What is the Cost of Renting a Water Softener?

By: Jake Gallagher | October 23, 2023

You’ve discovered that you have hard water and you need a water softener. Fine, it’s pretty common. But now you have to choose between two options: buy or rent. Wait, you didn’t know you could rent a water softener? You’re not the only one.

Many people are unaware that renting a water softener is even an option, but in certain cases, it may be the most economical and logical way to get soft water. 

Before you decide to rent a water softener, you should know about the costs and drawbacks of water softener rental.

How Do Water Softeners Solve Hard Water?

Water softeners use ion-exchange technology to remove the calcium and magnesium minerals that cause hard water. Before you embark on a quest to rent or buy a water softener, it couldn’t hurt to understand the basics of ion exchange.

The process of ion exchange involves the exchange of water hardness minerals for sodium minerals. Because of the positive electrical charge in mineral ions, they can be pulled from the water using resin beads, usually made of polystyrene.

Hard water flows through the negatively charged resin beads in a pressurized resin tank. The positively charged ions—the calcium and magnesium that cause hard water—attach to the resin beads.

A sodium solution called brine then flushes away the hard water mineral ions in a process called regeneration and the process begins all over again.

Despite the popularity and proliferation of ion-exchange water softeners in the home water treatment market, there are other water softening systems available, including salt-free systems, magnetic water softeners, and reverse-osmosis systems. You can read all about them here.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting a Water Softener

For some people, renting a water softener is the best solution to having soft water at home. However, this approach is not for everyone. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of renting a water softener:


Low commitment

Having access to soft, clean water at any time of day is a real treat. If you plan to move in a year or two, though, or if you’re a little tight on cash after purchasing your home, a new water softener may seem like an unnecessary expense.

A water softener rental, on the other hand, does not require a long-term commitment or investment. If you plan to buy a water softener eventually, renting first is a great way to sample the technology and the model before you buy.

You don’t have to worry about unforeseen servicing or maintenance costs because you don’t own the equipment. You don’t even have to replace the salt yourself. When you rent a water softener, the rental company usually delivers a new tank every month. Convenient, right? Also, if you aren’t satisfied with your water softener’s performance, you can simply return it and get another one. There’s no commitment.

Low maintenance and repair costs

A water softener requires maintenance, which costs both time and money. The same is true for repairs. Depending on available water softener rental packages, both are typically handled by the rental company, which owns the device and therefore handles everything for you. 

Furthermore, if you have not damaged or otherwise breached your rental agreement, maintenance costs are covered up to 100%. Basically, if your rented water softener isn’t functioning properly, all you have to do is contact the rental company for repairs and maintenance.

Access to high-quality water softeners

Choosing a local water softener vendor also ensures you’re not sacrificing quality for a low price, since you won’t have to buy it. Rental companies may get special deals from manufacturers, allowing them to rent better water softening systems to their consumers. 

Consider the following while replacing an existing water softener system: The best water softeners can lower your current salt and water consumption by half. By renting instead of buying, you can experiment with your options, even try a salt-free water conditioner, and learn more about water softeners in general before eventually buying. 

If you choose a local provider rather than a large home improvement store, you may receive a higher-quality softener—even if you’re renting. Why? Because their entire industry revolves around water! Local water experts exclusively deal with water softeners, drinking water filters, and other water treatment equipment.

Locally owned businesses are the best option for renting a water softener. Local specialists are more knowledgeable about which system is best for you because they specialize in water issues in your region. Also, they can usually give you the best deals on price and quality when it comes to your water softener.

Better water

Hard water is bad for your skin, hair, and clothes. It deposits scale in your plumbing system and bathroom fixtures, which is unappealing and difficult to eliminate. It can also damage water-using appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, which is something to consider especially if you own your own appliances.

If you have soft water in your home, you won’t have to worry about that annoying mineral buildup in your plumbing system. Your skin is less likely to dry up and your eczema to flare up if you use soft water. You’ll notice softer clothes and cleaner dishes since it helps soap rinse away more thoroughly. It’s these little details that make a house a home.


High costs in the long run

While renting a water softener may seem like a cost-effective solution in the short term, the long-term costs are substantially higher.

Suppose you rent your water softener for $50 a month, while it originally cost $1,000. After only three years of renting, you’d already have paid $1,800. You would have spent $3,000 after five years, and $6,000 after ten.

A well-maintained water softener of good quality can last between 10 and 20 years. If you rent a water softener for 10 years, you will spend nearly six times as much as if you had bought one.

Limited model options

There are several water softener models available for purchase, including salt based water softeners, Salt-free water softeners, reverse osmosis systems.

However, while renting, you are typically restricted to whichever type of water softener the rental provider offers. You may not have the same freedom to select the best model for your needs.

Pre-owned systems

You must keep in mind that water softener rentals are typically pre-owned appliances. If the system is working properly, this may not be an issue. When you buy your own water softener, however, you can rest assured that it will be installed brand new, with fewer potential complications.

So How Much Does It Cost to Rent Water Softener Appliances?

