The jig is up. There’s actually no such thing as a Clack water softener. Clack is a manufacturer of the control valve and mineral tank used on some water softeners, and those water softeners are sometimes called “Clack water softeners,” but that’s misleading. In fact, Clack does not make or sell water softeners at all, just some of the components.
One third-party distributor that sells a Clack water softener in the US is Discount Water Systems, and I’ll tell you all about its Pro Series WS100, its features and performance, and if it’s a worthy buy.
So, let’s dive into this Clack water softener review!
One thing is sure: The Pro Series WS100 will give you soft water. That much is true. Let’s see if we can unravel the other mysteries behind this water softener.
The Clack Pro Series WS100 On Demand Water Softener, distributed by Discount Water Softeners, is a Frankenstein’s monster among water softeners. While the control valve is clearly a Clack product, Discount Water Softeners provides no info about who made the other components, besides the Aldex resin.
Other distributors of so-called Clack water softeners are equally cryptic, and each one displays a disclaimer that states, in various wording, that the item doesn’t ship and needs to be installed by a professional, according to Clack policy.
As an expert with decades of experience in the water treatment industry, I can tell you that while brand may not matter for everything, it does when it comes to essential home appliances like water softeners.
Luckily, Clack is a well-respected company with a long history of producing high-quality products, including superior control-valve technology. So, there’s a decent chance that if Clack is willing to put its name on these products, they very well might be good water softeners. I just can’t guarantee it.
Without further info about the manufacturers of the other components, I can only review what I do know about the Clack Pro Series WS100. For more complete reviews of water softeners, check out our list of the best whole-house filter and water softener combos for recommendations. I’ve also described three superior alternative water softeners below.
Here are some pros and cons of Discount Water Softener’s Clack WS100 based on what we do know about it:
- Includes features that reduce water waste and energy use
- Small design will fit easily into small spaces
- Wide range of grain capacities will suit any home
- Includes 36 pre-programmed regeneration settings to suit different needs
- No sediment pre-filter
- Challenging to find replacement parts
- Complicated purchase procedure
- No Bluetooth or internet capability
- Frankenstein’s monster of water softeners
- Certain components not covered under the warranty
As I explained above, the Clack Pro Series WS100 is not actually made by the Clack Corporation. Instead, it is assembled by a third-party reseller, who then sells the product under the Clack name. This complicates the purchase procedure and makes it hard to find replacement parts.
While it performed well during my tests, there are definitely better water softeners with more transparent manufacturing details.
Who Is This Water Softener For?
The Clack Pro Series water softener is ideal for homeowners with exceptionally hard water, but that’s not its only relevant feature.
The Clack Pro Series WS100 is for you if…
- You’d prefer your water softener be installed by a professional.
- You need heavy duty water softening; the WS100 has models from 24,000 all the way up to 120,000 grains.
- You like playing with settings.
- You’re not fussed about brand names and warranties.
- You already have a whole-house filtration system installed.
The Clack Pro Series WS100 may not tickle your fancy if…
- You want a water softener system that also filters contaminants, such as bacteria, fluoride, heavy metals, or viruses.
- You want your water softener to ship directly to your house from an internet purchase.
- You want to install your water softener yourself.
- You’re looking for an extensive warranty that covers all components.
- You like to buy your products straight from the manufacturer without having to deal with third-party intermediaries.
- You need a sediment pre-filter included with your water softener.
Clack Pro Series WS100 Features Breakdown
Unlike other models in the water softener market, the WS100 has a simple design yet advanced capabilities for water treatment. Here are some of the key features of the Clack Pro Series WS100:
The Clack Pro Series WS100 On Demand Water Softener comes in different grain capacities ranging from 24,000 to 120,000. The grain capacity of a water softener is the amount of hardness it can remove before it needs to regenerate.
The higher the grain capacity, the more water the system can treat before it needs to regenerate, which means less maintenance and more convenience for the user.
For example, a household with high water usage would benefit from a higher grain capacity water softener, such as the WS100 with a grain capacity of up to 120,000.
At the core of the Clack Pro Series WS100’s superior performance is its high-capacity 10% crosslink resin, specifically engineered with Aldex technology. This cutting-edge resin stands out for its exceptional ability to exchange ions efficiently, ensuring a more thorough removal of hardness ions from the water.
The higher crosslinking percentage in the resin structure enhances its durability, allowing it to withstand the rigors of the water softening process over an extended period. This not only translates to a longer lifespan for the resin but also reduces the frequency of regeneration cycles, offering you a continuous supply of soft water without compromising efficiency.
The Clack Pro Series WS100 On Demand Water Softener uses advanced regeneration technology that ensures efficient and effective water treatment. It has three modes of operation: meter immediate, meter delayed, or time clock delayed. This means the system can be programmed to regenerate based on water usage or on a set schedule.
Additionally, the WS100 has double backwash, which ensures the resin bed is thoroughly cleaned during regeneration. This prevents clogging and degradation of the resin beads.
