Best Water Softeners of 2020

Hard water can clog up your appliances and plumbing with scale, leave unsightly marks on glassware and dishes or make your clothes scratchy and grey. Fortunately, there’s a solution: installing a water softener in your home.

These devices can remove the hardness from your water, preventing all the frustration it can cause. Deciding on the best water softener is where we come in. Sure, you could grab any old model, but there’s much more to it than that if you want the best results.

Table of Contents

    Do I Need a Water Softener?

    The majority of states in the U.S. have hard water to some extent. Water runs through rocks and soil, picking up minerals on its way to reservoirs and water supplies. Of these minerals, magnesium and calcium carbonates are the main culprits that make your water “hard” (1).

    This water then enters your home, traveling through your plumbing and appliances, leaving minerals behind. These build up over time, leaving you with limescale and other deposits.

    Additionally, white, cloudy marks can be left on dishes and around your tubs, faucets, and sinks. Even more frustrating, your skin and hair could be dry and dull; soap and shampoos might not create the amount of suds you would expect, and your laundry might be grey and stiff.

    Aside from the above, if left untreated, hard water can cause reduced water flow, and possibly higher energy and cleaning costs.

    How Do Water Softeners Work?

    Water softeners help remove the minerals that make your water hard, such as calcium and magnesium. This can be done in several ways, depending on whether you want a whole-home solution or only on certain faucets. These include:

    • Ion-exchange softeners.
    • Demand integrated regeneration systems.
    • Template assisted crystallization (TAC) or nucleation assisted crystallization (NAC).
    • Chelation systems.
    • Magnetic or electronic softeners.
    • Reverse osmosis systems.

    Ion-Exchange Salt-Based System

    The most effective water softener for your whole home is an ion exchange system with salt. They usually have two tanks, one for the softening resin (softener tank), and one for salt (brine tank). Some models come with two softening tanks, so you don’t have any downtime while one is being cleaned or regenerated.

    • Resin tank: Inside are lots of tiny beads covered in sodium or potassium (salt). As water passes over the beads, they attract the magnesium and calcium ions in the water and release the sodium ions, a process called ion exchange (2).
    • Brine tank: The brine tank contains salt and water (brine) and flushes this through the softener tank. Reverse ion exchange takes place, and the hard water minerals are washed down the drain, and the salt ions are replaced on the resin.

    Warning

    Due to the release of sodium into softened water, the salt content can be higher, so keep this in mind if you have high blood pressure or heart health issues (3).

    Demand Initiated Regeneration System

    These systems are one of the most common. They work on the same principle as an ion exchange system, but they only regenerate the softener tank when it’s needed. They measure the amount of water that passes through the tank to calculate when the ions have become saturated, and then start the cleaning process (4).

    Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) or Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC)

    These systems are salt-free and condition your water rather than soften it. They descale water by passing it through a TAC media, which converts the hard minerals into crystals. These crystals can’t adhere to pipes and appliances, and so don’t build up. This could also be a more environmentally friendly option as you aren’t putting sodium into the drainage system, or wasting water cleaning them.

    Chelation Systems

    Similar to TAC systems, these are water conditioners. They use a chelating agent like nitriloacetic acid to attract hard water minerals (5). This suspends the minerals in the water, preventing them from attaching to your plumbing.

    Magnetic or Electronic Water Softener

    These devices are easy to fit and can provide conditioned water to your whole home. All you need is a power outlet near your incoming water supply. They then connect to a power supply and clip to the water pipe.

    They go to work by creating magnetic fields that change the chemical composition of your water. They can help prevent scale from forming but don’t remove the hard minerals from water.

    The effectiveness of these devices seems to remain questionable in comparison to ion exchange water softeners (6). Then again, they aren’t designed to soften water, just to prevent the deposits from forming.

    If this is the type of system that appeals, then one like this from iSpring could be a good option.

    Reverse Osmosis System

    If you don’t want a whole-home system, but want cleaner drinking water, a reverse osmosis system could fit the bill. They generally fit under your sink and use multiple filters to remove contaminants from your water. These include calcium, magnesium, organic materials, and chemicals (7).

    How to Choose the Best Water Softener

    Apart from the different types of water softeners, some additional factors might make your buying decision easier:

    • Sizing of filter.
    • Available space.
    • Bypass valves.
    • Regeneration settings.
    • Flow rate.
    • Crosslink percentage.
    • Warranties.

