Fleck 5600SXT Water Softener Reviews

Fleck 5600SXT is a top-rated whole house water softener and perhaps one of the most reliable models available on the market that come at a reasonable price.  It’s a powerful and comprehensive digital system packed with a lot of incredible features that make it outshine its competitors.

The unit is one of the best models from Fleck which is a brand owned by Pentair Water Treatment Company. However, although it’s manufactured by Fleck, there are several other brands that are selling it under their name.

Fleck also has four other similar models under the 5600SXT series that offer different grain options. They include the 5600SXT 32,000 Grain system, the 5600SXT 64,000 Grain system and the Fleck 5600SXT 80,000 Grain system.

All these models employ almost the same technology and design with the only thing setting them apart is the capacity. It’s a thoughtful consideration that gives you the opportunity to choose the right size for your home but still get the same quality system as the rest. Even much better is the fact that you can also pick the brand you like.

This review is a thorough analysis of the Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain water softener and it will show you exactly what propels it to the top of our list as well as how it compares to the other three models.

Softening Capability

The Fleck 5600SXT is a 2-tank salt-based softener that uses the effective ion exchange process to get rid of water hardness.

The mineral tank comes filled with 8% cross-linked resin which is not only quite a powerful resin but it’s actually the industry standard.

In terms of softening performance, this high-capacity resin is very effective and will remove all the undesirable mineral ions like magnesium and calcium ions from the water which are the primary materials responsible for the formation of the damaging limescale deposits. It can efficiently handle very hard water with hardness levels of more than 30 grains per gallon.

Regeneration Process

Besides the impressive softening capability, this unit employs a smart regeneration process which is one of our favorite features.

It’s a meter based regeneration system featuring an advanced computerized flow meter that initiates regeneration automatically without requiring your presence.

The meter monitors and measures how much water you use in the house, then it self-regenerates the system based on these measured readings.

This clever approach simply means that it will regenerate only when necessary plus the meter is designed to modify its settings should there be any change in the water usage.

If there’s an increase in the water demand, it will adjust accordingly such that it’s able to regenerate more often to match the growing water needs.

In other words, whether it’s a time of low or high water usage, this system will always work at the right level translating to a reduction in the running costs as it saves salt and helps reduce waste. 

The unit uses around 40 to 50 gallons of water during regeneration which is pretty decent considering that older water softeners that regenerate on a timer usually waste a lot of water and salt. The regeneration process takes a total of about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Capacity

As we mentioned earlier, the Fleck 5600SXT is a 2-tank water softener with a relatively large capacity to ensure you have softened water available 24/7. It’s a 48,000-grain capacity system which is sufficient for medium to large households with moderate to very hard water. It’s a perfect fit for a family of up to 6 people or more.

In addition to the large capacity, this Fleck system is capable of putting out about 12 gallons of water every minute. This is a high flow rate suitable for a whole house system like this and it’s enough to allow you to run multiple water sources without a drop in pressure in any of them. 

The brine tank is equally large and can hold around 250 pounds of pelleted salt, so you won’t be replenishing it frequently like other smaller-sized units.

To keep the system operating smoothly, the 5600SXT is equipped with a safety float which helps prevent the overfilling of the brine tank. When the resin tank malfunctions, often the water held in the brine tank tend to rise too high or overflow.

It’s a rare scenario, but should it happen, it makes a mess or can even flood the house. The safety float will turn off the water going into the brine tank as soon as the level gets too high thereby preventing overfilling.

Fleck has also included an overflow drain alongside the safety float which serves as an additional backup to provide protection against overflowing or water spillage.

This unit as well comes with a bypass valve which is a thoughtful little feature that allows you to repair the unit without having to shut off the water for the whole house.

Furthermore, it helps ensure a continuous flow of water into the house throughout even during regeneration although it will be hard.

For larger houses or should you need more capacity, Fleck has two other options that offer higher capacity. The first option is the Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 grain softener which can serve 6 to 8 people while the second one is the Fleck 5600SXT 80,000 grain softener which offers the largest capacity sufficient for a family of at least 10 people.

There’s also a 32,000 grain model for those that need a smaller capacity softener for a family of fewer than 5 people. Other than the difference in capacity, the three models have almost the same features as the Fleck 5600SXT.

Control System

The most intriguing feature on this Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 grain softener has to certainly be the SXT controller. It’s the latest controller from the manufacturer, a very nice touch that’s packed with a contingent of useful features you want most in a water softener system.

It includes a backlit LCD display, touchpad controls and best of all, an internal power backup that can last up to 48 hours.

The LCD display has a very user-friendly interface that makes it easier to operate the system. It’s a helpful feature, especially for first-time softener owners. You can check the system’s status, the time left for regeneration or any error codes that might need troubleshooting.

The included touchpad controls allow you to fully program the system to your preference. It has a good range of customizable options for the regeneration process.

You can set the time at which the system will regenerate, and the days you want it to run after every regeneration cycle (default is 14 days). There are 4 modes of regeneration you can choose from as well which include immediate, delayed meter, delayed time and day of the week. 

There’s also a double backwash option which is another helpful feature, particularly for those whom their water has high iron content or is extremely hard.

In simple terms, by allowing you to program the system, this Fleck softener gives you a great advantage as you are able to set the best time for it to run.

This way, you get your softened water whenever you need it and during the time that you don’t need it, the system is regenerating which is basically a win-win situation.

The best part about this SXT controller is that although you can configure the time it will regenerate, the computer is intelligent enough to learn for itself. It will learn your household’s water use and determine how often it has to regenerate, then schedule itself accordingly.  

Generally, while controllers tend to be an issue when it comes to such type of water softeners, this Fleck’s SXT controller by far provides a more convenient and efficient system of scheduling.

What’s more, is that it’s equipped with an internal power backup which is a safety net in case of a power failure. It can effectively run the system for up to 48 hours.

Installation and Maintenance

Installing the Fleck 5600 SXR softener requires some basic plumbing skills. It’s not super easy nor is it super hard. All you need is a bit of plumbing know-how and you will have not much to worry about.

