AO Smith Water Softener Review (All You Need to Know)

AO Smith is a leading American company of water treatment products. It was founded in 1874 in Wisconsin, and since then, has been constantly innovating and improving its products. Today, AO Smith offers two water softener models with different grain capacities.

In this article, I’ll take an in-depth look at the features, performance, and value of this popular product, as well as any potential drawbacks. By the end, you’ll know if the AO Smith water softener is right for your home.

How Does AO Smith Water Softener Work?

AO Smith water softeners work by exchanging the magnesium and calcium ions in the water with sodium ions. This process is known as ion exchange. The magnesium and calcium ions are replaced with sodium ions because they are more soluble in water. Once all the calcium ions are exchanged, the system flushes them out and starts the process over again.

This water-softening process makes it easier for soap to lather and prevents scale buildup in plumbing fixtures. The softened water also tastes better and extends the life of appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. 

AO Smith water softener also contains a resin bed that helps to remove any impurities from the water. The resin bed is made up of small beads that attract and trap the impurities in the water.

Why Should I Buy AO Smith Water Softener?

AO Smith is a trusted name in water treatment, and their water softeners are some of the best on the market. There are many reasons to buy an AO Smith water softener, including:

  1. Their systems are certified by NSF International to remove hardness from water. This means that you can trust their products to work effectively and provide you with softer, cleaner water.
  2. They are easy to maintain. With an AO Smith water softener, you won’t have to spend hours each week maintaining your system. Their systems are designed for easy upkeep, so you can spend your time enjoying your softened water instead of working on it.
  3. They offer a wide range of features. AO Smith water softeners come with a variety of features, giving you the ability to choose the system that best fits your needs.

The Pros and Cons of AO Smith Water Softeners

Here I’ll take a look at the advantages and potential drawbacks of AO Smith water softeners to help you decide if this is the right type of softener for your home.


  • One of the main pros of AO Smith water softeners is that these units are very efficient at removing hardness from your water. This can save you money on your water bill and also extend the life of your appliances that use water.
  • You’ll see a reduction in scale buildup in your home’s plumbing. This can extend the life of your pipes and fixtures, and save you money on repairs down the road.
  • AO Smith water softeners are also NSF/ANSI 44 certified for removing hardness, radium, and barium from your home water. So you can be sure they meet high standards for quality and performance.
  • AO Smith’s salt-sensing feature means that the unit only regenerates when necessary, so you save on salt, water, as well as on power bills.
  • It requires minimal maintenance. One of the key features of AO Smith water softeners is the self-cleaning filter. This feature helps to prolong the life of the system by preventing scale buildup in the unit itself.
  • Their products also feature power loss protection and an audible salt alert. It has a battery backup to save your settings in case of a power loss. With Wi-Fi salt alerts, you can monitor your AO Smith water softener from anywhere.


An AO Smith Water Softener is a great addition to any home. However, there are some drawbacks that you should be aware of before making your purchase.

  • One drawback is the limited warranty. The warranty is only good for 5 years on the mechanical parts and 10 years on the tanks. This isn’t the best warranty I’ve seen, given that water softener systems typically last up to 18-20 years. It would be more helpful if there was an extended warranty.
  • Another drawback is that the unit is made from plastic. This means that it is not as durable as some of the other options on the market.
  • While the AO Smith water softeners are NSF Certified, they do not have WQA or IAPMO certifications.

Standard AO Smith Water Softener vs. AO Smith Premier Series

Standard AO Smith Water Softener

  • Purification process: Ion Exchange
  • Maximum Hardness: 90, 100 GPG
  • Flow Rate: 2 GPM
  • Maximum Grain Capacity (lbs.): 35-45K

This water softener removes magnesium and calcium from water, which are the two main minerals that cause hard water. AO Smith’s standard water softener has a 35,000 to 45,000-grain capacity, making it perfect for a family of 2 to 4+ people. This will leave your dishes and glasses sparkling clean and help extend the life of your appliances.

Best for: This water softener is ideal if you need a compact design and a quiet regeneration process. But it comes with a few flimsy parts that are not long-lasting and can break over time.

AO Smith Premier Series Water Softener

  • Purification process: Ion Exchange
  • Maximum Hardness: 90, 100 GPG
  • Flow Rate: 2 and 2.4 GPM
  • Maximum Grain Capacity (lbs.): 30-50K

The AO Smith premier series water softener comes with different grain capacities than the standard model. This is the only difference between the two variants. The premier version has two grain capacities of 30,000 and 50,000 grains. So it can fulfill the needs of all customers and you can enjoy soft water without having to worry about refilling it as often.

Best for: If you need a single-tank softener with fast regeneration, the AO Smith premier series is an excellent choice. This water softener features quick and effective regeneration and has a high flow rate for busy households. So you can keep your water supply clean and chemically balanced.

My Verdict

AO Smith is a trusted name in water softeners, but there are other options available that may be better suited for your needs. If you’re looking for a water softener, consider your options carefully before making a decision. There are many factors to consider, such as price, features, and maintenance requirements.

Here are a couple of water softener alternatives that I think are worth considering.

No matter which brand you choose, be sure to do your research to find the best possible option for your home and needs.