If you have hard water, you need to get a water softener. And if you are looking for an inexpensive, easy-to install option, a salt-free water softener is your best option. Another advantage is they don’t add any salt to your diet!
Hard water is rich in minerals, such as manganese, magnesium carbonate, and calcium. If your dishes get spots, your shampoo and soap don't lather well, you have a ring around the bathtub, and you struggle with dingy-looking laundry, there's a hard water problem.
There are several softener types, but using a salt-free water softener is an excellent solution that won't add excessive amounts to the communal water supply.
What's interesting? Saltless water softeners are maintenance-free and don't need electricity to work.
These are things we find super-appealing when you compare them to salt-based softeners. Did we mention that you'll never even need to add salt into the units every few months?
You also don't have to discharge water from a no-salt water softener!
It's great that salt-free water softening technology is developing. However, more and more systems on the market making it harder to choose the right salt-free unit for you.
We've researched the top salt-less water systems on the market to help you find the best option.
Each product comes from a reputable manufacturer. We've also included a buying guide for considerations when examining your options.
Without further delay, let’s explore the top rated salt-free water softeners.
The Best Salt-Free Water Softeners of 2022
Below are the best salt-free options for softening water. Each softener is effective and easy to install.
1. NuvoH2O Home Water Softener System (Salt-free) – Best Citric Acid Water Softener
The NuvoH2O Home Water Softener (H2O DPHB) is a water conditioner suitable for small to mid-sized households with typical water use.
This NuvoH2O model uses the chelation process to change the behavior of calcium and magnesium ions in water, altering the pH levels. During the process, chelating agents bind hard water-causing minerals and keep them soluble. The action prevents the minerals from sticking to surfaces.
The home softener system features a cartridge in place of salt and resin to condition your water. Resulting in water that's healthier, softer, and better for use with most household appliances.
Inside the cartridge is citric acid. Water pressure pushes a bit of acid at a time. However, the acid amount is tiny and doesn't change the water's taste.
NuvoH2O recommends this softener system only if your water has a pH of at least 7.2. The recommendation ensures water will not get too acidic and corrode your pipes.
This citrus-based chelation process is suitable for mild and medium-hard water. The manufacturer claims the chelating agent in the system is FDA-approved and completely safe.
The water conditioner system provides up to 15 GPM, so you won't notice changes in water flow. Cartridge in the unit lasts about 20,000 gallons before replacement—or every four to six months.
This NuvoH2O system is straightforward to set up and comes with everything you require out of the box. Packaging includes a housing unit, wall mounting panel, housing wrench, and screws.
There is also a bypass valve included. It is a critical feature when you require large amounts of water, and you'd rather not waste the cartridge.
2. SoftPro Elite Salt-Free Water Softener – Best for a Busy Household
The SoftPro Elite Salt-Free Water Conditioner brags of install-and-forget operation with minimal maintenance and nothing else to do after installing.
- SoftPro Elite offers 99.6% scale prevention
- Reduces the existing scale in pipes and plumbing
- Included 5-micron sediment and chlorine pre-filter
- Softener lasts for six years and doesn't require electricity
- Comes with a washable, removable neoprene jacket to protect the tank from humidity
- Installation might be difficult
- Available in one size only
This SoftPro Elite system by Quality Water Treatment boasts premium-quality parts and water softening technology, explaining the lifetime warranty.
The system uses a chamber with Filtersorb SP3 media to condition your water. This material breaks down magnesium and calcium carbonates through Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC).
NAC transforms hard water dissolved minerals into harmless and relatively insoluble micro-crystals. The NAC media helps reduce the adverse scaling effects from hard water without using salt and removing healthy water minerals. NAC is suitable for protecting expensive equipment from limescale and cutting maintenance costs.
Media in the water conditioner will last between 5 and 10 years, depending on the hardness of your water. The SoftPro Elite handles water hardness up to 17 GPG, working almost everywhere.
A Big Blue Carbon filter helps prevent clogging because of the SP3 media during use. Flush the filter with a half cup of household bleach every 12 months—the only maintenance the SoftPro Elite requires.
