Water softeners are systems which treat hard water and reduce or remove the harmful effects of hard water. The water coming into your house or establishment is hard when it contains high levels of minerals like calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, etc. While some of these minerals are healthy for you, they cause problems with the appliances that use the water. They cause limescale build up in pipes, corrosion, and other undesirable effects. They also affect the lathering of soaps and detergents, thereby reducing their effectiveness. Lastly, hard water is also known to create marks and streaks on utensils and glassware.

In this guide, we take a look at the 10 best water softeners that you can buy in 2018.

Budget
Best-budget-Water-Softener
Watts RV PRO-1000
3.5/5.0
24 pounds
Flow rate 4 GPM
Compact, light weight, portable, and 10 year warranty.
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Best Value
Best-value-Water-Softener
Fleck 5600SXT
4.8/5.0
20.8 pounds
Flow rate 12 GPM
10 year warranty for tank and 5 years for the valve.
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Top Pick
Top-value-Water-Softener
Revolution Water Softeners
4.4/5.0
110 to 198 pounds
Flow rate 14 – 23 GPM
Lifetime warranty on tanks and 10 years on controls.
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A water softener system basically removes these minerals or treats them. Hence, water coming out of such systems is “soft”, free of minerals and their harmful effects. By using water softener systems, we can help lengthen the usable life of pipes and appliances. We can also improve the efficiency of soaps and detergents. Lastly, soft water will be good for your glassware and dishes, as there will be no possibility of any streaks and marks being created by minerals.

First, let us look at some of the features that softener systems offer. Knowing these and understanding which particular features are important for your individual case will allow you to select the right water softener system.

Now that we have all the various metrics and features of water softener systems listed out, let us compare various models and how they stack up against each other in terms of these metrics:

10 Best Water Softener Comparison Table

Make and ModelGrainsFlow Rate (GPM)Price
Watts RV PRO-100010,0004Check Price
Eddy Electronic DescalerSalt-freeCheck Price
Morton M30 System Saver30,00011+Check Price
Aquios FS-220Salt-free12Check Price
Fleck 5600SXT48,00012Check Price
WaterBoss 36536,40010Check Price
Iron Pro 264,00018Check Price
Nuvo H2O DPHBSalt-free12 to 15Check Price
Revolution Water Softeners32,000 to 96,00014Check Price
Aquasana EQ 1000Salt-free7Check Price

Best Water Softener Systems By Budget:

Click below to get detailed information on each softener System by price.

Best Water Softener Systems Under $200

Budget water softener systems having basic minimum features are quite reasonably priced. They do not offer features like high flow rates, a high grain number, or a digital regeneration process. What they do have is a fairly decent softening process. There is a salt-based and a salt-free model in this price range. So, if a simple system and the lowest price are your requirements, then read on.

1. Watts RV PRO-1000

Watts RV PRO-1000View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.5/5

The Watts RV PRO-1000 is a salt-based water softening system. It offers minimal features for a low price. The most standout feature of the Watts RV PRO-1000 is its portability. It is compact in design, weights only 24 pounds, and can just about fit anywhere. It is believed that with this system, even table salt can be used as salt in the softening process. Watts RV has a flow rate of 4 gallons per minute, which is not very high. But such a flow rate is good enough for a mobile home or an RV. Situations which do not involve lots of water users or heavy duty usage are good use-cases for this system.

The Watts RV PRO-1000 has 10,000 grains and a manual regeneration process. This means that you will have to flush out the waste salt water and refill the salt at regular intervals. Given the fact that this system is so portable and can be taken pretty much anywhere, the mobility aspect makes up for the lack of relatively more fancy features seen in other advanced systems. This model does come with a 10-year warranty, which is in line with most of the top water softening systems. Price wise, the Watts RV PRO-1000 is a steal at less than $200 a piece.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: RVPRO1000
Item Weight: 24 pounds
Product Dimensions: 21 x 9.5 x 9 inches
Item model number: RV PRO-1000
Flow Rate: 4 GPM
Grains: 10,000
Warranty: 10 years
The Pros
Compact, light weight, portable
Table Salt Usable as salt for softening
Low Price
10 year warranty
The Cons
Flow rate of 4 GPM
Manual Regeneration

2. Eddy Electronic Descaler

Eddy Electronic DescalerView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.8/5

The Eddy Electronic Descaler is a salt-free water softening system. It uses the concept of electromagnetism to “treat” the undesirable ions in hard water. Because it is treating the minerals rather than removing or replacing them, the water coming out of the system is not necessarily soft water. It is still hard water, but one that does not cause limescale buildup or soap scum. The healthy minerals which are lost in a salt-based system are also preserved with the Eddy Descaler.

Since there is no salt, there is no regeneration or backflushing involved. This system is an install-and-forget system offering complete peace of mind. Once you set up this system, you can just let it run as it is without changing or replenishing anything. The system is not very expensive to run and requires only 5 watts of power.

The design of the Eddy Electronic Descaler is another strength. It is very compact, can be installed anywhere, and weights less than 2 pounds! The installation process is very easy and you can do it yourself without any plumbing work. This system also comes with a 12-month money-back guarantee.

In terms of limitations, one must understand that the Eddy Descaler is not a salt-based converter of hard water to soft water. It’s effects last for only 48 hours after which water returns to its original properties and starts to damage pipes and appliances. This system will not work with lead or iron pipes. So, depending on your situation, you need to evaluate whether this system is right for you.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: ED6002P
Item Weight: 1.46 pounds
Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.6 x 3.5 inches
Item model number: ED6002P
Voltage: 110V
Power: 5 watts
Warranty: Lifetime (repair and replacement)
The Pros
No regeneration or replacement of salts
Easy to install
Compact Design
Lifetime warranty
Retains healthy minerals
The Cons
Not as effective as the salt-based system
Not suitable for water with high grain number
Temporary effect of “softening”

Best Water Softener Systems Under $600

Water softener systems priced between the $200 – 600 mark are considered as mid-range systems. They are more advanced than the budget models and offer a decent balance of features vs price. They do have some great features that are applicable to a large number of situations. However, they do not have the high flow rates or large grain numbers that the more expensive models have.

3. Morton M30 System Saver

Morton M30 System SaverView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.2/5

The Morton M30 System Saver is a salt-based water softening system. It has an NSF certification, which means it is safe, efficient, and reliable. Flow rate offered by the system is quite reasonable, at over 11 gallons per minute. It will take only about 1.5 sq ft of space and has a grain size of 30,000. This kind of flow rate and grain size is good enough for any small household application.

The Morton M30 has a digital regeneration process and it comes with a panel with a few control buttons on it. Having an automatic regeneration system means that you save water and salt. The system predicts your water usage and performs the regeneration accordingly. At around $450 a piece, the Morton M30 is not cheap but offers a good list of features worth having in a domestic water softer system.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: 874647
Item Weight: 80.4 pounds
Product Dimensions: 45 x 23 x 20 inches
Item model number: M30
Flow Rate: 11+ GPM
Grains: 30,000
Warranty: 10 year (tank) ; 1 year limited
The Pros
Flow rate of 11 GPM
Automatic/Digital Regeneration
10 year warranty for tank
The Cons
Heavy weight
Short warranty on parts, only 1 year

4. Aquios FS-220

Aquios FS-220View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.9/5

The Aquios FS-220 is not just a water softening system. It is also a water filter, as it comes with a 5-micron filter. This size is enough to filter out large water contaminants. The water filter also enhances the taste of the water, as it is a carbon block.

Coming back to the water softening part, the Aquios FS-220 is a salt-free system. Hence, there is no salt, replenishment of the salt, or waste salt water to be drained. It is a plug-and-play model, where you do not have to worry about anything operationally once you install the system. The system is environment-friendly.The 12 gallon per minute flow rate is very good and covers normal household usage quite comfortably.

The design of this system is cartridge-based. The cartridge contains some natural, food-grade additive that reacts with the minerals in the hard water to eliminate limescale buildup. The cartridges last for about 40,000 gallons of water flow which could run up to 6 months for a normal use-case. The Aquios FS-220 comes with a massive 20-year warranty, which happens to be one of the longest in the industry. If you fancy having a filter and a reasonably good water softening system in one set-up, then the Aquios FS-220 is the way to go.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: FS-220
Item Weight: 7.5 pounds
Product Dimensions: 27 x 10 x 8 inches
Item model number: FS-220
Flow Rate: 12 GPM
Filter Size: 5 micron
Temperature Range: 40-100 degreesfahrenheit
Warranty: 20 years
The Pros
Offers a filter and water softener combo
Flow rate of 12 GPM
Light Weight
20 year warranty
The Cons
Not suitable for high grain per gallon hard water
Effect is not permanent and water can turn hard again after a specific time period

5. Fleck 5600SXT

Fleck 5600SXTView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The Fleck 5600SXT is one of the top water softeners that we have reviewed in this guide. Fleck, as a company, has been a major player in the water softener market. The salt-based 5600SXT is a bestseller for the medium-to-large household size. It offers 12 gallons per minute of flow rate, which is quite solid.

The system also packs in 48,000 grains, good enough for 6-8 family members. The Fleck 5600SXT is also known to have one of the best electronic valves in the business. Its digital regeneration process makes this system a top contender. The regeneration process has 4 modes. You can set the system to either regenerate at a specific time interval or when the water reaches a particular level.

