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Best Water Softeners UK - Our Reviews & Buying Guide
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Our Recommended The Best Water Softeners Is The BWT WS555 Hi Flow Electronic Demand Block/Tablet Water Softener!
On this review of the best water softeners, we have a close up look at the top five in the UK. According to Selectra, 60% of the UK has hard water.
If you are a UK household with a hard water supply, you might notice issues such as watermarks, limescale build-up, dry skin and other hard water issues.
Most of the time this mineral hard water comes from too much calcium carbonate in the water supply, luckily, that's where water softeners come in and can help to remove the hard mineral content of the water, making it soft.
Finding the right water softener is not an easy task, however, these devices are often expensive, varying according to their size and salt they use, so to help you out, we've done the hard work for you and rounded up a few of the best water softeners in the UK for fixing your hard water problem once and for all.
Our Favourite Water Softener For Larger Households -
The BWT WS555 Hi-Flow Electronic Demand Block/Tablet Water Softener (Editor's Choice)
For people who want a water softener that is easy to install and use in their homes, the BWT WS555 model could be a great choice for beginners.
Feature-wise the water softener from BWT runs off an electronic control system for ease of use and can produce up to 2500 litres of softened water each day and can be operated with either block salt or table salt. The design of the softener is fine to use with a double boiler system and has a smart water monitoring system too for adjusting the flow rate.
In terms of the design, this water softener is very compact and can fit with ease under a kitchen cupboard. For the installation, the softener runs with a 22mm kit and can be installed easily via the manual or with a plumbers help.
The 14-litre water softener weighs around 22kg and has a five-year warranty on its parts along with a two-year warranty for labour.
Although one of the most expensive water softeners on our list, the BWT water softener is an excellent choice for people who are after a reliable luxury softener that can support a larger household of up to six people.
We also like this softener in particular because of the easy installation which doesn't need a professional plumber if you have some basic experience.
Downfalls of the softener are its high price, the softener additionally has some minor design faults such as an inflexible hose pipe and a blue lid that falls off easily.
- Great for larger households.
- Supports block or table salt.
- Smart water monitoring system.
- Compact size.
- Five-year warranty.
- Easy to install.
- Has some design faults.
Our Affordable Runner Up - The Water2Buy W2B800 Water Softener
Water2Buy are a very popular brand for providing soft water and are an affordable choice for tackling water hardness.
Top specs of the Water2Buy softener are its size of 225 X 500 X 1100 mm, it can provide soft water per day of up to 3680 litres which is suitable for up to 1-10 people. The digital metre control helps the softener to stay economic and use less salt and water.
This soft water device is fitted with an automatic regeneration cycle to clean the water softener systems without manual interference, 90 litres of water are used during the process. Design-wise the soft water softener fits your main house water supply and is built with fibreglass plus has a water2buy app for mobile control.
To conclude, the Water2Buy water softener has excellent water softener reviews and is a great affordable option if you are looking to improve the water quality of your home.
Producing up to 3680 litres of water each day the electronic water softener is suitable for larger households and you don't have to worry about water pressure loss thanks to the pre-fitted bypass valve.
Some notable negatives of the softener are its user manual for the installation process which is said to be complicated to read. The app system for controlling the electronic water softener is said to be difficult to use too.
- Digital metre control.
- Up to 3680 soft water per day.
- App control.
- Automatic regeneration.
- Durable fibreglass design.
- The app can be difficult to use.
- The user manual is complicated.
Crown by Harveys Water Softener
The Crown by Harvey's water softener has a 508-litre capacity and a 1.91 flow rate, the domestic water softener operates like a tablet water softener with an eight-bar operating pressure and water flow rate of 40 litres per minute.
For reducing the water hardness this model has up to a 65% salt efficiency and is made for 22mm water pipes, its design use twin tanks to allow you to have softer water all the time without waiting during the regeneration process.
A five-year warranty is included with the water softener and it also comes with free salt.
Overall, this Crown by Harvey's water softener is one of the best types of water softener to buy if you want soft water without any interruption in your household thanks to its twin tanks.
This softener is also great due to its indicator which tells you when you need to top the softener up with block salt again.
- Easy connection hoses.
- Great water pressure.
- High flow rate capacity.
- Salt efficient unit with indicator.
- Five-year warranty.
- Free salt included.
Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener
If your looking for a reliable electric water softener this Tapworks softener could be a great choice, the softener is suitable for up to 1-7 people.
In terms of the features this water softener comes with bypass valves and hoses, there is a mixer to help to adjust the hardness of the water supply, an intelligent controller is included with the device to monitor the level of efficiency plus a backlit LCD to show important data.
The water softener runs with salt tablets and has a one-year warranty for buyers protection.
In conclusion, the Tapworks water softener is perfect for a medium household and a good choice for people who want a softener that runs on an electronic system.
The cost-efficient water softener has a great controller system inside too so you can monitor the amount of salt you are using.
Downfalls of this Tapworks water softener are its manual which is said to be basic.
- Intelligent controller.
- Backlit LCD.
- Bypass valve.
- Mixer to adjust.
- Uses salt tablets.
- One year warranty.
- Manual is basic.
Monarch Midi FreeFlow Water Softener
This Monarch freeflow water softener uses a standard installation kit for a 15mm installation pipe, the softener can provide up to 160 litres of soft water each day and could provide for a family of around 4-7 people.
For features, the Monarch softener has free-flow valve technology and metre control so only regenerates when needed. The softener has a flow rate of up to 83 litres per minute and is easy to install thanks to the installation kits included.
Overall, this Monarch water softener has a simple installation to help with issues such as limescale buildup in your home and metre control for peace of mind with water usage.
This wonder water softener is additionally very compact so can be hidden nicely in your home without consuming too much space.
- Compact size.
- Excellent flow of water rate.
- Easy installation.
- Smart technology water monitoring.
- 160 litres of soft water per person.
Which Is The Best Water Softener For Fixing Hard Water In Your Home?
To round up our reviews of the best water softeners in the UK, our favourite and most reliable choice of softener is the BWT WS555 water softener.
This salt-based water softeners model might be one of the more expensive water softening systems on our list but is one of the top choices when it comes to electricity consumption and smart technology.
As a more affordable option, we have also chosen the Water2Buy W2B800 Water Softener thanks to the reliable design and high maximum flow rate, this model also has excellent water pressure due to the bypass valve.
We didn't place this Water2Buy model as our number one due to the confusing installation process.
What To Consider In The Best Water Softener - Our Complete Buying Guide
Buying a water softener for your home is not an easy task and is a huge investment, so when your pick your model you need to be certain your choosing the right type of softener with the features you need.
To help you out with the buying process and to give you everything you need to know we've put together an extensive buying guide down below which will cover everything from hard water symptoms in your home to how to install a softener in your home and what you need to be watching out for in the best model.
How Do I Know If I Have Hard Water?
Since a water softener model is such a huge investment, you need to be certain that your home needs one before purchasing and installing to avoid wasting money.
Hard water occurs in many UK households due to the water supply having a high mineral count, most minerals are safe to drink in your water to a degree, however high hardness of water from calcium and magnesium can cause undesirable effects in your home.
If you have a hardness of water then you probably already know about it, symptoms such as limescale build-up and damage to plumbing are a few of the consequences.
We've listed some of the major symptoms that indicate you have a hard water problem below.
- Unclean dishes - If you've cleaned your glassware or dishes only to notice that they are cloudy or spotty then this is due to the hardness minerals in your water supply.
- Dull clothing - Clothing or bedding which feels crusty or looks dull could be due to the hardness of minerals in the water.
- Dry skin - If your skin feels irritated and dry after taking a shower then it's likely due to a high level of water hardness, these extra minerals can dry out your skin.
- Poor water pressure - Overtime, limescale build-up on showerheads and other devices can start to affect the pressure from your taps due to the high mineral content.
- Limescale everywhere - From white stains on your sinks to your shower glass and sinks, appliances from limescale build will show if your water is hard.
- Your water might taste off - One of the last symptoms that your water supply could be hard is if you can taste iron, certain bacteria can react with these minerals to give an off-taste.
How Do Water Softeners Work?
Most water softeners work with an ion-exchange system to replace the minerals in your water supply, this can differ however according to the type of water softener that you buy which we will discuss next.
For now, let's go over the main parts of an ion-exchange water softener model to see how they work.
- The brine tank - A brine tank in your water softener is where your salt is stored, this solution is used to flush the mineral tank in the softener, this is also the part of the water softener model that you will refill with salt when needed.
- Mineral tank - The mineral tank is the most important part of your water softener since this is where the purification of soft water takes place. In this tank, the hard minerals like magnesium and calcium get removed by becoming attracted to the positively charged resin beads.
- Control valve - Controlling the flow of water during the regeneration process takes place in the control valve.
What's The Regeneration Process?
The regeneration process is what cleans the resin beads in your mineral tank, and in the typical water, the softener will be done every couple of days.
- Backwash - This is what starts the regeneration process, reversing the flow inside of the tank and taking out any debris.
- Recharge - The salt solution from the brine tank is now pumped into the mineral tank removing the level of water hardness and flushing out the minerals.
- Rinse - Now the mineral tank will refill and rinse and the ion-exchange process takes place.
Different Types Of Water Softeners
As we mentioned above, most water softeners work with a salt ion-exchange system to filter the water inside, but you can find different softeners on the market which use other processes for filtration.
We've listed a few below.
- No saltwater softener - No salt water softeners use potassium chloride instead of salt which is a good option if you are trying to watch how much salt is in your water, this can also help with descaling.
- Salt-exchange water softener - These are the types of softeners we discussed above which have resin beads in one tank and saltwater in the other.
- Magnetic water softener - Magnetic water softeners clip onto your water pipe with a magnetic field to change the minerals.
- Dual-tank water softener - Dual tank softeners have two tanks for the resin solution, this allows you to continue to use one tank while the other one is regenerating.
Benefits Of Installing a Water Softener
As we mentioned above, a water softener gets rid of all the nasty minerals in your water which are causing hardwater issues such as plumbing problems or soap scum, so to help you figure out whether or not buying one is worth it, we've summarised the benefits of investing in one of these softeners below.
- It can save you money - Mineral build up in your water pipes can ruin your appliances and cost you money with plumbing repairs.
- Less cleaning time - Due to having no hardwater, cleaning time is reduced due to the soap being better dissolved without the after-effects of stains.
- Softer clothes - Using a water softener for your clothes stops them from becoming too hard due to the little amount of detergent needed.
- Better skin and hair - No hardness minerals in your water means softer skin and hair, you will also need less shampoo to get a lather.
Are There Any Disadvantages To a Water Softener?
Although water softeners come with a huge range of benefits, there are a few notable disadvantages too, for example, water softeners are often very expensive to install as well as maintain due to the constant need to top the device up with salt.
The high salt content of the water is also not suitable for people to drink, calcium and magnesium can also be beneficial to consume to some people in their diets.
Important Features To Consider In a Water Softener
Once you've narrowed down the type of water softener you want, you also need to consider the specs of the softener to see whether or not the softener is right for you.
We've listed the most essential features to watch out for in your water softener below.
- Single or dual tank - In our reviews above, you might have noticed you can get single or dual tank water softeners. Dual tank softeners allow you to make use of one tank while the other one is used during regeneration, meaning you have access to soft water 24/7.
- Timer - Having an electronic timer on your softener is great for setting the device to refresh without manual interference and can help to monitor your water usage.
- Size and capacity - Water softeners come in different sizes depending on the model you need, you should consider if you need a compact design or not to put in your cupboard. Softeners also come with varying capacities, most houses need a grain capacity between 10,000 and 20,000.
- Weight - Consider whether or not you need a portable softener for your home, these devices can become very heavy with some weighing up to 22kg, this isn't an issue if you plan for your softener to stay in one place but could be an issue if you need to move it around.
- Design - Make sure that your softener is durable and well built, some have fibreglass material to make them even sturdier. Consider whether the design includes an LCD as well for ease of setting.
- Installation - Installation of your device should be straightforward, most devices come with either a 15mm or 22mm hose connector and a manual, you should be able to fit your softener without a plumber but it's best to ask for help if you are unsure.
- Water flow rate - The flow rate of your softener refers to the number of litres per minute your softener can produce, the bigger the number of people and faucets your household has then the higher the flow rate needs to be.
- Auto regeneration - Automatic regeneration is a handy feature to look for as it gives you peace of mind that your softener with produce soft water without manual interference, auto regeneration essentially means that it regenerates itself at a set time, leaving you only to top up the salt level inside when needed.
- Warranty - Always make sure that your softener has a one or two year warranty, this will keep you covered if you have any early on issues with your softener.
- The W2B800 provides complete limescale-free water for a family of 1 - 10 and can generate approximately 3680 litres of filtered soft water every day. It is engineered for both city and well water. This softener is equipped with an efficient digital meter control so it consumes less salt and water.
- The size is 225 X 500 X 1100 mm and is suitable for installation in a garage or basement. It connects to your mains water supply and softens water in the entire home. Do allow space for hoses when planning your install. A power source is required, however only a tiny amount of power is consumed annually (Approx 20 euro/pounds).
- Built to last, high strength corrosion resistant fiberglass, polyethylene tank, adjustable water hardness, and prefilled premium-grade ionX resin. The pre-fitted bypass valve will maintain optimal water pressure throughout your home. Use the free Water2Buy easyConnect app for easy setup.
- Automatic self cleaning: The water softener quietly takes care of itself performing a regeneration cycle automatically when needed. This Meter Softener measures your water usage and only regenerates when necessary, making it more efficient. It regenerates at 3am when the water supply is not in use, so there is no impact on normal water usage. Approximately 90 litres of water is used during a regeneration.
- What’s in the box: Water softener, Manual, UK power supply, EU power supply, 1inch (28mm) High FLOW connection fittings, bypass valve (pre fitted), bypass lever, silicone
Can I Drink Softened Water?
If you've decided that a water softener is right for you and narrowed down your top pick, you might not have considered one important issue, can you drink the softened water?
Well, drinking softened water is down to personal choice, if you decided to drink this water you should be aware that it has higher amounts of sodium due to the ion-exchange process, if your following a low-sodium diet we would suggest avoiding drinking this softened water.
Our Guide To Installing Your Water Softener
Many people use a plumber to install a water softener, but you can install a softener at home yourself as long as your model comes with a simple installation kit and instructions.
We've put together a step by step guide for installing your water softener at home below.
- Step one - First of all start by locating the manual which came with your manufacturers of water softeners and turn off all the water supply into your house as well as the hot water power.
- Step two - Turn on any taps you have outside to completely drain the water supply then position your softener where you would like to be near the cold water supply. Measure how far it is between the cold water supply and the bypass port on the softener and cut a copper pipe then solder it onto both ends.
- Step three - Now install the discharge tube on the model, run the overflow tube and discharge tube to the drain and put the bypass valve on the softeners head valve, you might need a screwdriver for this.
- Step four - Then connect the copper water tube to the bypass valve and attach it to the water lines, making sure everything is well connected and tight.
- Step five - Turn the water heater back on, plug the control valve and pour around 15 litres of water into your brine tank, set to backwash and the bypass valve to service. Switch the water supply valve on when water appears at the drain.
- Step six - Let the backwash cycle complete and check for leaks, if all is well enjoy your softened water!
Is There An Alternative To Water Softeners?
As we mentioned above in our different types of water softeners, you can find other types of water softeners on the market which work similarly to a saltwater softener but without the salt.
For example, you have reverse osmosis filters nearly all minerals and bad bacteria's out of your water, potassium chloride softeners that work as a softener without the salt and nucleation assisted crystallisation which prevents up to 90% of limescale build-up.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Water Softeners
How much does a typical water softener cost?
This depends on a huge range of variables such as the size of your softener, capacity, type of features, but on average they cost you between £300 and £900 with the more expensive softeners featuring large capacity's, smart electronic systems and twin tanks.
Does a water softener need an electric power supply?
This depends on whether you buy an electric water softener or a non-electric water softener, non-electric water softeners miss out on features such as an electronic timer and auto regeneration but don't consume electricity.
Can hard water give me skin issues?
Yes, hard water can give you skin issues such as general dry irritation and eczema for example.
How do I know if I have hard water?
A buildup of limescale, issues with your cold water pipes, scum on dishes and plumbing problems can show you have hard water, if your unsure you can use a water testing kit to show the levels of minerals in your water supply.
Are water softeners safe?
Water softeners are safe and the water is safe to drink too, it contains high levels of sodium compared to hard water but nothing in the danger zone, if you follow a low sodium diet then drinking softened water might not be best.
Are calcium and magnesium in water healthy minerals?
Yes, drinking calcium and magnesium in small amounts is healthy, high levels however are not healthy.
What's the difference between tablet salt and block salt?
There's no difference between block or tablet salt, it depends on what your water softener can take or what you purchase, some people believe it can be more economical to purchase block salt.
Why is the water pressure of my softener low?
You could potentially have a clogged filter on your water softener or the softener is too small for your home to deliver a strong enough flow rate.
Do water softeners have a high water consumption?
The consumption of water varies between softeners with some regenerating when they are not needed too, increasing water consumption, buying a softener with a Smart technology water monitoring is a good choice.
Our #1 Water Softener For Households With Hard Water
Our number one high capacity water softener is the BWT WS555 model, this softener is one of the luxury brands of water softeners and has water monitoring technology to stop the overconsumption of water usage.
As a second choice, we also suggested the Water2Buy W2B800 Water Softener which is more budget-friendly and best for larger households thanks to its large capacity tanks and high flow rate.
- 1 Best Water Softeners UK - Our Reviews & Buying Guide
- 1.1 Our Favourite Water Softener For Larger Households -
- 1.2 The BWT WS555 Hi-Flow Electronic Demand Block/Tablet Water Softener (Editor's Choice)
- 1.3 Which Is The Best Water Softener For Fixing Hard Water In Your Home?
- 1.4 What To Consider In The Best Water Softener - Our Complete Buying Guide
- 1.5 How Do I Know If I Have Hard Water?
- 1.6 How Do Water Softeners Work?
- 1.7 Different Types Of Water Softeners
- 1.8 Benefits Of Installing a Water Softener
- 1.9 Important Features To Consider In a Water Softener
- 1.10 Can I Drink Softened Water?
- 1.11 Our Guide To Installing Your Water Softener
- 1.12 Is There An Alternative To Water Softeners?
- 1.13 Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Water Softeners
- 1.13.1 How much does a typical water softener cost?
- 1.13.2 Does a water softener need an electric power supply?
- 1.13.3 Can hard water give me skin issues?
- 1.13.4 How do I know if I have hard water?
- 1.13.5 Are water softeners safe?
- 1.13.6 Are calcium and magnesium in water healthy minerals?
- 1.13.7 What's the difference between tablet salt and block salt?
- 1.13.8 Why is the water pressure of my softener low?
- 1.13.9 Do water softeners have a high water consumption?
- 1.14 Our #1 Water Softener For Households With Hard Water