By: Jake Gallagher | September 25, 2023
Reviewed by: James Layton

Without a Master’s degree in water systems and treatment, how will you ever know which whole house water filter and softener combo is actually worth the money and will do the job right?

Honestly, you won’t, which is why you’ve come to me 😀 

Using my 25+ years worth of experience in the water industry, I spent a month reading user manuals, contacting existing customers, and actually testing the many available products myself to find the best whole house water filter and softener combo. 

Here’s what I found:

1. SpringWell Water Filter WSSF and Salt-Free Softener: 9.60/10

  • Best salt-free whole-house water filter and softener combo for small, medium, and large homes
  • $2,455.84

The SpringWell whole-house filter and salt-free water conditioner is perfect if you want to drink pristine water that won’t damage your appliances or fixtures and also won’t increase the sodium content of your water. It comes in three different sizes, so it will work in nearly every home.


Using a four-stage filtration process, the SpringWell CF whole house water filter and softener combo removes 99.6 percent of all contaminants from water, delivering clean, great-tasting water to all of the taps in your home. Want 100 percent? Sorry, no filter can do that. But Springwell’s CF filter gets as close as science will allow.

The CF whole-house water filter comes in three different models: the CF1, CF4, and CF+. The CF1 is good for one to three bathrooms, the CF4 is good for four to six bathrooms, and the CF+ is good for seven or more bathrooms. So, no matter how big your home is, you can harness the effectiveness and quality of the CF system without sacrificing water pressure. Of course, the larger units are more expensive, but I’m guessing you already knew that. 

Another nice thing about the SpringWell CF1 whole-house filter is that it’s very low maintenance. It has a 1 million gallon capacity, which will last most people ten years or more. The only thing you need to worry about is changing the pre-filter cartridge every six to nine months. But this takes all of five minutes and pretty much anyone can do it. 

Plus, all of the filter components are NSF-certified, something that’s unique in comparison to the competition. 

What this means for you is that this is one of the most durable water filter and softener combos on the market. Except for filter changing, you won’t have to do much and can expect this product to last. Plus, it has a six-month money back guarantee in case you’re not happy and a lifetime warranty. 

I don’t know about you, but I am a big fan of companies that stand by their product. 

The other reason I like the Springwell CF whole-house water filter and softener combo is because of the water softener, which actually isn’t a softener at all but rather a conditioner. 

The difference is that as a conditioner it doesn’t use salt to remove the hard minerals (calcium and manganese) from your water. Instead, it transforms these minerals into crystals so that they won’t bind to your pipes or water fixtures and ruin them, which is the real problem with hard water. 

I prefer salt-free conditioners over traditional salt-based softeners because they don’t add sodium to your water and are also maintenance-free. With salt-based conditioners you need to replace the salts every few months, which takes time and costs money.  

All in all, the SpringWell CF whole house water filter and softener combo whole house water filter and salt-free softener combo is my top choice because it delivers the cleanest water and the most efficient and maintenance free softening system as compared to any other option on the market.


The biggest downside of the SpringWell CF whole house water filter and softener combo is that it’s not actually a water softener but a conditioner. This sometimes throws people. But the only issue with hard water is limescale build-up on your pipes and fixtures along with a rougher feel on your skin. A conditioner neutralizes these problems using a simpler process. 

Salt-based conditioners will remove these minerals from the water. But in the process they elevate the sodium content of your water. The minerals that make water hard actually have a positive impact on your health. So, salt-based softeners, while effective, end up removing the good stuff and leaving behind some bad stuff.

This is why salt-free conditioners such as this one offered by Springwell are better.

Installation of the Springwell is a bit more involved than most people are comfortable with. It’s definitely possible to DIY, but you’ll want to spend some time watching instructional videos to make sure you get it right. Alternatively, hiring a qualified plumber to do the job won’t be too expensive and should only take a few hours.

