Living in a city often comes with the inconvenience of hard water. City water is treated and processed to remove impurities and contaminants, but it can still have high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals can cause limescale buildup in pipes and appliances, leaving behind unsightly stains and reducing their lifespan. This is where water softeners come in.
However, not all water softeners are created equal and some are better suited for city water than others. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best water softeners for city water and what features to look for when choosing one.
How To Choose The Right Water Softener For Your Home?
Here are some steps you can follow to choose the right water softener:
- Test your water hardness level: Before choosing a water softener, you need to check the hardness level of your water. You can use a water testing kit or have your water tested by a professional. Water hardness is measured in grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (PPM).
- Determine your water usage: Knowing your daily water usage will help you choose the right size of water softener. You can calculate your daily water usage by multiplying the number of people in your household by the average amount of water they use each day (usually around 80-100 gallons per person).
- Consider the type of water softener: There are several types of water softeners available, including salt-based, salt-free, and electromagnetic descalers. Salt-based water softeners are the most common and effective but they require regular maintenance and the addition of salt. Salt-free and magnetic water softeners are low-maintenance options but they may not be as effective in treating hard water.
- Regeneration process: Regeneration is the process by which a water softener removes the hard minerals from the resin beads. There are two types of regeneration processes: time-based and demand-initiated regeneration (DIR). Time-based systems regenerate on a set schedule, while DIR systems regenerate based on the amount of water used. DIR systems are more efficient and use less salt and water.
5 Best Water Softeners for City Water
#1. Best Overall: Whirlpool Whole House Water Softener
- Whirlpool WHES40E water softener is ideal for households of 1-6 plus people and removes up to 10 ppm of clear water (ferrous) iron
- NSF certified to reduce hard water symptoms such as embarrassing stains, build up on your Plumbing and Faucets and spotting on dishes
- Whirlpool water softeners automatically Calculate how much salt and water is required to regenerate and only uses what is necessary, resulting in a significant reduction in salt and water usage
- Full 1-year parts and labor . The system can be extended to 2 years when you buy 3 bottles of Whirlpool WHEWSC water softener cleanser (sold separately)
- Dimensions: 19" D x 18" W x 47 7/8" H
- Softener Type: Salt-Based
- Grain Capacity: 40,000
- Max Water Hardness: 125 grains per gallon
- Dimensions: 19 x 18 x 47.87 inches
- Warranty: 1-year
The Whirlpool water softener system is a natural and reliable solution for removing water hardness without the use of harsh chemicals. Its filtration ability can remove up to 40,000 grains, providing you with soft and clean water free from rust, stains, and discoloration caused by ferrous iron.
This state-of-the-art softener is capable of removing up to 10 parts per million (ppm) of clear water (ferrous) iron, ensuring that your water is pure and clear. The auto-regeneration feature of the system reduces the amount of salt and water used, making it a cost-effective option for your home.
The system is suitable for households ranging from 1 to 6+ people, allowing everyone to benefit from its efficient performance. Moreover, the Whirlpool water softener system comes with a full one-year warranty for both parts and labor, providing you with peace of mind and protection against unexpected costs due to potential malfunctions.
- Includes a step-by-step installation kit
- Operates efficiently without any manual intervention
- Effectively reduces water waste
- Hassle-free cleaning
- The unit does require frequent salt refills to work optimally
#2. Best Value: Aquasure Harmony City Water Softener
- 💧【 PERFECTLY DESIGNED FOR 3-4 BATHROOMS 】The Aquasure Harmony Series is the professional grade water softener that delivers ultra-softened water to every outlet throughout your entire home.
- 💧【 PROTECTS YOUR APPLIANCES 】Reduces water hardness and eliminates scale buildup while preventing damage to your plumbing and prolonging the lifespan of household appliances such as washing machine, dishwasher, water heater, etc.
- 💧【 CLEANER HOME WATER 】Rated to treat 48,000 grains of hardness by removing skin damaging hard minerals like calcium and magnesium that clog up the skin pore and causes irritation.
