How To Choose A Water Softener?

Anybody who is responsible for their water supply must agree upon the importance of a good water softener. However, unlike other common consumer items, water softeners mostly are less understood products. You need some research before doing water softener installation. Here’s a comprehensive guide on choosing the best water softener.

Why Do You Need A Water Softener?

First and foremost, do you need a water softener? Well, despite your location and your water source, there’s always going to be a certain amount of hardness in your home’s water. And you will eventually require a water softener for light to heavy hard water.

A good water softener can potentially save you and your electronic appliances from heavy minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. However, as per experts and medical professionals, the health issues directly related to hard water are almost closer to none. But there’s never a problem in being a bit careful. Also, these hard water effects vary as well.

However, you cannot deny the consistent chaos hard water creates each day in your daily routine. For instance:

  • The dripping faucets and clogged pipes
  • Damage to the hot-water using appliances
  • Chalky films on glassware
  • Low-lathering soaps
  • Bad smell
  • Funny taste
  • And the list goes on

Plus, how can you forget about the effects hard water leaves on your hair and skin, especially for people with eczema? So, it offers bad body and psyche experience as well. Convinced enough?

Now let’s have the questions you should ask yourself before picking one specific water softener that will solve your hard water problems.

How Many Members Are There In My Family And What Is My Water Usage?

Normally, an average person would use 75 gallons of water per day. So let’s say, if there are 4 people in your family, your normal water usage per day will roughly be around 300 gallons per day. This is unless you don’t have loads of laundry to do or you guys do not take long baths, because otherwise, your daily water usage will increase.

Now depending on this general knowledge, here’s our guide to water softener sizing:

  • 2-3 People
  • 4-4+ People
  • You might need a small to midsize softener
  • You might need a mid to large-size softener
  • Capacity: 20,000+ grain capacity
  • Capacity: 30,000+ grain capacity

It’s a simple calculation. The more members of your family, the larger the water softener you will need.

Do You Just Need A Softener Or A Filter As Well?

Normally, if the GPG (grains per gallon) value of your water is 0-7, this is ideal and you don’t need a water softener. However, above 7.5, your water should be treated.

And usually, a good water softener will remove all the damaging minerals that cause limescale in your fixtures and taps. But, if you’re more than concerned about your drinking water, you can install a water filter as well. If you can’t decide, have your water tested to know which system is better for your home.

Moreover, if you’re a tenant and might leave the place soon, then investing in a water filter or softener may not be the right decision. Find a drinking water delivery service Erie for clean water.

What Is The Hardness Level Of Your Home Water?

Knowing how hard your water is will decide what grain capacity you need in your water softener. Don’t worry, if you’re new to the term.

“Grain capacity” refers to the grains of hard water minerals a water softener can remove before it requires regenerating. And to figure out the hardness of your water is to get it tested.

You also need to decide on the grain capacity of your water softener based on your usage and the flow of water. Normally, a small to midsize family would need 20,000+ grain capacity. While a big family would need a 30,000+ grain capacity.

Types of Softeners

Depending on the hardness level of your water and your preferences, you can choose between these two different types of water softeners:

  • Salt-based water softeners (includes dual tank systems)
  • Salt-free water softeners (including magnetic systems)

Space Available And Efficiency Required

Now that you’re finally aware of the types of water softeners, you just need to consider your available space. For instance, for small houses, RVs, and apartments, a salt-free softener will do. These are small in size, attach directly to the waterline, and hang down 1-2 feet only.

However, salt-based water softeners are usually big in size and dual-tank. Although they do offer softened water 24/7, their water softening efficiency is less as compared to the single tank, salt-free water softeners.

Therefore, you should do your research before choosing between these two kinds. It depends on the brand as well. Sometimes a portable salt-based water softener will do the same job as a small salt-free water softener. This is just in case your water has minerals to remove and you need the high efficiency of the salt-based water softener.

How Hard Is It To Install?

Dual water softening tanks are hard to install and they take up too much space. On the other hand, single water tanks are electronic, efficient, and offer a simple design. You can just directly connect them or magnet them to the waterline.

Also, since they’re electronic, you don’t need to do most of the things manually. We would advise you to pick those pieces that have detailed instructions and are easily installable with connectors and tubing.

Regeneration Cycle

Don’t forget about the maintenance of your softener, because only then it will maintain its efficiency. And that mainly depends upon softener regeneration cycle. You need to pick the most efficient regeneration cycle for yourself.

There are usually two types of softener regeneration cycle:

  • Metered Regeneration Cycle
  • Timed Regeneration Cycle

The most efficient when is the metered regeneration cycle, because it’ll only regenerate your softener when required, saving you water and salt. But, if you don’t want to do this manually, you can schedule the regeneration process with timed water softeners.

How Expensive A Water Softener Should Be?

It all comes down to the cost because it’s a major deciding factor in buying anything. We must say, keeping in mind the inflation and advancement in technologies, you should keep a good budget for the softener. On average, it’ll cost you between $400 to $2,500.

And a typical water softener can easily last up to 15 years. So, it’s a fair amount of money, considering how long it’ll last.

However, if you don’t want the fuss of owning one or you just need it temporarily, there’s an option for leasing a softener as well.

A Checklist For A Choosing A Water Softener

  • Cost
  • Overall Efficiency
  • Required Space
  • Capacity
  • Either it removes chlorine, taste, and odor
  • Is it a 2-in-1 (softener + whole home filter)
  • Either it removes additional contaminants
  • Other convenience features
  • Salt use
  • Regeneration Style

Professional Tip

  • It might seem technical and complex at first. But, taking one thing at a time will make it easier for you.
  • You don’t have to dig too deep into the research or pick pieces that are difficult to install, always go for efficiency and simplicity. Don’t fall for the techy stuff, unless you’re a professional.


Make a list of these questions in your notes app or diary and answer each question as per your household. You will surely find a good water softener system Warren for home requirements.

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