Another potential con of the Springwell system is that it doesn’t include a UV filter and a post-filter, which some competitors do. But these are mostly just gimmick features. The Springwell CF system delivers top-class filtration and still outranks the competition without these.


The Springwell CF1 whole-house filter and softener combo is the best option for those who want clean, clear drinking water that won’t damage pipes or fixtures without sacrificing water pressure. It’s a durable, well-built system that can be a perfect match for any type of home. 

If you’re ready to upgrade your water supply, then get yourself a Springwell CF whole house water filter and softener combo.

2. Aquasana Rhino WH-1000 Whole House Filter System: 8.70/10 

  • Best whole house-water filter system for smaller homes
  • Easy-to DIY install kit; customizable configurations
  • $2,567

With lots of customizable add-ons, the Rhino by Aquasana is an excellent whole house water filter and softener combo that is slightly easier to install than the Springwell but that may unfortunately interfere with your water pressure. It’s a great option for smaller homes or those with only one to three occupants.


If clean water is what you want, the Rhino can make it happen. Five-stage filtration including a pre-filter, advanced KDF media, and a post filter delivers water that is 97 percent free of chlorine, bacteria, cysts, and more. The dual-tank design, while a bit odd at first glance, increases the contact time of water with filter media, resulting in better filtration than single tank models.

Plus, if you want to take things even further you can add on a UV purifier that will further cleanse your already filtered and conditioned water. 

In fact, Aquasana offers a number of different configurations that make it easy to get the system you want. Just want the filter and conditioner? No problem. Want to add a full bypass system? No problem either. Want two filter tanks to handle more volume? No problem. Of course, each addition will cost you more money, but it’s nice having this type of freedom.

The salt-free conditioner neutralizes calcium and magnesium particles in your water, reducing limescale build up, which will protect your skin as well as your plumbing and fixtures, saving you lots of money and stress down the road. And since it’s salt-free, it doesn’t add to the sodium content of your water or introduce any other potentially harmful chemicals.

Lastly, the Rhino whole house water filter and softener combo is super easy to install. It doesn’t require any electrical hookups or drainpipes, which saves you from having to run wires or drill holes in your walls. Also, most of the components come pre-installed, so it’s very possible to get it set up and running without having to spend money on a professional. 


Probably the biggest downside of the Rhino whole house water filter and softner combo system is that its peak flow rate is around 16 gallons per minute. For most homes, this is just fine. But if you have more than four bathrooms or four people living in your house, this may become an issue. 

For example, running faucets is not a big deal. But if someone is running the washer and then you jump in the shower, you will likely experience a noticeable drop in pressure, which is a big nuisance for many. However, as I said, for the vast majority of homes, this will be just fine. But unlike the Springwell, which has several models for all different sizes of home, you’re going to be a bit more limited with the Rhino. 

Another concern is that because it doesn’t have a drain, the backwashing process is all self-contained, which can wear the filter down faster. Backwashing helps flush out particles that get trapped in the filter and increase the life of the filter. No drain means less work, but the filters also need to be replaced more often, every six months or so. 

However, Aquasana has a subscription service that makes sure you always have filters and also saves you a good bit of money. This somewhat negates this downside and still makes the Rhino a decent option.


The Rhino whole house water filter and softner filter is an easy-to-install, customizable water filter and softener combo that will deliver clean, safe drinking water to every tap in your home. 

While the system is not ideal for larger homes and families, it’s still a great option for most and is an excellent product I would have no problem using in my home. If you’re ready to install a complete home water protection package today, buy the Rhino whole house water filter and softner combo.

3. Evo E-3000 Whole House Water Filter and Softener: 7.60/10

  • Effective but not for heavy-duty filtration
  • $1,598.24

The Evo E-3000 due to its small size is not designed for heavy duty filtration, but it’s a compact whole house water filter and softener combo that can fit into tight places and is a great option for homes with above average water quality.


