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Best Water softener resin beads(replacement for Fine mesh and standard)

The water softener requires resin to suck hard minerals present in your hard water. 

Water softener resin beads

Most of these resins last for about 10-20 years when feed with tap water and when it reaches its life expectancy it no longer provides, soft water.

Most resin manufacturers recommend a lifetime to be 10 years, but this can be lower depending on the condition of your water. 

Therefore resin beads do not last forever they need to be replaced when it reaches its life expectancy or no longer hold hardness ion in your water.

Water softener resin comparison

1NameImageCross linkTypeCapacityWhere to buy
2ABC water softener Premium Resin Replacement Kit8%standard ion exchange resin/cation1 Cu. Ft. bagAmazon
3Tier1 IER-100standard ion exchange resin/cation25-liter bagAmazon
4LiquaGen10%standard ion exchange resin/cation1.5 Cu. Ft. bagAmazon
5Resintech standard ion exchange resin/cation5LB/poundsAmazon
6Hydrotec systems8%standard ion exchange resin/cation1 Cu. Ft. bagAmazon
7AFW filters standard ion exchange resin/cation1 Cu. FtAmazon
8Aquatrol Water Softener Resin 8%standard ion exchange resin/cation1 CuFtAmazon
9Purolite C-100-E Cation Exchange ResinFine mesh resin1.5 cubic feetAmazon


10Nelsen Fine Mesh8%Fine mesh resin0.5 Cu. Ft.Amazon
11Mobile-Soft-Water' Water Softener Resinportable water softener0.5 Cu. Ft.Amazon
12Ifilters Water Softener Resin Media Replacementportable water softener0.25 cu ftAmazon


What is a water softener resin?

It is a media inside the ion exchange water softener minerals tank that used to remove hardness in your water.

The resin has a negative charge that attracts a positive charge in your hard water making your water soft.

So if you are using a salt-based system, the resin is one of the critical products you need for your system to work effectively or produce soft water.

The size of these resins ranges from 0.3-1.2mm.

Best water softener resin 2021

  1. Best for iron: Nelsen Fine Mesh High-Capacity
  2. Best for iron: ABC water Water Softener Premium Resin Replacement 
  3. 1.5 cu ft: ABC water Water Softener Premium
  4. 1.5 cu ft: Liquagen
  5. 8 % crosslink: ABC water SOFRES1 – 1cu ft
  6. 8 % crosslink: Hydrotec systems
  7. 8 % crosslink: Aquatrol
  8. 10 % crosslink: ABC water Water Softener Premium
  9. 10 % crosslink: Liquagen
  10. 0.88 cu ft: Tier1 IER-100
  11. Resintech MBD-30 Nuclear-Grade Mixed Bed DI
  12. 1 cu ft: AFW filters Birm Filter Media 
  13. Purolite C-100-E Cation Exchange Resin
  14. For portable water softener: Mobile-soft-water’ 0.2 Cuft Water Softener Resin
  15. For portable water softener: ifilters Water Softener Resin 

Softener resin types 

Which water softener resin is best for you?

Most people become confused when it comes to choosing the right resin for your unit.

There are two different types of water softener resin available in the market.

  1. Fine mesh resin

This type has small sized beads which are used to soften water and remove iron up to 10P.P.M.

Since the fine mesh resins are small-sized, you need an upper flow basket so that the beads will not come out during regeneration.

  1. The standard ion exchange resin

Most water softeners use Standard ion exchange resin which is excellent to soften water and remove iron between 3-5P.P.M.

It regenerates using either Sodium Chloride/salt or Potassium Chloride.

Standard resin comes into two sizes: 8% Crosslink and 10% Crosslink.

The cross-link is a connection between the inside resin bond.

For easier understanding cross-link is like twisting a string.

Water softener resin 8 vs 10

10% has more connection that holds resin together making it last longer than 8%. 

10% Crosslink is suitable for chlorinated water without iron so best for municipal water. We recommend that households choose the 10% cross-linked resin if they get it from the city or municipalities which contain chlorine.

The 10% Crosslink is more costly compared to 8% crosslink resin.

