If you live in areas with the hardest water in the country, such as Indianapolis or Las Vegas, you need a water softening unit for the entire house.
It removes responsible elements from water, causing hardness and increases the life of your plumbing and appliances. But unless you know about the basic selection criteria followed for a water softener, you may end up with the wrong deal.
To help you with the same, we have prepared small buyers’ guide to understand the types of models available in the market. Let’s try to understand the essentials of the best water softener for well water.
What To Consider While Choosing a Water Softener For Well Water?
1. Selecting The Suitable Types of Water Softener
There are five common types of water softener systems for well water-
Salt-based ion exchange systems, salt-free conditioners, dual tank systems, POE, and portable units.
I. Salt-Based Ion Exchange Systems
In this system, a process called ‘ion exchange‘ is used to remove hard minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, etc., from water and substitute them with sodium and potassium.
Ion exchange water softeners prevent the accumulation of scales in water, enhancing the longevity of your plumbing systems and home appliances. As a result, your heat exchangers work more efficiently, reducing your overall energy costs.
The ion exchange system improves the lathering properties of water. Meaning, you can get the same result by using fewer detergents, cleaning products, and toiletries. Above all, it makes your skin and hair appear healthier.
The water softener increases the sodium and potassium level of the water. Using it for cooking purposes may pose risks for individuals prone to hypertension, high blood pressure, and other diseases.
II. Salt-Free Softeners
Technically, salt-free softeners are more like ‘conditioners.’ These softeners don’t remove hard minerals from water. However, they can stop the accumulation of minerals in pipes, appliances, and surfaces.
You don’t have to add salt to the water, which eliminates the risk of sodium intake. Unlike salt-based softeners, it does not lead to any water waste or requires any additional maintenance.
Salt-free softeners cannot protect your plumbing and appliances from spotting or staining. Plus, buying softening agents will cost you extra.
III. Magnetic Descalers
Magnetic descalers comprise a ‘plug n play’ device. You have to attach the device to the main water line. The softener alters the electromagnetic properties of calcium bicarbonate by generating a magnetic field. Consequently, it allows the pipe surfaces to repel the mineral particles, thereby preventing scaling.
They are compact in size and cheaper in cost, making them ideal for renters.
The efficacy of the device is somewhat debatable.
IV. Dual Tank Systems
Water softeners need to regenerate once they soften a certain volume of water. In this process, softeners clean themselves and replenish the resin bed with sodium.
You cannot use single tank softeners during regeneration as they cannot supply soft water and clean themselves simultaneously. Meanwhile, a twin tank softener comes with two tanks. When one tank goes into regeneration, the other comes to the action.
They are ideal for large families or businesses, which require constant access to soft water. Moreover, they comparatively last longer than a single tank. A single tank uses hard water to regenerate itself, which can cause internal damage to the system. Whereas a double tank system uses soft water, which one tank retrieves from the other.
Since you have to install two tanks, you have to give up some additional space for installation. Besides, you have to pay more for maintenance.
V. Point-of-Entry (POE)/ Portable Units
POE (Point of Entry) softeners come with a single softening tank. All water must pass the POE tank before they reach the kitchen, bathrooms, or any part of the house. Both portable water softeners and POE systems share the same mechanism. However, portable softeners have less capacity and a lower flow rate, making them ideal for camping and outdoor activities.
2. Types of Regeneration System
Water softeners come with two types of regeneration process- Metered and Time-Based.
Metered aka demand initiated generation (DIR) Systems use an electronic sensor or a mechanical water meter to measure your consumption needs. As a result, your softener will automatically regenerate before the resin depletes or you run out of water. It helps you save salt and water in the long run.
Some advanced DIR systems can fine-tune the regeneration by studying your water usage patterns. DIR systems come in different sizes, resulting in shorter regeneration cycles. Meanwhile, you can use a dual tank system as per your water requirement.
Timer-based softeners regenerate themselves at a particular time you have set. Unlike metered systems, these softeners don’t consider water consumption. Therefore, you can’t control the salt and water input of such softeners.
You need some careful planning while setting the time interval so that to prevent wastage or running out of soft water.
However, many time-based softeners nowadays come with an automatic adjustment feature that increases salt intake efficiency.
Then we have Manually regenerated water softeners that don’t use timers or meters. Instead, you have to initiate the regeneration manually by pulling a lever.
Which one is better?
The selection factor of a well water softener lies in users’ convenience and budget.
Metered regenerator systems are pricey, but they do the job perfectly by providing 24X7 water with minimal wastage. Time-based systems are cheaper, and through proper time planning, you can get the best out of them.
Manual regenerations can be an ideal choice if you are comfortable doing the extra tasks.
The price of a water softener depends on the brand, types, size, and features you choose. Generally, it can cost you between $400 to $1000. However, prices may vary from one retailer to another. If you are looking for an inexpensive option, then you can go for magnetic descalers.
Apart from the softener cost, you also have to pay installation charges as well. It can additionally cost you around $300-$500. Lastly comes the recurring operating costs such as salt, softening agents, water as well as sewer servicing costs.
4. Capacity (size) and flow rate
Water softeners usually come with a capacity ranging from 8000 to 80,000 grains. For example, a softener with 8000 grains can remove 8000 grains of hardness before it regenerates.
The process of water softening depends on the size, flow rate, and the time it takes to complete the process. In short, it all adds up to how many water outlets you can use at the same time.
An undersized system may exhaust quickly, leading to hard water bleeding and a reduced flow rate. That means you have to pay more for maintenance.
Similarly, if you buy an oversized system, then you may end up with infrequent regeneration cycles, leading the resin bed to suffer more damage. Typically, a household with four persons requires around 35,000 grains per unit.
5. Determining whether you really need a softener
For that, you need to check the hardness of the water you get.
Start by multiplying the total number of people in your home by their average water consumption per day. On average, a person uses 80 gallons of water a day.
Then multiply that number by the hardness in your water. Meaning, how much grain you need to remove from the water daily.
Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg).
One grain is equal to 1/7000 pound of calcium carbonate hardness.
Meaning, one gpg is equal to 17.1mg/L or 17.1 ppm.
Now the hardness in natural waters comes as close to zero and goes up to 100s of ppm. In most cases, water with 100 ppm contains around 8-10 gpg. It won’t affect your hair or skin, but it will definitely damage your pipe systems, fixtures, and appliances. If the hardness exceeds 250 ppm (15 gpg), then you are in the danger zone, and using a water softener is the only solution.
The standard 44 (cation exchange water softeners) certifies only those products that are designed to reduce hardness from public/private water supplies. Moreover, they are regenerated with sodium and potassium chloride.
An NSF/ANSI certified softener ensures optimum safety, durability, water/salt efficiency, including many more.
7. Availability Of Spare Components
Replacing a universal component is much easier than replacing a proprietary component from a name brand. If the manufacturer discontinues the production, then it is going to be tough to find the right replacement parts. Therefore, we recommend you to buy water softeners featuring universal components.
Some water softeners come with separate warranties for different components. For example, a manufacturer may provide ten years of warranty on the resin tank for 5 years on the brine tank.
Now, let’s have a look at the 9 best water softeners for well water available in the market.
Best Water Softener For Well Water
1. AFW Filters Iron Pro 2 5600SXT – With Fine Mesh Resin
The AFW Filters Iron Pro 2 5600SXT is an all-in-one water softener that softens and removes iron from hard water. It contains fine mesh resin with a 64000-grain capacity filter that removes calcium and magnesium hardness up to 75 gpg.
It removes iron content up to 6-8 ppm and manganese up to 6 ppm, keeping your pipeline and equipment rust and sediment-free.
As the best water softener for well water, it comes with a digital metered control head that keeps your water usage in check and regenerates accordingly. The digital control is carefully designed so that you can minimize salt usage just by making simple adjustments. Its super-efficient mesh softener eliminates rust, scaling, water spots, and scum from soap.
The almond-shaped brine tank comes with a safety float. The lid of the float proactively checks the salt content in the device. This best water softener system also prevents air from getting sucked when the brine tank runs out of salt.
