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Hard water is the bane of homeowners, but a blessing to plumbers looking for business. Using one of the best water softener systems on the market can help you reduce the effects of hard water on your pipes and appliances.

So what is Hard Water? We all learned that water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, but that is pure water.

A lot of other stuff can get into water.

Tap water from a municipality often contains fluoride, which benefits teeth and bones. Trace minerals, such as iron or calcium, can seep into water through soil, old plumbing or rivers. When water contains a high mineral count, it’s considered hard water.

What’s Here:

Water softener systems can make a huge difference on how the water impacts your home and yourself. Everything from showering to laundry can be impacted by water that is too hard. In this article we’re going to help you identify whether or not a water softening system is right for your home.

Up first, we will help you shop for the best water softener system.

Top 10 Best Water Softener Systems 

Let’s get to the shopping. We’ve rounded up a variety of best water softener systems on the market for you to choose from. Take a look and find the right one for you.

tier1water eco series salt free water softener

Tier1 filters are backed by a satisfaction guarantee and made to the highest standards. This system doesn’t use salt, reducing limescale buildup. It is easy to install and only takes up about 3-square-feet of space. The primary filter will need to be changed about every two months, but the resins should last three to five years. This system is designed for a home with one to three bathrooms. 

whirpool water softener

Whirlpool is a trusted name in appliances with more than 100 years of manufacturing quality home appliances. The WHES33 model reduces the use of salt for water softening. It’s NSF Certified and especially effective on iron stains.

It works on-demand, as you use water and doesn’t cause a water pressure drop. It comes with a one-year warranty and includes installation components. Designed for a home with one to three bathrooms.

fleck water softener on demand

The 5600 SXT is designed for a larger home at 64,000 grain removal. It’s easy to install and works on demand, based on your water needs. Its programming has a backup for power outages.

You can easily make adjustments to minimize salt usage or maximize capacity when you need more water. The system has a bypass valve, which allows you to bypass the system without having to shut off the main water.

AO Smith Whole House Salt-Free Water Descaler

This AO Smith water softener has a service life of six years or 600,000 gallons, at which time it does need to be replaced. It uses salt-free technology. You don’t need to clean the unit or add salt, nor is electricity required.

The model reduces scale build-up and works as a best water softener for well water. Installation can be completed by most homeowners. It’s designed for larger homes.   

ecopure conditioner-water softener and filter

The Ecopure EPHS007 is a 31,000 grain capacity, effective for up to 6 people. It works well with both well and city water supplies. The unit has a low-salt indicator light, plus it cleans itself automatically. No filters to replace. It only softens the water you actually use. The unit comes with the installation kit and a bypass valve. To completely fill the salt talk, you’ll need five bags of salt.

genesis 2 high efficiency water softener

This model comes with everything required for installation. It’s designed for a smaller family, at only 24,000 grain capacity, but there are higher grain capacity models. The resin tank has a lifetime warranty. The control head has a 7-year warranty.

The Genesis features electronic sensors and adjustable cycles for efficient water softening. The technology is designed to reduce salt consumption and allow the resin to recharge precisely. Genesis is a company with over 50 years of experience.

aquasure whole house water softener

The Harmony Series models give you full control over the system’s performance through time clock control, metered immediate control and meter delayed control. Rated at 64,000 grain capacity, it’s big enough for a large home with three to four bathrooms. The tank comes with a 5-year warranty and a bypass valve. Recommended for wells and city water. 

salt free water softener springwell

This water softener is large enough for a home with four to six bathrooms. Installation can be done by DIY homeowners, but you can also hire a plumber.

This system doesn’t use salt, so the water may not feel different, but it does take out 99.6% of the chlorine and other contaminants. The model cleans existing deposits in your plumbing and appliances, plus it prevents future build-up.

nuvo h20 home water softener

This model is designed for a smaller home with only one or two people and lest than 2,000 square feet. It’s not recommended for homes with a private well. The cartridge needs to be replaced about every 6 months. It’s NSF approved. It doesn’t use salt and doesn’t need to be plugged in. It prevents scale build-up and removes existing deposits.

apec water conditioner

APEC makes systems for homes of all sizes. This professional grade system offers luxury spa quality water to your entire home. It’s a salt-free water conditioner that prevents scale buildup in plumbing and appliances. It’s reportedly maintenance free and eco-friendly.

APEC does need to be installed inside. Hardness should be below 25 grains per gallon for best effectiveness. It does not use electricity, but you get an unlimited supply of clean and refreshing water in every room with a sink.  

What Are the Effects of Hard Water?

According to the Water Research Center, hard water generally isn’t a health concern, but it is a nuisance. When water is heated, the minerals in the water crystallize on other surfaces, such as in your plumbing, water heater, washing machine and dishwasher.

Hard water clogs the water lines and causes shorter appliance life. Over time, the mineral deposits buildup and causes appliances to be less efficient. The best rated water softener system can extend the life of appliances that use water.

Here are some examples of how hard water can impact your day-to-day:

  • Hard water can cause the skin and hair to dry out. During the winter, hard water intensifies the dryness caused by cold and wind.
  • Calcium and magnesium in hard water reacts with detergents and soaps.
  • The effectiveness of shampoos, dish and laundry detergents, and shower gels is decreased by hard water.

A water softener system provides clean and clear water that doesn’t react with soap and detergent. Your skin, hair, dishes and clothes will thank you. 

Signs You Have Hard Water 

best water softener system
  • Does your water smell funny? Although hard water isn’t a health issue, it can taste or smell off. Too much iron in the water can make it taste metallic. Some minerals can make your water smell or taste like dirt. 
  • You might see unexplained stains on your sink or in your toilet. Iron causes rust. Too much iron in your water will stain the toilet bowl. You can clean the stains, but until you fix the source, they’ll keep coming back. 
  • Soam scum frequently gets left behind. Maybe your shower door is covered with soap scum. Dishes cleaned in your dishwasher may have spots. This film is from the calcium deposits in the water. The water dries and evaporates, but the minerals are left behind. 
  • You may not get a lot of lather when you’re showering. The first reason is that the hard water causes an ineffective use of soap. The second reason is that your shower-head is clogged, which means you aren’t getting enough water pressure. 
  • Your laundry doesn’t seem clean. The same iron in the water that causes stains on your toilet will oxidize in your laundry. Your white towels may be dingy due to hard water. Bright colors may appear dull. 
  • Your appliances are wearing out. The mineral deposits build up in your water heater, which clogs the pipes. Deposits in the ice maker clog the valves. Your washing machine will wear out faster due to hard water deposits.  

Tips For Buying a Water Softener System 

shower stain

A water softener system removes the minerals in the water.

How Does it Work?

Water comes into a tank. Through an ionic process, usually involving sodium or potassium and resin beads, the unwanted elements are dissolved. You can choose to soften all the water that comes into your home, or just the hot water. The sodium needs to be replaced periodically.

How Do I Find the Right Size?

The best water softener system for your home must fit the size of your home and the number of people you have.

If you have one to two bathrooms with three or fewer people, you should look for a small to midsize system with a 20,000+ Grain capacity.

If your home has three or more bathrooms and you have four or more people, you should look for a mid to large size system with a 30,000+ Grain capacity.

How to Test Your Water Hardness

Water hardness is measured by grains. To determine your water hardness, check with your local municipality or test your water hardness yourself.

The average person uses about 80 gallons of water per day. Multiply the number of people in your home by 80, then multiply that number by grains of hardness in your water supply to determine how many grains of hardness need to be removed each day.

The best whole house water filtration and softener system should be one that is equipped to handle the load.

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