The average water softener rental costs range from $25 to $50 per month, depending on the quality of the softener, the manufacturer, the level of competition in your region, and if you are responsible for maintenance and repair costs. You should also budget an additional $150 to $1,000 for labor and any additional water softener installation costs, depending on the complexity of the water softening system you choose and the policies of your particular rental company.

Most water softeners have a minimum lifespan of 10 years. If you rent a water softener at a rate of $30 per month for this duration, you will pay a total of $3,600. Depending on your rental agreements, you may also be required to pay extra for repairs and upkeep. If maintenance is not included in your rental fee, you will likely need to pay an additional $200 to $500, depending on the estimates you obtain from local plumbers.

Considering that water softeners cost between $500 and $1,500, renting a unit for three or more years costs much more than purchasing it.

The longer you rent, the more you will spend in the long run.

Before making the final decision, it is necessary to properly review the rental agreement. This will protect you from being caught off guard in the future by unexpected and costly surprises.

Factors to Consider Before You Rent a Water Softener

There are a few factors you need to consider before deciding to buy or rent a water softener. Here are some questions that might help you make a better decision:

Do you live in a rented apartment?

Many people who live in apartments or other types of rented property prefer to rent a water softening system rather than purchase one. If you do not own the home you live in, having your own water softener installed and perhaps having to move it down the line may not make sense. This is especially true if your next home will be larger than your current one. You should be able to easily cancel your service if and when you move. If the company in question makes it difficult to cancel service, find a different company.

Renters may benefit from purchasing a water softener in several instances. If you do not expect your household size or water demands to change in the future, you may buy a water water softener and have an experienced plumber disconnect and reinstall it if and when you move. Of course, if you do decide to buy, you’ll need to discuss your plans with your landlord and get their approval before water softener installation.

How long do you plan to stay in your current home?

If you own your house but plan to move out soon, renting a water softener may appear to be the best alternative. Since a rented water softener requires little to no commitment, you can simply discontinue the service when you move. However, if you consider the worth of your current property, improving it with a decent water softener may make it more enticing to potential buyers.

If you intend to stay at your current home for the foreseeable future, investing in a water softener will not only provide you with safe and clean water, but will also protect your home and family in the long run. If you decide to sell your property, your water softener will most likely save you from having to fix blocked pipes or replace an old washing machine or water heater.

Water softener rental cost vs purchase price

Water softener prices start at $500 and rise depending on the size and features of the unit. If you have a small apartment and use less water, a low-cost water softener may be appropriate for you. You may need a more expensive system depending on the size of your home and the number of people in your household.

Similarly, if you want to rent, the cost will be determined by the size of the water softener required. A leased system would typically cost between $25 and $50 each month, for a total annual cost of $300 to $600. Buying a water softener will be less expensive in the long run than renting one.

How much water softener maintenance are you willing to take on?

One of the most appealing aspects of renting a water softener is that the provider will handle any necessary maintenance. They will send a specialist to fix any problems that arise, and the expenses are normally covered by the rental contract. One disadvantage is that the rental unit is likely to be older, used, and in need of additional maintenance. Even if the service is covered, having to deal with continuous maintenance issues may be inconvenient. This can usually be minimized by the monthly delivery and changing of the tank.

If you opt to buy a water softener, you can keep repair and maintenance costs low by choosing a high-quality unit that is well made, low maintenance, and designed to ensure a long service life. Confident in the efficiency of its product, the right water softener manufacturer will provide an exceptional warranty for your unit.

Choosing the Right Water Softener Rental Company

Once you’ve decided that renting a water softener is the best choice for your home, it’s important to choose a reliable water softener rental company in your area. The company you choose will affect your overall experience and may even affect your options for financing if you decide to buy a unit later.

The factors listed below will help you narrow down your options and find the best water softener rental company for your needs:

Does your rental contract include routine maintenance and repairs?

When you rent an apartment, the maintenance and repairs of the unit and the building are the responsibility of the landlord. Your water softener rental company should provide the same benefit.

Look for businesses that incorporate periodic maintenance and repairs into their affordable monthly rates. The cost of renting a water softener should not be inflated by unforeseen charges for basic maintenance. After all, renting is expected to deliver immediate cost savings compared to purchasing and maintaining a water softener yourself.

Also, you should examine the responsiveness of your water softener rental company. A timely turnaround from your rental provider ensures that your family has access to soft water without any interruptions. 

Does the company offer a rent to own option?

This is particularly important for homeowners who have chosen to start off by renting a water softener. In these circumstances, what frequently occurs is that people don’t want to return to having hard water once they learn how much better soft water is—for cleaning, bathing, and more. You can make the transition (from having a water softener lease to owning the appliance) more straightforward with a rent-to-purchase arrangement.

The rent-to-own option isn’t your only choice if you know you’ll need to buy a water softener but aren’t ready to pay for it up front. You might also be able to get help with financing options from devoted local partners in your area.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has answered your question of how much it costs to rent a water softener. You now have a better idea of what to look out for when considering renting a water softener. It is critical to have all of the information you require to select an appropriate unit for your home. 

You should also consider whether renting is the best solution for you. When you’re ready, look for a reliable local water softener company that can provide the high-quality service you deserve.

If you are still not sure of the impact a water softener has in your life, read all about water softeners to find out all the benefits that a water softener brings to your home.

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