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5 Best Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combos in 2023 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Imagine never having to worry about water quality again. With a whole house water filter and softener combo, you can trust that the water coming out of every faucet and showerhead in your home will be crisp and clean, clear of contaminants.

Instead of buying and installing multiple filter systems, a whole house water filter and softener combo is a one-stop shop for pure water solutions. Whole house water filters are popular, but they alone can't tackle the issue of hard water. Unfortunately, 85% of homes in the United States have hard water.

A water softener added to a whole house filter system not only protects your pipes, appliances, skin, and hair from the effects of hard water, but also preserves the lifespan of your filter. It's a wise investment, but finding the right one for your home is important.

Whether you’ve got money to burn or a tighter budget, whether you’re off the grid drawing well-water or a city slicker looking for slicker water, we’ve got the whole house water filter and softener combo for you.

Here are the best options of 2023.

Top-Rated Whole House Water Filter And Softener Combos in 2023

1(A). SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt-based Water Softener System – Best For City Water Supply

Springwell Water is a reputable brand in the water filter industry. The CSS is a combination filter and softener system that is ideal for your whole house.

SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System
Feature Specification
Filter Capacity 1,000,000 Gallon
Water Softener Salt-based
Number of Bathrooms 7+
Flow Rate Up to 17 GPM
Upgradation UV and RO Stages
Warranty Lifetime

1(B). SpringWell CSF1 Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener System – Best For City Water Supply

Springwell Water CSF1 is a combination filter and salt-less softener system that's designed for entire home with city water supply.

SpringWell CSF1 Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System
Feature Specification
Filter Capacity 1,000,000 Gallon
Water Softener TAC
Number of Bathrooms 7+
Flow Rate Up to 17 GPM
Upgradation UV and RO Stages
Warranty Lifetime

The SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System is a four-stage filtering system that eliminates a wide range of contaminants and includes a salt-based ion-exchange softener. The softener stage is placed between the first and second stages of filtering. The first stage uses a KDF media to remove chlorine that could damage the softener. The second stage, the softening stage, strips out compounds that will undermine the following filter stages.

The third stage is a catalytic carbon media, the fourth stage improves water contact time with the filter media through a unique anti-channeling design, and the fifth stage is a 5-micron filtering membrane that removes any final particles.

The SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System is a smart system that's designed to maximize the lifespan of your filters. The 5-micron sediment filters only need to be changed every six months at most.

For additional purification, there are optional upgrades available, including a UV purification stage and a Reverse Osmosis filter. The system is customizable and can be upsized for any home. The flow rate starts at 9 GPM, recommended for households with three bathrooms. The capacity can be upgraded up to a whooping 20 GPM.

The SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System is low-maintenance, requiring only intermittent filter changes. A Bluetooth head unit allows you to program your softener, helping you reduce wastewater and limit cleaning. It's easy to install for the DIY-savvy and also appeal to those who prefer a hands-off approach.

Bottom Line The SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System offers a customizable flow rate and options for UV and RO upgrades. This allows for a tailored approach to removing a range of contaminants. It's a powerful system, particularly suitable for city water. View Latest Price on SWW →

2(A). Springwell WSSS1 Well Water Filter and Salt Based System Combo – Best For Well Water Supply

The Springwell WSSS1 Well Water Filter and Salt Based System Combo is an ideal option for those who live off-grid and have specific filtering needs. It offers many of the benefits of a whole-house system for city water, but also targets common well water contaminants.

Springwell WSSS1 Well Water Filter and Salt Based System Combo
Feature Specification
Filter Capacity More than 20 years
Water Softener Salt-based
Number of Bathrooms 4-6
Flow Rate Up to 20 GPM
Upgradation UV and RO Stages
Warranty Lifetime

2(B). SpringWell WSSF Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener System – Best For Well Water Supply

The Springwell WSSF Well Water Filter and Salt-Free System Combo is an ideal option for those who live off-grid and have specific filtering needs. It also offers many of the benefits of a whole-house system for city water, but also targets common well water contaminants.

SpringWell WSSF Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System
Feature Specification
Filter Capacity More than 20 years
Water Softener TAC
Number of Bathrooms 4-6
Flow Rate Up to 20 GPM
Upgradation UV and RO Stages
Warranty Lifetime

The Springwell WSSS1 Well Water Filter and Salt Based System Combo effectively targets iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide, with a maximum removal rate of 8ppm, 7ppm, and 1ppm respectively. It uses an Air Injection Oxidizing (AIO) method to introduce oxygen to contaminant molecules, oxidizing and flushing them out.

While the system is highly effective for the compounds mentioned, it doesn't include activated carbon or sediment filtering membrane, which means it may not effectively remove other common contaminants. However, it does offer the option of UV purification and an RO membrane for an additional cost.

The softener stage of the Springwell WSSS1 utilizes efficient ion exchange technology and a Bluetooth head for complete control over regeneration cycles using a smart device app. It offers a customizable flow rate, starting at 11 GPM and reaching up to 20, making it suitable for a range of home sizes.

Maintenance is minimal, with only the cost of sodium for the softener. Installation is easy for those handy with tools and can be managed with patience and the right tools, as Springwell Water provides a thorough and comprehensible installation guide.

Bottom Line The Springwell WSSS1 Well Water Filter and Salt Based System Combo is an excellent choice for those who live off the grid and experience hard water. It's highly effective at removing well water contaminants at high concentrations. View Latest Price on SWW →

3. Fleck 5600SXT Water Filter And Softener System – Best Efficient Salt-Based Softener In A Whole House System

Bundling Fleck's 5600SXT water softener with their filter systems results in a whole-house water filter and softener that can handle any contaminant.

Fleck 5600SXT Water Filter And Softener System
Pros
  • 6-month money-back guarantee
  • The salt-based system is exceptionally efficient
  • Optional fluoride filtering
  • Customizable to your needs
Cons
  • Expensive for the full package
  • For best performance, it requires upgraded resin

The Fleck 5600SXT Water Filter And Softener System is built on a salt-based system and is easy to use. When you opt for the upgraded 10% resin, it's one of the most efficient systems on the market, resulting in savings in both sodium and water waste.

The Fleck 5600SXT Water Filter And Softener System comes with a digital interface, giving you complete control over the system at the touch of a button. The smart regeneration process adjusts automatically to reduce salt consumption and water waste. A whole range of settings allow you to customize your cycles to your water usage pattern.

By bundling Fleck's filters and softeners, you can choose a combination perfectly suited to your water supply. The chlorine filter improves the taste of your water, while the RO filter option completely eliminates a wide range of contaminants, including fluoride. The KDF media gives you the option of tackling heavy metals like lead and mercury.

Fleck 5600SXT Water Filter And Softener System is a build-your-own system, tailored to your needs. However, it's not cheap to combine these filters and the full package can be costly.

Fleck offers free installation as a bonus, giving you greater peace of mind that your system functions exactly as it should.

Bottom Line The Fleck 5600SXT Water Filter and Softener System is an optimized salt-based softener that is highly efficient. When paired with the full range of Fleck's water filters, it becomes a whole-house system that can tackle all types of contaminants. View Latest Price on QWT →

4. SoftPro® Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System – Best Value For Iron Removal And Water Softening

SoftPro® are known for their advanced technology and durable design. They have been a leading choice in the water softening industry for some time.

SoftPro® Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System
Pros
  • Iron filtering
  • Low maintenance
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Great value
  • Optional extras to tackle a wider range of contaminants
Cons
  • Requires professional installation
  • Additional filters lead to a big price bump

The SoftPro® Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System is an integrated system that includes an iron filter. It's ideal for well water and offers great value, particularly in the basic package.

The SoftPro is known for its water softeners, which have a capacity of up to 80,000 grains, this can handle anything your water supply brings in. The system is fully programmable and uses smart technology to self-calculate optimal brine levels, saving over 650lbs of salt a year.

The SoftPro® Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System's digital display offers an intuitive control panel with features such as Vacation Mode and Auto Refresh. Smart Clean technology keeps the system in top condition, eliminating the need for manual cleaning.

The basic package effectively removes iron from well water at up to 3ppm. Upgrades, such as water ionizing for alkaline water, a KDF filter, and UV purification, are also available. Although the cost adds up, SoftPro® Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System has an answer to every contaminant question you might pose.

The flow rate of SoftPro® Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System varies depending on the filters added and the well pump's capacity, but should not fall below 10 GPM. Larger households should consider their water consumption before purchasing.

SoftPro recommends professional installation, which comes at an additional cost. However, the impact on water bills will be noticeable almost immediately, making it a worthwhile investment.

Bottom Line The SoftPro® Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System is a cost-effective option for individuals using well water without a significant presence of contaminants. View Latest Price on QWT →

5. Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN – Best Salt-Free Softener In A Whole-House System

Ion-exchange water softeners are commonly used in combination with whole-house systems, but not everyone wants to add salt to their diet. Additionally, the ion exchange process produces some amount of wastewater, which can increase monthly expenses. A potential alternative is the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN whole house water filter with a salt-free descaler for water softening.

Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN
Pros
  • Salt-free descaler
  • UV purification targeting microbiological contaminants
  • Super low-maintenance
  • Great tasting water
Cons
  • Requires professional installation
  • Less effective than salt-based systems for very hard water.

The electronic descaler sends electrical pulses through your water, preventing hard-water compounds from attaching to your pipes and appliances, rather than removing them.

The Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN system is a powerful and low-maintenance combination of electronic descaler and UV purification. With a 1,000,000 gallon capacity, it removes 99.99% of viruses and bacteria, 97% of chlorine, and reduces lead, mercury, VOCs, and pesticides. It also includes pre and post-filtering stages to capture sediment and ensure the filtering stages are working at 100%.

The descaler component requires low maintenance, and aside from occasional pre and post-filter changes, the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN system is very hands-off. However, the maximum flow rate is 7 GPM, which may not be sufficient for larger families. You can improve flow rate by frequently replacing the pre and post-filters, but for homes with more than two bathrooms, it may still be insufficient.

Installation is best left to the professionals for this one, but with brass fixtures the whole system is built robustly. No wonder Aquasana feels confident about guaranteeing 10 years of use.

The installation process is best left to professionals, but the Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN system is built robustly with brass fixtures. Aquasana guarantees 10 years of use for this product.

Bottom Line Aquasana EQ-1000-AST-UV-AMZN is an ideal choice for small households that want to avoid adding sodium to their water. It features a powerful purification system and a salt-free descaling system. View Latest Price on Amazon →

Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Whole-House Water Filter and Softener Combo

A whole-house water filtration and softener combo is a significant investment in several ways. Not only do these systems require ample space in your basement or utility room, but they’re going to put a big dent in your bank balance!

To ensure you make the right decision, it's important to familiarize yourself with these systems. Here is a guide on everything you need to know about combo water filter systems.

Test Your Water Quality

To determine which whole-house filter and softener combo is appropriate for your needs, it's important to understand the contaminants present in your local water supply.

Understanding Filter Media and their Capabilities

There are various types of filter media used in whole-house systems such as pre-filtering stages for sediment, activated carbon, KDF, ion-exchange resins, and heavy metal filtering.

  • Pre-filtering stages for sediment: This helps remove large particles such as dirt, sand, and sediment from the water.
  • Activated carbon: This filter media helps absorb impurities and chemicals such as chlorine, pesticides, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to improve the taste and odor of water.
  • KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion): This popular filter media will remove most heavy metals (lead, iron, copper, mercury), bacteria, and other contaminants through a chemical process known as redox.
  • Ion-exchange resins: Softens the hard water by removing water-hardening minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

Deciding Between Salt-Based and Salt-Free Softeners

One big difference between systems is if the water softener is using a salt-based or salt-free system.

Salt-based Systems

Salt-based systems use an ion-exchange process to replace hard compounds with sodium or potassium from your water supply, resulting in soft water. They are highly effective in softening water and provide comprehensive protection for your home.

However, salt-based systems are more expensive to purchase and require some maintenance, such as occasional clean-out. Additionally, it's important to consider the ongoing cost of purchasing salt for the system.

Salt-free Systems (Water Conditioners)

Salt-free systems don't soften water by removing magnesium and calcium molecules. Instead, they neutralize these molecules with electricity, rendering them inactive and unable to bond with plumbing and appliances. The hard compounds are then safely sent down the drain.

While salt-free softener systems are not as effective as salt-based ion-exchange systems, they are cheaper. They are also a good option if you are concerned about the added sodium in your water supply.

Salt-free systems are also low maintenance, as there's no filter media or resin that needs to be replaced.

Determining the Right Capacity

Filter capacity is an important factor in the longevity of your filters. Water softeners have a specific grain capacity, which determines how much hardness they can remove from your water. The capacity can range up to 80,000 grains and some whole-house systems can handle over one million gallons.

Importance of Flow Rate

Whole-house systems filtration and softening combo filter water at the point of entry to your home. This ensures that every drop from faucets, showerheads and dishwashers is thoroughly filtered. However, when water goes through multiple filter stages, you can expect to see a drop in flow rate.

It's important to have a high flow rate in households with multiple people using showers, washing dishes or doing laundry simultaneously. A standard flow rate for whole-house systems is 10-15 GPM (gallons per minute) and premium units can reach up to 20 GPM. It's important to keep in mind the flow rate when choosing a system.

Evaluate Filter Lifespan

Most whole-house filter and softener systems have multiple filtering stages, which means a complex schedule for filter replacements. Some filters can last over a year, while others may need to be replaced every three months or more if you have a busy household.

Consider the long-term cost of running your whole-house filter and softener combo system when evaluating filter lifespan. Look for features such as filter-change notification lights to help you remember to change filters.

NSF/ANSI Certifications

NSF, the National Sanitation Foundation, offers certifications for water filter systems in partnership with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). NSF/ANSI certification is an important component for those looking for complete assurance. There are several standards, including:

  • NSF 42 for filters that improve taste and odor
  • NSF 53 for filters that remove harmful contaminants

UV Purification: What You Need to Know

UV (ultraviolet light) purification is sometimes included in whole-house water filtration systems, but it’s not an essential component. UV light is effective in eliminating microbiological contaminants such as bacteria and fungi, providing an additional level of protection for your family. If you're concerned about biological contaminants, consider adding UV purification to your water filtration system.

Fluoride Removal: Is it important for you?

Fluoride is commonly added to city water to promote dental health. However, there is growing concern about its effects on bone and brain health. If you are concerned about fluoride, consider a fluoride-removal filter as it's not typically included in standard whole-house systems.

Ease of Installation and Warranty

If you have the tools and temperament for the job, you can install a whole-house filtration and softener system yourself. However, keep in mind that these systems take up a significant amount of space, so make sure you have designated a corner of your basement for the unit.

Be sure to read the small print as home installation may void your warranty. Many filter and softener combo systems come with a lifetime warranty, so it's best to take advantage of that. If you are unsure, consider hiring a professional for installation.

Setting Your Budget

Water filters and water softener combos can be expensive. These units use the latest technology to purify hundreds of gallons of water daily. Expect to pay four-figure sums for these combo systems.

However, investing in purified water can save you money in the long run. You won't need to buy bottled water and a water softener will prolong the life of your pipes and appliances.

Also Check: How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Softener?

Conclusion

Whole house water filter and softener combos can be a significant investment, there’s no doubt about it.

However, the SoftPro® Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System offers a lifetime warranty, minimal wastewater, and an affordable price tag when considering the long-term benefits. On the other hand, the Springwell Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System may come with a higher cost for upgrades and extras, but it offers ultimate filtering and softening capabilities and a flow rate for over seven bathrooms. This makes it the best all-around choice.

85% of Americans live with hard water, over half the population drinks water with lead in it, and three out of four Americans live in an area with added fluoride. Not many systems can tackle such a wide range of contaminants, but a whole house water filter and softener combo can.

So why don’t you go all-in on a whole house filter and softener combo?

Eric Phillips

Hi, I’m Eric, a Plumber, Home Repair Expert and Chief Editor behind Dripfina. I first became interested in water purification and water safety when I spent a couple of years traveling the world. I not only learned the importance of keeping my own water fresh and pure (yes, sometimes the hard way…) but I also saw how important water is as a resource worldwide. Read more about me...

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