- 💧【 AUTOMATIC DIGITAL METERED CONTROL HEAD 】Comes with a fully programmable backlit digital display which allows you to easily customize your auto-flush intervals depending on your incoming water quality and water usage. Also allows for easy monitoring and hassle-free maintenance.
- 💧【 PREMIUM QUALITY 】Every Aquasure Water Softener is constructed with a high-strength, corrosion-resistant, fiberglass-lined polyethylene tank, durable bypass valve, and prefilled premium-grade resin. Besides the 30-day money-back, Aquasure stands behind its products by providing 5-year extended manufacturer warranty and life-time free US based tech support when you activate your product online within 60 days.
- Softener Type: Salt-Based
- Grain Capacity: 48,000
- Max Water Hardness: 120 grains per gallon
- Flow Rate: 12 gallons per minute
- Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 62 inches
- Warranty: 5-year
This water-softening system is a practical and economical solution that ensures excellent results while being gentle on your budget. With its impressive 48,000 grains capacity, Aquasure’s water softener is an unbeatable choice that provides optimal value for your money. The softening system is engineered to be efficient, reducing salt consumption and operating costs.
Designed to cater specifically to the needs of larger families with 3-4 bathrooms. This water softener eliminates the buildup of scale that can harm your pipes and appliances, sparing you from the expense of costly repairs in the future.
The programmable backlit digital display allows for easy customization of auto-flush intervals, making it a convenient feature for households that experience fluctuations in water usage. Moreover, the 5-year extended manufacturer warranty that comes with this system, provides customers with a sense of security and peace of mind.
- User-friendly interface
- High-capacity tank
- Easy to set up and use
- Detachable bypass valve
- It lacks an indicator for salt level
#3. Best Softener & Filter Combo: Aquasure Signature Complete Water Treatment
- 💧 Perfectly designed for 4-6 bathrooms homes, the Aquasure Signature Series is the professional grade Whole House Water system that delivers high quality filtered, ultra-softened water to every outlet throughout your entire home. No need for manual regeneration, backwash, draining, this system automatically regenerates and backwash, making it cost efficient and easy to maintain.
- 💧 Effectively removes water contaminants such as chlorine, VOCs, pesticides, bad odors, bad taste, soil, silt, sand, rust, heavy metals, and sediment. Providing clean, healthy, and great tasting filtered water at all times. Inhibits bacteria growth and algae growth with KDF media while prolonging the lifespan of household appliances such as washing machine, dishwasher, water heater, etc.
- 💧 Rated to treat up to 64,000 grains of hardness by removing skin damaging hard minerals like calcium and magnesium that clog up the skin pore and causes irritation, dryness, cracked skin and hair. It is engineered for both city and well water. Connects to plumbing up to 1-1/4″ in diameter. Connections out of the softener are 1” high flow threaded ports. Save twice as much compared to other brands on purified water for 1,500,000 gallons.
- 💧 Exceptional performance & highly efficient digital metered control head allows you to easily set your personalized auto-flush intervals depending on your incoming water quality and water usage. Aquasure Reverse Osmosis system helps save water and reduce overall maintenance cost while giving you the highest performance in terms of softening water and rejecting water contaminants. Easily replace filters every 6-12 months for best filtration and flow rate.
- 💧 Every Aquasure Water Softener is constructed with a high-strength, corrosion-resistant, fiberglass-lined polyethylene tank, durable bypass valve, and prefilled premium-grade resin. Besides the 30-day money-back, Aquasure stands behind its products by providing free life-time U.S. based tech support and a 5-year extended manufacturer warranty when you activate your product online within 60 days.
- Softener Type: Salt-based
- Grain Capacity: 64,000
- Purification Method: Reverse osmosis, sedimentation
- Dimensions: 13″L x 13″W x 62″H
- Warranty: 5-year
Aquasure Signature is the perfect solution for those looking for a water softener and filter combination that can handle up to 64,000 grains capacity. This robust duo ensures that not only is your water softened to perfection, but it also gets rid of any harmful impurities or contaminants during the purification process.
The unit is specifically designed for busy households with 4-6 bathrooms. It features intelligent regeneration technology that automatically adjusts water flow and salt levels based on usage, making it highly efficient and user-friendly.
