Water Softener Reviews, 4 Major Brands Are Compared

There are many different types of water softeners on the market and it is hard to figure out which one is the best for your home or office. In our water softener comparison article, we focused on one of the major differences between water softener systems, whether they use salt or are salt-free. Salt-free water softeners are generally more expensive but might be required in some states where salt softeners are banned.

With some salt softeners, there can be a drastic increase in the amount of salt present in the drinking water, mandating the use of a water filtration system to reduce the salt present in the water. However, there are a variety of methods used in salt-free systems to achieve the same result. Some systems replace the salt with potassium chloride, use magnets to filter the particles, or add carbon filters to soften the water. Many of the major brands have both options but salt free systems are more expensive than the conventional systems.

Below, you can find a list of water softener reviews based on brand.

Major Water Softener System Brands

Kinetico

kinetico water softeners

Kinetico is a very popular brand that is well known for being powered by the motion of the water; there is no electricity needed. In addition, Kinetico water softeners have an innovative twin resin tank design. While one tank is regenerating, the other tank is ready and available for use. Kinetico systems range from $1,000 to $4,000 but are well worth the price.

To find out more, read our Kinetico water softener review page or their official website.

Kenmore

 kenmore water softener reviews

Kenmore is another popular brand that has been around for 85 years. Their newest product, the Kenmore Elite Hybrid Water Softener, combines a water softener and a filtration system for the entire home. Their products are reasonably priced, ranging from $400 to $800, and are perfect for a small family home.

To find our more, please read our Kenmore Water Softener Review page or their website.

Culligan

culligan water softeners

Culligan is one of the leading water treatment companies in the world. They have been in business for over 70 years and have expanded into over 90 countries. In addition to their customary water softeners, they have a complete line of salt-free systems and two types of twin tank systems similar to the Kinetico model. Culligan systems can range anywhere between $400 to $3,000, depending on the functionality that is required.

To find out more, please review our Culligan Water Softener Review page or their website.

Fleck

fleck and pentair water softeners

Fleck is a line of water softeners made by the Pentair Company and has nineteen different models that cover a variety of residential and commercial needs. The main difference between Fleck and the other brands is that they focus on the valve of the water softener. Fleck has single and twin tank valves for reasonable prices.

To find out more, please read the Fleck Water Softener Review page or their website.

 

Is there a water softener brand that you would like us to review? Tell us which brand in the comments below or send us an email on our contact page.

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Salt Free Water Softeners – What are your Options?

Water softeners use a variety of methods to reduce the amount of minerals present in water. These minerals build up in the pipes and can damage your appliances and fixtures. The presence of hard water is evidenced by dry skin, deposits in the sink, bathtub rings, or spots on glassware. Conventional water softener systems use salt to replace calcium and magnesium molecules present in water. Our Water Softener systems page provides a detailed account of this process.

Salt Free Water Softener Systems

potassium chloride VS salt for a salt free water softenerOne of the most common methods to make a water softener system salt free is to replace the salt with potassium. Potassium chloride water softeners are healthier for the body because potassium is more beneficial than salt to humans. Furthermore, the addition of potassium in the water can help people with a potassium deficiency. While too much potassium can have adverse effects, the amount that is present in the water is minimal. To find out which systems can take potassium pellets, please read our water softener review page.

Electronic water softeners, also known as magnetic water softeners, are another option for a salt free system. These systems use magnets to separate the unwanted calcium and magnesium particles from the rest of the water. However, keep in mind that the cost for electricity can increase with this type of system.

Advantages of Saltless Water Softeners

The main advantage of saltless water softener systems is that no salt is added to the drinking water. For people with medical issues, like diabetes or high blood pressure, the amount of salt that is added to the drinking water can cause multiple health issues. There are some systems that are dual softeners and filters however, they are usually more expensive than a singular system.

In addition, as seen in our water softener reviews article, conventional salt systems are banned in some states because of the harmful environmental effects. Many people will water their plants or yard with their softened water which is then absorbed into the earth. The salt present in the water can build up in the ground and negatively impact the environment.

Disadvantages of Salt Free Water Softeners

The main disadvantage of salt free water softener systems is the cost. Most salt free systems replace the salt with potassium. The potassium can cost as much as twice the amount of salt. However, this is not the only salt free water softener available. Some salt free systems use carbon filters or magnets to attract the unwanted particles.

Installing a Salt Free Water Softener System

Installation of a salt free water softener system usually takes place at or near the point where the water supply joins the property. Unless you buy a Kinetico water softener which doesn’t use electricity, the softener will be plugged into an electrical outlet to power the system. As such, the monthly cost of electricity will increase as the softener is used.

Deciding on a System

There are four main steps to be taken when deciding on a water softener system.

  1. Get your water tested. Most water softener system companies will test your water to adequately diagnose your problem and the correct system for the solution.
  2. Health of family members. If a family member is diabetic or has high blood pressure that can necessitate a salt free system.
  3. Reputation. Performance, installation, and customer service all affect your relationship with you system. Read what other people say about the system and also factor in how close a dealer is to your residence. If the closest dealer is a few hours away, an emergency cannot be taken care of immediately.
  4. Price. Installation and maintenance should be factored into the price of the water softener system. However, what most people forget to include is the increase in their electric bill, depending on the system.

Our water softener comparison page offers a more detailed review of the four steps.

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What Are Water Softener Systems

Water softener systems are used as a solution to hard water problems. Hard water can damage your plumbing, appliances, fixtures, and your skin and hair because of the high mineral content.

There are a variety of water softening solutions, each with advantages and disadvantages. The most common, and generally cheapest, method is a salt-based water softener system. However, some states ban salt-based water softening systems because they are hazardous to the environment. In addition, because of the amount of salt needed to soften the water, salt-based water softeners can increase health risks if the water is used for drinking or cooking.

There are two main types of water softener systems that do not use salt, electronic water softeners and saltless water softeners. Electronic water softeners use a form of reverse osmosis by using magnets to attract the unwanted calcium and magnesium molecules in the water. The water is safer to drink than salt water softeners but is critiqued for being expensive and having a low mineral count. The most common type of satless water softeners generally replaces the salt with potassium. Since potassium is healthier for the body, the health risks are reduced.

How Water Softeners Work

How do Water Softener Systems workWater softeners are installed at the point where the water line meets the property. If you have a salt-based water softener system, the system uses water softener resin to add sodium to the water to replace the magnesium and calcium. The resin attracts the minerals, which get stuck to the outside of the resin beads. Once they are stuck, sodium is released to replace them. The resin beads will have to be replaced over time to clean the water softener of the calcium and magnesium that has collected.

Advantages/Disadvantages

There are advantages and disadvantages to all the systems. When comparing systems, you need to be aware of what your water actually needs. Some properties only have a slight hard water problem so it would be advantageous to go with a Calgon water softener solution as opposed to a more expensive, all-inclusive water softener. Calgon is not an actual system that is installed. Instead it is a product that comes in as a powder, gel, or tablet form which is added to laundry detergent. It reduces the effects that hard water can have on your closes. However, this will not protect the pipes or other appliances and fixtures that can be damaged by hard water.

If your property has a considerable hard water problem there is the variety of salt-based and salt free water softener systems to choose from. Price and amenities can influence which system you go with. Probably the most environmentally friendly but expensive systems is the Kinetico water softener product line. These systems can be ordered as a salt-based or saltless system and do not use electricity to power it. However they are extremely costly, but some customers believe that the savings they make on their electric bills makes up for the expensive upfront cost.

There are plenty of water softener systems to choose from that will fit the unique needs of your residence. To find out more about the different systems, please read our Water Softener Comparison article or our Water Softener Reviews page.

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The 3 Most Important Decisions When Doing A Water Softener Comparison

Hard water problems vary by residence, and as such, there are a variety of water softener systems to combat the different issues.  What can determine the type of water problem you have is getting your water tested. Some water softener companies provide a complimentary water test before you buy a product. Depending on the hardness of your water, you will have different options of softener systems. Electronic water softeners work well on water with a low hardness grading and are healthier since they do not add salt to the water. However, they cannot filter out the calcium and magnesium as well for exceptionally hard water.

Iron Level

While not applicable in some cases, properties with high iron concentrates should consider using an iron filter in conjunction with their water softener system. Most salt based water softener systems can manage an iron concentrate below 5 p.p.m. However, if your iron levels are above that figure, your water softener will not be able to perform efficiently. A water test can help determine if you need an iron filter.

Salt free or Salt-based Water Softeners

potassium chloride for a salt free water softener or one using salt

Probably the first consideration when comparing water softeners is whether you want a salt-based or salt free system. Sometimes the choice is taken out of your hands, depending on the state you live in. Some municipalities and states have banned salt water softeners because of the environmental risks. However, there are pros and cons for both.

With salt-based water softeners, salt is added to drinking water. Unless you have a designated line for drinking water, or drink bottled water, you will see an increase in salt in your body. This can have adverse health effects for numerous people, especially if they already have high blood pressure or diabetes. The average salt water softener adds 12.5mg of sodium in an 8oz glass. While this is considered low sodium concentration, the amount added can increase based on the hardness level of your water. IF you have very hard water, more salt will be needed to soften it. In addition, if you use tap water to drink or cook, the amount of salt you ingest per day will increase. If you still want to use a salt-based water softener but are worried about the salt intake, there are dual softeners and filter systems available. However, the price for those systems increases drastically.

Salt free water softeners do not add salt to your drinking water. The main type of saltless water softeners uses potassium beads instead of salt. The potassium can be beneficial to your health because it can be a source of your daily recommended amount of potassium intake. However, salt free water softeners are generally more expensive than the salt-based ones. While the system and the installation cost of a salt free water softener is comparable to salt water systems, the cost for the potassium is more expensive.

Dual or Single Tank

kinetico dual tank water softeners

Depending on your water usage needs, you need to consider a dual tank or a single tank system. Most water softener systems use a single tank. When the softener needs to regenerate, it will shut off and you will not have any softened water available. Dual tanks allow there to be softened water at any time. One tank is always ready to be used even if the other tank is regenerating. This is a great option for residences that require a lot of softened water. However, the price does increase with dual tank systems. The most well know brand of dual tank systems is Kinetico water softeners. They are also highly valued because they do not increase your electricity bill. The systems use the movement of the water to power the system.

Water Softener Brands

There are many different types of brands of water softeners. In this article, we’ve covered the main factors to think about when comparing water softeners. For an overview comparison of water softeners by brand please check out our page on water softener reviews. To read a detailed examination of water softeners by individual brand, please see the links below.

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Kinetico Water Softeners

In today’s world, most homes have a hard water problem. Calcium, magnesium, and sometimes iron are all present in hard water, any they all can damage your clothes, sinks, dishes, and even your skin. Moreover, there are many types of bacteria that can be found in tap water. Kinetico can solve both these problems.  The advantage of Kinetico water softeners is that instead of needing two products to soften and filter you water, Kinetico does it both. The best part is, if you are worried that there is too much salt being added to your water to clean it, they also have a series of saltless water softeners, also known as salt free water softeners. Kinetico has a product for every type of water problem. As you can see in the image below, the water gets pumped in, softened and cleaned, and then is distributed to you.

kinetico-water-softener

The main advantage to using a Kinetico water softener over another brand is it is self-powered. As the water moves through the system, it powers the softener. There is no need to plug it in and no increase in your electricity bill. Also, unlike other water softeners, Kinetico has fresh, softened water ready at any point in time. The twin tank system means that one tank is always ready to be used, even if the other tank is regenerating the water softener resin or is in standby mode. There is no need to wait for the water softener to finish regenerating, as in traditional water softener systems.

There are many different types of Kinetico water softeners; they even have specialty water systems. If you have a small home, you can try their compact water system. It’s less expensive and perfect for a smaller living area that doesn’t need as much water softening. They even have a well water system to clean the water of the unique additives found in outdoor wells. Whatever water problem you have, from cloudy water, to hard water, to bacteria and viruses, Kinetico has a product that can help.

The best way to figure out what product you need is to take advantage of their free water consultation. If there is a dealer near you, they can come out, tell you your specific water problem, and which product would be best for you. If you are worried about breakdowns, Kinetico home water softeners often come with a warranty. Your local dealer will have all the information to answer any questions.

Kinetico water softeners do have a high price tag, ranging from $1000 to $4000, with prices varying depending on region and instillation fee. Even with the high price tag, you get what you pay for. The twin tank system is unique to Kinetico as is the lack of electricity. While other water softener systems are cheaper, the increase in your electric bill and the single tank system, which means your softener will not be available 24/7 like Kinetico, means you are paying more in the long run.

For more information on the Kinetico water softener please check out Kinetico’s website, our water softener review page, and our water softener comparison page.

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