    What Size Do I Need?

    The capacity of an ion exchange water softener is expressed in the grain capacity of the resin in the softener tank. The higher the grain capacity, the less frequently it will need to be regenerated. This will mean savings on salt and water in the long run.

    To calculate the capacity for your home, you’ll need to collate some information and do a few calculations.

    1. Water Hardness

    Water hardness is calculated depending on the amount of calcium carbonate it contains. There are a few ways you can find out how hard your water is:

    • DIY: Test it yourself with a water test kit. These are readily available, like this one from JNW, and are easy to use.
    • Lab test: Ask an independent laboratory to test your water for you.
    • Water supplier: Request a water report from your local supplier, or call them and ask.

    Water hardness is measured in ppm (parts per million), or gpg (grains per gallon). The industry standard is grains per gallon. The measurement can be calculated from ppm by dividing by 17.12.

    For example: 100 ppm divided by 17.12 = 5.84 gpg

    If you have high iron content in your water, or your supply is from a well, it’s advised that you add 4 gpg for each 1 ppm of iron to your water hardness figure.

    2. Daily Water Consumption

    The next figure you need to obtain is your home’s daily water consumption. Use your water bill for this and convert it to a daily average.

    If you don’t have this information, you can estimate it. The USGS estimates that each person uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day (8). So, multiply the number of people in your household by about 90 to give you gallons per day.

    For example: 5 people x 90 gallons per person = 450 gallons per day.

    3. Daily Softening Requirement

    The final figure you need is the softening requirement, measured in hardness grains per day. This is done by multiplying the hardness level — step 1 — by the gallons per day consumption — step 2.

    For example: 5.84 gpg (hardness in grains per gallon) x 450 gallons per day = 2,628.

    4. Calculate Your Required Grain Capacity

    To calculate this figure, you need to think about how often a system needs to regenerate itself. The recommendation is about every six or seven days. Using this as a guide, multiply your daily softening requirement by 7.

    For example: 2,628 grains per day x 7 days = 18,396 grains per week.

    This means that the capacity you would be looking for based on the above data would be an 18,000-grain capacity as a minimum.

    The best water softeners’ grain capacities start at about 16,000 and can reach up to 96,000 if you have a system with dual softener tanks.

    Space Available

    Consider how much space you have to place a water softening system where your water supply enters your home.

    Many ion-exchange models consist of one softener tank and one brine tank; some are single units and some have dual tanks and a brine tank.

    Undersink water conditioners or magnetic water conditioners could be a good choice if you’re pushed for space in a small home or apartment.

    Bypass Valve

    The bypass valve is fitted to the softener, allowing you to divert water away from the softener when it’s not needed. This could be used for doing repairs or filling an aquarium, and is easy to find and operate.

    While not essential for a water softener, a bypass valve sure makes life easier.

    Regeneration Settings

    Regeneration can be set manually for a time that suits you, such as at night when water isn’t needed. On the other hand, there are metered systems that measure the water used and only regenerate when the system needs it.

    Manual timers can use more water and salt by regenerating when the system might not need it. Metered systems might kick in at a time when water usage is high.

    Flow Rate

    The flow rate of a water softener indicates how much water it can supply, usually denoted in gallons per minute (gpm).

    Consider how much demand there is at the same time from members of your household, and how much each appliance or faucet needs. To give you an idea (9):

    • Faucet: 2.5–3.0 gpm
    • Toilet: 2.2–5.0 gpm
    • Bathtub: 4.0–8.0 gpm
    • Shower: 2.5–5.0 gpm
    • Washing machine: 4.0–5.0 gpm
    • Dishwasher: 2.0–gpm

    A good rule of thumb is to aim for a flow rate of 4 gpm for the first person in your home and then an additional 1 or 2 gpm for each extra person.

    This means:

    • 2 people: 5–6 gpm.
    • 3 people: 6–8 gpm.
    • 4 people: 7–10 gpm.

    These figures can vary depending on the size of your home, and how many bathrooms you have (10).

    Crosslink Percentage

    The beads in the resin tank are usually made from polystyrene and divinylbenzene (DVB). Crosslinking refers to the process where the DVB has been wrapped in strands of polystyrene to make it durable.

    The more DVB and strands, the higher the crosslink percentage and the smaller the beads. Smaller beads mean for more in the tank, giving a larger resin area for ionization.

