Compare Water Softeners

If you have hard water and are looking to purchase a water softener, there are a few items to consider before you buy. On this page you will find information on hard water, water softeners and brand by brand comparisons to help you make the best purchasing decision for your specific hard water needs.

Test your water. First and foremost, it is wise to get a copy of your water quality report from your water supplier, or if you are on a private well, to get your well water tested. If you have hard water, there is a good chance you have other dissolved solids as well as harmful contaminants present in your water. Depending on your results, you may be in the market for a water filter plus water softening system.

What is hard water? Hard water is caused by a high concentration of calcium, magnesium, barium, and other “hard” minerals in water that clump together and stick to most surfaces they come in contact with including your plumbing, appliances, dishes, clothing, bathtub, skin and hair. Hard mineral buildup, known as scale, can cause pipe corrosion, reduce water pressure, stain dishes and clothing, and ultimately damage your appliances and plumbing. In addition, showering and bathing in hard water can cause soap and shampoo to not lather properly, leaving skin and hair feeling dry.

The purpose of water softeners, water conditioners, and descalers is to eliminate or reduce the negative effects of hard water and scale by removing the hard minerals or altering the behavior of the hard minerals in water. Softened or conditioned water will extend the life of your appliances and plumbing by inhibiting scale formation, and will improve your showering and bathing experience for cleaner feeling hair and skin.

Water softening methods vary. There are two main ways to soften hard water – either removing hard minerals ions from water through a process of ion exchange, or altering the behavior of the hard mineral ions within water to prevent scale formation.

  • Salt-based water softeners use a process of ion exchange to demineralize hard water by exchanging calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions. This method effectively removes hard minerals from water and eliminates scale formation, but does pose some risks to our health and environment. Chemically softened water that adds sodium into water can be harmful to consume due to its high salt concentration and should be avoided by those with hypertension. Salt-based water softeners also produce a large amount of waste water with a high salt concentration that can have detrimental effects on our environment.
  • Salt-free water softeners, water conditioners, and descalers use various methods to alter the behavior of the ionic charge of hard minerals present in water to inhibit them from binding to one another and forming scale. Salt-free water softening methods include reverse osmosis, electromagnetic water treatment, slowly soluble polyphosphate beads, template assisted crystallization, and more. Salt-free water softeners work best with flowing water, but do not work as effectively as salt-based softeners to inhibit scale formation where hard water is allowed to sit still.

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Grade A+

Aquasana - SimplySoft Whole House Salt-Free Softener

Good system that uses SCM technology to reduce up to 98.9% of scale. Salt-free softening is eco-friendly. No loss in water pressure. Does not require electricity or backwashing. Long cartridge life and easy cartridge replacement.

Cost Performance
System
$1,458
Flow Rate
7-10 GPM
Hardness:
N/A
Water Softener Features
Scale Removal Maintains Water Pressure Ease of Use
No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required Limited Maintenance Required
Other Benefits: 90 Day satisfaction guarantee, 6 Year warranty

Grade A-

NuvoH20 - Nuvo Home System

Decent system that reduces scale using citric acid. Salt-free conditioning is eco-friendly. Loss in water pressure detected. Does not require electricity or backwashing. Frequent replacements due to short cartridge life drive up ongoing cost.

Cost Performance
System
$649
Flow Rate
12-15 GPM
Hardness:
N/A
Water Softener Features
Scale Removal Maintains Water Pressure Ease of Use
No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required Limited Maintenance Required
Other Benefits: 90-day satisfaction guarantee, Lifetime warranty

Grade B-

Crystal Quest - Water Softener (CQE-WH-01123)

Salt-based system. Not eco-friendly. Excess salt waste makes system hard on environment. No loss in water pressure, but does require electricity and backwashing. Ongoing maintenance and salt replacement necessary.

Cost Performance
System
$995
Flow Rate
11 GPM
Hardness:
48,000
Water Softener Features
Scale Removal Maintains Water Pressure Ease of Use
No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required Limited Maintenance Required
Other Benefits: 10 year(Tank); 5 Year (Computer Monitored control valves) warranty

Grade C+

Aqua-Pure - Water Softener (AWS150M)

Salt-based system at a high initial price. Not eco-friendly. Excess salt waste makes system hard on environment. No loss in water pressure, but does require electricity and backwashing. Ongoing maintenance and salt replacement necessary.

Cost Performance
System
$2,449
Flow Rate
14 GPM
Hardness:
22,000 - 44,000
Water Softener Features
Scale Removal Maintains Water Pressure Ease of Use
No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required Limited Maintenance Required
Other Benefits: 1-year Limited warranty

All performance claims and pricing were taken from publicly available information. If you find information that is inaccurate, please send the correct info with supporting documentation to info@waterfiltercomparisons.com, and we will address any errors.
Pricing is subject to change and is accurate as of the date this chart was last updated. Product grading is based on the following criteria: System Price, Removes Scale, Salt-free, Loss in Pressure, Requires Backwashing, Requires Electricity.
Manufacturer data last updated 01/23/2017.