8% Crosslink is commonly used in most places. It is best for non-chlorinated and without iron so best for well water

Water softener resin reviews

standard ion exchange resin
Standard ion exchange resin 8 % cross link
  1. AFWFilters SOFRES1 water softening resin 

Summary

  • Cross link-8%
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity -1 Cu. Ft. bag

Afwfilters SOFRES1 is a high standard resin used in all standard water softeners. It comes in a 1 Cu. Ft. bag which is suitable for a standard 9″ tank.

It is easy to replace and has a shelf life of 12-15 years.

It is a high-capacity, bead-form, and conventional gel polystyrene sulfonate cation exchange resin ready to use in industrial or household system.

The resin is capable of removing hardness ions (calcium and magnesium), dissolved iron, manganese, and also suspended matter.

It is approved by USDA, NSF, FDA, and High quality 8% cross-link resin

  1. ABC water Water Softener Premium Resin Replacement Kit 

Summary

  • Cross link-8%
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity -2 Cu. Ft. bag

It is packaged in 2 cubic feet for 64,000-grain capacity water softener suggested for tank size minimum 12″ x 52″ and is 8% Cross-Linked Resin.

ABC water Water Softener Premium Resin Replacement Kit

Buy here

8% Cross-Linked Resin medial for all water softeners 48,000 Grain Capacity

  1. Hydrotec systems Ion-exchange Resin  

Summary

  • Cross link-8%
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity -1 Cu. Ft. bag

The hydrotec systems resin is cation-ion exchange media in sodium form.

This product is 8% Crosslinked and packaged in One (1) Cubic Foot which is equivalent to 50lbs/22.68kgs.

  1. Mobile-Soft-Water’ Water Softener Resin 0.5 Cuft (Spare Part) for the 16,000 Grain Unit.

Mobile soft water resin is 8% Cross Link 0.5 cu for the 16,000 grain unit.

Mobile-soft-water’ 0.2 Cuft Water Softener Resin

Mobile soft water resin is 8% Cross Link 0.2 cu for the 64,000 grain unit.

  1. Aquatrol Water Softener Resin 

Summary

  • Cross link-8%
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity -1 Cu. Ft. bag

Aquatrol Resin is an 8% crosslinked ion exchange which is sold in 1 CuFt Bag.

It works in any residential 32,000-grain system.

  1. Purolite C-100-E Cation Exchange Resin

Purolite is strong acid gel-type cation exchange resin and sold in 50 pounds.

It is designed for the treatment of foodstuffs, beverages, potable waters, and water used in the processing of food.

The resin is in compliance with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations section 21, paragraph 173.25; for the use in the treatment of foods for human consumption.

  1. Resin High Capacity Replacement Water Softener Resin – 8% Crosslink 1/2 cubic foot

  1. Amanzi CATION-50-BOX HI-Capacity Water Softening Resin

  •  8% Polystyrene cross-linked with Divinylbenzene
  • 1/2 cubic foot
10 cross linked Water softener resin
10 cross linked Water softener resin
  1. Oceanic water systems Water Softening Resin 10% Cross Linked Cubic Ft (1.0 Cubic Ft)

Oceanic water systems are 10% Cross Linked Strong Acid Cation Water Softening Resin.

10% cross-linked resin is used for chlorinated water. It can also be used for well water sources

  1. American water solution 10% Strong Acid Water Softening Resin 1 cu. ft. Bag Replacement Media

The American water solution is 10% strong acid resin.

10% is designed to be used in high chlorine areas.

This type is coated with an extra layer that helps it to withstand the breakdown process that happens when it comes in contact with Chlorine and Chloramines.

  1. ABC water Water Softener Premium

Summary

  • Cross link-10%
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity -1.5 Cu. Ft. bag

This is replacement kit for a 48,000 grain capacity water softener.

The kit include 1.5 cubic feet of high capacity 10% resin media, distributor basket, a funnel for loading resin, and a reusable blue bag.

10% cross-linked resin is used for water that is chlorinated and without iron

  1. LiquaGen (1/2 CU FT) Water Softening Ion Exchange Resin Cation + Resin Loading Funnel

Summary

  • Cross link-10%
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity -1/2 Cu. Ft. bag

LiquaGen ion exchange resin cation is not only used for softening hard water but also used for the treatment of food, beverages, water used for processing food and potable water.

This resin is 1/2 cubic feet, 10% cross-linked and comes with resin loading funnel.

  1. Resintech MBD-30 Nuclear-Grade Mixed Bed DI Resin

Summary

  • Cross link-N/A
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity -5LB/pounds

The five-pound bag is a mixture of both cation and anion resins.

It is a self-indicating mixed bed resin where anion resin is a Type I strongly basic gel with an indicator dye that changes from blue to colorless as the resin exhausts while cation component is a strong acid sulfonated polystyrene gel type that changes from a green color to a violet color when used up.

Resintech is intended to use in see-through housing and resin tank without a meter you only rely on changing of color when the resin is exhausted.

  1. Tier1 IER-100 Ion Exchange

Summary

  • Cross link-N/A
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity – 25-liter bag/0.88 cu ft

Tier1 IER-100 is suitable for both residential and commercial system.

It is a premium high-capacity gel polystyrene strong acid cation exchange resin suitable for most water softeners and is sold in a 25-liter bag.

This resin lasts for 10-15 years.

  1. AFW filters Birm Filter Media 

Summary

  • Cross link-N/A
  • Type – standard ion exchange resin/cation
  • Capacity -1 Cu. Ft. bag

AFW filter birm filter media is 1 Cu. Ft. bag is suitable for removing manganese up to 6ppm and iron up to 8ppm.

  1. Ge WS01X10002 Water Softener Resin Genuine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Part
  1. Max water Strong Type Cation Resin

Fine mesh resin
Fine Mesh Resin

Fine mesh is the best water softener resin for iron removal making it ideal for well water.

  1. ABC water Water Softener Premium Resin Replacement 

This type is a high-quality Fine Mesh Iron Treating Resin used in all water softener types.

In the package includes 1.5 cubic feet of high capacity Fine Mesh resin media, distributor basket, a funnel for loading resin, and a reusable blue bag exclusive to ABCwaters branded products. 1.5 cubic feet is suitable for a tank minimum size 10″ x 54″ and provides 48000-grain capacity.

  1. Nelsen Fine Mesh High-Capacity Resin

Nelsen is fine mesh water softener sold in .5 Cu. Ft. suitable for treating water with iron and extremely hard water

This is 8% cross-linked and works effectively on both commercial and residential water softener system.

For portable
Portable water softener resin
  1. Ifilters Water Softener Resin Media Replacement 100% Ion Exchange Cation – 0.25 CuFt

Buy here

Ifilters is 0.25 cu ft resin for the 8,000 grain unit.

It is suitable for portable water softener

On the go Water softener resin replacement

  1. Portable Standard Water Softener Refill Kit
On the go portable standard Water softener resin

Buy here

The refill kit include high capacity premium grade exchange cation resin and all tools to refill your tank such as funnel, silicone lubricant, distributor cap, and instructions.

The resin is for 8,000 grain on the go portable standard water softener.

Portable Double Standard Water Softener Refill Kit

on the Portable Double Standard Water Softener Refill Kit

Buy here

The refill kit include high capacity premium grade exchange cation resin and all tools to refill your tank such as funnel, silicone lubricant, distributor cap, and instructions.

The resin is for 16,000 grain on the go portable double standard water softener.

1.5 cu ft

Water softener resin 1.5 cu ft

How long does the water softener resin last

Most manufacturer recommends resin to last 10 years, but the condition of your water determines this.

Water supplied by municipal has high content of chlorine that can reduce lifespan of the resin

Well water has high content of iron and that can affect the resin life span

When do you know it is time to change the water softer resin?

  • Once the resin has reached its life expectancy. Most manufacturers indicate the life expectancy on the product label. Check product label before buying to be sure how long will your resin lasts
  • When the resin reaches its life expectancy, the fines will start coming out and come into the house clogging faucet.
  • When you notice a resin tank has some sediment particles. You need to replace the resin and install a sediment filter before the water softener. There are salt-based water softener that comes with sediment filter like (sample and link)
  • When the resin tank has sat for time unused, and you sense a strong odor. You can clean resin using cleaner but if it does not solve the problem dump resin and replace it with new ones.
  • If your resin is coated with iron, you can remove it by cleaning with a strong resin cleaner but if the problem persists replace it with a new one.
  • If the water pressure starts to be lower than it is used to be.
  • When your water softener starts producing hard water. It does not give soft water like before.
  • In case you clean your brine and resin tank, change the salt, and regenerate the system, the water coming through remains hard. This means its time to change resin

How much resin do you need for replacement?

If you want to know how much resin you need for your water softener make sure you are sure the size of your resin tank.

Your tank diameter matters. Some tank has a sticker somewhere that tells you the size while other you have to take the measurement yourself.

The sticker measurement is written as 1035. Meaning the first two digits (10) is tank circumference/width, and the last two is tank height (35).

If your tank doesn’t have a sticker, you can measure the tank. 

How do you take the size of your tank?

Measure the height of the fiberglass tank that contains resin.

Sometimes the tank has a decorative plastic jacket placed over the fiberglass/polyglass tank.

Make sure don’t measure that plastic jacket it is meant for protecting your tank, so it is not the real resin tank

Then measure the diameter/width of the tank.

Measure the width or use the string to measure around the tank divide by pi 3.14.

For instance, if your width or circumference is 30 divide by 3.14 so the width inch is 9.5.

Then round down to the whole number, so that is 9 inches.

Typical tank sizes and resin used

9″ x 48″ – 1.0 cu ft.

10″ x 54″ – 1.5 cu ft.

12″ x 48″ – 2.0 cu ft.

13″ x 54″ – 2.5 cu ft.

14″ x 65″ – 3.0 cu ft.

You can use APS water calculator to give you the exact amount of resin you need for your softener.

Never fill the media to the top because different media behaves differently some require space for expansion when backwashing

How to replace Water softener resin

  • Turn off the system and disconnect from the power source
  • Disconnect valve head to the bypass valve
  • Disconnect valve head from the tank
  • Find someone to help hold the tank
  • Pout out resin beads and gravel

Read detailed instruction here

How to change Water softener resin

Bonus video about water softener resin

How can I tell if I have Standard ion exchange resin or fine mesh resin?

It is hard to tell which resin type you have by looking using naked eyes.

So how do you the difference?

Take a pinch of resin and place on the palm of your hand.

Squeeze using your index figure so if it clumps that is fine mesh resin and if it forms like a ball that is the Standard ion exchange resin.

The resin beads is an important media in every water softener.

Without resin, you cannot get your hard water treated unless you use a conditioner that only descales but does not remove hardness in water.

Water softener resin how it works?

Resin is a media found in the water softener tank to remove hard minerals in the water. They are negatively charged and hard water is positively charged. So when hard water comes to contact with resin, the resin attracts minerals in hard water leaving you with softened water

Water softener resin in faucet/ toilet tank/drain

When the resin reaches its life expectancy, the fines will start coming out and come into the house faucet, drain, or toilet tank

Water softener resin life

How long does Water softener resin last? This is the question most people ask. Water softener resin is meant to last between 15-20 years

What is Water softener resin made of?

The resin is made of string/thread/strand of Polystyrene which is wrapped in crisscross foam along with Divinylbenzene (DVB). Divinylbenzene (DVB) acts as glue to hold resin together. The crisscross or connection of polystyrene in water softener resin is called cross-link

Water softener resin disposal

Since resin is not poisonous/toxic/hazardous /harmful/dangerous you can spread it on the flower bed or lawn. If you don’t have a flower bed or lawn you can put it in a container for disposal.

Are water softener resin poisonous / toxic /hazardous /harmful/dangerous?

The resin is not poisonous/ toxic/hazardous/harmful/ dangerous and can be spread on the flower bed or lawn.

Hoping our guide and review of the best Water softener resin will help choose the right product.

More articles on resin

  1. Water softener resin types
  2. Water softener resin replacement
  3. Best water softener resin cleaner
  4. How to clean water softener resin tank