Before purchasing a water softener we want to make you aware of some of our best general tips. These little insights will definitely help you when browsing water softeners. We want to help you make an informed decision before you shell out hundreds of dollars on a water softener only to find it won’t work for your needs or does not do what companies claim they do.

  1. The first thing you want to make sure you do is determine if you need a water softener. If you are reading this site chances are you either know you need one or are replacing an existing system. That being said, if you are seeing white calcium buildup around your fixtures and on shower doors, a water softener is likely needed.
  2. The next thing you are going to want to know is, what level of water hardness is in your water. Knowing how much hardness in either ppm or grain per gallon (GPG) is the very first step in determining what size water softener you need. Remember, buying a water softener too large can cause as many problems as if you purchased one that is too small. Water usage also plays a critical role in sizing your water softener along with your hardness level. An industry standard bases water usage in a home upon 65-75 gallons of water per person per day average. An average sized 2 person home with lower hardness may require one sized softener while a larger 4 person home with very high hardness may require a much larger sized softener. Contact your local municipality or refer to their website to find out the water hardness in your water. Or if you are on a private well get your water tested for hardness and even iron.
  3. Consider a water softener system made with serviceable components. Yes, name brands like Kenmore or Whirlpool at Home Depot or Lowes are great because of the presumed quality. Keep in mind their parts are also sort of unique and most service companies will not work on them. They are sometimes called “throw away” systems. Buy one and have it installed at a cost of around $100-$200 less than a quality dealer model and you may find you’re replacing the system twice as fast. You are better off with a water softener that has parts that can be serviced.
  4. You want to go with something with proven technology. Look for a brand that has been around for as many years as possible. Whatever glitches the product might have had, they have probably been fixed long ago. When you spend good money on a water softener, you want something reliable.
  5. It matters who you buy it from. Purchasing a water softener from a local water treatment dealer can be a good idea. Just be aware that there are local dealer that charge a premium price for their systems as well as their service calls. Do your homework here and think about your system needs 10 years from now. Purchasing a water softener online is also a really good idea and a great way to save money. But we also must caution you here too. There are many online dealers that literally sell water softeners from their home and ship from a wholesale location claiming they are bigger than they are. Make sure who you buy from is experienced in the field. The company we buy our water softeners from has been in the industry for over 20 years. They also build their systems and distribute them direct to the consumer. Their customer support is fantastic and support their products well.
  6. Look for a system that has a proven design. Piston driven water softeners have been around forever. That design uses the fewest moving parts and has less a likely chance to break down.
  7. Resin-This is probably the most critical component of a water softener function. If the system has cheap or lower grade resin the system will not last. We see water softeners that use reliable components and proven design where companies use cheap or low grade resins to save money and sell at the lowest price. Don’t fall for it. We see it on Amazon and even some local dealers. Ask what resin they use or where it is made or even ask for their spec sheet.
  8. Efficient operating systems are also something to really consider. We see high efficiency dishwashers and washing machines. Even high efficiency tankless water heaters. Water softeners are now featuring high efficiency or upflow models. Keep this in mind when you are buying a water softener. If you are installing a water softener and intend on being in your home more than 3-4 years, paying a little more upfront for a high efficiency upflow water softener is the way to go. You will make up the difference in upfront cost in short order and save money (and your back) in the long run.
  9. Warranty-Get a water softener with a good warranty. Whirlpool or Kenmore big box store water softeners rarely have warranties that last longer than a year. Find one that gives you 5 or even 10 years or more on their control systems and tanks.
  10. Buy from a reputable dealer. Check their credentials. If their reviews are bad or their website looks like a two year old designed it you may want to look elsewhere. Price is not always your best bet here. Pay a little more and you will be happy you did down the road. But remember water softeners should not cost as much as a used car. We have found really reliable water softeners in the $700-$1,200 range. They perform as well if not better and last as long as softeners that companies sell for $3,000-$5,000.