Users can select from 36 pre-programmed cycles, tailoring the regeneration process to the specific needs of their household and local water conditions. The downflow/upflow regeneration capability of this Clack water softener enhances resin bed utilization, resulting in a more thorough and effective regeneration process.
Water control valve
This water softener uses the Clack WS1 control valve, which is reliable, easy-to-use, and designed to provide optimum service and backwash rates. It also has a self-diagnostic display that shows error codes for easier service, making it easy for you to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
Additionally, the WS1 water control valve has a built-in power cell that holds the current time for two hours during a power outage, which ensures users don’t have to reprogram the system every time the power goes out. This is a great feature for people in areas prone to thunderstorms.
The resin and brine tanks used in the WS100 are made of a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic liner with composite epoxy fiberglass filament winding over the liner. This makes them durable and long-lasting, ensuring they can withstand the demands of regular use.
The brine tank has a safety overflow float assembly that ensures the system doesn’t overflow during regeneration. It also comes with a salt grid to prevent salt bridging, which is basically a salt clump that prevents optimal operation of the water softener.
Maintaining the Clack Pro WS100 is designed to be effortless, minimizing the time and effort required from users. The system’s intelligent design optimizes salt usage, reducing the frequency of salt replenishment.
The maintenance schedule is also user-friendly, with salt replacement typically required every few weeks, depending on water hardness and usage patterns.
Furthermore, the included operating and maintenance manual came in handy when I needed to learn the system’s functions.
The Clack Pro Series WS100 On Demand Water Softener comes with a warranty for manufacturer’s defects only. Certain components, such as the main piston, seal and spacers, and the salt brine valve, may experience wear and tear during normal usage and may not be covered. Resin that has experienced unusual application conditions may also not be covered.
The resin and brine tanks are covered by a 10-year warranty, while the control valve is covered by a 5-year warranty.
What I Like About the Clack Pro Series WS100
Having extensively tested the Clack Pro Series WS100 Water Softener, I can attest to its good performance and user-centric design. I’m a big fan of 10% crosslink resin. It does a much better job than 8% crosslink and extends the lifespan of the resin bed, resulting in fewer regeneration cycles.
The efficiency of the regeneration process is also noteworthy, thanks to the advanced WS1 control valve and the 36 selectable pre-programmed regeneration cycles. Not all homes are the same. They have different hardness levels, numbers of fixtures, and family sizes. You should be able to adapt your water softener to your situation.
What You Might Not Like About the Clack Pro Series
The obvious drawback of the Clack Pro Series WS100 On Demand Water Softener is that it is not available for online sales per Clack Corporation’s rules. This means users have to call for pricing, which can be inconvenient for some users. I also don’t love that it has to be installed by a professional. Let me use my DIY skills!
It’s also a letdown that it has no internet capability. The 36 settings are great, but if I can’t control it from my smartphone on the beach in Jamaica, then I don’t want it. It’s 2023!
It’s disconcerting that this water softener is slapped together with parts from undisclosed manufacturers. Apparently, the Clack Corporation doesn’t manufacture water softeners in-house. It builds accessories such as valves, fittings, brine tanks, and cabinet assemblies.
It then sells these parts to third-party dealers who assemble the parts for sale. The only US dealers I could find that sell the Clack Pro WS100 are Discount Water Softeners based in Huntley, Illinois. This situation might be confusing for people who prefer to purchase their appliances straight from the manufacturer.
One thing users have begun to expect in a water softener is a sediment pre-filter for catching debris that might clog or damage your water softener, especially those in high iron areas. If you don’t have a whole-house filter installed at your home’s incoming water supply, a water softener that comes with a pre-filter is a must.
Additionally, the warranty coverage has some limitations, and certain components may not be covered, such as the main piston, seals and spacers, and the brine valve, which may experience wear and tear during normal usage. There’s also limited information available online with regards to user feedback.
While these considerations are no nothing-burger, the numerous benefits of this salt-based water softener may outweigh them. It’s up to you. The water softener’s performance, adaptability, and user-friendly features make it a worthy choice.
Before writing this review, I devised a series of steps that would guide me during the research process.
Step 1: A list of Clack water softeners
To kick off the Clack water softener review process, I needed to dig into Clack Corporation’s online inventory to find out about their line of Clack water softener products. I was surprised to find that they don’t sell complete units but separate parts, which are then sold to different third-party resellers who assemble the units.
The two most popular models of Clack water softeners are the Clack WS1 water softener (popular in Canada and Europe) and the Clack Pro WS100 water softener, which is mainly sold in the US.
Step 2: Product analysis
Now that I had identified the Clack softener model — more or less — I needed a roadmap to guide me through the research process. This meant asking questions about its features and about water softening systems in general:
- Does this Clack water softener soften very hard water?
- Are there adequate timer controls on the WS1 water softener valve?
- What is the average Clack water softener price?
- How does this Clack water softener compare to other salt-based water softeners on the market?
- How does this Clack water softener perform its regeneration cycles?
- What is the grain capacity of this Clack softener?
- Are there any sediment filters or other water filtration systems included with this model?
Step 3: Online reviews
When I write reviews of water treatment products, this step usually helps direct me where to focus my research. If I’ve read that a brand has terrible customer service, I’ll call and put them to the test. If I’ve read that a particular model is prone to leaks — this is usually down to poor installation — I’ll conduct further research.
The problem with this Pro Series WS100 is that it’s only sold by one distributor, and it has one review. By the way, Mark W. loves his water softener, so there you go.
Step 4: Interviews with real customers
Again, a bit difficult with the Clack Pro Series WS100. I couldn’t get through to Mark W., so I searched and searched the internet, and luckily Reddit came through. Doesn’t it always? I was able to talk to folks who had purchased and used a “Clack water softener” to find out what their experience was.
Step 5: Interview with the manufacturer
Since this Clack water softener was assembled and sold by a third party, I placed a call to Discount Water Softeners and pushed them for answers to some of the mysteries.
Their customer care representatives were very calm and cordial, even as I continued to bombard them with questions. This was a test for their customer support services which, I must say, could have been better, considering they wouldn’t tell me anything I couldn’t find on the website — which is very little.
Step 6: Test drives
This was the most vital part of the research process. I needed to develop a mechanism to test this system if I was going to be genuinely authoritative on this subject. So, I did actually purchase this unit. It was extremely complicated, especially since I knew I was going to return it.
For the next two weeks, I monitored the quality of salt water it produced, took note of the bypass valve and water flow during peak hours, and how often it ran a regeneration cycle, and I tested the hardness of the soft water it produced.
I’ll tell you, it’s really not a bad little “Adam of your labors” (that’s what Frankenstein’s monster called himself — you’re welcome). You can count on this water softener to make washing machines perform better, keep scale off your fixtures, and keep your skin and hair soft.
Step 7: Final rankings
I finally had enough — that’s being generous — information to get down and write this Clack water softener review. But first, I needed to compile and collate this information in a spreadsheet using the following parameters:
- Brine tank size
- Grain capacity
- Regeneration technology
- Intuitive or convenience features
- Resin beads
- Safety features
- Ease of installation and maintenance
In concluding this Clack water softener review, my experience with the Clack Pro Series WS100 On Demand Water Softener has been mixed. Its standout features, such as the high-capacity 10% Crosslink Resin and advanced WS1 control valve, deliver a water softening experience that is not only efficient but also customizable to individual preferences.
The 36 pre-programmed regeneration cycles, fail-safe mechanism, and downflow/upflow regeneration capability underscore its adaptability and reliability.
However, issues such as the availability of parts, complicated purchase procedures, and warranty limitations are worth considering before investing in this system. If you’re looking for a more efficient water softener, check out the following alternatives.
Alternatives to the Clack Water Softener
If you feel like this Clack water softener isn’t your cup of tea, below are three alternative salt-based water softeners for you to consider:
SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener
The SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener presents a more traditional approach compared to the Clack Pro Series WS100. Also a salt-based water softener, this system is ideal for users who are accustomed to the effectiveness of traditional salt-based systems and prioritize a straightforward solution.
You can install this system yourself. SpringWell is so into this new DIY phase of your life, it even provides a do-it-yourself installation video on its website.
The best thing about the SpringWell model, besides its reliable operation, is that SpringWell provides a lifetime warranty on its water softeners and filters. SpringWell produces a high-quality product and knows it.
US Water Systems Matrixx Smart Metered Water Softener
The US Water Systems Matrixx Smart Metered Water Softener distinguishes itself with smart technology that optimizes regeneration cycles based on water usage patterns. This system is the ideal choice for users who value efficiency and want a water softener that adapts intelligently to their household needs.
Unlike the Clack Pro WS100, the Matrixx offers advanced metered control and smart features. It caters to those who prefer a hands-off approach to water softening, allowing the system to adjust automatically.
Just picture yourself on that beach in Jamaica. You forgot to change the regeneration settings before you left, and you don’t want to waste any water or use up salt when you’re not there. No worries! Change the settings from your phone, then go jump in the crystal-clear water.
SpringWell FutureSoft Water Softening System
The Springwell FutureSoft Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative takes a distinct approach by using template-assisted crystallization (TAC) instead of traditional salt-based ion exchange. This makes it an eco-friendly option for users concerned about salt discharge into wastewater.
However, it’s important to note that salt-free systems may not achieve the same level of water softening as their salt-based counterparts. They’re best for homeowners with mildly hard water.
The SpringWell FutureSoft is designed for environmentally conscious consumers who prioritize sustainability over maximum softening capability. It’s a fabulous alternative for users who want to avoid the environmental impact associated with salt discharge, or those with salt restrictions on their diets, but love the warranty and dependability of SpringWell products.
Here, you’ll discover a selection of perceptive reviews that we’ve meticulously curated for your perusal.