The 7 Best Water Softeners to Buy in 2018

Remove minerals from the source with these products

Shower head
Maciej Toporowicz, NYC / Getty Images

Good, pure water can be hard to find, even when it is treated by a city treatment plant. The problem is, while treatment plants can remove all of the harmful bacteria and germs to make the water safe to drink, it doesn’t necessarily improve the taste. In some places, water contains extra minerals like calcium that affects the taste and quality. To remove these minerals, you need a water softener.

Common in laundry products, water softeners are a wide range of products and devices that remove...MORE calcium buildup and the like from water. This makes the water more pure and effective for drinking and cleaning. Basic softeners come in liquid or pellet form for laundry, dishes, and bathing. To expand the treatment to all the water in your home, you can buy a dedicated softener device that will hook up directly to your plumbing.

To get an idea of what water softener may be right for you, check out these top picks. 

 

  • GE 40,200 Grain Water Softener

    Best Overall: GE 40,000 Grain

    This top pick for best overall water softener will take care of the entire home. While liquid and pellet softeners are great for specific tasks like laundry, they are too limited to handle a home’s whole water supply. The GE 40,000 Grain, however, has the capability to tackle every watering task since it hooks up directly to the plumbing, filtering the water well before it reaches a faucet.

    The water softener removes around 125 grains per gallon of hard materials such as iron using its salt-storage capacity of 230 pounds. For some customizability, it comes with a digital display with programmable settings, an alarm, and memory for saving your preferred settings. GE’s SmartSoft technology adaptively learns the home’s standard water usage so it can better adapt the softening process to things like laundry and bathing automatically.

  • Aquasana SimplySoft

    Best Budget: Aquasana SimplySoft

    Since water softeners can range from a few to thousands of dollars, it is helpful to know what your budget is before buying one. ​Budget-conscious customers can stick with task-specific softeners that are cheap but limited in quality. The better option, however, is an affordable permanent softener like the Aquasana SimplySoft. Using a salt-free design that sits right hooks up right to the water source, this softener can handle a variety of small tasks without needing a refill.

    This is a relatively low tech solution for people wanting an easy-to-use water softener option. Using a salt-free water softener, it naturally removes the hardness without adding any salt or harmful chemicals back into the water. Simply put the device into the waters you are using and wait for it to soften before moving forward.

  • Best Liquid Water Softener: Calgon Liquid

    Liquid softeners are common in laundry and dishwashing settings when people need to remove the mineral buildup from the water. Such buildup can shorten the lifespan of clothes and washing machines alike. Removing this buildup will make the laundry detergent more effective since only the dirt and grim will remain. The Calgon Liquid softener is a great choice for people needing a better laundry or dishwashing experience.

    The liquid softener mixes with the water during the cleaning process. During this process, it will remove minerals and residue in combination with the laundry or dishwashing detergent. In the end, your clothes and dishes will be free of dirt, minerals, residue, and harmful chemicals all at once.

  • Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Water Softener Salt Pellets

    Best Pellet Water Softener: Diamond Crystal Soft and Bright

    Whole home water softening systems require a softening source such as salt to get the job done. Typically, this can involve dumping pounds of specifically formulated salt directly into a brine tank. Since this can get rather messy, a good alternative is a salt pellet like the Diamond Crystal Soft and Bright which comes as a single, packed unit of salt.

    When placed in the brine tank, the pellet will naturally dissolve into the water to automatically soften it while in use. Each pellet contains 99.8% pure salt so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals getting into the water. Once the pellet runs out, simply add a new one to keep the system running.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • Best Electronic Water Softener: Eddy Water Descaler

    An electronic water softener is the best option to consider when you want a modern way of removing minerals from the water. Electronic softeners such as the Eddy Water Descaler produce an electromagnetic wave that naturally breaks up minerals in the water as it passes through the pipes in a home. Compared to salt, this process can handle a variety of minerals without any leftover particles in the water.

    The unit hooks up directly to the existing plumbing and filters the water without any need for salt or other chemicals. Specifically made for removing calcium, magnesium, and manganese compounds, the softener does a good job of dealing with limestone buildup that can damage tubs, sinks, showers, and other fixtures hooked up to the plumbing.

  • Aquasana Rhino Series

    Best Heavy Duty Water Softener: Aquasana Rhino 5-Stage

    Large-scale water softening can be necessary for big homes or businesses where the quality of the water really matters. Liquid and pellet softeners will simply fail for these large tasks. Even common softeners that hook up to the plumbing might lack the capacity to effectively treat the water at the rate you need. Should you need the most in terms of capacity, the only real option is the Aquasana Rhino 5-Stage.

    The Rhino is a whole water filtration system that uses a salt-free softening process to deal with hard water. Beyond just softening, the filtration system also removes chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, and other chemicals that are harmful to the water and air during evaporation. The system doesn’t rely on any electricity, so installation is as simple as hooking it up to your existing plumbing.

  • Pelican Water 15 GPM

    Best Salt Free Water Softener: Pelican Water Natursoft

    Salt-free water softeners are a common alternative to laundry, dishwater, and pellet softeners. While salt gets the job done, some people don’t like the aftertaste or extra presence of sodium leftover. Salt can also remove nutritional minerals from the water. The Pelican Water Natursoft is an effective salt-free water softener that gets the job done.

    The unit attaches to the plumbing from inside or out of the house. The stainless steel outer casing is waterproof for exterior use in cold temperatures. The salt-free softening process is tailored to remove harmful minerals will retaining nutritional ones that can enhance cooked foods.

At The Spruce, our Expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.