Top 10 best water softeners to buy 2019

Hard water is not an issue to our health, but it is known for its harmful side effect when used on water using home appliances. Because of this, making a decision to add a water softener will help overcome the problem caused by hard water. There are different brands available in the market that removes hardness in different ways, the price, features and size ranges. That’s why we have taken time to review the top 10 best water softeners that will help completely remove hardness.

best water softeners

Comparison table of best water softeners

Product name capacityprice
ABC waters Fleck Structural 48k-56sxtWater Softener22,000 grainscheck latest price at Amazon
Fleck 5600SXT 48,000 Water Softener iron filter and water softener48,000 grainscheck latest price at Amazon
Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softenersalt based water softener30,000 grainscheck latest price at Amazon
Tier1 48,000 Grainsalt based water softener48,000 grainscheck the latest price at Amazon
Discount Water Softeners 40,000 grainscheck the latest price at Amazon
Fleck 9100SXT Dual tank water softener50,000 grainscheck the latest price at Amazon

What is a water softener?

A water softener is well known as ion exchange water softener

An ion exchange water softener works by removing mineral presence in hard water replacing them with sodium that is well known as salt.  It is also called salt-based water softener.

Hard water is water that has a mineral such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals cause soap and shampoo don’t lather well; clothes look dull, dishes stain and form scale deposit on the house appliances causing clogging.

The hardness of water is measured by grains per gallon (GPG) or by parts per million of mineral (PMM).


The grain is the number of hardness present in your water. You can use a water hardness test kit or do a simple test at home to know how hard your water is.

So the higher the number of gallons the harder the water.

Any water that contains 1GPG-3GPG is considered relatively soft you can use salt-free water softener/ water conditioner but more than 10 GPG is hard requires an ion exchange water softener.

How does a water softener work

The salt based water softener has two tanks -brine tank, resin tank/mineral tank, controls, and other Water softener parts

The resin tank contains salt/sodium which is negatively charged and beads.

The water supply or hard water supply line is connected to a control valve and timer at the top of the resin tank. It flows down to a resin tank filled with salt and resin beads.

The negatively charged beads attract positively charged ions present in unconditioned water/ hard water while giving sodium ions through a process called cation exchange/ ion exchange.

Minerals in the hard water remain on the resin beads, and softened water passes through the tank and is ready for human consumption.

After a period of time, resin beads become coated with minerals and must be cleaned to operate effectively.

The brine tank is filled with brine (salt) solution; water softer timer automatically runs brine solution to the resin tank. The beads pick soft ion from the brine solution in an exchange with positive ions for the hardness on the beads. The process washes off the hard minerals on the beads carrying it out through a drain pipe.

How do you prepare a brine solution?

You add bags of salt to the brine tank.

The process of flushing out coated minerals on the resin beads is called regeneration.

Regeneration works the same way as water softening, but it is a reverse process.

Here are the Top 10 ion exchange water softener to buy 2019

salt-based water softener

Salt-based water softener/Ion exchange water softener

Fleck Structural 48k-56sxt Iron Pro Combination Water Softener & Iron Filter with Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Valve by ABC waters

whole house Water softeners

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If you want a softener and iron filter look no further. Iron Pro 48k is a combination of water softener and iron filter. It removes hardness of water, and at the same time, it filters iron up to 6-8 ppm. It also removes sediment, rust, sand, ferrous iron and manganese up to 6 ppm.

It uses Meter based regeneration process. So it is a salt-based water softener.

Installation of iron pro 48k requires some basic plumbing skills which take basic plumbing skills.

The system has a capacity of 48,000 grains which best suits the home with 2-5 people and 2-3 baths

WaterBoss Water Softener – 22,000 Grain Capacity, Model# 700

This system has a capacity of 22,000 grain and best suits for residential use.

It is also a filter which removes silt and sediment.

The battery is required to operate and is not included in the package you buy it separately.


  • Type- salt-based water softener
  • Capacity- 22,000 gallons
  • It best fits a home of four

Fleck 5600SXT 48,000  Water Softener by fleck 

Water Softener with iron filter

The system is best to remove hardness in water. It also clears a small amount of iron called ferrous iron

Fleck is an electronic residential water softener which uses Meter based regeneration process.

The fleck water softener is a whole house system which has a capacity of 48,000 grains that makes it suit a home of 3-6 people with around three bathrooms.

The product has a lifetime warranty and reliable service support.

What we didn’t like about Fleck 5600SXT it’s not suitable for the small household since its bulky and its size is large you need big enough space.


  • Type- the system is salt-based water softeners
  • Capacity- 48,000 grains
  • It is best suited for the home of 3-6 people.

Check the latest price on Amazon

Other models of Fleck salt-based water softeners that are in the market

Fleck 5600SXT Metered Water Softener, 64,000 Grain Capacity with By-pass Valve –where to buy

Fleck 7000 SXT Whole House Water Softener 80,000 Grains- for a large home and light commercial use- where to buy

ABC waters Pentair 48,000 3/4 10% Water Softener

salt based water softener

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  • Type- salt-based water softener
  • Capacity- 48,000 grains
  • It best fit small homes, apartment, and mobile homes

The system removes calcium and aluminum ions that cause hard water using an ion exchange process.

It uses meter based regeneration, meaning the water used is measured, and the system only regenerates when it needs to.

The Fleck 5600sxt offers added features such as a back-lit LCD touchpad controls 48-hour internal power backup, Black Structural mineral tank – Durable poly-glass tank and the standard Clack square black brine tank which can hold 250lbs of salt. It also has a safety float prevents overfilling, and the overflow drain acts as an additional backup to avoid water messes.

In the package has detailed installation instruction that allows most homeowners to install the system for themselves.


water softener

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Type- salt-based water softener

Capacity- 48,000 grains

This water softener removes calcium and magnesium that cause hard water using an ion exchange process.

This softener use meter based regeneration. The water that you use is measured, and it regenerates when needs to.

The Fleck 5600 SXT is built in tired and digital controller 5600 valves. The valve has an outstanding 5-year warranty and has tested to run continuously for 27 years. The SXT controller has some large features, including 48-hour internal power backup, a backlit LCD, a user-friendly interface, and touchpad controls.

Included in this system is a standard brine tank which measures 14 x 14 x 34 inches and can hold about 250 lbs. of salt. The brine tank has a safety float which protects overfilling, and the overflow drain acts as an additional backup to avoid water messes

Installation of this system takes 1-2hours with some basic plumbing skills.

It handles a capacity of 48,000 grains, flow rate of 12GPM and a maximum pressure of 100 psi.

Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 Grain Water Softener

salt based water softener

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  • Type- the system is salt-based water softeners
  • Capacity- 30,000 grains
  • It is best suited for the home of 1-4+ people.

The Whirlpool WHES30 30,000 water softener is ideal for a household of 1-4+ people.

This water softener removes up to 8ppm of (ferrous) iron and is NSF certified to reduce hard water symptoms which form stains, build-up on your plumbing and faucets as well as spotting on dishes. So the system works well with city water or well-water.

It employs demand initiated regeneration meaning the softener counts how much salt and water is needed to regenerate and use what is necessary resulting in large water and salt savings.

All Whirlpool Water Softener comes with 3-year limited electronics warranty, the 10-year limited warranty on the tanks, one year warranty for manufacture parts and labor. The labor warranty can be extended to 2 years with the purchase of 3 bottles of Whirlpool WHEWSC water softener cleanser within the first year of ownership (sold separately).

What is in the package is installation kit, bypass valve and come ready to connect to 1-inch male pipe thread.

It comes with a simple to program electronic and includes a low salt indicator light.

Tier1 48,000 Grain High-Efficiency Digital Water Softener for Hard Water

salt based water softener

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  • Type- the system is salt-based water softeners
  • Capacity- 48,000 grains

The tier1 water softener has a Digital meter control valve with LCD

In the package include 10 x 54 Inch Mineral Tank, 15 x 34 Inch Brine Tank, valve with bypass and adapter.

Discount Water Softeners Duo 40,000 Grain Water Softener and Whole House Chlorine Filtration and Removal System, Digital Metered, High Efficiency, Direct Flow and Upflow Brining

This is box title

Dual tank Ion exchange water softener

The dual tank ion exchange water softener is used where downtime/break up of the water softener is an issue, or you have high usage of water, and your water has high hardness. Buying water softener with dual tank / double tank is wise.

 What happens with dual tank ion exchange water softener when one tank is softening water the other one is regenerating as a result conditioned water is supplied throughout without downtime or break up.

Most of this type of water softener operates on demand they can be sized smaller than a single tank.

When you are buying dual tank water softener make sure you have enough space where to install, it requires drain pipe for backwashing, and other require electricity to operate, ensure the power source is located nearby.

Best dual tank water softeners available are:

Fleck 9100SXT Dual tank water softener 110k, 110,000 grain with the digital 9100 sxt valve

dual tank water softener

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The Fleck 9100SXT water softener is a dual tank water softener, so you never run out of the softened water.

It is capable of removing up to 110,000 grains of hardness between regeneration cycles making it ideal for a home with many peoples, very high hardness levels, or commercial application

In the package includes Riser tubes with distributor baskets 3.5ft³ high capacity resin per tank, 14″ x 65″ resin tanks (2), Larger Round Brine Tank which measure approximately 18″x40″ and holds approximately 350 lb of salt.

What to consider when buying an Ion exchange water softener

Read water softener buyers guide

  • Water softener size

What differentiates one softener to the other mostly is the size. Size is the main features that you need to check when buying an Ion exchange water softener.  In size, we don’t mean the physical size but ability to remove hardness without frequent regeneration.

How do you know the right size that handles the demand of your water usage for your household?

Water softeners are sold in different sizes which are measured using by the number of grains of hardness known as grains per gallon (GPG).

You calculate the size of water softener you family need by multiplying the number of members present in your household by gallons used by each person every day. Then some hardness present in your water by total family consumption.

An average person uses 80-100 gallons per day.

For instance, If you have five members of the family, you multiply 85X5=425gallons. You consume 425 gallons of water every day.

If your water has a hardness of 10GPG multiply 425X10=4250. So you need the water softener that removes an average of 4250GPM/ hardness per day.

Per week = 425X7=2950×10=29500

Per month= 425X30=

Now that you have known how to calculate your water consumption, water softener comes in various capacity from 15000 to 100 000 GPG.

Make sure the hardness you want to remove doesn’t exceed your system capacity so as regeneration doesn’t happen more frequent.

So for the case above a family of five people (2950 grains per week), a water softener of 35000 would best fit, or you go up.

Purchasing a water softener with small capacity will be regenerating more often and will cost you more while buying water softer with high capacity will cost you more when buying the whole unit but will regenerate less frequent saving you money.

  • Water usage

Knowing the amount of water that you use per day helps choose the right size of water softener also helps you know the right amount of salt that is needed for regeneration.

  • Regeneration method

Softener regenerates in different ways. Some are demand initiated regeneration (DIR) water softener. The DIR water softener also known as meter regeneration meters / measures water usage over a period and regenerates when needed. This type of water softener regenerates in water usage and is most commonly sold.

The DIR water softener saves a lot of salt and water because they charge when necessary.

 The other type of regeneration is a timer/scheduled regeneration water softener. The timer regeneration is set/scheduled to regenerate on a specific period. This method is old technology and sometimes can waste a lot of salt because it can regenerate during times you have used a small amount of water. For instance, when you have traveled for a time, and you have not used water it will still regenerate when the time you have set reaches.

In addition to timer regeneration, you can have short of soft water during the times you have high usage of water for example when you have visitors.

There is manual regeneration which you decide is the right time for you to regenerate.

  • Types of minerals it removes

The most common mineral present in your hard water are calcium and manganese, but some water has iron which also needs to be removed. Make sure your water softener removes all unwanted minerals from the water.

  • Maintenance fee

Find out whether you need a professional or a plumber to install the softener. Also pay attention to maintenance cost either annually or monthly.

  • Certification

Certification by certain independents body guarantee the system is good at removing hardness effectively and passed industry standards. Such bodies are National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) which certifies water treatment products. Also, the water industry’s trade organization and the Water Quality Association certify equipment.

  • Warranty on both the control valve and mineral tanks

A good system lasts for 20 years. So on warranty control, the valve should have a guarantee of three years while the mineral tank should have a warranty of 10 years on most brands.

What are other methods for treating hard water?

There is another option for treating hard water but the technology does soften water/ remove hard minerals present in your water but a condition to stop scales from forming on the water using home appliances. This alternative does not use salt they use electric pulses/ magnetic waves and other useful media.

Does the salt-based water system makes your water taste salty

The answer is no.

Read more about Water softeners make your water salty 

Is softened water safe for drinking?

Yes, it is safe. More on explanation here 

Related water softener articles

  1. Buyers guide water softener
  2. Types of water softener
  3. Water softener installation
  4. How a water softener works
  5. How much is a water softener
  6. How to maintain an ion exchange water softener
  7. Type of water softener resin
  8. How to clean water softener resin
  9. Water softener resin cleaner
  10. Turn off the water softener
  11. The benefit of a water softener
  12. Regeneration 
  13. How to program a water softener
  14. Water softener resin replacement
  15. Effects of hard water
  16. Portable water softener
  17. Signs your house need a water softener
  18. Best water softener for well water
  19. Genesis water softener
  20. GE water softener
  21. Fleck Water softener