Complete water treatment is ensured with the Aquasure Signature, which includes a Reverse Osmosis System and a digital metered control head that continuously monitors and adjusts filtering settings to guarantee you always have access to the purest drinking water.
Furthermore, with Aquasure’s extended 5-year manufacturer warranty, you can rest easy knowing that any defects that occur during this period will be taken care of.
- High capacity of 64,000 grains
- Made from durable, corrosion-resistant material
- Straightforward controls
- Auto regeneration
- It requires professional installation by a plumber
#4. Best Portable: On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Water Softener
- 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
The portable 16,000-grain water softener is a powerhouse in a small package, delivering exceptional performance while taking up minimal space. Its compact design allows it to fit snugly in tight spaces and simplifies installation, saving you both time and money.
This water softener is the perfect choice for those on the go or for RV owners, as it doesn’t require any tools or electricity to operate. It has a flow rate of 3 gallons per minute. The swift and effective water softening provides results that are comparable to more traditional systems but without professional installation costs.
Setting up the unit is a breeze, as it utilizes a standard hose connection that makes it easy to attach and run softened water through. With a handle on top, this water softener is highly portable, allowing you to enjoy softened water wherever you go.
- Easy to transport
- An easy-to-carry handle on top
- Brass Fittings
- Prevent scale build-up
- Some parts are plastic-made
#5. Best Electronic Descaler: Yarna Capacitive Water Descaler
- HOW IT WORKS BETTER: Yarna CWD24 is a Patented Water Descaler System designed to treat water for the whole house! Our descaling system treats water with electric pulses generated within the electronic unit and controlled by a micro-chip. These pulses are transmitted via our Ultra Flat Impulse Bands that are wrapped around the pipe and change the crystals in the water as it flows by, allowing for the breakdown of crystals that would otherwise buildup into limescale, which can break appliances.
- WHO BENEFITS FROM YARNA: We serve homeowners and small businesses by reducing the negative effects of hard water and protecting appliances. Our customers report cleaner pipes and faucets, lower costs for descaling and heating, and better overall water quality. Depending on the current condition of your plumbing and how large existing limescale deposits are, it may take up to three months to observe a significant improvement.
- EASY, CLEAN INSTALLATION: All you need is access to a minimum of 10" of free pipe space with a maximum pipe diameter of 1". Yarna water descaling system is completely DIY with no need for any tools or specialized help. Installation is simple, takes only 15 minutes and is 100% maintenance free. Our whole house water descaler works with any type of piping up to 1" thick including iron, copper, stainless steel, plastic, PVC, PE-x, and compound pipes.
- WHY DESCALING IS BETTER THAN SOFTENING: The Yarna CWD24 Water Descaler System won't eliminate wanted minerals from the water that are good for our bodies. The patented system allows the hardness level of water to remain unchanged before and after treatment, which mitigates the negative effects such as preventing minerals from forming scale deposits, which is the main disadvantage of hard water. Unlike traditional water softeners, Yarna does not require the use of salt or any water to be wasted.
- RISK-FREE 365 DAYS, 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: You will enjoy a limescale-free environment as long as our Yarna house water softener descaling system is installed. To that end, should you not be satisfied with the product's performance, you have a whole year to return it for a full refund!
- Softener Type: Electronic Descaler
- Wattage & Power Source: 4 watts (Corded Electric)
- Dimensions:9″L x 1.8″W x 2″H
- Warranty: 1-Year
The Yarna Water Descaler System provides an effective and affordable solution to limescale fouling. Unlike traditional water softeners, this electronic and salt-free alternative is equipped with electric pulses controlled by a microchip that reduces mineral buildup in pipes without stripping the water of its beneficial minerals.
One of the most significant benefits of the Yarna Water Descaler is its DIY installation process. The product is designed to be installed on virtually any type of pipe, and the installation process is simple and straightforward. With no maintenance required, this end-to-end solution is both effortless and cost-effective, saving you from costly repairs and maintenance bills.
With the Yarna Water Descaler System, you can rest assured that your pipes will remain free from mineral buildup, ensuring your water supply remains clean and healthy. The unit also comes with a 1-year warranty, providing added peace of mind for users.
- Best salt-free water softening alternative
- Easy & hassle-free installation
- Compact design (works on any pipe)
- It requires a power source near the installation point
How To Test Water Hardness?
Water hardness refers to the number of dissolved minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium ions, in water. These minerals can cause several issues such as scaling in pipes, reduced efficiency of appliances, and skin irritation. Hence, it is essential to test water hardness and determine the level of mineral content present in the water. Here are various methods to test water hardness.
One of the simplest and easiest methods of testing water hardness is the soap test. In this test, a small amount of soap is mixed with water, and if the water is hard, it will not lather easily. The soap will react with the dissolved minerals in the water, forming insoluble soap scum.
Titration is a common method used to determine water hardness. In this method, a reagent such as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) is added to the water sample, which reacts with the calcium and magnesium ions present in the water. The endpoint is determined by adding a color indicator that changes color when all the calcium and magnesium ions are complexed with the EDTA. The amount of EDTA used to react with the dissolved minerals is then used to calculate the water hardness.
Test strips are another popular method of testing water hardness. They are simple to use and provide quick results. These strips contain chemical reagents that react with the calcium and magnesium ions present in the water, changing color to indicate the level of water hardness. The intensity of the color change is proportional to the level of mineral content present in the water.
Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy
Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) is a highly sensitive and accurate method of testing water hardness. In this method, a water sample is atomized and then exposed to a light source, and the amount of light absorbed by the calcium and magnesium ions is measured. The amount of absorption is proportional to the number of dissolved minerals present in the water.
Types of Water Softeners
Salt-Based Water Softeners
These are the most common types of water softeners. They use ion exchange to remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium from hard water, replacing them with sodium ions. The softening process requires the use of salt which needs to be replenished periodically.
Salt-Free Water Softeners
These water softeners use a different technology than salt-based systems. Instead of removing the minerals from the water, they use a catalytic process to convert the minerals into a crystalline form that is unable to stick to surfaces. These systems do not require salt and are generally considered to be more eco-friendly.
Electronic Water Descalers
These water softeners use electronic pulses to prevent minerals from sticking to surfaces. They do not remove minerals from the water but rather alter the way they behave.
Hybrid Water Softeners
These water softeners combine two or more technologies to provide more comprehensive water treatment. For example, a hybrid system might use a salt-based softener in conjunction with a reverse osmosis system to remove minerals and impurities from the water.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Water Softener
Determine the hardness level of your water by getting it tested. This will help you choose the appropriate type and size of water softener.
Size of Water Softener
The size of the water softener depends on the hardness level of your water and the amount of water used in your home. Choose the right size to ensure that you have sufficient softened water available at all times.
Salt-based water softeners use salt for regeneration which is done periodically. Consider the frequency and amount of salt required for regeneration and the time it takes to complete the cycle.
Installation and Maintenance
Choose a water softener that is easy to install and maintain. Consider the cost and availability of replacement parts, filters, and the expertise required for installation and maintenance.
Consider the upfront cost of the water softener and the ongoing maintenance cost to ensure that it fits your budget.
Warranty and Service
Choose a water softener from a reputable brand with a good warranty and service plan to ensure that you can get help when needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Softened Water Safe to Drink?
Yes, softened water can be safely consumed; however, it is more a matter of personal taste. Some people prefer slightly hard water for drinking as they get used to the taste of it. Salt-softened water also increases the amount of sodium present. For those on low-sodium diets, this could be an issue; however, most people should not experience any adverse effects from drinking softened water.
What is the advantage of a salt-free water softener?
Most notably, a salt-free water softener works without adding sodium and salts to the hard water. This makes it a much more eco-friendly option. This also means there’s no need for maintenance like refilling with new salt every few months which can be time-consuming and costly over time.
How long do water softeners last?
A good quality water softener should last between 10-20 years with proper maintenance. To ensure the longest life possible, it is important to have regular maintenance performed by a qualified technician at least once a year. This will help keep the system running smoothly and prevent any potential problems or damages down the road.