In this article, we take an in-depth look at the 5 best water conditioners for well water – the major type of salt-free water softener system.
We’ll explain how these systems work and their benefits, and explore some of the best models you can find out there.
Let’s get started.
5 Best Water Conditioners For Well Water
|Aquasana EQ-1000-AST||Process up to 1,000,000 gallons of water|
|APEC Water Systems FUTURA-10||Soften up to 10 gallons of water per minute|
|LiquaGen Salt-Free||Process as much as 1,000,000 gallons of water|
|Triple Action PSC1 Poly||3-in-1 water treatment system|
|Hardness NG Lotus||30 gallons per minute flow rate|
- Stops limescale buildup without removing beneficial minerals
- It can handle water hardness levels of up to 25 GPG
- Remarkably effective at reducing chlorine levels
- Removes a wide range of other common contaminants in water
- Capable of descaling and filtering water in an entire house
- larger capacity of up to 1,000,000 gallons
- Little maintenance is required and easy filter changes
- Impressive 10-year warranty plus a 3-month money-back guarantee
- Requires professional installation to engage warranty
- Not ideal for use with well water
Aquasana is a brand that’s very famous for its durable, complex systems that can be customized to address various water treatment needs. The EQ-1000-AST model stands out as one of the best water treatment systems from the company as well as on the market.
It’s an innovative whole-house unit that combines an effective water conditioner with an advanced water filter system to provide a comprehensive solution to a broad range of water quality issues.
This system is part of Aquasana’s EQ-1000 series which consists of two other models, the EQ-1000 and EQ-1000-AST-UV. In this review, we look at the EQ-1000-AST model which is our top pick on this list and you are going to see why we consider it the best whole house water conditioner.
System Design and Performance
The Aquasana EQ-1000-AST is a water conditioner and a filter system in one unit. It features 4-stages of water treatment which include, a sediment pre-filter, salt-free water conditioner, activated carbon filter, and a post-filter.
The EQ-1000 which is the base model of the Aquasana EQ-1000 series is only a filter system without the salt-free water softener. The EQ-1000-AST-UV, on the other hand, is the more advanced model of the series equipped with the water conditioner and filter system plus an extra UV sterilization filter.
The Aquasana EQ-1000-AST offers an entirely salt-free water treatment process using its Simply Soft descaling system.
Simply Soft descaling system is an innovative and proven SCM (Scale Control Media) softening technology that naturally conditions water without using added sodium.
First, the water from your main supply line goes through a pre-filter that clears out sediments, silt, sand, and rust.
Once filtered, it’s sent through the Aquasana salt-free water conditioner tank where the SCM technology modifies the structure of the minerals that cause water hardness (calcium and magnesium) by transforming them into a crystal structure which inhibits the minerals from bonding and creating scale build-up.
It’s an all-natural and chemical-free approach to preventing scale from forming and at the same time, it also protects your plumping and pipes from corrosion in the long run.
The descaler will also not demineralize your water. The beneficial calcium and magnesium minerals will not be removed, but you will still get benefits similar to soft water.
In terms of water harness level, this Aquasana descaler can handle water hardness levels of up to 25 GPG. However, it works well at 15 GPG or below. If your water hardness level is above 15GPG, then it may not be that effective.
Filter System Performance
When it comes to the filtration system, the EQ-1000-AST uses a four-stage filtration process that efficiently removes a wide range of common contaminants found in water.
The 1st stage consists of a sediment filter that strips out dust, dirt, rust, silt, and any other particle or sediment larger than 5 microns to protect the media in the later filtration stages. From there, the water is sent through the water conditioner tank for descaling.
After the softening process, the now-descaled water enters the 2nd stage of the filtration process which takes place in the top tank right after the descaler.
Inside this tank is a combination of a copper-zinc oxidation media (KDF-55 medium) and crushed mineral media which effectively draw out 97% of chlorine in the water, and also reduce scale along with some water-soluble heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
Both media are bacteriostatic too meaning they will prevent bacteria and algae growth within the system. Moreover, they can equally enhance the pH of the water like an alkaline filter in an RO system making it slightly alkaline which is commendable as alkaline water is an antioxidant and considered better for our bodies.
The 3rd stage is an activated carbon filter that sits in the bottom tank below the 2nd stage. The activated carbon media is sourced from coconut shells and it helps in the further removal of chlorine alongside other harmful chemical contaminants like VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, and industrial solvents.
The 4th and final stage is made up of a 0.35-micron post-filter which is an important if not necessary addition to the system. It’s the finest filter you will find in any conventional whole house water system and ensures no sediment, organic particle or microscopic cysts remain in your water.
With this really impressive filtration process coupled with reliable descaling technology, the EQ-1000-AST is not only capable of stopping limescale buildup within your plumbing system, but will also give you cleaner, great-tasting drinking water.
The only thing missing is the UV sterilization filter which is an optional upgrade you can get if your water has high bacterial or microorganism contamination.
However, it’s included in the EQ-1000-AST-UV model and it’s the only feature that differentiates it from this EQ-1000-AST model. It does drive up the price a little bit, but it will destroy up to 99.99% of all microorganisms in your water supply.
Besides the highly-effective water treatment system, the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST offers one of the largest filtration capacities out there for a whole-house unit.
Its descaler system can process up to 1,000,000 gallons of water which translates to about 10 years of service for small to medium-sized families with average water consumption.
What’s more, the multiple stages of the unit don’t have a significant effect on the water flow. The system maintains a maximum flow rate of 7 GPM which is sufficient for small to large homes.
Installation and Maintenance
Installing the EQ-1000-AST is relatively easy, but it will need a bit of plumbing knowledge because it may require doing some little changes on the piping for most houses.
You can do it yourself although it’s not advisable because according to Aquasana, the installation must be done by a professional plumber in order to engage the warranty.
Once installed, maintaining this system is pretty simple. There is no backflushing or draining needed. The only maintenance needed is replacing the filters.
The pre-filter, KDF-55, and carbon filter require changing every 3 to 6 months depending on your water quality. The post-filter should last about 12 months while the water conditioner tank will last for 10 years.
In addition, the unit comes with brass fittings and shut-off valves to enable more straightforward and mess-free filter changes. Its unique up-flow dual-tank design also does well to prevent any chances of clogging.
There are no serious drawbacks to worry about with this Aquasana system. You should, however, bear in mind that it will require professional installation so as to engage the maximum 10-year warranty which is the longest we’ve encountered in our reviews.
The other thing is that this system is not ideal for well water treatment due to high levels of iron and other contaminants that require specialized filters like an iron filtration tank and UV sterilization filter.
To sum it all up, from our thorough assessment, the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST indeed has all it takes to stand out as the best whole house water conditioner in a crowded market. Its price may fall on the high end, but what you get is one of the most effective and long-lasting units that’s worth every penny.
- Advanced ceramic media removes hardness of up to 25 GPG
- Retains the hardness minerals in the water
- Faster water flow at 10 GPM
- Robust and very durable construction
- Installation is a breeze and requires minimum maintenance
- Comes with a 10-year limited warranty and lifetime support
- Not ideal for use with well water
APEC Water Systems enjoys a high reputation in the industry for making water systems that are specially tailored for performance, durability, and reliability. These include the whole house salt-free water softeners for well water and the FUTURA-10 water conditioner system is one of them.
It’s amongst the most robust salt-free water softeners on the market with an excellent softening capability. The unit comes as a water conditioning system only, but APEC offers two other similar models in the same category that are equipped with extra filters.
There’s the APEC WH-SOLUTION-MAX10 which is a two-stage whole house water system and the APEC WH-SOLUTION-10 which is a three-stage system.
With that in mind, we will analyze the key features of this APEC FUTURA-10 model and also highlight the complementary filters that the two other options come with to give you a better comparison of the three models.
The FUTURA 10 employs a salt-free water softening approach using advanced ceramic media that provides an all-natural solution to scale prevention and reduction.
When water from the main supply line comes into contact with the surface of the media, the minerals that cause hardness, calcium (CaCO3) and magnesium, get attracted and attached to the ceramic granules where they become converted into a crystalline form.
In this crystal stage, the minerals are harmless, neutral, and completely stable and hence are unable to attach to any surfaces such as pipes. When the crystals become too big in the range of nanometers, they detach from the granules and then get carried away as the water flows through the system.
This advanced ceramic media can remove water hardness by as much as 25 GPG and it will also effectively reduce the existing scale already in your plumbing system and fixtures like water heaters and showerheads.
It will neutralize the hard water properties without removing the minerals which is another benefit if you prefer taking water that contains natural essential minerals like magnesium and calcium. Another advantage is that the catalytic ceramic granules are not consumed during the conversion process, so they can last for a very long period.
There are no additional filtration stages in this FUTURA-10 model but as I mentioned earlier APEC Water Systems has two other options under this category that come with extra filters.
The APEC WH-SOLUTION-MAX10 is one of them and it’s a two-stage whole house water system featuring a catalytic granular activated carbon filtration system in the 1st stage for removing chlorine and other chemical contaminants, and the Futura salt-free water conditioner in the second stage.
The APEC WH-SOLUTION-10 is the other option and the most comprehensive of the three models. It’s a three-stage system featuring a whole house sediment pre-filter in the 1st stage that clears out particles and sediments in the water.
The 2nd stage consists of a catalytic carbon filter that removes common chemical contaminants like chorine while the third and final stage is the Futura salt-free water conditioner.
Therefore, depending on your particular needs and the condition of your water, you have the option to choose a water conditioner with filters or without filters.
The Futura 10 is perfect for the average family home. It can soften up to 10 gallons of water per minute which is an impressive flow rate, sufficient enough to provide adequate water to an entire home without a drop in pressure.
You can take a shower while running the dishwasher and doing laundry at the same time, yet you won’t experience any drop in pressure. It’s designed to work with up to 3 bathrooms simultaneously.
Installation and Maintenance
Like the AO Smith Water Descaler above, the FUTURA-10 is a single tank system that’s easy to install and would fit anywhere with ease. You just need to connect it to your house’s main water supply line and you are good to go.
The system has no backwash function nor does it require electricity and drainage for wastewater. It’s a maintenance-free unit that you install and let run. The media will, however, require replacement once every 3 to 5 years.
Overall, the Futura-10 is a robust system and an effective solution for families looking to solely combat limescale in their water. It’s a premium product that’s worth checking out if you are after great quality and performance plus it comes with a long 10 –year limited warranty.
- Guarantees 99% scale prevention and removal
- Filters out dust, rust, sand, and other particles
- Healthy minerals don’t get removed in the process
- Large capacity of up to 1,000,000 gallons
- Impressive 12 GPM water flow rate
- Minimal maintenance required
- Backed by a 10-year limited warranty
- Installation may require a professional plumber
- Designed for outdoor installation only
The LiquaGen salt-free water conditioner is another large-capacity system on our list that presents high efficiency as well as great results with regard to descaling and filtering water at home. It’s a combination of a water conditioner with a filtration system which makes it a good choice for those who want a unit that can address more than just water hardness.
Softening and Filtration Capability
This LiquaGen unit comes as a two-stage system consisting of a sediment pre-filter tank and the LiquaGen water conditioner tank.
When installed, the water first goes through the 1st stage tank which features a polypropylene sediment pre-filter that removes dust, rust, silt, and other particles present in the water down to 5 microns. This filter is 100% melt-blown polypropylene filtration media which is amongst the best in the market and provides exceptional dirt-holding capacity.
From the sediment pre-filter, the water enters the LiquaGen water conditioner tank which contains a salt-free scale removal media that neutralizes the hardness minerals calcium and magnesium.
Once neutralized, the media further transforms the hardness minerals into a crystallized form hence preventing them from sticking to internal pipes and plumbing as scale deposits. This media is so effective that it can prevent limescale build-up of up to 99.6%.
Besides that, the scale deposits already inside your pipes and fixtures will dissolve and detach from the pipes over time thereby enhancing the flow and efficiency of your plumbing system. The conditioner also retains the minerals, so you get healthy water for drinking and other applications.
Of all the 8 units on this list, this LiquaGen system and the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST model are the only options that give you a pretty large capacity for well water.
The LiquaGen’s scale prevention media can process as much as 1,000,000 gallons of water before needing replacement which means you will be able to use it for about 5 to 7 years. It’s a large tank that’s designed to serve the entire water supply of a home.
The water flow is equally high as it can soften up to 12 gallons of water per minute. This, in fact, is the second-highest flow rate we’ve covered and it’s capable of meeting the demands of any medium to a large house or 3 bathrooms simultaneously.
Installation and Maintenance
The installation process of this water conditioning system from LiquaGen is fairly easy as long as you have some plumbing knowledge or you are an experienced DIY installer.
Otherwise, you may have to get a professional plumber to set it up because it’s designed to be installed outdoors with weatherproofing and the package includes all the parts required for installation.
As for maintenance, the only work involved is replacing the sediment pre-filter every 6 to 12 months based on the condition of your feed water. The media inside the conditioning tank will last up to 7 years before needing replacement.
In general, with the large capacity, fast flow rate, and effective water conditioning process, this LiquaGen salt-free softener is a unit that would work well with larger homes. It’s also bound to satisfy the needs of anyone who is after efficiency.
- Works well to prevent limescale buildup
- Clears out iron as intestinal parasites
- Essential minerals are retained in the water
- A faster flow rate of up to 30 GPM
- Fairly easy to set up and needs minimum maintenance
- Can be installed indoors or outdoors
- Very compact and robust construction
- Comes with a 5-year limited warranty on all parts and a 6-month guarantee
- Connectors might be needed
- Low capacity at only around 10, 000 gallons
Simplicity is what defines best this Triple Action salt-free water conditioner. However, while it may have a pretty simple design, this unit comes packed with some amazing and unique features that set it apart from the rest. It performs three separate functions within one compact system.
As its name suggests, the Triple Action PSC1 water softener is a 3-in-1 water treatment system that includes a combination of scale control, water filtration, and iron/bacteria filtration.
The incoming water first goes through the scale control core (Hard Water Bullet) which breaks down calcium carbonate and other hard minerals in the water into aragonite crystals.
These aragonite crystals are a much smaller, softer, and harmless form of calcium that can’t build up limescale like the normal calcium in the water. This unique softening process is the main difference between the Triple Action PSC1 and the other standard salt-free water conditioners on this list. There are no grains involved here.
From the scale control core, the water passes through a polyphosphate capsule that contains about 6 oz of food-grade polyphosphate crystals.
The phosphate dissolves slowly into the water as it passes through the crystals coating the aragonite and hard water minerals and making it impossible for them to precipitate out of water and form limescale build-up. It ties them up and keeps them in suspension.
The conditioned water then goes through the stainless steel 25-micron screen filter and finally through the 2-micron bacteria/iron outer filter which clears out iron as well as intestinal parasites such as cryptosporidium and giardia.
With these four stages of water treatment, this unit will be able to give you clean water that’s naturally conditioned as Watts OneFlow Plus the treated calcium is not removed in the process.
It’s kept in suspension by the polyphosphate crystals, thereby you get the additional health benefits of having the essential minerals retained in the water. The system can remove water hardness of up to 25 GPG and it can work with either city or private well water.
The Triple Action PSC1 water softener gives you a capacity of at least 10, 000 gallons of water which is amongst the lowest on our list. This is because it can only support around 10 oz of polyphosphate crystals which is enough to last you about 6 months after which you have to refill it again.
Despite this low capacity, the PSC1 has one of the fastest flow rates when it comes to water conditioning units. It can process up to 30 gallons of water per minute which is quite impressive and certainly means you will hardly experience any decrease in water pressure.
Installation and Maintenance
Setting up the Triple Action PSC1 is not that hard if you are a handy person. It’s a compact unit that you can even install in an RV and the mounting bracket plus the housing wrench are included in the package. These are vital additions that will make the installation process significantly easier.
The best part about this unit is that you can also install it outside as its body is made of strong BPA-free plastic. It’s a high-impact, waterproofing housing that’s built to last many years and withstand outdoor conditions provided it does not freeze.
Like any other filter-based system, the PSC1 will require some little maintenance which is recharging the polyphosphate crystals after about every 8 to 12 months.
The only other thing you will need to do is clean up the scale control core (Hard Water Bullet) and the stainless steel screen filter. That’s all and the polyphosphate comes already preloaded in the system.
If there are any setbacks to point out it would probably be the fact that the inlet is 1 inch thick which means you may need to get some connectors to ensure proper fitting.
Considering both the unique yet very effective scale control process and additional filtration stages, it’s clear that the Triple Action PSC1 is a decent unit that’s not only functional but well-built and durable. It can even be installed outdoors and won’t eat up huge space.
- Effectively prevents limescale buildup
- Removes sediments and particles down to 2 microns
- Retain beneficial minerals
- Maintains high water flow of up to 30 GPM
- Easy to install and maintain
- Compact design with robust construction
- The cartridge and post-filter need to be changed every 6 months
- It does not remove chlorine, bacteria, or viruses
The Hardness NG Lotus system closes our top 8 whole house water conditioners list. Featuring an almost similar design and water conditioning process to that of the Triple Action PSC1 model above, this is another unit that guarantees you remarkable results when it comes to preventing scale buildup in water and plumbing systems.
Like the Triple Action PSC1, this system features a 3-stage whole house water treatment concept that ensures clean, safe, and healthy water in every outlet of your house.
First, the incoming water goes through the water conditioning cartridge which contains crystals that alter the structure of the hard minerals so that they are unable to create limescale buildup inside the pipes and fixtures.
The conditioner also helps eliminate existing scale deposits in your water plumbing system and there’s no reduction in the essential minerals, it only changes their structure. This unit will basically handle both well and municipal water because it’s designed to withstand extreme water hardness.
The already-conditioned water then flows through a stainless-steel mesh filter that captures dust, sediments, and other impurities larger than 25 microns.
From there, it goes through the final filtration process which is an extra post filter that further removes any remaining sediment or particle that’s larger than 2 microns.
Unlike other conditioners and filters on our list, the Hardness NG system does not have a limit on the number of gallons of water it can filter. This is possible because the stainless-steel mesh filter can be easily removed and cleaned every month.
When installed, this system does not affect water pressure in your plumbing system. Instead, it ensures a flow rate of 30 GPM is maintained so that you can get an adequate flow of water to taps, showers, and all fixtures.
Installation and Maintenance
The tiny size of this unit makes it easy to install, plus it does not occupy much space. However, if you are not skilled in this kind of installation, it’s important to hire a professional plumber. You can install it either indoors or outdoors without any damage to the unit.
You do not need to worry much when it comes to maintenance either. It’s an easy process, requiring only monthly washings to keep the filter clean. Apart from that, the cartridge and post-filter need replacement after every 6 months to keep the system working properly.
Unfortunately, this unit will not be able to remove chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, or germs from the water. However, if combined with under sink reverse osmosis system, then you are assured the best results.
In short, this small but mighty Hardness NG Lotus whole house water filter and conditioner can get you clean, scale-free water at half the price of larger units. It’s a water treatment system to go for if you are looking for something reliable and affordable.
Hard water has been a very common problem for a long time and we can all agree that its effects are annoying and irritating especially when it comes to plumping systems and appliances.
Fortunately today, there are several types of water softeners in the market and one very convenient and affordable option is none other than salt-free water softeners.
These growing water treatment systems are great alternatives to traditional salt-based (ion-exchange) water softeners.
They are effective and can combat the harmful effects of water hardness without requiring frequent monitoring and replenishment every week like salt-based systems.
Understanding how they function is a great advantage when making a purchase decision and our comprehensive reviews below will throw more light and help you easily narrow down to the right unit for you.
So if you struggling with extreme water hardness and you are searching for the best salt-free water softener, you are not out of luck. Read on for a list of top models and more information to make your purchase process easier.
A water conditioner is an alternative water softening device that’s equipped with some type of cartridge or tank containing a special scale control media that help transform hardness mineral ions in the water into a stable and harmless form that won’t adhere to surfaces.
Water Conditioner Working Process
Water conditioners are usually made up of a single cartridge or tank system filled with resin beads or another descaling media. Most work through a physical process known as Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) to alter the way hardness minerals in water behave.
In this template-assisted crystallization process, water is passed through a tank/cartridge of TAC media which consists of tiny polymer/ceramic beads that are covered in craters called nucleation sites that act as templates to create micro-crystals.
When the hard water from the main supply comes into contact with the TAC media in the tank/cartridge, the calcium and magnesium ions get caught by the nucleation sites.
Therefore, as the water flows into the cartridge, more magnesium and calcium ions continue to build up within the sites upon which they are changed into small micro-crystals.
Eventually, when these micro-crystals reach a certain size, they break off of the media where they are then released into the water.
These crystals are stable and flow through the water and the plumbing system with their crystalline structure intact. They don’t break off and are unable to attach themselves to water pipes or appliances as scale as the regular hard minerals do.
The result is complete prevention against scale build-up, but the minerals remain present in the water which is a great advantage since they are healthy to humans and in this crystalline form, they can’t damage the plumbing system.
However, it’s important to note that, the scale control media used by whole house water conditioners may vary greatly from one brand to another. Furthermore, several models come equipped with extra filters to help tackle other issues aside from water hardness like the removal of contaminants
They can come with a sediment pre-filter and/or a carbon filter to take care of particulates and chemical contaminants like chlorine. Others even include more advanced filters like a UV sterilization filter or an iron filtration tank that can help soften and treat well water.
Benefits Of A Water Conditioner
There are several advantages and benefits to using salt-free water conditioners that make them stand out from traditional water softeners. Some of these benefits include:
A Variety of Applications
Water conditioners come in different cartridge sizes and flow rates. If you don’t wish to install a whole-house water conditioner you have a variety of other options to choose from like a single-cartridge system that you can set up in line with other water filtration systems or in front of a tankless water heater.
Aside from that, there are other whole house water conditioners that offer more extensive filtration abilities. They come with additional filter media along with a salt-free conditioner cartridge.
Therefore, aside from inhibiting scale build-up and removing existing scale in pipes, these water conditioner systems will tackle other water issues. A good example is a whole-house water conditioner and chlorine reduction system which not only prevents scale accumulation but also improves the odor and taste of your water supply.
Low Maintenance and Media Consumption
Another key benefit you get from using a water conditioner is the maintenance-free aspect. They are very low maintenance systems as the tank/cartridge of resin beads doesn’t need ongoing regeneration.
It takes very little TAC media to sustain a whole-house water conditioner system as many units only require about 5 to 10 liters of media which can last several years. Generally, you will be replacing the media once every 3 to 5 years.
Installing a water conditioner system is also remarkably simple since most come as a single tank or cartridge. No wastewater is generated, so they don’t require drain connections. They also don’t need electricity to operate and have no dramatic effect on the water flow rate.
Healthy Mineral Remain in Water
Water conditioners prevent the formation of limescale but at the same time leave healthy minerals in the water which are beneficial for your health. Furthermore, they won’t raise the sodium content in the water like salt-based water softeners.
Soft Water Alternative
Soft water tends to have a “slippery” feel which not most people like. Other people also complain that showering in soft water often leaves one feeling like the soap is still sticking to the skin or the shampoo never completely washes out of their hair.
Although all these are purely preferential, if you don’t like how soft water feels but still want to ensure scales are removed from your plumbing, then a water conditioner can give you exactly that. It doesn’t eliminate the hardness of minerals, instead, it only makes them ineffective such that they can’t adhere to surfaces.
Water conditioners don’t produce any wastewater as they don’t go through regeneration cycles. Therefore, no salt or other chemicals will get dumped into the waste stream.
In addition to that, they save water because all the water that gets processed through the system flows right into your home water supply or tankless heater.
One of the major impacts of limescale build-up is the reduction of the efficiency of your plumbing system and water heating appliances. By installing a quality and reliable water softening system, you can eliminate and help prevent these problems.
Salt-free water softeners, both water descalers, and water conditioners provide a great alternative option to traditional salt-based systems. They are effective, relatively affordable, and reduce the need for expensive salts as well as frequent monitoring and brine washing.
If you have read our reviews above and compared the different options we’ve listed, then we believe you will have little difficulty evaluating and choosing the best salt-free water softener that will meet your needs.
One thing you want to make sure though is that you take into consideration the water condition in your home before settling on a particular model.