Short on time? Here's our pick;
- Compact design: fits in a kitchen cupboard
- Easy to install
- Includes installation kit
- 5 years parts & 2 years labour at home warranty
- WRAS approved product
Best Mains Water Softeners For Your Money In 2020
While there are hundreds of water softener reviews out in the world, there is something they are all missing. Most water softener reviews only provide a little bit of detail on mediocre water softeners that are not worth buying.
So, in this article, we will offer 6 highly detailed water softener reviews of some of the best water softeners currently on the market so that you can decide which one is most well suited to your home.
BWT WS555 Hi Flow
How Effective Is This Water Softening System?
BWT offer a range of WS models that are all WRAS approved and are built to both British and Europian standards, offering softened water to more countries. These models differ depending on the hardness of the water in your area and your particular water needs.
The WS555 model, in particular, can easily accommodate the water supply needs of 6 people at one time, making it the ideal model for those of you who wish to provide your family with softer water. Or even students in a house share away at uni who are used to soft water.
A with any other water softening system, the regeneration needs to be effective otherwise the product becomes another useless buy. BWT understand this and so have included a counter current regenerator in their WS555 water softener. This works by switching up the direction of the water flow within the main tank so that every little bit of water can be treated and softened.
Will This Model Help Me Save Money At All?
What makes the WS555 so ideal for a larger number of people is the innovative use of memory technology that monitors your water usage patterns and regenerates your water accordingly.
Not only does this save you money in the long run as the system will not operate until it is needed cutting down on any power bills, but you will also find that you will need to replace the optional salt block less often.
How Will I Know When To Replace The Salt Supply?
When the moment does come to replace your block salt, then your water softening system will let you know with a low salt reminder. Ideal for those of you who do not want to be checking on your softener salt every few days.
You do not need to worry about the salt block being used up ridiculously quick as the WS555 has been equipped with effective salt usage systems so that your water softener uses only the salt it needs at one time.
Is It Simple To Install The WS555 Model?
To make the installation process easier or those who have installed a water softening system before and even those who have not the WS555 model comes with a 22 mm installation kit.
While you may have the appropriate skill set to install the product yourself, it is recommended that you hire a plumber or a specialist that can ensure a secure instalment. Maybe tradesmen will do such tasks for a low price if you already have the installation kit with the product.
For those of you who want to save money and install the water softener by yourself, you should know what you are doing as some warranties may become void if you do not use a professional plumber. And with a 5 year parts and 2 year labour warranty, this is something that you will not want to become void just in case.
Will This Product Take Up Much Space?
BWT understand that the modern, affordable home can be lacking in space and storage. This is why their WS555 water softeners have been designed to be compact, with the dimensions of 602 mm x 480 mm x 270 mm. With such measurements, you will find that you can easily fit the whole softener into a small kitchen cupboard so that you can enjoy softened water no matter the size of your home.
You do not need to be worried about the capacity of the water softener's tank being compromised due to the compact size as BWT has made it so a full 14 litres of water can be softened at one time. Which is more than enough space for you to have a constant flow of softer water in your home.
Should I Buy This Model?
While there is no doubt that this model is compact, BWT has kept their WS555 very basic. It is ideal for those of you who do not live in an area with much hard water but want to have the full luxury experience of very soft water. However, if you tend to have hard tasing water that leaves a large amount of limescale then this model may not be suited to your high needs.
That being said, it able to get the basics of the job done and can save you a bit of money along the way just maybe not enough to compensate foul tasting water.
Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener
How Am I Able To Monitor My Water Supply?
Unlike other water softeners, this model is one of the best for monitoring the amount to water you use as well as how much is currently being regenerated in the tank.
The data from this monitoring can be read via the LCD screen located on the top of the tank. This screen is backlit so that if you install the product in a dark area in your home, which many people would do due to the placement of their mains water supply, then you are able to still read the data will ease.
Will I Still Be Able To Use A Water Meter System?
Considering these products are metered water softeners, you will still be able to monitor your water usage as if you were using a standard water meter. With 11 litres of water available, which is enough water for up to 7 people's water usage per day, you will not find yourself running out of softer drinking water any time soon.
You will also find that you get to keep the same amount of water flow rates that you currently have due to the high flow design within the tank itself. This ensures that you still get to have a high water pressure shower or enough water pressure in your sink tap to wash dishes effectively.
Due to Tapworks providing a hardness meter with each of its water softeners, you will be able to adjust your water hardness. This is so that you get to have the best soft water even in areas with very hard water which comes with its own benefits such as a reduction in limescale.
How Reliable Is The Salt Storage Section?
Due to the chemical reactions that occur in the water softening systems in the tank during water treatment, designers need to make sure that they use the best suited materials that will not wilt or rust over time. This is because not only will your water system eventually just not work but it will also affect the taste of your drink water in a negative way.
For this reason, Tapworks have made their salt cabinet out of a durable material that will not react to the reaction and regeneration that is happening. Polyethene, the material of choice, is a choice that not many other brands choose to use as it is more expensive so get the cheapest materials to sue. However, this product is more than worth any additional price and will last despite the countless amount of uses.
To ensure that you do not spill water in your cabinet by accident which would result in mould growth if it goes unnoticed, a safety float has been included with this product. This is located in the salt cabinet and works to keep the salt and water in place so that the whole salt changing process is avoided.
When it comes to replacing your block salt, a tank light makes the change easier and more effective as you will be able to clearly see how much salt is left and what you are doing.
On What Systems Can I Install This Model?
Tapworks has made sure to include everything you may need in order to put in this water softener system making it easy to install. This means that you are able to install this model on the following systems:
- Conventional Vented System
- Combi Boiler
- Unvented System
- Pressurised System
- Mega flow System
Not only are you able to install the NSC11 pro on a range of systems but you do not need professional assistance in order to do so as it does not take any specialist work to successfully install.
The installation kits come in a 15 mm and also a 22 mm plumbing kit depending on what model you end up buying. It also comes with a by pass valve which allows you to install this water softener system on both vented and unvented systems.
Could This Be The One For Me?
There is no doubt that the Tapworks NCS11 PRO can get the job done effectively on various different systems. Tapsworks themselves are well known for keeping their products to a high standard, much like with the Tapworks AD11 water softener, which is evident in the materials they have used for their brine tank.
However, there is very few difference between the Tapworks AD11 water softener and the NCS11 PRO. In fact, Tapworks themselves have referred to the newer model as a replacement for the Tapworks AD11 water softener so if you were planning on up grading from an AD11 to a newer model then this may disappoint you.
How Often Does The Water Regenerate?
Most other water softeners perform a regeneration cycle every hour which uses a huge amount of power as well as wastes your water if you do not use the soft water it produces in that hour. This method also means that you are more likely to taste hard water as it wears the device out quicker.
However, this model is a metered softener which is the best water softener styles to own as it monitors your water usage and only regenerates your water as and when you need it.
You do not need to worry about running out of drinking water as the Water2Buy W2B800 can regenerate as much as 3680 litres per day. Which is more than enough for 10 people, never mind a smaller family.
Even if you only have 4 people in your home wanting to get rid of their hard water, then you will get more than enough use out of this product while wasting no money on unused, regenerated water as it is well suited to any household size.
You will also find that if you are a smaller family and would want fresh regenerated water every day then you get to have that. This water softener makes sure to regenerate at 3 am when your family are asleep, so there will be no interruptions to your water usage and you can have freshly regenerated water in the morning.
Could I Save Money Using This Model?
As mentioned before, these are metered water softeners, meaning that it can monitor the amount of water used in the whole house. By doing this, these water softeners work to only regenerate water as and when it is needed. Considering the WSB800 needs to be linked up to a power supply in order to work, this smart monitoring system will save you money by only using the power it needs. An efficiency that will only cost you roughly £20 a year.
You can also adjust your water hardness so that you can have control over the taste of your drinking water. Of course the softer you want your water, the more regeneration will have to happen meaning you will end up with a slightly more power being used.
One other way that this product helps you save money, in the long run, is the high-quality materials used to manufacture it. From the corrosion resistant fibreglass to the industrial grade resin beads in the walls of the polyethene tank, this is a product that is built to last and is why it is called one of the best water softener systems on the market.
There is an almost guarantee that you will not have to replace this product for a minimum of 20 years so you can have soft water anywhere in your home whenever you would want it.
Will I Have To Regularly Clean The Main Tank?
Unlike other more pricey water softeners on the market, the W2B800 doubles as a water descaler meaning that it comes equipped with an automatic self cleaning setting. This is so that you do not have to worry about your tank developing limescale or gathering unwanted minerals which not only leaves you with hard water but also foul tasting water.
The tank itself is built with industry standard resin beads within its walls which work to naturally remove limescale and keep your water clean and fresh so you have even less need to clean your tank. Meaning you will only be able to taste the good minerals in your soft water and not the limescale.
What Comes In The Box?
To ensure that you would not have to go out and get additional accessories, Water2Buy have provided you with everything you would need to fully benefit from one of the best water softener devices on the market. Here is what is included with your purchase:
- Water softener
- User manual (which includes how to fit the system)
- UK and EU power supply
- 1 inch High flow connection fitting
- Bypass valve and lever (this works to make sure that your water pressure does not falter when attaching this water softener system. This is also easy to install.)
It is also worth noting that Water2Buy have made any optional customisation accessible via an easy to use free app - 'Water2Buy easyConnect'.
On this app you are able to access digital manuals that take you through the process of fitting your water softener in one try rather than wasting hours on the process. It also alerts you to when you need to change your softener salt as well as offering a well rounded customer service live chat. Just type out your problem and a team member will leave a reply in a matter of minutes offering a solution.
Are There Any Smaller Models Available?
If you feel that a water softener big enough for 10 people is a bit excessive for your needs, then why not try the Water2Buy W2B200. This model is made with the same quality materials as the W2B800 but is made to accommodate the needs of only 4 people.
The Water2Buy W2B200 offers the same flow rate as the other model but only holds 1250 litres of water at one time. Once again, this is more than enough to soften the right amount of hard water for up to 4 people so there is no need to worry about your water running out.
It is also worth noting that much like the W2B800, the Water2Buy W2B200 is a metered device so that it can monitor your water usage and create a regeneration system based on your home patterns.
East Midlands EML 10
Will I Have To Manually Set The Regeneration Schedule?
This is one of the best customisable water softeners when it comes to regeneration. Much like the other models mentioned on this list, this is a meter based water softener and so regenerates your hard water depending on your water patterns.
However, East Midlands understand that some people like to have guests stay at their house or like to host people so more often than not there are more than the usual amount of people in your home. For this reason, the EML 10 will pick up on the increased water usage and will adjust the flow rate accordingly so that you do not run out of softened water no matter how many people are in the house.
Likewise, this is a handy feature for those of you who own a holiday home and who have a frequent change in the number of guests staying at your property.
As for any manual customisation, there is the option to turn the regeneration off completely. This is for situations that would mean the whole house is out at one time, whether that be a family vacation or having building work done in your home. You are able to set your water softener to regenerate the hard water in its tank for when you get home so that you have softened, tasty water straight from your kitchen sink tap as soon as you get home.
One other way you are able to customise your water softener is the ability to vary the hardness of the water as well as how much salt you put in that process. Some living areas may need 50% less salt compared to places with more minerals in their water making it harder. Either way, you get to have full control over what goes into your water and how tasteful your water is.
How Do I Customise My Water Softener?
It is more than easy enough to choose which settings you want your water softener system to work at thanks to the clear digital display paired with a touch control system.
The over all design of this model has been made to be compact so that it can easily fit into a kitchen cupboard. However, East Midlands understand that some people do not have their water systems in their kitchen but rather a basement or another dark area. For this reason, they have made their digital screen clear enough to read even in the darkest of lights so that you can customise your programmes quickly and with ease.
Am I Able To Attach This Water Softener To Any Water System?
East Midlands has made sure to make this model compatible with any kind of water system that comes with your home. Whether that be a combination boiler or a different pressurised system, it is just as easy to install no matter what.
While you may be able to fit the water softener DIY style, you may need professional assistance in the form of a plumber. Either way, double that you know what kind of water system is in your home so that you can get the correct installation kit upon purchase. If you select the wrong installation kit then you may not have the correct connections needed to keep your flow rate the same or to keep your softened water from mixing with the hard water.
What Do I Do If My Water Softener Breaks?
Just like the rest of the water softeners that East Midlands sell, the EML 10 comes with a 5 year guarantee on any broken parts and a one year labour guarantee. This is so that if anything happens to your water softener or it stops working for whatever reason, you can have a specialised individual deal with the problem rather than hire a tradesman who may not know much about such items.
Of course, a 5 year guarantee only shows how confident East Midlands are when it comes to the reliability of their products. Which makes sense considering how it is one of the UK's top water softener providers.
Why Should I Buy This Model?
The EML 10 is clearly the most customisable model on the list and can take any situation that you throw at it. Whether you have extra guests at your house or do not want your water to be ultra soft, you can guarantee that there will always be regenerated water for anyone at your house to drink without running out or having to wait for the tank to refill.
Another great addition to your purchase is the 5 year guarantee that ensures that you are covered for any damage that may come to your model for any reason. The one year labour guarantee only sweetens the deal as it means you will not have to go out of your way to find a plumber qualified to fix a specific problem.
Monarch Master HE
Is This Water Softener Suited To My Hard Water Area?
Unlike other water softeners on this list, Monarch understand that some areas have harder water than others and for this reason a tank that may be suitable for 7 people in one area be only be suitable for 4 people in an area with tougher water hardness.
This is the best water softener for adapting to your specific area's water type due to the free water testing kit that allows you to really understand the hard water you can access as well as how best to treat your water to give it the softness you want.
With a 160 litres per tank, Monarch recommends that this model be used by 4 - 7 people for those in hard water areas and a maximum of 5 people for those in very hard water areas. While you could use it for more than 5 people, your uses will produce not as well regenerated water as it will take longer for the regeneration to take place the harder the water is.
Will I Lose My High Flow Rates?
One of the main advantages of choosing the Monarch Master HE is the priority of your water flow. The UK exclusive design makes this one of the best water softener systems for keeping your water pressure high as well as your flow rate.
Both of these things are achievable due to the flow valve technology and opti-brining that helps to create a high standard exchange capacity. This also helps to keep a high flow rate of up to 83 LPM creating a high pressure system for your home.
In fact, this model creates the lowest drop of pressure compared to other water softeners in the whole of the UK.
What Is Opti-Brining?
Opti-brining is a system unique to Monarch water softener product that keeps the flow rates high and therefore the exchange capacity. However, this new system also comes with other advantages.
Due to the quickness of this system, if you use a bit more water than you usually would then the Monarch Master HE will provide a mini top up of regenerated water in only 8 minutes so that you do not have to settle for hard water at the end of the day. And this is not something that would only happen once a week. In fact, due to the well thought out system that this model uses, this is able to be a regular thing this mini top up.
Of course, this is also a metered water softener so if there is a considerable change in your water usage pattern then the regeneration process will change accordingly.
If, for whatever reason, you find yourself using only a little bit of your soft water but it is time for your water to regenerate, then no money will be wasted. This is because the opti-brining technology means that little resin beads within the tank will keep track of how much water has been used and will only regenerate the water that has been used rather than regenerating the whole tank again. Making it the best water softener systems for saving money.
It is also worth noting that the opti-brining system uses 12% less salt than other water softeners would use so you will not have to refill your block salt in your brine tank as often, once again saving you money in the long run.
What Comes In The Installation Kit?
All Monarch Master HE water softeners come with a standard installation kit that makes your product easy to install on any traditional plumbing systems. Here is what is included in this standard kit:
- Rapid hi-flow bypass
- 3/4" Inlet / outlet
- 600 mm hose
Why Should I Chose This Model?
What separated the Monarch Master HE from other products on this list is the unique use of opti-brining. This is an exclusive method used on Monarch's UK models and is why you are able to feel no change in the amount of water you have to hand and also the pressure of your water, which can be the make or break of any good shower.
Another thing that Monarch really understands and is clear from the model is their understanding that there is not a universal hard water level through the UK. Some areas will be harder than others and so a water softener may not be able to provide the same amount of satisfaction to the same amount of people at one time. Monarch are very clear on that when advertising their product instead of misleading you.
AquaHouse NSWS XL Water Softener
Is This Water Softener Effective In Removing Limescale?
This is by far the best water softener suite for removing and preventing limescale in your water and therefore your kitchen sink, water filter taps and other such areas in your home.
With the effectiveness of 99.6%, you will find that even after many uses, limescale will be well prevented and practically non-existent. This number does not change regardless of the scale of hard water in your area meaning anyone is able to benefit from these water softening systems.
Unlike other water softeners, you have the option to double this product up so that it becomes a water filter as well. Just so long as you buy the EcoPlus XL which does the same things as this model but you have the ability to get rid of any heavy metals and toxic minerals in your hard water so that you can 100% prevent scale growth in your home.
How Can This Water Softener Prevent Scale Deposits?
Other water softeners will use salt in their water treatment, however, the NSWS XL does not have a brine tank as it does not need to use block salt in order to provide a water softening service. Instead, it converts the calcium and magnesium minerals that are already in the water into microscopic and safer to drink crystals using the template assisted crystallization technique.
It is for this reason that this water softener is able to double as a water descaler, as it concerns what negative minerals are already in the water (calcium and magnesium) and uses them in an effective way.
This is why this is the best water softener system types on the market, as instead of adding minerals to hard water and possibly adding to the water hardness, it takes elements away.
What Kind Of Homes Is This Suited To?
If your home appliances are sensitive to water pressure changes, for example, if you have an electric shower, then this is a water softener that is specifically designed to work for you.
With a high flow rate, AquaHouse have been careful to include full bore fitting in their installation kit so that there will be very little change to the water pressure that you already have. This will mean that you are able to get rid of hard water once and for all via a water softener rather than having to rely on short lived water filters.
To ensure that minimal damage is done to both your water softener and any flow rates, it is best to have a plumber install any water softeners you may buy as they are able to then properly test your pressure and make sure everything is working as well as it should be.
As mentioned, instead of adding to the water in order to soften it, this water softener works to take the issue away which makes it healthier for you which makes it safer in the long run.
Likewise, with a 99.6% effectiveness when it comes to limescale, there is no way that you will get harmful elements in your water when you drink or shower or wash your hands. It is the most effective water softener on the market and is suited for anyone and everyone.
What Are The Benefits Of A Water Softener?
Some people only think they need a water softener is they live in an areas with very hard water, but this simply is not true. In fact, there may be benefits to some of the best water softeners even in areas with softer water. So what are these benefits?
- Prevention of limescale - This is the most well known benefit of a water softener. If you start to notice limescale building up around your home then this is a tell tale sign that you live in an area of hard water. But it is not just on your taps or kettles that mineral deposits can collect but your plumbing as well, meaning that you have less water available to you if your pipes become clogged. With a water softener, the minerals are either converted or chemically destroyed so that you are only left with the best parts of your water rather than nasty minerals which cause scale.
- Better Skin - Due to the extra elements such as magnesium and calcium in harder water, your skin can become irritated and can even leave residue on your skin which makes it appear dry and rough when really it is just the extra elements from your water preventing you washing properly. By regenerating your water and getting rid of these minerals, you will certainly do your skin some good.
- Less Plumbing Repairs Needed - As mentioned, whenscale builds up it can also build up in your plumbing such as in your pipes and also valves around appliances such as washing machines which result in water leakage. It is worth noting that while copper pipes are less prone to becoming clogged up with the elements in limescale, they still will eventually suffer. The easy way to prevent this is by incorporating a water softener into your life as not only will you prolong the life span of your appliances bt you will need less regular repairs to your plumbing in general saving you more money than you think.
- Less Expensive Bills - There is no doubt that a water softener can save you money in a variety of ways, a big one being your water bills. Due to the build up in limescale in your plumbing, water will have to work harder to reach its final destination which means that you are actually using more water than you think you are. Instead of waiting for your water company to assess your area for what type of water you have, just ask around your neighbours or people who live close by. Chances are they already have a water softener and are saving money on their water bill already.
How To Remove Limescale The Already Exists?
Even though a water softener will get rid of the limescale that is in your water and will, therefore, prevent any more from occurring, there is still the issue of the limescale that has already formed around your home. However, there is no need to fear as there are plenty of ways for you to get rid of this issue for good.
Seeings as your pipes are the most likely to cost you the most money to fix, it is probably best that we start with how to clean those. The best way forward with these is a magnetic descaler which works by clamping on the outside of your pipes and creates a magnetic field which weakens magnesium and calcium build up making them lose and eventually flush away.
This is a very cost effective way to solve the problem and is sure to prevent issues in the long run for you.
Of course, the easiest choice for removing limescale is half a cup of white vinegar mixed with half a cup of water. This acidic solution works to break down the negative elements that have built up to make limescale and costs the price of a white vinegar bottle, that is if you do not already have it in your pantry.
This is a safe solution that you can leave on your kitchen sink or in your bath tub over night and rinse off in the morning. That is unless you have little children running around who may be tempted to try and eat the solution. While not poisonous, it most certainly will not cause a pleasant reaction.
Depending on how long you have had to deal with hard water and how long you have gone without a water softener, you may need to apply this soltution more than once a week to really see a change in the amount of build up around your home. Especially so in your kettle which can create an awful cup of tea.
What Is Water Softener Regeneration?
Water softeners are simpler than they look as long as you can wrap your head around the regeneration process. All water softeners will use resin somewhere in their main tank which works to keep hold of all the extra minerals in water that is not needed such as calcium ( and not the right kind of calcium you will find in milk). This is when salt comes into the process and is why many water softeners either automatically include a block salt or give you the option to include one upon purchase.
In order for your water to become softer, your water softener needs to use this salty water solution to clean out all the unwanted minerals. Of course, this will happen in one tank while the other is still providing softened water until the resin in that tank has collected enough minerals then the tanks will switch. Either way, your water softener works to ensure that you will not have to deal with hard water again.