Best Water Softeners - Reviews 2019 - 2020

Product
EDITOR'S CHOICE
Water Softener - Crown by Harveys (with 22mm FULL FLOW Installation Kit + FREE SALT!!!)
Our Affordable Alternative
Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener Easyflow Metered - Full Installation Kit +Hoses
Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener | Efficient Digital Meter Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed
Description
Two tanks. 508-litre capacity. Full installation kit included. High efficiency rate.
Easy to install. LCD Display. High flow rate valve. Metered system.
Affordable price. Mobile Application. Regeneration timer.
Ideal number of people
5
7
4
Capacity
508 Liters
11 Liters
11 Liters
Product Dimension
46 x 21.21 x 49 cm.
65.4 x 53.2 x 30.2 cm.
52.5 x 22 x 65 cm.
Bypass Valve
Dual Tank
Display
Salt Auto Regen. Timer
Electric
Rating
EDITOR'S CHOICE
Product
Water Softener - Crown by Harveys (with 22mm FULL FLOW Installation Kit + FREE SALT!!!)
Description
Two tanks. 508-litre capacity. Full installation kit included. High efficiency rate.
Ideal number of people
5
Capacity
508 Liters
Product Dimension
46 x 21.21 x 49 cm.
Bypass Valve
Dual Tank
Display
Salt Auto Regen. Timer
Electric
Rating
Our Affordable Alternative
Product
Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener Easyflow Metered - Full Installation Kit +Hoses
Name
Description
Easy to install. LCD Display. High flow rate valve. Metered system.
Ideal number of people
7
Capacity
11 Liters
Product Dimension
65.4 x 53.2 x 30.2 cm.
Bypass Valve
Dual Tank
Display
Salt Auto Regen. Timer
Electric
Rating
Product
Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener | Efficient Digital Meter Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed
Name
Description
Affordable price. Mobile Application. Regeneration timer.
Ideal number of people
4
Capacity
11 Liters
Product Dimension
52.5 x 22 x 65 cm.
Bypass Valve
Dual Tank
Display
Salt Auto Regen. Timer
Electric
Rating

The Best Water Softener Reviews & Buying Guide

Having hard water in your household can cause many problems such as; dry skin, dirty dishes, lime-scale build upon appliances and more. You've likely experienced some of these problems if you are looking to buy a water softener.

Water softening can fix your hard water problem quickly and give many other benefits to your house plumbing system. 

However, with so many different water softeners on the market, it can be challenging to know which water softening system is the best.

Most water softeners differ in; price, capacity and salt-free/salt usage systems too.

So to help you narrow down which softener for water you need, we have rounded up the best water softeners on the market and compared them to find the best high-quality softener system for your whole house.

Our Favourite Water Softener -

The Crown by Harveys Water Softener (Editor's Choice)

The Crown by Harvey's model comes with two tanks; one for regeneration and one for softened water. It can produce around 40 litres per minute at a peak flow with a 2 bar pressure drop.

Water Softener - Crown by Harveys (with 22mm FULL FLOW Installation Kit + FREE SALT!!!)

This system also features a 508-litre capacity with a 250ppm hardness and comes with measurements of 490 X 460 X 212 mm.

Other notable features of this model are its full installation kit which comes with all the equipment you need to install your softeners model such as compression tees and valves.

It additionally has a 65% salt efficiency rate and uses 350 grams of salt per regeneration. Three blocks of salt are included with the model too.

Conclusion

Overall, this two-tank water model by Crowns by Harvey is, without a doubt, one of the best water softeners on our list.

Water Softener - Crown by Harveys (with 22mm FULL FLOW Installation Kit + FREE SALT!!!)

Its separate regeneration tank allows for continuous water, and its full installation kit means you don't need to buy any extra accessories for the softeners system.

Negatives of this systems model have to be its very high price, this is probably due to its full installation kit, however.

Pros

  • Two tanks; one for regeneration and one for salt.
  • 40 litres per minute at peak flow.
  • 508-litre capacity.
  • Full installation kit included.
  • Comes with three blocks of salt.
  • High efficency rate.

Water Softener - Crown by Harveys (with 22mm FULL FLOW Installation Kit + FREE SALT!!!)

Cons

  • Very expensive.

CHECK THE CURRENT PRICE


Our Affordable Alternative - The Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener

The Tapworks water softener system is suitable for a house of around 1-7 people depending on your water usage and has a capacity of 11 litres.

Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener Easyflow Metered - Full Installation Kit +Hoses

Feature-wise, the water softeners model comes metered to monitor water usage and has a backlit LCD for reading data. T

The softeners design is also very compact and comes with a high flow valve for all kinds of plumbing types.

Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener Easyflow Metered - Full Installation Kit +Hoses

Installation of this model is made alot simple due to its full installation kit that consists of either 15mm or 22mm parts. All you need to do to start the model is set its time and hardness.

This model's design is made from polyethene and comes with a mixer to adjust the water hardness of your supply.

Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener Easyflow Metered - Full Installation Kit +Hoses

Conclusion

This Tapworks water softener is one of the most salt efficient models on our list due to its metered system.

Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener Easyflow Metered - Full Installation Kit +Hoses

The model is additionally one of the best due to its easy installation and high flow rate from its valve which allows you to have a large amount of water per day, making it perfect for a household of many people.

However, this water softeners model does come with some negatives. For example, the model is slightly expensive and has a smaller capacity than other softeners on our list.

Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener Easyflow Metered - Full Installation Kit +Hoses

Pros

  • Easy to install with the full installation kit included.
  • LCD with inlight.
  • High flow rate valve.
  • It is made of high-quality material.
  • Suitable for the plumbing of many people.
  • Metered system.

Tapworks NSC11PRO Water Softener Easyflow Metered - Full Installation Kit +Hoses

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Small capacity.

CHECK THE CURRENT PRICE


Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener

The W2B200 water softener by Water2Buy boasts a low-priced softening system for a house of 1-4 people. The water softener also can produce around 1,250 litres of soft water each day.

Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener | Efficient Digital Meter Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

Feature-wise, the water softener system has a self-cleaning feature in its regeneration cycle; this cycle automatically happens when your system measures it to be required and occurs overnight. The size of this model comes in at 220 X 525 X 650 mm.

The water softener additionally has an efficient digital metre that consumes less salt and water, along with an app that allows you to set reminders to top up salt in your water softening system and access live support when needed.

Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener | Efficient Digital Meter Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

This softeners design is built of fibreglass with a polyethene tank that has adjustable water hardness and a premium resin, paired with a bypass valve for the best soft water pressure.

Conclusion

Overall, this water softener system by Water2Buy is very affordable and easy to use if you have a hard water supply that needs softening.

Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener | Efficient Digital Meter Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

The regeneration system is conveniently done at night, so it doesn't interrupt your daily schedule, and its well-built system is very reliable for long-term use in your house.

Some negatives of this model have to be its bypass valve which is said to come faulty by several people.

Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener | Efficient Digital Meter Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

The model also has a difficult to read instruction manual and is said to need numerous extra fittings such as hoses that can add to the total price of the model.

Pros

  • Affordable.
  • Easy to use and install.
  • Fixes water hardness with a reliable build.
  • Regeneration system.
  • The app included for salt filling reminders.
  • Digital metre.

Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener | Efficient Digital Meter Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

Cons

  • Difficult instruction manual.
  • Poor customer service.
  • Extra fittings add to price.
  • The bypass valve is said to arrive faulty by numerous people.

Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener | Efficient Digital Meter Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

CHECK THE CURRENT PRICE


Monarch Midi HE FreeFlow Water Softener

This Monarch Midi HE water softener comes with the ability to provide 35 gallons of soft water per person each day. It is also suitable to install in a whole house of 4-7 people depending on water hardness.

Monarch Midi HE FreeFlow Water Softener + 22mm Hoses - Combi Pressurised Kit

Significant features of this Monarch water softening system are its high flow rates and meter control that only regenerates the resin that has been used.

The softeners total size comes in at 555 x 270 X 503mm, and it has an easy installation system that comes with hoses and a bypass system.

Monarch Midi HE FreeFlow Water Softener + 22mm Hoses - Combi Pressurised Kit

Other notable specifications of this model are its 8-minute mini regeneration feature and ability to be fitted to low-pressure drop flow rates.

Conclusion

The Monarch branded water softener is excellent if you are looking to tackle water hardness in a larger household due to its high litres per person and high flow rate.

Monarch Midi HE FreeFlow Water Softener + 22mm Hoses - Combi Pressurised Kit

This model is also one of the best on our list thanks to its 8-minute regeneration system and accessories such as hoses that are included within the price.

Downfalls of the model have to be its high price. The model is also said to use alot of salt which could be expensive in the long run.

Monarch Midi HE FreeFlow Water Softener + 22mm Hoses - Combi Pressurised Kit

Pros

  • Produces a large amount of water per person.
  • Can be used in low-pressure systems and give out a high flow rate.
  • 8-minute regeneration top-up.
  • Accessories such as hose included.
  • Easy to install.

Monarch Midi HE FreeFlow Water Softener + 22mm Hoses - Combi Pressurised Kit

Cons

  • High price.
  • Uses alot of salt.
  • Poor customer service reported,

Monarch Midi HE FreeFlow Water Softener + 22mm Hoses - Combi Pressurised Kit

CHECK THE CURRENT PRICE


Water2Buy W2B110 Water Softener

If you are looking for a water softener on a budget, this W2B110 Water2Buy model might be worth considering. The model comes with an ability to produce 1,250 litres each day for your house and is suitable for around 1-4 people.

Water2Buy W2B110 Water Softener | Timer Control Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

Notable features of the model are its automatic regeneration timer that happens every few days at night. The softener also has a high-quality build that's made from fibreglass.

There is a downloadable app where you can access more information about the water softener. Additionally the size of this system measures in at 220 X 425 X 650 mm.

Water2Buy W2B110 Water Softener | Timer Control Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

The model also comes with a 7-year warranty to ensure buyer confidence.

Conclusion

This water softener by Water2Buy is one of the best and most low-priced softeners on our list, making it perfect for small families who are looking to fix their hard based water.

Water2Buy W2B110 Water Softener | Timer Control Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

The model also boasts best features such as its mobile app and regeneration timer, along with its 7-year warranty which makes it very reliable in comparison to other softeners on our list.

Some downfalls of this salt-based model have to be its noise and instructions. This whole house water model is reported to be very noisy when in use and extremely difficult to install due to its poorly made instructions.

Water2Buy W2B110 Water Softener | Timer Control Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

You also need to buy extra parts such as hoses which can add to the price.

Pros

  • Great for small families with an affordable price.
  • Mobile app for extra information.
  • Regeneration timer.
  • High-quality build.
  • 7-year warranty.

Water2Buy W2B110 Water Softener | Timer Control Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

Cons

  • Noisy.
  • Poor instructions.
  • No accessories included.

Water2Buy W2B110 Water Softener | Timer Control Softener for 1-4 People | 100% Limescale Removed

CHECK THE CURRENT PRICE


Our Verdict - Which Water Softener Is The Best?

To conclude, the best water softener for getting rid of minerals and calcium in your water supply has to be the Crown By Harveys Water Softener system.

Now, the model is the most expensive on our list, but this is mainly due to the fact it boasts two tanks instead of one. This allows regeneration to happen without affecting your soft water.

Furthermore, this water softener is also the best because of its large capacity and high salt efficency rate.

For a more affordable suggestion, we would recommend the Tapworks water softener system.

This system is excellent if you have a medium amount of people living in your household and comes with all the accessories needed to get you started when installing the softener.

What To Look For In a Best Water Softener (Our Buying Guide)

Now we have found and compared the water softener systems that are on the market; you might be wondering what you should be looking for in a system, and how they even work?

Well, we've got you covered with our extensive best water softener buying guide below to help you out.

What Is a Water Softener?

A water softener is a water filter system that fixes the hardness of water by removing minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

Using a filter like this can get rid of challenging water problems in your home, such as; lime-scale build-up and blocked appliances. It can also eliminate scale build-up in your hot water systems.

Water softening further allows you to have softer water when showering and cleaning dishes. These machines are often the best solution if you live in areas with hard water and low water pressure.

How Does Water Softening Work?

So, as we touched on above, water softening works by removing minerals from your hard based water. This is done via a process called ion-exchange.

Hard water flows through something called resin beads in your softening system; these resin beads are charged with sodium ion and have a negative charge.

Calcium and magnesium, on the other hand, have a positive charge so are therefore attracted to the resin beads, thus when hard water flows through the resin, these hard water minerals are removed.

So once the sodium ions are released after removing the minerals, this leaves you with a softer water supply which is much kinder to your household appliances and hot water boiler.

Types Of Water Softeners

The most common type of water softener tends to be a salt ion-exchange system; however, there are also other types of systems on the market that you might have heard of.

  • Salt-based ion-exchange system - As we touched on above, this separates by using a tub full of resin beads and another brine tank.
  • Dual-tank model - These systems tend to be more expensive but allow you to have an uninterrupted water flow while the other tank is regenerating.
  • Salt-free model - Salt-free softeners use potassium chloride to filter their water rather than salt. This is good for people who don't want to consume extra salt and still de-scale their house.
  • Magnetic model - This system uses an electromagnetic field to change the composition of minerals in hard based water and prevent limescale from building up.

What Are The Main Parts Of a Water Softeners System?

So as you can know precisely how these water softeners work, it's a good idea to have a summary of the central system so you can understand exactly how the inner workings of a water softener operate.

  • Mineral Tank - This is where the ion-exchange happens in your model when water exits this tank it will be softened water that flows out.
  • Control Valve - A valve controls the amount of hard water that is entering your mineral tank, it then measures when there are too many minerals and initiates a regeneration cycle.
  • Brine tank - This tank is where your salt-based water sits. This tank helps regenerate your model as its flushes through the Mineral Tank when regeneration is needed to remove hard water minerals. You often need to add salt blocks or tablets regularly to maintain the concentration required in the tank.

What Is a Regeneration Cycle?

The regeneration cycle of a water softener is simply the act of flushing the resin beads with a highly concentrated brine solution when needed.

This happens depending on how hard your water is and the individual model, some machines do this at night, and other softeners have a separate tank.

How much salt and water it requires to flush out your beads and remove minerals depends on your model and water.

What Should I Be Looking Out For In a Water Softener?

There are many things to consider when buying a water softener, your budget and hardness of water will ultimately determine the model you buy.

However, there are several other factors you should be considering when hunting for your model below -

  • Size - You will need to figure out what sized capacity your model will require to be. This depends on; how hard your water is, the number of people within your household, and their water usage. If you assume each person uses 80 gallons per day - follow this calculation: gallons per person X grains per gallon = how much needs to be removed.
  • Available space - Water softeners can be very bulky, especially if you buy a dual tank model, so you should ensure there is open space to install the model before purchasing.
  • Regeneration system - Your regeneration needs to be able to support how hard your water is. It would help if you also considered the model's schedule and how much water is required to perform regeneration.
  • Salt efficency rating - Most of these numbers can be found on your water softeners specifications; they should come as a percentage and ideally be an efficency rating of at least 3350 grains per pound of salt.
  • Bypass valve - A bypass valve is super useful for when you want to use your normal hard water instead of salt-based water. This could be for drinking, watering the garden or even filling up a swimming pool.
  • Price - You need to consider the cost of your whole water softener, more expensive water softeners will often come with a full installation kit and may even have two tanks, they usually have a higher rate of efficency too saving you money in the long run. Cheaper models will come without some installation parts that you may need to buy separately; they often have a single tank too and will use more salt.
  • Dual tank or single tank - Dual tanks tend to be more beneficial as they use a separate vessel for the regeneration cycle, allowing you to have an unaffected flow rate of softer water while the process occurs.
  • Salt or salt-free - Some people want to avoid high consumption of sodium so may use a sodium-free softener instead. However, these systems may not be suitable for very hard based water.
  • Ease of installation - It's essential to make sure your model has an easy installation, some models can even be installed DIY, however its best to factor in the cost of a plumber if you are unsure of how to fit a softener.
  • Display - Some softeners come with a useful LCD where you can set reminders of when to top up your salt.
  • Timer - Most automatic electronic water softeners have a schedule where they will regenerate automatically without manual interference, this a time-saving option if you don't mind having less control over your salt usage.

How Do I Know If I Need a Water Softener?

There are many signs that you might need to install a water softener in your home, with some of the most common symptoms being clogged pipes or excessive limescale in appliances. You can also get an idea for how hard your water is on your areas water report.

We've listed out some other common signs which may indicate you need a water softener below -

  • Faded clothing - Having hardness in your water will impact the quality of your clothes. You may find colours become faded quickly and white clothes start to have a greyish tinge.
  • Low pressure of water - Hardness can cause pipes to clog up, these deposits can, in turn, affect the water pressure of your system.
  • Dry skin & hair - Hard water affects how well soap can lather up when showering which can end up leaving minerals in your hair and skin, giving a dry and itchy feeling.
  • Blocked plumbing - If you are continually having plumbing problems and blocked pipes due to limescale building up then one water softener is probably necessary.
  • Scale build-up on appliances - Hard water can leave behind a white film on your dishes and give glasses a cloudy appearance after washing. It also doesn't help soap lather which will affect the overall cleanliness of your pots and pans.
  • Tough soap scum after using shower/bath - Due to hard water and soap not mixing well, it can leave behind marks on your bath and shower which can be annoying to clean off.

Can I Install a Water Softener Myself?

Yes, you can 100% install your salt-based water softener yourself if you are comfortable with plumbing and know what you are doing, however, if you are unsure its best to use a professional plumber.

That being said, we have listed out a step by step list to guide you through the necessary installation of a water softener.

Water Softener Parts

  • Softener tank.
  • Brine tank.
  • Bypass valve.
  • Drain line.
  • MNPT fittings.
  • Hose clamp.
  • Power supply.
  • Electronic head.

Step By Step Installation

  • Decide your place - Your best water softeners model needs to be placed where your hard water enters your home, you should make sure this spot also has a power source, a supply inlet and a draining point for the model.
  • Turn off your heater & main water line - Before starting the installation process, you should turn off your main supply of water to prevent leaks and keep your electric heater off too.
  • Drain everything - Turn on all outlets in your house for water and drain the remaining water that is left in them.
  • Install the Bypass valve - Push your bypass valve directly on to the water softeners valve and secure.
  • Check your pipes connections & connect - Connect your model to inlets and outlets needed, make sure your flow is in the right direction so as softeners water can flow into your households supply.
  • Switch it back - Turn back on your main water and heater, as you do this you should leave a gap in the bypass valve for any air to pass through the drain line.

How Much Does It Cost To Install a Softener?

Every household has different plumbing, so it's hard to be specific about the price it will cost to get your water softener installed in your home, however, for the installation process in the UK alone you should budget anything from £150-£200.

We've put together some of the factors that will determine the total price of your water softeners installation below -

  • Type of softener - The kind of model you choose will impact installation prices, as each may require a different installation process. Magnetic softeners tend to be very low priced to install.
  • How hard your water is - If you have very hard water, you will inevitably need a more robust water model, which will be more expensive.
  • Size - If your house is on the larger side and has a high water usage combined with lots of fixtures, it's likely your installation price will be higher. Your model will also need to be of a higher capacity.
  • Plumbing - An old plumbing system is a little more complicated to fit a water softener too, this means you installation cost might end up being higher if your plumbing is old.

What's The Difference Between Salt Based Softeners & Salt-Free Softeners?

Salt-based water softening uses ion-exchange to remove hard water minerals and create salt-based softened water, salt-free softeners, on the other hand, don't remove these minerals but condition them instead.

Some people prefer to call them sodium-free softeners or de-scalers rather than water softeners due to the minerals still being in the water.

Each model has its pros and cons, we've listed the major ones below to give you a chance to see which model is right for you -

Salt-Based Water Softener

Pros

  • Completely removes hard water minerals through its ion-exchange process.
  • Plumbing and appliances will benefit from less lime-scale build-up.
  • Allows for a better soap lather.
  • Not harsh on the skin and has a soft feel to the water.

Cons

  • Expensive.
  • Requires alot of maintenance.
  • Salt costs extra money.
  • Alot of water is wasted during the regeneration process.

Salt-Free Water Softener

Pros

  • Less expensive.
  • Great for people who don't want to consume too much sodium.
  • Cuts down on chemicals.
  • Leaves a small number of minerals in the water for added health benefits.
  • Easy to install.
  • No maintenance.

Cons

  • These electronic water softeners take longer to show results.
  • Hard water crystals are still present in the water.
  • No slick feeling to the water.

As you can see, both types of water softeners can reduce lime-scale in your household and soften water. However, if you are looking to remove calcium and magnesium from your water altogether, it might be best to go with a sodium-based model.

On the other hand, if you want to keep some of the minerals and your hard water problem is not too bad, then a sodium-free water softener/conditioner might be a better and more affordable option for you.

Benefits Of Using a Water Softener

By now it's likely you know using a water softener can transform your houses plumbing system and allow you to have lime-scale free appliances. However, there are several other benefits you might not have considered too.

  • Less time cleaning - The time you spend trying to lather up soap and re-washing dishes will be fixed instantly with a water softener, allowing to clean faster without having to re-do cleaning as quick.
  • Fewer plumbing problems - Less lime-scale build-up means fewer clogged pipes and issues with your hot water boiler.
  • Saves money - With all the amount of money spent on extra cleaning products, new appliances and plumbing problems, you'll end up saving so much more money with a water softener in the long run.
  • Brighter clothes - This water can help avoid colour bleeding on clothes and dissolve washing powder better than hard water, resulting in bright and clean laundry.
  • Softer skin & hair - The mineral-free water allows you to maintain your skins natural oils after showering, which will leave you feeling more moisturised rather than dry and tight after taking a shower. It can further help balance your hair's pH level and leave it feeling softer.
  • Cleaner dishes - Water softening leaves your glasses and plates clearer with no white residue left by minerals, the soap also lathers quick, meaning you can wash dishes faster.

Disadvantages Of Using a Water Softener

Believe it or not, there are some disadvantages to using a water softener, not only does the water produced from these systems have a high sodium content, but they are also pretty bad for the environment water-wise.

  • Lots of maintenance -Sodium based water softeners require lots of care to keep them running; this means keeping up with adding salt so as the resin doesn't run out of sodium.
  • Expensive alternatives - If you don't want to use a sodium-based model, the alternative is a potassium chloride model which can be very expensive.
  • High sodium content - The increased amount of sodium in this water is not recommended for people on low sodium diets and babies.
  • Can't be used on plants - This water can damage the soil of plants and cause them to die, this can be annoying for indoor watering.
  • Large in size - Water softeners are very bulky and can take up alot of space in your home, you need to make sure your house has a large enough space to accommodate this.
  • Can feel slippery - Once softened the water can have an unusual feel to it which may take some getting used to, especially when showering.
  • Messes with dietary requirements - Calcium and magnesium are required minerals that need to be part of a healthy diet, this water eliminates these minerals.

Can I Drink Softened Water?

Yes, you can drink softened water as long as its sodium content is below 200ppm.

If the sodium content of the water is higher than this, it's not recommended to drink, especially for people who need to reduce sodium in their diet or babies and infants.

Therefore, if you are concerned about drinking a large amount of softened water, you could consider installing a separate tap that provides hard water.

Benefits of hard water tap include -

  • Better taste. 
  • Can be used for watering plants. 
  • Can be mixed with baby food. 
  • Drinkable for people on a low sodium diet.

As we said above, the harder your water, the higher level of sodium that will be in your water.

How Do I Maintain My Water Softener?

Apart from adding salt regularly, your best water softener shouldn't require an extensive amount of maintenance.

There are some tips and tricks however that you can follow to help prolong your softeners life -

Choose high-quality salt

The quality of the salt you use can quickly impact the quality of your water. You can either choose sodium crystals, tablets or potassium chloride depending on if you want to go sodium-free or not.

Check your system often

Now and then it's a good idea to check if everything is working correctly within your model, sometimes sodium can build up within the model, this, in turn, can impact how the resin bed cleans itself.

Look for bridges

Salt bridges tend to form in your model and can affect the regeneration process; this build-up is often caused by bad-quality sodium, high humidity and high temperatures within the tank.

Check your salt levels

Although you will top up your softeners salt level regularly, it's a good idea to be checking it on the odd occasion to see how quickly your sodium level is going down. This can help you monitor cost and usage, as well as how hard your water is.

Timer VS Meter Softeners

There are two kinds of systems you can buy, either timer or metering systems. It can be challenging to understand what the difference is between the two, so we've written out how each system works below.

Meter controlled

Meter controlled systems are designed to provide a regeneration based on water usage in your household, this is useful for families or people who travel alot and want quality water only when they need it.

The systems design will automatically detect when its brine will need to be flushed through the resin, so this can save you money and salt too.

Timer controlled

Timer controlled systems will automatically regenerate your model at a set time each day; this schedule will not be affected by the volume of water that has been used.

Some downfalls of this systems design are that it can waste water, for example, if you used a lesser amount of water one week and more the next.

It can also cause you to run out of the water if you use alot in one day, e.g. do lots of washing.

FAQs

How do I know what sized water softener to use?

Working out the size of your model depends on a couple of different factors; your water usage per person in your household and how hard your water is, to begin with.

You can found out how hard your water is with a testing kit or a report from your local water supplier. To find out how much water is used per person each day, you can either look at your water bill or multiply 80 gallons per person as this is the average amount of water used.

Use this following calculation: Gallons per day X Water hardness = Grains that needs to be removed per day. Once you know how many grains your softener needs to be removing each day, you can figure out the size you need.

What is hard water?

Hard water is made up of a high amount of minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. These excess high mineral contents can contribute to lime-scale build-up and plumbing problems in your home.

How long does a water softener last for?

On average, a softening system can last anything from 10 to 20 years, depending on how well it is maintained. Often, a more expensive and durable design will last you much longer from 20 years to 25.

How easy are they to maintain?

Pretty easy, the only real maintenance needed, especially for an automatic electronic water softener is just adding salt when it's required.

There are some other simple tricks you can consider, such as breaking up salt bridges in the brine tank and dissolving mush.

Is it okay to drink this mineral-free water?

Yes, however, only if it contains less than 200ppm levels of salt, you should also avoid saltwater if you are on a low sodium diet and are providing the drinking water to a baby.

What kind of salt should I use for my model?

There are three main types of salt you can use for your machine; tablet salt, granular salt and block salt.

Tablet salt can be brought in large bags and is most commonly used above all other types of salts, granular salt, on the other hand, is used more for industrial softeners and can tend to be expensive.

Block salt is the newest and most expensive kind of salt; it's designed to be very dense and allows for more extended regeneration periods.

Can I mix different kinds of salts?

Mixing salts will probably not harm your machine. However, it does depend on what the manufacturer recommends. Some devices may be designed to work better with tablet salt that granular for example, so messing with the system could potentially cause some damage.

Does this device change the taste of water?

No, a water softener will not make water taste salty despite its high sodium content; however, if you do notice a taste difference, this is probably due to you being used to the high amount of chlorine in hard water.

When you switch to softer water from hard water, you will likely notice that difference in taste.

Why should I use a soft water machine?

You only need to use a softener if your suffering from hard water problems, it will fix them pretty quickly and end up saving you alot of money down the line.

If you don't have very hard water but still want the benefits of a water softener you could also consider a salt-free water conditioner which has similar services and can help to remove limescale build-up from your home.

How long will it take to see a difference once installed?

You should give your machine at least two weeks to make a noticeable difference to your hard water supply, after these initial weeks you should have a perfect supply of soft water.

Will I miss out on minerals if I drink this water?

Yes, you will miss out on some minerals; however, people have been drinking this water for years without them and are said to be healthy, so the decision is up to you.

Do I need to clean the brine tank?

Cleaning your tank doesn't need to be done that often, but when it does, it's a pretty simple process.

Simply disconnect everything and set your softener to bypass, empty your container and fill it with some dish soap and water, pour this out then rinse again with clean water.

Lastly, mix a bleach solution with water and repeat these steps above. You may find some built-up salt or bridges that you will have to break down with hot water too.

Then re-add your water and sodium accordingly and connect everything back together. It's best also to check your models manual for more specific instructions.

How do I know how hard my water is?

You can found out if your water is hard by; checking for any signs such as excess lime-scale build-up, reviewing your local water report or using a DIY test kit.

How often will I need to change the resin in my tank?

There's not a set time limit as once again; this depends on your model and water supply; however, you should look to change your resin every 5-10 years.

Will a softener affect my water pressure?

Yes, a softener may potentially lower your water pressure, this can be due to several reasons, but the most common one is due to the resistance from the resin bed.

Could soft water help my eczema?

Soft quality water is unlikely to cure eczema but may help symptoms such as dry skin and itchiness. These effects of eczema are often made worse by hard water.

Does it filter out harmful bacteria?

No, a water softener does not filter out harmful bacteria; however, some models on the market can come with an added filter future for this.

One of the best systems you can buy for killing waterborne bacteria is a whole house filtration system which often uses UV light and other catalytic conversions to kill bacteria found within water.

Our #1 Water Softener For Getting Rid Of Your Hard Water Problems

Overall, to round up our reviews, the number one water softening model on our list is the Crown By Harveys Water Softener system. 

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This softener is very expensive, but it is the best water softener on our list thanks to its dual-tank system and inclusion, of a full installation kit.

The best model needs to have a high efficency rate and an easy to use systems. Therefore we feel as if the Crown By Harvey's model is the best fit as it features both of these qualities.

For an alternate and more affordable best water softener system, we also suggested the Tapworks water softener. 

This is one of the best budget systems on our list due to its easy to install kit and high salt efficiency rating.

One of the best features of this model is also its size which can suit a medium household of people and provide enough soft water daily for everyone's needs.

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