Aquasana EQ-1000-AST Water Conditioner Reviews

Aquasana is a brand that’s very famous for its durable, complex systems that can be customized to address various water treatment needs. The EQ-1000-AST model stands out as one of the best water treatment systems from the company as well as on the market.

It’s an innovative whole-house unit that combines an effective water conditioner with an advanced water filter system to provide a comprehensive solution to a broad range of water quality issues.

This system is part of Aquasana’s EQ-1000 series which consists of two other models, the EQ-1000 and EQ-1000-AST-UV. In this review, we look at the EQ-1000-AST model which is our top pick on this list and you are going to see why we consider it as the best whole house water conditioner.

System Design and Performance

The Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000-AST is a water conditioner and a filter system in one unit. It features 4-stages of water treatment which include, a sediment pre-filter, salt-free water conditioner, activated carbon filter, and a post filter.

The EQ-1000 which is the base model of the Aquasana EQ-1000 series is only a filter system without the salt-free water softener. The EQ-1000-AST-UV, on the other hand, is the more advanced model of the series equipped with the water conditioner and filter system plus an extra UV sterilization filter.

Softening Capability

The Aquasana EQ-1000-AST offers an entirely salt-free water treatment process using its Simply Soft descaling system.

Simply Soft descaling system is an innovative and proven SCM (Scale Control Media) softening technology that naturally conditions water without using added sodium.

First, the water from your main supply line goes through a pre-filter that clears out sediments, silt, sand, and rust.

Once filtered, it’s sent through the Aquasana salt-free water conditioner tank where the SCM technology modifies the structure of the minerals that cause water hardness (calcium and magnesium) by transforming them into a crystal structure which inhibits the minerals from bonding and creating scale build-up.

It’s an all-natural and chemical-free approach to preventing scale from forming and at the same time, it also protects your plumping and pipes from corrosion in the long run.

The descaler will also not demineralize your water. The beneficial calcium and magnesium minerals will not be removed, but you will still get the benefits similar to soft water.

In terms of water harness level, this Aquasana descaler can handle water hardness levels of up to 25 GPG. However, it works well at 15 GPG or below. If your water hardness level is above 15GPG, then it may not be that effective.

Filter System Performance

When it comes to the filtration system, the EQ-1000-AST uses a four-stage filtration process that efficiently removes a wide range of common contaminants found in water.

The 1st stage consists of a sediment filter that strips out dust, dirt, rust, silt and any other particle or sediment larger than 5 microns to protect the media in the later filtration stages. From there, the water is sent through the water conditioner tank for descaling.

After the softening process, the now descaled water enters the 2nd stage of the filtration process which takes place in the top tank right after the descaler.

Inside this tank is a combination of a copper-zinc oxidation media (KDF-55 medium) and crushed mineral media which effectively draw out 97% of chlorine in the water, and also reduce scale along with some water-soluble heavy metals such as lead and mercury.

Both media are bacteriostatic too meaning they will prevent bacteria and algae growth within the system. Moreover, they can equally enhance the pH of the water like an alkaline filter in an RO system making it slightly alkaline which is commendable as alkaline water is an antioxidant and considered better for our bodies.

The 3rd stage is an activated carbon filter that sits in the bottom tank below the 2nd stage. The activated carbon media is sourced from coconut shell and it helps in further removal of chlorine alongside other harmful chemical contaminants like VOCs, herbicides, pesticides and industrial solvents.

The 4th and final stage is made up of a 0.35-micron post-filter which is an important if not necessary addition in the system. It’s the finest filter you will find in any conventional whole house water system and ensures no sediment, organic particle or microscopic cysts remains in your water.

With this really impressive filtration process coupled with a reliable descaling technology, the EQ-1000-AST is not only capable of stopping limescale buildup within your plumbing system, but will also give you a cleaner, great-tasting drinking water.

The only thing missing is the UV sterilization filter which is an optional upgrade you can get if your water has high bacterial or microorganism contamination.

However, it’s included in the EQ-1000-AST-UV model and it’s the only feature that differentiates it from this EQ-1000-AST model. It does drive up the price a little bit, but it will destroy up to 99.99% of all microorganisms in your water supply.

System Capacity

Besides the highly-effective water treatment system, the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST offers one of the largest filtration capacity out there for a whole-house unit.

Its descaler system can process up to 1,000,000 gallons of water which translates to about 10 years of service for small to medium-sized families with average water consumption.

What’s more, the multiple stages of the unit don’t have a significant effect on the water flow. The system maintains a maximum flow rate of 7 GPM which is sufficient for small to large homes.

Installation and Maintenance

Installing the EQ-1000-AST is relatively easy, but it will need a bit of plumbing knowledge because it may require doing some little changes on the piping for most houses.

You can do it yourself although it’s not advisable because according to Aquasana, the installation must be done by professional plumper in order to engage the warranty.

Once installed, maintaining this system is pretty simple. There is no backflushing or draining needed. The only maintenance needed is replacing the filters.

The pre-filter, KDF-55 and carbon filter require changing every 3 to 6 months depending on your water quality. The post-filter should last about 12 months while the water conditioner tank will last for 10 years.

In addition, the unit comes with brass fittings and shut-off valves to enable more straightforward and mess-free filter changes. Its unique up-flow dual-tank design also does well to prevent any chances of clogging.

Final Thought

There are no serious drawbacks to worry about with this Aquasana system. You should, however, bear in mind that it will require professional installation so as to engage the maximum 10-years warranty which is the longest we’ve encountered in our reviews.

The other thing is that this system is not ideal for well water treatment due to high levels of iron and other contaminants that require specialized filters like an iron filtration tank and UV sterilization filter.

To sum it all, from our thorough assessment, the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST indeed has all it takes to stand out as the best whole house water conditioner in a crowded market. Its price may fall on the high end, but what you get is one of the most effective and long-lasting units that’s worth every penny.

Pros

  • Stops limescale buildup without removing beneficial minerals
  • It can handle water hardness levels of up to 25 GPG
  • Remarkably effective at reducing chlorine levels
  • Removes a wide range of other common contaminants in water
  • Capable of descaling and filtering water in an entire house
  • Larger capacity of up to 1,000,000 gallons
  • Little maintenance required and easy filter changes
  • Impressive 10-year warranty plus a 3-month money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Requires professional installation to engage warranty
  • Not ideal for use with well water

Read moreAquasana EQ-1000-AST Water Conditioner Reviews

Culligan WH-HD200-C Water Filter Reviews

Culligan is a well-known brand with a good reputation for manufacturing quality water purification systems. Their Culligan WH-HD200-C whole house water filtration system does not disappoint either.

It’s really well built and extremely versatile in its usage.

One of the main things to like about it is its versatile design that makes it highly effective in getting rid of sediments and other contaminants.

It supports up to five different Culligan’s filter cartridges which allow you to eliminate all types of sediments available in the water.

The unit default CP5-BBS filter is 5 microns in size and is quite efficient on its own. It effectively removes the sediments present in the water from dirt to course sand to regular sand too much finer sediments like fine sand and silt.

Aside from the sediments, the Culligan serves as a softener. It clears scale and other salt residues that settle in the water. This means no clogged or blocked internal pipes.

The unit is even compatible with the Culligan’s granular activated carbon cartridge. Therefore, it’s not just sediments and contaminants. You can as well get rid of chlorine and odor from the water.

Another cool thing about this unit is that you don’t have to turn off the water supply in the whole house to replace the filter. The built-in bypass makes this easy. All it takes is putting the valve in bypass position, then you push the pressure relief button and open the housing. It makes maintaining the unit much easier.

The setup operates on battery which is a big plus as it means it will continue to function properly even when there is no electricity.

Most models depend on electricity, so to have rechargeable batteries is a great advantage. You will have a continuous supply of pure water during power cuts and you can even use it areas where electricity isn’t available.

For your convenience, there’s a built-in timer within its setup to let you know how much power is remaining. So, no unwanted surprises plus the unit also has a filter life indicator to keep you aware of the state of the cartridge.

It makes timely replacements much easier.

The CP5-BBS filter has a capacity of 20,000 gallon which isn’t huge but is decent enough.

The setup consists of larger inlet and outlet connectors. The ports are 1-inch thick hence it will deliver plenty of water flow as is often required in larger homes.

With the help of the connectors and some DIY skills, assembling this system won’t give you any trouble. It’s pretty easy, you won’t need a plumber.

The only setback is that the bypass valve might be a little hard to turn and you easily shred the seal should you use a housing wrench for leverage.

Pros

  • Very effective at removing all types of sediment
  • Compatible with up to five different filter cartridges
  • Clear housing allows seeing the filter at work
  • Complies with ANSI standard
  • Easy to install and to maintain with the built-in bypass valve

Cons

  • Seals can break when subject to too much pressure
  • The filters are not included, you must purchase them separately

Our Verdict

The Culligan WH-HD200-C is an efficient and reliable water filtration system, especially for small to medium houses. It has a strong rigid body and its versatile design allows you to utilize different filters.

If you are on a tight budget but still want something that’s durable and capable of keeping your water clean at all times, then this is an excellent option to consider.

Read moreCulligan WH-HD200-C Water Filter Reviews

iSpring WGB21B 2-Stage Water Filter Reviews

In the third position, we have the iSpring WGB21B and this is another effective solution for dealing with home water contamination. Like the Aquasana EQ-1000, this water filter model from iSpring utilizes more than one water filter to tackle a wide range of common water problems.

The unit has a very capable 2 stage system that offers a strong and effective filtration. In the first stage, the system filters out all the contaminants that are larger than 5 microns. Dirt, sediments and all other large-sized particles are completely removed from the water.

The system achieves its maximum filtration in the second stage where using the carbon block filter, the water is further filtered out to remove finer sediments, rust, pesticides, herbicides, other contaminants, and even chlorine.
The system may not be as effective as the three-stage system of the Aquasana EQ-1000 above in eliminating chlorine and killing some microorganisms, but you can remove up to 95% of water contaminants with it compared to other normal filters.

Even much better, it uses 1-inch input and output ports that allow as much as 15 gallons of water per minute to pass through the system. You won’t notice any drop in water pressure once you install it.

However, it doesn’t soften the water which means expect stains and salt build-ups in your utensils and internal pipes respectively. You can solve this though by installing a water softener first, then the filter system. You will achieve the best possible results.

Pros

  • The filtration system is quite effective
  • Offers slightly better water pressure than other high-end models
  • Requires minimum maintenance as the filters last up to one year
  • Installation is fairly easy if you are a hands-on person
  • The filters comply with the NSF standards

Cons

  • Does not soften the water
  • Need to use Teflon tape or else the connection might leak

Our Verdict

The iSpring WGB21B provides enough water pressure that’s ideal for larger household and on top of that, the filter system is quite effective and easy to maintain. It’s a perfect choice especially if you already have a water softener installed.

Read moreiSpring WGB21B 2-Stage Water Filter Reviews

Express Water WH300SCKS Water Filter Reviews

For anyone specifically looking for a 3-stage filtration system, the Express Water WH300SCKS is a great alternative to the Aquasana EQ-1000 model. Like its competitor, it offers a comprehensive solution to water contamination in one single unit.

The system uses three different filters to target and remove specific contaminants from the water supply and to ensure a more complete purification process. The first stage consists of a sediment filter which eliminates coarse damaging contaminants such as dirt, rust, and sand.

The filter has 4 distinct layers capable of removing contaminants down to 5 microns with the outer layers catching the coarsest contaminants while inner layers deal with finer sediments and particles.

The second phase consists of a Kinetic Degradation Fluxion filter which further captures heavy metals contaminants as well as dirt and other suspended particles. It also removes chemical contaminants including VOCs.

The final stage completes the filtration process and it’s where all the chlorine, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and Total Organic Carbon (TOC) are removed using a granular activated carbon filter to ensure that the water tastes good and is drinkable.

Another thing that sets this unit apart is the pressure gauge and the pressure release button that it comes with. They make it easier to use and monitor the system so that you are aware of when the filters need replacement.

The whole system is a heavy-duty construction made from quality food-grade PCE and ABS plastic, so as far as durability is concerned, you are not going to worry that much. You will have no problem when it comes to installation and maintenance is also quite easy due to its user-friendly design.

Pros

  • Offers a much more comprehensive filtration capability
  • Heavy-duty, durable construction
  • Water pressure is a high ideal for large houses
  • Stainless steel housing for easier filter changes
  • Installation and maintenance is fairly easy

Cons

  • No real installation “instructions” provided other than just a flyer containing some basics

Our Verdict

The WH300SCKS whole house filtration system from Express Water provides a solution to a wide variety of water problems and once you install it, you are definitely going to appreciate the results and performance.

If the Aquasana EQ-1000 model didn’t win you over, then this might be a nice alternative.

Read moreExpress Water WH300SCKS Water Filter Reviews