Let’s face it.  Hard water sucks.  It clogs up your drains with unwanted mineral deposits, leaves build up in your shower, and makes your home tap completely undrinkable.

Chances are unless you live in the Pacific Northwest, New England, or select areas of the South you’re probably dealing with hard water.  As a matter of fact 85% of the US Citizens have hard water flowing through pipes from their municipal source.

Hard water can cause headaches when you are attempting to wash dishes only to have your freshly cleaned plates covered in white film.  Or perhaps, you’re spending hours on end attempting to remove lime scale from your shower.  Properly conditioning your home’s water supply with one of these systems can reduce expensive repair bills due to damage and help you save your favorite t-shirt from an early grave due to that faded look.

Water Softener Comparison Chart

Life is hard, but your water doesn’t have to be.  Neither does the process of buying a softener.  We’ve decided to make it easy for you.  Below you’ll find our comparison chart of the top brands available along with a variety of the best water softener reviews to help you make an informed decision. There’s no wizardry involved, just simple honest customer feedback.  Let the WaterWyzard help you decide with the most comprehensive interactive comparison chart anywhere!

ImageNameTypeGrain SizeFlow RatePrice ($-$$$$$)Rating (1-5)
Nuvo H20 DPHB Home Salt Water Softener SystemSalt-FreeN/A12-15 GPM$$2.5
aquios full home water softener and filterAquios FS-220L Whole House Water Softener/Filter System, VOC ReductionSalt-FreeN/A12 GPM$$3.5
Fleck 5600SXTIon Exchange48,00012 GPM$$$5.0
waterboss 365 36400 grainWaterBoss 365Ion Exchange36,40010 GPM$$$4.0
fleck 7000Fleck 7000Ion Exchange64,00022 GPM$$$$4.0
north star NST70UDNorth Star NST70UD1Ion Exchange70,00016 GPM$$$$$4.5
morton MSD34CMorton Salt Company Msd34cIon Exchange34,0008 GPM$$$4
scale sentry prevention salt freeABC Water SentrySalt-FreeN/A10 GPM$$$$4.5

Table Jargon Buster

  • Grain capacity refers to how many grains of water hardness the softener can remove before having to regenerate.  For one person, the average is 75 grains per day.
  • Flow rate refers to the number of gallons per minute the system can handle.

The Different Types Of Water Softeners.

  1. Ion Exchange – Salt is used to remove magnesium and calcium from the water.  These are the two primary mineral deposits that make your water “hard”.  Salt replaces the other two minerals which doesn’t cause scale or build up in pipes, or fade the colors in your laundry.
  2. Descalers (Salt-Free) – Leaves the magnesium and calcium minerals intact, but prevents them from creating scale or build-up in pipes or appliances

What’s The Best Water Softener?

Still unsure if you want to go with a salt or salt-free option?  Let’s let the good folks at South Florida water do the talking.

It’s important to understand the difference between these two. Descalers do not actually remove any minerals from the water, meaning they leave calcium and magnesium intact. Many critics of salt-based systems point out that these two minerals are essential for the body and shouldn’t be stripped out of the water. On the other hand, ion exchange systems increase the salinity of the water while removing these minerals. Both of them have there obvious advantages and disadvantages.

hard water damage - water softener reviews

Mineral deposits wreak havoc on old pipes

Advantages Of Using A Water Softener System

  • You Keep Your Pipes Clean. That image to the right is what the inside of your home’s plumbing could look like if you aren’t using a water softening system.  After reviewing the damage that these mineral deposits can cause is it any wonder that investing in one of these systems could possibly save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars?  Once these minerals build up inside the pipes they are nearly impossible to remove.  Over time the pipes began to erode further and further until you have a costly repair bill on your hands!  Plumbing repairs aren’t cheap.  So keep your pipes clean!
  • Your Appliances Will Last Longer. Who doesn’t long for that morning cup of joe?  Did you know that using hard water could actually be damaging your coffee maker?  The problem isn’t just limited to small appliances.  Your clothes washer, dishwasher and your refrigerator are both likely hooked up to your home’s plumbing.  Hard water can actually be sending these very costly (much more expensive than a water softener) appliances to an early grave!
  • Not More Gross Film On Your Dishes.  No we’re not talking about the latest Hollywood gore movie.  We’re talking about that slimy, nasty, film that seems to cling to every dish you’ve ever owned.  Remember the day you first brought home that new wine glass?  Now, no matter how hard you scrub it’s got that “foggy look” to it.  Using a water softener will turn your daily kitchen chores in a breeze.  Or perhaps just another drop in the bucket of delicious water!
  • hardwaterclothes

    Left: New Shirt Right: The Consequences Of Not Using A Softener

    Look Better In Your Clothes. Picture this, you’ve got a hot date with a brand new girl.  Or perhaps you’re taking your spouse out for a night out on the town.  Every item of clothing you own looks faded and old. How could you have possibly prevented your expensive wardrobe from looking more dull and depressing than life in Soviet Russia?  Just to review, if you’re not using a water softener your making it THAT much harder for your laundry detergent to clean your clothes.  Much of the detergent is used to actually soften the water so the fabric can be penetrated.  This is bad for your clothes, bad for your washing machine, and bad for your sense of style.

 

Reviews – The 3 Best Products

 Fleck 5600 XST

fleck-5600SXTFleck Water Softeners are known for there quality, and durability.  Donning it’s sexy black exterior this is one of the best rated, and top choices for any home softener system.  Many homeowners have commented on this model has been just as good if not better than the more expensive options out there.  It will fit in almost any garage or appropriate space as it takes roughly 3 feet by 18 inches.

It can treat up to 12 GPM and it’s perfect for a household of 3-6 people.   Unless you are living in a large manor this will be more than sufficient. Fleck has a reputation for building products that are made to last.  These suckers can keep working for nearly thirty years.

At an investment of less than $600 the household maintenance costs that will be saved by using something like this will cause the the product to eventually pay for itself. Are you living in the Arizona desert, or perhaps your drinking from the river next to a magnesium plant?  Don’t fret.  This baby can handle moderate to VERY HARD water.  Isn’t that what we all want in an appliance?

Something that can handle the abuse, and keep dishing out delicious fresh water for years to come.  It’s silky smooth showers from here on out! If all this weren’t enough to get your gears going, it comes with digital touch pad controls and the display will tell you how many units of water you have left before the system needs to regenerate. Check out this quick video review of what the white version of this unit looks like in action.

North Star NST70UD

north star NST70UDNext up on our list is the North Star NST70UD.  No that’s not a nuclear sub you’re looking at, it’s #2 on our list.  It’s a bit more pricey than some of the other items on our list, but it’s well worth the investment.

This product has 70,000 grains which means that unless you live in a frat house it’s probably not going to have to regenerate very often.  This unit is great for large families, or two story houses where people are lining up to take a shower in the morning. Keep in mind this is a heavy unit so if you’re not built like Arnold circa 1977 you might need a dolly, or a friend to help you move it once it arrives at your house.  It weighs in at well over 100lbs.

The unit has a built in Ultra II Demand Timer which you can use to override the default settings.  By default it’s set to regenerate at 2 am and take no longer than a couple of hours to completely regenerate. This timer is straight forward and easy to program until other models which sometimes have an unintuitive interface. The unit is easy to install and doesn’t require any complicated plumbing skills.

There’s also a 1 year warranty in case later down the line you actually do discover you’ve just installed a nuclear sub in your basement or garage.  (Only joking of course). Though it’s highly unlikely you’ll need to take advantage of the warranty.  This unit practically maintains itself.

The main disadvantage for some folks is that it isn’t an all-in-one unit the brine tank is separate making it a double tank apparatus.  If you’ve got a small house you might not have much room for this model, but then again you probably wouldn’t be ordering a 70,000 grain softener to begin with.

ABC Water Sentry

scale sentry prevention salt freeLast on our list is a somewhat lesser known brand, but a worthy contender nonetheless.  This is the only salt-free conditioner at the top of our list.  If you are extremely sensitive to sodium, or simply tired of lifting salt bags into your more traditional water softener then this product is for you. Numerous consumers reported better tasting water, with a chemical free smell.

The Water Sentry System works by turning the clumps of magnesium and calcium in your water into nano-clumps.  Essentially, it beats them into a powdery dust until they lose all there sticking power. Who doesn’t love a good drink of water filled with mineral goodness?  This isn’t going to give you that smooth feeling in the shower, but it’s the best alternative if you’re on the anti-salt bandwagon.

 What Size Water Softener Should You Buy?

If you’ve made it this far in our water softener review then you’re just a step or two away from being a proud owner of a brand new household appliance.  Before you make your purchase, it’s important to determine what size water softener you need will depend on a few factors.  How many people are living in your household, what part of the country you live in, and whether or not you are drinking form a municipal water source or your own private well.

You can use our handy water softener size calculator to determine exactly what you need to purchase. You might not know the GPG or grains per gallon of your water.  In that circumstance, you are going to need a water test kit or you will have to call your local water authorities to get a general average for your city.  The image below shows you a graphic depiction of all the factors considered in properly calculating your size needs. what size water softener do you need   If you live in the Northwest, Northeast, or parts of the South you might not need a very high grain capacity.  Here’s what the levels of water hardness look like throughout the good ole USA.  As you can see there is quite a large variation depending what part of the country you are in. water hardness mapFolks living in the Rocky Mountain states, and most of the Southwest experience the highest levels of grains in there water.  These individuals would benefit the most from our water softener reviews.  On the other hand, even if you’re from Mississippi or Alabama it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from conditioning or softening your water.

The advantage to living in these areas is that you probably will have less maintenance to worry about.  Less replacing filters, resin tanks, pumps, tubings, and fittings.  Best of all less hauling huge bags of salt back and forth from the store.

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