The compact design (29″ H x 23¼” W x 8″ D). of the Evo E-3000 is similar to under-sink cartridge water filters. It’s by far the least intrusive water filter on my list. You can easily mount it on a wall or install it in tight spaces, even outside your home. Plus, it’s easy to move if you ever plan to leave the house.

The Evo E-3000 purifies water in two stages. The first stage targets sediment, silt, and debris, which is typical in such systems.  

The next stage clears chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, trihalomethanes, and haloacetic acids with the help of carbon media. 

Despite being small, the system maintains a flow rate of 15 GPM, which is among the highest on my list and is enough to maintain water pressure in most homes. It’s amazing to see such high performance from such a compact system 

The Evo E-3000 needs regular filter changes after six to nine months, depending on usage. It takes about 10 minutes to change without any extra tools. 

However, the softener is maintenance-free. The Evo eSoft salt-free water conditioner is also effective, and the performance is comparable to my top two recommendations.


On one end, the compactness of the Evo whole-house filter makes it convenient to install, but it also results in less filter media and water contact time, which can ultimately result in inferior filtration. 

In case of heavy contamination, the Evo-3000 can’t maintain its regular effectiveness. So for heavy duty filtration, the Rhino WH-1000 is a better choice. 


Evo-3000 whole-house water filter and eSoft salt-free water conditioner suits small- to medium-scale families. It effectively treats tap water and is durable enough to last decades. 

4. Filtersmart FS1500 Whole House Water Filter and Softener

Filtersmart products are made in the US, and their quality rivals the top recommendation in my list. 

This whole-house filter includes a sediment filter, catalytic-carbon filter, and salt-free water softener.

It works for both city and well water. However, it can’t filter high iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide concentrations in well water. 

The whole setup may look like a three-stage filtration system, but it’s a five-stage, thanks to clever engineering. It also has a built-in bypass, which is convenient. 

First, the water goes through a typical five-micron sediment filter that captures dust, debris, clay, and silt. The main filter has a vortex technology that increases the water contact time with the filter media.

When it comes to performance, it effectively removes chlorine and chloramine from tap water. The filter is equipped with a flow rate of 12 GPM, which is good enough for one to three bathrooms, but I was disappointed to experience a decrease in the flow rate after three months of use. 

The carbon filter lasts five years, and the maintenance is minimal. Just make sure the connections are secure to prevent any leakage. You can install it inside or outside the house.

In the end, there is a salt-free water softener that is eco-friendly and works well to reduce the scale build-up. 

It’s built with premium NSF-certified components and filter media, but the product itself lacks certification. Nonetheless, the quality is good, and I didn’t experience any leakage or lacking performance during my testing except the drop in water pressure.

Filtersmart FS1500 costs $1,786, which is reasonable. You’ll get free shipping and a lifetime warranty on the product. 

5. APEC WH-SOLUTION-10 Water Filter System

Surprisingly, APEC’s whole-house water filter and softener has exactly the same design as the Filtersmart FS1500. There are some differences, however, when it comes to features and performance — and it’s way more expensive. 

It’s a three-stage filter setup starting with a 30-micron sediment filter that traps sediment, debris, and rust particles. It’s also bacteria and algae resistant! The filter media is reusable, but replacing it after two or three washes is recommended. 

APEC doesn’t give an exact time for a filter change, but in my experience, a sediment filter can’t last more than four months. 

The 30-micron filter gives a better flow rate, but it’s no match to the 5 micron filters I reviewed above. 

The next stage is the main catalytic granular-activated carbon filter enclosed in a durable stainless-steel body.

What I really like about APEC products is that they have WQA’s Gold Seal, which is considered top-tier certification in the industry. 

The APEC WH-Solution-10 can filter 600,000 gallons. The flow rate is 10 GPM, which is considerably lower than other filters on my list. It’s designed for city water and mainly targets chlorine and chloramine taste and odor. 

The contact time between the filter media and water makes a huge difference in quality. Aquasana and SpringWell filters are designed in a way that increases the contact time, but I see no such effort by APEC.

APEC whole-house system is easy to install, and I recommend purchasing the installation kit from the company, which makes the whole process faster. 

The salt-free system does what the brand claims and effectively treats hardness levels below 25 GPG. 

This filter costs $2,204, which is comparatively expensive compared to Aquasana, which also includes a UV filter at this price range. You may also want to buy an installation kit that is $179.95.

APEC also runs a charity program that seeks out lower-income people with medical conditions and delivers free water filters. Props to them. But considering the low flow rate and inferior filtration, it still may not be worth its price you’ll pay for it.

6. Aquasure Whole House Filter System

The Aquasure whole-house filter system is a little different in design compared to others I’ve reviewed so far. The bundle includes a 10” whole-house sediment pre-filter, a water softener, a UV-light sterilizer, and an under-counter reverse osmosis (RO) system.

The Aquasure triple-purpose whole-house filter removes sediment, chlorine odor and taste, pesticides, rust, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It uses a granular-activated carbon filter lined with copper/zinc lining that prevents any bacterial growth. 

It’s rated for 25 microns and can filter 50,0000 gallons, usually lasting 8 to 12 months. So, it’s not maintenance-free, unlike some of the whole-house water filters above. 

As far as the filtration quality goes, my test showed promising results initially, but the quality deteriorated close to the end of its life cycle. However, it can maintain a 12 GPM flow rate consistently. 

After the initial filtration, the water passes through Aquasure Harmony salt-based water softener. These traditional water softeners are effective. However, they add extra salt to the water, which harms the environment when it washes away. In fact, some states have banned it, so make sure your state allows its use before buying. 

After water softener there is a UV sterilizer that effectively removes bacteria, viruses, and cysts from the water.

Aquasure also provides an under-sink RO system for pure drinking and cooking water. Though technically not a part of the “whole house” system, it’s still useful. 

The Aquasure whole-house filter and softener combo costs $1,149.99, and the annual replacement cost for carbon filter and salt change is $259.95.

Though the initial price is cheap, it’s much more expensive in the long run.

7. Crystal Quest SMART Whole House Water Filter

The Crystal Quest SMART whole-house filtration system is effective against many harmful contaminants, but the cost is enormous. It’s also not certified, making it the least appealing option. 

This carbon filter removes chlorine, chloramine, trihalomethane, lead, mercury, and herbicides from tap water. The flow rate is 9 GPM, which is the lowest of any product on my list.

The Crystal Quest salt-free water softener does the job effectively, and a post filter further cleans the water. 

The build quality seems good, but the filter isn’t certified. In fact, NSF issued a warning against Crystal Quest in 2020 for using the NSF label illegally. 

The Crystal Quest Smart whole-house water filter system costs $3,630. I don’t see any justification for such a price tag. I recommend spending money on water filters that are worth the money. 

The Bottom Line

Only SpringWell’s filtration system offers a complete water purification system among the seven popular whole-house water filters reviewed above. 

During the reviewing process, I mainly focused on filter stages, media quality, flow rates, capacity, and certifications. The SpringWell whole-house filter and softener combo aced all the parameters.  

Sure, Aquasana, Evo, and Filtersmart came close, but they either lack filtration quality or fail to maintain a consistent flow rate. 

SpringWell’s filter achieves extraordinary four-stage filtration through a sediment filter, a coconut-shell carbon filter, and a KDF filter that effectively removes chlorine, chloramine, bacteria, and viruses from the tap water.

SpringWell’s salt-free water softener is an efficient and eco-friendly option for hard water. You’ll no longer experience scale buildup in your plumbing system and on your fixtures.

What’s more is that the SpringWell filter combo is maintenance-free, and offers a flow rate between 9–17 GPM with 1,000,000-gallon filtration capacity. You won’t even feel like a water filter is installed in your house. 

All the components in SpringWell are certified, so there is no need to worry about the quality. If you want an effective, long-lasting, and maintenance-free whole-house water filtration system, sign up for SpringWell now. 

Research Methodology

Since the best whole-house water filter and softener combo uses a multipronged approach to purify water, I figured I must develop a way to thoroughly review these filters. 

Here is a brief guide on how I found the best whole-house water filter and softener combo. 

Step 1: A list of whole-house water filtration systems

I surfed the net for the water filter and softener combos that had the most sales.

Many products popped up on my screen, and surprisingly a good number of them had somewhat similar branding. 

On top of that, I also visited a local store and made a list of the products popular in the market. 

Once done, I had nine whole-house water filters and softeners ready to review and test. 

Step 2: Product analysis

Before moving forward, I thought it was best to set criteria for ranking the filter system early in the review process. So, here is the list of a few points I used to initially sort the filters: 

  • Filter stages 
  • Filter media
  • Targeted contaminants
  • Flow rate 
  • Capacity 
  • Maintenance 
  • Certification 
  • Softener type and grain capacity 
  • Ease of installation
  • Overall cost 
  • Warranty 

Step 3: Online reviews

I wanted to know what people thought about these products. For that, I skimmed through hundreds of online verified reviews on websites like Home Depot, Amazon, Google, and Consumer Reports. 

Step 4: Interviews with real customers

No matter how much scrutiny online reviews get, companies will always pay for fake reviews. So, I planned to interview real-life customers to make my review process more authentic. 

Thanks to social media, I quickly found customers willing to share their experiences with me.

I was surprised that some products performed really badly compared to what the online reviews had me believe. So I included this valuable insight in my ranking process. 

Step 5: Interviews with brands 

To keep things unbiased, I contacted the companies and asked them about recurring complaints people brought to my attention. 

During my research, I also noticed ambiguities in the certification claims by different brands. So, I questioned the companies about this issue as well. 

The brands with honest answers and excellent customer service stood apart: SpringWell, Aquasana, and EVO, to name a few. Such brands are ranked higher on my list. 

Step 6: Test drives

I began my own test trials to see what these whole-house water filters were really made of. 

These systems are meant to last a decade, and examining the complete life cycle is difficult.

So, I tested the water filters at a quarter of their full capacity, which ranged from 12,000 to 25,000 gallons. 

Keeping the process as legit as possible, I took water samples at regular intervals and observed the flow rate. After one week of rigorous testing, I finally had all the data to rank the water filters. 

Step 7: Ratings

I entered all the data into a spreadsheet and ranked the water filter and softener combos based on their scores. 

To maintain quality, I assigned a cut-off score to weed out inferior products.

Out of the nine whole-house water purification systems I listed earlier, only seven made the final cut. 

Best Whole-House Water Filter and Softener Combo

As you can see, the review process wasn’t a walk in the park, but it helped me rank the best whole-house water filter and softener combos for my readers. 

The SpringWell CF1 whole-house water filter and softener is the best duo among its competitors, and that’s why it’s my top recommendation. 

Here are some key features of the Springwell whole-house water filtration system: 

  • Top-notch filter media
  • Effective for both city and well water
  • Superior reduction in hardness level
  • High flow rate 
  • Long life-span
  • Ergonomic design 
  • Maintenance-free 
  • Lifetime warranty

If you want a worry-free water filtration system that treats contaminated tap water superbly, then buy the SpringWell WS1 here

And if you’re looking to expand your knowledge on various whole-house filter options, including those tailored to specific contaminants or equipped with unique features, we encourage you to delve into our comprehensive guides. You’ll uncover a wealth of information that can aid you in identifying the perfect whole-house filter to meet your specific water filtration requirements.

Whether your concerns lie in chlorine, sediment, heavy metals, or other impurities, our guide offers invaluable insights to facilitate an informed decision-making process. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore the additional pages available and ensure you don’t miss out on discovering the optimal whole-house filter for your home. Here are some: