Faucetsreviewed is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


7 Different Types of Water Softeners: Which One is The Best for You?

types of water softeners
Written by Callum Strempel

Water softeners are systems used to effectively remove calcium as well as magnesium concentrations, which cause very hard water and are a major problem for many households in the United States.

The principle is that water flows through a water softener that filters hard minerals and makes it safe to drink.

There are different types of water softeners available in the market, but which one to get in 2023? Let’s figure it out together:

How Does A Water Softener Work?

Believe it or not, water softeners are similar to any magnets. In a traditional bar magnet, one end is positive and the other is negative.

Imagine you have two magnets with a rod and try connecting their positive ends.

What is going to happen? They will surely repel each other.

No matter how many times you try, it is almost impossible to connect them.

Do you know what happens when you try to establish the positive end of one magnet with the negative end of another magnet? They connect right away!

Calcium and magnesium are the two key culprits of hard water, and they are always positively charged molecules.

As the hard water pumps a lot through the softening system, it passes through the filter which is filled with negatively charged resin balls.

How Do You Know If You Need A Water Softener?

Find some of the most common signs of hard water in your home:

  • There is a mineral-like crust around your faucet or on the showerhead.
  • Soap accumulates in your sinks or on the shower walls.
  • Tight clothes after washing.
  • Dry skin and sharp hair after showering.

What Are the Benefits of Water Softening Systems?

Relief from hard water stain

It’ll save you time, effort, and money since you won’t need to deal with soap scum marks and other spot marks on your sink or tap.

You also won’t need to clean limescale with lemon anymore.

Appliances without residue

If you use any kind of home water softener, it’ll be able to protect your appliances like the dishwasher and laundry machines.

When scales build up, it can lower the efficiency and shorten the lifespan of appliances like coffee machines, water heaters, and ice makers.

Pipes without scale

Scale can permanently damage the plumbing system in case of a higher amount of hard water supply.

With water softeners, you won’t need to deal with clogged pipes due to scale buildup from hard minerals in the water.

Clothes softness

It will take less detergent to wash your clothes as detergent dissolves better in soft water.

You also won’t need to use any fabric softener, and your clothes won’t lose their color because of mineral deposits in the hard water.

Smoother Skin and Hair

Minerals reduce the natural oil of your skin, which cause irritated, dried, and itchy skin.

Unlike soft water, hard water doesn’t maintain a balanced pH level and makes your hair brittle, dry, and frizzy.

Several Types of Water Softeners

1. Salt-Based Water Softeners

We will first talk about saltwater softening systems.

This type of system converts hard water into soft water through ion exchange.

Through the electronic dosing valve, the system successfully measures water per gallon before cleaning.

The moment the resin layer reaches the saturation point, the cleaning cycle begins.

The second period is through backwashing when the remaining minerals are cleaned and successfully neutralized from the system.

Soft water is formed when water flows through a layer of resin and salts are exchanged with minerals that cause hardness.

Further, the salts are regenerated in the resin layer, and the system is ready to work.

Salt-Based Water Softeners

2. Salt-Free Water Softeners

Compared to salt-based softeners, a salt-free water softening system uses a physical process known as pattern crystallization.

It works on the principle of converting all hardness minerals into crystal clear hardness that will certainly not stick to any surface.

They are known as water conditioners because they do not soften water.

They do not have to use a complete cleaning cycle to remove trapped ions

Salt-Free Water Softeners

3. Portable Water Softeners

This type of softener allows you to use soft water on the go. They are very suitable for passengers in campers or caravans.

The use of a portable softener of this type does not require electricity, and it takes a couple of weeks for regeneration.

When you need to regenerate your portable fabric softener, you will need a very small amount of table salt.

You won’t need any experience or tools.

They do not contain the same level of water flow on average, but they can very simply and easily bring water to the bathroom, as well as, for example, drinking water for several people.

They are much cheaper than other water softeners that are made to supply the whole house.

Portable Water Softeners

4. Shower water softeners

Water softeners are very expensive because they are mostly designed so that the whole house is supplied with water that is soft.

This is very expensive for a large number of people.

In fact, shower softeners make the use of soft water much more affordable.

By using this type, it is certain that your skin and hair will become much healthier and cleaner.

This way you will have to change the filter every three months.

Some showers contain a variety of vitamin filters that boost water with certain vitamins, and this can bring you several benefits.

However, be careful when it comes to additives. If you do decide on additives, choose the one that best suits you and your family.

Shower water softeners

5. Reverse osmosis

Reverse osmosis-based systems employ several stages of filtration and each will remove certain substances from the water.

At the end of these stages, a mineral filter is often used to add the necessary minerals back to the water.

That is why water from the reverse osmosis system is so healthy to drink.

These reverse osmosis systems are designed to fit under your sink and connect to your home’s plumbing.

They will have a special faucet that will allow you to get purified water. Filters will need to be changed twice a year.

Reverse osmosis

6. Magnetic Water Softeners

Magnetic water softeners have successfully made their way onto the market in recent years.

They are advertised as an alternative to water softeners because they fail to remove strong minerals.

As with the salt-free system, the magnetic water regenerator removes strong minerals to prevent them from binding and thus keeping them soluble.

By using this system, you get all the benefits of soft water that you thought of, as well as much greater availability.

One of the advantages is that the installation is very simple, and there is no need to cut the pipe and drain the water.

They must be wrapped around pipes that are in your home, and the magnetic field will condition the water.

Magnetic Water Softeners

7. Dual-Tank Water Softeners

They have two tanks and two cylinders that work independently of each other to soften the water. At one point, one tank is renewed while another is taken over.

So water softeners with two tanks (which are recognizable as a double cylinder) produce softened water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because they never stop the purification process.

If these days you are thinking of solving your problem and getting a water softener, our advice is to choose between two types.

The first type is those which have a double tank and the second type are those that have a single tank. We sell both for years.

Dual-Tank Water Softeners

How does a dual-tank water softener work?

All types of water softeners have this need to regenerate after softening certain amounts of water.

This happens because there is a layer of resin inside the tank that is replenished with sodium after the water-softening process.

Only one softener of a water tank cannot produce soft water until the moment of restoration because the whole system is switched off to clean.

Types of softeners that have two tanks can soften water 24 hours a day and they are more efficient than those that have one tank.

Summing It Up

We analyzed 7 different types of water softeners here.

Some of them will provide water for your entire house, while others will successfully soften the water for just one shower or faucet.

If you want to avoid stains from unpleasant hard water as well as rust in the bathroom, or if you just want a nice feeling of skin washed in soft water, a water softener will help you solve problems with hard water.

About the author

Callum Strempel

Licensed Plumber

Hi, I’m Callum, a full time plumber with a plumbing license issued by my state. So far, I’ve spent nearly a decade and a half installing and fixing a wide variety of plumbing components and units. My profession inspires me to talk about the kitchen and bathroom (and the plumbing system) so confidently and knowledgeably that I offer my free consultations to help neighbors and fellow homeowners every now and then. As I enjoy installing faucets, sinks, showers, and fixtures, I love to see people enjoying services from those components for years to come. So, I write every week to inform you and others. Will you mind going through some of my articles on this website?

Leave a Comment