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A majority of the United States depends on hard water for their cooking or cleaning needs which contains high levels of magnesium and calcium. This water is unhealthy for your skin and hair and can damage your home appliances and shorten their lifespan. Many households use water softeners which are water treatment systems that eliminate these hardness-causing minerals from the water.
A standard water softener includes multiple tanks that require a lot of space. If you live in an apartment or a house with limited space, it can be tiresome to find an ideal water softener that can be installed in a congested area.
In this best water softeners for small spaces guide, I’ll be shortlisting and reviewing some of the best small water softener systems considering their dimensions, ensuring that these systems can be installed in tight spaces to help you with your purchase.
The 5 Best Water Softeners for Small Spaces Review
1. On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener Review: Best Compact Water Softener for Small Spaces
- Grain capacity of 8,000
- A tank size of 22×6.5 inches
- Capable of producing 320-800 gallons of soft water
- Works for more than three weeks per recharge
- It takes only 15 minutes for regeneration using common table salt
- Weight: 18 pounds
While most water softener systems cost hundreds and thousands of dollars, this portable water by On The Go can help you treat 10-25 grain hard water at an affordable price. It’s a compact device suitable for RVs and campsites. The softener can deliver 320-800 gallons of output, depending on the hardness of your water.
One thing I like about this softener is that you don’t need to recharge it very often, and it only takes about 15 minutes and a box of table salt for regeneration. One recharge can last you three to six weeks, depending on your usage.
The portable softener has a dimension of 22 × 6.75 inches and weighs only about 18 lbs, making it effortless to fit in tight storage spaces. Additionally, a tool-free hookup and an attached handle allow you to carry it around easily. You’ll also get a few hardness testing strips, a high-pressure hose, and a shut-off valve for easy installation.
- Lightweight and easy to carry around
- Includes hardness test strips
- Highly affordable
- Limited capacity
2. PRO+AQUA Portable Water Softener Review: Best Small Water Softener (High Capacity)
- Grain capacity of 16,000
- The output of 2,000 gallons per recharge
- A high flow of 5 GPM with less pressure drop
- Regenerates with two boxes of common salt within half an hour
- Weight: 35 pounds
PRO-AQUA’s water softener system is one of the best-selling portable water softeners known for durability and mobility. Although it’s a little expensive compared to other softeners, the system delivers up to 40% softer water and a grain capacity of 16,000, which is double the capacity of what most portable water softeners offer.
The base is about 10 inches wide, providing stability for campgrounds and outdoors, but it can be high for closed spaces. The ¾ inch high-flow ports ensure a 5 GPM flow with lesser pressure drop.
The water softener takes only a few minutes to set up and doesn’t need electricity to operate. You can expect an output of 2000 gallons for at least a month or two before it needs regeneration. You can either use two boxes of common table salt or buy the WS-P-REG kit by the company for faster regenerations.
It also uses a heavy-duty and durable fiberglass-wrapped shell that makes it perfect for road usage. Considering a wide base of 10 inches, the reduced height of 19.5 inches allows you to fit it in small spaces.
- Produces 40% more soft water
- Long-lasting and durable built
- It also reduces iron, lead, and other metals
- The regeneration kit for faster regenerations needs to be purchased separately
3. Mobile-Soft-Water Premier Softener Review: Best Mini Water Softener for Home
- Compact size with a dimension of 21.6×6.5 inches
- Delivers 800 gallons of conditioned water
- Can produce up to 3 gallons in one minute
- Grain capacity of 8,000
- Weight: 30 pounds
Mobile-Soft-Water’s portable water system is an effective and cheaper alternative for On The Go’s water softener with identical design and features. It comes with a grain capacity of 8,000 and is capable of producing up to 800 gallons of water.
You can expect a flow rate of three gallons every minute. The brass lead-free 0.75-inch fittings are suitable for an NSF 61 potable hose. It is also equipped with a resin screen that provides a high flow and reduces the pressure drop.
It comes with a dimension of 21.6 × 6.5 inches, only an inch smaller than On The Go’s water softener. Even though it’s compact, it weighs more than 30 pounds, making it a little challenging to carry around. Also, the regeneration process is not that straightforward and requires more time comparatively.
Overall, it’s the cheapest water softener on the list, ideal for small homes and cabins. I won’t recommend it for camping or outdoors as I find it too heavy for portable use.
- Cheap and reliable
- Includes free test strips
- High flow rate
- One-year warranty
- Weighs comparatively more than similar products
- Complicated regeneration process
4. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable Water Softener Review: Best Portable Water Softener for RV
- A higher 16,000-grain capacity
- Delivers 1,600 gallons of softened water per regeneration
- It takes 30 minutes to regenerate using potassium or table salt
- Weight: 32 pounds
On The Go manufactures a wide range of portable water softeners. This one is an upgraded model of the standard 8,000-grain portable water softener by the brand I’ve listed in this guide. It comes with a grain capacity of 16,000 and can deliver up to 1,600 gallons of soft water. You don’t have to worry about regeneration for 30-40 days of use.
This mini water softener requires two boxes of table salt and only 30 minutes to recharge, and a wide mouth opening makes it effortless to add salt to your water softener. You don’t need any tools or electricity to utilize this system, making it perfect for boats and RVs.
The water system has a 9.5-inch wide base and a height of about 22 inches, and it can easily fit in the storage bay of your RVs or other tight spaces. A convenient handle and the cap and plug option provide great portability. The only thing that this water softener lacks is that it uses plastic fitting connectors, which saves the company a few bucks, but I prefer softeners with brass-fitting as they’re more durable.
- Lightweight and space-saving design
- Very easy regeneration
- Easy-to-carry handle
- Uses plastic fittings
5. Water2Buy W2B800 Meter Water Softener Review: Best Space-Saving Water Softener for Condo & Apartment
- Generates about 1060 gallons of softened water every day
- A digital meter to adjust the hardness levels
- Automatically regenerates after a few days of usage
- Weight: 55 pounds
Not many water softeners are available in the market explicitly designed for small homes with less place. This is why most users are obliged to buy a portable water softener, but this system by Water2Buy is a unique exception. It can produce 1060 gallons of soft water every day for a family of ten people.
The digital meter reduces water and salt consumption, saving you a lot of money. On the other hand, the softener does require electricity to function, but the usage is pretty less and doesn’t hurt your pocket.
The dimensions of 19.69 x 8.86 x 43.31 inches allow you to easily install this narrow water softener in garages, bathrooms, and cabinets. The tank shell is made of fiberglass-coated high-quality and corrosion-resistant polyethylene, which is durable and lasts longer than other standard softeners.
The system will automatically perform regeneration when required and uses about 90 liters of water for each process; an override button is also available if you wish to start the regeneration manually.
- Super easy installation
- Uses minimal electricity
- Durable and corrosion-resistant material
- Nothing too specific to mention
Benefits of Using a Small Water Softener System for Home
Water softeners, in general, are effective in eliminating high amounts of hard minerals like calcium and magnesium. The excess of these hard minerals in water can have several harms.
A water softener is a long-term investment that’ll save your skin and hair from drying out and prevent corrosion in your pipes and water appliances. Using a small water softener will save you a lot of money in the long run by making sure your appliances don’t get damaged from minerals and use less energy.
A small or a portable water softener comes with its advantages and disadvantages. But when you’re running low on space, it’s not possible to buy standard water softener systems as they demand a lot of installation area. However, portable water systems are designed with a small single tank that can easily fit tight spaces, cabins, RVs, boats, etc. You can easily carry these small water softeners in your home, which is helpful for people with backyards or garages.
With size limitations, the only thing that may bother some users is that the softener won’t be able to provide a higher capacity when compared to a regular water softener system.
How to Choose the Best Water Softeners for Small Spaces
If your water is very hard, it is better to get a small water softener with a higher capacity so that you won’t have to replace the salts that often.
Besides, each small water softener has its limit on how hard the water it can treat, for instance, some can only treat hard water with a hardness level of up to 25 grains per gallon.
The term “grain capacity” refers to the total amount of hardness-causing compounds that can be treated before your water softener system needs to be regenerated for further use. The higher the grain capacity, the longer your water softener lasts.
When we talk about small or portable softeners, the grain capacity is comparatively less due to the tank’s small size. I recommend you look for a compact water softener system with at least 16,000 grain capacity for medium usage. If you don’t plan to use your softener every day, a small water softener with an 8,000-grain capacity is sufficient.
Water Softener Size
Selecting an ideal water softener size depends on your installation space and usage requirements. While most families use a 32,000-grain capacity softener, it acquires a lot of space. Although it isn’t possible to get a system with that high capacity to fit into tight spaces, you can find some compact 16,000 capacity softeners. Make sure you measure your space and crosscheck it with the dimensions of your softener to prevent installation issues.
Water Flow Rate
The water flow rate for a softener system is measured in gallons per minute or GPM. GPM is calculated by the time it takes your softener to fill a one-gallon container divided by 60 seconds. A higher flow rate is proportional to a higher pressure. A lower GPM will dramatically increase the pressure loss when using water at multiple places. So, I recommend you get a water softener with a flow rate of about 3 GPM or more.
In addition to these factors, there are several other features that you need to consider when buying a water softener for small spaces.
The most common one is the essential regeneration process to maintain the system. Most budget water softeners require manual regeneration that can be done by adding table salt to the water and rinsing it. Some high-end systems offer automatic regeneration that saves you from the hassle of this complicated process.
Also, make sure your water softener includes some hardness test strips to help you understand the effectiveness and the quality of softened water generated by the system.
The cost of a water softener can vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the number of tanks and type. A standard dual-tank water system will cost you more than $1,000, while a portable or small single-tank water softener comes with a price range from $150 to $400.
You also need to consider the regeneration and electricity cost (if your system uses power) to estimate the overall cost better.
A Quick Comparison of the Best Compact Water Softeners
1. On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener
This is one of the best compact water softener systems that suitable for small spaces like apartments, condos, and RVs.
- Capacity: This space-saver water softener provides a grain capacity of 8,000 and up to 800 gallons of softened water each regeneration.
- Dimension: This is the second smallest water softener with a dimension of 22 x 6.75 inches
2. PRO-AQUA’s Portable Water Softener System
PRO-AQUA’s portable and affordable water softener offers a high flow rate of 5 GPM and can also fit in RV storage bays, boat compartments, and small homes.
- Capacity: The system provides a high grain capacity of 16,000 and 2,000 gallons of softened water every regeneration, double the competitor models at this price range.
- Dimension: As I mentioned earlier, this short water softener has a portable design that allows you to fit it into tight cabinets. It has a low height of only 19.5 inches, and the base is about 10 inches wide.
3. Mobile-Soft-Water Premier Mini Water Softener
Mobile-Soft Water Premier Softener is the smallest water softener on the list and is the cheapest too.
- Capacity: This small footprint water softener has a grain capacity of 8,000 and produces 800 gallons of softened water for each regeneration.
- Dimension: This mini water softener comes with a dimension of 21.6 × 6.5 inches
4. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable Water Softener
This is the best portable water softener for mobile vehicles due to its high capacity and compact size.
- Capacity: This compact water softener has a grain capacity of 16,000 and can produce 1,600 gallons of softened water for every regeneration.
- Dimension: The small water softener has a dimension of 22 x 9.5 inches
5. Water2Buy W2B800 Apartment-size Water Softener
Unlike other systems in our guide, Water2Buy’s water softening filtration limescale system is designed mainly for small to medium homes and can be installed in garages or basements.
- Capacity: The water system helps serve a family of up to ten people. It has a 90-liter capacity and can generate over 1000 gallons of soft water per day.
- Dimension: Water2Buy W2B800 is only 8 inches wide. The height of 43 inches is comparatively higher than most other compact water softeners, so make sure you have enough space at your home before deciding your pick.
FAQ on Water Softeners for Small Spaces
1. What is the smallest water softener?
The smallest water softener is Mobile-Soft-Water Premier water softener.
2. Which compact water softener is best for RV?
On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable is the best small water softener for RV.
3. Is the softened water good enough for drinking?
Water softeners are not filtration systems that’ll help you improve your hard water to drinking quality. They’re essentially used to remove hardness minerals like calcium, magnesium, and other similar metal cations. It’s best to use a separate water filter for drinking purposes.
These were some of the best water softeners for small spaces to help you tackle hard water problems at your home or outdoors. Most of these small water softeners are lightweight and portable, making them suitable for campers, RV homes, apartments, and condos.
You can pick any of the above-listed compact water softener systems as per your preferences; make sure the small water softener you buy has enough grain capacity to meet your usage, and it must be compact to fit your desired installation space.