Best Water Softener Systems

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

The Best Water Softener

We recommend the Aquasure Harmony Series Water Softener as the best water softener based on its performance, its price, and how other customers review it.

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 6 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.

The 10 Best water softener systems in this review

Aquasure Harmony Series Water Softener

Aquasure has several highly efficient water softeners in the market under its Harmony Series which can effectively treat hardness in well water. The AS-HS32D model is one of them and in this review, we will look at how it performs and what makes it stand out.

Key Features:
  • Works efficiently on water that’s moderately hard
  • Decent capacity for small families of up to 3 people
  • Fast water flow rate of up to 15 GPM

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Things we like

  • Works efficiently on water that’s moderately hard
  • Decent capacity for small families of up to 3 people
  • Fast water flow rate of up to 15 GPM
  • Less water and salt wasted during backwash cycles
  • High-capacity salt tank that requires fewer refills
  • Easy to operate and to maintain
  • Runs quietly even during regeneration
  • Comes with a long 5-year warranty

Things we don't like

  • Not efficient for treating very hard water with high iron content
  • Installation may require a professional plumber
  • The programming manual is difficult to follow

Aquasure has several highly efficient water softeners in the market under its Harmony Series which can effectively treat hardness in well water. The AS-HS32D model is one of them and in this review, we will look at how it performs and what makes it stand out.

The Harmony Series is available in 3 variants which include; AS-HS32D (32,000 grains), AS-HS48D (48,000 grains), and AS-HS64D (64,000 grains). Let’s take a closer look at the AS-HS32D model.

Softening Capability

The Aquasure Harmony Series AS-HS32D is a salt-based water softener that features a 2-tank system. The softening tank contains cation resin media which proves to be quite efficient at eliminating water hardness.

It’s able to get rid of up to 110 grains of hardness minerals (magnesium and calcium) per every gallon of water that passes through. It’s a relatively high removal rate which makes the AS-HS32D ideal for treating water that’s moderate to very hard – it’s a reliable option for softening well water.

The unit also performs fairly well at removing iron. It can eliminate iron up to 2 ppm which is pretty decent but not high considering that the other softeners like the Whirlpool WHES40E and the Culligan HE Softener-Cleer Series are able to remove iron content up to 100 ppm. If your water iron level is more than 2 ppm, you’ll need to add an iron prefilter.

Regeneration Process

There’s minimal salt and water wasted during the regeneration process when using this AS-HS32D model. It’s equipped with a convenient and efficient regeneration system that utilizes a digital flow meter.

The smart digital control head measures how much water is treated and then automatically initiates a backwash cycle only when necessary hence no water or salt gets wasted. Moreover, the process is quite fast (takes only 98 minutes), so there’s always a steady supply of softened water.

Another advantage is that the digital flow meter is fully programmable. The unit offers 3 regeneration options; time-clock delayed, meter immediate, and meter delayed. These are more options than similar models and give you great control over the system since you can customize it to fit your needs.

What we also liked is the fact that the AS-HS32D remains quiet during the backwash cycles which can be a noisy process for some water softeners. This makes it a suitable option for smaller homes that might not have enough room to keep their softener out of earshot.

Softening Capacity

This Aquasure Harmony Series softener can treat a maximum of 32, 000 grains of hard water which is slightly on the lower end but it’s still a sufficient capacity that can meet the needs of a small family of 3 people with water that’s moderately hard.

If you are a family of 5 to 7 people, then the Aquasure AS-HS48D (48,000 grains capacity) or the AS-HS64D (64,000 grains capacity) models would be ideal for you.

The salt tank, however, has a high storage capacity (120 lbs) hence you won’t be refilling it frequently. The other upside is that the unit has a fast flow rate of 15 GPM, so it can efficiently service a whole house with little to no drop in pressure.

Control System and Safety Features

The control head of the AS-HS32D is fairly easy to program and you can customize most of the settings to your preference. However, the operating manual provided seems not that informative and clear as several users complained that it’s difficult to follow.

With regards to safety features, Aquasure has equipped the brine tank of this softener with a safety float which automatically shuts off the water going into the tank when it fills up. It’s not going to overflow and flood the basement in case you are often away for long. The unit also has a bypass valve, so you can do maintenance without turning the water off.

Installation and Maintenance

Setting up this unit is a little challenging since you have to install it onto the main water line and connect it to the drain. If you have no plumbing experience or knowledge, or you are not certain of your skills, then you will need to get a professional to install it.

The brine tank is a bit taller (measure 52 inches high) than that of other models but it does have a small footprint – it doesn’t take up much floor space hence won’t get in your way. The hardest part will be moving it as it’s quite heavy.

Maintenance is easy. It’s only the salt that needs replenishing which you won’t have to do often due to the large capacity of its tank. Besides that, the resin tank comes preloaded which saves you the trouble of having to load it on your own like is the case with most softeners where the resin is shipped separately.

Durability will equally not be an issue. The tank is made using a fiberglass lined polyethylene material which is corrosion-resistant, so it can last for a long time plus the whole unit comes with a 5-year warranty against any defects.

In general, if your water supply is from a well and has a moderate hardness level, the Aquasure Harmony Series AS-HS32D water softener would be a great fit for you provided though that the iron levels are not more than 2 ppm.

Fleck 5600SXT 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.

