lastly, hard water also disrupts your shower experience because hard water makes you run through soap and shampoo more quickly. Due to the higher mineral content, lather breaks down faster. You might not have noticed this, but you are probably using more soap than you need to.
In contrast, soft water makes showering cheaper, as you’ll have to restock on soap, shampoo, and shower gels less often. On top of that, your skin and hair will be smoother as well.
Soft water has a similar impact on your laundry too. You will get softer clothes that require less detergent and fabric softener to feel comfy and clean.
How Does a Water Softener System Work?
Having hard water in your house is not a terminal diagnosis. You can change the mineral composition of what flows in your pipes with a water softener system. As the name suggests, this is a piece of equipment for softening water.
The system serves as a mediator between the water you receive from the city and what ends up flowing out of your taps and showerheads. Water softeners purify (or rather, soften) your water through different chemical processes.
Here are the most common types of home water softening systems, based on how they function.
- Two-Tank Home Water Softeners
The best home water softener systems fall under the two-tank category. They work through a chemical process known as ion exchange.
This piece of equipment consists of two tanks. One tank, also called the mineral tank, is full of resin — a substance rich in charged ions, which chemically attract the active minerals in hard water. The resin does all of the home water softening there.
The other tank contains mostly salt and a bit of water. The system uses salt to purify the resin in the first tank periodically so that it can keep absorbing more minerals.
The regeneration process is automatic, as the water system’s control valve keeps track of the water volume passing through the mineral tank. It knows when the resin beads need to be freshened up with salt from the brine tank.
The mineral-rich water left after the purification process then flows out of your home through your wastewater pipe.
I’d say these types of softeners are the best solution for hard water. However, not everyone is a fan of such bulky home water systems.
Some people believe that traditional water softeners increase the amount of sodium in their water too much. Others simply don’t own homes big enough for a sizeable two-tank system. These are the homeowners that turn to alternative technology such as descalers.
Descaling systems don’t use ion exchange. Most often, they rely on electromagnetism and send waves that shake up the molecules found in the water. Then, large minerals such as calcium and magnesium break apart and travel through your plumbing without building up.
Soap scum is rarely seen in a household with a descaler. If it appears at all, it is easy to clean since the molecules are not as sturdy and persistent as those of regular hard water.
However, ion exchange-based water softener systems have one significant advantage over descalers. Namely, the latter do not actually change the hardness levels of your water supply. The benefits of descalers are simply not as far-reaching as those of regular water softeners.
- Water Conditioners
The term “water conditioner” can be used to refer to any salt-free device or system that filters water.
You may sometimes see a system labeled as a “salt-free water softener,” but that usage would be incorrect. The only way to turn hard water into soft is by removing the mineral ions from it. The best home water softener systems can do that — with resin and brine.
Water conditioners, on the other hand, can help remove other impurities from water, such as iron, arsenic, hard particles, and the like. If those kinds of contaminants are the root of your water problems, then you certainly can benefit from a water conditioner.
Some water conditioners rely on a process called template-assisted crystallization to turn calcium and magnesium found in hard water into crystals. Nevertheless, the minerals still remain in your water.
Don’t expect conditioners to change the hardness of your water supply. They also won’t do much for the limescale accumulating in your pipes and appliances. For that, you need a real water softener.
Here’s a Short Video From Youtube on how water softener works.
How Much Does Owning a Water Softener System Cost?
The best home water softener systems can set you back anywhere between $$$ and $$$$, though there are more expensive models as well.
That may seem like a hefty sum to pay at once, but bear in mind that house systems are meant to last you for 15–20 years. In the long term, the average cost of owning a house water softening system drops down to $$–$$$ per year.
Once the system is set up in your home, the only thing you need to do is ensure there’s enough salt in the brine tank. Depending on how many people live in your home, how much water you use, and how hard your water is, you will go through salt at different rates. On average, you’ll need to add a pack or two of salt a couple of times per month.
Alternative water conditioning systems might not need many resources at all. Electronic descalers may add $10 to your electricity bills. Other equipment may require a change of filters — it all depends on the type of product you install.
Overall, I’d say that the best water softener systems are quite cost-efficient. Sure, you have to buy more salt when you do your grocery shopping. Still, that’s cheaper than replacing your appliances every year or two, not to mention repairing the plumbing in your home.