The kit includes everything needed for installation plus a detailed instruction manual and the resin comes preloaded in the tank. If you get stuck, there are several helpful videos on YouTube you can refer to.

However, you can always hire a plumber to do it if you find it difficult. You will need a standard 120V power outlet and a drain to get it up and running.

The amazing thing though is that Fleck has designed this unit for easy operation and maintenance thanks to the simple and user-friendly digital controller as well as the meter-based regeneration process.

The only regular maintenance you will need to do is replenishing the salt in the brine tank every once in a while of which the digital display will show you the time remaining before you can do this.

The tanks are made out of a strong poly glass that’s highly durable and they are further backed by a 10-year warranty while the control head is backed by a 5-year warranty, all of which represent remarkable quality and reliability.

To sum it all, the contingent of features in this Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 grain system make it the best possible solution for a lot of homes that struggle with medium to high water hardness levels.

If you are searching for a formidable and long-lasting water softener, then this is your best bet. Its value for the money is impressive, especially because it delivers the same standards you would find in other higher priced units.

Pros

  • Effectively softens water with medium to high hardness levels
  • Efficient meter-based regeneration reduces running costs
  • Fully-programmable controller with a user-friendly interface
  • A fairly large capacity of 48,000 grains
  • A faster water flow rate of up to 12 GPM
  • Has safety float and overflow drain to prevent accidental spills
  • 48 hours of internal power backup
  • Easy to operate and requires minimum maintenance
  • 10-year warranty for the tanks and 5-year warranty for the control head

Cons

  • Needs some plumbing skills for proper installation
  • It’s bulky and heavy requiring large floor space

Read moreFleck 5600SXT Water Softener Reviews

On The Go Portable Water Softener Reviews

The On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT Portable 16,000 Grain water softener is customized specifically for RV enthusiasts and those looking for a portable water softener.

One of the attractive things about this softener is that while it’s a very compact and portable unit, it provides almost the same capacity as many standard water softeners in the market.

What’s more, it comes with some nice feature that makes it a good fit for those who want a softener they can take with them anywhere. There are two other options offered by the On The Go which are the OTG3NTP3M and OTG3NTP1DS and we will look at them too in this review.

Softening Capability

Using ion exchange, the On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT removes up to 16,000 grains of hardness from your water. It requires two 750g boxes of standard table salt to soften the water that can last up to 40 days.

The regeneration process is done manually and takes place at a reduced flow rate which only takes less than 30 minutes to run through its cycle. Consider this process takes up to 40-45 minutes with other standard models, meaning there is a significant decrease in the amount of time you have to do without water supply.

The hardness of water leaving the system requires a weekly test using the hardness test strip provided with the unit until an average interval is achieved. In most cases, the average period between regeneration is approximately one month, though, depending on the water hardness and volume used it could be as little as one to two weeks.

Capacity

The OTG4-DBLSOFT water softener has twice the capacity of the standard OTG3NTP3M portable water softener for extended regeneration cycle intervals. The double standard principle can soften 500 up to 1,600 gallons of water before needing regeneration.

This makes it sufficient for a small and medium-sized family and still work effectively for a large family with low grain per gallon hard water concentration.

The water pressure and flow rate of this unit can only be determined by the water supply system. Although its head is designed to withstand a maximum pressure of 125 psi, it still manages to maintain a high flow rate with a very minimal drop in pressure.

Installation and Maintenance

The OTG4-DBLSOFT softener comes with a DIY simple 5-step setup manual with no tools or electricity required to install it. At only 22” high and 9.5” diameter, it’s compact enough to fit in the smallest space available allowing you to maximize on your space.

The 360-degree swivel head on the system allows easy and simple connection and disconnection of the inlet hose. The inlet high-flow shut-off control valve slows the rinsing of water during regeneration. As a result, there is better water quality supply and a more softening capability.

It also features a back-flush adapter to allow reverse connection when needed. Note that, back-flushing should be executed after every 3 months, nonetheless if done together with regenerating flushing comes first.

The unit comes pre-charged with salt and equipped with high-grade premium resin softener medium that can last relatively 5 to 8 years when used appropriately. The large opening on the top of the system makes salt refill easier without wastage or spillage.

Designed for portability, the unit only weighs 32 lbs and includes an easy to carry handle on top making it indispensable to any boat or RV owner. Since you will mostly use the softener on the go, you can easily cap and plug it to prevent leaking. It also features a full cradle base for secure stability.

There’s very little to hate about this On The GO softener. The softening capability, capacity, and overall performance are to the standards of any top portable water softening system. Compared to OTG3NTP3M and OTG3NTP1DS models, the OTG4-DBLSOFT really stands out, especially because it’s capable of softening 30% more water than the other two models.

If you are a boat owner, have an RV or you are just looking for a good, portable water softener that you can rely on to give you soft water whenever you want, then you may want to consider the  On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT water softener.

Pros

  • Relatively high capacity of 1600 gallons
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Uses standard table salt for regeneration
  • Compact, stable and highly portable
  • Has a 360 ̊ swivel head for easy hose setup
  • Prevents limescale and rust stains buildup
  • Does not affect water pressure
  • Large opening for salt addition
  • Includes water hardness strips for effectiveness
  • Takes 30 minutes to regenerate

Cons

  • The plastic shut-off valve is not that strong

Read moreOn The Go Portable Water Softener Reviews

Kinetico Water Softener Reviews

Founded in 1970, Kinetico Water Systems Incorporated is an internationally recognized brand and manufacturer of water treatment systems meant for residential and commercial applications.

The company is popular for its high-quality water softeners that are better in performance and more efficient compared to most models of other brands.

In fact, Kinetico is known for being the first company in the industry to pioneer the designing and production of a twin-tank demand-operated water softener that operates without requiring electricity.

This development transformed the water softening industry and it’s one of the biggest achievements that earned Kinetico the great reputation and popularity it still enjoys today.

The company has a large collection of water softener systems to meet any residential or commercial needs. The softeners are categorized into different series based on their type, technologies they are using and the various functionalities they offer. They include:

Since there are a lot of top models in each series for us to cover all of them herein, our Kinetico water softener review just like that of the Culligan will focus on the series themselves to give you a clear overview of what to expect from the softeners within each series.

The Kinetico Premier Series®

The Kinetico Premier Series stands out as one of the company’s best-selling line of water softeners. Basically, all the models in this series utilize the standard Kinetico dual-tank system and have been tweaked to ensure optimum efficiency and effectiveness.

The series is made up of two categories, the standard Premier Series and the Premier XP Series both of which offer exceptional performance and value as you are going to find out below.

The Premier Series

The standard Premier Series consists of 10 models that come with the same functionalities and features but have different configurations.

Softening Capability and Capacity

The first major highlight of the water softeners in this Premier Series is their softening ability. Each unit in the series uses a fine mesh resin rather than the convention resin beads which makes them super-effective at removing hardness minerals.

They are able to eliminate up to 225 grains of water hardness which is a very high rating that’s ideal for homes that are struggling with extreme water hardness levels that other basic water softeners cannot handle. These systems will remove several contaminants too, particularly radium and barium.

The Premier series compliments this effective softening capability with an equally high capacity. For instance, the Premier 2175s model provides a maximum capacity of 50,371 grains per cycle.

Even much better, all the softeners in the series are designed to regenerate about three times a day, hence they can handle up to 200,000 grains in a day which is amongst the highest capacities in the market.

In addition, the Kinetico Power series delivers generous flow rates like the 2060S OD which is the largest model is capable of delivering up to 23 gallons of soft water per minute at 15 psi pressure or less.

The series is purposely designed for homes with high water consumption or larger plumbing. It can maintain a steady flow of soft water throughout the entire house. Aside from that, water flow is upward instead of downward and the benefit of this is that it helps increase the rate of flow.

Regeneration and Control System

The Premier series systems operate on demand initiated regeneration. They have a built-in water meter which triggers regeneration whenever necessary based on your water usage. They can regenerate at any time during the day or night.

Demand-based regeneration prevents the Premier series systems from over-producing soft water hence leading maximum efficiency and less waste while ensuring you have a continuous supply of softened water, even with changes in your water usage.

Moreover, although it’s a demand-initiated regeneration, the actual operation is quite different from other systems. The Premier series and basically all of Kinetico water softeners use a process known as countercurrent regeneration.

This essentially means that the systems regenerate from the bottom up. This process cleans and regenerates the resin beads more effectively unlike conventional 4 or 5-cyle regeneration. The outcome of this is a reduction in salt and water usage, as well as the amount of waste produced. 

The other unique thing about this Kinetico concurrent regeneration process is the fact that it uses soft water rather than hard water like in most other water softeners.

It uses only clean, soft water to form the salt solution stored in the brine and as you know, soft water is more effective for cleaning, so using it instead of hard water likewise makes the regeneration process of Kinetico softeners highly effective.

However, the main selling point of these systems is the twin tank design. This feature allows one tank to be always in service when the other is either regenerating or on standby.

Thereby, you have a steady supply of soft water throughout the day without any break in service or downtime, even during the regeneration process. When the cycle is done, the controller immediately places both tanks back into service.

Many people who need a high capacity water softener for large applications or business premises prefer Kinetico specifically because of this feature since it guarantees soft water 24-hours a day.

Another major highlight of Kinetico’s systems is the non-electric operation. While most other units run on electricity, every model in the Premier series is non-electric, only powered by the pressure (or energy) of the moving water which translates to zero energy cost and less upkeep and repairs.

There are no buttons to push, no computers or timers to set, or adjustments to make. Operation is just simple and reliable as the systems run themselves without requiring you to do anything special.

Now, as far as downsides are concerned, there’s nothing serious to point out. The only thing is that the Premier series doesn’t offer much in the way of customization especially with regards to the regeneration process. It doesn’t have a digital control system or any advanced features like what we saw in the Culligan HE series.

All in all, for performance and efficiency, the Kinetico Premier series certainly lives up to expectation. It’s the series to go for if your water usage is high or you are dealing with severe water hardness.

Premier Series XP

The Premier Series XP is no different from the standard Premier Series other than that it has undergone improvements with the inclusion of several additional technologies and capabilities that lack in the Premier Series. To put it simply, it’s a slightly advanced version of the Kinetico Premier Series fine-tuned to provide precise, efficient operation.

Softening Capability and Capacity

There are 10 models within this XP series too and they all have different configurations. However, their softening capability, capacity, and flow rates are similar to that of the standard Premier series.

They can get rid of up to 225 grains of water hardness using a fine mesh resin and offer the same high capacity of up to 200,000 grains in a day with the S550 XP model having the largest capacity at 50, 000 grains and the S250 OD XP the fastest flow rate at 23 gallons per minute. These systems will also remove a decent amount of barium and radium in your water.

One of the things that set the XP apart though is that it includes several Kinetico combination systems. These are basically two systems in one providing additional filtration capabilities beyond the softening process performed by standard Premier series.

The Q850 XP and Q850 OD XP models are part of these combination systems and they come with two tanks containing activated carbon filtration media.

These models will soften your water and at the same time reduce chlorine and unpleasant tastes and odors resulting from common chemicals present in water.

The other combination system within the Series is the Q850 OD XP (Chloraban™) model featuring two tanks containing Chloraban which is a high-performance filtration media that helps to effectively remove chloramine in water and bad taste and odor.

Kinetico Premier Series XP softening systems are also Overdrive enhanced. What this means is that water flow is distributed simultaneously through both tanks of the softener during service cycles which translates to an increase in the flow as well as the contact time with media. It decreases pressure loss through the system too.

Regeneration and Control System

The regeneration process of the Premier Series XP is equally similar to that of the standard Premier series and you can as well initiate regeneration manually after adding salt using a number 2 Philips screwdriver.

However, Kinetico has added an extra functionality in the Premier Series XP, the patent-pending XP feature. This additional functionality allows users to customize the water softening settings of their unit to match their home’s specific water conditions.

