Have you ever wanted to escape from the daily grind and find a slower pace of living? Off-grid living can be a great way to do that. But it's not without its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is water. In many cases, you'll need to purify, filter, and soften the water before you can use it.
Approximately 85% of Americans' water supply is hard water, which contains minerals like magnesium and calcium. Hard water can cause problems like limescale buildup on appliances and dry skin after showers. A well water softener can help solve these issues.
In this article, we'll take a look at the best water softeners for well water.
Top Water Softeners for Well Water of 2023
1. Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Softener – Best For Efficient Regeneration
The Whirlpool WHES40E is a water softener designed for use by families with up to six members. It's a mid-priced unit with a decent capacity and additional features.
- Family-sized unit
- Easy installation
- Efficient use of salt through the Demand Initiated Regeneration
- Digital display panel
- Will require frequent regeneration in areas of above-average hardness
The Whirlpool WHES40E is a salt-based water softener that uses sodium to soften well water or city water. It has a Demand Initiated Regeneration feature which only uses salt when needed, making it more efficient. The unit can remove 40,000 grains of hardness before it needs to be regenerated, which will depend on the hardness of the water. For a family of four, it may need to be regenerated several times a year.
The Whirlpool WHES40E has a digital display that shows all the information you need about your water supply and has a low-salt light to prevent the water from hardening. It also has the ability to remove 11ppm of iron from the water, giving you cleaner and better-tasting water.
Although the unit doesn't have a filtering element, it's easy to install with a step-by-step guide and has low maintenance and easy cleaning design, so you shouldn't need to call a plumber.
2. Aquasure AS-HS48D Harmony Series – Best Mid-Priced Softener For Family Use
Aquasure AS-HS48D comes in various sizes. The 48,000-grain option is a good choice for families who want to address their hard water problems. It provides good value for money.
- 5-year manufacturer warranty
- Digital control head
- Efficient regeneration
- No cleaning fluid included
The Aquasure AS-HS48D has high-quality construction, including fiberglass-lined tanks and premium resin. It also comes with an industry-leading 5-year manufacturer warranty.
The Aquasure AS-HS48D water softener has a digital display meter that provides up-to-date performance data and allows you to optimize regeneration through time-delay settings. It can shift 48,000 grains before requiring regeneration and has a 12 gallon/minute flow rate, ensuring you won't run out of water.
The Aquasure AS-HS48D comes with full instructions for self-installation and has minimal maintenance requirements beyond replenishing salt supplies. However, it does not come with cleaning fluid like some other brands.
3. iSpring RCC7 – Best Under Sink Filter And Softener
The iSpring RCC7 system offers water softening specifically for your faucet. This is ideal for those who are primarily concerned about the quality of their drinking water and the impact of limescale on kitchen appliances. It's located at the sink for convenient use.
- 5 stage filtering – not just a water softener
- Easy installation
- NSF certified filtering
- Not a whole-house unit so no impact on shower/bath water hardness
- Limited filter lifespan
The iSpring RCC7 is a water filtration system that uses reverse osmosis to remove contaminants from your water. It has a high rating and can filter up to 75 gallons of water a day, which is more than enough for a family's kitchen needs.
Not only does iSpring RCC7 soften the water, but it also removes chemicals and other contaminants. It may not be as effective at removing hardening minerals as other systems, but it provides highly filtered water.
Installation of the iSpring RCC7 can be done as a DIY project, and the system includes all the necessary information. Maintenance may require replacing the filters occasionally, but the color-change design makes it easy to know when it's time to do so.
4. AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 Water Softener with Fleck 5600SXT Digital Metered Control – Best For Off-Grid Water Supply
The Iron Pro 2 has a high capacity for softening water. It also removes sediment, iron, and rust. This makes it a good choice for off-grid homes. It's not cheap, but it's a strong system for softening water.
- Sizeable capacity
- Additional filtering of iron and sediment
- Easy install and great customer support
- Top-end flow rate
- High price tag
- Salt-based system requires occasional regeneration
The AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 is a high-capacity water softener with a 64,000 grain capacity. It's designed to handle a large volume of water and can effectively remove iron up to 6ppm. The time between regeneration will depend on the hardness of the water, but it usually lasts for six months before needing a refill.
The AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 comes with a digital metered control head that allows you to easily monitor and control the system. You can optimize your water and salt usage by using this feature. The system also includes a bypass valve that lets you switch to non-softened water when necessary, extending the lifespan of the softener.
The AFWFilters Iron Pro 2 has a maximum treatable flow rate of 16 GPM, ensuring a continuous supply of softened water. It is designed for DIY installation and includes instructions as well as a customer support line for any questions you may have.
5. DuraWater 80k-56sxt-10AL – Best For Maximum Capacity
DuraWater 80k-56sxt-10AL is a water softener designed for commercial use. It's suitable for larger households or those who have extremely hard water in their region.
- Chlorine resistant resin
- 80,000-grain capacity
- 16 customizable settings
- DIY Installation
- Salt-based softener
- Eye-wateringly expensive
The DuraWater 80k-56sxt-10AL is a salt-based water softening system that has been well-engineered. The company has recently upgraded their resin to be chlorine resistant, which means it will last longer and work more efficiently to soften your water. The resin is pre-installed in the tank, saving you time on installation.
The DuraWater 80k-56sxt-10AL comes with all the information you need to install the unit yourself, but it's always a good idea to have a plumber on speed dial just in case the resin shifts during transport. Keep in mind that you'll need to purchase drain line and connection hoses separately, as they are not included with the unit.
The metered paddle wheel control has a digital display that allows you to fine-tune your water settings with 16 different customizable options for exceptional efficiency.
6. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain – Best Portable Water Softener
On The Go has developed a compact water softener with increased capacity. The model is called the OTG4.
- Super compact with a decent capacity
- Portable and easy to use
- The plastic fittings feel a little cheap
- No digital control panel
The On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT has a 16,000-grain capacity which can provide 1600 gallons of water. However, the amount of water that can be treated may be less if the water in your area is especially hard. The device is also efficient in its use of salt. It regenerates in just 30 minutes with two boxes of table salt when depleted.
The On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT is designed for the RV market and is portable. However, its compact size and intuitive functionality make it appealing to anyone looking for a miniature, movable softener. The device is 22.5” tall and 9.5” in diameter and can be installed with a standard garden hose and no tools required.
The carry handle and wide salt intake make it easy to use while on the go. However, some of the plastic fittings may feel cheap and it may not be able to withstand rough handling on the road.
The On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT does not have a digital control panel, which means there are fewer options for your softening program. However, its compact design and affordable price make it a good option for use on the road.
7. iSpring ED2000 – Best Salt-less Option
Are you looking for an easy solution to your hard water problems? The iSpring ED2000 salt-less descaler may be the answer. Unlike a salt-based system, it doesn't require maintenance or regeneration. Simply install it and let it work its magic on your hard water.
- Salt-free system
- Low maintenance
- Budget option
- Less efficient than a salt-based softener
- Spots and stains may still appear on appliances
The iSpring ED2000 electronic water descaler can eliminate hard water in your entire home. It works with any pipe and descales your water at the point where it enters your home.
Installation is simple and the device comes with easy-to-follow instructions. It requires a 120V outlet. With this device, you won't have to worry about resin, sodium, or regular cleaning.
The iSpring ED2000 doesn't alter the chemical composition of your water, so it can handle very hard water without any loss of performance or lifespan. It can easily descale up to 19 grains per gallon.
However, because the iSpring ED2000 is a salt-free system, it may not be as effective at removing spots and stains from appliances.
The iSpring ED2000 is a cost-effective solution to hard water issues. It comes with a one-year money-back guarantee and lifetime support from iSpring.
8. Tier1 Digital Whole House Water Softener System 48,000 Grain – Best For A Space-Saving Design
Salt-based water softeners use similar technology, so they often have similar design and function. However, the Tier1 Digital Whole House Water Softener System has a compact design that saves over four feet of floor space while still having a family-sized capacity.
- Simplified programming
- Compact design for the size
- No low-salt warning system
- Additional hoses required for some plumbing setups
The Tier1 Digital Whole House Water Softener System has a 10” x 54” mineral tank and a 15” x 34” brine tank, which are both space-saving. The mineral tank comes pre-loaded with resin for easy self-installation and has ¾” water line connections. However, if your home is plumbed with PEX or CPVC tubing, you may need additional attachments.
The system's digital display has simplified programming functions that are easy to follow and allow you to customize the system. This makes it a good choice for those who want a fully customizable system without being overwhelmed by complicated instructions.
The Tier1 Digital Whole House Water Softener System is a salt-based softener that is similar in price to other models of its size. However, its compact design and intuitive programming make it stand out among the competition.
9. Aquasana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST – Best For Additional Filtering
You can have it all with the Aquasana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST. This water filter not only purifies and filters, but it also descales. However, it does come with a cost.
- Removes chlorine, viruses, and bacteria
- Complete installation kit
- Extravagant price tag
- Regular filter replacement
Water softening is just one function of the Aqusana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST system. It's a salt-less descaler, which means it may not be as effective as other pure softening systems.
While the salt-less water conditioner may still leave mineral spots and staining on kitchen appliances, it can help alleviate some of the negative effects of hard water on skin, hair, and drinking water.
Additionally, the Aqusana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST water conditioner has a longer lifespan than some of Aquasana's filters, lasting up to 6 years.
When it comes to purification, the Aqusana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST system is highly effective. It removes 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, 97% of chlorine, and a variety of chemical contaminants. However, as a well water softener, it is average in performance.
Overall, the Aqusana EQ-WELL-UV-PRO-AST system is a comprehensive option for purification, filtration, and descaling. However, it is also relatively expensive. If hard water is your main concern, this system may be too much for your needs.
Understanding Water Softeners For Well Water
Approximately five out of six Americans have hard water in their pipes. It doesn't matter if you live in a city or have a well in the United States, It's likely that you are dealing with minerals in your water.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that contains a high mineral content, specifically calcium and magnesium. It is defined as having more than 60 ppm (parts per million) of minerals, or over 60mg in every liter. Water with a mineral content of over 180 ppm is considered very hard.
The presence of these minerals can be a nuisance in the kitchen and bathroom. They can build up as limescale in pipes and appliances, causing damage that may not be immediately visible. Additionally, hard water can leave skin and hair feeling dry and unclean after washing.
How Does a Well Water Softener Work?
There are two main ways water softeners work – either by removing minerals or nullifying their effects by changing their chemical makeup. Let's examine these two methods: ion exchange and electronic descaling.
Ion exchange is a process that removes minerals from water, resulting in soft water with minimal mineral content. Water softeners using ion exchange have two tanks: a mineral tank with resin beads and a brine tank with a salt-water solution.
Hard water contains calcium and magnesium ions with a positive charge. When the hard water comes into contact with the negatively-charged resin beads in the mineral tank, the ions attach to the resin and soften the water.
Eventually, the resin beads reach a point where they can no longer absorb more mineral ions. At this point, the mineral tank is flushed with the salt-water solution. The sodium ions in the solution, which also have a positive charge but are less strong than the minerals in hard water, extract the ions from the resin and regenerate the system.
Types of Well Water Softeners
There are two main types of well water softeners to consider: salt-based and salt-less.
Salt-based Well Water Softeners
Salt-based softeners use ion exchange to remove minerals from your water, which is a chemically certified process. These systems are highly efficient and have a large capacity, but they do require maintenance and can be expensive.
Salt-free Well Water Softeners
Salt-less water softeners, on the other hand, are relatively affordable and easy to install. They don't require any maintenance, which can be appealing to those who prefer a hands-off approach to their water supply. However, these systems don't remove the mineral content of the water, so some hard water issues may persist. They may also be less efficient for households that use a large volume of water.
An electronic descaler is a simpler and more compact system, but it doesn't actually remove minerals from the water. Instead, it increases the chemical connection between the minerals and the water, making them less likely to accumulate in pipes and plumbing.
Electronic descaler is placed around pipes and generates a low-voltage current that charges the mineral particles as they pass through the pipes. This strengthens the bonds between the minerals and the water, reducing the impact of hard water, but not completely eliminating it.
Salt-based vs Salt-Free Softeners for Well Water
Which type of water softener is right for you? Here's the detailed breakdown of both options here.
|Salt-Based Water Softeners
|Salt-Free Water Softeners
|Uses salt to remove hard minerals
|Uses a chemical process to change the structure of hard minerals, making them easier to filter out
|Requires regular replenishment of salt
|No need to add salt
|Can be more effective at removing hard minerals
|May not be as effective at removing all hard minerals
|Can be more expensive to maintain
|Generally more affordable to maintain
|May produce wastewater during the regeneration process
|Produces no wastewater
|May not be suitable for individuals on low-sodium diets
|Safe for individuals on low-sodium diets
Ultimately, the choice between a salt-based or salt-less water softener will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider your budget, maintenance preferences, and water usage when making a decision.
Key Factors to Consider When Buying Water Softener For Well Water
Hard water can be a hassle. It can cause problems with appliances and leave residue on dishes and clothing. To combat hard water, many people turn to water softeners. However, not all water softeners are suitable for every situation.
If your well water has high levels of sediment, iron, or other contaminants, consider using a pre-filter. This can remove these impurities before they reach the water-softening stage, improving the performance of the softener and extending its lifespan. Otherwise, your water softener might clog up.
If, for example, your well water has high levels of iron, using a pre-filter with a water softener can help remove it before the water-softening process.
If you're concerned about iron in your water, consider checking out our top-rated iron filters for well water. If you want both filtration and softening capabilities, look at our selection of water filtration and softener combinations.
Size and Capacity
The amount of water you use and the hardness of the water in your area will affect the capacity you need. For instance, for larger families or water with a high level of hardness, opt for a model with a larger capacity.
The capacity of a water softener means the amount of hard minerals it can remove before it needs to be regenerated with sodium. It's measured in grains and its capacity can range from 10,000 to 80,000 grains. You should select a capacity that meets the needs of your water usage habits.
The flow rate of a well water softener defines the amount of well water it can soften per minute. It's important to choose a well water softener with a flow rate a little higher than your needs to ensure ensures a constant and effective water supply.
Most well water softeners usually have a high flow rate, allowing multiple family members to use water simultaneously. Premium well water softeners have a flow rate of over 15 to 20 GPM (gallons per minute), allowing you to run all faucets at the same time. Other well water softeners may have a flow rate of under 10 GPM.
Control and Features
A digital control panel is a useful feature on a water softener because it allows you to customize the system's settings. This can help you optimize the water softener and prevent wasting water or salt. The control panel may also allow you to time-delay or bypass the water-softening process.
Both ion exchange water softeners and electronic descalers can be installed by DIY enthusiasts. Premium brands typically provide clear instructions and 24/7 customer support for installation.
When choosing a water softener, make sure it includes everything you need for installation. Some brands don't include hoses, so it's important to check. If your system uses anything other than standard ¾” piping, such as PEX or CPVC tubing, you may need to purchase additional fittings.
Electrical outlets are required for the installation of these units. Make sure there is a convenient outlet nearby or have an extension cord ready.
Metered and Timed regeneration
Metered water softeners regenerate when a specific volume of softened water has been used. This is different from time regeneration softeners, which regenerate at predetermined intervals regardless of water usage. Metered regeneration is more efficient and cost-effective compared to time regeneration.
For example, a time regeneration water softener may regenerate every 3 days regardless of whether water is used. In contrast, a water softener with metered regeneration will regenerate if your family uses 50 gallons in 3 days but may regenerate in 5 days if the family uses 30 gallons per day.
Ion exchange water softeners require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure they are functioning properly and providing clean water.
To maintain your water softener, it's important to add salt and clean the resin bed regularly. Additionally, you should occasionally clean the entire system. Salt bridges, or a salt crust above the water in the brine tank, may form and will need to be dissolved in warm water.
Be sure to check the manufacturer's guidance on maintenance. Some brands offer their own water softener cleaner to simplify maintenance and keep the product in good condition.
Water Softeners For Well Water: The FAQ
Any questions? Here’s the need-to-know about water softeners for well water.
Do I Need a Water Softener for Well Water?
If you live in an area with hard water, you may want to consider purchasing a water softener. 85% of Americans live in areas with hard water, which can have negative effects on your pipes, appliances, hair, and skin. Hard water can block pipes and damage boilers, reduce the lifespan of everyday kitchen appliances, and cause mineral build-up. It can also leave a film on your hair and dry out your skin after a shower. In addition, hard water may taste chalky or chemical.
A water softener can improve the taste and appeal of your water, as well as benefit your hair, skin, pipes, and appliances.
Will a Water Softener Filter My Well Water?
A water softener uses ion exchange to remove calcium, magnesium, and certain metals such as lead from your water. It's not effective at removing sediment, pesticides, viruses, or a wide range of chemical contaminants.
Whole-house filter systems that combine filtering, purification, and water softening may use electronic descaling, but may not provide the most efficient or effective water softening.”
William Butler Yeats wrote, “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams” in the late 19th century. Today, he might also encourage us to drink softly.
Hard water can damage our skin, appliances, and pipes. A water softener is the best solution for well water.
There are various types of water softeners available, including high-capacity systems, budget options, and portable models.
Whether you rely on well water, live in an RV, or just want clean water in the city, a water softener can help protect you from the minerals in hard water. It's easy to find a solution for soft water.