Many of us reside in hard water areas, whether we know it or not. For those who prefer softer water, there are several consumer water softener systems available on the market which are designed to specifically treat hard water, in turn providing you and your homes occupants with water that is more enjoyable to bath and shower in and will even benefit your laundry routine.
There are of course several orders of magnitude when it comes to quantifying hard water – but as a guide – anything above 60mg of magnesium and calcium will place your water supply into hard water territory.
Reducing the hardness of your water is straightforward but it does require the purchase and installation of a suitable water softening system. And you’re in luck, because we have tested the best models that are currently available to assist and influence your purchasing decision over which type of water softener is right for your home.
Our winning recommendation is Fleck’s 5600SXT model which provides everything that you could wish for in a home water softener.
This model is suitable for households which feature a water supply that is classified as medium to very hard water, essentially making it suitable for every home if water softening is your goal.
In addition, the 5600SXT features a 12 GPM flow rate which a temporary peak limit of 28 GPM, making this water softener suitable for households with up to 6 occupants.
We like the fact that this water softener is made in the USA with the construction of this model exhibiting an impressive level of build quality. Simply plumb the 5600SXT into your water supply and add salt to benefit from a reliable supply of soft water.
Fleck have been nice enough to include a comprehensive set of instructions which are sufficient to see this water softener installed in no time at all with some basic plumbing skills.
At this price range, we feel that the Fleck 5600SXT represents exceptional value for money and should be a serious consideration if you’re looking to purchase a new water softener.
Our runner up is Fleck’s Iron Pro 2, another great entry within our review that has stood the test of time and impressed many homeowners.
The Iron Pro 2 is similar to our winning Fleck model, but this model places a specific emphasis on the iron content of your water supply, containing a special mesh resin filter that is designed to greatly reduce the presence of iron. Included in the packaging is also an iron hardness testing device which will tell you the iron content of your water supply to help you set up this water softener properly.
You will also notice that this model can remove sulphur from water, up to a level of 2ppm.
The Iron Pro 2 is available in several different sizes depending on your requirements, with the top tier 80,000 grain model suitable for those households with the highest demands. The flow rate is also set at an impressive 14 GPM, making it suitable for most people’s needs.
Available in 3 different colors, the Iron Pro 2 is a great choice for any household that wishes to benefit from soft water with a vastly reduced iron content.
Next on our list is this salt-free water softener from Aquios. As with all Aquios products, they’ve made a real focus on quality and it shows with this multifunction water softener.
The first thing that you will notice is that this is a salt-free model which means that it softens water using different methodology. The jury is out on whether salt-free systems are as efficient as salt-based systems, but we found this model to be very impressive during our testing.
What we will say is that if you’re suffering from particularly hard water, you may be better off with one of the salt-based models for maximum performance and efficiency.
What we particularly liked about this model is the fact that it also features a built-in water filter which is capable of removing chlorine, sediment and other unwanted particulates, essentially making this a 2 in 1 model for any household that doesn’t wish to purchase a separate water softener and water filter.
It should also be noted that Aquios water softeners have a minimal impact on water flow rates, meaning that you shouldn’t notice a marked difference after installation.
All in all, the FS-234 is a great model with impressive performance that is compact and simple to install and maintain.
Providing another alternative method of softening water, the Eddy Electronic Water De-scaler is a worthy entry in our review.
What we have here is a salt-free alternative to water softening that relies on electromagnetic manipulation to achieve its goals. As you can see by the product image, this device is placed next to your incoming water mains pipe where the charge wires are then tightly coiled around the pipe itself.
From there, a current is passed through the pipe which alters the adhesion property of limescale which prevents it from adhering to surfaces. And so, whilst the chemical composition of your water isn’t changed (chlorine and calcium will be retained), you will still be able to benefit from longer lasting appliances, reduced water spotting and cleaner clothes.
We can also say that we noticed a difference in the taste of tap water in addition to much softer feeling water when showering whilst using this device.
Cost effective and easy to install, the Eddy Electronic Water De-scaler is well worth a look.
Returning to salt-based water softeners, the Whirlpool WHES30 makes for an interesting alternative to other models that utilise salt.
You will notice that the design of this water softener is completely different to traditional models that utilise a cylindrical tank and a control head. In practice, this model works much the same and is capable of reducing water hardness in addition to removing other particulates such as iron.
One beneficial feature of this type of water softener is that it has the ability to automatically calculate the exact quantity of salt that is required for it to regenerate itself. This translates into a significant reduction in the quantity of salt used.
Simply add salt pellets when required for years of trouble free and efficient water softening.
As part of our test, we thought that it would be a great idea to include a portable water softener for those who spend a lot of time on the road in their RV or other similar residence.
On The Go manufacture several different RV water softeners, but we feel that this model offers the best value for money as well as a great compromise between size, capacity and performance.
In fact, this 16,000 grain water softener is so good it is even suitable for smaller homes or homes with a low water demand.
As you would imagine, this model requires more frequent top ups of salt, but this is only a slight drawback – as in actual fact – this model is one of the most efficient on the market, supplying 40% more soft water than any other comparable filter.
2 boxes of table salt every 40 days or 1600 gallons of water will ensure that this water softener is ready to go at all times. If you’re always on the road or live in a home with a lower water demand, this water softener is for you.
Each water softener that we have reviewed features a raft of benefits; namely a reduction in water hardness which not only translates to more enjoyable water but also a possibility for improved skin and hair.
Our favorite model is the Fleck 5600SXT due to its feature set, performance and its attractive price. If you’re looking solely for a water softener, this model is for you.
If in actual fact you’re looking for an all in one device that is also capable of filtering unwanted contaminants from your water, we would suggest taking a look at the Aquios FS-234 as it also doubles up as an effective water filter.
Whichever model you decide to choose, we’re confident that you will enjoy years of high-quality soft water that is going to provide several benefits to you and your family.