Best Water Softener For Small Spaces 2023 (Reviews & Guide)

When living in small spaces such as a cramped apartment or a tiny house, finding the right water softener for your space comes with its own set of challenges. Fortunately, there are compact water softeners available that offer enough performance to make a real difference without taking up too much space.

From size and functionality to maintenance and cost, there are a few things to consider when shopping for a space-saving water softener. In this article, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to finding the best water softener for small spaces. I’ll discuss the features to look for and tips on how to make the most of your purchase.

Best Overall
PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener, 16,000 Grain, Pre-Filled high-Capacity Resin, Neoprene Shield, w/connectors - Protects RV Water Systems from Hard Water deposits, Build-up, Corrosion, and Scale
Best Portable
On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener w/Brass Fittings, Back-Flush Adapter for RV/Marine Models
Best Compact for Shower
Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, 0.75 inches, Off-White
Best for RV
Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain (tm) Unit with Tank, Tank Head, Lead-Free Plastic NSF 61 Male GHC Tank Connections, Distributor, Resin and Instructions. Used in Rv & Car Wash Applications.
Best Capacity
EcoPure EPHS Conditioner | Water Softener & Filtration System Hybrid | NSF Certified | Salt Saving Technology
PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener, 16,000 Grain, Pre-Filled high-Capacity Resin, Neoprene Shield, w/connectors - Protects RV Water Systems from Hard Water deposits, Build-up, Corrosion, and Scale
On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener w/Brass Fittings, Back-Flush Adapter for RV/Marine Models
Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, 0.75 inches, Off-White
Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain (tm) Unit with Tank, Tank Head, Lead-Free Plastic NSF 61 Male GHC Tank Connections, Distributor, Resin and Instructions. Used in Rv & Car Wash Applications.
EcoPure EPHS Conditioner | Water Softener & Filtration System Hybrid | NSF Certified | Salt Saving Technology
$279.95
$250.00
$592.67
$237.95
$625.00
-
Best Overall
PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener, 16,000 Grain, Pre-Filled high-Capacity Resin, Neoprene Shield, w/connectors - Protects RV Water Systems from Hard Water deposits, Build-up, Corrosion, and Scale
PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener, 16,000 Grain, Pre-Filled high-Capacity Resin, Neoprene Shield, w/connectors - Protects RV Water Systems from Hard Water deposits, Build-up, Corrosion, and Scale
$279.95
Best Portable
On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener w/Brass Fittings, Back-Flush Adapter for RV/Marine Models
On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener w/Brass Fittings, Back-Flush Adapter for RV/Marine Models
$250.00
Best Compact for Shower
Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, 0.75 inches, Off-White
Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, 0.75 inches, Off-White
$592.67
Best for RV
Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain (tm) Unit with Tank, Tank Head, Lead-Free Plastic NSF 61 Male GHC Tank Connections, Distributor, Resin and Instructions. Used in Rv & Car Wash Applications.
Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain (tm) Unit with Tank, Tank Head, Lead-Free Plastic NSF 61 Male GHC Tank Connections, Distributor, Resin and Instructions. Used in Rv & Car Wash Applications.
$237.95
-
Best Capacity
EcoPure EPHS Conditioner | Water Softener & Filtration System Hybrid | NSF Certified | Salt Saving Technology
EcoPure EPHS Conditioner | Water Softener & Filtration System Hybrid | NSF Certified | Salt Saving Technology
$625.00

Important Considerations Before Buying a Compact Water Softener

There are a few critical factors to consider when looking for the right water softener for your space:

Dimensions

Before buying a space-saving water softener, make sure to research the exact dimensions and double-check to be certain it will fit into your desired space. Measure twice and buy once! Make sure you know exactly how much length, width, and height are required for installation so that your new system fits perfectly in its designated area.

Some units also require additional clearance around them or space on the top or below them for plumbing connections and maintenance access. Be aware of all these details before ordering your unit to avoid any surprises after delivery!

Capacity

It is essential to check the grain capacity of the unit beforehand. This will help ensure that you don’t end up with a system that doesn’t have enough capacity to meet your needs. When considering grain capacity, you must take into account how much water your household uses and how hard your water supply is. The more people in your household and the harder the water supply, the higher grain capacity will be necessary. 

The ideal water softener for a small space should have at least a 16,000-grain capacity. If you purchase one that is too small for your home, you may find yourself needing to regenerate more often than necessary, which wastes salt and money in the long run.

Maintenance Requirement

Some water softeners may require more frequent service and maintenance than others, which could make them difficult to maintain in limited spaces. 

It is important to consult with the manufacturer or seller on the frequency of maintenance required for each model. This can help you select a model that meets your needs and fits into your allotted space without any hassles.

