I’ve looked and personally tested nearly every whole house filter and water softener combo on the market. My decades of experience in the industry helps me identify the good ones and the ones that are a waste of money.
The SpringWell CSS1 is a popular filter and softener combo that gets a lot of media attention. but is it worth it? I spent a week looking it over, comparing its specs with competitors, and applying the rest of our water filter research methodology to answer this question. I also worked closely with James Layton, Drinking Water’s in-house water filtration expert.
Here’s what I have discovered about the SpringWell CSS1.
The SpringWell CSS1 Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System is definitely worth considering for homeowners on municipal water who want to improve their water quality. It combines the SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter, which combines three types of filtration, and the SpringWell SS1 Salt-Based Water Softener. If you seek additional information, you can access my comprehensive review of the Springwell SS1 here.
This system efficiently removes a wide range of harmful chemicals and contaminants lurking in city water supplies. While it may not work well for homeowners who want an energy-efficient or eco-friendly system, it’s a worthy investment for those seeking a broad water treatment solution.
Before purchasing, you should have your water tested and learn exactly what contaminants you’re dealing with. That way you can get the filtration system that matches your specific water quality. If you prefer to test your water yourself, here’s a list of the best at-home water testing kits.
Who Is the SpringWell CSS1 For?
Finding the right water filtration system among a sea of options is no picnic. But when you know what to look for, the process becomes easier. Here’s how you know if the SpringWell CSS1 Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System is the right fit for your home:
The CSS1 is for you if…
- You’re fed up with battling dry, itchy skin and the constant struggle to manage your hair’s vitality.
- You’re spending more than you should need to on soap and detergent.
- You’re worried about the water your loved ones are bathing in and drinking.
- You want to prevent hard water and scale buildup in your pipes and appliances.
- You want a system you can conveniently operate remotely from your smartphone.
- You want a system with a robust warranty and significant discount.
But it won’t suit you if…
- You want an eco-friendly solution to your hard water issues. You can check out alternatives here.
- You don’t have adequate space for a three-tank system.
- You live in a locality that has banned salt-based water softeners.
- You’re on a low-sodium diet.
- You’re on a private well system. Read my list of the best filters for well water for more information.
SpringWell CSS1 Features Breakdown
Water is essential, but it can also contain harmful contaminants that endanger human health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are four categories of drinking water contaminants: physical, chemical, biological, and radiological.
The SpringWell CSS1 features a multi-stage filtration process capable of not only removing these contaminants but also preventing hard water minerals from wreaking havoc in your home.
Here’s are some of its notable features:
Whole-house filtration and contaminant removal
The SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter employs a highly effective four-stage filtration process, including three stages that focus on removing various contaminants and impurities from your water supply. The first three stages use proven filtering technology to remove contaminants:
- Sediment filtration
- KDF filtration
- Catalytic carbon filtration
What these three filters accomplish together is a robust filtration that removes a wide variety of contaminants:
- Lead and mercury
- Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs)
- Bad taste and odor
- VOCs (Volatile organic compounds)
- TTHM (Total Trihalomethanes)
- MTBE (Methyl tert-butyl ether)
- Haloacetic acids
- Hydrogen sulfide
Whole-house water filtration at this level will truly help you sleep better at night.
The CF1’s fourth stage consists of upflow filtration technology, a game changer for water treatment. By allowing water to flow upward through the filter media rather than the traditional downward, several key issues associated with traditional downflow systems are prevented.
For example, the upward flow reduces channeling and ensures even distribution of water across the filter media, preventing areas from being underutilized and others from overuse. In turn, this enhances water quality and prolongs the life of the filtration media, saving you money on replacement costs.
This technology also maintains consistent water pressure throughout the filtration process, even during peak demand periods, ensuring a steady supply of clean, purified water for your home.
An upward flow also improves contact between the water and the filter media, resulting in more effective removal of impurities, particles, and contaminants.
Ion exchange water softening
The SpringWell SS1 salt-based water softener is a key component of the SpringWell CSS1 combo system. It uses ion exchange technology to remove hard minerals from water, preventing scale and extending the life of household appliances. Soft water also improves your skin and hair because it prevents minerals from absorbing your skin’s natural oils.
Once the water has been filtered through the CF1 water filter, the salt-based water softener turns hard water into “soft” water through a process called ion exchange. You can read my explanation of how a water softener works for more detail, but basically, the calcium and magnesium ions that cause hard water are exchanged for sodium ions.
The SS1 is superior to other water softeners in a few ways.
First, the Bluetooth control head, but that’s worthy of its own section, detailed below. The softening resin, which is the substance responsible for attracting the calcium and magnesium ions, is also high quality in the SS1. It uses 10% crosslink resin rather than the industry standard 8%, and 10% crosslink lasts longer and works better.
The SS1 system is efficient and effective, with a high-capacity ion exchange resin tank that can handle up to 32,000 grains of hardness. That translates to a household of one to four people and a hardness range of slightly hard to very hard.
Bluetooth control head
The Bluetooth control head in the SpringWell SS1 Salt-Based Water Softener System is a modern marvel that offers users convenience and control over their water treatment system.
This innovative feature essentially acts as the brain of the SpringWell salt-based water softener, allowing you to monitor and manage the softener effortlessly. The system comes equipped with an electronic metered valve mounted atop the resin tank that measures water by the gallon before running a cleaning cycle.
This feature is particularly useful for those concerned about water conservation. By measuring water usage, the system can run fewer regeneration cycles, which cuts down on excess water and energy uses, as well as maximizing the longevity of the system.
Through the accompanying mobile apps, users can access real-time data and adjust settings on the go. You can view valve settings, monitor current water usage, and access historical data at any time. You can even start a regeneration or backwash cycle from your phone or tablet.
Easy installation and maintenance
If you enjoy DIY projects, and you’re good at them — not everyone who enjoys DIY should do DIY — you can install this system yourself. Not only does it come with everything you need, SpringWell provides a detailed installation guide. There are also video instructions available.
However, the process may not be easy for individuals with no prior knowledge of plumbing. It’s highly recommended to hire a plumber to do the job if you’re not confident of your abilities.
Maintenance of the SpringWell CSS1 Combo System is also easy and straightforward.
The system is extremely low maintenance, with the 5-micron filter inside the blue canister only needing to be replaced every six to nine months for about $20 each time. Otherwise, the CF1 Whole House Water Filter, with a capacity of one million gallons, can provide up to 10 years of safe drinking water without any other fiddling.
The maintenance of the SpringWell SS1 Salt-Based Water Softener primarily involves periodic inspection of the system head and valves to ensure they are functioning correctly. You will also have to purchase and add salt every month.
The SpringWell CSS1 Combo System offers robust warranty coverage to instill confidence in users. It includes a limited lifetime warranty on tanks and valves, ensuring enduring protection against manufacturing defects or issues related to the core components of the filtration and softening system.
However, it’s important to note the warranty doesn’t cover normal wear and tear, damage caused by improper installation or maintenance, or any issues arising from water quality changes or fluctuations.
The system is backed by a generous six-month money-back guarantee. During this period, if the system doesn’t meet your expectations or performance requirements, you can return the product for a full refund, making it a risk-free investment. (Your refund will not include the original and return shipping, and you may be charged a restocking fee.)
Despite the few limitations, this warranty and guarantee combination underscores SpringWell’s commitment to both product quality and customer satisfaction.
What I Like About the SpringWell CSS1
As a seasoned water quality enthusiast, my experience with the SpringWell CSS1 Combo System has been nothing short of positive.
What I like the most about the SpringWell CSS1 is that it tackled my city water’s chlorine by-products and hard minerals with ease, significantly reducing the dry, itchy skin and brittle hair that plagued my family. But it went further, removing a whole host of potentially harmful contaminants I didn’t even know I had before I tested my water.
I appreciate that filtration technology doesn’t differ much across products, but the upflow technology really does improve the performance of this filter. Water will take the path of least resistance, and downflow technology allows this path of least resistance to wear on the filter media. I’m glad I don’t have to bother with that.
The ion exchange technology operates seamlessly, delivering water that’s soft and gentle on my plumbing fixtures. The Bluetooth control head is an invaluable feature, allowing me to manage the system from my phone. From adjusting settings to monitoring water usage, it provides convenience and control that I refuse to go without.
Last but not least, the warranty is great. You don’t have to worry about this thing breaking down after you’ve invested in it. If anything breaks, odds are it’s covered by the warranty.
In short, the SpringWell CSS1 Combo System is a great solution that marries superior technology with user-friendly design, delivering pristine, soft water that has enhanced my family’s daily life exponentially. We’ll be bummed when it’s time to test a new filter.
What You Might Not Like About the SpringWell CSS1
If you want a system you can install and forget about, an ion exchange water softener is not it. For it to work properly, you have to fill it with salt every four to six weeks, depending on your water usage. However, you can have the salt delivered on a schedule right to your door, so it’s a lot easier than it used to be.
I won’t beat around the bush and pretend this system isn’t harder on the environment than alternatives. It wastes more water than I’d prefer, and the salty brine solution isn’t good for the local soil or aquatic ecosystems. But that’s exactly why people with soft water or only slightly hard water should get a water softener alternative, like a salt-free water conditioner.
That way, people with very hard water can use essential ion exchange water softeners without overwhelming the ecosystem with their downsides.
Speaking of overwhelming, this system is large. If you’ve got tight quarters, this might not be the system for you. The large brine tank, however necessary, doesn’t make things easy. You’ll need to consider the size of the space around your water intake before making a purchase.
Also, this system is designed for city water supplies. If you have a private well and would like a system that is tailor made for well water filtration, you’ll need the SpringWell WSSS1 Well Water Filter and Salt-Based Water Softener. If you’re in need of further information, I’ve conducted a comprehensive review of the SpringWell WSSS1.
Overall, the benefits of the SpringWell CSS1 Water Filter and Salt-Based Water Softener System far outweigh any minor inconveniences. Its exceptional performance makes it an excellent choice for homeowners looking to improve the quality of their water and protect their plumbing system from the damaging effects of hard water.
This section outlines the process I applied for researching the SpringWell CSS1 Water Filter and Salt-Based Water Softener System.
Step 1: A list of SpringWell water filtration systems
Before starting my research, I needed to learn more about the SpringWell water filters designed to remove harmful contaminants from municipal water supplies. The company currently has the following combination systems in this category:
- 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
Only by understanding SpringWell’s whole line, as well as those from competitors, could I adequately review the SpringWell Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System. I compared the specs in the SS1 to those in SpringWell’s salt-free water conditioner, and I weighed the pros and cons of getting a filter without UV purification or adding it later.
Step 2: Product analysis
Now that I knew more about these products in general, I needed answers to specific questions about the CSS1 water system so I could be impartial and accurate in my review:
- What is the difference between salt-free water softeners and salt-based water softeners?
- How much salt do I need to add in the SS1 salt-based water softener, and how often?
- How do SpringWell water softeners compare to other brands on the market?
- What type of ion exchange resin is used in the SpringWell salt-based water softener?
- What is the significance of the four-stage filtration process in the SpringWell CF1?
- What are the different water hardness levels in the US?
- How does the CF1 water filter treat chlorinated city water?
- Does the use of the SpringWell CSS1 affect flow rate during peak hours?
- How often does this salt-based system run a regeneration cycle?
- Does the CF1 remove organic contaminants from municipal water?
Step 3: Online reviews
Now that I had an idea of what to look out for, I needed to know what users thought about the system. So, I spent hours perusing websites like Angi, Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau, and even the manufacturer’s website, taking notes of all comments, whether positive or negative.
I paid special attention to any repeated praise or criticism — those are the ones you should look into further. After half a day of screen time, I had all the information I needed. It was time for the next step.
Step 4: Interviews with real customers
Reading online reviews was not enough. I needed to get in touch with actual users and get their firsthand opinions about this water filter and softener combo. After a while of pondering my next move, I chose a questionnaire survey as the best cause of action.
So, I drafted a survey and put it up on major social media sites including Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and Reddit. After a few days of data collection I was able to collect enough user information for this review. But this wasn’t enough.
