Best Water Softener Systems

This comprehensive post presents a list of the best water softener systems [salt-based water softener] for hard water we’ve compiled for you from the many different models available on the market today.

The 5 Best water softener systems in this review

Best Water SoftenerMain Features
Fleck 5600SXTDual tanks with 4 grain options
Whirlpool WHES40ESingle tank with 4 grain options
GE GXSH40VSingle tank with 4 grain options
On The Go Portable RVSingle tank portable with 1 grain options
EcoPure EPHSSingle tank portable with 1 grain options

Not only have we shared our unbiased reviews of these finest units out there, but you will also get to learn all the important details about water softeners from our brief guide below.

So, if hard water is causing havoc in your home, then scroll down and check out these water softener systems to see which gives you the best solution to deal with it.

Best Water Softener Reviews

To benefit from all the advantages that a water softener system offers, you have to invest in a quality system that will best meet your needs.

In this section, we present in-depth reviews of 5 of the top whole house water softeners in the market that we found worth considering if you are searching for a water softening system.

Check them out and see which one is more appealing to you.

Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Grain Whole House Water Softener

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 of 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 whose 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 types 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

Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Water Softener

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 the best single tank water softener in our list 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 is 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 minimizing 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 an 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 at 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 long 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

GE® GXSH40V 40,000 Grain Water Softener

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 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 single tank water softener 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 the 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, a low salt level alarm, and a status quo of the system. With the ‘days to empty’ feature, a display light will notify you how many numbers of days are 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 to 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 the most advanced of all the models. It features a built-in WIFI connect for notification, a 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 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 indoors 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 forget 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 the 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

On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT Portable Water Softener

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 is 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 a 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 works 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 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 a 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 is equipped with a 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

Ecopure EPHS007 EPHS Conditioner

If convenience and reliability are the key priorities on your list, then you will love the Ecopure EPHS007 EPHS conditioner.

This is a smart system that presents a simply fantastic integrated water treatment solution that can very efficiently soften and filter water throughout a home.

It’s one of the few whole house water softeners that utilize technology to ensure a smooth and hustle-free operation.

Softening Capability and Filter System

The Ecopure EPHS007 model is a multi-function system that combines a softener with a filtration system in a single tank to deliver a full water treatment service.

The softening process involves the use of salt-based media that’s highly effective, capable of easily tackling water hardness levels of up to 100 GPG. This is much higher than the average 25 GPG hardness removal level covered by most standard water conditioners and it means this unit will be able to handle extremely hard water.

Apart from softening the water, the integrated carbon filtration system is another vital part of this Ecopure unit as it significantly cuts down the amount of chlorine taste and odor in the water making it more enjoyable and appealing to drink and use.

The filtration system also helps clear out a few other contaminants like sediments, chemicals and, heavy metals like manganese and lead. Even much better, the filter can remove iron in the water up to 3 ppm which includes to the ferrous form of iron which is invisible to the naked eye in hard water.

These amazing capabilities make the EPHS007 a great solution for households that receive water with high hardness levels from the city. It can as well soften and filter water from private well water sources although you may need additional filters like UV sterilizer to get rid of bacteria and other microorganisms contamination.

Capacity and Smart Regeneration Technology

This Ecopure system provides 31,000-grain capacity which is not the highest but it’s enough to suit a house with around 1 to 6 people. 

Now, the coolest thing about this unit is that it comes with an innovative smart regeneration technology called Demand Initiated Regeneration.

It’s an auto-sense technology that consists of a computerized microprocessor that continuously monitors your water usage and after a certain volume, it automatically calculates the amount of salt and water needed to regenerate the system.

This way, it only regenerates the system based on the hardness level and amount of water you actually use hence leading to a substantial reduction in salt and water used.

It’s an impressive technology that greatly boosts the efficiency of this system unlike some similar competitor models because it saves salt and water during regeneration by only using what is necessary.

On top of that, the process is automatic saving you the trouble of having to do weekly regeneration to ensure the system operates effectively as is the case of many salt-based softeners.

The unit is also equipped with a low salt indicator light which is another nice feature that adds more convenience to using it. With this in place, the system will keep you informed whenever the salt level in the tank runs low to ensure timely replenishment.

Installation and Maintenance

Considering that it’s a simple, one-tank system with a compact design, the Ecopure EPHS007 offers an easy and pretty straightforward DIY setup.

A detailed, step-by-step manual is included in the package along with an installation kit that features the necessary tools and parts to get it up and running. You will need access to a drain and 110V electrical outlet which are the only things that may pose a challenge when setting it up.

With no filters to replace or the need for manual regeneration of salt regularly, you will likewise have less to do in terms of maintenance.

However, EcoPure recommends cleaning the system once every 4 months using their EPCL cleaning solution to maintain softening efficiency even if it hasn’t exhausted the grain capacity.

The company has as well included simple-to-program electronic control where you can set the salt levels and perform other functions. It’s a user-friendly control panel that allows you to easily operate the system without much guesswork.

One drawback though is the plastic used in making the unit. It’s of good quality but definitely not the sturdiest plastic construction. In addition, since it uses salt to soften water, you will not have the benefit of essential minerals because they will be removed.

Nonetheless, the system comes with nice warranty deals. All parts have a full 1-year warranty while the electronics have a 3-year limited warranty and the tank a 10-year limited warranty.

As far as convenience and performance are concerned, the EcoPure EPHS007 EPHS conditioner won’t surely disappoint. It’s a brilliant water softener that will both improve the quality of your water and prevent scale accumulation in your plumbing without requiring you to dig deep into your pocket.

Pros

  • High hardness removal level of up to 100 GPG
  • Eliminates chlorine tastes and odors as well as other contaminants
  • Has 31,000-grain capacity which is enough for small to medium families
  • Convenient smart regeneration technology help save water and salt
  • Low salt indicator light informs you when salt levels run low
  • Easy installation and requires less maintenance
  • Comes with a 1-year limited warranty for all parts

Cons

  • Does not retain the beneficial minerals in the water
  • Not the sturdiest plastic construction

Water Softener

Although there are no health risks linked to it, hard water is a serious concern especially when it comes to the life and health of home appliances that operate with water. 

It can create damaging limescale deposits onto fixtures such as faucets and showerheads causing them to deteriorate over time and eventually leading to costly repair works.

Worse yet, the scale can build up onto water-heating appliances like dishwashers, water heaters, and coffee makers, making them highly likely to fail. Your entire plumbing system can suffer damages too as the lime-scale deposits may clog the pipes and reduce the water flow to your taps.

In short, if left unchecked, the lime-scale deposits resulting from hard water can certainly wreak havoc in your plumbing system and all your appliances. This is why it’s much better to soften hard water rather than having to deal with its consequences.

The good thing is that treating water hardness is not a tough challenge as such, plus the rewards are simply great. A water softener system can provide an effective solution to dealing with the root cause of all the hard water problems you are facing.

What is a water softener system?

A water softener system is a type of filtration system or device that’s designed to remove minerals that cause water hardness (calcium and magnesium) or to inhibit them from forming lime-scale deposits. These systems come in two major categories which are, salt-based water softeners and salt-free water softeners.

best water softener

Components Of A Water Softener

A water softener has three main components which include, a mineral tank, a control valve, and a brine tank. They work in conjunction to treat water hardness, monitor the water flow, and periodically regenerate (clean) the system.

Understanding the function of these three integral components of a water softener can help you maintain your system correctly once you install it.

Mineral Tank

All salt-based water softeners come with a mineral tank which is the chamber where the actual softening of the hard water takes place. It’s usually a tall narrow tank that holds specially formulated resin beads that are permanently sealed inside it.

The resins, commonly known as ion-exchange resins, are synthetically polymerized organic compounds that contain positively or negatively charged sites that are able to attractions of opposite charges from the surrounding solution.

These light and porous solids are often prepared in the form of beads, granules, or sheets and serve as the main media used for the removal of the hardness minerals (calcium, magnesium, and manganese) from water.

Brine Tank

The brine tank is a fairly shorter tank that sits just adjacent to the mineral tank and its purpose is to regenerate the water softening system.

Eventually, the resin beads in the mineral tank get saturated with the hardness minerals, and as such, they need to be cleaned (regenerated). If not regenerated, the hard water passing through the system will no longer be softened.

This is where the brine tank comes in. It holds a highly concentrated solution of either salt (sodium) or potassium. This brine (salty) solution is used by the system to backwash the mineral tank so as to remove the mineral particles and recharge the resins to ensure that they continue to trap more minerals.

Unlike the mineral tank, the brine tank requires periodic replenishing with salt or potassium pellets. The pellets are manually added to the tank and dissolve in the water contained in it to form the highly concentrated solution of salt.

Control Valve

In a water softener system, the control valve acts as the brain or rather the traffic cop of the system. It controls the water flow in and out of both the brine and mineral tanks during regeneration.

It’s typically a key component that allows water softening systems to be extremely efficient by helping them determine when it’s time to regenerate the resin beads.

As soon as a control valve registers that the softening capability of the ion-exchange resins is diminishing, the salt solution in the brine tank is drawn out and flushed through the resin beads in the mineral tank to recharge it.

Older style water softeners usually use a mechanical water meter or timer that tracks water consumption and initiates recharging.

However, most popular water softeners utilize an automatic regenerating system with the simplest models having an electric timer that flushes and recharges the resins on a regular basis.

The more advanced units feature a computer-controlled meter that monitors the actual water usage to determine the time for regeneration. These valves automatically initiate a regeneration cycle based on a maximum capacity that’s pre-programmed into its onboard computer.

How Does A Water Softener Work?

Water softeners operate through a process known as ion exchange which eliminates the minerals that cause water hardness.

The water supply line sent the hard water into the mineral tank which is filled with several cubic feet of resin beads. These resin beads are anions which means they are negatively charged and are coated with sodium positive ions.

The calcium and magnesium minerals which are the main cause of water hardness are cations, meaning they have a positive charge.

Since opposite charges attract, as the water flows through the mineral tank, the positive ions of calcium and magnesium minerals dissolved in the water are attracted and held to the negatively charged beads.

In this process, the positive sodium (or potassium) ions that coated the bed of resin beads get released into the water to replace the attracted hardness mineral ions.

Therefore, all the hardness minerals in the water are stripped out and exchanged for sodium which has no damaging effects like calcium and magnesium.

With the hard minerals removed, the water that exits the tanks is now soft and flows onwards through the pipes to the rest of the household water supply line and appliances or fixtures. This water will have either sodium or potassium based on which one is used in the softening process.

Gradually, the resin becomes saturated with the calcium and magnesium ions as most of the sodium ions get released into the softened water. This reduces the capacity of the resin beads to continue to effectively attract and hold more minerals.

Before they become too overloaded with the mineral content, the control valve automatically begins a regeneration cycle where it reverses the flow of water in the mineral tank and flushes it with the concentrated solution of salt water contained in the brine tank to rinse and renew the resin beads.

This salt solution has a high concentration of sodium ions which forces the calcium and magnesium ions off the resin beads. As a result, the beads become once again coated with sodium ions.

The salty solution plus the displaced calcium and magnesium ions are then flushed down the drain, leaving the beads replenished and ready for another softening process.

The regeneration process can take about 30 minutes or more and it occurs every few days, often in the night.

Benefits Of A Salt-Based Water Softener

Once you have a water softener system installed in your house, you will be able to keep away many problems associated with hard water, an aspect which results in the following benefits:

An Efficient, Scale-Free Plumbing System

The biggest benefit of using a water softener system is the ability to enhance the efficiency and performance of your entire water supply system.

Calcium and magnesium minerals in hard water create limescale deposits on pipes and plumbing fixtures which not only cause a drop in the water flow but can also lead to frequent damages or serious clogging over time. This may eventually translate into costly repairs and maintenance work.

A water softener system will effectively eliminate these hardness minerals from your water preventing any chances of scale buildup on pipes and fixtures, and ultimately protecting your entire plumbing system from clogging and frequent damages.

It’s perhaps the most effective way of lengthening the lifespan of your plumbing system and keeping it running efficiently if you live in an area with high water hardness levels. It will significantly cut down the maintenance costs on your plumbing system in the long run.

Long-Lasting, Residue-Free Appliances

If you own expensive appliances, then installing a water softener system in your home is very important and beneficial. Lime-scale damages appliances with time especially if they are water-heating appliances like coffee machines, dishwashers, and water heaters.

It can cause them to fail which equally leads to costly repair works or having to replace them altogether. By eliminating hardness minerals that cause scale formation, a water softener can help reduce damages to your appliances and protect them from the stains and residues often left behind by hard water thereby prolonging their service life.

It can also save you a lot of money on annual energy costs as appliances with limescale buildup tend to start consuming more power and become inefficient or finally break down. A water softener can help reduce search energy inefficiency and keep your electricity bills down.

Moreover, it will save you from that foul smell which usually emerges from the scale residue inside the faucets, showerheads, water heaters, and bathroom sinks.

Increase in Soap and Detergent Efficiency

Hard water reduces the effectiveness of detergents and soaps, inhibiting them to dissolve completely and do their job. As such, washing clothes, dishes, skin, and hair become more challenging plus you end using more detergent and soap.

A water softener can help increase the efficiency of your soap and detergents as they are able to dissolve better in soft water and work more effectively in removing dirt, oils, and other stains from clothing and dishes. 

Furthermore, you will use less detergent and soap to clean the same amount of clothes after installing a water softener because of the rich lather that the softened water and soap produce.

Softer and Durable Clothes

Undissolved soap attaches to the hardness minerals and ends up forming scum which may damage the fabric of clothes. Softened water is more protective of your clothes because there are no minerals lodged in the fabric.

Therefore, you will notice your clothes getting softer and silkier after laundry once your water is softened, and soap scum and stains will not become a frequent problem.

The fabrics will last longer and not fade or fray quickly, and with the increase in the efficiency of your soap and detergents, your clothes will not only be softer but also cleaner and brighter. White clothes will stay whiter and free from the dingy gray that’s caused by hard water.

Smooth Skin and Hair

Softened water is more comfortable and gentle on the skin while hard water often leads to hair dryness and skin irritation for some people. If you’ve been using hard water and had poor luck with your skin, then a water softener can come in handy to give you much softer water that would leave your skin and hair feeling clean and smooth.

Clean, Shiny and Stain-Free Surfaces

When using hard water to clean surfaces like glass, chrome, or porcelain, most of the time it ends up leaving stains on them which can make your cleaning efforts be almost in vain.

However, by removing or altering the structure of the hard minerals, a water softener can eliminate this issue as it stops the minerals from sticking to surfaces, making cleaning your home way easier.

You will no longer see a calcium or magnesium film on your silverware, glassware, mirrors, tiles, car, or any plumbing fixtures. They will be clean and shiny.

Extremely Durable Resin Beads

One of the best things about water softeners is that it will take a very long time before you can replace the resin beads because they are extremely durable. They can work effectively for twenty years or longer. The only thing you may need to add to the system frequently is salt.

Conclusion

Protecting your home from hard water is the best way to prevent potential expense that results from damaged appliances and clogged plumbing system caused by scale buildup.

Therefore, if you are experiencing hard water problems, you need to invest in a good water softening system. One that’s not only effective at removing water hardness but also efficient, easy to operate, and meet your needs.

As you can see, our list above gives you several different types of the best water softener systems from some of the most reputable brands. Equipped with our detailed reviews and your exact water requirements and budget, you will be able to pick the right unit for your situation.