How to Choose The Best Water Softener? Guide in 2024

Are you considering purchasing a water softener to improve water quality and overall quality of life, but unsure where to start? You’re in the right place! In this article, we will provide detailed guidance on how to select the best water softener, perfect for beginners.

➢Explain the Water Softener and How It Works.

Water softeners are designed to remove mineral ions from water and soften it. Traditional water softeners typically consist of one or two fiberglass tanks and a brine tank. The softening tank contains resin beads for ion exchange reactions, while the brine tank is used to store salt to aid in resin regeneration.

The resin beads stored in the softening tank carry a negative charge, attracting positively charged hardness ions. As hard water passes through these resin beads, mineral ions in the water are adsorbed onto the surface of the resin. Sodium ions on the resin beads react with calcium and magnesium ions in the water, replacing them and then entering the water. As a result, the sodium ion content in the water increases, while the mineral ion content decreases and is adsorbed and retained in the resin bed.

What is Water Softener and How It Works

➢What Does a Water Softener Do? And Do You Need It?

High levels of hardness in tap water or well water often come with a bitter taste and dryness, resulting in an unpleasant sensation when consumed. Prolonged exposure to hard water during bathing may lead to hair loss and dry skin. Additionally, you may notice water spots and limescale buildup on household appliances, pipes, utensils, cleaned cars, and sinks, all attributed to hard water. However, if you install a home water softener, all these issues will disappear, improving your quality of life while also saving you money on appliance maintenance costs.

What Does a Water Softener Do

If your drinking water contains high levels of minerals, or if you want to improve the quality of household water and extend the lifespan of household appliances, consider installing a water softener for your home!

➢4 Common Types of Water Softeners

Water softeners can be used in residential, commercial, and industrial settings, which means there are multiple types available. Here, we introduce four common types of water softeners to provide you with a basic understanding of them.

If you’re already familiar with or planning to consult a supplier for a recommended water softener, you can skip this section and move on to the next step.

As one of the most common water softeners, also known as salt-based water softeners, it utilizes the ion exchange principle described above to soften water. Its application is widespread and cost-effective. However, regular maintenance and resin regeneration are required to ensure the system operates smoothly.

  • Salt-Free Water Softeners

Salt-free water softener systems use physical or chemical treatment techniques such as template adsorption or scale inhibition. This process does not require the use of brine for resin regeneration, hence termed salt-free water softeners. These systems are typically compact, occupy less space, and have lower maintenance costs.

Salt-Free Water Softeners

Consists of two separate tanks. One is the softening tank, filled with resin for softening, while the other is the salt tank, filled with salt for resin regeneration. The simultaneous operation of both tanks ensures an uninterrupted supply of soft water. Its continuous water supply feature makes it suitable for applications requiring treatment of high flow rates, such as hotels, resorts, restaurants, and hospitals.

Dual Tank Water Softeners

  • Magnetic Water Conditioners

Magnetic water conditioners are an environmentally friendly and economical choice, preventing scale formation and accumulation by altering the magnetic field structure of minerals in water. However, these conditioners only change the structure of minerals rather than directly removing them, resulting in moderate effectiveness. They can be used in aquaculture, agricultural irrigation, animal husbandry, and residential homes.

➢What Steps Should I Take Before Buying a Water Softener System?

When selecting the best water softening system, you must do the following things first.

1) Test for Your Tap Water or Well Water

How do you measure water hardness? You can either purchase an online hardness testing tool (such as a PPM measurement device) for testing or contact your water utility to obtain free information about the hardness of your tap water. The higher the particle count in water, the harder it tends to be. Generally, water is considered hard when the particle count exceeds 120PPM.

If you wish to know the content of all substances in your water, submit a water sample to a laboratory or water treatment company for a detailed water quality report.

2) Calculating Water Usage

The water production capacity of a salt water softener must match your household or commercial needs. Calculate your household’s daily water usage to determine the capacity of the water softener, as it will determine the final size and cost of the equipment.

Taking the selection of a residential water softener as an example, you need to have a rough idea of your household’s daily water usage needs. For households with three or fewer occupants, the average water usage per person per day ranges from 25 to 50 gallons, including activities such as cooking, laundry, showering, and bathing. If your household has four or more occupants and additional needs like car washing or garden watering, the water usage per person per day may increase to approximately 80 to 100 gallons.

Calculating Water Usage for Your Home

3) Final Produced Water Quality

Different applications have varying requirements for water quality. Before purchasing a water softener, analyze your usage scenario, understand local regulations and standards, and determine your water treatment needs. For example, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a water hardness of 50-500 mg/L for drinking water.

In industrial applications, such as boiler equipment, particle concentration requirements typically range from 1ppm to 20ppm. To convert hard water into soft water suitable for household consumption, we recommend reducing the hardness to at least 50 ppm. Suppose you also need to remove other contaminants from the water. In that case, the entire system may require additional filtration systems, such as iron removal filters, pre-filters, activated carbon filters, ultraviolet sterilization systems, reverse osmosis systems, etc.

4) Considering Installation Site Space and Softener Size

Before installing a water softener, make sure you have enough space for installation and estimate its size.

How to choose a water softener size? You can create a water softener size calculator using the following formula to estimate the required capacity: (hardness × resin capacity × peak coefficient) × household daily water usage = water softener capacity.

For example, for a family of four, according to the above formula, if the household’s daily water demand is 400 gallons, the hardness is 150 ppm, the resin capacity is 1 cubic foot, and the peak coefficient is 1.5 (typically 1.5-2), then the size of the home water softener would be 400 (gallons) × (150 (ppm) × 1 (cubic foot) × 1.5) = 90,000 gallons/day (GPD).

Calculate Water Softener Size

➢What Factors Should Be Considered When Buying a Good Water Softener?

  • Additional Convenient Features: Automatic regeneration, automatic backwash, intelligent control.
  • Regeneration frequency and cycle.
  • Whether it has water-saving functions.
  • Noise Level.
  • Ease of Operation and Maintenance.
  • Quality and Durability of Materials.
  • Convenience of Installation and After-sales Service.
  • Warranty and Reliability of Maintenance.
  • Compliance with International Standards and Certification of Brand.

➢Choose the Best Water Softener Suppliers

On the market, there are various brands and models of water softeners available. To find a reliable supplier, you can search for keywords like “best 10 water softener companies” to find the best rated brands. Additionally, reading reviews about water softeners and seeking advice from experts can also be helpful.

A brand with a good reputation and comprehensive after-sales service will surely offer reliable product quality. You can contact experts from the best water softener companies to get purchasing advice and understand their service support, allowing you to compare and choose the most cost-effective product.

Here, we recommend 6 water softener suppliers known for their reliable quality and excellent customer service:

  • Fleck: A renowned supplier of water softener equipment, accessories, and valves based in the United States, known for its advanced technology and standout innovations among other brands.
  • Culligan: Offers a variety of capacity options for water softeners and other water treatment systems, with support for customization. Their water softeners are recognized for their reliability, durability, and efficiency.
  • EcoWater Systems: Specializes in customized water treatment systems tailored to customer needs, with a focus on improving water quality and efficiency. In addition to water softeners, they also provide reverse osmosis systems, water filters, and related accessories.
  • Pentair: A diversified water treatment company committed to sustainability and environmental protection, with involvement in agriculture, industry, and energy sectors.
  • NEWater: Providing professional water softening solutions to customers worldwide since its establishment 20 years ago. They have their own factory, offering factory-priced water softeners, and provide a one-year warranty.
  • Kinetico: Features non-electric operation and dual-tank design in their water softeners, suitable for both commercial and residential use. The system supports intelligent control.

➢Buy The Best Water Softener Based on Your Budget

The water softener system cost primarily depends on its capacity, features, model, installation expenses, and brand. Through the process of comparing and researching products from different suppliers, you may already have an idea of the price range for water softeners. Prices for small-scale water softeners typically range from $300 to $800. For users with larger water demands or higher water quality requirements, the price of water softeners may reach $1000 to $2000 or even higher.

After conducting a water softener price comparison, choose the most cost-effective and reliable water softener within your budget range, and then proceed with the installation of the water softening system.

➢How to Install Water Softener for Home?

After purchasing the best whole house water softener, you can DIY it. The water softener supplier will ship the installation and operation instructions along with the product to you. You can follow the instructions to place the system in the designated space and connect the inlet pipe, outlet pipe, and drain pipe.

After installation, checking for leaks and ensuring stable water pressure before starting the operation is important. Once the equipment is started, set the hardness level according to the water hardness and usage requirements. After confirming that the water quality meets your expectations, the equipment can be put into use.

Check out the video below to learn how to DIY water softener.

If you are a beginner and have little knowledge about fittings, connectors, pipes, power line length, drainage pipe length, and dimensions, it might be a better choice to seek professional installation services.

➢How to Maintain My Water Softener System for Home?

The lifespan of a good water softener system can be as long as 10 years or even longer. To maintain its lifespan or ensure its proper functioning, it’s crucial to regularly replace the filters and resin bed of the whole home water softener.

NEWater recommends replacing the filter cartridge every 3-6 months, depending on water quality and the performance of the water softener, and using a water softener cleaner to clean and regenerate the resin bed. For households and businesses using salt-based water softeners, you also need to consider regular cleaning of the salt tank and adding high-quality salt.

Additionally, it is important to ensure the drainage pipes are clear, monitor the water level in the salt tank, and check the water pressure of the water softener system for home. The main costs associated with maintenance involve replacing the resin beds, purchasing regeneration salt, and service fees for repairs. Therefore, when consulting suppliers about after-sales service and warranty issues, understanding these service supports can save you money.


Through the steps mentioned above, you can calculate the dimensions of the water softener and choose the best water softener. If you have any further questions, we will provide free consultation services. NEWater is an experienced supplier of water softening systems. Contact us for home water softener solutions and quotes!


Salt-based vs. Salt-Free Water Softeners, What is the Difference? Which is Better?

The main difference between them lies in their working principles. Which one is better depends on your budget, water quality, and preferences.

Salt-based water softeners:

It operates on chemical principles. They do not alter the chemical structure of minerals but rely on sodium ions on the resin to exchange with calcium and magnesium ions in the water, thereby completely removing mineral ions from the water. This method can thoroughly soften the water.

If the water hardness in your area is high, it is recommended to choose a salt-based water softener to meet your household needs. The limitation is that these softeners require regular maintenance, including purchasing softener cleaner, salt, resin, etc., resulting in higher maintenance costs.

Salt-free water conditioners:

A physical process that prevents the formation and accumulation of scale. Through physical techniques such as Template-Assisted Crystallization (TAC), magnetic fields, or electric fields, the chemical structure of minerals in the water is altered, causing them to exist as tiny crystals or in different charge states.

The entire process does not require resin regeneration, and there are no maintenance costs or the need to purchase salt. However, they cannot completely remove the mineral ions from the water like traditional water softeners. If your raw water hardness is not high and you have a limited budget, salt-free water conditioners are more suitable for you.

Can I Drink Softed Water?

For households whose raw water is tap or well water, soft water is safe to drink. However, if your source water is severely contaminated or if you have strict requirements for sodium content in your water, do not directly consume the water just filtered by the water softener.

Water softening systems cannot remove harmful substances such as bacteria, suspended particles, odors, viruses, and heavy metal ions from water, which can pose health risks. In such cases, you may need to consider technologies like reverse osmosis, carbon filters, and ultraviolet sterilizers.


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