To expand the scope of my research, I went on Zoom calls with numerous water treatment equipment sellers and plumbing technicians and asked them what their customers were saying about this specific system.
Step 5: Interview with SpringWell
Following that, I got in touch with SpringWell’s customer service personnel and asked one of their representatives to clarify some of the negative reviews they received from dissatisfied consumers. The representative listened closely to my concerns and spent time explaining SpringWell’s return and reimbursement process, as well as how the warranty works.
Step 6: Test drives
Reading reviews and speaking with customers are critical steps in the review process. However, to be an authority on this issue, I needed to familiarize myself with this particular SpringWell system.
I called one of the water equipment vendors I had spoken with earlier and asked if I could rent this system for a month.
After some back and forth, we struck a deal. So, I took the system home, installed it, and began the month-long testing procedure. I monitored the water pressure and the filtration quality and also tested the water before and after treatment to check that the system functioned properly.
Step 7: Ranking
After a lengthy and laborious research and testing process, I finally had everything I needed to sit down and write my review. But first, I needed to compile all this information in a spreadsheet based on the following criteria:
- Water flow and pressure
- Filtration capacity
- Contaminant removal
- Warranty and return policy
- Ease of installation and maintenance
- Filter lifespan
- Water and energy usage
The SpringWell CSS1 Combo System is an excellent solution to contaminated and hard municipal water. Its four-stage filtration process, upflow filtration technology, and innovative water softener have collectively transformed my water.
The Bluetooth control head on the water softener is absolutely necessary. In 2023, this level of convenience and control is all but nonnegotiable.
It’s true that you must consider the downsides of ion exchange, but if you’ve got very hard water, you need it anyway, and you can cut down on waste by programming it intuitively. The system’s long-term benefits and impressive lifetime warranty with a six-month money-back guarantee assure you of a wise investment in your home’s water quality.
If you’re seeking a reliable and modern solution for your city water, I recommend the SpringWell CSS1 Water Filter and Salt-Based Water Softener System.
Of course, the SpringWell CSS1 may not be quite your cup of tea. I’ve reviewed other whole-house filter and softener combinations in addition to the CSS1. Here are three products that may meet your needs:
Aquasure Signature Series 32,000 Grains Complete Whole House Water Treatment System
The Aquasure Signature Series Combo system offers a budget-friendly solution with advanced features such as a Bluetooth metered control water softener for easy operation and monitoring.
The system uses a four-stage filtration process that includes a sediment filter, a carbon filter, a reverse osmosis membrane, and a post-carbon filter. This process removes a wide range of contaminants, including sediment, chlorine, lead, arsenic, fluoride, and more. The system also includes a salt-based water softener that utilizes ion exchange to remove hardness-causing minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
In contrast, SpringWell only offers a reverse osmosis system as an upgrade. However, SpringWell’s lifetime warranty is superior to Aquasure’s five-year warranty.
US Water Systems Whole Home Filtration and Salt Based Softener with Bluetooth
The US Water Systems whole-home filtration and salt-based softener, equipped with Bluetooth, offers the convenience of remote monitoring and control through a mobile app, similar to the SpringWell CSS1.
Its key difference lies in its customization and versatility, allowing users to tailor the system to their specific water quality needs. This level of customization sets it apart from the CSS1, which offers a more standardized solution. While it provides advanced technology and monitoring, the final choice might come down to whether you prefer customization or a more turnkey solution.
RKIN Salt-Based Water Softener and Whole House Carbon Filter System
This RKIN system offers a high-quality, reliable solution with a focus on performance and durability. The system’s proprietary design ensures efficient filtration and protection for your family’s water needs.
This system stands out from the CSS1 with an unconditional one-year satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty. However, it doesn’t offer the same advanced technology features as the SpringWell CSS1, like a Bluetooth control head or additional upgrades.
If you’re seeking reviews about water filters besides the SpringWell CSS1, you’re in the perfect spot. We provide a wide selection of water filter evaluations encompassing various brands and models found in the market.
Here are some water filter brands and models we’ve extensively examined: