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The 5 Best Water Softeners (2021 Review)

Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium minerals from your well or city water. These minerals cause hard water, which can clog pipes and decrease water pressure. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best water softeners on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Water Softener Courtesy YARNA

Calcium and magnesium cause hard water, which can decrease the lifespan of your appliances and clog your pipes. Water softeners eliminate these minerals. To help you select the water softener that’s right for you, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best water softeners on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Best Magnetic Softener: YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System

This magnetic water softener balances the need to eliminate hard water with the health benefits of maintaining some levels of calcium and magnesium in your body. This salt-free softener is ideal for customers with high-sodium diets who need to eliminate hard water but don’t want to reduce mineral intake.

Key Features

  • Magnetic design
  • Treatment capacity of 3,500 liters per hour
  • One-year warranty with the option to extend it to 10 years with registration

What Customers Are Saying

This water softener has over 850 reviews on Amazon and holds an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Among those reviews, 89% of customers rated this product 4 or 5 stars, while 6% rated it 1 or 2 stars.

Positive reviews of this product said that it worked quickly and noticeably improved their water. Unhappy customers said that this water softener didn’t remove calcium deposits from sinks or that it arrived with copper oxidation.

Best Hybrid Softener: Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Softener

This single-tank hybrid softener has a grain capacity of 31,000 with a removal rating of 120 grains per gallon (gpg) to eliminate hard water and reduce stains. Additionally, it also eliminates sediment, chlorine, and odor from water to make for a better drinking experience.

Key Features

  • Hybrid softener and filter design
  • 31,000-grain capacity
  • Removal rating of 120 gpg
  • One-, three-, and 10-year warranties of various parts

What Customers Are Saying

With over 800 reviews, this product has a total rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars on Amazon. This water softener received 4- or 5-star reviews from 89% of customers, while 7% of customers gave it 1- or 2-star reviews.

Those who left positive reviews for this water softener said that it was easy to install and improved the flavor of their water. They also loved its self-cleaning filter. However, other reviewers said that it didn’t filter water in the entire house as advertised, and several customers said that the product arrived damaged.

Best For Large Households: AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener

With a capacity of 64,000 grains and a removal rating of up to 70 gpg, this water softener is able to soften water for your whole household. It also comes with an attached filter to reduce iron levels in your water.

Key Features

  • Hybrid softener and filter design
  • 64,000-grain capacity
  • Removal rating of 70 gpg
  • Five-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

This product has nearly 400 reviews on Amazon and holds an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Reviewers rated this product 4 or 5 stars 89% of the time, while 1- or 2-star ratings make up 7% of reviews.

Customers who left positive reviews for this water softener said that it was installed easily, cleared water quickly, and significantly reduced iron levels. Dissatisfied customers said that its instructions were unclear and that it altered the color of the water.

Best Shower Filter: MEETYOO Shower Filter 15-Stage Water Softener

If you’re concerned about hard water coming through your shower head and causing skin irritation, this water softener is the solution for you. Compatible with handheld, wall-mounted, rainfall, and all other types of standard showerheads, this product will leave your skin feeling soft after a shower.

Key Features

  • Hybrid softener and filter shower head design
  • Treatment capacity of 13,000 gallons of water per cartridge
  • Cartridge lifespan of four to six months

What Customers Are Saying

Of over 750 reviews, this water softener holds an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 stars. Out of those reviews, 84% have 4- or 5-star ratings, while 8% have 1- or 2-star ratings.

Customers who left positive reviews for this product said that it reduced dry skin, smoothed out hair, and prevented stains. Those who left negative reviews said that it was cheaply made and that its attachment was difficult to tighten.

Best Value: iSpring ED2000 Whole-House Water Descaler System

At an affordable price, this magnetic whole-house water softener maintains mineral levels while preventing deposits from forming. It descales all of the water coming into your home to prevent buildup in your pipes.

Key Features

  • Magnetic design
  • Removal rating of 10–19 gpg
  • One-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

With over 1,000 Amazon reviews, this water softener has an average rating of 4.1 stars out of 5 stars. Among reviewers, 77% of customers gave this water softener 4- or 5-star ratings, while 12% gave it 1- or 2-star reviews.

Satisfied customers said that this water descaler worked instantly to reduce residue in their appliances. Those who left negative reviews said that it didn’t work as expected. They also had a hard time communicating with customer service to resolve these issues.

Buyer’s Guide

Purchasing the right water softener can be challenging, but the following factors can help you determine which model works best for your home.

Capacity

Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon. Water softeners can hold a certain number of grains per week before they need to be replenished. For apartments or small houses, water softeners with grain capacities of up to 32,000 should be sufficient. Medium or large homes need softeners with capacities between 40,000 and 64,000 grains.

Type

Water softeners typically come in the following types.

Ion-Exchange

Ion-exchange softeners are the most common type of water softener. They replace calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions.

Salt-Free

Salt-free water softeners don’t use salt to remove minerals. Instead, they crystallize the minerals, making them unable to attach to pipes. Salt-free softeners are typically more expensive than ion-exchange softeners, but they work without using electricity.

Dual-Tank

Dual-tank softeners have two resin tanks. They perform in a similar way to ion-exchange softeners except that one tank operates in a regeneration cycle, while the other provides softened water.

Magnetic

Magnetic softeners don’t require discharge lines or salt replacements. They’re affordable, and they take up little space. However, they’re only recommended for small spaces or light hard water issues.

Size

Certain water softeners, especially salt-based or dual-tank softeners, can take up a lot of space in your home. If you live in a smaller home, measure the area where you plan on installing the water softener to ensure it will fit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is hard water?

Hard water is water that contains minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium, that accumulate over time. Hard water is safe to drink and bathe in, but it could leave your skin feeling dry and itchy and cause damage to appliances. Hard water also causes pipe blockages over time if it’s not treated.

What are some of the signs that I have hard water?

Some tell-tale signs of hard water include:

  • Chalky film accumulating on dishes or dishwashers
  • Clothes feeling rough after being washed
  • Stains forming in tubs or sinks
  • Water pressure decreasing
  • Water bills being more expensive because your appliances are working harder

What are the negative effects of using a water softener?

Water softeners pose a health risk for people on low-sodium diets, as the ion-exchange process used in some water softeners adds 7.5 milligrams of salt per quart of water. Water softeners also eliminate nearly all calcium and magnesium from your water, so you may need dietary supplements to add those minerals back into your diet.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.