Hard water is the unwelcome guest to your home, they destroy your appliances, clog your pipe, raise your electricity bills, stain your dishes and clothes, make your skin dry, make your hair dull, and make your bathrooms ugly.
Fortunately, there is a device that can single-handle the water hardness problem, and it is the water softener.
I’ve spent more than 60 hours in research, review, consulting water softener manufacturers, and writing this in-depth review of the best water softeners for well water for you.
I’ve also included the alternatives to water softeners such as water conditioners (or water descalers) for you to choose from.
I’ve also written an ultimate guide to let you understand how water softening system works, how to choose the right water softener for your home, the pros and cons of each water softener, how to install them, and more.
Disclosure: BrizFeel is a participant of Amazon Associate program.
Top 17 Best Water Softeners for Well Water: Quick Overview
Here’s the quick overview of the 17 best water softening system to save you from hard water problems.
Fleck 5600SXT 64k
AFWFilters IRON Pro 2
AFWFilters Dual Tank
On The Go Portable
AO Smith Descaler
Why Do You Need a Water Softener for Well Water?
A water softener is a type of water treatment system that is needed for many households across the world.
Because of one simple reason – the water is hard, and water softeners are the most effective way to treat hard water.
People need good-quality water to improve their lives and live happily, and this is where water softeners came into the picture – to improve your life through softened water.
The scale build-up caused by hard water can negatively impact your home’s water pressure, showerheads, faucets, bathtubs, electrical appliances, your skin and hair, and more.
Note: A water softener is not a whole house water filter, you still need to get a proper water filtration system to remove the harmful contaminants from the water.
Cost-Effective Method Against Hard Water
If you compared the water softener cost to the replacement cost of appliances (damaged by scales) and limescale removal cleaning services, it’s not expensive at all.
Getting a water softener is a more cost-effective solution, and you can save even more with Amazon.
Protect Household Electrical Appliances
A water softener can increase the lifespan of water-using appliances like water boilers, water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, and coffee machines.
The scale form inside the electrical appliances will reduce their performance and eventually stop functioning.
Preventing scale build-up is the only way to optimize your home’s performance.
The 17 Best Water Softeners In 2021 Reviewed (Salt-based & Salt-free)
Here are the reviews of the 17 best water softening systems in the market, featuring 9 salt-based water softeners and 8 salt-free water softeners (also known as water conditioners or water descalers).
Top 9 Best Water Softeners for Well Water (Salt-based)
Here are the 9 carefully picked best water softener systems that can solve your hard water problems and worth every single penny.
1. SpringWell Salt-based Water Softener SS [Review] – Best Water Softener for Well Water
- Bluetooth control head
- Strong performance and high efficiency
- Smart regeneration control
- High flow rate up to 20 GPM
- Simple sizing method
- Lifetime warranty & 6-month money-back guarantee
- Read more
Why Choose SpringWell Salt-based Water Softener SS?
To be honest, it is hard to find a great salt-based water softener that offers so much value at this price tag.
The SpringWell Salt-based Water Softener is an all-rounded water softening device that is worth your consideration.
Bluetooth Control Head
It has a state-of-the-art digital control head with Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to monitor and control the water softener remotely via your smartphone.
High Efficiency In Using Salt & Water
Moreover, its high efficiency in using salts and water will help you save a lot of money in the long run, and the brine tank can hold many salts which reduces the frequency of refill.
Also, it can be used against the water with a high hardness level, making it an ideal choice for both city and well water.
By looking at the performance, features, flow rate, built quality, and price, SpringWell’s softening system is undoubtedly one of the best salt-based water softeners for your home.
The value it gives is top of the line in the water softener industry.
Would you rather spend money on repairing or replacing appliances instead of investing in a water softener that could prevent you from facing all the problems and hassles?
In the long run, the money you spend due to the hard water issue would be likely more than the cost of a water softener, so why wait for the worst to happen when you can prevent it by installing a water softener?
A water softener is one of the worthiest investments for homes with hard water.
The Pros & Cons of SpringWell Salt-based Water Softener SS
2. Fleck 5600SXT 64k Whole House Water Softener System [Review] – Best Water Softener for Well Water (Runner-up)
- 64,000 grains high capacity resin pre-loaded in the tank
- Fleck 5600 SXT Digital Metered Water Softener
- Pentair mineral and brine tanks (made in the USA)
- Ultra-efficient digital-on-demand water softener valve for salt and water savings
- Built-in capacitor keeps memory up to 48 hours
- Read more
Why Choose Fleck 5600SXT 64k Whole House Water Softener System?
The Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener is another powerful water softening system that I’d recommend for families with 4 to 6 members.
It’s highly effective in removing hardness along with a moderate amount of iron from both city and well water to extend the life of the main water filters, pipes, and home appliances, and prevent scale buildup in your toilets and appliances.
Still struggling with heavy calcium or magnesium buildup on your bathrooms, fixtures, and appliances?
This water softener will change everything!
The high-efficiency Fleck 5600 SXT metered digital valve system is easy to program and regenerates only when it needs to, based on the measured water usage, which saves you a lot of salt and water!
On average, the system uses about 50 gallons of water during each on-demand regeneration, and you only need to replace the salt bags every 5 to 6 months.
After each regeneration, the system will automatically drain out the discharge line to flush out any residual.
Made in the USA
For quality assurance, the water softener system is made in the USA and ships with the pre-loaded tank for quicker installation.
Suitable for Well Water With a High Water Hardness Level
I have been using this for years and it was working flawlessly until today, highly recommended, it’s easily the best water softener system for well water, and you can see the result almost immediately right after installed.
Say goodbye to the time that you spend each month washing away the hard scale using harsh chemicals and soap.
Besides, this size of water softeners can easily cost more than $3000 from market quotes, so this water softener is relatively cheap!
The Pros & Cons of Fleck 5600SXT 64k Whole House Water Softener System
3. AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Water Softener [Review] – Best Water Softener for Well Water with Iron
- 64,000 grains
- With Iron filter
- Removes hardness up to 70 grains per gallon
- Remove iron (4 – 7ppm), Manganese (up to 6ppm), and sediments
- Fleck 5600 SXT digital metered valve
- A high flow rate of 16 GPM
- A bypass valve is included
- Ships pre-loaded
- Read more
Why Choose AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Water Softener?
Sicking tired of hard water with high iron content?
The AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 is a game-changer for you.
Remove High Iron Content and Hardness
While most water softener and filtration systems only treat water with iron concentration up to 3ppm (part per million), this whole house water softener can effectively remove up to 3 to 7ppm.
It’s time to say goodbye to red staining on your appliances, bathroom floors, and pipes.
On top of ferrous (clear water) iron removal, it can also remove Manganese up to 6ppm, sediments, magnesium, calcium, rust, sulfur, and more contaminants in both city and well water.
All these removal capacities make it one of the best water softeners for well water with high iron concentration.
Many customers found no more perceptible signs of red stains and white scales caused by iron and hardness after using this water softener, so you should definitely give it a try!
Huge 64,000 Grains Resin Capacity
The system is equipped with huge 64k grains of resin capacity, enough for big families to use for a long duration before any replacement is needed.
The Pros & Cons of AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Water Softener
4. AFWFilters Dual Tank Water Softener 96,000 grain with Fleck 9100SXT [Review] – Best Dual Tank Water Softener
- Dual alternating tanks avoid running out of soft water
- Large capacity water softener resin
- Treat high hardness level of well water
- High water flow rate
- Bypass valve
- Efficient digital system for saving salt and water usage
- Easy to install
- Read more
Why Choose AFWFilters Dual Tank Water Softener 96,000 grain with Fleck 9100SXT?
AFWFilters WS-96k-91SXT Dual Tank Water Softener with Fleck 9100SXT Digital Metered Control is a complete whole house water softener system with Immense capacity and remarkable effectiveness on water softening to remove hardness ion in water and prevent scale forming.
It uses a method called Ion exchange to effectively remove all the hardness minerals in the water.
With no doubts, salt-based softening systems are still the best water softeners for well water with high levels of hardness.
The system comes with 2 tanks, and each tank is 96,000 grains capacity, making it a whopping 192,000 grains, that’s a lot!
Both heavy-duty tanks come with a 10 years warranty.
The water softener resin comes pre-loaded to save your time. It’s huge and heavy though, which brings a little bit of challenge in moving and installing the system.
The high-efficiency Fleck 9100SXT digital metered head makes the whole water softening process and salts usage more efficient.
The digital metered design measures water usage and regenerates as needed to save salts and water.
In other words, instead of regenerating based on a timer, the system will regenerate based on actual water consumption, which greatly boosts the system efficiency.
You can control the system easily with its high-quality LCD control.
Non-Stop Soft Water Supply with Dual Alternate Tanks
Want to enjoy soft water all the time?
No problem, this can happen with this dual tank huge capacity water softener.
The dual alternate tanks allow 24/7 soft water supplies without stop.
If your house water is hard and the usage is high, I’ll recommend you to get this dual tank water softener as it can last longer and treat a high level of hardness.
High Water Flow Rate
Besides, the system is rated at 20 GPM water flow rate, which is fast enough to supply your house for simultaneous usage without notice any significant drop in water pressure.
The Pros & Cons of AFWFilters Dual Tank Water Softener 96,000 grain with Fleck 9100SXT
5. DuraWater 80k Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener Commercial Grade 10% [Review] – Best Heavy-Duty Water Softener
- Upgraded 10% cross-linked cation resin
- 80,000 grains capacity
- 5600 SXT metered
- Brine tank with safety float
- Made in the USA
- Read more
Why Choose DuraWater 80k Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener Commercial Grade 10%?
The DuraWater Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener comes with upgraded 10% cross-linked resin and full Installation kit to ease your installation work.
Upgraded 10% Crosslink Resin
Compared to 8% crosslink resins, the upgraded 10% crosslink resins have better strength and durability in a chlorinated water environment, which makes them some of the best water softener systems for city water.
Massive 80,000 Grain Capacity
The DuraWater softening system has a massive resin capacity of 80k grains in 2.5 cubic feet.
That’s pretty high in the market.
LCD Display Touchpad Control
Fleck 5600 SXT metered control head offers simple digital controls and setup with a high-quality informative LCD display.
The Pros & Cons of DuraWater 80k Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener Commercial Grade 10%
6. Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series [Review] – Best Hybrid Water Softener
- 2-in-1 water softener + filter hybrid system
- Remove both hardness minerals and harmful contaminants
- 31,000-grain capacity
- Suitable for families of 5 or below
- The water filter is NSF certified to reduce sediment, lead, chlorine taste, and odor
- High efficiency in using salts for regeneration
- Read more
Why Choose Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Water Softener?
The Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series is a hybrid system of a water softener and a whole house water filter.
It has a superior hardness removal rating of 120 grains per gallon, that’s 4-5 times higher than salt-free water softeners. It can also remove iron up to 3ppm to reduce reddish-brown stains on the floor, pipes, and appliances.
Maintenance-Free Water Filter
The system comes with a whole house carbon water filter to reduce sediments, chlorine taste and odor, and sediments
You don’t have to replace the filter as the system will clean the filter every 2 weeks!
This is simply the best water softener and filter combo.
The system regenerates soft water only when needed, which greatly boosts the salts and water efficiency throughout the regeneration process.
Low-Salt Light Alarm Feature
The system has a low salt alarm feature that will notify you when the salt level is low, so you’ll don’t have to keep monitoring the water softener resin tank.
The hybrid system comes with a detailed step by step installation kits to aid you in setting up the system yourself.
You just need to prepare some connectors and fittings for your piping system.
The Pros & Cons of Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Water Softener
7. Pentair WS48-56SXT10 Fleck Water Softener [Review] – Best Budget Water Softener
- Upgraded 10% crosslink resin
- Fleck 5600SXT digital metered control head
- Easy to install
- With a bypass valve
- Read more
Why Choose Pentair WS48-56SXT10 Fleck Water Softener?
The Pentair WS48-56SXT10 is a 48,000-grain water softener with a 10% crosslink resin.
It can eliminate scale build-up and prevent reduced soap efficiency due to hard water.
Long-lasting Control Valve
The high-efficient Fleck 5600SXT control valve has a 5-year warranty and is tested to run continuously for up to 27 years!
The SXT controller also includes a back-lit LCD display with touchpad controls and up to 48 hours of internal power backup feature.
Double Safety Measure
The system has a safety float to prevent overfilling, and also an overflow drain to act as an additional safety measure.
Need to get a water softener but don’t wish to fork out a big initial investment?
The Pentair WS48-56SXT10 Water Softener is the best budget water softener in the list, give it a try and you’ll never regret it, it gets the job done at a lower initial investment.
The Pros & Cons of Pentair WS48-56SXT10 Fleck Water Softener
8. Whirlpool WHES40E Water Softener [Review] – Best Water Softener for Well Water with Iron (Budget)
- Remove up to 10ppm of ferrous iron (clear water)
- 40,000-grain capacity
- Salt saving technology
- NSF certified
- Made in the USA
- Ideal for a household with 1 to 6 people
- On-demand regeneration
- Read more
Why Choose Whirlpool WHES40E Water Softener?
Tired of reddish-brown stains on your appliances, bathroom floor, and fixtures?
The Whirlpool WHES40E Water Softener is a budget solution for getting rid of ferrous iron and hardness in water.
High Iron Removal
The water softener can treat water with a high concentration of iron up to 10ppm, that’s one of the highest in the industry!
Once the iron content is removed by the water softener, you’ll never see those ugly red stains again.
Low-Salt Light Indicator
The Whirlpool 40,000 grain water softener also comes with a low salt light indicator that will notify you when it’s time to add more salts, which make the guessing a thing of the past.
Regenerate Only When Needed
The system uses the salts efficiently by continuously monitoring the water usage and regenerating soft water only when it’s needed.
The Pros & Cons of Whirlpool WHES40E Water Softener
9. On The Go Portable Double Standard Water Softener [Review] – Best Portable Water Softener
- 16,000-grain capacity
- Compact and fit easily to any space
- No electricity is needed
- Great for RVs, boat, camping etc.
- Read more
Why Choose On The Go Portable Double Standard Water Softener?
Looking for a portable water softener that you can carry along with you?
I’ve got you covered!
Mobile Water Softener
The On The GO OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT double standard water softener is a portable water softening system designed for RVs, marine, boats, camping, and more outdoor activities.
The compact system comes with a top handle for easy carry, a 360-degree swivel for smooth connection of the standard inlet hose, and a big opening mouth for easy salt addition.
Besides, it required no tools and electricity to operate and perform fast and simple regeneration.
All the above characteristics make it the best portable water softener for travelers and campers.
While being portable, it does come with a sizable capacity at 16,000 grain, that’s about 1,600 gallons of soft water, enough for a long-duration round-trip on RVs.
The system regenerates soft water with 2 boxes of table salt within half an hour.
One advantage of this water softener over the others is the small and compact size, whereas most water softeners are bulky and heavy.
The size advantage allows it to be installed or stored in a tight space.
The Pros & Cons of On The Go Portable Double Standard Water Softener
Water Softener Alternatives: The 8 Best Salt-free Water Softeners (Water Descaler)
The salt-free water softener or water descaler is a great alternative way to prevent limescale.
Also, private-owned water softeners are banned in some areas due to the high amount of salt/sodium flushing to the drain lines, so if you are staying in those areas, a saltless water descaler is your ideal alternative to treat hard water.
1. SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-free Water Softener [Review] – Best Salt-free Water Softener for Well Water
- Up to 99.6% effectiveness on limescale prevention
- Can handle water with hardness up to 81 GPG
- Fast water flow rate
- Comes with a sediment pre-filter
- Does not require electricity
- Low maintenance
- Size by number of bathrooms
- The softening media can last for a lifetime
Why Choose SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-free Water Softener?
SpringWell Futuresoft System is a no-salt water softener that can effectively treat hard water at a reasonable price.
The saltless softener system can handle hard water with a hardness level of up to 81 grains per gallon (GPG), the highest in the saltless softening industry.
It requires no salts and electricity to operate, and is virtually maintenance-free, giving you a hassle-free experience.
The components are made of high-quality materials to ensure the safest environment in treating your water.
All these advantages make it one of the best salt-free water softeners for homes to solve hard water issues.
The Futuresoft softener media can last for a lifetime with no replacement is needed, which brings a lot of convenience and money-saving to homeowners.
All you need to do is to replace the pre-sediment filter every 6 to 9 months, and the replacement process is fast and easy.
High Water Flow Rate
The system offers a high water flow rate of 12 to 20 GPM (depending on the model) to ensure no pressure drop during simultaneous use of water, which is higher than the industry average.
Simple Size Option
Unlike salt-based water softeners which are sized by grains (eg: 80,000 grains), the Futuresoft salt-free water softener is sized by the number of bathrooms (eg: 4 to 6 bathrooms), which makes the selection easier and simpler for homeowners.
You can choose from:
- Model FS1: 1 to 3 bathrooms
- Model FS4: 4 to 6 bathrooms
- Model FS+: 7+ bathrooms
SpringWell Futuresoft comes with a sediment pre-filter to block large particles to protect the softener media and your home.
Limited Lifetime Warranty & Money-Back Guarantee
SpringWell Futuresoft is covered by a limited lifetime warranty and a 6-month money-back guarantee to give you peace of mind in using the product.
The Pros & Cons of SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-free System
2. Pelican NaturSoft Salt-free Water Softener [Review] – Best Salt-free Water Softener for Well Water (Runner-up)
- Highly effective on limescale prevention at 99.6%
- Can treat hard water with hardness up to 75 GPG
- Fast water flow rate
- Comes with a sediment pre-filter
- Low maintenance
- No electricity is required
- Size by the number of bathrooms
- Non-sacrificial softening media for lifetime usage
Why Choose Pelican NaturSoft Salt-free System?
The Pelican NaturSoft NS is one of the few systems that is performance-certified to prevent limescale over 99%.
Unlike traditional salt-based water softeners, it is environmentally friendly with no wastewater produced in the softening process and does not require electricity to operate. It will save your utility bills too!
It is also virtually maintenance-free with no salts refill is required. All you need to do is to replace the pre-sediment filter every 6 to 9 months which will take only a few minutes to complete.
Besides, the long-term ownership cost is low as you do not need to purchase salt bags or replace the catalytic media.
The Pelican NaturSoft NS System is among the best water softeners without salt and is proven to be effective and long-lasting in protecting your home appliances and pipes.
Effective Softening Technology
The Pelican NaturSoft NS System uses a technology called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) to prevent limescale.
The catalytic media inside the NaturSoft system attract and bind the hardness minerals into crystal form so that they will not stick on the surfaces and form limescale.
High Water Flow Rate
Pelican NaturSoft System has two models, which are NS3 and NS6.
NS3 has a flow rate of 10 GPM and is suitable for homes with 1 to 3 bathrooms, whereas NS6 has a flow rate of 15 GPM and is suitable for homes with 4 to 6 bathrooms.
This salt-free water softener can treat water with a hardness level of up to 75 GPG (grains per gallon) which is impressive compared to most other salt-free softener systems that could only handle up to 25 GPG.
The Pelican NaturSoft NS System does not remove any contaminant but binding the hard minerals into crystallized form to prevent them from forming limescale.
The 5-micron pre-sediment filter removes particles such as rust, dust, dirt, and sand to protect the softener’s catalytic media and your plumbing system.
The Pelican NaturSoft NS System has an infinite capacity as the catalytic granules media is non-sacrificial, so no replacement is ever needed throughout its lifetime.
Unlike salt-based water softeners which consist of two tanks – resin tank and brine tank, the Pelican NaturSoft is a single-tank system with a small footprint, making it an excellent choice for homes with a small space.
Does Not Require Electricity
The system does not require electricity to operate, which saves the energy bill and allows you to install it at a location that is out of a power socket.
Does Not Produce Wastewater
Pelican NaturSoft is a saltless system that does not produce wastewater, which is good for our environment and can save your water bill too.
Does Not Add Sodium into Water
Since it is a no-salt softener system, so it will not add sodium into the water which is great for people under a low-sodium diet.
The system requires no maintenance as it doesn’t operate on salt and the softening media can last for a lifetime without replacement.
The Pelican NaturSoft NS System is certified against NSF/ANSI Standard 42 and Standard 61 for product safety to ensure the quality of conditioned water.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
The system is backed by a limited lifetime warranty to give you peace of mind throughout the product’s lifespan.
The Pros and Cons of Pelican NaturSoft Salt-free System
3. Watts OneFlow+ Hybrid Salt-Free Water Softener System [Review] – Best 2-in-1 Salt-Free Water Softener
- Salt-free and chemical-free water softener
- Reduce scale build-up in pipes, fixtures, and electric appliances
- Media cartridge lasts up to 250,000 gallons or 3 years
- Includes a 20-Micron radial flow carbon block filter to reduce sediments and chlorine taste and odor
- The filter lasts up to 50,000 gallons or 1 year
- Compact and easy to install
- Certified by WQA to NSF/ANSI Standard 372 for lead-free and NSF/ANSI Standard 61
- Read more
Why Choose Watts OneFlow+ Hybrid Salt-free Water Softener?
Don’t want salt-based water softener?
Then you may like the Watts OneFlow+ Hybrid Salt-Free Water Softener System.
It’s a 2-in-1 salt-free water softener plus a high capacity 20-micron carbon block filter.
Innovative Salt-Free Technology to Remove Hardness
Unlike typical water softeners that use ion-exchange technology to remove hardness, this salt-free system uses a physical process called Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) to convert hardness minerals into inactive and harmless microscopic crystal form that will not create any scale.
The Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) is the most effective scale prevention technology alternating to ion exchange, according to the WateReuse Research Foundation.
The system will not add or remove any hardness minerals from water, but it converts those hard minerals (eg: calcium and magnesium) into soft particles that flow freely in water and will not stick to pipes, appliances, and floors.
Template Assisted Crystallization Technology Explained
With this salt-free and chemical-free system, you don’t need to monitor and replace salt bags, and the system does not require electricity to run and no wastewater either.
Remove Water Contaminants
The carbon filter will reduce sediments, chlorine taste and odor, VOCs, and more contaminants in water.
This hybrid water softener is compact and light-weight to install on tight space.
This salt-free and chemical-free water softener system will not produce any wastewater to the drain, that’s great for nature!
Budget Scale Prevention Solution
If you don’t have a large budget for water softening, then you should give the Watts OneFlow+ Water System a try, it costs less compared to the water softener.
The Pros & Cons of Watts OneFlow+ Hybrid Salt-Free Water Softener
4. Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter with UV Purifier & Salt-Free Descaler [Review] – Best Hybrid Water Descaler
- Salt-free descaler to condition and soften the water to prevent scale forming
- Remove and reduce contaminants like chlorine, VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, lead, mercuryetc.
- With a UV filter to kill microorganisms
- Ultra-long filter life up to 1 million gallons of filtration or 10 years
- Unique Upflow, Dual-tank design
- Easy maintenance
- Read more
Why Choose Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000-AST-UV Hybrid Descaler System?
The Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000-AST-UV is not just a water descaler, but a complete whole house filtration system with descaling and UV features.
It’s a 3-in-1 whole house water treatment system that greatly conditioning and purifies your water.
Salt-Free Water Descaler
The system uses a salt-free & chemical-free Scale Control Media (SCM) to effectively prevent scales forming on your appliances, pipes, and bathroom floors.
Strong Water Filtration System with UV Filter
The system includes 3 stages of water filtration and 1 stage of UV sterilizer to protect your families from harmful water contaminants and hardness.
The sediment filter, activated carbon/KDF media, and 0.35-micron post-filter will remove the majority of contaminants from water, the UV filter will take care of any residual microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, and the salt-free descaler will greatly reduce the water hardness.
If you are more toward a complete water conditioning solution, the Aquasana Rhino is the ideal choice.
This powerful water treatment system supplies clean water to your entire house, allowing you to get healthier skin and hair from showering.
It’s the best whole house water treatment system with a descaler in my research.
The main filter can last for 10 years without replacement, which greatly saves your efforts in maintaining the system.
The Pros & Cons of Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000-AST-UV Hybrid Descaler System
5. AO Smith AO-WH-DSCLR Whole House Salt-Free Water Softener [Review] – Best Water Descaler for Well Water
- Salt-free descaler
- Last up to 600,000 gallons or 6 years
- No salt bags, backwashing, or electricity required
- Reduce 97% of chlorine taste and odor
- Suitable for both well and city water
- Read more
Why Choose AO Smith AO-WH-DSCLR Whole House Salt-Free Water Softener?
If you are a type of person that doesn’t feel like using salt water softeners, whether you don’t want to deal with the bags of salt or simply dislike the feel of softened water by salts, you should seriously consider the AO Smith Salt-Free Water Softener Descaler.
Salt-Free and Chemical-Free
The AO Smith water softener is a salt-free and chemical-free solution to prevent scale forming and extend the life of your household appliances and pipes.
Budget Solution to Prevent Scale
The system costs about 50% lower compared to the ion-exchange water softener, which makes it a great budget alternative to water softening solution.
The Pros & Cons of AO Smith AO-WH-DSCLR Whole House Salt-Free Water Softener
6. Yarna Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System [Review] – Best Magnetic Water Descaler
- Salt-free & chemical-free water descaler
- Prevent scale forming and corrosion caused by rust
- Simple and quick to install
- Made from high-quality CNC Aluminum material
- Read more
Why Choose Yarna Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System?
The Yarna capacitive electronic water descaler is a budget and maintenance-free solution to hard water.
How the Electronic Water Descaling Work
The electronic descaling system generates electrical impulses (controlled by a computerized micro-chip) to treat flowing water via the flat impulse bands that are wrapped around the water pipe.
The impulse bands produce a strong electric field that alters the mineral crystals in the water to a form that will not attach to appliances and floor.
That said, you will still find the deposits on your bathroom floor, but rest assured that they can be wiped off easily.
Alternative to Water Softener
The Yarna electronic water descaler will not remove the calcium and magnesium minerals in water but simply convert them into ion form that will not cause any limescale deposits, which is basically the main disadvantage of hard water.
Also, the electronic descaling will not waste any water or use any chemicals or salts in the water treatment process, making it a great alternative to the water softener.
The Yarna electronic water descaler uses a thin insulated copper impulse band that’s wide and flat to increase the contact area with the pipe to deliver electrical energy efficiently and create a strong electric field.
This allows the system to treat water flowing at a rate of up to 15.4 GPM with 99% efficiency.
The Pros & Cons of Yarna Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System
7. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler [Review] – Best Budget Water Descaler
- Salt-based water softener alternative
- Prevent limescale build-up and dissolve existing deposits
- Eco friendly & maintenance-free
- Suitable for water hardness at 20 grain per gallon
- Keeping the healthy minerals in the water
- Read more
Why Choose Eddy Electronic Water Descaler?
The Eddy Water Descaler is one of the simplest electronic water descaling devices in the market.
How Eddy Electronic Water Descaler Work
As an alternative to salt-based water softeners, it prevents the limescale build-up by producing electromagnetic waves via the coils to treat the hardness in the water without any physical interaction.
The electromagnetic waves change the hard minerals property to a form that will not bond and stick inside the pipe system, electrical appliances, and surfaces.
It will not add or remove anything from the water nor reduce the water hardness level, but simply prevent and lighten your work in cleaning up the limescale build-up.
In other words, the electronic device emulates softened water and makes sure the minerals will not adhere to pipes and expensive appliances.
The system comes with a device, 4 wires, and an AC adapter, simply install it on your pipe and turn on the power. No plumber is ever needed.
Just ensure that you wrap the wires around the pipe correctly.
It’s suitable for all types of water pipe except iron and lead pipe.
Economical Solution to Hard Water
This electronic water descaler costs a fraction of the price of a salt-based water softener, while it’s not an actual water softener, it still does the job in preventing limescale forming, and if that’s your main concern, why not give it a try?
To give you further confidence, this electronic descaler actually comes with a lifetime repair or replacement guarantee, you heard it right, not years of limited warranty, but a lifetime assurance! And plus a 12-month risk-free money-back guarantee!
How To Install the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
The Pros & Cons of Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
8. 3M Aqua-Pure Scale Inhibition Water System [Review] – Best Water Descaler for Hot Water Appliances
- Includes Polyphosphates to prevent scale build-up in water heaters, boilers, and hot water appliances and faucets
- Easy cartridge replacement
- High water flow rate up to 10 GPM
- 304 stainless steel filter head
- Filter cartridge last about 6 months
- Certified to NSF Standard 42
- Read more
Why Choose 3M Aqua-Pure Scale Inhibition Water System?
The 3M AP430SS Aqua-Pure is a scale inhibition water treatment system that protects your hot water appliances like water heaters, boilers, dishwashing machines, clothes washers, showerheads, and faucets from scale build-up and corrosion.
The scale forming in the piping and appliances, and on the bathroom floor is mostly due to the water hardness like excess calcium and magnesium minerals, these scales shorten the life of appliances and reduce the water pressure as the inside of pipes get smaller.
Scale Inhibition with Polyphosphates
The Polyphosphates are used in the system to effectively bind calcium and magnesium minerals to reduce and prevent scale build-up as well as forming a thin protective layer on the metal surface to prevent corrosion.
Tired of lime scales on your bathroom floor surface or inside the electrical appliances?
The 3M Aqua-Pure scale Inhibition Inline water system can solve your problem.
Protect Hot Water Appliances From Limescale
It’s the best scale Inhibition water treatment system for hot water appliances.
The system effectively protects your hot water appliances and house piping system and from scale build-up, which extends the life of appliances and prevents loss of water pressure.
Financial Alternative to Expensive Water Softener
Due to its lower cost, you may use it as a cheaper alternative to the water softener for low to medium hardness water.
The Pros & Cons of 3M Aqua-Pure Scale Inhibition Water System
Here’s What I Look For In The Best Water Softener for Well Water
The Best Water Softener for Well Water Is Highly Effective In Preventing Limescale
The best water softener for well water should be highly effective in preventing limescale caused by hard well water.
The Best Water Softener for Well Water Is Great Value for Money
Sometimes, a more expensive water softener doesn’t mean it is better, the more important part is the value it gives.
Therefore, you need to look at the performance, convenience, lifespan, quality, and features of different water softeners and compare their price.
The best water softener for well water should give you the best value for your money.
The Best Water Softener for Well Water Is Built to Last
Product quality is another important factor when comes to a device like a water softener.
The best water softener for well water must be made of high-quality material to withstand time and can be used for decades.
Understanding Hard Water & Softened Water
What is Hard Water
Hard water is a very common issue among Americans as well as other populations.
Hard water means the water is having excessive minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese which can bring adverse effects to households.
While these minerals are essential to maintain body health, having excessive of them will cause many headache problems to your whole water-related infrastructure, household appliances, and body health.
The hard water can come from both municipal and domestic wells, and the hardness level varies according to geographical areas.
How Hard Water Is Created
Hard water is created when the soft rainwater travels through the ground and picks up minerals like calcium and magnesium from minerals deposits and stones along the waterways before reaching our main plumbing system.
What are the Traces of Hard Water?
Not sure whether your water is hard or not?
These are some of the traces of hard water:
- Formation of whitish scale and cloudy film on the floor surface
- Accumulation of scale inside electrical appliances like water heaters, boilers, kettles, dishwashers, and washing machines
- A decrease in soap, shampoo, and detergent lathering
- Increasing electricity bill
Or you can simply test your water with a hardness test strip.
Note: It’s the hardness test strip and not a TDS test meter, TDS value is based on the overall conductivity in water and not specific to the calcium and magnesium ions, so it’s never accurate.
Why Hard Water is Bad for You and Your House
The negative impact includes white-scale build-up on bathroom floors and inside pipes and household appliances like the water heater, coffee machine, water dispenser, and more.
The scale forming will damage electrical appliances and shorter their lifespans, which cost you more money in replacements.
The excessive minerals will also cause dry and itchy skin, frizzy hair, weak nails, and several chronic health effects.
Also, it is difficult to wash off the white scale deposits on bathroom floors and other surfaces, which negatively impact your bathroom aesthetic.
Hard Water Effect on Pipes
The scales will accumulate inside the pipes and make the pipe interior smaller and smaller, and the same will happen to your water pressure.
Eventually, you’ll be annoyed and irritated by the poor water pressure and have no choice but to hire people to flush the entire plumbing system.
Besides, hard water also contains iron – the main culprit for rust and pipe corrosion.
Hard Water Effect on Water Fixture
Faucet aerators and showerheads are the common victims of scales.
The hard water flowing through these water fixtures on a daily basis causes the scales to form inside in a short period of time.
The scale form inside the faucet aerators and showerheads will reduce the water flow rate by blocking more and more pores, and eventually make them unusable.
It’s also easy for you to find the trace of soap scum here and there on your sink and dishes.
Hard Water Effect on Floor Surface
Do you like the white-color scales that are attached firmly on your bathroom floors?
I bet the answer is no, right?
So, to make your bathrooms look good again, you’re either forced to spend hours and wipe off these stubborn scales with harsh chemicals or vinegar mixed solutions yourself or hire a professional cleaning service to do the job.
You will have to do it again after weeks or a few months, then again, and again, it will never stop until you get a water softener or a water descaler.
Hard Water Effect on Laundry
Hard water will cause the washed clothes to feel stiff and rough, sometimes, you can also spot white residue on them.
Hard Water Effect on Electrical Appliances
Hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) in water will form a scale inside the water-using electrical appliances like water heaters, coffee machines, dishwashers, washing machines, water dispensers, and water coolers.
First, the scales will reduce the energy efficiency and water pressure of the appliances.
Talking about energy efficiency, especially for heating and cooling elements, the scale will lower down the effective contact area for energy transfer, hence reducing the energy efficiency and causing the appliance to take much longer time to deliver what it’s supposed to, like heating and cooling.
For instance, a water heater without scale will take 5 minutes to heat the water up to 100 degrees, whereas with scale, the water heater needs 15 minutes to reach the same water temperature, which utilizes 3x the electricity energy!
Because of the lowered energy efficiency, you’ll notice your electricity bill getting increased.
For water pressure, because the interior of the affected electrical appliances gets smaller, which directly reduces the volume of water that flows through the appliances.
The reduced water pressure and flow rate will surely impact the user experience, such as less enjoyment showering, impatient water filling, longer wait time for cloth and dishwashing, and more.
Secondly, the limescale will shorten the lifespan of electrical appliances by damaging the inside components and make them malfunction much earlier than you expect.
Few years down the road, the money wasted on replacing the appliances is more likely to exceed what it cost to use and maintain a water softener system.
Adding in the extra electricity bill, cleaning expenses, bad usage experience, skincare products, and more, you might as well get a water softener and make all these hassles a thing of the past!
In short, limescale = bad & costly experience for all households.
Hard Water Impact on User Experience
Ok, let’s say you have plenty of money to dump in replacing expensive appliances, professional cleaning services, and electricity bills.
How about your family members’ water-using experiences?
How about the dry skin and hair that annoyed you and your family?
The bad experience caused by limescale is beyond money.
Low Water Pressure Experience
If you ever use pathetic water pressure for showering and washing dishes, you will know how painful it is.
Hard Water Effect on Skin
The hard minerals make it tough to wash away the soap from your skin, which can leave a build-up of soap residue that clogs your skin pores and lead to acne or eczema when your body releases its natural oils but is trapped.
The hard water will also make your skin feel dry or irritated as it takes away the natural moisture from your skin.
Hard Water Effect on Hair
After showerings, the dissolved minerals will build a thin film on the hair surface that blocks the moisture from entering the hair which erodes the hair elasticity and causes dry, tangly, dull, rough, and discolored hair.
The hard water will also cause color-treated hair to fade faster as the dissolved minerals can interfere with color.
Besides, the hardness minerals will reduce soap & shampoo lathering and make them less effective in use.
In short, the hard minerals build-up can cause serious deterioration of the whole water-related infrastructure, fixtures, and electrical appliances.
They are unwelcome guests.
What is the Difference between Soft Water and Softened Water?
Soft water refers to the water with a low concentration of mineral ions, particularly calcium and magnesium and followed by iron and manganese.
The water produced through the water softening process is called ‘softened water’, softened water usually contains a greater amount of sodium ions than soft water.
The increased level of sodium content is due to the ion-exchange process used by water softeners, which exchange the calcium and magnesium ions in hard water with sodium ions to effectively reduce the hardness level and prevent limescale formation.
Note: Water produced by a water descaler is still hard water (high concentration of calcium and magnesium ions) and not considered softened water.
In short, soft water occurs naturally, while softened water is produced by water softeners.
Some of the benefits of using soft water (or softened water) are:
- No calcium scale deposits in water heating appliances like water heaters and boilers
- No soap residue to scum from washing
- Enhanced soap, shampoo, and detergent lathering
How to Classify Soft Water and Hard Water?
Different countries may have different classification of water hardness, but for the United States, soft water should contain less than 3.5 grains per gallon (or 60 milligrams per liter) of calcium carbonate.
In the US, hard water is classified for water with more than a certain amount of calcium carbonate concentration in water:
- Soft – below 3.5 grains per gallon (<60 mg/L)
- Moderately Hard – 3.5 to 7 grains per gallon (61 to 120 mg/L)
- Hard – 7 to 10.5 grains per gallon (121 to 180 mg/L)
- Very Hard – above 10.5 grains per gallon (>180mg/L)
In fact, most states in the United States are using very hard water, and that’s the reason why most households in the US need a water softener.
Hard Water vs Softened Water: Comparison
Let’s take a deeper look into hard water and softened water like what’s the differences between them, how to classify them, what’s their advantages and disadvantages, and how they compared to each other.
It has minerals like calcium and magnesium that are essential for body health.
Some people may prefer the taste of hard water over soft water due to the mineral contents, and softened water is slightly salty in contrast.
Symptoms of Hard Water
Here are some of the common symptoms of hard water:
- Spots and residues on sink and dishes
- Soap scum and cloudy film on the surfaces of bathroom floors and fixtures
- The rough feel of clothes and with whitish residue spots
- Reduced soap effectiveness and lathering
- Scale build-up in household appliances and pipes
- Hot water appliances take a longer time to heat up
- Whitish mineral deposits on faucets and fixtures
- Reduced water pressure and flow rate
- More expensive electricity bill
- Dry and itchy skin
- Dull and inelastic hair
Advantages of Hard Water:
- Better water taste
- Rich in minerals
- Low sodium content
Disadvantages of Hard Water
- Leave spots and stains on sink and dishes
- Make clothes feel dull and rough, and with whitish residue
- Consumes more electricity due to reduced energy efficiency of appliances
- Cause scale build-up inside appliances and damage the components
- Leave soap scum and cloudy film on bathroom floors and fixtures
- Cause dry and itchy skin
- Cause dull and flat hair
- Reduce water pressure
Soft and softened water is preferred by most people due to its benefits.
Softened water allows you to perform daily household tasks more efficiently, particularly washing and cleaning. Soap, shampoo, and detergent will lather much better and make the cleaning and showering session more effective and smooth.
The dishes will be super clean without any soap scum or residue, the same thing happens for your sink, fixtures, faucets, and more.
You’ll also notice the lifespan of your household electrical appliances last much longer than before and seldom need any repair.
Aside from fixtures and appliances, softened water is also beneficial to you!
Your skin and your hair will see the most significant improvements after changing from hard water to soft water.
After showering with softened water, your skin will be moist and vibrant, let’s make dry and itchy skin a thing of the past, you don’t deserve to suffer this!
Not only that, but your hair will also feel elastic and smooth as well!
As softened water has a higher amount of sodium, so it’s not suitable to drink regularly, especially for people on a low sodium diet and with circulatory or heart problems.
Again, sodium is essential minerals for the body, but excessive intake always comes with some consequences and is not recommended.
But even if it’s not softened water, you should always drink filtered water, and I highly recommend Reverse Osmosis system for the last point of water filtration before drinking, simply because it’s the best water filtration system in the market.
Advantages of Softened Water
- Extend the life of electrical appliances
- Reduce energy bill
- Improve soap lathering and make the cleaning process more efficient
- Gentle to skin and hair
- Prevent scales build-up
- Will not clog the water pipes and fixtures
Disadvantages of Softened Water
- Higher sodium content
- Not suitable to drink regularly
- May cause circulatory and heart problems if drank frequently
Comparison Table of Hard and Softened Water
After going through the advantages and disadvantages of both hard and soft water, here’s the comparison table for your quick review:
Hard Water vs Softened Water: Which One is Better?
For consumption, neither are ideal for direct drinking. But hard water does have the edge in drinking purpose over softened water due to the minerals content.
Therefore, the ideal solution is to use softened water for all purposes except drinking and install a point of use water filter solely for drinking and cooking purposes.
Whereas for most other household purposes, softened water is far better than hard water.
Otherwise, you may use a water softener with a bypass valve so that you can bypass the hard water for drinking and cooking purposes, and use the softened water for the rest of the household purposes.
Well Water vs Municipally Treated Water
Generally, well water has a higher hardness level than municipally treated water.
Well water also likely to contain more unwanted contaminants like iron, manganese, sulfur, and hard minerals.
How to Solve Hard Water Issue
The most effective way to reduce water hardness is to install a water softener for your home.
A water softener will take care of the excess minerals via the ion-exchange process and generate soft water for your home.
Not all water softeners are equal, some water softeners are for private well water, some are for city water, and some are made to treat a specific contaminant like iron, manganese, and sulfur.
Likewise, some water softeners are made to treat very hard well water, while some are designed for water with small to medium hardness.
In this article, I’ll be focusing on the best water softeners for well water.
How Does A Water Softener for Well Water Work?
We know that a water softener is a device that softens hard water, but do you know how it works?
Well, let’s find out.
The Core Structure of Water Softeners
Water softeners come with one mineral tank and one or two brine tanks.
The mineral tank is the core of a water softener that contains resin beads, and the brine tank contains salts for brine solution.
How Water Softeners Soften Hard Water
Water softeners use a process called Ion-Exchange to convert hard water into soft water, in other words, soften the hard water.
You can convert all the hardness minerals or just a portion of them via an electronic control valve.
The Ion-Exchange processes take place inside the mineral tank where resin beads are located.
What Is Resin Bed
Most resin beds are cation exchange resin, which is a medium for exchanging positively charged ions, like sodium for calcium and magnesium.
When hard water flows through the resin beads, due to the opposite electrical charge effect, the positively charged calcium and magnesium ions are attached to the negatively charged resin beads and the positively charged sodium ions are then released into the water.
During this process, the sodium ions are exchanged with calcium and magnesium ions through the resin beads, hence the process name “Ion-Exchange”.
Before the Ion-Exchange process, the hard water contains a high amount of calcium and magnesium ions, but after the process, the water contains no or minimum amount of calcium and magnesium ions, which make the water “soft”.
What is Regeneration Process and How It Work?
Next, when the resin beads are fully occupied by the calcium and magnesium ions, the water softener will automatically start a process called Regeneration.
As the name sound, the process is to regenerate the resin beads back to the initial stage by washing off the attached calcium and magnesium ions with brine solution generated with the salts from the salt tank.
The whole Regeneration process will use about 30 to 60 gallons of water, depending on the water softener.
Besides, the Regeneration processes usually happen at night and take minutes to complete, so you don’t have to worry about the soft water supply.
What Happens After You Install A Water Softener?
Water is crucial to human beings, and the quality of water you use on a daily basis will directly affect your overall body health and living experiences.
As we discussed earlier, hard water carries a lot of negative impacts, and soft water does the opposite, bringing in plenty of benefits to your life!
A water softener will save you a lot of money and hassle in the long term.
Here are the advantages of using a water softener.
Better Minerals Content
Unlike hard water which contains a high concentration of certain minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron, the softened water has better minerals content that will not harm your body like what hard water does.
Softened Water is Tender to Your Skin
Human skin needs to be moisturized to stay healthy and soft, and that’s what soft water does, it will not strip away the water off your skin like hard water but let your skin to retain them, resulting in a vibrant and healthy skin.
Want a tender skin without wrinkles?
Use softened water.
Softened Water is Gentle to Your Hair
Soft water improves the shampoo efficiency to clean your hair more effectively, giving you vibrant and healthy hair after the showering session.
Soft water improves detergent efficiency, and therefore washing the clothes with it will result in softer and cleaner clothes.
Improve Appliances’ Life & Efficiency
Without the scales buildup, the electrical appliances can be used for a much longer period of time, saving you lots of money and hassle to get a new one.
All the household appliances will also be operating at max energy efficiency – cheaper electricity bills every month.
Soft water will not leave any stain or scale buildup on floors’ and fixtures’ surface – no more cleaning session for limescale.
Types of Water Softeners for Well Water
There are 6 types of water softeners available in the US market to serve a different segment of demands.
1. Salt-based Water Softeners
Salt-based water softeners are the most common type of water softeners among US households.
Besides, salt-based water softeners are the only type of water softeners that remove excess hard minerals from water to give you truly softened water.
How Salt-based Water Softeners Work?
The salt-based water softener utilizes the Ion-Exchange process to remove the excess minerals and soften the hard water.
It is effective and can treat well water with a high level of hardness.
It can soften the hard water to protect your family’s health and prevent scale formation to protect your plumbing system and electrical appliances.
The main culprits of scale build-up are calcium and magnesium.
A salt-based water softener exchanges calcium and magnesium ions from hard water with sodium ions from resin to soften the water.
Sodium ions do not form any buildup or interfere with the lathering action of soap.
Initially, a few cubic feet of resin that contain many tiny negatively-charged beads that are used to attract dissolved positive ions in the water are covered with positively charged ions (usually sodium).
When hard water flows through the water softener’s resin tank, the calcium and magnesium ions from hard water will attach to the resin and the sodium ions are then released into the water to maintain the balance of electrical charge on the resin. This happens because calcium and magnesium ions have a stronger positive charge than sodium ions.
Progressively, the majority of sodium ions are released into the water and the resin is saturated with calcium and magnesium ions.
Then, the water softener undergoes a regeneration process to rinse and renew the resin with salt water (sodium chloride). The high concentration of sodium ions will replace the calcium and magnesium ions in the resin and make the resin covered with sodium ions again.
Lastly, the calcium and magnesium ions will be flush to the drain together with the salty wastewater, and the system is back to normal operation.
There are two types of tanks in the salt-based water softener, first is the main resin tank (mineral tank) that is used to remove the hardness minerals, and the second is the brine tank that is used to keep salts and produce brine for resin regeneration.
Depending on your water usage, you’ll have to add a few bags of salt (sodium chloride) to the water softener brine tank every few days, weeks, or months for the regeneration process.
Each cubic foot of resin can treat about 3,200 gallons of hard water with a hardness of 10 grains per gallon, and the regeneration process adds about 750 milligrams of sodium to each gallon of water, which is considered as ‘low sodium‘ as per FDA.
For people on a low sodium diet, you may use potassium chloride salt instead, but it is more expensive than sodium chloride salt.
The drawbacks of salt-based water softeners are they require maintenance (replace salt bags) and will produce wastewater in the Regeneration process.
However, they are still the most effective water softening system that can remove hard minerals and soften the hard water.
2. Dual Tank Water Softeners (Salt-Based)
Dual tank water softeners are similar to the standard salt-based water softeners, the main difference is they have two mineral tanks instead of one.
The additional mineral tank allows the dual tank water softening systems to produce soft water without pausing as when one mineral tank is under the Regeneration process, the other mineral tank can take over to provide soft water to your house.
Two mineral tanks also give you double capacity and reduce the maintenance frequency by half compared to one tank of water softeners.
The drawback is you have to allocate more space for them.
Dual tank salt-based water softeners are ideal for large families with a high demand for soft water.
3. Salt-free Water Softeners
Let’s make it clear, salt-free water softeners (or no-salt water softeners) are not true water softeners, they are water conditioners or water descalers.
They don’t remove the excess hard minerals like calcium and magnesium, so they cannot soften the water.
How Salt-free Water Softeners Work?
The salt-free water softeners alter the structure of hard minerals in water and crystallizing them so that they won’t stick on surfaces and form any limescale deposits.
As a result, the water is still hard because none of the hardness minerals are removed.
In other words, they condition the hard water to prevent scale build-up and eventually protect your household appliances and plumbing system.
Due to how salt-free water softeners work, they are also called water conditioners.
One of the advantages of these salt-free water softeners is little or no maintenance is required as they do not use salts.
They also don’t produce any wastewater like the soft-based water softeners.
The drawbacks of salt-free water softeners are they cannot treat well water with a high level of hardness and the effectiveness is lower compared to salt-based water softeners.
4. Electronic or Magnetic Descalers
Electronics Descalers (also called Magnetic Descalers) are devices that produce a strong magnetic field to descale the hard water to prevent scale forming.
They are installed on the main water line to protect the rest plumbing system and appliances.
They are easy to set up and cheap, however, the effectiveness is inconsistent and cannot treat a high level of hardness.
5. Portable Water Softeners
Portable water softeners are designed for portability and RVs, which are compact and lighter compared to normal salt-based water softeners.
They have a lower capacity but are enough as you won’t use much water during travel.
6. Chemical Water Descalers
Chemical water descalers (or water conditioners) use chemical substances like Polyphosphates to effectively bind calcium and magnesium minerals in hard water to prevent them from precipitating and form scale build-up.
Besides, the Polyphosphates will also form a thin protective layer on the metal surface to prevent corrosion, which is great for hot water appliances.
This type of water descaler is rarely used for whole-house as it will require frequent refills of chemical substances consider the water volume is huge.
How to Choose the Best Water Softener for Well Water (Buying Guide)
If you are finding a water softener for well water that contains iron, sulfur, and other contaminants, then this guide is for you.
Hard water issues are quite common in the US and are causing many problems to households.
Thankfully, all these problems can be mitigated or resolved by using a water softener.
Due to the popularity, there are types and models of water softeners available in the US market, which poses a challenge in finding the right one for your house.
So, in this buying guide, I’ll be discussing the important factors that you need to consider when choosing the best water softener to soften your well water and reduce the iron content.
Choosing the Right Type of Water Softener
There are 6 types of water softeners in the US market, which are salt-based water softeners, dual-tank water softeners (salt-based), salt-free water softeners, electronic descalers, portable water softeners, and chemical water descalers.
Therefore, you need to decide the type of water softener based on your situation, and here are the factors you need to consider:
- Water hardness level
- Soft water demand
- Available space
If your well water is very hard (eg: hardness more than 400 ppm or 23.4 g/g), there are only two options to choose from, which are salt-based water softeners and dual tank water softeners.
To convert parts per million (ppm) to grains per gallon (g/g), divide the parts per million by 17.1376 to convert to grains per gallon.
For large families with a high demand for softened water, you can consider the dual tank water softener, other than that, a single tank water softener is enough.
If your well water is slightly or moderately hard, then you have more options to choose from.
For those who prefer a maintenance-free water softener, I’d recommend the salt-free water softener as it requires no or little maintenance and can protect your home appliances from limescale.
For households with a tight budget or limited space, an electronic descaler is a good choice to mitigate the damage caused by hard water.
If you need a water softener for your RVs and travel purposes, then a portable water softener is a perfect fit for you.
Water Softener’s Capacity
Water softeners come with a capacity indicated in grains, depending on their size, the capacity can range from 30,000 to 96,000 grains and above.
Please note that using an undersized water softener will make it wear out faster and reduce its lifespan while using an oversized water softener mean you are paying extra for what you need.
In this case, you may consider a water softener with a capacity between 28,000 to 40,000 grains.
Brine Tank Storage
Brine tank storage will determine the frequency to shop for salt bags and refill them.
If your water’s hardness level or water usage is higher, you will need to refill the salts more frequently.
Water Flow Rate
All water softeners come with a specific water flow rate indicated in gallons per minute (GPM).
A higher water flow rate gives allowance to do more water activities simultaneously without water pressure drop.
For families of 4 to 6 members, a minimum water flow rate of 7 GPM is recommended.
For families of 7 members and more, consider a water softener with a water flow rate of 10 GPM and above.
The above is just a suggestion, the targeted water flow rate should depend on your family lifestyle and water-using behaviors.
Regeneration Control: Timer VS Meter VS Demand-Initiated Regeneration
There are three types of control for resin bed regeneration, which are timer controlled, meter controlled, and demand-initiated regeneration controlled (DIR).
Timer-Controlled Water Softener
Timer-controlled water softeners will regenerate the resin bed one every fixed period.
For instance, you can set your water softener to regenerate once every 5 days, once every week, or once every 10 days.
It is cheaper and ideal for households with consistent water usage within a set period.
But make sure to turn off the water softener controller when you are not using soft water for a long period, such as travel.
If not, the water softener will still regenerate the resin bed and waste the saltwater.
Meter-Controlled Water Softener
Metered-controlled water softeners will regenerate the resin bed after a fixed volume of water flow through.
The water volume setting is depending on your water hardness, softener’s capacity, softening settings, and water usage.
If your house doesn’t have a fixed pattern in water usage, then a metered-controlled water softener is more accurate than a timer-controlled water softener.
You also don’t have to turn it off when out for traveling because if the house didn’t use any water, the water softener will not regenerate.
Here are some great water softeners with trusted Fleck digital metered control:
- AFWFilters Dual Tank Water Softener with Fleck 9100SXT
- DuraWater 80k Fleck 5600 SXT 10% Water Softener
- Fleck 5600SXT 64k Whole House Water Softener System
Demand-Initiated Regeneration (DIR) Water Softener
Demand-initiated regeneration water softeners will regenerate the resin bed when is needed.
They use sensors to monitor the resin bed and will initiate the regeneration process when they detect it needs to be replaced.
Hence, a demand-initiated regeneration water softener can use salt and water more efficiently for the regeneration, which saves salt and water.
It is smarter than the timer-controlled and meter-controlled water softeners.
Here are the great water softener with smart regeneration:
If your water is hard and contains a high concentration of iron, it’s recommended to get a water softener that specializes in iron removal to prevent red-brown stains on your fixtures and appliances.
Here are some of the best water softeners for well water with iron:
As the water softener is huge, so make sure you have done the measurement before getting a water softener.
You can check the physical measurements of a water softener easily on the internet or from the sellers.
The water softener bypass valve allows you to bypass the water softening system to let hard water flow through.
This is an optional feature but good to have, for purposes like servicing or when hard water is needed.
The crosslink is the standard indication of resin.
Water softening resin withs higher crosslinks will have the following improvements:
- Larger capacity
- Withstands high-frequency regenerations
- Can operate at a higher temperature in the presence of chlorine or chloramine,
- More chlorine tolerant.
8% crosslink is the industry standard, there are also 6%, 10%, and 15% crosslinks.
In most cases, 8% crosslinks resin is fine.
But if you are using highly chlorinated water (city water), it’s recommended to get a water softener with 10% crosslinks for higher durability against chlorine or chloramine.
For an expensive system like water softeners, give priority to established water softener brands with proven technology and a good reputation.
If they can survive in this industry for many years, it’s more likely they have a great quality product.
AFWFilters, Fleck, DuraWater, Whirlpool, Pentair, APEC, and OneFlow are some of the best water softeners brands in the market.
If possible, get a water softener built with non-proprietary components as it’s easier to get the spare parts for repair.
Otherwise, if the company discontinued the particular water softener or went disappeared, you may never be able to find the brand exclusive spare parts for repair.
The Advantages of Using a Water Softener for Well Water
A water softener can bring a lot of benefits to your house when you have hard well water.
Protect Your Health
A water softener can remove excess hard minerals like calcium and magnesium to protect you and your family from chronic health effects due to hard water.
It can also protect you from dry skin, dry hair, and weak nails caused by hard water.
Save Money and Troubles
Scale deposits form by hard water will damage home appliances and reduce their lifespan significantly.
Therefore, it is going to cost you a lot of money to repair and replace the damaged appliances in the long run.
Besides, the limescale will accumulate inside the pipes and reduce the water pressure gradually, and when the plumbing system is clogged, it will cost a boom for your wallet.
If a water softener can save you from all these troubles and costs, why not?
Improve Soap Lathering
Softened water produced by water softener allows soap and detergent to lather more easily, which improves cleaning efficiency.
Protect Your Clothing
Washing clothing with hard water can leave mineral deposits can cause soiling build-up.
Besides, hard water will cause clothing to wear out faster than when wash with soft water.
The Disadvantages of Using a Water Softener for Well Water
Water softeners do have some disadvantages that you need to take note of.
Possibility of High Sodium Intake
Since a water softener exchanges calcium and magnesium to sodium, which means the softened water will contain a certain amount of sodium-based on the amount of calcium and magnesium in water.
Our body needs sodium to function properly, however, too much sodium can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.
But rest assured, the softened water is safe to drink unless your well water is extremely hard.
According to FDA, the Daily Value of sodium is 2,300 mg per day.
Let’s say your well water is very hard, like 250 ppm (or 14.5 g/g), and you drink 0.5 gallons a day, that’s about 500 mg of sodium, which equals 21.74% Daily Value.
So, depending on your daily diet, consuming softened water could result in an over intake of sodium.
If your water is very hard, I’d highly recommend you get a Reverse Osmosis system for drinking purposes as it can significantly reduce the sodium level in the water.
High Upfront Cost
The cost of ownership of a water softener is on the high side.
However, bear in mind that without a water softener can cost you even more in the long run.
Nonetheless, the high upfront cost may still hold some people back.
Big Physical Size
Water softener systems are quite big, which could be a challenge for small houses with limited space.
How to Test the Water Hardness?
There are few ways to test and know your water hardness, and they are:
- Water Hardness Test Kit
- Foam Test
- Bathroom Fixtures Observation
1. Water Hardness Test Kit
With this method, you can know whether your water is hard or soft and how hard it is.
Note: It’s the water hardness test kit and NOT the TDS meter. TDS meter is used to estimate the total dissolved solids through the water conductivity test and is not for water hardness.
2. Foam Test (Lathering Test)
Foam test can give you an idea about the type of water – hard or soft.
As we discussed earlier, hardness will reduce lathering.
To do the foam test:
- Fill up half of a transparent bottle with water.
- Add 4-5 drops of dishwashing or detergent liquid into the bottle and close the cap.
- Shake the bottle for 5 seconds.
- Observe the foam
If the foam stays for a long period, it’s soft water; If the foam dissipates quickly, it’s hard water.
3. Bathroom Fixtures Observation
Another way to know the type of water is through observation, and you may run the investigation in the bathroom.
Observe carefully to see if there’s any white-colored spots or scale on the surface of your bathtub, shower head, and floor.
If there was any, it’s hard water, if not, it’s soft water.
How to Install a Water Softener (Step-by-Step Guide)
Most water softeners featured in this article are not too difficult to install, you just have to follow the step-by-step installation guide and install it with the right tools and components.
But if for some reason you are not able to install yourself, then you have to hire a professional plumber to come over and install it for you.
Here are the installation steps for water softeners:
- Shut off the main water supply.
- Locate the inlet pipe (before the house).
- Cut the inlet pipe to install valves and pipes.
- Install at least 3 valves: Before and after the water softener, and a water softener bypass valve
- Double-check the connectors to ensure they are tight.
- Connect the water softener brine tank to the resin tank.
- Connect the discharge line to the wastewater drain.
- Connect the Water Softener
Before we dive into each individual step, let’s take a look at the required tools and components.
Tools and Components for Water Softener Installation
Most sellers will provide you the essential tools and parts for water softener installation.
However, it’s good to have some useful plumbing tools and parts with you in case the quality of the provided components is bad.
Here are some of the basic plumbing tools that you may want to prepare:
- Measurement tape
- Water-tube cutter
- Plumbers tape
- Soldering tool
- Teflon tapes
- Pipes (PVC or Copper)
- Tee valves
What to Consider Before the Water Softener Installation
Before you start installing the water softener, you have to decide the location first.
The common places to put the water softener are the utility room, garage, and basement. Unless the water softener is heavy duty and made to survive under harsh conditions, you shouldn’t place it in an open area with direct sunlight.
Make sure the designated location has enough floor and wall space to install the water softener.
For saltwater softener, make sure the location has a way to drain the wastewater, and for electronic water descaler, make sure a power outlet is prepared.
How to Install a Salt-based Water Softener
Here are the detailed steps to install a salt-based water softening system for your house.
Step 1: Shut Off the Main Water Supply
First, turn off the main water supply valve and drain out the water inside.
This is a crucial step and makes sure you’ve done it before you start doing anything crazy.
Step 2: Locate the Inlet Pipe
Next, locate which part of the pipe you want to install the water softener, it should be after the whole house water filtration system (if any) and before entering the house.
Step 3: Cut the Inlet Pipe to Install Valves and Pipes
Now, put a basket below the cutting spot to collect any residual water and cut the inlet pipe with a tube cutter.
Step 4: Install At Least 3 Valves
The 3 water valves are necessary for future maintenance.
Install one valve before the water softener to control the water entering the system, and one valve after the water softener to control the water exit from the system.
Lastly, install a valve that parallels to the water softener. This valve is used to bypass the water softener during servicing or in case you need hard water for certain purposes.
While some water softeners come with a bypass control valve, you’re still encouraged to install one.
Step 5: Double Check the Connectors
After you installed the valve, do a quick check to make sure all the connectors are tight to prevent leaking later.
Step 6: Connect the Resin Tank to the Brine Tank
Use the pipe provided by the seller to connect between the resin tank and brine tank.
Step 7: Connect the Discharge Line to the Wastewater Drain
Connect the discharge line to the wastewater drain, which can be a floor drain, sump drain, or utility tank.
Make sure the discharge line is lower than the overflow fitting.
Step 8: Connect the Water Softener
Connect the water softener carefully to the inlet and outlet pipes and tighten all the connectors and parts.
How to Install an Electromagnetic Water Descaler
The installation of an electronic water descaler is simpler than the water softener due to its size and working mechanism.
Please note that not all pipe materials are compatible with electronic water descalers, so please check with the seller before buying.
Electromagnetic water descalers will not interfere with your pipe system as they are just installed on the main water pipe to do the work.
Here are the installation steps:
- Install the electromagnetic water descaler on the wall near the pipe.
- Coil around the pipe with wires/bands according to the user manual.
- Turn on the power supply to start the water conditioning process.
Why Should You Buy Water Softener from Amazon?
Because the water softener price on Amazon is much cheaper compared to the local contractors and salesmen.
For the same product, the quotes you get from the contractors can be 1.5 to 3 times higher than the price on Amazon.
Even if you don’t want to install the water softener by yourself, purchasing one from Amazon and hire a professional plumber to install is still cheaper in total.
Summary of the Water Softeners for Well Water
Let’s summarize what we have discussed so far.
Water Softening System
There is only one type of true water softener in the market, which is the salt-based water softener.
Salt-Based Water Softener
This is the most common type of water softener in the market, they are classic, popular, widely-used, and highly effective in treating hard water.
The salt-based water softeners use a water treatment process called ‘ion-exchange’ to exchange the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions to produce softened water.
A salt-based water softener is still the most effective method to remove water hardness, it can effectively treat even the extremely hard water that has the hardness level of beyond 100 grain per gallon.
For families with high water consumption, there are dual tank water softeners to meet your needs too.
Some of the best water softeners for well water (salt) in the market are:
- SpringWell SS Water Softener System
- DuraWater 80k Fleck 5600 SXT 10% Water Softener
- AFWFilters IRON Pro 2 Water Softener
- Fleck 5600SXT 64k Whole House Water Softener System
Water Descaling System
The water descaling system is an alternative to water softeners in solving hard water problems.
Same as salt-free water softeners, water descalers will not remove the calcium and magnesium minerals from water but transform them into a form that will not attach to the contact surface instead.
The goal of a water descaler is not to soften the hard water, but simply prevent the scale build-up, which is the main concern of hard water.
Salt-Free Water Softener
Since salt-based water softeners are so effective, then why are there salt-free water softeners in the market?
Well, because salt-based water softeners are not perfect.
Due to some disadvantages like altering water taste and producing wastewater (brine), some people prefer to use the salt-free water softeners.
Technically, a salt-free water softener is a water conditioner and not a water softener because what it does is conditioning the hard water so that the hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium) will not form any build-up deposits when coming in contact.
The water conditioned by a salt-free water softener is still ‘hard’ water as the calcium and magnesium minerals are not removed from the water, but these minerals are converted to a crystal form and will not bond together and stick to any surface to form mineral deposits.
How Non-Salt Water Softeners Prevent Scale Formation
The most common technology used in salt-free water softeners is called Template Assisted Crystallization, a method to transform calcium and magnesium minerals into crystal form that stays suspended in water and will not form any scale build-up.
In short, salt-free water conditioners prevent the formation of scale buildup and not remove them. You’ll still see the white mineral deposit, but rest assured they can be cleaned off easily with simple wipe.
The salt-free water softeners are not suitable for households with extremely hard water as they can only treat water with hardness up to 20-25 grain per gallon.
Here are some of the best salt-free water softeners:
- SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-free Water Softener
- Pelican NaturSoft Salt-free Water Softener
- Watts OneFlow+ Hybrid Salt-Free Water Softener System
Electromagnetic Water Descaler
The electromagnetic water descalers (also known as electronic water descalers) use a strong magnetic field generated by electrical energy to treat the hard water flowing through the pipe and change the minerals’ properties.
While electronic water descalers do not soften the water, they do the job in preventing scale formation.
They are economical alternatives to water softeners.
Some of the advantages of electromagnetic water descalers are:
- Will not interfere with your piping system (They attach on the pipe)
- Easy to install
Here are some of the best electronic water descalers:
Physical Water Descaler
The physical water descaler uses a Scale Control Media (SCM) to speed up the natural tendency of hard minerals to crystallize so that they can’t attach on pipes or surfaces to form scales.
While it can’t remove the calcium and magnesium minerals, it transforms them into inactive microscopic particles that are harmless to pipes and appliances.
For instance, the Aquasana Rhino is a whole house water purification system that comes with SCH media to prevent scale forming.
Chemical Water Descaler
The chemical water descalers use food-grade polyphosphates to bind calcium and magnesium minerals to inhibit scale build-up.
If you simply want a small water descaler to protect your hot water appliances, they can make a good fit.
The best chemical water descaler is the 3M Aqua-Pure Scale Inhibition Water System.
Comparison Table of the Best Water Softeners for Well Water
Here are the summary and brief comparison table of the 17 water softeners for well water featured in this review.
Best Water Softener for Well Water
Fleck 5600SXT 64k
Best Water Softener for Well Water (Runner-up)
AFWFilters IRON Pro 2
Best Water Softener for Well Water with Iron
AFWFilters Dual Tank
Best Dual Tank Water Softener
Best Heavy-Duty Water Softener
Best Hybrid Softener
Best Budget Softener
Best Softener for Well Water with Iron (Budget)
On The Go Portable
Best Portable Softener
Best Salt-free Water Softener
Best Salt-free Water Softener (Runner-up)
Best 2-in-1 Salt-Free System
Best Hybrid Water Descaler
AO Smith Descaler
Best Water Descaler for Well Water
Best Magnetic Descaler
Best Budget Descaler
Best for Hot Appliances
FAQ for Best Water Softeners for Well Water
1. Is softened water safe to drink?
Yes, it’s safe to consume, but it’s not recommended to drink regularly due to higher sodium content, especially for those who are on a low sodium diet.
2. What is the crosslink of water softener resin?
The crosslink is the standard indication of water softener resin, higher crosslinks have a larger capacity, can withstand high-frequency regenerations, can operate at a higher temperature in the presence of chlorine or chloramine, and is more chlorine tolerant.
3. Should I use 8% or 10% crosslinks resin?
Most water softening resin has 8% crosslinks and the upgraded version of resins has 10% or higher.
If your water is chlorinated (city water), it’s better to go for 10% crosslinks resin for stronger endurance against chlorine, but the 8% crosslinks resin is fine too.
4. Will a water softener alter the taste of water?
Yes. The softened water will be slightly salty compared to hard water.
5. Can a water descaler soften the water?
No. Water descalers only condition the water so that the hardness minerals will not form any scale build-up.
6. How to Know If Your Water is Hard?
The most accurate way is to send a sample of your water to the lab for testing. Another simple way is to heat the water and see is there any white deposit form on the surfaces.
7. How much water is required in the Regeneration process?
The Regeneration process will need about 30 to 60 gallons of water, depending on the size and model of the water softener.
8. Which brand is the best for water softeners for well water?
Some of the best water softener brands for well water are AFWFilters, Fleck, DuraWater, Pentair, and Whirlpool.
9. Which is the best brand for salt-free water softeners?
The top brands that sell high-quality salt-free water softeners are APEC, Aquasana, and AO Smith.
10. How much salt should I have in my brine tank?
You should keep the salts at least one-fourth of the brine tank and is recommended to refill salts when the salts fall around one-third of the brine tank for the best efficiency.
11. Can I fill up my brine tank?
No. You should only fill the salts until three fourth of the brine tank and not more.
12. What is the price of a water softener for well water?
The price of water softeners for well water range from $500 to $1,600. The price varies according to size, capacity, features, controller, and brand.
13. Can water softeners remove iron from well water?
Yes, water softeners can remove a low level of iron. If your well water contains a high concentration of iron, you need to use a water softener that is specifically designed to remove iron.
You can find the best water softeners for well water with iron from the top products list.
14. How a water softener removes hardness minerals?
A water softener removes hardness minerals like calcium and magnesium via a process called Ion-Exchange.
15. What are the effects of hard water?
Hard water can cause limescale build-up which may clog the plumbing system and damage electrical appliances.
Hard water can also cause dry and rash skin, dry hair, and weak nails, and will stain the clothing and reduce soap lathering efficiency.
16. How long does a water softener last?
Water softeners can last from 12 to 20 years, depending on your usage and maintenance.
17. Is buying a water softener worth it?
If your water is hard, a water softener is worth it.
18. Where to buy a water softener?
You can either buy from local stores or online marketplaces like Amazon. From my experience, buying online is cheaper.
Conclusion: The Best Water Softener for Well Water Is Softener That Can Effectively Treat Well Water With A High Hardness Level At An Affordable Price
A water softener is worth your money when you have hard water.
It protects your plumbing system and electrical appliances from damage, which saves you money and hassle.
It also protects your clothing from wear out sooner and soiling.
More importantly, it protects you and your family members from the skin, hair, nails, and chronic health problems.
So, I hope this article can help you to find the best water softener for well water.
- Best Bottom Loading Water Coolers
- Best Top-Loading Water Dispensers (Great Value)
- Best Bottleless Water Coolers for Homes & Offices