As an expert with years of experience in the water treatment industry, I can help you find a water softener that meets — and exceeds — your expectations.
By teaming up with another water treatment expert, James Layton, I’ve scrutinized user manuals and reviews, consulted with existing customers, talked to other industry experts, and even put the system to the test myself to ensure you can get not just a high-quality water softener, which there are plenty of, but the best water softener for you.
By the end of this SpringWell SS1 review, you’ll have all the information you need to decide if this water softener is the right solution for your home.
Overall, the SpringWell SS1 Salt-Based Water Softener is an excellent hard water solution for your home. It combines modern features with proven ion exchange technology to provide a water softening experience that is both effective and easy.
Of course, a short list of pros and cons is not enough to decide on an investment as important as this, so let’s break down some factors that could mean this is the water treatment solution for you…or not.
Who Is the SpringWell SS1 For?
The SpringWell SS1 is for you if you want an effective, low-maintenance salt-based water softener with an excellent warranty and don’t mind paying a bit extra for it.
More specifically, the SpringWell SS1 is also for you if:
- You have hard water; due to its high capacity, the SpringWell SS1 can handle even very hard water supplies.
- Hard water is causing scale buildup inside your pipes resulting in water pressure problems around your home.
- Your water-using appliances, such as your hot water heater, washing machine, and dishwasher, are not functioning as well as they should.
- Your skin is dry and itchy, especially after showering, or you’re living with eczema or another skin condition.
- You appreciate modern technology and controlling as much as you can from your smart devices.
- Easy installation and maintenance are a must.
- Warranty and money-back guarantees are important to you.
Keep looking if…
- You’re looking to spend as little upfront as possible.
- You’re looking for the most eco-friendly solution to hard water possible.
- For whatever reason, you don’t want to add sodium to your water supply.
- Your state, county, or municipality has banned salt-based water softeners.
- You prefer automatic overflow protection to Bluetooth monitoring.
- You have very hard water AND a big family; you need SpringWell’s SS4 or SS+, which will increase cost.
SpringWell SS1 Features Breakdown
While ion exchange technology doesn’t change much from system to system, it’s the features that go beyond simple function that can help you decide on a brand for treating your water. Below is a detailed list of features and benefits you’ll find in the SpringWell SS1 Salt Based Water Softener.
Exceptional water softening capability
This SpringWell salt-based water softener applies a process called ion exchange, a proven technology in the water treatment industry. If you’re unfamiliar with how ion exchange works, simply put, it exchanges calcium and magnesium (what causes hard water) ions for sodium ions by attracting the minerals to a resin and washing them away with a sodium solution, called brine. The brine effectively “recharges” the resin so that it is ready to attract more calcium and magnesium ions when more water flushes into the softener.
The resin in the SS1 is high-quality 10% crosslink resin. This resin is superior to the industry standard of 8% crosslink because it lasts 50% longer and works 10% better.
The SpringWell SS1 can handle up to 32,000 grains of hardness. This is usually enough for four people with a very hard water supply (15 gpg). If fewer people live in your home, or your water is not as hard, the SS1 will simply regenerate less and cost you less to own. However, if you have more people or harder water, you may need to upgrade to the SS4 or the SS8, which have 48,000 and 80,000 gpg respectively.
This is because Softener capacity is determined by water hardness AND consumption. If you have very hard water (15 grains per gallon) and 4 people in your home using around 75 gallons of water per day each, it will take just over seven days to consume the softener’s capacity. You determine this by multiplying water consumption by grains per gallon. In this example, the softener is handling around 4,500 grains per day (15 gpg x 300 gallons per day), which means it will need to regenerate at least once a week.
If you have extremely hard water or more people in your home, or you use more water per person, you may need a larger unit. The SpringWell SS4 and SS8 are exactly the same as the SS1 just with higher grain capacities for those with higher needs.
The benefits of the SpringWell SS1’s water softening capability are substantial.
Softened water means no more unsightly limescale deposits on your faucets and showerheads, saving you from incessant cleaning. Your skin and hair will feel noticeably softer and cleaner. Your laundry will come out brighter and fresher, and you’ll use less detergent. Additionally, appliances like dishwashers, water heaters, and washing machines will operate more efficiently.
All this will save you money in the long run.
Compared to salt-free water softeners, salt-based water softeners are more effective at removing hard minerals from water. Salt-free systems use a different technology, typically template-assisted crystallization, to inhibit the formation of scale rather than removing hard minerals. Many of the other annoying impacts of hard water will remain.
While salt-free systems are generally considered more environmentally friendly and require less maintenance, they are simply not as good as salt-based systems at completely removing hard minerals.
Bluetooth control head
The SpringWell SS1 Salt-Based Water Softener takes water softening to the next level with its innovative Bluetooth control head. This feature is designed to provide users with a convenient and user-friendly way to manage and monitor the system’s performance.
It allows you complete control of your water softener, right at your fingertips.
Once connected to the app, you can access a range of functions, including adjusting settings, initiating regeneration cycles, monitoring real-time data about your system’s operation, and connecting to all valves in the system. With this data, you’ll not only better understand how the system itself is working but also your home’s water usage in general.
This level of control and transparency empowers users to customize the system to meet their specific tap water needs, ensuring optimal efficiency and performance. Whether you’re tech-savvy or just looking for an easier way to manage your water softener, the Bluetooth control head simplifies the process.
Wasted water is one of the main criticisms of ion exchange water softeners. With its intelligent metered regeneration feature, the SS1 will initiate a regeneration cycle only when it’s needed, based on actual water usage. In essence, it measures the amount of water that passes through the system and regenerates the ion exchange resin bed when it reaches a specific capacity, typically 75 percent of its total, though you can ultimately decide when you want the system to regenerate.
This is a stark contrast to older time-based regeneration systems, which would initiate regeneration at set intervals, often wasting salt and water when not required. With metered regeneration, the SpringWell SS1 ensures that you’re using resources efficiently, ultimately saving you money on both salt and water, as well as reducing cost to the environment.
The SpringWell SS1 Salt-Based Water Softener’s user-friendly design makes installation a straightforward process for those with basic do-it-yourself skills. The installation kit includes a bypass valve, 50-foot drain line, and hose clamp, plus the resin tank, brine tank, and electronic head. Any connections and fitting you may need, you’ll have to purchase separately.
The step-by-step instructions are detailed and accompanied by pictures, making it easy for users to follow along. Additionally, SpringWell provides a video and access to extensive tech support to assist in case you encounter any installation challenges, ensuring you have a safety net throughout the process.
The DIY installation can typically be completed in about half a day for those with a bit of plumbing experience. However, for irregular plumbing setups or specific space constraints, or people with no knowledge of plumbing, it might be more challenging. In such cases, I recommend hiring a licensed plumber for the job.
The SpringWell SS1 water softener system also boasts minimal maintenance requirements. The most regular task is adding about 40 lbs of salt to the brine tank, a process that typically occurs every one to two months depending on your water usage. This straightforward maintenance task ensures the system continues to function optimally, providing you with consistently soft water.
In terms of the resin, it typically lasts for around eight years before requiring replacement, making it a durable component of the system. If you have chlorine or chloramine in your water (common in city water) this can degrade your resin and reduce its lifespan, sometimes by as much as half. It’s smart to dechlorinate your water first with the proper whole house filter to extend your softener resin’s life.
However, I should mention that SpringWell doesn’t offer the option to purchase replacement resin on its website. It’s easy enough to get from third-parties, but SpringWell doesn’t provide any resources on how to replace the resin. When the time comes, you will need to reach out to customer service for support.
Beyond these routine tasks, the system’s efficient metered regeneration, as I mentioned earlier, helps save on both salt and water consumption, reducing the overall maintenance burden.
Not to mention, when you can operate the system from your phone instead of climbing down the basement steps or pushing through your kids’ toys in the garage, maintenance becomes much easier.
To keep your SpringWell water softener in top condition, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and perform regular checks to ensure smooth operation.
Lifetime warranty coverage
The SpringWell SS1 Salt Based Water Softener comes with robust warranty coverage, which I’m certain demonstrates the manufacturer’s confidence in its product’s durability and performance.
The lifetime warranty ensures users have enduring protection against manufacturing defects or issues related to the core components of the system. This comprehensive warranty includes the resin and brine tanks and the control valve. (However, it’s important to note that this warranty does not cover damage or issues caused by misuse, abuse, or improper installation.)
Additionally, SpringWell provides an extra layer of assurance with a six-month money-back guarantee. During this initial period, users can evaluate the system’s performance, and if dissatisfied, they can return the water softener and receive a full refund. (However, if you do choose to return the product, you’ll have to pay for the initial and return shipping.)
What I Like About the SpringWell SS1
Having had the opportunity to extensively test and evaluate the SpringWell SS1 Salt Based Water Softener, I can confidently say it’s an exceptional solution for addressing the challenges of hard water.
While its water softening capability is great, that’s to be expected with ion exchange. Nonetheless, the immediate results were obvious: noticeably softer skin and hair after each shower, clothes that actually got clean, and cleaner dishes after a dishwasher cycle.
Before I installed the system, I tested my tap water and repeated this water test after installation just to see how effective the system was at removing hard minerals. If you’re on well water and prefer to test your water yourself, here’s a list of the best well water testing kits.
As a bit of a gadget geek myself, my favorite thing about the SS1 is the Bluetooth control head. Using the accompanying app, you can easily adjust settings and initiate regeneration cycles from your smartphone, a level of convenience and control that’s hard to beat. You can even make sure the regeneration cycles are paused during vacation.
I don’t love that salt-based softeners waste water and add salt to the ecosystem, but for very hard water, they’re necessary. What’s great about the SS1 is that the metered regeneration sets the SS1 apart as a cost-effective and eco-friendly choice. The system regenerates based on your actual water usage, preventing excessive use of both salt and water.
Add to this the lifetime warranty on tanks and valves, along with a six-month money-back guarantee, and it’s evident SpringWell is dedicated to the durability and performance of their product. I mean, look. Like I’ve said, ion exchange is ion exchange. But with enhanced modern features and an industry-leading warranty, the choice is pretty clear.
What You Might Not Like About the SpringWell SS1:
While the SpringWell SS1 offers an impressive range of benefits, there are a few considerations that may not align with everyone’s preferences.
One point to keep in mind is the initial cost, which is not built for low budgets. Don’t get me wrong, it’s on my list of the best water softeners. However, those low-budget options usually have inferior resin and no smart features to speak of. I hate to say “you get what you pay for,” but…
Another aspect to consider is capacity. The SS1, SpringWell’s smallest, may not be the best fit for larger families with very hard water. While it’s suitable for homes with one to three bathrooms, those with extremely high water consumption will need the SS4 or SS+, which are, naturally, higher in price.
Of course, there’s the fact that the system produces a brine solution during the regeneration process, which is then washed away despite the addition to your water bill, and it adds salt to the ecosystem, which is not good for soil or wildlife. But if you’ve made it this far into my review, you know that and you still need a salt-based system.
Some salt-based softeners come with an overflow safety float that either turns off the device or the entire water supply to prevent flooding around your system. This one doesn’t have that feature. It also doesn’t come with a sediment pre-filter, so if you don’t already have a whole-house filtration system, you may need to add a sediment filter.
Overall, however, the SpringWell SS1 is still an excellent choice for many households seeking an effective and reliable water softening solution.
In this section, I explain in detail the steps I went through while reviewing the SpringWell SS1 Salt Based Water Softener.
Step 1: A list of all SpringWell water filtration systems
SpringWell offers a wide range of water treatment solutions, including whole-house filtration systems, point-of-use systems, and specialized systems for treating specific water contaminants. It also has combination systems for either municipal or well water applications.
One key aspect of these combination systems is its salt-based water softener. These three SpringWell water softeners cater to different household sizes:
- SS1: For 1–3 bathrooms, a grain capacity of 32,000
- SS4: For 4–6 bathrooms, a grain capacity of 48,000
- SS+: For 7+ bathrooms, a grain capacity of 80,000
While most American homes have an average of one to two bathrooms, it was essential that I understand the specifications of each SpringWell SS water softener to provide a thorough and accurate review. After all, this review is for everyone, even those with seven bathrooms — all five of you.
Step 2: Product analysis
Before diving into the research, I needed to update my knowledge of water softeners. After all, technology changes constantly. This meant asking important questions about this system (and water softeners in general):
- What is the difference between salt-based water softeners and salt-free water softeners? For the answer, click this link.
- How much salt can the SS1 hold in its brine tank?
- How often do I need to add salt to the system?
- Does the use of this system affect the water pressure during peak usage?
- How does ion exchange help to reduce scale buildup in household plumbing?
- Do I need a sediment filter as a pre-filtration solution? (It’s a good idea if you have a well.)
- How effective is this SpringWell salt-based softener against water hardness minerals in both well and city water supplies?
- What is the quality of drinking water after treatment?
- Does ion exchange remove dangerous contaminants or just hard minerals?
- How often does the system run a backwash cycle?
Step 3: Online reviews
The next step was to read customer reviews. I spent several hours reading reviews on the manufacturer’s website, Consumer Reports, Reddit, Angi, and the Better Business Bureau, noting both positive and negative comments, particularly those that appeared to be repeated by various customers.
It’s the repeated issues — and praise — that would be the most relevant, thus guiding the next steps in my research.
Step 4: Interviews with real customers
Reading user reviews is crucial, but talking to actual consumers is the best way to gain real user sentiment about a product. As a result, I published a survey via Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, and X (previously Twitter), asking users to provide feedback on their experiences with this specific system.
Additionally, James and I came up with a questionnaire survey that we each posted to our NextDoor apps. That way, we could speak with local customers as well as those on the internet from far and wide.
Lastly, I contacted various water treatment dealers and plumbers and asked them their opinions on this system, competing systems, and SpringWell in general.
Step 5: Interview with SpringWell
After that, I contacted a SpringWell customer service representative and pressured him for answers to some of the few unfavorable reviews and recurrent complaints. The goal was to assess how SpringWell’s customer service representatives cope with frustrated clients.
The agent patiently listened to my concerns and took the time to explain SpringWell’s warranty and return policies, which, admittedly, can be complex.
Step 6: Test drives
It was time to put this salt-based softener to the test based on the water quality it provided. I reasoned that for best results, I should compare it to three other prominent brands on the market.
I contacted several local water treatment vendors and requested if they might lend me several units for testing. Some agreed to send their systems for free provided I kept them apprised with the testing process, while others consented to a lease agreement.
As a result, I began testing these units at home. Fortunately, I have fairly hard water and a medium-sized house (not seven bathrooms, I assure you). I paid special attention to each system’s build quality, regeneration cycle, smart features, and grain removal capacities. I also made a point of testing the water quality before and after testing.
Step 7: Rankings
After two months of testing and data collection, I had everything I needed to come up with an accurate and impartial review. But first, I had to organize this data in a spreadsheet according to the following criteria:
- Ease of installation
- Warranties, discounts, and money-back guarantees
- Maintenance requirements
- Customer service
- Grain capacity
- Incorporated smart features
- Flow rates and water pressure
The SpringWell SS1 Salt-Based Water Softener has truly impressed me in all aspects of its performance and convenience. After extensive testing and evaluation, it’s clear that this system offers a comprehensive solution for hard water in an easy-to-use package.
The water softening capability ensures softer skin, cleaner laundry, and prolonged appliance life, addressing the most common issues associated with hard water. The added benefits of the Bluetooth control head, metered regeneration, optional upgrades, easy installation, and minimal maintenance create a package that’s both user-friendly and cost-effective in the long run.
While there are minor cons to consider, such as the initial cost, the production of brine solution, and lack of a few minor features, they hardly overshadow the system’s substantial advantages.
In light of its impressive performance, cost-efficiency, and manufacturer’s commitment with a lifetime warranty and six-month money-back guarantee, I can confidently recommend the SpringWell SS1.
Don’t let hard water frustrations hold you back; take action today and make a SpringWell salt-based water softener your solution for exceptional water quality.
If you’re still not sure, see my list of the best water softeners, or have a look at some specific alternatives below.
In addition to the SpringWell SS1, I tested the three systems below, and they all have qualities that could make them the best softener for you.
US Water Systems
The US Water Systems Flexx Pro Series Smart Metered Water Softener is a compelling alternative to the SpringWell SS1, primarily due to its similar advanced smart metering technology. This system, equipped with an efficient control valve, closely monitors water usage and regenerates only when necessary, like the SpringWell.
It’s slightly more affordable but only comes with a seven-year warranty on the control valve and a 10-year warranty on the tanks.
The RKIN Salt Based Water Softener System is a compact and efficient system that can handle up to 32,000 grains per gallon, making it suitable for small- to medium-sized homes.
The system is equipped with a high-flow control valve that can handle up to 12 gallons per minute, providing ample water flow for most households. Like the SpringWell system, RKIN offers a lifetime warranty with its system. However, unlike SpringWell, you also get an unconditional one-year satisfaction guarantee.
The Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener is a budget-friendly option that can handle up to 30,000 grains per gallon, making it suitable for small to medium-sized homes. It’s an affordable, no-frills solution for homeowners who simply want the basics of water softening without the need for advanced features.
While it lacks the comprehensive water analysis and customization options that the SpringWell SS1 and other high-end models offer, it’s an excellent choice for users who prioritize simplicity and cost savings.
If you’re looking for assessments of water filtration systems beyond SpringWell SS1, you’re in the right place! Our thorough compilation of water filter reviews encompasses a diverse array of brands and models currently present in today’s market.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the water filter brands and models we’ve rigorously examined: