We’ve tested water softeners from numerous manufacturers and compiled a list of the best in each category to help you save time during your research to find the best water softener for you.

Categories

Best Overall Water Softener

Best Economy Water Softener

Best Base Water Softener

Best Small Water Softener

Best Portable Water Softener


Best Overall Water Softener


Genesis Premier Water Softener

Rated 4.9

Buy at Discount Water Softeners


PROS

  • High efficiency up flow regeneration saves money on salt and water 
  • Great warranty 10 years valve/ Lifetime on tanks
  • Meter regenerated – on demand. Only regenerates when needed
  • Sizes from 24,000 to 96,000 grains for all size homes.
  • Saves money on salt and water
  • DIY or plumber install

CONS

  • Slightly higher upfront costs

Review

The Genesis Premier Upflow High Efficiency digital water softener is the best selling water softener system overall. The high efficiency capability and the best warranty in the industry makes this system a clear top choice  The digital display with full feature scrolling information makes this model a breeze to see what the system status is at all times.  

The main reason the Genesis Premier gets the nod for best overall is its up flow regeneration process. Upflow regeneration allows the system to reduce salt usage by as much as 75% and water consumption by as much as 64% as compared to the down flow industry norm. The regeneration frequency is managed by a meter so fluctuations in water usage are easily managed to minimize regenerations. 

In terms of softening hard water, this system is a top rated systems out there. It softens hard water as reliable as any system available on the market and at the lowest cost. If you are on the lookout for a system that you can rely on, then the Genesis Premier is the system for you. It is highly recommended.

Additional to note: The warranty for the Genesis Premier model has a 10 year control valve warranty and lifetime tank warranty. We were not able to find another water system with his long of a warranty that fully encompassed the manufacturer parts like the Genesis Premier.


Best Economy Water Softener

Fleck 5600SXT

Rated 4.5

Buy at Amazon

PROS

  •  Economy price. Reliable design
  • Metered / OnDemand regenerated
  • Easy to program
  • Plumbers typically can install
  • Large dealer network

CONS

  • Basic functionality
  • Running costs on salt and water
  • Shorter life expectancy if low grade resin is used

Review

The Fleck 5600 SXT digital metered softener has been an industry standard design for over 30 years. The 5600 model has been Flecks best selling model of all time. The 5600 SXT is ideal for small to medium/large homes with moderate to high water hardness levels. It is a “set and forget” system that is simple to setup and install.

The Fleck 5600SXT took the place of its predecessor the Fleck 5600SE. The digital design has changed but the mechanics have been the same for over 30 years. Why change what isn’t broke. The Fleck 5600SXT salt usage is average to good and water use during regeneration can be on the high end on the larger capacity systems. Warranty is the same as most at 5 years on the control valve and 10 years on the tanks. If you want reliability at a price that won’t break the bank then look at the Fleck 5600 SXT model water softener. 

Additional Notes: Buyer beware. Some water softener sellers of the Fleck 5600 model softeners will use cheap or imported resins that will not last very long. Be sure to look into the resin component of the model you are looking into purchasing


Best Base Model

Morton’s 45,000 grain Water Softener

3.5 Rating

Buy at Menards

PROS

  • Low priced solution
  • Metered / On Demand regenerated
  • Compact all in one design

CONS

  • Cheap plastic valve body
  • No customer support or parts for DIY servicing
  • Expected system life is only 5-7 years
  • Only one size available, not for all homes

Review

Morton’s “Look Ahead” technology learns your families water usage pattern and predicts you future water needs. Morton water softeners only regenerate when needed, saving you salt and water. Residential sized valving designed for all family sizes, high water hardness low dissolved iron level removal applications. Works with both city water and private well water sources. This all in one design is the best looking softener but does have the drawback of not holding as much salt. 

Additional Notes: The Mortons 45,000 grain water softener is a basic water softener not designed for different sized homes so sizing could be a problem for larger homes. Most water treatment companies will not service.



Best Small System

Kenmore 24,000 grain Water Softener

2.8 Rating

Buy at Sears

PROS

  • Low priced solution
  • Metered / OnDemand regenerated
  • Compact all in one design

CONS

  • Cheap plastic valve body 
  • No customer support or parts for DIY servicing
  • Expected system life is only 5-7 years
  • Small capacity only for 1-2 person homes

Review

The Kenmore 24,000 grain water softener removes hard minerals from your water, so you can enjoy soft water benefits, saving you time and money. This high-efficiency water softener is a good choice for families up to 4 people with water hardness up to 35 grains per gallon.

With demand-initiated regeneration and LCD screen allows easy programming


Best Portable Water Softener

Watts RV-Pro 1000

3.5 Rating

Buy at Amazon

PROS

  • Compact Design
  • Portability
  • Does not require electricity

CONS

  • Not for residential use
  • Completely manual regeneration 
  • Only for mobile applications

Review

Watts RV-PRO 1000 is the most user friendly, RV softener on the market today! Compact and portable, this versatile softener is ideal for RV or any mobile application to prevent hard water staining by removing calcium, magnesium and trace amounts of iron from the water. RV-PRO 10,000 is priced right, costs only pennies to operate and is low maintenance, leaving you more leisure time for fun and relaxation!


“Salt Free” water softeners or magnetic devices

We do feel that we need to address the “salt free” or magnetic devices that claim to soften water currently available on the market. Our reviews are for industry proven water softening systems as described by the Water Quality Association. A “salt free”water softener does not soften water. For that reason we decided to not include those systems in our reviews as they are not capable of softening water.Magnetic devices also have be proven to have no basis for softening water. For that reason magnetic devices were not included in our reviews.