Types of water softener resin

The resin is one of the essential media in an ion exchange water softener. Salt-based water softeners need resin to remove hard minerals in your hard water. When you are choosing the right resin most people are confused which one is right for your system. There are different types of water softener resin which we will discuss in this article.

Types of water softener resin


What is water softener resin made of?

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

The number of crisscrosses determines the strength of the resin and how long it will last. Continue reading below to understand more.

water softener resin types

  1. Standard cation resin
  2. Fine mesh resin

Standard cation

The standard cation resins are best if you have water with less than 3-5ppm of dissolved iron. It is meant to last 10-15 years but depends on the quality of water.

The standard resin has a connection between the resin beads which varies from 2-20%. The connection between the beads in a water softener is called cross-linking.

 Since cross-linking varies between 2-20%, the most commonly used percentage in the water softener is 8% and 10% percent cross-link.

For easier understanding, it is like making the ball using string.

 10% crosslink resin has more string interconnected making the resin strong and last longer for chlorinated water. It is best for chlorinated water without which is mostly municipal water. Also, this type is more costly than 8% cross-link.

8% crosslink has less string and most commonly used it best for water without chlorine.

Fine mesh resin

Fine mesh resin has a small size of beads. It can remove dissolved iron up to 10ppm and best for homes with a private well.

The fine mesh is a bit expensive and gets fouled easily compared with standard cation resin. Since it gets fouled easily, it will require more frequent backwashing compared to standard resin.

Also, the fine mesh resins are small in size you require an upper flow basket to help prevent the beads come out during regeneration.

Now you have known which type of water softener resins are out there in the market so the next question what kind of water softener resin is in your system.

How can I tell if I have standard cation resin or fine mesh resin?

It is hard to look with your naked eye and tell this is fine mesh or standard resin.

A simple test can help differentiate, pick a pinch of resin from your resin tank grind with your finger if it crashes that is fine mesh resin in case it forms a ball it is standard resin.

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