    Most systems have a crosslinking percentage of either 8 or 10 percent.

    Warranty

    Peace of mind if something goes wrong with your system could be important to you. Many manufacturers offer warranties on their products. These could cover parts and labor and could vary from 1 year to 10 years or more.

    Note that the most often warrantied parts are the valves and the tanks.


    Best Water Softener Reviews of 2020

    From the views of industry experts and customer feedback, the most popular seem to be ion-exchange salt-based units. As a result, most of our top 7 picks fall within this category.

    1. AFWFilters Fleck 64k Water Softener

    Best Overall

    AFWFilters Fleck 64k water softener, 64,000 Grains, Blue
    Check Price

    Suitable for the whole house, this 64,000-grain water softener comes fully loaded with eight percent crosslink resin.

    It has a bypass valve, brine tank, and valve included. This means all you need to do is get it set up and you’re good to go.

    The blue resin tank measures 48 inches by 12 inches and is made in the USA, and the brine tank is 15 inches by 17 inches by 33 inches.

    With this in mind, make sure you have enough room to accommodate both tanks.

    Why We Love It

    Digitally Metered Control Valve

    This system is fitted with a Fleck 5600SXT digital valve. This valve measures the water passing through the softener tank and regenerates only when needed. This means you could save on water and salt as it will only clean the system when it’s needed.

    The valve has an LCD that shows you the current status of the system and will display error codes so you can troubleshoot problems. It also has touchpad controls so you can adjust and program the settings if you want to take full control.

    Warranty

    After taking delivery of your system, the company offers technical support and after-sales care to help you install your unit, via a toll-free number. They’ll also answer any questions you have about programming your system.

    Following this, you get a five-year warranty on the valve and a 10-year warranty on the tanks.

    Installation Kit & Bypass Valve

    The tanks come with an installation kit, which includes a standard 1-inch male national pipe thread. This should be easy to connect to your plumbing yourself.

    A bypass valve is included so you can easily disconnect the softener from your water system. This is great when you want to clean your brine tank or renew your resin.

    Keep In Mind

    Video instructions are supplied on a USB drive to help you install the system. Some find these hard to follow. On the plus side, many find telephone support from the company very knowledgeable and helpful.

    Additional Specs

    Capacity (Grain)64,000
    Flow RateApp. 14–16 gpm.
    ValveFleck 5600SXT digital metered regeneration
    TypeIon exchange, salt-based
    Warranty5-year valve, 10-year tanks

    2. Tier1 Everyday Series 48,000 Grain Water Softener

    Best Water Softener for Hard Water

    Tier1 Essential Series 48,000 Grain High Efficiency Digital Water Softener with Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System
    Check Price

    Tier1 brings us an ion exchange water softener that has 48,000 grains of resin. It’s a whole-home system available in blue or black tanks. This basic system can remove hardness from your water, making your soap work better and preventing limescale buildup in pipes and appliances.

    It regenerates within two hours, and this can be manually set to take place while you sleep at night. It has a digital control valve with an easy-to-read LCD, which gives you relevant information for your system. The information is clear and concise, so it shouldn’t confuse you.

    Why We Love It

    Quick-Connect Fittings

    All the fittings you need to hook this up to your water pipes are supplied with this system. It has three-quarter-inch connections, tubing for the brine tank and drain line, and all mechanical components. Some customers have reported that additional 1-inch connections are supplied as well.

    The company does advise that homes that have CPVC or PEX plumbing might need to purchase additional compression fittings. If so, it recommends the Sharkbite brand.

    Space Saving

    The softener tank measures 54 inches high and 10 inches in diameter, and the brine tank measures 14 inches by 42 inches. The proprietary turbine meter is incorporated in the bypass valve, meaning this whole unit takes up less room.

    The company advises this can save you up to 4 feet of floor space.

    Dedicated Customer Support

    This system comes with a 100 percent no-worries guarantee, although we aren’t told how long this lasts for. Tier1 has a dedicated customer support team that speaks English and Spanish. Additionally, they’re US-based and on-hand to help with any queries about the product and its installation.

    Demand Initiated Regeneration

    The valve on this water softener is fitted with a water probe (propeller) that measures the amount of water you use. Based on this information, it will regenerate the resin tank when necessary, although you can set a manual override.

    The advantage of a demand regeneration is you can save on salt and water as the system won’t regenerate when it doesn’t need to.