It also comes with a bypass valve allowing you to bypass the softener and get water directly from the source without shutting off the main water supply.
Product Dimensions: 14 x 7 x 21 inches | Grain Capacity: 64,000 | Bypass Valve: 1″ male connections | Item Weight: 119.2 pounds | Regeneration type: Digital metered | Installation: DIY | Digital Display: Yes | Resin grade: Fine mesh | Tank: Almond resin
- Fine mesh resin with 64000-grain capacity
- Five years of warranty on digital valve
- Removes iron, calcium, and magnesium
- Complex installation directives in the manual
2. Fleck 5600SXT – High Iron Removal
The Fleck 5600SXT comes with a pre-loaded 2.0 cubic feet of resin tank with a capacity of 64000 grain. It uses an advanced ion exchange process, specially designed to remove a heavy quantity of iron, calcium, magnesium, sediments, and scaling from water.
It features a meter-based regeneration system that actively measures your rate of water consumption and regenerates itself as per your requirements.
The softener comes with a standard square brine tank with a high salt-holding capacity of 250 lbs. The safety float further helps in keeping the salt to water ratio in check by preventing salt overfilling.
It also comes with an overflow drain that keeps the water level in balance, thereby avoiding any kind of water mess in the future.
This fleck 5600SXT is by far the best DIY-friendly water softener on the market. All it requires is some basic plumbing skills, and you can install it within 1-2 hours.
The manufacturer has provided a 10-year warranty on the unit, which is twice what you usually receive.
In conclusion, the Fleck 5600SXT is a great water softener for residential and commercial establishments where the requirement for water is high. Indeed, it’s the best water softener for well water having high iron content.
Product Dimensions: 48 x 12 x 12 inches | Grain Capacity: 64,000 | Bypass Valve: 1 inch noryl threaded | Item Weight: 180 pounds | Regeneration type: Meter based | Installation: DIY | Digital Display: Yes | Resin grade: 2.0 cubic ft of High Capacity | Tank: Fiber glass Pentiar
- Metered Softener Valve
- Upgraded Paddlewheel Meter
- Safety float with overflow guard
- Too heavy to be installed by one person
3. Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series – For Whole House Filtration
The Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series is a hybrid whole house filtration system that removes excess minerals and contaminants from the water.
The hybrid system boasts a powerful softener/filter, all infused in one tank. It comes with a 31,000-grain filtration capacity, offering an average hardness removal of 120 grains per gallon.
Plus, it offers a decent iron removal rating of 3ppm, keeping your appliances and plumbing system free from rust and reddish-brown stains.
The HSESFC Pro not only removes sediments but also eliminates the foul taste and smell of chlorine from the water. It is integrated with a demand-initiated regeneration technology that produces soft water as per your needs.
Unlike automatic systems, it does not regenerate itself, reducing excessive salt consumption in the end.
The softener/filter comes with self-cleaning filters. Meaning, you don’t have to spend extra money to clean or replace it.
Compared to its predecessors, the WHESFC pro consumes 25 less salt and water. The credit goes to its advanced monitoring system that actively tracks your water consumption rate and modifies its regeneration cycle accordingly. That’s why it is the best water softener for well water.
Product Dimensions: 19 x 18 x 48 inches | Grain Capacity: 31, 000 | Bypass Valve: 1" NPT | Item Weight: 112 pounds | Regeneration type: demand-initiated | Installation: DIY| Digital Display: Yes | Resin grade: Cross Linked| Tank: Plastic
- Acts as a water softener and Filter
- Self-cleaning filters
- Saves salt intake up to 25 %
- Unclear instruction manual
4. Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000– For Large family
The Aquasure Harmony AS-HS48D is a high-end water softener system that can easily accommodate the water requirements of a large family.
The water softener can treat up to 48,000 grain of hardness and eliminates spot buildup and scaling of your plumbing system and appliances. The device comes with a polyethylene tank lined with powerful corrosion-resistant fiberglass, offering lost lasting durability.
The built-in advanced digital control console calculates your daily water requirement and regenerates as needed.
Moreover, it features 3 types of regeneration control- time clock delayed control, meter delayed control, and meter immediate control. As a result, you have the power to optimize the system performance befitting your needs.
Most water softeners stop water flow during the regeneration process. However, the Aquasure HS48D contains a 1” bypass valve through which you can bypass the water even while your system regenerates.
You can also switch the device to manual regeneration mode just by pressing a single button. It will allow you to regenerate the resin beads as per your requirement and get a spa-like softness in minutes.
Overall, the Aquasure Harmony HS48D can easily accommodate the daily requirement of a household size of five people and 3-4 bathrooms.
Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 60 inches | Grain Capacity: 48,000 | Bypass Valve: 1” In and Out NPT Yoke | Item Weight: 120 pounds | Regeneration type: Digital On-Demand | Installation: | Digital Display: Yes | Resin grade: 1.5 CF Premium Grade Resin | Tank: corrosion resistant fiberglass
- Offers hardness treatment up to 48,000 grain
- Feature Digital on-Demand Meter Control Head
- Support three types of regeneration control
- Installation and operation installations are difficult to follow.
5. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler Water Softener Alternative
The Eddy electronic water descaler is a budget-friendly water softener that provides soft water while keeping the healthy minerals intact. This is the best salt-free water softener for well water that descales your water system and treatment hardness up to and above 20 gpg.
The Eddy water descaler is a true power saver in every way. First, it lets you save money on salt or any other chemicals. It is easy to install, and most importantly, it doesn’t require frequent maintenance.
Moreover, it only consumes 110-volt of electricity, which is around two times lesser than a salt-based water softener.
If you are tired of carrying heavy bags of salt, then this water softener alternative can ease up your pain with its patented salt-free water softening technology. The system generates electromagnetic waves causing a similar effect as a water softener while lessening the cost up to 75 Percent.
This eco-friendly softener hardly takes any place and can be installed within less than 28 square inches of space.
Unlike salt-based softeners, it doesn’t remove calcium and magnesium from the water. It only suspends them in the water so that the minerals don’t stick to pipes.
As a result, you have access to natural-tasting conditioned water with all its minerals staying intact.
Product Dimensions: 6.75 x 1.5 x 3.5 inches | Item Weight: 7.8 ounces | Installation: DIY | Voltage: 110 Volts | Wattage: 5 watts
- Salt-less procedure
- Doesn’t alter the natural taste of water
- Saves power consumption
- Can’t be used on lead or iron pipes
6. Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener – Easy to Clean
The Whirlpool WHES30E is a self-cleaning water softener that eliminates the need for frequent maintenance. It comes with an exclusive WHE-WSC water softener that you can pour in the water and say goodbye to scale buildup forever.
Apart from calcium and manganese, the WHES30E removes up to 8ppm of ferrous iron, which remains invisible to naked eyes.
The softener comes with a demand initiated regeneration technology that proactively evaluates your water usage. The low salt light indicator further notified you whenever you are about to run out of salt.
It eliminates your habit of pouring unnecessary salt in the tank as a mere guess. Not only it saves you from recurring maintenance, but it also saves your money on salt well.
This NSF certified water softener is fully manufactured and assembled in the USA. As a result, you don’t have to wait for weeks to get the right part.
Besides, the manufacturer provides a full replacement for parts for one year, including the labor warranty. You can extend the conditions up to 2 years by buying three bottles of Whirlpool WHEWSC water softener cleanser.
Product Dimensions: 19 x 18 x 43.5 inches | Grain Capacity: 30,000 | Bypass Valve: 1” fittings | Item Weight: 94.8 pounds | Regeneration type: Demand Initiated | Installation: DIY | Digital Display: Yes | Resin grade: Fine Mesh | Tank: Plastic
- Includes a Do-It-Yourself Installation Kit
- Features a low-salt light indicator
- WHEWSC water softener cleanser not included
7. GE Appliances SMART 40,000 Grain – Smart Water Softener
GE Appliances Smart GXSHC40N is a 40000-grain water softener that monitors your water usage and provides an endless supply of water by anticipating your future demands.
This smart water softener comes with a long list of convenient features. First, you can program most of your work and operate them with a single click. Plus, it comes equipped with an indicator light to keep the salt level in check.