3. AO Smith Whole House Salt-Free Water Descaler – Best Whole House System
AO Smith brings you a system that kills chlorine odor and taste in your water. Knowing what a system can and cannot do is the key to getting the right water filtration solution. This AO Smith Whole House Water Filter is the central contact point for water entering your home.
The activated carbon filter in the system helps reduce chlorine by removing up to 97% of the substance, its odor, and its taste. Carbon also helps reduce volatile organics (VOCs), pesticides, and herbicides that may be present in water.
AO Smith Whole House Water Filter traps the particles in carbon pores via the adsorption process. State regulatory bodies set the maximum amount of chlorine in water, so your city is likely not dumping a gallon of chlorine three houses up the street from you.
The water filter helps remove the taste and odor of chlorine, so it tastes cleaner, and the laundry smells fresher. Chlorine leaves water as a gas, so homes with a high concentration will enjoy a remarkable reduction.
This filtration system is excellent for up to six years or 600,000 gallons, depending on the water quality coming in. However, the unit is not an all-in-one solution on its own. Consider installing a filter and separate water softener to address water hardness.
4. Pelican NaturSoft Water Softener Alternative – Best Longest Media Life
This Pelican NaturSoft unit is a maintenance-free, saltless, and certified water softener option capable of removing up to 99.6% of the hard water scale.
- Filters out bacteria and other impurities
- Removes the chlorine odor from water
- Easy installation
- Prolongs the life of your appliances and water fixtures
- Provides an impressive water taste and quality
- Conditions water rather than soften
The NaturSoft Water Softener Alternative is third-party tested by the German equivalent of the NSF (DVGW) to standard DW-9191 to reduce 99.6% of scale buildup. The softener handles a water hardness level of 75 GPG, higher than the average 25 GPG of other salt-free conditioners.
NaturSoft is certified to meet NSF 61 and 42 standards for structural integrity and safe materials.
Extend the life of appliances and plumbing using the NaturSoft water softeners. A 5-micron filter system helps remove sediment and filter it down to 20 times smaller than a human hair's diameter.
Salt-free Natursoft granules crystallize the hard water-causing minerals in your water. The process changes the chemical composition of the mineral elements so they don't stick to your kitchen appliances, shower fittings, and pipes.
The conditioning process doesn't require electricity without wasting water, making it an excellent eco-friendly option. Further, the Natursoft granules never need replacing.
You can order the NS3 model for a one to a three-bathroom house or the NS6 for a four to six-bathroom.
The system offers you a limitless capacity, which helps eliminate the water hardness of your entire house. However, the sediment filter requires changing at least every six months.
5. SpringWell FutureSoft Salt-Free Water Softener – Best Highest Flow Rate
The SpringWell FutureSoft softener is an excellent, high-tech system that removes up to 99.6% of scale without affecting your water pressure or producing wastewater.
- Conditions water better than most other systems
- FutureSoft doesn't require extensive maintenance
- Efficient water contaminants filtration
- Prevents and removes scale
- Provides great-tasting water
- Tricky installation
We all want softer skin and healthier hair, and using the right water quality can help alongside effective stress management and nutrition. The SpringWell Salt-Free Water Softener is an excellent investment for the best salt-less water quality.
The water conditioner and descaler provide water that is gentle on your body. It will also help to remove impurities and safeguard your health.
This softener boasts a unique ActiveFlo technology. It packs four efficient filtration stages into a small package. Each filtration stage removes and reduces contaminants in water passing through it.
The SpringWell does an excellent job of removing chlorine's distinct odor. Wording on the packaging says the product is a softener, but SpringWell clarifies that it's a water conditioner.
Maintenance is totally breeze, you won't have to clean the system or connect it to an electrical system.
6. YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System – Best Value for Money
The YARNA water descaler system is a salt-less water softener that helps prevent scale buildup using electric impulses. It is also one of the cheapest options on this list.
When looking for the proper water softening system, two main issues are high acquisition costs and installation difficulty. This YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler System takes a unique approach to solving these issues.
The unit uses capacitive technology to descale your water. Its design may remind you of an electromagnetic device. The difference is how it clumps calcium and magnesium minerals in the water.
Capacitive technology helps alter the basic structure of water entering your home. The change helps promote the crystallization of hardness minerals. Crystallization allows the minerals to travel with the water and not adhere to your pipes, preventing limescale buildup.
Effects are almost instantaneous upon installing the YARNA descaler system. Kitchen utensils, plates, glassware, and cutlery look better while your shower time ends in a cleaner feeling.
You can mount the system on the pipe or the closest wall, but you require a power outlet close by. Use the YARNA on any pipe, including PVC, plastic, stainless steel, iron, and copper pipes.
7. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler – Best Electric
The Eddy Electronic Descaler helps soften your water, but at a fraction of the cost. It requires no maintenance, takes no space, and is eco-friendly.
This electronic water descaler from Eddy is a water softener alternative that requires no salt. Two small wire coils wrap around your water supply line and create a magnetic wave that transforms the behavior of minerals in the fluid.
The descaler doesn't change the chemical composition of water. While salt-based softeners remove magnesium and calcium, this Eddy product suspends them so they don't stick to the pipes. Your appliances and plumbing breathe a sigh of relief while your body benefits.
Installing the unit takes only a few minutes—even with no experience. This Eddy descaler works with all metal and PVC pipes apart from those made from lead or iron.
Every water drop flowing into your home gets the treatment. All you require is a standard 110-volt electrical supply, and power usage is minimal. The unit comes with a 12-month satisfaction guarantee, and Eddy will replace or repair it for free.
Unlike other water softener products, the descaler will not affect your water flow. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler treats up to 20 GPM. The treatment flow is above the 15 GPM max flow rate of most homes.
We should mention that this Eddy unit is not a water softener—it's a conditioner or descaler. The unit doesn't remove hardness-causing minerals in the water. Instead, it will condition your water as it flows through the main pipe into your home.
8. Aquasana Salt-Free Water Conditioner – Best Budget Option
The Aquasana Salt-Free water conditioner reduces the adverse effects of scale and corrosion to protect your plumbing and appliances. Aquasana is always surprising households by offering some of the most cost-effect house water systems on the market.
- Improved water taste
- Several optional add-on features are available
- No maintenance apart from filter changes
- Comes in only one size
- Lacks a built-in bypass
This Aquasana unit is a whole house descaler with a dual tank design. The device uses Nucleation Assisted Crystallization (NAC) technology to condition the water and reduce scaling naturally.
The term “naturally” means the process does not remove or add to your water. How does this Aquasana water conditioner do that?
Inside the unit is a media that alters the structure of hardness minerals in the water. The method prevents minerals from binding and forming deposits, which helps reduce scale by up to 99.6%.
The water TDS reading does not change because there's no salt to replace magnesium, calcium, and other ions.
The system service flow is 7 to 10 GPM, and it can handle water hardness levels up to 25 GPG. However, the unit works best at 15 GPG and below. You get a 6-year softening capacity and operating pressure between 20 and 100 psi.
Aquasana salt-free water conditioner removes chlorine from the water supply. We're equally impressed by the unit's ability to maintain flow rate to all other faucets in the house.
9. Watts Premier OneFlow Plus Salt-Free Water Softener – Best Easy-to-Install Design
The Watts Premier OneFlow+ helps reduce hard water scale buildup in your appliances and pipes while removing harmful contaminants and improving water taste.
This Watts OneFlow Plus system uses Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) technology. The way it works is the dissolved hardness minerals in water join to form microscopic crystals.
The crystals rest on the OneFlow media. After forming, the crystals detach from the media and flow freely through the plumbing system without creating scale inside plumbing surfaces.
OneFlow requires no maintenance. You don't change and monitor salt, and the system does not even use electricity.
The unit offers a max water flow of 10 GPM. However, always install the system on the cold water supply.
Watts reports this OneFlow model will continue working for up to three years. Remember that these are lab testing numbers, and they might be different depending on your environment.
Included is a chlorine filter that will work through 50,000 gallons of water. A mounting bracket in the packaging helps you mount the Watts OneFlow Water Softener on walls, but you can always install it on the floor.
What to Consider When You're Buying a Salt-Free Water Softener
As mentioned earlier, there are things you'll want to consider when choosing a salt-free water softener. This section details each feature.
The capacity rating of water softeners means counting grain or the number of grain minerals a unit removes before flushing the remaining material.
However, salt-free water softeners don't flush filter resin material. They keep grain ratings to show how long a unit lasts or effectively filters hard water particles.
Therefore, test the water before shopping for a water softener. The water tests tell you the number of mineral grains present in a gallon of water. This result then tells you the grain rating you need to be on the lookout for.
You can inquire from the city about allotted grains per gallon in water. But note there's a big difference between well water and city water. Most cities have a tolerance of about 15 GPG, while well water may have as much as 40 GPG.
The Water Flow Rate
Salt-free softener water flow rate differs from that of a traditional water softener.
Salt-free water softeners don't flush filtered materials and instead have a catalytic media that crystallizes material ions on the media surface while maintaining water flow. The system media stays fluid and pulls the hardness crystals from the surface.
Consider each system's water flow rate to determine if it's right for your household.
Some systems reduce water flow while passing through it, which affects the water pressure in multiple locations. For example, the average washer requires 1.5 gallons a minute, while the shower uses 2 gallons per minute.
There are several types of saltless water softeners on the market. The three main types are TAC, chelation, and electromagnetic.
Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC)
TAC is the most popular means of softening water without salt. However, a TAC conditioner is not a softener, but it provides almost similar results to salt units.
The TAC process treats hard water minerals in your water supply and changes the chemical composition of minerals to prevent scale formation. TAC media offers all the benefits of soft water and maintains healthy minerals.
Resin in a TAC conditioner attracts the hard water minerals in the water. These minerals remain in the resin until they crystallize and are released back into the water.
A water conditioning process binds hard water ions to a chelating agent, such as citric acid or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). The mineral ions suspend in water and cannot deposit themselves on surfaces as scale.
Chelation is popular in commercial applications, but several in-home chelation conditioning systems are available.
An electromagnetic water conditioner uses electromagnetic coils to separate the hard water minerals and prevent them from creating scale.
The process doesn't require tanks. Electromagnet conditioners have a pair of magnets or a coil that attaches to the outside of a water pipe. The magnetic process intercepts water before reaching the heater.
Electromagnet conditioners are affordable salt-free softening options, but there's little evidence the systems work.
Check the materials that make your water softener. Studies point out that Bisphenol A (BPA) in some plastic is a carcinogen, so make sure you don't get a model that fills your household with BPA. Materials without BPA include stainless steel metals and BPA-free plastic components.
Each salt-free water softener model has different maximum pressures. Weigh the unit's max pressure against your current water pressure.
Don't get a unit that will take up most of your current water pressure. Remember, installing a softener decreases pressure.
Read the product specs for information on whether the model will filter chlorine. A full-filtering model can help change the chlorine in your household water.
Salt-free water softeners vary in size. Consider if you have space for a unit you're looking at.
Each unit has dimension information, so read them and measure twice and confirm. There's nothing worse than purchasing a softener, and it doesn't fit.
The operating temperature depends on the model you want. Ask the manufacturer if there's no information of the operating temp on product specs.
Check the warranty and see what's covered and how long it runs. Consider buying an extended warranty from the manufacturer if you're getting a short warranty. The warranty protects you in case something goes wrong with the softener.
Ease of Installation
If you don't have experience installing a salt-free water softener, always hire a professional.
You'll need to shut off the main water supply before you can touch the plumbing—and many things can go wrong. While installing a salt-free unit is easier than doing the same for a salt-based system, some devices can be tricky.
The Last Word…
Between the reviews and buyer guide, you're now ready to rid yourself of the pesky minerals and enjoy some salt-free soft water.
However, we want to clarify that water from a salt-free system is not actual soft water. With soft water, all the hard water minerals have been removed. These salt-free conditioners only reduce the scaling effects of hard water without taking out any magnesium or calcium.
The mineral composition of hard water offers us a ton of benefits, including protecting your bones and heart. Salt-free water softeners ensure you get the benefits without damaging plumbing fixtures and water appliances.
We are confident that the information provided in this guide will help you find the best salt-free water softener for you.
Go salt-less today and enjoy the benefits of saltless soft water!