    Keep In Mind

    Unclear Installation Instructions

    Some found the instructions supplied a little confusing. While patience and customer support paid off in most cases, it does mean a longer time to get set up.

    Additional Specs

    Capacity (Grain)48,000
    Flow Rate11.2 gpm
    ValveFleck 5600SXT digital metered regeneration
    TypeIon exchange, salt-based
    WarrantyNo worries guarantee, duration not specified

    3. AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener

    Best Water Softener for Well Water

    Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter Fleck 5600SXT digital metered valve 64,000 grain, 64k for whole house
    Check Price

    Water supply from a well can present homeowners with many challenges; after all, it’s your responsibility alone and is generally not regulated. Apart from harmful chemicals and bacteria, the chances are your water will be hard and could contain higher levels of iron (11).

    The Iron Pro 2 is designed to soften water by removing hardness up to 75 gpg. It can also help remove iron in the 6–8 ppm range and manganese below 6 ppm. On top of that, the fine mesh resin can also help eliminate sediment, rust, and sand.

    As well as less buildup in pipes and appliances, this system could help eliminate red rust stains on sinks and tubs, which result from iron in the water. The system has a flow rate of 16 gpm, making it suitable for households of up to seven people.

    Why We Love It

    Meter-Based Regeneration

    The system comes with a Fleck 5600SXT digital control, which operates on a metered regeneration. This means your system gets cleaned of the hard water minerals only when it needs to.

    If your water consumption increases, the meter will detect this and regenerate more often, so you always have soft water. Likewise, if your consumption decreases, it will regenerate less, conserving salt and water.

    Peace of Mind

    A 30-day satisfaction guarantee accompanies this system. If you decide to keep it, further warranties of five years on the control head and 10 years on the tanks are offered.

    Complete System

    This water softener comes with a softener tank containing a 64,000 grain count, fine mesh resin, a brine tank, a metered control, and a bypass valve. It has all you need to soften your hard water and remove some iron.

    Keep In Mind

    Inadequate Installation Instructions

    While the company provides toll-free telephone and email support, many find there are either no instructions included or if there are, they lack detail. If you don’t have plumbing knowledge, this could mean you need to get a professional to install it for you.

    Additional Specs

    Capacity (Grain)64,000
    Flow RateApp. 14–16 gpm.
    ValveFleck 5600SXT digitally metered regeneration
    TypeIon exchange, salt-based
    Warranty5-year valve, 10-year tanks

    4. AFWFilters Dual tank water softener

    Best Large Home System

    AFWFilters WS-96k-91SXT Fleck 9100SXT Dual tank water softener 96k, 96,000 grain with the digital 9100 sxt valve, almond Or Black
    Check Price

    If you want an uninterrupted flow of softened water at all times, this dual tank system could fit the bill. Each tank contains 3 cubic feet of resin, offering 96,000 grains in total. This means more time between regenerations, saving on salt and water.

    The advantage of two tanks is that while one regenerates, the other continues working, giving you a constant supply of water. You don’t have to worry that you might not have water at the kid’s bathtime or for your morning shower.

    The flow rate of these tanks is 20 gallons per minute. This is great if you have several people getting ready for school and work in the morning, all using water. It means you can run your dishwasher and washing machine at the same time, too.

    Why We Love It

    Demand Regeneration

    The system comes fitted with a Fleck 9100SXT digital control head. It has a fiber-reinforced polymer valve body, making it durable and strong, an LCD with touchpad controls for setting adjustment, and a fitted bypass valve.

    Designed to meter your water usage and only regenerate each tank when necessary, this system could reduce salt usage and save on water waste. If your water hardness is not high on the scale, you can set these tanks to regenerate less often.

    Large Brine Tank

    Two softener tanks needing regeneration requires a larger brine tank. The one supplied with the system can hold up to 350 pounds of salt and comes complete with a float assembly fitted. The larger-capacity 18-inch by 40-inch tank means fewer salt top-ups and possibly less maintenance.

    DIY Setup

    Installation details providing step by step instructions can be found online. They tell you exactly what to do, from checking what’s in the box, to setting up the tanks and valves, filling the resin tank, and more.

    Warning

    The company does advise that you need some basic plumbing knowledge to install the system. If you’re unsure what to do, call in a professional.

    Keep In Mind

    Will Require Some Room

    The brine tank measures 18 inches by 49 inches and each softener tank 14 inches by 65 inches. You then have the height of the control valve sitting on top of the tanks.

    Take these factors into account when deciding if you have enough room for this system.

    Additional Specs

    Capacity (Grain)96,000
    Flow Rate20 gpm
    ValveFleck 9100SXT digitally metered
    TypeIon exchange, salt-based
    Warranty5-year valve, 10-year tanks

    5. iSpring Six-Stage Undersink Drinking Water Filter

    Best Salt-Free Water

    iSpring RCC7P-AK Boosted Performance Under Sink 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis Drinking Filtration System and Ultimate Water Softener with Alkaline Remineralization, and Pump
    Check Price

    When you don’t have room for, or don’t want, a whole-home softening system then this reverse osmosis water conditioner could be what you need. It has a six-stage filter system: five to remove contaminants in your water and one to replace useful minerals.

    iSpring claims this reverse osmosis filter removes lead, chlorine, fluoride, sodium, bacteria, and viruses. It also replaces minerals such as calcium and magnesium at the sixth filter stage.

    The unit measures 14.5 x 5.2 x 18.5 inches and is designed to fit under your sink. This makes it a great option when you’re tight on space but want better water from your faucet. It can filter up to 75 gallons of water a day.

    Why We Love It

    Easy Installation

    All parts needed to install your unit are included. It comes with written instructions and illustrations that are easy to follow. Also, there are instructional videos and access to iSprings technical support team, if needed. We really like that the fittings are push-to-connect and color-coded to make it easy to identify what goes where.

    Choice of Water Output

    The system comes with a nickel-plated brass faucet included, which is designed to be mounted on your countertop. You can also connect the output lines to a coffee maker or ice maker if you prefer.

    Excellent Filters

    The first-stage filters are transparent, which makes it easy for you to see when they’re becoming clogged with sediment and need changing.

    A granulated activated carbon filter (GAC) helps remove contaminants, and a CTO (color/taste/odor) filter is designed to improve the water’s taste and remove odor. The final stage remineralizes the water.

    All filters are replaceable, albeit this could be at different, recommended times. Check the manufacturer’s directions as to what need replacing when.

    Keep In Mind

    Leaky Faucet

    The faucet supplied with this system might tend to spring a small leak. Luckily, the system is guaranteed for a year so you should be able to get a replacement if this happens.

    Additional Specs

    Capacity (Grain)Cleans 75 gallons per day
    Flow RateInformation not supplies
    ValveInformation not supplies
    TypeReverse osmosis filter
    Warranty1 year
    You Might Also Like
    Plumber installing the best under sink water filter7 Best Under Sink Water Filters You’ll Want to Use

    6. ABCWaters Fleck 48,000-Grain Water Softener

    Easiest to Install Water Softener

    ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt 48,000 Black WATER SOFTENER w/UPGRADED 10% Resin + Hardness Test + Install Kit
    Check Price

    This system from ABCWaters is designed to provide a family of up to five with softened municipal water. It has a 48,000-grain capacity, and the softener tank is prefilled with 10 percent crosslinked resin. This higher percentage means the beads are smaller and the resin has a longer life expectancy.

    The package includes almost everything you need for a complete home water-softening solution. You get the brine and softener tanks, a Fleck 5600SXT valve digital meter, a bypass, and a yoke.

    Also included is a brine line and all the small parts you need to connect — right down to lubricant for the O-rings, water hardness test strips, and a sanitizer package for the first regeneration.

    Why We Love It

    Good for Smaller Spaces

    The tanks on this system are smaller than some others on the market and could suit you if you’re short on space. The softener tank has a 10-inch diameter and is 2 inches high, while the brine tank measures 14 inches by 36 inches.

    Flow Rate

    With a flow rate of 13 gallons per minute, this unit can easily supply a family of four with more than enough water when needed. So, you can put the laundry on and run a nice deep bath to have a soak at the same time.

    Installation Instructions

    An experienced technician wrote the installation guide supplied with the system. Once complete, it was then revised after feedback from a novice installer. The result is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide.

    There are also videos on the manufacturer’s website to further help with installation and programming the digital meter.

    Keep In Mind

    Additional Parts Needed

    It’s worth noting that the drain line and water connectors aren’t included with this system. Some find it might need a few trips to the plumbing supply store as there also isn’t a complete list of any extra parts you need.

    Additional Specs

    Capacity (Grain)48,000
    Flow Rate12 gpm.
    ValveFleck 5600SXT valve digital meter
    TypeIon exchange, salt-based
    Warranty5-year valve, 10-year tanks

    7. Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener

    Best Compact Water Softener

    Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener - Built in USA - Salt Saving Technology - NSF Certified
    Check Price

    Whirlpool brings us a whole-home system with a difference. Both the softener tank and brine tank are enclosed in one unit, making it a space-saving option. The housing measures 19 inches deep by 18 inches wide by 43.5 inches high.

    The bypass valve and digital meter for measuring water consumption before regeneration are also built-in. We love that the meter measures the amount of salt needed each time and lets you know when it requires topping up. This can not only save on water consumption, but salt usage as well.

    Why We Love It

    Made in the USA

    This unit has been designed, assembled, and engineered in the USA. This means replacement parts, should they be needed, could be readily available. The system is also NSF-certified, ensuring the product has been tested for safety and quality (12).

    Warranty

    Whirlpool offers a one-year warranty on parts and labor. This can be extended to two years if you purchase three bottles of their branded water softener cleanser.

    A further warranty of three years is offered on the electronics and 10 years on the tank.

    Grain Capacity

    The grain capacity on this softener is 30,000, and we’re told it removes 95 gpg of hardness and up to 8 ppm of iron. This makes it suitable for a household of between one and four people.

    Keep In Mind

    Additional Parts Required

    Some have found that extra fittings were needed when it came to installation. Whether this applies to you, or not, depends entirely on your current plumbing situation. Remember that you can always call in a plumber if you need help.

    Additional Specs

    Capacity (Grain)30,000
    Flow RateNot specified
    ValveDemand calculated regeneration.
    TypeIon exchange, salt-based.
    Warranty1 year full parts and labor, 3 years electronics, 10 years tank.

    Detailed Comparison Chart

    ProductBestCapacity (Grain)Flow RateValveTypeWarranty
    AFWFilters Fleck 64kOverall Pick64,00014–16 gpmFleck 5600SXT digital metered regenerationIon exchange, salt-based5-year valve, 10-year tanks
    Tier1 Everyday SeriesHard Water48,00011.2 gpmFleck 5600SXT digital metered regenerationIon exchange, salt-basedN/A
    AFWFilters Iron Pro 2Well Water64,00014–16 gpmFleck 5600SXT digitally metered regenerationIon exchange, salt-based5-year valve, 10-year tanks
    AFWFilters Dual TankLarge Home System96,00020 gpmFleck 9100SXT digitally meteredIon exchange, salt-based5-year valve, 10-year tanks
    iSpring Undersink Water FilterSalt-Free75 gal. per dayN/AN/AReverse osmosis filter1 year
    ABCWaters Fleck Water SoftenerEasiest to Install48,00012 gpmFleck 5600SXT valve digital meterIon exchange, salt-based5-year valve, 10-year tanks
    Whirlpool Water SoftenerCompact30,000N/ADemand calculated regeneration.Ion exchange, salt-based.1 year parts and labor, 3 years electronics, 10 years tank.
    Jump to the Full Water Softener Reviews

    How to Install a Water Softener

    Many water softeners can be installed with a little know-how. Here are the basic steps for fitting your water softener to your plumbing system.

    Quick Tip

    If you’re unsure about what to do, call a professional to carry out the installation for you.

    Salt-Based Systems (Ion Exchange and Automatic Regeneration)

    1. Switch off and drain: Before beginning any installation, turn off your main water supply and drain the system by opening your lowest faucet or drainage valve. Also, turn off the power supply to your water heater.
    2. Location: Identify the location for the water softener. There should be enough room for the two tanks, power supply, and a drain for water discharge nearby. It will also need to be near your main water supply — after the meter but before your water heater connections.
    3. Bypass valve: Most water softeners come with a bypass valve supplied that attaches to the softener tank. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and lock this into place and secure it.
    4. Connect to the water: You can either hard pipe it with copper or PVC piping or use flex hoses and connectors. You will need to cut your main supply line and either solder or use push fittings to connect your flex hoses. Once they’re in place, connect them to your system, making sure you get the inlet and outlet the right way round.
    5. Drainage: When a water softener system regenerates, mineral-heavy water drains from the system. You could use a utility sink, standpipe or floor drain for the water outlet. Connect the drain hose to the softener tank and the overflow drain hose to the drain elbow located on the salt tank. Both these hoses then need to be placed and secured where they can drain the water from your home.
    6. Add salt and turn on: Add the amount of salt recommended by your manufacturer to the brine tank and turn your water back on. Don’t forget to restore the power to your water heater as well. It’s a good idea to open a faucet before turning the water on to release any excess pressure.
    7. Set up regeneration: The final steps will be to set up the time for regenerating your system and follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for initial regeneration.

    Bypass valves are important

    If your system doesn’t have a bypass valve, it’s advisable to fit one. That way you can redirect the water supply for repairs or maintenance without depriving your home of water.

    Non-Salt-Based Systems

    1. Switch off and drain: You will again need to turn off the water supply to your home and drain it. Again, disconnect power to your water heater.
    2. Location: Locate your filter system on the main water supply before your water heater so it will supply conditioned water to the entire home.
    3. DIY needed for the valves: Cut your main water pipe using a pipe cutter for copper or PVC, depending on your pipes. Install shut-off valves on either side of the pipe so you can disconnect the system if you need to for things such as changing the cartridges. Extend the pipes using elbow joints or flex hoses and connect them to the filter with compression joints.
    4. Check the flow direction: Make sure you have the flow of water the right way round and in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
    5. Switch on: Close the shut-off valves and open your water supply.
    6. Check for leaks: To check for leaks, open each valve individually and slowly.

    Magnetic Systems

    Magnetic systems are much simpler to install.

    They usually have a hinge that opens up or wires that wrap around a pipe. Place them over your pipe and secure them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

    Reverse Osmosis Systems

    Undersink is popular

    Reverse osmosis filters can be used in many water applications; however, our installation method is for undersink models since these are the most popular.
    1. Switch off and drain: To mount one under your sink, turn off the water supply, either locally or at the mains, and drain that part of the system by opening the faucet.
    2. Dimensions: Check the correct height for your system and measure on your cabinet where your softener will fit. Mark this with a pencil. Fix your system to your cabinet with screws following the manufacturer’s instructions.
    3. Connect the water: Detach your cold water supply from the old valve. Attach the supplied saddle valves to the cold water supply, so the water diverts to the filter. Cut the tubing to fit if you need to. ​
    4. Faucet and drain lines: Now install the supplied faucet and drain lines — you might need to drill a hole in your countertop for the faucet.
    5. Switch on and check for leaks: Once everything is in place according to your manufacturer’s directions, turn on your water supply and check for leaks.

    Ditching Hard Water

    If hard water is plaguing your life with clogged plumbing and appliances, investing in one of the best water softeners is a popular solution. That’s not to mention the non-lathering soap and water stains on sinks and dishes.

    The type you choose will depend on the size of your home and how many people live there. Also, consider testing the hardness of your water before purchasing a water softener — don’t forget to consult our testing methods above.

    The most popular whole-home solution seems to be an ion exchange salt-based water softener. These come in various shapes and sizes; however, the same outcome is achieved — softer water. Any of our featured products could have your pipes, dishes, appliances, clothes, hair and skin thanking you.

    Was this article helpful?

    Yes
    No
    ×

    What went wrong?

    This article contains incorrect information

    This article does not have the information I am looking for

    There is a problem with the website

    ×

    How can we improve it?

    All feedback is anonymous. If you would like a reply, please email us instead.

    ×

    We appreciate your feedback!

    We will look into this issue as soon as possible.

    Follow us on social media:

    ×

    Thank you for your feedback!

    Please share this article with someone you care about and leave a comment below.

    Share this article:

    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Glass (2 Easy Ways)
    2 Effective Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains from Glass
    Do You Have Hard Water? (2 Ways to Tell &How to Fix It)
    2 Ways to Spot Hard Water (And How to Treat It)
    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from a Toilet (3 Effective Techniques)
    3 Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains from a Toilet (Naturally!)
    Removing Hard Water Stains from Stainless Steel (4 Natural Methods)
    4 Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains from Stainless Steel (Naturally)
    Removing Hard Water Stains from Tiles (4 Effective Methods)
    4 Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains from Tiles (Bathroom or Kitchen!)
    How to Soften Hard Water (6 Effective Methods)
    6 Ways to Soften Hard Water (Salt and Salt-Free Systems)

    Leave a Comment