Moreover, you can expect smaller electricity bills. Your water-heating devices, dishwasher, and coffee machine have to work extra hard when minerals are piling up inside them, so they consume more power. Softer water will be easier on them, allowing them to do their job using less electricity.
Soap and laundry detergents will also last you longer, so you’ll be saving money on those. Lastly, you will enjoy softer skin, hair, and clothes.
What Makes a Good Water Softener System?
To identify the top 10 of the best home water softener systems, I will be applying the following criteria. First, I will explain what each one of them means. Then, when we get to my picks for the best home water softener systems, I will address how each of them compares to my ideal requirements.
- Type of Water Softener
As I explained above, the best home water softener systems use ion exchange to reduce the hardness of the water. The charged ion beads are then purified with brine from the second tank. Once the beads are cleaned, they are ready to bind to more ions and soften more water.
Then we also have the aforementioned water conditioners, which some people erroneously call salt-free water softeners. Water conditioners do have some benefits for your home, but those are not as far-reaching as what the best home water softener systems can deliver.
For the sake of diversity, I am going to consider both types of systems in my reviews. Still, you need to bear in mind that they have different advantages.
I personally believe that no water conditioner is a match for the best home water softener systems out there. Nevertheless, if hard water is not your main problem, and you’re looking to remove other impurities, you may enjoy a conditioner more.
Here I don’t mean the literal size of the mineral tank. Instead, I am referring to how much hard water the system can soften before it needs to go through a regeneration cycle.
Each resin bead can only hold on to a limited amount of mineral ions before it needs to be refreshed with salt. If you have a large family and use a lot of water, you will need a water softening system with a higher capacity. The same is true if your water hardness level is high.
If you install a system that is too small for your needs, you will likely find it regenerating the beads more than once per week, which is too often. Frequent regeneration is not only inconvenient but can also increase your water bills. With the best home water softener systems, we’re trying to achieve the opposite.
To choose the most suitable home systems, you need to know how much water you use daily. You can calculate the right capacity for your household if you look into your water consumption and the exact hardness level of your water supply.
If you have a hardness level of 60 mg per liter, and you use 30 liters of water per day, you need a system with a capacity of 60 x 30 = 1800 mg per day, or 1800 x 7 = 12,600 mg per week.
Note that hardness can also be measured in grains per gallon (gpg). It’s just a matter of which measurement system you’re more comfortable with.
Many of the best home water softener systems use the gpg measurement. A one to two-person household requires a capacity of around 30,000 grains of hardness. For larger families, it’s best to find a system with a capacity of over 40,000.
- Soft Water Output
Besides the amount of water that the system can soften between regeneration cycles, you also need to know how much water flows out of the tank, ready for use.
Here I don’t just mean the tap water that you drink. Because the water softener hooks up to your plumbing, it affects everything in your house — sinks, showers, dishwashers, and even pools.
If you have a large family, trying to do the dishes while someone else is showering might put quite a bit of strain on your house water supply. As a result, you will have weak water pressure.
Still, that’s a problem you can easily avoid if you check the flow rate of the unit you’re buying. Also, the best way to prevent weak water pressure is to calculate how much water your household needs in advance.
Yes, dealing with so much math beforehand is not fun. But neither is replacing a brand-new water softener because you accidentally got a model that was too small.
The water flow of a softener system is usually measured in gallons per minute. A two-person family typically needs a system with at least seven gpm, while a larger one may require 12 gpm and more.
This calculation is based on average water expenditure values. For example, a faucet usually wastes one gallon of water per minute, while a shower demands twice as much water. A single flush of the toilet is worth about three gallons. A load of laundry is closer to 25 gallons.
- Regeneration Setting
This setting is one of the most critical characteristics of two-tank water softeners with a control valve. There are three ways in which the system can start a new regeneration cycle.
The simplest way is to do it manually. Manual regeneration is usually the default setting of small water softeners you can use on the go. Instead of keeping brine in the second tank, you should only add in the salt when you think you need it.
Needless to say, this doesn’t work for the day-to-day needs of a household. It’s simply too time-consuming. Also, it’s unnecessary because the best home water softener systems come with automated options.
Some water softener systems use a timed regeneration setting. When you install the system in your home, you can use the control valve to set when you want it to start cleaning the resin beads. For instance, it can do that at a particular hour every night.
That certainly means you don’t have to worry about triggering regeneration manually. However, some days, you might use up a different amount of water. Whether it’s more or less than usual, this sometimes means the purification of the beads will be unnecessary or insufficient. Thus, timed regeneration is not always an optimal solution.
The best home water softener systems rely on an automated or metered regeneration method. The system will monitor how much water flows in for softening and will pull brine for regeneration when necessary. You don’t have to do a thing except ensure that there’s always enough salt in the brine tank. As such, this method is the most energy- and cost-efficient one.
- Relevant Documentation
First, all of the best home water softener systems will have safety certifications. These documents attest to the quality of the materials and their overall safety for use in your home.
There should also be documentation that points out the exact specifications of the water softener system. For instance, it should indicate the level of minerals the system can soften with a pound of salt — ideally, it should be more than 3,350 grains.
Furthermore, you want a water softening system that purifies thoroughly. The best water softening systems can efficiently remove at least 1,000 grains of hardness for every five gallons of water that pass through the tank.
Lastly, as a responsible homeowner, you ought to ensure that the water softener system you are buying has a decent warranty. This piece of equipment is a long-term investment, after all. While we always hope everything will work smoothly, it’s best to have a more extended warranty, in case something goes wrong.
My Top Picks for the Best Home Water Softener Systems in 2019
#1. Fleck 5600SXT
If I had a big family that needed a lot of water softened daily, the Fleck 5600SXT would be on the top of my list of the best home water softener systems. This water softener is fuss-free and low-maintenance, though be aware that it is one of the bulkier softening systems on the market.
The Fleck 5600SXT is a two-tank water softener system that uses ion exchange to purify water. It is made in the United States according to the highest industry standards.
As with other water softener systems from Fleck, this one has a straightforward installation manual. Still, if you want to be on the safe side, you can call a plumber to do it for you.
The standard warranty is five years for the control valve and ten years for each of the tanks.
One small con is that the brine tank is made of plastic rather than steel, so it’s not as durable as I would like it to be.
This softening system’s bypass valve is pretty easy to use. It allows you to turn off the water softening process if you’re planning to use the water for something else, such as watering the garden.
Flow & Capacity
This water softener system can treat up to 12 gpm, which is the ideal water flow for a medium-sized family. Moreover, the capacity is 48,000 grains of hardness, which is better than average.
It offers metered regeneration, which ensures that the system is entirely hassle-free. However, you can also use a timed setting if you want the water system to regenerate at a particular time.
- Good for big families
- Includes a bypass valve
- Takes up a lot of space
#2. Whirlpool WHES30
To give you a more well-rounded overview of the best home water softener systems, I wanted to include options for every type of home. I believe the WHES30 is a budget-friendly solution for a household whose water only needs minor softening. If you have extremely hard water, check out my other top water softeners.
This water softener is a highly compact, single-tank unit. Thus, the Whirlpool WHES30 is an excellent choice for people who lack the space to install any of my bigger picks for the best home water softener systems.
The warranty lasts for one year only, but it can be extended up to three if you purchase additional resin cleaner. In both cases, I consider this to be insufficient, as the industry standard is five to ten years.
Flow & Capacity
The water flow rate is just short of 8 gpm, which is less than my ideal requirement (12 gpm, if you remember). Still, for households of two to four people, this unit should function perfectly fine. If you have a larger family, though, this is not the water softener for you.
Nevertheless, the grain capacity is 30,000, which isn’t too shabby for such a small water softener.
This water softener system’s ability to clean up to 8 ppm of ferrous (soluble) iron is a pleasant surprise. Iron is a bit of a challenge for most water softeners, so I was impressed when I saw this on the specs sheet.
The Whirlpool WHES30 has a bypass valve, so you can turn off the water purification when needed.
The system has a user-friendly digital control valve and offers metered regeneration for maximum efficiency.
- Ideal for small households
- Brand name — easy to find replacement parts
- Includes a bypass valve
- A short warranty
- Not suitable for extremely hard water
#3. Whirlpool WHES40E
If you like the design and features of the Whirlpool WHES30 but have a bigger family, don’t despair. I included the WHES40E on my list of the best home water softener systems specifically because of homeowners such as yourself. With a larger capacity, this model by Whirlpool is one of the top water softener systems out there.
Similarly to the WHES30, the Whirlpool WHES40E has a minimalist single-tank design and is perfect for less spacious homes. Also, the system’s interface is fully digital, so it’s easy to work with.
The WHES40E, like other units by Whirlpool, will emit a light signal when it’s running low on salt, making its maintenance relatively simple. Additionally, the installation is straightforward, and you can do it yourself if you know your way around the plumbing.
Still, like with the WHES30, the warranty of one to three years is a little disappointing, considering that with other systems of a similar capacity, you get between five and ten years.
As indicated by the model’s number, this is a higher-capacity water softener. It can clean 40,000 grains of hardness between regeneration cycles, which is why it’s suitable for families of up to six people.
Moreover, it purifies 125 gpg — that’s better than the WHES30, though it’s below my ideal of 200.
This system includes a bypass valve you can use to manually stop the softening process, if necessary. Still, some owners have reported that the valve may be leaky, so watch out for that.
The WHES40E uses a metered regeneration method, which is optimal for saving water, salt, and energy.
The WHES40E is also a bit better at filtering ferrous iron than its smaller cousin, with a purification capacity of 10 ppm.
- Suitable for families of up to five people
- Famous brand — easy to find replacement parts
- Includes a bypass valve
- Metered regeneration
- Compact, attractive design
- A short warranty
- A leaky bypass valve
#4. APEC Water Systems RO-90 Ultimate Series
This unit is slightly different from the other suggestions on my list of the best home water softener systems. Designed with health and quality of life in mind, the APEC RO-90 water system can filter all kinds of contaminants from drinking water, regardless of hardness levels. However, purification does not equal softening.
This water purification system is meant specifically for cleaning the tap water in your home and making it safe to drink. It features five separate filters that are designed to remove different contaminants.
First, the system removes dust and other hard particles using the sediment filter. Then, it uses two sets of carbon blocks to trap any chemicals and dyes, as well as to remove odors. The last two filters are there to eliminate any other potential contaminants that may have made it past the previous three stages.
However, this system won’t do anything for the hardness of your water. If you think your water is both hard and contaminated, I’d suggest using this in conjunction with one of my other picks for the best home water softener systems.
This comprehensive filtering system includes a 4-gallon tank, which ensures there’s always water ready for use.
Dangerous Elements Filtration
The APEC Water Ultimate Reverse Osmosis system seems quite efficient at removing elements such as arsenic and radon from tap water. It’s something worth considering if you’re not sure your water supply is adequately purified, or if you use a well.
The unit comes with its own lead-free faucet with a modern design for an instant flow of purified water.
- A foolproof 5-filter purification system
- Excellent for removing dangerous chemicals and rust from tap water
- Also eliminates odors, improving the overall taste of tap water
- Perfect for cleaning well water
- It’s not that reliable
#5. iSpring ED2000
As much as I rave about the benefits of soft water for your household, I know that not everyone wants to deal with changes to their plumbing, extra water tanks, and the like. That’s why I was so happy to find this alternative water conditioner. Technically considered an “electronic descaler,” this unit performs just as well as some of the best ion exchange-based home water softener systems out there.
To start with, the iSpring ED2000 is small, easy to install, and doesn’t require any plumbing skills whatsoever. All you have to do is hook up the box to a power outlet, then wrap two sets of coils around your pipes.
The ED2000 does not work on the ion exchange principle you’d find in some other home water softener systems. Instead, it relies on alternative technology — electromagnetic waves.
These waves break down the molecules of water so that they can grip onto the mineral ions better and carry them through your pipes. In other words, the iSpring ED2000 doesn’t remove the extra minerals from your water, but it does prevent scale buildup.
Unfortunately, though, this product doesn’t mesh well with water that contains more than 0.3 ppm of iron. If that’s the case, you’ll need to invest in a separate iron filter.
Doesn’t Affect Minerals
Because the chemical composition of water is not affected in the process, you may still benefit from the extra magnesium and calcium in hard water. However, that also means your skin and hair softness won’t improve, and neither will the stiffness of your laundry.
This product doesn’t wear out and does not regenerate, so its capacity is unlimited. However, the electromagnetic effect on water molecules only lasts for about 50 feet. If you live in a big house, you might want to install multiple units.
- Doesn’t change the water chemistry
- Suitable for people who don’t want sodium in their water
- Easy to install
- It doesn’t soften the water
#6. Aquasure AS-HS48D Harmony Series
If I had to pick the highest-rated product on my list of the best home water softener systems, it would be this unit. I might never need some of the functions the Aquasure AS-HS48D packs, but it ticks all of the boxes. If you’re the type of homeowner who likes to be prepared for anything, you’ll quickly see why I love this system so much.
The Aquasure AS-HS48D is a high-capacity two-tank water softener. The resin tank is made of high-quality polyethylene that has been reinforced with fiberglass. Meanwhile, the brine tank is plastic, but it feels sturdy nonetheless. Bear in mind that you do have to connect the brine tank to the resin one yourself, though (or ask your plumber to do it).
The installation is relatively simple. All necessary tubes are included, and the resin tank is full on delivery. With only limited plumbing experience, I was able to do it by myself.
Another excellent feature of the AS-HS48D is that the parts are compatible with Fleck water softeners, making it easy to find replacements, should you need any. Moreover, you get a 5-year warranty, which seems perfectly adequate for this type of unit.
Flow & Capacity
The softening power of this unit is impressive. The AS-HS48D can filter 48,000 grains of hardness between regeneration cycles and has a water flow of 12 gpm. With these specs, the system is suitable for medium-sized households (five people at most).
This water softener has a digital control valve that’s super easy to work with. You can use it to monitor the water system, turn it off, or set your regeneration preferences.
The Aquasure AS-HS48D has metered regeneration, as well as timed and manual settings. As a result, you can use this system in any way you want.
- High capacity for water softening
- Perfect for households of 2–5 people
- Comes with all the settings you might need
- It requires a lot of space
#7. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
The Eddy unit is a great alternative for all of you small homeowners. Unlike my other picks for the best home water softener systems, the Eddy will not change your water’s chemistry. However, it is still an incredible unit for preventing limescale from accumulating in your home and ruining your appliances.
Similarly to the iSpring ED2000, the Eddy electronic water descaler is a device that uses electromagnetic waves to break up the molecules of hard water. As long as you wrap the coils around your pipes correctly, you will notice an improvement in the quality of your water.
Nevertheless, I need to point out that electronic descalers are not the best water softeners. The impulses that devices such as the Eddy produce help make larger molecules smaller, though. While you may still see some scale, it’ll be easy to remove. Still, the overall hardness level of your water will remain the same.
A Compromise Solution
You will get the extra minerals found in hard water that could be beneficial for your health. Additionally, the Eddy will extend the life of your plumbing and appliances because smaller molecules won’t cause scale buildup.
Just like the iSpring ED2000, this device is quite easy to set up. You only need a little bit of room near your pipes and a power outlet. Feed the unit electricity, and it will work, no brine or regeneration required.
One-Year Trial Period
The Eddy has a significant advantage over its competitors, as the company offers a 12-month money-back guarantee. A year is plenty of time to test the product and see if it works for you or not.
- Water remains mineral-rich
- Excellent if you’re worried about the salt in traditional water softeners
- It doesn’t soften water
#8. Triple-Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener
I didn’t always have a big house, yet water trouble has followed me everywhere I’ve lived. I used to look at the best home water softener systems and dream of having one, but I knew I couldn’t house it. If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, this Triple-Action Poly salt-free water softener might be worth looking into.
This unit is highly compact, which makes it perfect for smaller homes. Is it as effective as some other home water softener systems on the market? Not quite. But it’s still a good enough system for reducing scale buildup.
The unit differs from most water softeners in that it doesn’t rely on ion exchange, and everything is packed in a single tank. It filters water in three stages. First, there is 10.5 oz of polyphosphate that chemically interacts with magnesium and calcium. There are also two different filters that will trap iron, bacteria, and other unwanted particles.
Flow & Capacity
This unit has a water flow rate of 30 gpm, which is pretty impressive. That is almost three times my recommended value for a medium-sized family, so you won’t have to worry about water pressure.
The Triple-Action Poly water conditioner is relatively low-maintenance. You can expect to replace the polyphosphate crystals every ten months or so, which will set you back $30. There are no other costs unless you need to change any parts.
Unlike the top water softener systems, this device is a conditioner. It does provide some descaling thanks to all of the filters. Still, I’d recommend it for only moderately hard water. More specifically, the Triple-Action Poly salt-free water softener is best if your primary concerns are iron and bacteria, not so much calcium and magnesium.
- You will still enjoy extra minerals in your tap water
- Effectively prevents scale from forming
- High water flow
- It doesn’t soften the water
#9. Nuvo H2O Home System
I know I’ve gone on and on about tanks and capacity, but for you, small homeowners, here is a compact solution that works. This device is different from everything else on my list of the best home water softener systems in both looks and operation. It doesn’t use ion exchange, reverse osmosis, or electromagnetic descaling. Instead, it relies on chelation.
To date, the Nuvo H2O remains the smallest water filtration system I have ever seen. The device doesn’t need to be big because it uses chelation to purify water. The system is filled with Nuvo’s original chelating agent, which takes care of the extra minerals found in hard water.
The chelator inside the Nuvo H2O is both FDA- and NSF-approved, not to mention perfectly safe for you. Similar to ion exchange systems, the chelating agent binds to the calcium and magnesium ions found in hard water. However, this unit doesn’t require any salt for regeneration, nor does it produce waste.
One thing to bear in mind is that there isn’t much information on the chelator used with the Nuvo H2O home system. If you’re dealing with extremely hard water, it might be worth investing in a traditional two-tank system since the costs are similar.
Flow & Capacity
You need to replace the cartridge inside the device for every 20,000 gallons of water filtered. With average usage, that would mean changing the filter once every few months.
This water softener is designed for households of up to two people. With a water flow rate of 15 gpm, I find that the unit would meet the needs of a small family just fine.
The Nuvo H2O is a low-maintenance unit, compared to some other bulkier water softener systems on my list. There are no control valves or brine to worry about.
- Super compact — it will fit anywhere
- Perfect for water of low to medium hardness
- Good for small families
- Not suitable for extremely hard water
#10. HQUA 5000E
Now, I already had an incredible water softener at home. However, a while ago, I noticed my office also needed one.
I couldn’t just change the plumbing. Instead, I needed something small and fuss-free. Luckily, the HQUA 5000E delivered just that, earning itself a well-deserved spot on my list of the best home water softener systems.
The HQUA 5000E falls under the category of electronic descalers, just like the iSpring ED2000 and the Eddy device. Unlike the other two, however, this unit comes with aesthetically pleasing antenna cables that wrap around your pipes.
I know — it sounds a bit odd. Still, the metallic finish and flat design make them look better than the coils of other electronic descalers. The device itself is also pretty sleek. For that reason, I think the HQUA 5000E is perfect if you need to place the descaler at a more visible place.
Note that the HQUA 5000E is meant for water of low hardness (up to 25 gpg). If your water contains more minerals than that, you might not see a big difference.
Breaks up Scale
The HQUA 5000E is effective at breaking up larger mineral molecules found in hard water. It helps remove the pre-existing scale from your water-heating appliances and prevents it from forming in the future.
One-Year Trial Period
The unit has a one-year money-back guarantee.12 months is long enough for you to see the benefits of using a descaler for yourself. If for some reason you don’t like it, removing it is quick and easy; it doesn’t even require a plumber.
- Requires very little space
- Easy setup without changes to plumbing
- It doesn’t soften water
The Ultimate Champion: Who’s on Top of My List of the Best Home Water Softener Systems?
When I was composing my list of the best home water softener systems, I wanted to include something for everyone. Overall, I believe I succeeded in giving you a vast array of options that fit the needs of differently-sized houses and families. But which water softener is the best among them?
In my humble opinion, the Aquasure AS-HS48D has all it takes to knock everything else out of the park. It is one of the bigger, two-tank systems, but I find that it’s well worth the space, especially if you have a family with kids. The demand-initiated regeneration works perfectly, and all I have to do is check the salt level once a week.
It’s a small price to pay to enjoy the benefits of owning one of the best home water softener systems. My electricity and water bills are lower, and everyone at home loves having softer hair, skin, and clothes. My kitchenware is clean, my appliances don’t need constant descaling, and every once in a while, I get to enjoy a bubble bath with real lather. What more could one want?