It sends notifications on your phone about low-salt levels or potential leaks. In case of a water leak, you can cut the flow just by tapping your smartphone screen.
This 40,000-grain water softener system owns the capacity to remove hardness up to 125 gpg, which is the highest in the market in this price range. On top of that, it comes with an impeccable iron removal of up to 8mm.
The GXSHC40N comes with a GE exclusive custom select blending valve that allows you to customize the softness setting of your water. It features a 230 lbs. salt capacity tank, which is perfect for a household of 2-4 people.
Furthermore, its self-cleaning sediment filter protects your pipelines and appliances as well as keeps the maintenance cost to the minimum.
Product Dimensions: 22.44 x 14.44 x 47.63 inches | Grain Capacity: 40,000 | Bypass Valve: ¾” quick-connect fittings | Item Weight: 105.8 pounds | Regeneration type: | Installation: Need Expert | digital display:Yes | Resin grade: Custom | Tank: Plastic
- Supports Wifi connectivity
- Sends Water-leakage & low salt notification
- Low in maintenance
8. Hansing Water Softener – Eco-friendly Water Softener
The Hansing whole house water softener alternative uses fruits polysaccharide and coconut activated carbon as the prime composition of water descaler.
When released in the water, this eco-friendly concoction rapidly deactivates the scale forming particles from the water. The manufacturer claims the product can treat hardness up to 23 gpg from municipal and well water with an efficacy of 95 %.
This water softener alternative comes with a strong ¾ “ FNPT stainless steel threaded rod with an adopted radial flow design. It further features a 0.2-micron pleated filter that effectively improves the anti-clogging ability to 7 times.
Also, since it does not depend on salt or any other harsh softening agents, your pipelines and equipment will last for years without any maintenance.
The Hasning water softener alternative features a 280,000 grains water filter providing clean, soft, and chemical-free water to your taps at 20-100 psi water pressure.
The water softener comes with a stunning 304 stainless steel anti-corrosion and acid/alkali/temperature resistant body. Besides, you also get a mounting bracket and screws. Just connect the softener with the pipes, and you are done.
Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 4.6 x 4.5 inches | Grain Capacity: 280,000 | Bypass Valve: 3/4″ FNPT | Item Weight: 6.29 pounds | Regeneration type: Automatic | Installation: Need Expert | Digital Display: No | Resin grade: Commercial Grade Cation | Tank: 304 Stainless Steel
- Reduces chlorine consumption
- No sodium & phosphorus required
- Unique high-flow design
- Have to select the pipe fitting by yourself
9. iSpring ED2000 – Healthy Water Softener
The iSpring ED2000 is an electric water softener that doesn’t require salt or unhealthy chemicals to run. The electric softener descales your entire water system without destroying the healthy minerals in the water.
It can treat hard water up to 10-19 grains while preventing scale building in pipes, extending the life of your costly appliances.
Unlike conventional salt-based water softeners, the ED2000 doesn’t alter the chemistry of water. It features a patented computer chip that emits an electromagnetic wave.
This process breaks down the water molecule clusters ensuring they don’t adhere to the surface of your pipes and plumbing appliances.
Its low power consumption build keeps your utility bills to the minimum as well. Since you don’t have to use salt or chemicals, you don’t have to discard unhealthy doses of saltwater in the environment.
Plus, it also reduces the maintenance hassles to nil. As a compact product, you can easily install the iSpring ED2000 with basic plumbing knowledge. The product works on any pipe, including PEX and PVC. So, you don’t have to modify your existing plumbing settings as well.
Product Dimensions: 6.75 x 1.5 x 3.5 inches | Item Weight: 7.8 ounces | Installation: DIY | Voltage: 220 Volts | Water supply for hardness up : 10-19 (grains)
- Doesn’t destroy healthy minerals inside water
- Easily installed and low maintenance
- Low power consumption
- Doesn’t work on the water with high iron content
After you purchase a water softener for well water, install it to your system by an expert if you are not sure about DIY manuals. In case this is your first-time purchase, ensure the water softener is backed by friendly customer support to help you manage emergencies anytime. Cheers!