You do have to add salt to the system every few months, but apart from that, the system can pretty much run and maintain itself automatically. This feature makes it a hassle-free water softener. On the warranty front, Fleck offers 10 years on the tank and 5 years on the valve. The Fleck 5600SXT is a bulky system and will require space and time to install. The tank size is also large and requires space.

All these features will cost you a bit of money, but the price is still in the mid-range. So if you want a hassle-free system that keeps on running and provides you with soft water whenever you need it, and if you do not mind the space requirements, then the Fleck 5600SXT is the top choice among all the systems listed here.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: WS48-56SXT
Item Weight: 20.8 pounds
Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.1 x 54 inches
Item model number: WS48-56SXT
Flow Rate: 12 GPM
Grains: 48,000
Warranty: 10 years (tank) ; 5 years (valve)
The Pros
Flow rate of 12 GPM
Automatic/Digital Regeneration
10 year warranty for tank, 5 years for the valve
Fit for use by a family of 6
The Cons
Heavy weight
Bulky in size
Needs installation work
Higher Sodium Level in softened water

6. WaterBoss 365

WaterBoss 365View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.9/5

TheWaterBoss 365 is another salt-based system which comes with a filter. It is a larger and more advanced softener-filter combo than the Aquios FS-220. It packs in 36,400 grains of salt which is enough for a normal-sized family. The flow rate of 10 gallons per minute is quite reasonable as well. This system is capable of softening water as hard as 90 grains per gallon. 90 GPG signifies extremely hard water, and this system is very efficient at softening such hard water.

Regeneration takes place via an automatic meter-based process, which means peace of mind for the user. A specially patented design allows the WaterBoss 365 to regenerate in a mere 38 minutes. It uses little water and salt to regenerate as well, 14 gallons and 3 pounds respectively.

The salt-based water softening system comes with a 10-year warranty on tank and cabinet, and a 3-year warranty on the valve/electronic system. Though the system weights quite a bit, it has a convenient design which allows the system to fit in any room corner perfectly.

Overall, if your source of water is extremely hard, and if you are looking for a decent system with good features, then the WaterBoss 365 is worth looking at. This system is going to cost you less than $600.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: 365
Item Weight: 110 pounds
Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 14.8 x 30.8 inches
Item model number: 365
Flow Rate: 10 GPM
Filter Size: 20 micron
Grains: 36,400
Warranty: 10 years (tank); 3 years (electronics/valve)
The Pros
Flow rate of 10 GPM
Automatic Regeneration
10 year warranty (tanks) ; 3 year (electronics)
The Cons
Heavy weight
Bulky in size
Needs installation work
Higher Sodium Level in softened water

Water Softener Systemsabove $600

If your water softening requirements are large scale or if you are looking for more than just a softening system, then this section will be of interest to you. The systems mentioned here have large flow rates and features which most other water softening systems do not offer. Bear in mind, packing-in all these features means higher prices. But if money is no limit or concern for you, then listed below are some pretty stellar water softening systems.

7. Iron Pro 2

Iron Pro 2View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The Fleck Iron Pro 2 is the father of all softener systems. It can handle an incredible 18 gallons per minute of flow rate. Not only that, this water softener system comes with a microprocessor that does the regeneration in a highly efficient manner with minimal wastage of water and salt. This is truly a smart water softener system. The grain size is also one of the largest at 64,000. Such a high grain number means that it can soften even the hardest of water.

Another unique feature in the Iron Pro 2 is the bypass valve. It allows you to switch between soft water and regular water by just turning a knob. On the warranty side, the system comes with a 10-year warranty on the tank and 5 years on the controls and electronics. That period is pretty much in line with many of the other systems reviewed in this guide.

For all the good things that can be said about the Fleck Iron Pro 2, there are some downsides as well. First of all, this system is not cheap. You will have to pay for all the cool features. Secondly, the system is heavy and bulky. It does require some plumbing work during installation, and you must be willing to put in the time and effort to do so. But one thing is certain, once the Iron Pro 2 is up and running, you can sit back and enjoy soft water whenever you want. Even if you have a large family or a big house, this system will churn out soft water with ease.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: IRONPRO2
Item Weight: 119.5 pounds
Product Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 21 inches
Item model number: IRONPRO2
Flow Rate: 18 GPM
Grains: 64,000
Warranty: 10 years (tank) ; 3 years (electronics/valve)
The Pros
Flow rate of 18 GPM
Automatic Regeneration
10 year warranty (tanks) ; 5 year (electronics/valve)
Grain size of 64,000
The Cons
Heavy weight
Bulky in size
Needs installation work
High Price

8. Nuvo H2O DPHB

Nuvo H2O DPHBView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.1/5

The Nuvo H2O DPHB is a high-end salt-free water softener system. It has a high flow rate of 12 to 15 gallons per minute. As it is a salt-free system, there is no replenishment of salt. This also means that the system is environmentally friendly if that is an important factor in your decision. The Nuvo H2O works without electricity and is simply a plug-and-play model. The operation of the Nuvo H2O is hassle-free.

The Nuvo H2O uses cartridges for softening of the hard water. These cartridges need to be replaced every one year or so, depending on how much you use the system. While replacing the cartridges is quite convenient, the cartridges itself can be costly. So factor that cost, which will be a recurring one, when you make a purchase decision. The Nuvo H2O does come with a lifetime warranty, which is unique among all the systems reviewed here. The only condition is that you use original Nuvo cartridges when you replace them.

If you have the budget and are looking for an environmentally friendly salt-less system which can run hassle-free, then you must take a close look at the Nuvo H2O DPHB.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: H2O DPHB
Item Weight: 8 pounds
Product Dimensions: 5 x 5 x 24 inches
Item model number: H2O DPHB
Flow Rate: 12 – 15 GPM
Approvals: FDA and NSF
Warranty: Lifetime
The Pros
Flow rate of 12-15 GPM
Works Without Electricity
Environmentally Friendly
Lifetime Warranty
The Cons
Not great for water with high hardness (above 10 GPG)
Filter replacement cost is high

9. Revolution Water Softeners

Revolution Water SoftenersView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The Revolution Water Softening System is truly revolutionary because it offers varying levels of grain numbers along with some stellar features. These systems come with grain sizes of 32k, 40k, 64k, 80k, and 96k.The flow rate that the system is capable of providing is also quite large, ranging from 14 to 16 gallons per minute and even crossing 20 for the highest end models.

In terms of design, the Revolution Water Softener has a similar two-tank plus meter design. One fancy feature is the touchpad display, which allows you operate and program settings for your softening functions. The Revolution Water Softener comes with a lifetime warranty on the tanks and a massive 10-year warranty on the digital controls. This is by far the highest warranty on controls in this guide.

All these amazing features will cost you some serious money. But if you are serious about water softeners, and have large requirements in terms of usage and source water hardness, then you will like to Revolution Water Softeners.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: GEN##REVMF
Item Weight: 110 to 198 pounds
Product Dimensions: 28 x 18 x 63inches (varies as per model)
Item model number: GEN##REVMF
Flow Rate: 14 – 23 GPM
Grains: 32,000 ; 40,000 ; 64,000 ; 80,000 ; 96,000
Warranty: Lifetime (tanks); 10 yrs (controls)
The Pros
Flow rate of 14-23 GPM (depending on model)
Automatic Regeneration
High grain numbers
Lifetime Warranty on tanks and 10 years on controls
The Cons
Bulky and large system
Requires minor plumbing work during installation
Expensive System

10. Aquasana EQ 1000

Aquasana EQ 1000View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 3.6/5

The Aquasana EQ is your multi-tasker water softening system because it has a softening process, a UV filter, and a water filter. This salt-free system packs in multiple things and offers reliability. It is known to have a lifespan of an incredible 10 years of 1,000,000 gallons of water use. Since this system is salt-free, it does not remove or replace any of the healthy minerals in your water. The system is also environmentally friendly.

The Aquasana EQ filters out the chlorine from your source water, improving its taste and balancing the pH level. The optional UV filter will kill any bacteria or microorganisms making your water safe to consume. Being a salt-free system, you do not have to worry about replenishments, and the running of this system is hassle-free for 1 million gallons of use, as described above.

This system does not convert hard water to soft water. It just conditions it and hence, it is not suitable for source water which is very hard. This system also takes up some space, so if your house or apartment is cramped, then the bulkiness of this system could be an issue. However, if you do not mind spending some money to get an all-in-one solution, then go for the Aquasana EQ.

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Tech Specs
Part Number: EQ-1000-AST
Item Weight: 15.9 pounds
Product Dimensions: 9 x 46 x 54inches
Item model number: EQ-1000-AST
Flow Rate: 7 GPM
Filter Size: 0.35 micron
Warranty: 10 years
The Pros
Flow rate of 7 GPM
Environmentally friendly
Hassle free operation with no salt replenishment
Warranty of 10 years (1 million gallon usage)
The Cons
Bulky and large system
Requires minor plumbing work during installation
Expensive System

After reading this guide, you will have a fairly deep understanding of what water softeners offer in terms of features, warranty, and other aspects. It will allow you to compare different models and select the best one for your particular application. The 10 models mentioned in this guide are some of the best that we have seen in different price ranges. Good luck!