In addition, you should also inquire about repair costs associated with each model so that you can factor them into your budget when deciding which one to buy.

Type of Water Softener

The next factor to consider is the type of water softener you need. Salt-based water softeners are the most popular choice, as they are typically more efficient and cost-effective. They also require a separate brine tank that needs to be refilled regularly with salt. On the other hand, salt-free water softeners are more affordable and require no maintenance.

Other Features

Finally, you should also consider the water softener’s features and capabilities. For example, some models offer an automatic regeneration feature, which can help extend the life of your system. Additionally, some water softeners come with a digital display that can provide detailed readings and performance information.

5 Best Water Softeners for Small Spaces

#1. Best Overall: PRO+AQUA Compact Water Softener

Sale
PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener, 16,000 Grain, Pre-Filled high-Capacity Resin, Neoprene Shield, w/connectors - Protects RV Water Systems from Hard Water deposits, Build-up, Corrosion, and Scale
  • PREMIUM PRO FEATURES: Wide 10-3/8" base for maximum stability on uneven surfaces. High Flow ports for minimal pressure drop and 5 GPM flow. The 16,000 grain capacity will provide up to 40 days (2,000 gallons) of softened water depending on your hardness and usage. Additional female adapter included for backwash (WS-P-REG-KIT kit available for faster regeneration). Conditions Well or City water. Reduces Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Lead, Radium and other Heavy Metals. Ready for use in 5 minutes!
  • PREMIUM VALUE: This Portable Softener & Conditioner produces twice the gallons compared to a standard model and offers the best value and is the best compact RV softener on the market measuring about 10" x 19.5" total size.
  • TOP CAPACITY: Designed for portability and durability, this 16,000 grain unit is the perfect choice for serious RV/boat owners, carwash detailer or any outdoor person or professional looking for the best mobile softener on the market. Provides approx. 40% more soft water than any other unit on the market in its size. Regenerates in under 30 minutes, with 2 boxes of table salt, to get you back on the open road. Us the optional 2 in 1 WS-P-REG-KIT Pre-filter/Regenerating Kit to easily regenerate.
  • BUILT TOUGH: Designed in California and built with high grade NSF materials, this mini mighty unit will keep on producing great soft water for years to come. The tank inner shell is made of high grade Polyethylene and reinforced with a durable fiberglass wrap. The Polyethylene inner shell houses the NSF Certified food-grade premium resin. The unit has 3/4" high flow in/out Garden Hose ports with a removable head and comes fully assembled with riser tube and premium top and bottom distributors.
  • READY FOR USE: The standard garden hose connections allow it to easily connect between the park faucet and your RV, Boat or Pressure Washer. The unit comes fully assembled, charged and ready for use and requires no tools or electricity to operate and get started. Included is a female to female adapter to allow you to backwash the unit when regenerating without the optional WS-P-REG-KIT 2 in 1 prefilter/regenerating kit.
  • Softener Type: Salt-Based
  • Grain Capacity: 16,000
  • Dimensions: ‎10 x 10 x 20 inches
  • Warranty: 1-year on parts

This all-in-one water softener fits nearly any tight space, without compromising on performance. With a 16,000-grain capacity and Pre-Filled high-Capacity Resin, PRO AQUA gives you the ultimate convenience and efficacy that comes with a bigger unit but in a smaller frame.

This convenient product is designed for small spaces and works with both well and city water sources. In just five minutes, it’s ready to use at up to 5 GPM flow rate giving you continuous performance for all your applications.

With just two boxes of table salt, your water softener will fully regenerate in under 30 minutes – making it one of the quickest and most efficient on the market today. Not only that, but since this is a mobile softener it can easily be moved around depending on your specific needs – freeing up precious space in any area of your home.

Pros

  • Compact and portable
  • Impressive grain capacity for the size
  • Faster regeneration
  • Designed and assembled in the USA

Cons

  • Some users reported a low water pressure

#2. Best Portable: On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Water Softener

On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener w/Brass Fittings, Back-Flush Adapter for RV/Marine Models
  • MORE WATER: This 16,000-grain unit is a perfect fit and supplies approx. 40% more soft water than most units on the market for your RV/Marine
  • SOFT WATER: Provides the owner with soft water up to 1600 gallons (or up to 40 days); Flow rate: 3 gpm
  • COMPACT DESIGN: Its compact and space-saver design allows it to be installed in the tightest of places; Can be easily stored in your storage bay or dock side locker
  • NO ELECTRICITY REQUIRED: Requires no tools or electricity; Utilizes a standard hose connection between park faucet and your RV/Marine
  • IMPROVES TASTE & ODOR: Provides soft water that prevents hard water and rust stains, avoids scale build-up, and improves taste and odor, , increases lifespan of appliances, and will also improve rough, dry skin while increasing the lathering of soaps
  • Softener Type: Salt-Based
  • Grain Capacity: 16,000
  • Flow rate: 3 GPM
  • Dimensions: ‎10 x 10 x 24 inches

On The Go Water Softener fits perfectly in small spaces while still delivering maximum water-softening power. It offers a 16,000-grain capacity with a flow rate of 3 GPM. It requires no tools or electricity and doesn’t take up a lot of room, but still helps improve the taste and odor of your water.

