The 8 Best Water Softeners for Residential Use: Reviewed and Compared (2024)

Reviewed by: James Layton
Updated on:
January 6, 2024

Hard water can be a frustrating thing to deal with in your home, but even more frustrating is trying to compare all the different solutions to find the one that is worth the money and will actually work.

As a water purification expert with decades of experience, there’s not a water issue or solution I haven’t studied. So I’ve put together a list of the eight best water softeners to help you find the perfect solution for your specific needs.

Water softening science is limited to a few trusted technologies, but with enhanced features for controls, cacacity, and service, there’s a perfect one for you. Let’s explore the best water softeners designed to make your life easier and your water softer.

1. SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener: 9.5/10

  • Overall best water softener system
  • Ideal for large households with 4–6 bathrooms

The SpringWell SS4 Salt-Based Water Softener’s large capacity ensures your water pressure won’t drop no matter how many people are running water at a time.


The SpringWell Water Softener System has a high grain capacity of 48,000, making it suitable for households with very hard water or with up to eight people and four to six bathrooms. Even during peak water usage, the SpringWell can maintain adequate water pressure and flow for various tasks, such as showering, washing dishes, or doing laundry.

The SpringWell SS4 features an innovative Bluetooth head that allows users to program and control their salt-based system with the touch of a button on their mobile phone. This feature lets users input their hard water level, check the status of the system, and program regeneration and backwash cycles.

Suitable for both city water and well water, this water softener system is easy to install and set up. It also comes with a lifetime warranty against defects, free shipping, and a six-month money-back guarantee. If you install it and realize the size isn’t right for your home, you have six months to return it.

If you have a large home and family and you’re worried the wrong water softener will affect your water pressure, the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener will soothe your concerns…and your water.


SpringWell claims its Salt-Based Water Softener System is suitable for both city and well water, but that comes with caveats. Depending on the exact contaminants of your well water — namely iron and manganese — you may need to consider a pretreating whole-house filtration system. If you don’t, it could even affect your warranty.

However, if you have other serious contaminants in your well water, you’ll probably already want to install whole-house filtration to protect your family, not just your water softener, so this isn’t really that big of a deal. I recommend having your well water tested to find out exactly what you’re dealing with.

While SpringWell claims the components are certified, it doesn’t say which institution has certified its components — bit vague. When it comes to certifications, I’m not a big fan of ambiguity.

A water softener’s grain capacity decreases as hard water worsens and the household gets bigger. If you have very hard water and a big family, you may need to upgrade to the SS+.

Despite these shortcomings, the SpringWell SS4 salt-based softener is a versatile, well-built, and highly effective water treatment solution that removes hardness-causing calcium and magnesium ions with dependable ion exchange technology.


The SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener system is the best water softener for most families because its high grain capacity will keep your water soft and its 13 gpm flow rate will keep that soft water flowing through all your faucets while you control it from your smartphone.

Hard minerals are bumming you out, so improve your water quality while maintaining water pressure and leave scale buildup and itchy skin behind. While there are some potential concerns for well water and the exact nature of its certifications, the system’s high capacity and long warranty may outweigh these drawbacks.

If you need a high-capacity water softener you can control from your phone, check out the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener today.

2. US Water Systems Matrixx Smart Metered Water Softener: 8.4/10

  • Best for battery backup
  • Designed for flood prevention

The US Water Systems Matrixx Smart Metered Water Softener MXX 150 is unique for its flood prevention ability, which is designed to protect your home from water damage in the event of a power outage.


The US Water Systems Matrixx Smart Metered Water Softener MXX-150 has a grain capacity of 48,000 grains, like the SpringWell. 

This means that the system is capable of removing up to 48,000 grains of hardness-causing minerals from water before needing to regenerate. But that’s not what sets the Matrixx apart — that’s down to its flood prevention capability. 

It comes with a 9-volt battery backup that keeps time and prevents the softener from running water during a power outage. This feature ensures the system remains operational and prevents water waste or flooding that could occur if the softener were to regenerate during a power outage.

If you’re in an area that experiences frequent natural disasters, you’ll want to consider this model.

You won’t have to sacrifice flow rate for that feature either. The Matrixx water softener can deliver a reliable flow rate of up to 15 gallons per minute (gpm), making it suitable for high-demand applications. 

Like the SpringWell, this system is Bluetooth compatible. And since it allows for one-touch programming, you can set it up to regenerate only when needed, saving as much as 70% on salt consumption and water consumption.

The system comes with a lifetime warranty on tanks and resin and 10 years on the valve, electronics, and all other parts, providing peace of mind and ensuring you’re getting a high-quality product that will last for years to come.


The Matrixx salt-based water softening system also has its own share of shortcomings. 

First of all, it’s not clear if this unit and its components are certified, but US Water Systems clearly advertises that its reverse osmosis system is certified by the NSF, WQA, and FDA, which leads me to believe its water softener is not, since there’s no mention of certifications. A certification is not necessary in every state, but it’s a sign your product is reliable and safe.

It is advisable to seek professional help when installing this water softener. The process can be challenging even for the most ardent DIY artisans. Some users have reported installation issues, lamenting the lack of clear instructions in the manual. 

Other customers complained about a loud noise during regeneration, weak Bluetooth PIN security, and the chrome shroud that covers the system being easily damaged. However, these appear to be isolated incidents rather than common complaints.


The US Water Systems Matrixx Smart Metered Water Softener is my second choice because of its innovative flood prevention feature, which prevents flooding during power outages.

If you also consider its high flow rate, smart-metered control system, eco-friendliness, and lifetime warranty, you have a well-rounded system that will serve you for years to come.

If you need a salt-free softener that will protect your home from flood damage, check out the US Water Systems Matrixx Smart Metered Water Softener.

3. SoftPro Elite Water Softener for Well Water: 7.8/10

  • Best water softener for well water
  • Certified by multiple institutions

The SoftPro Elite Water Softener from Quality Water Treatment is specifically designed to soften hardened well water.


Continuing the trend of increasing eco-friendliness, the SoftPro Elite Water Softener for Well Water features adjustable backwash frequency modes that conserve up to 2,000 gallons of water per year. This helps reduce water waste as well as water bills. 

It uses reverse flow regeneration efficiency to drive hardness minerals up through the depleted resin, which preserves both salt and any unused portion of the resin. The system’s automatic refresh feature prevents buildup of bacteria, while the safety float prevents water damage.

The best thing about this water softener, though, is that its basic model removes iron and manganese, the two contaminants that make other water softeners unsuitable for well water. Iron and manganese can damage water softeners by clogging the resin. But with the SoftPro, you won’t have that problem. 

Another thing I love about the SoftPro is its certifications. This water softener is certified by IAPMO, WQA, NSF, and ANSI. Quality Water Treatment has gone the extra mile to assure you that this model will do its job and last.

The price is pretty good, too, about 15% less expensive than the SpringWell model with the same gpg.


One of the reasons I ranked the SoftPro Elite water softening system in third place is that its gallons per minute flow rates are pretty low compared to the SpringWell and US Water Systems models. You need to get a costlier model for the same gpg you’d get in SpringWell’s SS4 model.

Additionally, despite mostly glowing reviews by satisfied customers, I’ve noticed multiple complaints about customer service, including long shipping delays.

One customer in particular voiced concern when he was asked to pay for a replacement part that was still under warranty, which challenges the lifetime warranty policy. Why am I expected to pay for faulty parts I did not break?


Overall, the SoftPro Elite Water Softener for Well Water is a good choice for private well owners with a smaller home or only moderately hard water. It’s well rated from customers and experts alike, and it has a larger collection of certifications than other water softeners on my list. 

Some potential concerns include low flow rates, poor customer experience, and a confusing warranty policy. However, the system’s effectiveness, efficiency, and lifetime warranty make it a worthwhile investment for those looking to improve the overall health and efficiency of their home’s well water supply.

If you’re in the market for an effective water softener that will remove the excess hardness minerals from your well water, check out the SoftPro Elite Water Softener for Well Water today.

4. Aquasure Harmony Series Water Softener

At less than half the cost of the first three models, the 48,000 grain capacity Aquasure water softener system is the best budget option on this list. It’s also one of the most popular salt-based systems on Amazon, with 1,000+ five-star customer reviews

This softener can treat up to 48,000 grains of hardness, which is pretty standard, but it can also remove up to 2 ppm of iron, which means it’s suitable for well water. 

Like other modern water softeners, this unit is programmable, allowing you to quickly modify your auto-flush intervals based on the quality of your incoming water and your water usage. It also allows for easy monitoring and maintenance. However, you’ll have to program it on its digital display, not a smartphone app.

Apart from the 30-day money-back guarantee, Aquasure backs up its products with a five-year extended manufacturer warranty and lifetime free US-based tech support. Just be sure to activate your product online within 60 days to access the lifetime tech support. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.

You might not like the digital controls. They’re a bit complicated and require frequent reference to the user manual. This may be a concern for customers who prefer a more user-friendly interface.

I could also not come across any third-party certifications related to this salt-based water softener — a far cry from the SoftPro’s four certifications.

Still, if you’re on a budget, you should check it out here for more information. 

If you need a high-capacity system that’s easy to use and has a no-strings-attached lifetime warranty, however, the SpringWell SS4 salt-based softener is your best choice. 

5. Whirlpool Pro Series Water Softener and Filter Hybrid

The Whirlpool Softener and Filter Hybrid System contains both ion exchange resin and activated carbon, so it can reduce hardness in water while reducing contaminants such as sediment and chlorine. 

This hybrid water softener/filter has a grain capacity of 31,000 and an iron removal rating of 3 ppm, which aids in the reduction of reddish-brown stains on drains and water-using appliances, as well as protecting the water softener resin from clogging.

The compact size of this water softener system makes installation very easy. It also means the system can accommodate small spaces. 

It’s available with a two-year full parts and labor warranty, three years on the electronics, and 10 years on the tank. The parts and labor warranty can be extended to 10 years with the use of the Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser.

But keep a few things in mind. First, the Pro Series is not best for larger households or very hard water due to its lower grain capacity. You also don’t want to put too much confidence in its filter. It says it’s a water softener/filter hybrid, but it’s merely a sediment filter. It won’t protect your family from lead, pesticides, bacteria, or other dangerous contaminants.

Second, the sediment filter is “self-cleaning.” Where, if it’s self-cleaning, does the sediment go? There’s got to be a catch. Either you’ll have to change the filter eventually or it will just stop working.

Also, at around $900, this system is more expensive than the Aquasure system, which has a higher grain capacity.

For a full review of Whirlpool water softeners, read this article.

If you need a salt-based water softener that will last much longer and has a higher capacity, check out the SpringWell SS4 salt-based softener.

6. AFWFilters Fleck Metered On Demand Water Softener 

The AFWFilters Fleck 5600SXT salt-based water softener features low power consumption and a precision piston-seal-spacer assembly. It also comes with a 10% crosslink resin upgrade for higher durability, allegedly reducing resin degradation on both chlorinated and non-chlorinated waters.

This system is equipped with an electronic metered control, which is an updated version of the classic mechanical meter. This digital control has fewer parts and is virtually trouble-free, providing accurate and reliable water softening operations.

I just didn’t notice any difference in performance between the Aquasure and Fleck systems during my test runs. They both have a grain capacity of 48,000, but the Fleck system is more expensive. I also didn’t find any certifications, though you’ll be happy to know the manual was written by a WQA specialist. That’ll come in handy maybe.

7. Everpure Twin Tank Water Softener

If you’ve ever wanted to spend more than you have to on an appliance, the Everpure dual-tank water softener has you covered. It features fiberglass-reinforced resin tanks with NSF-approved inner liners, providing durability and ensuring the water is in contact only with the approved materials. 

This water softener has an impressive flow rate of 25–32 gpm, ensuring a consistent supply of soft water even during peak usage periods. The high flow rate is ideal for applications where a large volume of water is needed, like industrial or commercial operations.

However, at nearly $4,500, this is one of the most expensive water softening systems on the market. If you own a small apartment building or something, maybe this dual-tank water softener is for you. Otherwise, it’s just not necessary.

8. NuvoH2O Salt-Free Water Softener System

Even though salt-free water conditioners don’t technically soften water, they also don’t add sodium or potassium to your water, waste as much water, or use electricity. A lot of consumers are switching to them for environmental and health reasons, so I knew I should include one in this review.

Unlike traditional salt-based water softeners, the NuvoH2O Salt-Free Water Softener System employs a citrus-based technology known as template-assisted crystallization (TAC) to condition the water and prevent scale buildup. It is often marketed as a “softener” because it reduces the scaling effects of hard water, but it doesn’t actually remove minerals.

With no brine tank or resin bed to flush, a salt-free system won’t waste your water but it will still protect your plumbing and appliances from scale buildup. If you need a water treatment solution that “conditions” calcium and magnesium ions to be less likely to adhere to surfaces, get a salt-free water softener. 

If you need to get rid of these minerals entirely, invest in a salt-based water softener, such as the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener.

For a more detailed review of NuvoH2O salt-free water softeners, read this article.

The Bottom Line

After researching and analyzing various whole-house water softener systems, the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener System is the best water softener on the market because it will suit a wide variety of consumers.

Not only will it efficiently remove hardness-causing minerals from your water, it’s easy to install and it can soften water for large families, big homes, and above-average water hardness. The SpringWell water softener is reasonably priced and has a lifetime warranty and a six-month money-back guarantee.

While there are some downsides to the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener System, such as the warranty caveat about well water, the positives far outweigh the negatives. You should consider this system for its high capacity and flow rate as well as its effectiveness at removing hardness-causing minerals from water. 

With the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener System, you can enjoy scale-free, softened water that is healthier for your skin, hair, and appliances from a company you can trust.


In this section, I outline the meticulous steps I went through while researching the eight best salt-based water softeners on the market. I need to know everything there is to know about water softeners.

Step 1: A big list of all available products

To get the ball rolling, I needed to know which salt-based and salt-free water softeners were the most popular. I consulted best-seller lists on websites like Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes. 

I also visited local department stores and water treatment resellers to find out which water softening systems are popular among their customers. After collecting this information, I had a list of 25 highly popular models to research.

Step 2: Online reviews

The second step was to read consumer reviews for the 25 water softening systems on my list. Analyzing consumer sentiment is, of course, crucial if you want to know how a product performs in the market, including how its customer service responds to issues. 

As a result, I spent several days going through user reviews on manufacturer websites, Consumer Reports, Reddit, YouTube, and online retail stores, taking note of both positive and negative reactions, especially those I noticed were repeated by multiple consumers.

Step 3: Product/service analysis

Browsing through retail sites is not enough; to fully understand the scope of what I was getting myself into, I had to ask myself important questions about the products I was reviewing:

  • What is the difference between a salt-based water softener and a salt-free water softener?
  • What is the cost of renting a water softening system as opposed to buying one?
  • How does the ion exchange process remove mineral buildup in appliances and plumbing?
  • What is the best water softener grain capacity for large and medium homes in grains per gallon?
  • Does the use of salt-based softeners affect the quality of drinking water?
  • How often does a water softening system run a regeneration cycle?
  • Are there any smart technologies incorporated into these water softening systems?
  • What factors affect the cost of a salt-free water softener?
  • Do salt-based softeners perform better than salt-free water conditioners?
  • What are the different types of salt-free softeners on the market?
  • How does the addition of sodium ions affect individuals with strict sodium-free diets?
  • Are any other filtration technologies included with the model?
  • What limitations are there to the warranty?
  • Is the model easy to install DIY or is it necessary to hire a professional?

Questions like these (and more) helped me understand the types of features and benefits to look out for while doing my research.

Step 4: Speaking with real customers

With my list of both salt-based softeners and salt-free softeners at hand, it was time to speak with real customers about their experiences with these systems. 

So, with the help of my partner and a few friends, we came up with a survey that covered a 10-mile radius around our home. We spoke with customers in our area and at local retail stores. I also created online polls on Facebook, Reddit, and X (formerly Twitter) to expand the scope of my research. 

Lastly, I visited numerous water treatment retailers to inquire what customers were saying about the systems they purchased.

Step 5: Interviews with brands 

I was interested in whether any third-party certifications or independent tests had been performed on these water softener systems. Therefore, I emailed each manufacturer and asked for certification confirmation for each model on my list. 

After a week, just a handful had responded to my email. I ranked these brands higher for customer service and transparency than others.

Step 6: Test drives

It was time to put these salt-based and salt-free water softeners to the test based on the quality of the water they delivered. 

I called several water treatment dealers in my area and asked them if they could lend several units for testing. A few agreed to send their systems free of charge, while others agreed to a lease agreement.

So I started testing these systems in my own home. Luckily, I have pretty hard water and an average-sized house. I paid close attention to the build quality, regeneration cycle, smart features, and grain removal capacities of each system. I also made sure to test the water hardness both before and after treatment.

Step 7: Ratings

After four weeks, I was able to narrow down the list to eight models. For the final step, I needed to create a ranking list based on the following factors:

  • Build quality
  • Ease of installation
  • Warranties, discounts, and money-back guarantees
  • Grain capacity
  • Incorporated smart features
  • Affordability
  • Lifespan
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Customer service
  • Availability
  • Flow rates and water pressure

Best Water Softeners for Homes With Hard Water

After months of researching and testing various water softener systems, it’s clear that the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener System is the best water softener on the market. With its low cost, free shipping, and lifetime warranty, as well as the reasonably high grain capacity, this salt-based softener will meet the needs of most average homeowners easily. 

Your home will be free of hard water for years to come, and you’ll be able to control it with the ease of a few taps on your smartphone.

Here’s a reminder of the key features and benefits of this system:

  • Durable and efficient design
  • High flow rates
  • Hands-free monitoring and control
  • High grain capacity 
  • Efficient regeneration cycle
  • Made with certified components
  • Hassle-free installation

While you may need to tread a bit more carefully if you’re on well water, the SpringWell water softener is still a viable solution to hard well water and hard city water alike.

If you need a whole-house water softener system that is affordable, durable, and effective at removing hardness-causing minerals from water for large families, order the SpringWell Water System today and start enjoying the many benefits of soft water.

Want to explore various water softeners? You’re welcome to peruse the extra materials we’ve provided below:

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