Despite undergoing treatment before making its way to your home, your city water still arrives with a number of possible contaminants, most notably chemical disinfectants like chlorine, but also chloramines, VOCs, disinfection byproducts, PFAs, and more.
I don’t want you or any of your family members, especially your kids if you have one, subjected to the contaminants. Fortunately, there are lots of solutions available.
In this review, I will put my decades’ worth of experience in water treatment to provide you with an in-depth analysis of one such system and its features, benefits, and drawbacks. I’ve consulted user reviews, existing customers, and industry experts, and even tested the system myself.
Keep reading to learn more about the SpringWell CSF1 Water Filter and Salt Free Water Softener and how it can benefit you and your family.
The SpringWell CSF1 combo system is a solid choice if you’re seeking a water filtration and solution that removes most harmful chemicals and organic contaminants. It also tackles hard minerals without the trappings of a salt-based water softener.
However, it may not be suitable for extremely high levels of hard minerals. The CSF1 is a water conditioner rather than a true water softener. Only an ion exchange salt-based water softener can create soft water from very hard water, but they have their downsides as well.
Here’s what you can expect from the CSF1 combination water filter and salt-free conditioner.
Who Is the SpringWell CSF1 For?
The SpringWell CSF1 is for those who have slightly to moderately hard city water and want to remove common contaminants while reducing the scale buildup caused by hardness minerals.
Because the CSF1 includes a salt-free conditioner, it is also great if you have hard water and live in an area where salt-based conditioners are not allowed.
More specifically, this CFS1 is the water system for you if…
- You’re on city water with a slight to moderate hardness rating.
- A local or personal water test has revealed typical municipal water contaminants, such as chlorine and its by-products, lead, VOCs, and “dangerous forever chemicals.”
- You live in a place that has banned salt-based water softeners.
- You want to improve your water quality but avoid wasting water.
- You want to save on your energy costs with a system that doesn’t consume electricity.
- You require a low-sodium diet but you have hard water.
- You want a system with robust warranty coverage.
The CSF1 may not suit you if…
- You have very hard water that a conditioner may not be able to address.
- You’re looking for a water softener. The CFS1’s conditioner is not a water softener, despite the name.
- Your water contains bacteria and viruses requiring additional filtration methods, but your budget has no room for upgrades.
- You have a large property with four or more bathrooms. For that you’ll need the CSF4 or the CSF+, both the same system but with larger capacities.
SpringWell CSF1 Features Breakdown
The SpringWell CSF1 Water Filter and Salt Free Water Softener is a comprehensive solution designed to transform your tap water into a source of pure delight.
This system seamlessly combines the SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter System and the FutureSoft FS1 Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative to ensure you and your family enjoy the best of what water can offer. Here’s a closer look at what makes this system stand out:
The SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter employs a multi-stage filtration process that targets a range of contaminants in city water supply.
In the first three stages, the CF1 uses a 5-micron sediment pre-filter, a KDF filter, and a catalytic carbon filter to effectively remove sediment, chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, PFOA, PFAS, PFOS, pesticides, herbicides, haloacetic acids, and other impurities, resulting in improved water clarity, taste, and safety.
It’s essential that you know what contaminants your water is hiding. You could end up spending thousands of dollars on the wrong treatment system. I always recommend homeowners have their water tested before choosing a filtration method. If you want to test your water at home, read my review of the best at-home water testing kits.
In upflow filtration, water flows upwards through the filter media rather than downwards, as is common. This upward flow results in superior filtration in several ways:
- It promotes better contact between water and other filter media, allowing for more effective filtration of impurities.
- It reduces channeling, which occurs when water follows the same path through the filter media, resulting in uneven use of the filter.
- Since the filtration media is used more evenly and efficiently in upflow systems, it enhances the lifespan of the filter.
- Upflow filtration helps keep water pressure consistent, even during high use.
Both the CF1 whole-house filter and the FS1 salt-free conditioner apply modern technology that reduces any negative impact on the environment that traditional water treatment is notorious for.
First of all, the whole-house water filter does not require electricity or backwashing, so it wastes neither energy nor water. The only filter replacements are for the sediment filter, every six to nine months, unlike some water filtration systems that require frequent replacement of multiple components, the used ones destined for landfills.
Second, the salt-free water softener alternative does not use salt or electricity, and the media can last for years without replacement. Salt-based systems require periodic backwashing that flushes wasted water filled with salt down the drain, after which the salty water can damage soil and threaten aquatic ecosystems. The FS1 does none of that.
The FutureSoft salt-free softener uses template-assisted crystallization (TAC) to convert hard minerals into calcite crystals that cannot cling to pipes and fixture surfaces, eliminating scale buildup that can damage pipes and appliances and affect your water pressure.
The FutureSoft’s tank fluidizes a media bed of tiny polymer beads covered in craters called “nucleation sites.” These nucleation sites act as templates for the formation of hardness micro-crystals.
When the hard water comes into contact with the media, the magnesium and calcium ions are caught by the nucleation sites. As more calcium and magnesium ions build up within the sites, small micro-crystals form.
Eventually, when they reach a sufficient size, the calcite crystals are carried away by the water flow. These calcite crystals do not attach to pipes or appliances, preventing the formation of hardness deposits.
If you want to further enhance the quality and safety of your home’s water supply, the SpringWell CSF1 Combo system offers an optional UV Water Purification System and an under-sink reverse osmosis system that can improve the quality and safety of your drinking water.
The optional UV filter uses ultraviolet light to effectively eliminate harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that may be present in the water. It is strong enough to kill cryptosporidium and giardia, two common waterborne pathogens.
The reverse osmosis system is designed to remove dissolved solids, such as salts and minerals, from your water. The system uses a semipermeable membrane to filter out these contaminants, leaving you with clean, pure drinking water at a dedicated kitchen faucet.
The SpringWell CSF1 Combo system comes with a lifetime warranty on tanks and valves, as well as a six-month money-back guarantee.
Under this warranty, SpringWell guarantees that all “covered items,” including fittings, FutureSoft media, tanks, housings, bypasses, valves, and in/out heads, shall be free of any defects in material and workmanship throughout the lifespan of the system under normal application, service, and use.
However, the warranty does not cover defects or damage arising from improper installation, misuse, or acts of nature.
Additionally, the system is backed by a six-month money-back guarantee that offers users a substantial window to evaluate the system’s performance. During this period, if users are dissatisfied for any reason, they have the option to return the product for a full refund. Keep in mind you will have to foot the bill for shipping and a potential restocking fee.
What I Like About the SpringWell CSF1
There’s a lot to like about the SpringWell CSF1.
First, the ease of installation is a significant plus. I consider myself fairly handy, but even those with limited plumbing knowledge will find it manageable. The included accessories and well-structured instructions guide you through the process, and in no time, you’re enjoying the benefits of softened and filtered water throughout your home.
While it’s essential to recognize that the FS1 does not function as a water softener and won’t remove hard water minerals, I love that this system isn’t overpowered. If you have only mildly hard water, you don’t need all the fuss of traditional water softeners. This system genuinely improves water quality, and its eco-friendliness aligns with modern values.
Without a doubt, the extra treatment of city water is a total plus. Here’s a list of contaminants the CSF1 combo system can remove:
- Heavy metals
- Calcium (Neutralized)
- Magnesium (Neutralized)
- Organic chemicals
Additionally, the robust warranty coverage for tanks and valves gives me an extra layer of reassurance that the manufacturer is willing to stand behind its product throughout its lifespan.
What You Might Not Like About the SpringWell CSF1
While my experience with the SpringWell CSF1 water filtration system has been overwhelmingly positive, it’s essential to acknowledge a few minor considerations.
One factor to keep in mind is that, like most water treatment systems, the CSF1 Combo does require replacement of the sediment filter. However, thanks to the extended lifespan of the filters, this is a relatively infrequent task (every 6–9 months), and they only cost about $20 a pop.
Furthermore, while the system is well-suited for city water supplies, it may not be the ideal choice for well water, as its design primarily targets challenges commonly found in municipal water. Nevertheless, users with well water needs can explore alternative filtration solutions better tailored to their specific requirements.
And the obvious downside to the CSF1 is that its hard water treatment component, the FS1 FutureSoft, is not a water softener. If you’re looking for something that can help improve the quality of your skin, hair, and laundry, you need a salt-based water softener, which, unfortunately, isn’t practical or possible for everyone.
Overall, though, the SpringWell CSF1 Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative can suit a great many homeowners with slightly hard municipal water.
This section outlines my journey with the SpringWell CFS1, including the steps I went through before I sat down to write this review.
Step 1: A list of all SpringWell water filtration systems
To get the ball rolling, I needed to figure out which SpringWell water filters are designed to treat city water supplies. Currently, the company has five dual-combination systems made for different water standards:
- SpringWell Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener
- SpringWell Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System
- SpringWell 2 in 1 Filter + Salt Softener Combo System
- SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System with Salt-Free Softener
- Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System with Salt Based Softener
Since salt-based softeners have been outright banned in some US states and salt-free water softeners have grown in popularity over the years, it was time I reviewed some of the systems that incorporate salt-free technology, but first, I needed to compare these systems, both against each other and similar models from other brands.
Step 2: Product analysis
Now that I knew more about the treatment systems I was dealing with, it was time to ask myself important questions about the product I was reviewing. I couldn’t just read reviews and regurgitate them. I needed to be an expert.
- How does this SpringWell water filter system compare with other brands on the market?
- What is the difference between the FutureSoft salt-free system and a salt-based water softener?
- What is the quality of the filtered water?
- How exactly does template-assisted crystallization work?
- Does the warranty coverage apply to both SpringWell water filtration systems?
- How does a salt-free softener remove limescale from a hot water heater or other appliances?
- Will this filter improve the taste and odor of chlorinated water supplies?
- How does a salt-free softener fair in very hard water conditions?
Step 3: Online reviews
Now that I understood what to look out for, I needed to know what other users’ opinions were concerning this water filtration system. This necessitated hours of perusing through user reviews on Consumer Affairs, the Better Business Review, Angi, and the manufacturer’s website. I took note of both negative and positive reviews.
While user reviews can be somewhat hit or miss, I’ve been around this block enough times to know that repeated criticism or praise are usually a good indication of what’s really going on.
Step 4: Interviews with real customers
Still, most manufacturers and retailers tend to alter the review sections to make their products appear more favorable. To get unbiased opinions on the SpringWell CSF1, I needed to talk to actual customers.
Therefore, I devised a questionnaire survey and together with a few friends, we camped at our local Home Depot parking lot and gave out cookies, hot dogs, and lemonade to anyone who shared their experience with this particular system.
To expand my scope of research, I extended this questionnaire to social media sites including Reddit, X, and Facebook. I also got in touch with professional plumbers and water treatment retailers in my locality to get their expert opinions.
Step 5: Interview with SpringWell
Following that, I needed to understand how the SpringWell customer support team engaged with their customers. I joined a Zoom conversation with one of their customer service agents and hammered him with questions regarding the unfavorable user reviews I came across earlier. The representative was composed and answered all my inquiries without difficulty.
Step 6: Test drives
Talking to customers and reading user reviews is not enough. To be truly impartial in my review, I needed to test this water filtration system. Therefore, I contacted one of the water treatment retailers I had spoken to earlier and asked if I could rent the system for two months.
After a bit of haggling, we struck a deal. I drove back home with the system, installed it in my home, and began a two-month-long testing process. During this phase, I made sure to monitor the quality of the water and the performance specs of the system. I made sure to test my water both before and after the testing phase to get accurate results.
Step 7: Ranking
After two months of testing and data collection, I had all I needed to sit down and write this review. But first, I needed to arrange this data on a spreadsheet based on the following parameters:
- Filtration capacity
- Filter lifespan
- Warranty coverage
- Ease of installation and maintenance
- Performance and efficiency
- Contaminant removal
- Available upgrades
The SpringWell CSF1 offers superior filtration technology for users with slightly hard chlorinated municipal water who prefer a salt-free solution. The system is environmentally friendly and virtually maintenance-free, with no impact on water pressure or flow rate.
While it’s crucial to acknowledge that the CSF1 primarily addresses city water and may not be suitable for users with specific water quality concerns like iron or microbial contaminants, its core functions are executed well. The lifetime warranty on tanks and valves further enhances the product’s appeal, providing users with long-term confidence in its performance.
If you’re looking for a premium filtration system that filters and conditions your water without huge impact to the environment, the SpringWell CSF1 Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener is the perfect choice for you.
Like I said, the market is saturated with water treatment options. There’s always a chance another system fits your needs better. Read my review of the seven best whole-house filter and water softening combinations for more info.
Let’s take a closer look at three alternative whole-house water filter and salt-free softener combo systems that compare to the Springwell CSF1:
RKIN OnliSoft Pro Salt-Free Water Softener and Whole House Carbon Filter System
The OnliSoft Pro also uses salt-free water softening technology that does not require the use of electricity or salt. It features a four-stage filtration system that includes a carbon filter, which helps to remove chlorine, chloramines, and other organic compounds, improving the taste and odor of the water.
Unlike the SpringWell system, the OnliSoft Pro comes with a one-year price match guarantee.
US Water Systems Whole Home Filtration and Salt Free System
The US Water Systems Filtration + Salt Free System includes a sediment pre-filter, a catalytic carbon filter, a KDF-55 media filter, and a salt-free water conditioner. It is designed to remove a wide range of contaminants, including chlorine, chloramines, sediment, and heavy metals, while also preventing scale buildup.
What sets this system apart from the SpringWell CFS1 is that it can also remove bacteria and viruses.
Filtersmart Whole House Water Filter System and Salt Free Water Softener Combo
This Filtersmart system combines salt-free conditioning with catalytic carbon filtration, similar to the Springwell CSF1. However, it emphasizes straightforward maintenance and cost savings, with a much lower purchase price.
Its unique feature is the absence of replacement filters. It works for five years and that’s that. Instead, it offers a no-maintenance, media-filled tank. It does make me wonder how it filters sediment if you don’t need to change the filter for five years. Where does it go? At this price, maybe you’re not meant to ask questions.
If you’re in search of reviews for water filtration systems beyond those from iSpring, you’ve found the right source! Our comprehensive range of water filter evaluations covers a wide variety of brands and models currently available on the market.
Here is a glimpse of some of the water filter brands and models we’ve meticulously assessed: