When looking for the best water softener for your household you need to consider a few different things. First off, how hard is your water? A popular complaint about an electronic water softener (reverse osmosis) is that they do not work so well with especially hard water. While you should ask you local dealer directly if you are still considering one of these because as a no salt water softener option this might be something that will eliminate some possible options for you.
Another important consideration when doing a water softener comparison is if your iron level is high. Water softener systems that uses salt can usually deal with a lot concentration of iron without a problem but if it’s quite high such as 5 p.p.m. than you might need an iron filter to make sure the water softener can do its job properly and stay clean while doing so. If you haven’t tested your water yet to see the concentration of different minerals in your hard water a good sign if you have iron is if you see some staining. This test is far from perfect though because a very low level of iron, even under 1 p.p.m., will probably cause staining. So ideally when deciding on the best water softener is to definitely check the concentration of hard metals which will affect your choices and your water softener system dealer will probably be able to give you recommendations if you can at least share with him some information on your hard water.
Another factor when doing a water softener comparison is: do you want a salt free water softener or a salt using water softening system? Here is a quick review of some of the features and cons of both types that might influence your choice.
- Does not add salt to your drinking water. If your softener is connected to your drinking water line many people say it’s bad for your health in the long term to have such high sodium intake. This is especially true the harder your hard water is. Here is a direct quote from apswater.com that might help you evaluate depending on how hard your water is. “Each grain of hardness in your water will end out equaling 17.1 milligrams per liter of Sodium or Potassium depending on what you are regenerating the water softener with. With a low sodium diet of 3000 milligrams, average water would contain 170 milligrams per liter or water. Under this scenario you would have to drink 17 liters of water or 4.6 gallons or water per day to hit the limit.”
- A common way to resolve any possible health issues you could have is to use a potassium chloride water softener. Many softeners that are meant to use salt can instead us potassium which is harmless for your health. In fact, some say this is actually beneficial because the typical north American diet can be low in potassium at times (while too high in salt).
- This brings up to one of the biggest cons about using a no salt water softener system, the price. While the initial price for the softener system (Probably $1000 for a decent system including installation cost) can be pretty similar potassium pellets are definitely more expansive than using salt. Your salt for water softener cost can go from $4 to $10 per month depending on what quality of salt you have to buy (once again mostly dependant on how hard your water is). You might want to compare prices to see if the upkeep is something you are comfortable paying.
A few other things that are important when you compare water softener brands is do you want a dual tank resin or not? Kinetico water softeners have a few advantages over their competition. First off they have a dual tank which means the system will always be on 24 hours a day. Most water softeners shut down for a while usually in the middle of the night in order to let the water softener resin regenerate itself for the next day. Kinetico water softeners also do not use electricity, they power itself with the water flowing inside so while they are much more expensive than other models ( sometimes double the price and usually at least $1,000 for the most basic model) you might make back some of this price difference over time.
If you are only looking to solve your hard water problem to wash dishes or clothing you might want to try some inexpensive calgon water softener which is mixed with detergents/soaps when you do these tasks. Of course your plumbing will not be safe but this might be a good solution for you if you do not feel it’s worth buying a $500+ water softener system.
Here are a few other water softener brands you might want to look into that we discuss on this website, and briefly on our water softener review page, more to come over time.
Finally, to do an appropriate water softener comparison it’s important to know what capacity in terms of water output your water softener should use here’s a great calculator to do so.