Key Features:
  • Effectively softens water with medium to high hardness levels
  • Efficient meter-based regeneration reduces running costs
  • Fully-programmable controller with a user-friendly interface

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Things we like

  • 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

Things we don't like

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

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, any 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.

Whirlpool WHES40E 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.

Key Features:
  • 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

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Things we like

  • 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

Things we don't like

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

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 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 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 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.

GE Water Softener GXSH40V

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.

Key Features:
  • Includes a sediment filter and blending flow valve
  • User-friendly electronic controls
  • Programmable

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Things we like

  • 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

Things we don't like

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

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 water softener GXSH40V 40,000 grain 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 GE water softener 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 GE 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 GE water softener 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 water softener GXSC40N 40,000 grains, 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 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 the resin tank, and a 3-year limited warranty for the electronic monitor.

Bottom line the GE water softener GXSH40V 40,000 grain 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.

Tier 1 Essential Series Water Softener

Tier 1 Essential Series Water Softener features an easy-to-use LCD display showing pertinent operational information. Quick connect fittings on the brine line, drain line, and included power cord, ensure a fast and easy installation.

Key Features:
  • Process up to 48,000 grains of hardness
  • Easy-to-use LCD display
  • 11.2 GPM Flow Rate at Operating Pressure of 20 - 120 PSI

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Things we like

  • Process up to 48,000 grains of hardness
  • Easy-to-use LCD display
  • 11.2 GPM Flow Rate at Operating Pressure of 20 – 120 PSI

Things we don't like

  • The manual is not clearly, it doesn’t help much

An efficient water system prevents scale from building up and has a better water taste. The Tier1 water softener is efficient affordable and well-engineered to work perfectly. It works well at home or in a business setup.

It has a digital meter control valve with a bypass and an LCD display. This unit regenerates automatically and the display is convenient for when you need to check the remaining gallon count.

Has a grain capacity of 48,000 and can eliminate calcium phosphate and magnesium. Regeneration takes about two hours, with interrupting water flow.

It comes inclusive of a mineral tank that is 10”x54” and a brine tank that can hold up to 4 to 5 packs of salt. This does not take up much space during installation.

It comes in two colors; blue and black and can be installed anywhere including outdoors as long as the temperature is above freezing.

On The Go Portable RV 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.

Key Features:
  • Relatively high capacity of 1600 gallons
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Uses standard table salt for regeneration

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Things we like

  • 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

Things we don't like

  • The plastic shut-off valve is not that strong

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 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.

EcoPure EPHS Water Softener

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

Key Features:
  • 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

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Things we like

  • 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

Things we don't like

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

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

Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E Water Softener

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is an equally very durable water softener from the tanks to its various components including the control valve, bypass valve, yoke, upper distributor basket, connectors, and control head. They are all robust and can hold up for many years.

Key Features:
  • Relatively simple to operate and maintain
  • Can eliminate most minerals causing high hardness
  • The maximum flow water pressure is up to 12 GPM

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Things we like

  • Relatively simple to operate and maintain
  • Can eliminate most minerals causing high hardness
  • The maximum flow water pressure is up to 12 GPM
  • Equipped with a programmable digital meter valve
  • Capable of minimizing water and salt waste during regeneration
  • Suitable for medium-sized families with large capacity of 80,000 grains
  • Backed by a 5-year parts warranty and a 10-year tank warranty

Things we don't like

  • Requires some plumbing skills to install properly
  • Does not filter heavy metals, chlorine and other contaminants

From damaging your plumbing system, appliances, and utensils to affecting your health by causing skin irritation and hair dryness, hard water causes a lot of problems and domestic inconveniences.

However, treating it is not such a hard challenge as there are many different types of water softening systems that can effectively get rid of the minerals that lead to water hardness, which are mainly calcium and magnesium.

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is one of them. This salt-based water softener is a product of Pro+Aqua Water which is a US company (based in California) that focuses on manufacturing water treatment systems, mainly whole house systems like water softeners and well water filtration systems, as well as portable systems like portable water softeners.

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is one of their top whole house water softening systems and perhaps one of the best salt-based softeners in the market, competing with the likes of Pentair WS48-56sxt10, AFWFilters 5600SXT, and DuraWater 80K-56sxt-10AL water softeners.

It’s a dual-tank salt-based water softener and uses a very powerful ion exchange resin that’s capable of treating medium to high water hardness levels. Besides its great softening performance, the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E offers a high resin capacity and water flow rate.

It’s also equipped with a digital meter head that’s easy to program and offers several convenient features such as different programmable regeneration modes, automatic backwash, and system configuration backup during a power failure – it’s basically as advanced as Fleck’s SXT digital meter control head found on most water softeners.

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is an equally very durable water softener from the tanks to its various components including the control valve, bypass valve, yoke, upper distributor basket, connectors, and control head. They are all robust and can hold up for many years.

In this review, we’ll take a closer look at this Pro+Aqua softener to see exactly how it performs, what it offers and some of the drawbacks you are likely to encounter when you have it as your main water softener. So, let’s get down right to it.

Softening Capability

As mentioned above, the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is a salt-based system that utilizes an effective ion exchange resin to get rid of the minerals that cause water hardness.

It uses a 10% ion-exchange resin which is not only more powerful than the industry standard 8% cross-linked resin, but it also offers a large capacity of 80, 000 grains. This powerful, high-capacity resin is very effective at treating water hardness – it removes all the calcium and magnesium ions from every gallon of water that passes through the tank, so you are only left with soft water, deprived of all hardness minerals.

Due to its large capacity (80,000 grains), it’s able to efficiently treat hardness levels of up to 40 GPG (with 5 to 6 users), which includes medium to very hard water from either a well or city water supply. It can also handle extremely hard water (of up to 100 GPG) but only if the maximum number of users is 4 people or less.

Most users reported noticing a tremendous change in the quality of their water immediately after installing the system. They mentioned that the water quality was dramatically improved – the water feels so much cleaner and doesn’t cause skin irritation at all or leave stains on appliances.

Despite being a dedicated water softener, this system also does perform relatively well at removing iron which is a really tough element to filter out. It’s able to remove up to 2 ppm of iron content which is a small amount but pretty decent for a dedicated water softener.

If the iron level in your water is above 2 ppm, then you may need to partner it with a PRO-WELL-1E iron filter which is capable of filtering out up to 100 ppm of iron content as well as other contaminants.

You may as well need additional filtration systems before or after the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E, especially if your water is microbiologically unsafe or contains heavy metals, chlorine, chloramine, and other harmful chemicals. It’s only highly effective at removing hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium), and small amounts of iron but not any other contaminant.

Capacity and Flow Rate 

Having an 80,000-grain capacity, this Pro+Aqua system will comfortably meet the soft water demands of medium to large homes with moderate to extremely hard water. It’s ideal for high-demand applications as it can deliver sufficient soft water for at least 8 to 10 people.

However, the number of users will depend on the hardness level of the water. It can serve 8 to 10 people when the hardness level is 21 to 30 GPG, 5 to 6 people if the hardness level is 30 to 40 GPG, and less than 4 people if the water is extremely hard (hardness level ranging from 40 to 100 GPG).

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E softener also has a fast water flow rate and again this is due to its large capacity and its 1-inch high-flow threaded ports. It can put out roughly more than 12 gallons of soft water per minute which is adequate for large homes with multiple bathrooms. Many users reported that they had no problems with the water pressure at all after installing the system, even when running multiple taps simultaneously.

The brine tank of the PRO-S-80E is equally quite large. It can hold around 120 pounds of salt or roughly 2 bags of crystal or extra course grade water softener salt, so you won’t be replenishing it frequently compared to other smaller-sized units – a family of 4 can use approximately 1 bag of salt a month, hence it can go for 2 months before requiring a refill or a month if you are a family of 6 to 8 people.

Regeneration Modes and Other Settings

With its high capacity resin, the PRO-S-80E doesn’t require frequent regeneration like it’s the case with low capacity resins, which saves you both salt and water usage. The unit utilizes a programmable digital meter valve which automates the whole regeneration process.

The valve features a metered water counter that keeps track of the gallons of water treated through the system and once the set gallons (programmed in the unit) get exhausted, the system automatically regenerates the resin. It only regenerates when needed hence saving salt and hundreds of gallons of water.

The unit offers 3 modes of regeneration which include:

Timed Regeneration Mode

In this case, you set the system to regenerate on a particular time or predetermined schedule like after every few days. It performs really well but you have to always stay on schedule, otherwise, if you are out of town say for a week or month, it will still regenerate after every few days hence wasting water and salt.

Meter Immediate Regeneration Mode

In this mode, you set the number of gallons of treatable water that the system should produce (say 2,900 gallons) which once it’s exhausted, the regeneration process is initiated. The number of gallons to input is determined through a simple calculation based on the total capacity of the system (80,000 grains), the feed water hardness level, and the family size.

The system will regenerate only when required, so if you go away for a week when the set capacity is not exhausted and the softener is not in use, there won’t be any regeneration hence saving you water and salt, unlike the timed regeneration mode which would still initiate the regeneration process.

Meter Delay Regeneration Mode

Although it has a confusing name, this is the most useful regeneration mode of the three. In this mode, you set the number of gallons of treated water that the system should produce as well as the regeneration time.

When the set gallons of water are exhausted (counts down to zero), the system doesn’t immediately start regenerating but instead, it changes to the regeneration time that you set and only regenerates at that particular time. This way you never really run out of soft water.

Apart from the three modes, the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E offers three additional regeneration settings. The first one is the “Manual Queued Regeneration” which includes the Queued Regeneration in Timer Mode and the Queued Regeneration in Meter Delay Mode.

In the former, the system initiates the regeneration process at the time set and if missed, it then initiates the process on the next day.  In the latter, the system initiates the regeneration process when either the set gallons of treated water is exhausted or when the remaining regeneration time counts down to zero – whichever comes first.

The second additional setting is the “Manual Immediate Regeneration” which allows you to initiate regeneration instantly (whenever you want) when the control valve is in the service position. There’s a regeneration button that you just press and hold for 5 seconds to initiate the process. The final setting is “Stop Regenerating” which is yet another useful feature that allows you to instantly stop the regeneration process mid-way and return to the service position.

Generally, the Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E gives you both timed and metered regeneration choices, plus other more options compared to similar water softeners, hence you have great control over the system – you can customize/set it to fit your exact needs.

The regeneration process itself is usually fast once initiated hence you don’t have to wait long to start getting soft water again, and there’s minimal water and salt wasted except when you use the timed regeneration mode.

Other Controls

The LCD control screen of the PRO-S-80E offers a lot of other settings that you can customize to your preference. From the display, you get to view all the necessary information about the system including its current status, time of day, flow meter indicator, gallons of water remaining, and the regeneration mode.

Some of the basic programming you can perform includes setting time of day, the regeneration mode, and the unit capacity (if you’ve not selected the Timer mode). The advanced settings include regeneration time and hours override, the backwash time, brine time, rapid rinse time, and the water filling time.

All the program settings are saved in permanent memory which is quite convenient in case of a power outage. The time of day, current valve position, and the cycle step elapsed are all stored in memory during a power failure, so the system is able to reset itself to its previous configuration when it powers up. 

Moreover, when the valve stops at a regeneration stage in case of a power failure, it will return to its prior position when the system powers up again and it doesn’t take long to do so – just around 4 to 5 minutes.

The interface of the LCD display is pretty easy to understand and use, plus it’s a backlit screen which means you can be able to use it even in the dark. The back-light itself doesn’t stay on throughout, it automatically goes off after a minute if no button is pressed on the touchpad which helps save on electricity – to light it up again you just press any of the buttons on the touchpad.  

Installation

Installing this unit is a bit challenging as it needs to be connected to your main water line as well as the drain, which means you’ll have to alter your plumbing system. In other words, if you don’t have any plumbing experience/knowledge or any DIY skills, then you may need to hire a plumber to install it.

The resin tank needs to be positioned close to a drain point to prevent backflow and air breaks while the brine tank shouldn’t be more than 15 inches from it. The system should also be set up with a vacuum breaker to prevent damage to the resin tank.

It should as well be connected only to the cold water line, no hot water should pass through it because the maximum temperature it can handle is 100ºF (37.8º C) while the maximum recommended feed water pressure is 125 psi (8.78 kg/cm2).

You may also have to install a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) in order to reduce the water pressure if needed because if the daytime pressure is above 80 psi, then the nighttime pressure can go past the maximum recommended feed water pressure (125 psi).

The transformer of the system plugs only to a 120 volt, grounded electric outlet which needs to be within 6 feet of the unit – the transformer comes with an 8-foot power cable attached to it.

Note that this system isn’t designed to be installed outside where it’s exposed to direct sunlight, extreme heat, or where it can freeze – the electric controls are not weatherproof. If you resort to installing it outside, then you must take necessary steps to ensure that the tanks, transformer, installation plumbing, etc., are all protected from the elements as well as contamination sources.

The whole unit doesn’t take up a lot of space because it’s a two-piece system featuring just a resin tank and a brine tank. It has a small footprint but the resin tank with the control head attached is a little tall (measures 64-inches high).

One particular thing we liked about the design of this Pro+Aqua softener’s resin tank though is that it comes with a “floating base” that allows you to easily level the tank on any surface. It’s a convenient feature especially when the area you are installing the resin tank doesn’t have a leveled surface to place it – the floating base allows you to adjust the level of the tank within the base to keep it stable and ensure proper operation.

Maintenance

Maintaining this system is super easy because it’s only the brine tank that you’ll need to replenish occasionally by adding bags of salt. You may have to do this maybe once after every month or two depending on how many people are using the system – once in a month if you are 6 to 8 people or once in two months or longer if you are less than 5 people.

The resin media can last many years (10 to 20 years) before requiring replacement, so you won’t be worrying about it much. Both tanks (resin and brine) are robust and long-lasting.

The resin tank has a fiberglass shell with a seamless one-piece liner to ensure a leak-proof design. It also has an extra outer layer consisting of a strong epoxy resin which enables it to withstand harsh environments. The brine tank is made of thick food-grade plastic material, so it’s equally durable.

The package comes with all the required system components that include: brine tank, resin tank, resin media, Aquatrol valve electronic meter, riser tube, control valve, upper distributor basket, top & bottom distributors, 14 ft. ½ in. drain line, 5 ft. 3/8 in. brine line, drain line fitting, power transformer with 8ft. cable, small parts kit, and the installation manual which clearly takes you through all the steps for setting up the system.

A bypass valve is equally included with the system. It’s an important component to have because it allows the water from your main supply line to bypass the actual softener which can be quite useful on numerous occasions like when filling a pool with water or watering grass or plants – activities for which you don’t really need softened water.

You’ll need additional tools such as channel locks, a screwdriver, two adjustable wrenches, Teflon tape, and a razor knife. The salt to fill the brine tank is not also included, so you’ll have to get several bags of it. You can only use clean water softening salt that’s at least 99.5% pure.

Crystal salt or extra course grade salt are recommended but not granulated, block, rock, or ice cream making salts because they contain contaminants that are likely to cause problems during maintenance.

Final Remarks

The Pro+Aqua PRO-S-80E is highly effective at removing hardness minerals from the water. It’s an ideal option if you are looking for a water softener for treating moderate to high levels of water hardness. It has a large capacity and fast water flow rate which means it’s capable of meeting the water demands of medium to large households with multiple bedrooms.

All the components of the system are sturdy and of great quality. It’s a system that can provide years of service, plus the control head with the LCD display offers several regeneration modes and other useful settings that make operating and using the system easy and convenient. The system is as well backed by a generous 5-year warranty for the valve, electronics, and resin while the tanks are covered by a 10-year warranty.  

The only major downside is that it’s not able to remove iron content above 2 ppm and you can’t use it with water that’s microbiologically unsafe and/or has heavy metals, chlorine, and other chemical contaminants – you have to install a filtration system before it to ensure that you get safe, soft water for use.

RVWaterFilterStore 16000 Grain Portable Water Softener

If you RV full-time and usually travel in areas with hard water, then a water softener is no doubt a necessity. High levels of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron tend to harden the water and cause several issues, including ravaging your whole plumbing system by clogging all the plumbing channels (pipes and taps) over time.

Key Features:
  • Relatively quick to set up with pre-assembled unit
  • Large capacity of 16,000 grains for small families
  • Easy to operate and requires minimum maintenance

RVWaterFilterStore 16000 Grain Portable Water Softener Review

If you RV full-time and usually travel in areas with hard water, then a water softener is no doubt a necessity. High levels of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron tend to harden the water and cause several issues, including ravaging your whole plumbing system by clogging all the plumbing channels (pipes and taps) over time.

Soap and detergents don’t equally lather up very well with hard water, making them difficult to rinse off from clothes, plus white clothes can end up looking much duller after washing them in the hard water. Bathing with hard water also causes skin irritation as well as hair dryness.

In general, if you are usually on the road using your RV, then you’ll instantly know how annoying these issues are, especially in locations with very hard water. Consuming hard water isn’t good, too, as it can lead to certain diseases to some degree, and the water itself is often red and has an odd taste and a foul smell.

Fortunately, with an RV water softener, you get to reduce the hardness mineral ions in your water and protect your skin, hair, and also your RV plumbing system and appliances. These RV softeners are portable enough to fit inside of your vehicle, allowing you to have a regular supply of softened water wherever you go.

The Essential RV water softener is just one of the many options available on the market today, and it’s what we are going to focus on in this review. It’s manufactured by RVWaterFilterStore, which is a reputable brand that has been producing RV filtration systems and water softeners for the past 30 years. This particular unit is one of their best-selling water softeners and has been specifically designed for RV use.

It’s a portable salt-based water softener that utilizes a powerful ion exchange resin that’s able to deal with low to high water hardness levels effectively. Apart from that, it offers a large softening capacity and a moderate water flow rate.

The regeneration process is quick and easy too. Moreover, the unit is simple to install, doesn’t need much maintenance, and is quite compact, ideal for RVers that are short on space. Here is our in-depth review to give you more insight.

Softening Capability

The Essential RV water softener is a one-tank system. The ion-exchange resin and the salt/brine are contained in one tank. The resin proves to be quite effective at getting rid of water hardness.

It’s a 16 000 grain resin and efficiently removes all the magnesium and calcium ions from each gallon of water that goes through the tank. The water that comes out is completely soft and deprived of these hardness minerals. Due to the relatively large capacity (16 000 grains), the system can treat moderately hard to very hard water.

Besides removing calcium and magnesium (which are the main hardness minerals), the Essential RV water softener eliminates the hard iron from the water. The system equally removes lead, radium, and several heavy metals as the water passes through the resin.

Users generally reported that it made a huge difference in their water quality. They mentioned that the water was better instantly when they started using the softener. They couldn’t register any water hardness on the provided test strips, even after recording very high water hardness levels before installing the unit.

Many mentioned that there were no stains and scale formation on their utensils and appliances, while others reported that the performance of their RV water pumps, washing machines, and dishwashers was dramatically improved. The foul smell and odd taste that the water had before installing the unit was no more too.

Overall, the Essential RV water softener seems to do its work very well, and this is attested by the positive feedback it got from different users. The only downside is that the softened water it produces has a slightly high amount of sodium, which might not be good for those with health conditions that require no or low-sodium diet, such as some cardio-vascular and kidney conditions.

However, you can set a filtration system after the softener to clear out the sodium and make the water much safer and better for drinking right out of the tap and for other tasks while at the same time protecting your plumbing system and appliances.

Capacity and Flow Rate

This RVWaterFilterStore softener offers a 16,000-grain capacity, which is amongst the largest softening capacities for RV water softeners. With such a capacity, the Essential RV water softener is able to eliminate many grains of hardness minerals per each regeneration cycle.

It can provide more than 2,000 gallons of soft water after each regeneration cycle. That’s almost 50% more than most regular RV softeners, making the Essential RV water softener a really efficient unit.

The large capacity also means fewer recharges compared to lower capacity softeners. The system can go up to 60 days or two months between recharges if you have a small family (2 to 3 people), your daily water usage is moderate, and your water source hardness level is low to medium.

Recharges may only be required about once a month for very hard water (7 GPG and above) and at moderate daily water consumption. That’s still quite decent as most low-capacity softeners may require frequent regeneration (almost weekly) to keep on effectively producing soft water.

The Essential RV water softener also offers a fairly fast water flow rate, and this is attributed to its large capacity and its ¾-inch high-flow ports. It can process around 3 to 4 gallons of water in a minute, which is pretty decent and should cater to the needs of most small families.

Installation

Setting up this unit is super easy. It’s designed to be installed before the water enters your RV’s freshwater tank. The unit comes pre-assembled, fitted with hose connections to allow for easy hookup. It comes with a 4 ft. custom no kink water hose, which can connect to nearly any water hose connection usually found in campgrounds and parks.

The whole setup process doesn’t take more than 5 minutes, and no electricity is required. The package includes the softener (with ¾-inch hose fittings), the 4 ft. water hose (capable of withstanding 200 PSI pressure), standard hose adapter, and a hard water test kit.

There were several complaints that the unit leaks around the connection points. Some users reported that the O ring fails to seal on the cap hence leading to leaks. This wasn’t really a widespread issue, but it’s still worth noting.

The in and out fittings also tend to leak, but this can be easily fixed by adding sealant tape or ensuring the hose is connected properly and tight. Furthermore, the hose features a hex nut that you can put a wrench on and tighten in case it leaks.

Apart from the leaks, there’s no other serious issue to worry about. After the setup, you have to run water through the unit for about 20 minutes to rinse it thoroughly and flush out the resin dust. Otherwise, the water might have an unpleasant aftertaste and probably have some particles.

You can as well connect this water softener with the RVWaterFilterStore filtration system (after the filter and before the RV storage tank) to ensure optimal results and clean, softer water.

The filter will help reduce sediments from entering the resin and remove other common contaminants in the water like chlorine and organic chemicals, thereby further eliminating foul taste and odors.

Maintenance

Like many RV water softeners, maintaining this unit isn’t difficult. The only maintenance required is backwashing and recharging the resin. The backwashing process is straightforward since it’s a matter of running the water backward through the system.

The sediments come in through the input, so you need to get them out through the same input as you don’t want them to go all the way through the resin and get mixed in. Therefore, you connect the hose to the output port, then hook it up to your water source and turn it full blast.

This way, you’ll be putting the water in the output port, run it through the system and let it come out through the input end. You should let it run for about 15 minutes so that all the sediment and other stuff collected in the tank can come out until the water runs clear.

Once you are done, disconnect the hose and set up the unit correctly as before. The manufacturer has included adapters for easy backwash as well as convenient shutoff.

Backwashing the softener is important, especially if there’s no sediment filter before it – the sediment tends to settle right in the bottom of the tank, which can reduce the system’s performance.

It’s less of a problem if you filter the water first, but if you don’t, you’ll need to backflush more often, maybe once a year or more, if your source water has a lot of sediment. If you have a good filtration system already installed before the softener, then you may only have to backflush it once after a couple of years.

Recharging the water softener is the only other maintenance you’ll need to do, and it’s equally not challenging. After about a month or two of use, the ion exchange resin is about used up, and you’re going to want to recharge it.

The process is pretty simple. You just disconnect all the hoses and pull the head off. Once you have the tank open, there will be some extra water on top that you’ll have to spill out carefully.

From there, you just recharge the softener by pouring two boxes of salt into the tank and then put the head back on, attach the hoses, and finally, turn on the water and rinse the system out for about 30 minutes to let everything flush out. It’s a quick and easy process, and the softener is recharged using just plain/normal table salt – there are no additional chemicals needed.

As we mentioned earlier, each regeneration cycle would give you around 2,000 gallons of water, which is about one to two months of use, depending on your water usage and the hardness level of your source water. The resin media is very durable – it can last around 5 to 7 years.

Build Quality

The Essential RV water softener is a robust system that’s built to withstand outdoor conditions. The tank is a rugged NSF Polyethylene that’s covered with fiberglass. It’s strong and durable, plus features a 10 3/8-inch base for stability.

The ports are made of lead brass, which is much more solid and durable compared to plastic connections. Even the hose is of good quality as it’s made of a strong no-kink PVC material, capable of withstanding pressures of up to 200 PSI.

The whole unit has a nice compact design. It measures around 19 ½ inches tall and 10 3/8 inches wide, so it’s fairly small and can be installed in tiny spaces, like the RV storage bay.

It’s a bit heavy (weighs around 36 pounds), but the compact design makes it slightly easy to carry around and portable. You can carry it for use on the go at campgrounds or parks. You can even remove the head/cap, but you have to cover the opening, possibly using duct tape or shrink-wrap to ensure the resin doesn’t spill out.

Final Remarks

An RV water softener is certainly a valuable device that you would want to install in your RV to soften the water, especially when you are in areas that have very hard water. This Essential RV water softener is one of the best options out there as it’s able to treat low to high water hardness levels effectively.

We would recommend it if you are looking for a portable and compact RV water softener capable of performing just as well as a normal water softener. The best part is that it has a large resin capacity, which means you get to produce a lot of soft water between regeneration cycles compared to low-capacity softeners.

The whole unit is equally well-built and durable, plus it’s easy to install and maintain. It’s also compatible with the RVWaterFilterStore filtration systems. The only serious issue we found are cases of leaks, which doesn’t really seem to be a widespread problem. However, in case of any other issues, you can get in contact with the company’s customer support team via email or phone. They are quite responsive and helpful.

Things we like

  • Relatively quick to set up with pre-assembled unit
  • Large capacity of 16,000 grains for small families
  • Easy to operate and requires minimum maintenance
  • Fits into your space due to its compact and portable design
  • Impressive filtration to remove unpleasant odors and tastes in water
  • Features quick and easy regeneration process
  • Compatible with the RVWaterFilterStore filtration systems

Things we don't like

  • Its weight is a bit heavy
  • Leakage problems

RKIN OnliSoft Pro Water Softener

The RKIN OnliSoft Pro offers an entirely salt-free water softening process using its OnliSoft water conditioner which is an effective SCM (scale control media) that naturally neutralizes the minerals that cause water hardness through Seed Assisted Crystallization.

Key Features:
  • Provides decent capacity for small families up to 3 people
  • No regeneration helps users save water effectively
  • Comes with detailed instructions for proper installation

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Things we like

  • Provides decent capacity for small families up to 3 people
  • No regeneration helps users save water effectively
  • Comes with detailed instructions for proper installation
  • Can remove most contaminants thanks to 4-stage filtration process
  • Friendly customer service and quick response to questions
  • Backed by 1-year money-back guarantee, lifetime warranty on tank and parts

Things we don't like

  • Comparably high price
  • Not suitable for use with well water or microbiologically unsafe water

Based in Florida, the company specializes in manufacturing whole house water treatment systems as well as air purifiers. The OnliSoft Pro is probably one of their best systems on the market today. It’s an innovative whole-house water treatment system that’s made up of a salt-free water softener and a water filter system, which together offer a comprehensive solution to a wide range of water quality issues.

The system can effectively remove many different contaminants present in water supplies and treat water hardness and prevent scale build-up in plumbing systems and home appliances. It comes in four different versions, OPX8 (for 1-3 bathrooms), OPX9 (for 2-3 bathrooms), OPX10 (for 4-6 bathrooms), and OPX (for 7+ bathrooms).

The only difference between them is the capacity/number of users and for that reason, we are going to look at the OPX8 in this review which is the base model. We will do it in a way that covers all the other versions as they are basically the same with regard to water filtration and softening performance. So, let’s start right away.

The Filtration Performance

The filtration system of the RKIN OnliSoft Pro performs really well when it comes to removing contaminants. It uses a 4-stage filtration process consisting of KDF media, carbon filter, EvenFlow bed, and a sediment filter which together efficiently remove most of the common contaminants found in water.

In the first stage, it’s the KDF media which features a combination of copper and zinc alloy that removes heavy metals such as mercury and lead as well as some harmful chemicals including chlorine and haloacetic acids. The copper and zinc alloy also create a bacteriostatic environment that helps prevent algae and bacteria growth within the main filtration tank.

The 2nd stage consists of catalytic activated carbon media sourced from coconut shells. It effectively removes most of the organic contaminants and disinfectant by-products which include chlorine, chloramines, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, sulfur, haloacetic acids, MTB & THM’s, and many more. This media efficiently clears out more than 99% of chlorine and other chemicals present in the water, significantly improving the water’s taste and odor.

The carbon filtration tank of the RKIN OnliSoft Pro is equally equipped with an EvenFlow bed which is RKIN’s innovation that helps eliminate channeling and substantially increases the contact time between the water and the filtration media – this ensures optimum utilization of the filter media and thorough treatment of the water.

From the carbon filtration tank, the water is directed to the ZEE Pro Pre-filter which makes up the 4th stage of the filtration process of this RKIN system. This sediment filter is a separate component that sits between the carbon filtration tank and the RKIN’s OnliSoft water softening tank. It effectively filters out all the sediments that are larger than 5 microns which include silt, clay, sand, rust, and any other small particle that might be lurking in the water.

The housing of the ZEE Pro Pre-filter has also been designed with bacteriostatic technology hence no bacteria or algae will be growing inside there.

Water Softening Capability

The RKIN OnliSoft Pro offers an entirely salt-free water softening process using its OnliSoft water conditioner which is an effective SCM (scale control media) that naturally neutralizes the minerals that cause water hardness through Seed Assisted Crystallization.

As more and more hardness minerals continue to be transformed, the tiny modified molecules accumulate and build upon the surface of the OnliSoft media. Eventually, they reach a certain size where they break off from the media’s surface and get suspended in the water, and ultimately carried away – they flew through the plumbing system and appliances without sticking to them.

It’s an all-natural process of preventing scale build-up. No chemicals, salt, or acids are added to the water, and not only does the OnliSoft media inhibits scale from forming, but it also reverses scales that have already built up within the plumbing system.

The other advantage is that the hardness minerals are not totally removed from the water – they are only inhibited from forming scale, so your filtered water will still have them which is great because they are healthy minerals that are quite beneficial to your health.

With this really impressive water conditioning system coupled with an effective filtration process, the RKIN whole house filter system is able to provide clean, great-tasting drinking water throughout your entire home, water that’s equally soft on your skin and hair as well as safe for your appliances and plumbing system.

Many reported that they noticed the difference in their water quality right away. They said that it doesn’t leave stains on appliances anymore and the chlorine smell and taste are all gone, plus the water looks so much clearer. The system removes over 99.66% of chlorine and many other contaminants. Several users also mentioned that they noticed existing scale build-up clearing out from their plumbing system after installing this RKIN unit in their home.

However, despite having an effective filtration system, you can only use this RKIN system to filter water from a city/municipal water supply. It’s not suitable for use on well water or any water that’s microbiologically unsafe.  

System Capacity

Apart from the very effective water treatment system, the carbon filter media of the RKIN whole house filter system offers a large capacity. It can process up to 500,000 gallons of water which is roughly 10 years of service for a house with one to three bedrooms or a small-medium family with average water consumption.

Furthermore, even with the multiple stages of filtration and a water conditioning stage, this system doesn’t seem to drastically affect the water flow. It’s able to maintain a standard flow rate of 9 GPM which can go up to 12 GPM during peak times – there’s basically no significant drop in the water pressure once you install the system.

As mentioned earlier, RKIN also offers three other different versions of this whole house filter system which you can consider if you have a large house or looking for more capacity and a faster water flow rate. There’s the OPX9 which offers 1 million gallons capacity and an 11 GPM service flow rate (goes up to 17 GPM at peak times) – it’s meant for houses with two to five bathrooms.

The second one is the OPX10 which offers 1 million gallons capacity too but with a service flow rate of 15 GPM (that goes up to 23 GPM at peak times) and this is ideal for houses with 4 to 6 bathrooms.

The third version is the OPX13 and this also offers 1 million gallons capacity but has the highest service flow rate at 28 GPM (which can go up to 41 GPM at peak times).  This one is ideal for large houses that have more than seven bathrooms.

The best part of this system is that, unlike salt-based systems, it doesn’t produce any wastewater because the media doesn’t require any regeneration. Hence, no salt or chemicals will be dumped into your drain.

Moreover, it doesn’t use electricity and since all the water that goes through it gets processed and flows right into your home, there’s no water wasted, thereby it saves you both electricity and water cost that you would have otherwise incurred if you installed a salt-based water softener.

Installation and Maintenance 

Installing this RKIN system is relatively easy, but it may need some plumbing knowledge because it has to be installed on your main water supply line which means you may have to alter your piping/plumbing system a little bit.

You can do it yourself if you have some basic DIY skills but you’ll need an extra pair of hands to help you, especially with mounting the ZEE Pro pre-filter – you need someone to hold it in place while you screw the mounting bracket onto the wall. If you’re not good with DIY installations, then you may need to get a plumber to help you set up the system.

The whole installation process can take roughly 3 to 5 hours. The system should only be installed to the cold water line, not hot water as it can only handle operating temperatures of 36 to 120°F. The recommended operating pressure is 25 to 120 PSI.

RKIN provides almost everything you need for a successful installation. The package includes the Carbon and OnliSoft tanks, the ZEE Pro pre-filter and its housing, two bypass valves, four 1-inch MNPT PVC elbow fittings, hose bib assembly, and mounting kit for pre-filter housing (the mounting bracket, washers, and hex bolts).

The package includes too the installation manual with clear and easy-to-understand instructions that take you to step by step throughout the whole process. RKIN also offers an optional installation kit to make the installation even easier and it includes two 1-inch male NPT nipples for the ZEE Pro pre-filter housing, two stainless steel 24 x 1 inch quick connect supply flex hoses, and two stainless steel 18 x 1inches water tank connector hose.

Once installed, maintaining this RKIN whole house filter system is pretty simple. It produces zero water waste, needs no electricity to operate, and doesn’t require the yearly maintenance and cost (of buying salt regularly) that’s involved with standard salt softeners.

The only maintenance you’ll need to do is replacing the media in the sediment pre-filter housing which requires changing every 6 to 12 months based on the amount of sediment and particles present in your water supply or when you notice the pressure of the water from the system starting to slow down.

You won’t be changing the carbon media any time soon because as we mentioned earlier, it has a large capacity of 500, 000 gallons which can last up to 10 years if you are a medium-sized family in a house with 3 bathrooms and your daily water consumption is average (around 100 to 150 gallons a day).

The OnliSOft media, on the other hand, is non-absorbent and will last for a lifetime, hence needs no replacements or maintenance. However, the whole system will require care and cleaning, at least after 5 years or less.

The build quality of the tanks, connectors, and the other parts of the system is quite good. Everything appears to be robust and well built – they are not likely to break or get damaged easily. The mounting bracket for the ZEE Pro pre-filter housing is a thick aluminum too and RKIN provides large hex bolts for mounting it on the wall, so it will firmly stay put and hold the pre-filter in place once mounted.

The tanks (with the head attached) measure 8 inches wide and 48 inches high, hence they don’t take up much space. They can be installed even on uneven surfaces because they sit in a “boot” which allows you to adjust their position if either of them doesn’t stand perfectly straight up and down – the bottom of the tanks is round, so the boots allow them to stand upright and sit firmly once adjusted properly.  

Final Remarks 

From our thorough assessment, the RKIN whole house filter system is a suitable option for anyone looking for a comprehensive water treatment system that can deal with water hardness and also effectively remove most of the common contaminants found in the water.

It’s particularly ideal if you are after a salt-free water softener that can handle both medium and very hard water from the city water supply – especially if you need to monitor your sodium intake or have cardiovascular issues. It doesn’t use any salt or chemicals to soften the water and the results are just as good as when using a salt-based system.

There are no serious drawbacks to worry about either. The only thing is that you can’t use it on well water or any water that might be microbiologically unsafe. It’s designed to filter only water from a municipal water supply.

The system comes with very impressive warranty terms. RKIN offers a lifetime warranty on the tanks and the parts, as well as a 1-year money-back guarantee. The customer support from the company is also impressive as many users attested that they respond quickly and always answer customers’ queries or resolve any problems. You can reach them by phone or e-mail.

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.