Not only does this enable the systems to perform more efficiently, but it also leads to tremendous waste reduction and operational cost savings as the softener is custom-fit to your home.

One of the downside to this series though is that models like the Q850 XP, Q850 OD XP and Q850 OD XP (Chloraban™) which are combination systems need a bit more maintenance compared to the models in the standard Premier Series.

Apart from having to add salt after a period of time, you will also need to replace the Chloraban/Carbon filters in your system. Nevertheless, you will only have to do this after every few years and the filters may even last longer in case your water has low levels of chlorine/chloramine.

In general, the Premier Series XP is a perfect option for those who prefer to customize the softening settings or want a unit that can soften their water as well as improve its taste and odor.

Pros

  • High hardness removal level of up to 225 grains
  • Very large softening capacity of up to 200,000 grains
  • Generous water flow rate ranging from 6 to 23 GPM
  • Capable of removing contaminants like barium and radium
  • Dual-tank design to ensure a continuous supply of softened water
  • Efficient demand-initiated regeneration process
  • Regenerates using soft water to ensure effectiveness
  • Premier Series XP offers functionality for custom settings
  • Select Premier Series XP models have additional filtration stage
  • Non-electric operation cuts down the cost of running the systems
  • Backed by Kinetico’s Platinum 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Premier Series XP combination systems require a bit more maintenance

Kinetico Powerline Series

The Powerline Series presents the most economical water softeners. The series is one of Kinetico’s lines of single-tank systems and unlike the other series, it’s electric.

There are four models within this Powerline Series, the PS 0840, PS 1040, PS 1054 and PS 1354x. Each of these models comes with an alternative version except the PS1354 which are the PS 0840x, PS 1040x, and PS 1054x.

The difference between these two versions is the type of valve they use with the later models including the PS1354x model featuring an adjustable regeneration sequence time while the former utilizes fixed regeneration sequence time.

Furthermore, all the 7 models offer two regeneration control options; timer control and metered control with time delay.

These options typically give you the opportunity to pick the right system for your home based on the quality of your inlet water and the desired system efficiency.

Softening Capability and Capacity

The Powerline Series is tough when it comes to removing hard water and iron. The models can clear out up to 100 grains of hardness. Aside from that, they feature an integrated iron filter which is capable of eliminating iron up to 10 ppm, so it will take care of all the nasty iron deposits in the water.

Being powered by electricity, the models within this Series are able to deliver ample amounts of soft water. They have relatively high capacity per cycle ranging from 21,000 to 75,000 grains with a flow rate range of about 7 to 13 GPM. Therefore, they will do well for small to large households with moderate water demands.

Regeneration and Control System

Like we said earlier, the Powerline Series is made up of single tank systems which come with integrated controls. Each unit has a 12-day timer that initiates regeneration on a particular day of the week.

Set-up is simple and you can select when as well as how often the system regenerates. So, the units will only regenerate when needed which makes them quite energy-efficient considering that they are electric.

The Powerline Series also gives you the option to choose softener with a metered control system that tracks your water usage and determines a regeneration set point where once achieved, it initiates the regeneration process.

This option as well improves the efficiency of the system as it will regenerate based on your usage and only when it’s necessary.

The main setback of the units within the Powerline Series is that when regenerating, you cannot get a continuous supply of soft water since they use one tank system.

Furthermore, while they are designed to be energy-efficient, they require electricity to operate and that means additional maintenance cost besides having to buy replacement salt.

Other than those two, this is one of Kinetico’s budget-friendly series for those who are looking for an efficient and reliable water softener that won’t require them digging deep into their pockets.

Pros

  • Can remove up to 100 grains of water hardness
  • Capable of removing iron deposits to a maximum of 10 ppm
  • Relatively large capacity ranging from 21,000 to 75,000 grains
  • Decent water flow of around 7 to 13 GPM
  • Efficient regeneration with two control options
  • Every system comes with an easy-to-operate 12-day timer
  • Provides a wide selection of different models
  • Backed by a 5-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Single tank design does not deliver soft water during regeneration
  • Requires electricity to operate

Kinetico Signature Series

Kinetico Signature Series consists of three models, the Signature 735, 935 and 1035, all of which are designed based on the company’s original twin tank water softeners.

These models are amongst the most durable softening systems in the market and they do a commendable job in removing water hardness.

Softening Capability and Capacity

The Signature Series water softeners are capable of effectively removing moderate to high levels of water hardness. The Signature 1035 has the highest hardness removal ability at 80 GPG, followed by the Signature 935 at 60 GPG and Signature 735 model at 40 GPG.

The series does well too at reducing soluble iron in water, though this will depend on the concentration plus the type of the iron. If it’s a small trace of ferrous iron, then they will be able to deal with it.

The capacity and flow rates are pretty decent too. The Signature 735 has the lowest capacity offering 10,614 grains per cycle while the Signature 935 model offers 15,957 grains.

The largest capacity in series comes from the Signature 1035 model at 21,276 grains and it also offers the fastest flow rate at 10 GPM. The Signature 935 and 735 models have maximum flow rates of 9 and 8 GPM respectively.

From these performance ratings, the Signature Series is a good fit for small to medium households or families whom their water demands are not too high.

Regeneration and Control System

The regeneration process of the Signature series models is demand-initiated like the rest of Kinetico softeners, so efficiency is assured since they regenerate automatically and only when needed saving salt, water, money, and eliminating guesswork.

All the Signature Series softeners have valves that are equipped with jet regeneration where a 0.2 GPM regeneration flow control is maintained. This small addition restricts the amount of water the system uses during regeneration which in turn helps save water.  

Similar to the Premier Series, the models in this series have been incorporated with countercurrent regeneration technology which means they utilize soft water to regenerate and as such, they are able to clean the resin beads effectively and work well for a long period.

You can also perform manual regeneration and unlike the Powerline Series, the Signature series softeners feature a twin-tank design, hence soft water supply is constant throughout even during regeneration.

These units are all non-electric too. They run on the natural flow of water alone which makes operation a breeze because there are only fewer adjustments required and there’s no LCD display or timer settings to worry about.

If there’s a drawback to note, it would probably be the fact that the models won’t perform well in a larger household. Their capacities and flow rates are more suited for small to medium households.

The Signatures Series is basically an option to consider if you don’t need a heavy-duty water softener. Every model is durable, efficient and performs really well in homes with moderate demand for soft water.

Pros

  • Offers hardness removal rates of up to 80 GPG
  • Removes small traces of soluble iron
  • Average capacity suited for small to medium homes
  • Can deliver a maximum flow rate of 10 GPM
  • Regeneration process is efficient and very effective
  • Non-electric operation eliminates energy costs
  • Comes with a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • May not support large households
  • Not ideal for water with high iron deposits

Kinetico Essential Series

Closing our Kinetico Water Softeners review is the Essential Series which basically includes the same features as the Signature Series but with extra enhancements like rapid regeneration and AccuDial features.

This is one of the Kinetico Series (aside from the Powerline Series) that employs a single-tank design. It’s also the only series from the company with the most compact water softeners.

Softening Capability and Capacity

There are two models within this Essential Series, the Essential Gold, and Essential Platinum. These two models have almost the same softening capability, capacity, and flow rate as well.

The Essential Gold system is capable of eliminating a maximum of 42 GPG hardness while the Essential Platinum system has a maximum hardness removal rate of 50 GPG. Therefore, they a great option for dealing with basic hard water problems.

Both units can get rid of ferrous iron too but up to 0.5 ppm which is significantly low, so you may need to get an iron filter or use salt that has an iron cleaning additive if the iron content in your influent water is high. 

The maximum daily capacity of the Essential Gold softener is 10,980 grains and that of the Essential Platinum model is 15,000 grains. Again, these capacities are on the low end and can only accommodate small to medium homes that don’t need full-sized water softeners.

However, the flow rates are decent enough to allow a steady flow of soft water in multiple outlet points. The Essential Gold model delivers a maximum of 9.5 GPM while the Essential Platinum can give you up to 10 GPM flow rate. They can meet the needs of most families with moderate water usage.

Regeneration and Control System

Regeneration occurs on-demand in both Essential Series water softeners. The systems regenerate only when necessary based on your water usage to minimize salt and water consumption.

Now the unique thing about this Series compared to all the rest is that it includes a rapid regeneration feature. Whereas the other softeners may take some time to regenerate before returning fully into service, the Essential series does so almost instantly and this is due to its rapid regeneration feature.

The other thing that sets this series apart is the inclusion of the Kinetico AccuDial feature which is the same as the XP feature incorporated in the Premier Series.

It’s designed explicitly to allow users to adjust the regeneration cycles according to their water consumption needs or inlet water hardness. It’s an incredible feature that helps you optimize the overall performance and efficiency of this Series softeners.

Finally, running an Essential Series unit won’t result in high electric bills since, like all the other Kinetico systems, it operates using the kinetic energy generated from the running water. 

The only downside is the single tank design which requires shutting down soft water production for a moment to regenerate while other Kinetic units with dual-tank design can renew simultaneously.

Nonetheless, if you live in an area with decent water conditions or hardness levels, the Essential Series is a viable option. It has a simple and compact design but it’s a very efficient water softener.

Pros

  • Decent hardness removal rate of 42 to 50 GPG
  • A fairly high flow rate of up to 10 GPM
  • Average capacity of up to 15,000 grains
  • Best suited for small to medium homes
  • AccuDial allows customization of regeneration cycles
  • Quick regeneration process
  • Comes with a 5-year limited warranty

Cons

  • Not ideal for large homes
  • Not effective in removing high water hardness

Read moreKinetico Water Softener Reviews

GE GXSH40V Water Softener Reviews

GE has been manufacturing household appliances for over 100 years. Among the large selection of products they manufacture are water softening systems and their GXSH40V model is one of the best water softeners in the market.

It’s a very effective system that comes with innovative features like advanced SmartSoft Technology to provide optimum performance.

GE has a line of other water softening systems that offer different grain options and they include; GXSF30V, GXSH45V, GXSHC40N, and GXMH31H. Below is our detailed analysis of the GE GXSH40V 40,000 grains water softener.

Softening Capability

The GE GXSH40V 40,000 water softener unit softens your water the old-fashion way which happens to be the most effective way. Since this is a salt-based softener, it employs the ion exchange process to trap the minerals responsible for water hardness.

The unit is powerful enough to handle a high level of hard water up to 125 GPG. The 125 GPG means exceptionally hard water including that of a private well, so you don’t need to worry about it not being able to handle your level of water hardness.

On top of preventing limescale buildup, it also removes up to 8ppm of iron per gallon including colloidal iron, iron bacteria and red-water iron and the same applies to GXSH45V unit. Both models also feature a sediment filter that removes larger sediments from water to prolong the lifespan of the standard mesh resin filter.

This heavy-duty GE water softener is ideal for homes that source water with high hardness levels and chlorine content below 2ppm. However, to filter out chlorine taste and odor you may require an advanced unit like the GE GXMH31H model.

Capacity and SmartSoft Regenerating Technology

The GXSH40V is the second-largest GE water softener with a capacity of 40,000 grains per cycle which is enough to produce soft water for 1- 5 people households. Boasting a service flow rate of 9.5 at 15 psi drop, this unit softens your water with 1.107 cu. ft of resin.

If you are looking for a reliable large-capacity softener, the GE GXSH45V has the largest grain capacity of 45,100 which translates into 5,350 grains per pound of salt. However, GE also produces the GXSF30V which is the smallest unit in the group with a capacity of 30,400 grains.

Another great unit is the GE GXMH31H that comes with a grain capacity of 31,100 and unlike the GXSH40V model, it works both as a water softener and filter in one system.

The GXSH40V unit works on a programmable operation and also features permanent setting memory. This means that it’s able to remember your ideal settings in case of a power outage.

What we like most about this unit is its SmartSoft Technology that can be used to adjust the system operations to the water use patterns in your household. The result is that you get a continuous supply of fresh soft water whenever you need it.

This GXSH40V unit is accompanied by an on-demand feed for salt regeneration. It also comes with a 230.0 lbs salt storage tank that is responsible for cleaning the resin when it reaches filtering capacity. Consequently, its large tank reduces the number of times you are required to refill the tank with salt.

To help manage the regeneration process, the unit features indicator lights that offer ‘days to empty’ feature, low salt level alarm and status quo of the system. With the ‘days to empty’ feature, a display light will notify you how many numbers of days is remaining before the next salt refill. Normally the unit will regenerate about 3-6 days. This feature ensures the unit never runs out of salt.

Plus, it eliminates the stress of constantly checking the salt level and guesswork of trying to remember when the tank needs to be refilled. Its regeneration process takes approximately 2.5 hours and consumes about 37 gallons of water.

Furthermore, it’s designed to monitor your water usage and predict future demand to optimize the performance and soft water output. Compared to the older model, you can save up to 34% of water consumption and minimize salt usage with an efficiency of 5,090 grains per pound of salt.

The system is also equipped with a blending valve that allows you to customize the settings into different water needs. You can use soft or hard water for other things including watering your lawn or washing your car. In this way, you can save money and water since you only use soft water when needed.

The GE GXSC40N 40,000 grains water softener, on the other hand, is most advanced of all the models. It features a built-in WIFI connect for notification, remote water shutoff valve, and water usage tracking.

Note that there is a GE water softener for every need at different prices so you shouldn’t have trouble choosing just the right unit for you.

Installation and Maintenance

Thanks to the single-tank design and installation kit, setting up this unit is relatively easy if you are handy with tools. However, in some cases, there are fewer connections that call for a professional plumber.

Using a 1.5-inch connection pipe, place the system on the main water line, near to a 24V electrical outlet and remember to provide a drain. This unit is surprisingly energy efficient using 35% less energy at 60 Hz.

GE recommends you install the unit indoor or in a shelter. Considering that the damages due to direct silent or extreme freezing temperatures will not be covered by the warranty.

When it comes to programming simply set your water hardness level, the current time as well as the ideal time for regeneration and not forgetting the current salt level. Once installed and configured, maintenance is quite easy, all you need to do is keep adding salt into the brine tank and follow the unit light indicators.

One of the few concerns of this unit is its salt-based nature meaning beneficial minerals will be removed. Plus, it is prone to have small technical issues that can be handled through technical support via multiple channels

GE backs this model with a one-year limited warranty on the entire system, a 10-year limited warranty on resin tank and a 3-year limited warranty for the electronic monitor.

Bottom line the GXSH40V 40,000 grain water softener is made to meet GE’s usual high standards and performance. We particularly like the energy-saving, water and salt reduction and Smartsoft technology features.

Pros

  • Includes a sediment filter and blending flow valve
  • User-friendly electronic controls
  • Programmable
  • Water and salt saving technology
  • Has softening efficiency of 125GPG
  • Removes iron up to 8ppm
  • 230LBS. SALT CAPACITY
  • Up to 40,000-grain removal capacity

Cons

  • Regeneration can take up to 2 hours
  • Removes beneficial minerals
  • It does not filter the chlorine and other contaminants

Read moreGE GXSH40V Water Softener Reviews

Culligan Water Softener Reviews

Culligan is a veteran in the water treatment industry and no doubt one of the top brands that provide the most reliable water solutions for residential and commercial use as well as industrial applications.

Currently, Culligan offers a wide selection of water softener models which gives you the opportunity to pick the perfect solution based on your specific problem.

This why in this review we decided to give you a brief overview of each of the five series of Culligan water softeners which includes:

These are the most sought after softeners from Culligan and we’re going to highlight the good and the bad about these systems to help your make a more informed decision if you are thinking of getting a Culligan water softener.

Culligan High Efficiency (HE) Series Water Softeners

The High Efficiency series covers Culligan’s entry-level dual-tank water softeners for home use and although they are considered as entry-level, the models in this series are some of the most advanced water softeners in the market today.

As the name suggests, these models offer the highest efficiency compared to all the other Culligan softeners when it comes to salt and water usage. They are specifically tailored to cut the running costs down to a bare minimum.

The water softeners within this series are divided into two categories, the HE 1-inch systems, and the HE 1.25-inch systems. They are very identical systems but differentiated by the size of the control valve they come with.

Softening Capability and Capacity

The Culligan HE 1-inch Water Softeners

The HE 1-inch is the baseline category and it consists of four sizes ranging from 9 to 14 inches in terms of media tank diameter.  These models come in different configurations but they are all equipped with Culligan’s 1-inch reinforced thermoplastic control valve and work with normal 1-inch pipes hence the name.

With regards to softening ability, they can remove water hardness levels from a range of 75 to 99 GPG using the effective Culligan’s CULLEX ion exchange resin.  

This high hardness removal rating means they can reliably deal with medium and high levels of water hardness. The 9-inch model is the most basic unit offering a maximum water hardness removal level of 75 GPG.

These models have also the capacity to remove up to 5 ppm of ferrous iron and can deliver 9 to 10.6 GPM flow rate at 15 psi which is a fairly high range that can ensure a steady flow on all water outlets in the house.

Their total softening capacity ranges from approximately 30,000 to 90,000 grains with the 9-inch model having the lowest capacity at, 31,736 grains while the 14-inch model holds the largest capacity at 88,549 grains. Therefore, depending on your particular needs, these models can work well for small to large homes.

The Culligan HE 1.25-inch Water Softeners

The HE 1.25-inch water softeners are only one step above Culligan’s standard HE 1-inch models as they feature a 1.25-inch reinforced thermoplastic control valve and can accept pipes of up to 1.25-inches in diameter (hence the name).

This category equally consists of four different sizes ranging from 10 to 16-inches in terms of media tank diameter. All four models can handle hardness levels of up to 99 GPG and are also able to clear ferrous iron from the water to a maximum level of 5 ppm. So, they can effectively deal with water that has higher hardness levels and medium iron content.  

As for the water flow, the HE 1.25-inch water softeners are amongst the few models in the market that offer the fastest water flow rate. They can deliver 14 to 22 gallons of water per minute at 15 psi making them perfect for use in larger households that have high water demands.

Besides the fast flow rate, these HE 1.25-inch softeners provide a pretty large exchange capacity ranging from 45,000 to 128, 000 grains. The lowest is the 10-inch model with 45,831-grain capacity and the highest is the 16-inch version with a maximum of 128,106 grains. With this range, the HE 1.25-inch models are more ideal for medium to larger households.

Regeneration Technology and Control System

The models in both the HE 1-inch and HE 1.25-inch series utilize the same regeneration technology and have a similar control system that comes packed with most of Culligan’s advanced features (modes of operation) that ensure smooth operation and the high efficiency associated with these HE water softeners.

They utilize an effective meter-based downflow regeneration process where the controller monitors the quantity of water flowing through the system upon which it determines and sets the point of regeneration based on the water hardness level and the capacity of the resin bed.

This operation is initiated by selecting a water meter mode on the control panel and regeneration is triggered immediately the setpoint is reached. 

All the HE series water softeners are as well equipped with Culligan’s patented Aqua-Sensor technology inbuilt within the control system.

This smart technology utilizes a conductivity probe that senses when the hardness minerals pass through the resin bed and automatically adjusts the system if there are any changes in your home’s water conditions.

This way, the system is able to only regenerate when needed. It’s a great feature that provides the most efficient mode of regeneration and very useful in conditions where there’s high variation in the influent water hardness throughout the year.

Furthermore, it can determine if the brine solution has been rinsed from the resin bed especially during the Slow Rinse cycle and trigger the control to switch to fast rinse.

As such, this Culligan’s patented technology can equally help minimize water usage as it optimizes the amount of water needed to totally rinse out the resin bed.

The HE series water softeners also provide a predicted mode which is another advanced feature that helps enhance their efficiency. In this mode, the control compares your average daily usage with the remaining reserve capacity and then effectively determines the optimum regeneration point to facilitate smooth operation.

Customization is possible too with these Culligan’s softeners. They have a Dial-A-Softness feature which is a manual adjustment that’s built into their control valves. This feature allows you to adjust the water softness to your preference including completely bypassing the softener.

To simplify the maintenance of their softeners, Culligan has incorporated a smart brine tank probe in each model of the HE series.

This device monitors the conditions inside the brine tank and can tell you the duration your softening salt will last so that you know exactly when to add more to the brine tank. It can as well tell you when the brine tank is overfilling.

Some of the other features that stand out in these Culligan High Efficiency water softeners are the pre-rinse mode for pre-rinsing the resin bed and the Culligan ConnectTM interface which is a mobile app that allows you to monitor and even control the softener using your phone.

You can get low salt alerts, initiate regeneration or put the system in bypass mode from anywhere just through the app which is pretty convenient.

Above all, one amazing thing you are going to like about these models is that you can completely install them outdoors. They employ high-impact Quadra-Hull tanks which can withstand corrosion, rust and even UV rays. As long as you provide good shade to protect the electrical part, they are completely safe outdoors.

Overall, for the highest efficiency as well as smart technology, this HE series takes the upper hand. The HE 1-inch models are a perfect fit if you want a much efficient but affordable Culligan water softener while the HE 1.25-inch models are ideal for those who want the same efficiency but a faster flow rate and softening capacity.

Pros

  • Can remove water hardness of up to 99 GPG
  • Fast flow rate ranging from 9 to 22 GPM
  • Large grain capacity ranging from 30,000 to 128,000 grains
  • Can remove up to 5 ppm of ferrous iron
  • Culligan’s most efficient and advanced softener series
  • Applies water and salt-saving technology
  • Offers different operating modes and customization options
  • Indicates the duration the softening salt will last
  • Compatible with Culligan’s mobile app

Cons

  • Will not remove iron content above 5 ppm

Read moreCulligan Water Softener Reviews

Whirlpool Water Softener Reviews

Whirlpool is a reputable appliance brand in the world and amongst the many products they manufacture are water softeners that really stand up against the competition with regards to performance, usability, and price. 

The WHES40E water softener is one of them and it does live up to Whirlpool’s great reputation. It’s a unit designed to provide the most optimal balance between value and performance.

The system boasts of highly-effective softening ability, an efficient regeneration process, and a quite large capacity of around 40,000 grains.

Besides the WHES40E water softener, Whirlpool has a few other models on the market that offer different grain options to meet the needs of various customers.

At the lower end is the Whirlpool WHES30E model which provides a capacity of 30,000 grain. It’s followed by the Whirlpool WHESFC model with a 31,000-grain capacity and the Whirlpool WHES33 model which offers 33,000-grain capacity. 

These systems are nearly identical in terms of design but differ slightly when it comes to softening ability, capacity and the extra features they come with as you will see in this Whirlpool WHES40E review.

Softening Capability

The Whirlpool WHES40E is a single tank water softener that combines the brine and mineral tank into one, compact unit. It’s a high-performance system that’s NSF certified to eliminate water hardness efficiently.

The mineral tank of the unit holds super-effective resin media which is capable of clearing out a maximum of 125 grains of water hardness per gallon. This is a very powerful softening ability which makes the WHES40E a perfect choice for use at homes with extreme water hardness levels.   

Similarly, it has the capacity to eliminate iron deposits up to levels of about 10 ppm which basically means each and every kind of iron element present in your water will be cleared out. If you struggle with high levels of iron and water hardness, then this an ideal softener for you.

Regeneration Process

This Whirlpool WHES40E softener utilizes demand-initiated regeneration technology. That means it will continuously monitor your water usage and hardness level, then automatically calculate the amount of salt and water that’s required for the regeneration process.

This way, it only regenerates when necessary which results in a significant reduction in water and salt consumption as there is no unnecessary regeneration like in older timer-based models hence saving you money. It efficiently uses water and salt by only regenerating when you need it.

Another innovative way this Whirlpool water softener prevents wastage is through its salt saving technology, otherwise known as the Sixth-Sense technology.

This Whirlpool’s patented technology is one of the best features you will find in their units and it’s what earns them a place amongst the most salt-efficient water softeners in the industry.

The technology allows the Whirlpool WHES40E system to learn your water usage pattern and calculate how much salt it will require to regenerate the resin. As such, the system never uses more salt than what’s needed, it uses just the right amount.

With this technology and the efficient demand-initiated regeneration process, the Whirlpool WHES40E will provide your entire home with soft water while at the same time significantly minimize the amount of salt and water used to keep it at peak performance.

Even more, the unit is designed to trigger an additional backwash cycle which helps to rid itself as well as your water supply of any excess non-ferrous iron.

Capacity

Having a 40,000-grain capacity, this Whirlpool model will comfortably accommodate the needs of medium to large households. It can deliver enough water for 5 to 6 people and it can work with both city and well water (provided you have additional filtration system to take care of harmful contaminants in your well water like bacteria and chemicals).

The system utilizes an ultra-high flow valve that’s 1.25 inches in diameter. Therefore, you can expect maximum water flow to the entire household even when running multiple water-using appliances such as taps and showers simultaneously.

Now, like the Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 grain system above, Whirlpool has several other models identical to this WHES40E model which offer different grain options to allow you to select the ideal capacity for your home.

There’s the Whirlpool WHES30E model with a capacity of 30,000 grains which is the lowest. This particular model can suit families of 1 to 4 people and can treat water hardness levels of up to 95 GPG. It can also remove up to 8 ppm of iron deposits in the water.

The Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series is the second option and it provides a 31,000-grain capacity which is equally sufficient for families of 1 to 4 people.

Unlike the other models, this is a hybrid system consisting of a water softener and filter, thereby it can remove water hardness and the same time help clear out contaminants such as chlorine and sediments. It has a hardness removal rating of around 120 GPG and can eliminate up to 3 ppm of water iron.

The third option is the Whirlpool WHES33 model rated at 33,000 grain. This can meet the needs of families of up to 5 people. It can treat a maximum of 105 GPG hardness levels and remove up to 9 ppm of iron from the water.

Control System

The Whirlpool WHES40E features a simple-to-program control panel that includes several helpful customizable functions to allow users to operate and manage the softener with ease.

Although it automatically controls the regeneration frequency, you can override these settings and schedule the regeneration cycle based on your needs.

The control panel has an option where you can set the time it should take before initiating the next regeneration process. It also has a “RECHARGE” button that gives you the option to initiate an immediate recharge and it will display the time remaining to finish the recharge process.

Aside from being able to program the system, the control panel of this Whirlpool softener comes with a low salt indicator light that will flash to alert you when the salt level is low.

This is an essential feature that clears out all the guesswork allowing you to refill the brine tank at the appropriate time to ensure the softener keeps on working efficiently.

There’s also a water flow indicator that shows you when water flows into the system. It’s a useful addition that can as well help reveal possible leaks within your home’s plumbing.

Another commendable thing about this Whirlpool WHES40E control head is that it has a built-in memory that keeps your settings safe for at least a few hours when a power outage occurs. This saves you the trouble of having to reset it because it will resume operation as it should, although, the clock may give an incorrect time in the event of a ling power outage.

Installation and Maintenance

Setting up the Whirlpool WHES40E is a fairly easy job as it comes as a single tank and the manufacturer provides a detailed instruction manual that takes you step-by-step through the process.

If you have some basic plumbing skills, you will be able to get it up and running within an hour or two. You will need access to a 110V power outlet with 3 prongs and a drain.

One advantage of having a single tank softener like this Whirlpool WHES40E model is that you don’t have to worry much about the amount of open floor space it will take to install the system.

Combining the brine and mineral tanks into one cabinet translates to a smaller footprint hence it will require less space compared to the dual-tank system. Furthermore, you will have a compact and slightly lighter unit that’s easy to carry and move.

The downside though of a single-tank water softener is potential downtime during regeneration cycles. It’s unlikely to happen with this Whirlpool model, but for lower-end single-tank systems, there’s a slight chance of experiencing some downtime.

Maintaining the WHES40E won’t give you a lot of headaches too because it’s a matter of adding salt into the brine tank each time it’s no longer sufficient.

Whirlpool has even simplified the process with the inclusion of the low salt indicator light which alerts when the salt level drops below the required minimum.

Additionally, the tank is fitted with light that allows you to see through it. As a result, you are able to easily confirm the salt level and ascertain whether you need to add more or not.

The tank itself is a durable, high-density ABS plastic and the whole construction of the unit is NSF certified. Therefore, quality is not an issue and the unit comes standard with a full 1-year warranty on parts and labor.

You can extend this warranty to 2 years by purchasing 3 bottles of Whirlpool’s WHEWSC water softener cleanser. The control head has a 3-year limited warranty while the tank is backed by a 10-years warranty.

If you are after efficiency and outstanding performance, we recommend considering this simple, but effective Whirlpool WHEWSC water softener. It’s a nice choice for homes with high levels of water hardness and iron.

Pros

  • Eliminates all possible traces of water hardness
  • Can also clear out iron deposits to a maximum of 10 ppm
  • Demand initiated regeneration process recharges only when necessary
  • Smart salt-saving technology helps minimize salt and water consumption
  • Relatively large capacity of 40,000 grains ideal for households of 1-6 people
  • Simple, user-friendly display and programming system
  • Regeneration cycle can be customized to your preference
  • Low salt indicator to alert you when it’s time to add more salt
  • Compact, single-tank design which takes up little space
  • Easy to set up and needs less maintenance
  • Comes standard with a full 1-year warranty on parts and labor

Cons

  • Several complaints about poor shipping that’s likely to damage the unit

Read moreWhirlpool Water Softener Reviews