Installing this machine is a breeze with its user-friendly setup making it perfect for tiny homes, cramped apartments, and caravans on the go! An easy-to-carry handle on top ensures that transportation and setup are simple and hassle-free.

Plus, the use of high-grade premium resin guarantees a quality performance no matter where you’re using it.

Pros

  • Designed for portability
  • Easy-to-carry handle on top
  • Brass Fittings
  • Improve water taste and avoids scale build-up

Cons

  • Some parts are plastic-made

#3. Best Compact Water Softener for Shower: Whirlpool WHES30E

Whirlpool WHES30E 30,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, 0.75 inches, Off-White
  • Whirlpool WHES30E is ideal for households of 1-4 plus people and removes up to 8ppm of clear water (ferrous) iron
  • NSF certified to reduce hard water symptoms such as embarrassing stains, build-up on your plumbing and faucets as well as spotting on dishes
  • Whirlpool water softeners automatically calculate how much salt and water is required to regenerate and only use what is necessary, resulting in a significant salt and water savings
  • Full 1-year parts and labor . The system can be extended to 2 years parts and labor when you buy 3 bottles of Whirlpool WHEWSC water softener cleanser (sold separately)
  • Softener Type: Salt-Based
  • Grain Capacity: 30,000
  • Hardness Reduction Level: 95 grains per gallon
  • Clear water iron: Up to 8 ppm
  • Dimensions: ‎19 x 18 x 43.5 inches

This space-saving water softener is the ideal solution for anyone looking to enjoy a better shower experience without taking up too much room. Certified by NSF and with 30,000-grains capacity, you can take comfort in knowing that your home’s water quality will be taken care of with this compact but powerful softener.

Its slim design will fit perfectly alongside any other appliance or laundry system to provide you with maximum protection at minimal size.

This Whirlpool Water Softener is the ideal solution for households of 1-4 plus people. With advanced iron removal capabilities up to 8 ppm, it will leave your water noticeably softer and clear of any sediment that may have caused staining or discoloration in your clothes or dishes.

Best of all, this system continually monitors and automatically adjusts regeneration as needed so that your home will always enjoy clean and soft water without interruption!

This is truly an ideal appliance for any home with hard water, no matter how small or large it may be.

Pros

  • Demand initiated regeneration
  • DIY installation kit
  • Space-saving design
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • It requires frequent salt refills in order to work properly.

#4. Best for RV: Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Softener

Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain (tm) Unit with Tank, Tank Head, Lead-Free Plastic NSF 61 Male GHC Tank Connections, Distributor, Resin and Instructions. Used in Rv & Car Wash Applications.
  • 16,000 grains Total Hardness Removal Portable and Manual
  • Removes Total Hardness and Soluble Iron
  • Suitable for Recreational Vehicle Use
  • LEAD FREE USEPA, NSF61 Approved Water Connections
  • Includes Manual
  • Softener Type: Salt-Based
  • Grain Capacity: 16,000
  • Clear water iron: Removes soluble iron
  • Dimensions: ‎10 x 10 x 21.63 inches

Mobile-Soft-Water Softener is the superior choice when it comes to connecting to your recreational vehicle’s water supply. With a 16,000 Grain capacity and NSF61 approval, you can have peace of mind knowing that your water will be properly filtered and softened. Plus, with an easy setup and maintenance process, you’ll be saving time on installation while reaping the full benefits of soft water all season long!

With a garden hose in and out connection, it can reduce both total hardness as well as soluble iron levels for better quality drinking water.

It has been designed for 150 psi operating pressure and comes with a one year limited warranty on materials. This means that you can enjoy the benefits without fear of any unexpected costs resulting from defective parts down the line.

Pros

  • Portable space-saving design
  • Easy to install
  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • NSF61 Approved

Cons

  • It has nylon fittings instead of brass fitting

#5. Best Capacity with Hybrid Softening: EcoPure Water Softener & Filtration System

EcoPure EPHS Conditioner | Water Softener & Filtration System Hybrid | NSF Certified | Salt Saving Technology
  • SALT SAVING TECHNOLOGY: Autosense Technology is an exclusive feature that calculates how much salt and water is required to regenerate the system and only uses what is necessary, resulting in a significant reduction in salt and water usage
  • SOFTENING AND FILTRATION IN ONE: The EPHS is NSF-certified to reduce hard water levels along with harmful contaminants including lead, chlorine, sediment, calcium, magnesium & iron
  • PERFECT FOR URBAN AND RURAL AREAS: This whole home softening/filtration system hybrid is designed to be used with both city and private well water sources. Water Connections – Standard 1" NPT male pipe thread
  • EASY SETUP & MAINTENANCE: Intuitive programming controls, low salt indicator light and compact single tank design provide an easy softening solution
  • Softener Type: Salt-Based
  • Grain Capacity: 31,000
  • Hardness Removal Level: 100 grains per gallon
  • Iron Removal: 3 ppm
  • Dimensions: ‎16.5 x 19.75 x 48 inches

The EcoPure Hybrid Softening and Filtration System is the perfect solution for small spaces, as it combines both functions into one compact system. Not only that, but you can rest assured knowing that our product is NSF-certified, meaning it is reliable and safe to use.

With the power to soft 31000 grains, the unit is designed for families with 1-6+ people.

It filters sediment from your home’s water supply, removing lead, chlorine, sediment, calcium, magnesium, and other organic matter so you can enjoy great tasting soft water straight from your tap.

The low salt indicator feature simplifies the experience of using a water softener by monitoring how much salt is in the tank and alerting you with an indicator light when it’s time to refill your reservoir.

This all-in-one solution is designed to remove contaminants both from city and private well water sources for total home filtration.

Pros

  • Autosense technology to save salt and water
  • 2-in-1 (Water softener + filtration system)
  • Space-saving design
  • NSF Certified

Cons

  • Fragile plastic made parts

Compact Water Softeners – FAQs

How much salt does a compact water softener use?

An average compact water softener with a 16,000-grain capacity requires between 15-18 lbs of salt per regeneration cycle, which typically occurs every two weeks. To determine the exact amount of salt a compact water softener consumes, you should consider the daily household use and the hardness level of your well or municipal tap – both can affect the overall amount of salt needed. 

Is a compact water softener with 16,000-grain capacity enough for a family of four?

A compact water softener with a 16,000-grain capacity is generally sufficient for a family of four. However, the actual capacity required may vary depending on the water usage and the water hardness level in your area. To determine the exact water softening capacity required for your household, you can consider the following factors:

  • Water usage: The average water usage per person in a household is about 80-100 gallons per day. For a family of four, the total water usage would be about 320-400 gallons per day.
  • Water hardness: Water hardness is usually measured in grains per gallon (GPG). You can check the water hardness level in your area by contacting your local water utility or by purchasing a water hardness test kit.

Based on these factors, you can calculate the exact water-softening capacity required for your household. For example, if four people use 320 (80 x 4 = 320) gallons per day and the water hardness level is 10 GPG. A water softener with a 16,000-grain capacity will be able to provide soft water for up to 5 days before regeneration (16,000 ÷ 10 = 1600 gallons of softened water divided by daily water usage: 1600 ÷ 320 = 5 days).

What can I use instead of a water softener?

While a traditional water softener may be the most effective way to soften hard water, there are several other methods that can be used for the same purpose.

Here is a list of some popular and effective water softener alternatives:

Water Descalers

Magnetic descalers are an increasingly popular option as they reduce the mineral deposits found in hard water without using any chemicals or salts. These devices attach to your plumbing and use powerful magnets to create an electromagnetic field that breaks up the calcium molecules found in hard water, which helps prevent scale buildup.

Salt-free Filtration

Salt-free filtration systems use advanced technologies like catalytic media conversion and ion exchange to soften hard water without introducing additional sodium into your home’s drinking supply.

Electronic Water Conditioners

Electronic water conditioners are an excellent alternative to traditional water softeners. These devices use a direct current of electricity that passes through the water in your home and changes the mineral properties of the hard water. By altering the molecular structure, these electronic conditioners eliminate limescale buildups and reduce scale buildup on fixtures and appliances.

The benefit of using an electronic water conditioner rather than a traditional salt-based softener is its ease of installation and maintenance. With no tanks or salt refills needed, these systems are quick to set up and require very little upkeep beyond regular descaling as needed.

What is the typical lifespan of a water softener?

On average, a water softener can last for about 10-15 years with proper maintenance. The lifespan of a water softener can vary greatly depending on various factors such as the quality of the unit, the type of water, maintenance, and the environment. However, some units may last longer or shorter depending on the above-mentioned factors.To ensure that your water softener has a long lifespan, it is important to perform regular maintenance such as replacing the resin beads and cleaning the unit as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It is also advisable to use high-quality water treatment salt and to avoid overloading the unit beyond its capacity.

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