Best Water Softeners for City Water

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Best Overall
Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, White
Best Value
Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grains Whole House Water Softener w/High Efficiency Digital Metered Control Head (48,000 Grains)
Best Softener Filter Combo
Aquasure Signature Series Water Purification Unit - Chlorine Reduction, Fiberglass Material, Multicolor, 4-6 Bathroom Homes, 64,000 Grain Hardness Rating, Digital Metered Control Head
Best Portable
On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener with Drinking Water Safe Brass Fittings (NOT made in China, assembled by U.S. Workers in Indiana
Best Electronic Descaler
YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler Whole House Solution - Alternative No Salt Water Softener System, Reduces The Effects of Limescale and Hard Water [CWD24, Max 1" Pipe]
Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, White
Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grains Whole House Water Softener w/High Efficiency Digital Metered Control Head (48,000 Grains)
Aquasure Signature Series Water Purification Unit - Chlorine Reduction, Fiberglass Material, Multicolor, 4-6 Bathroom Homes, 64,000 Grain Hardness Rating, Digital Metered Control Head
On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener with Drinking Water Safe Brass Fittings (NOT made in China, assembled by U.S. Workers in Indiana
YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler Whole House Solution - Alternative No Salt Water Softener System, Reduces The Effects of Limescale and Hard Water [CWD24, Max 1" Pipe]
$739.00
$549.50
$1,699.99
$270.00
$189.99
Amazon Prime
-
-
Amazon Prime
-
Best Overall
Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, White
Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, White
$739.00
Amazon Prime
Best Value
Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grains Whole House Water Softener w/High Efficiency Digital Metered Control Head (48,000 Grains)
Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grains Whole House Water Softener w/High Efficiency Digital Metered Control Head (48,000 Grains)
$549.50
-
Best Softener Filter Combo
Aquasure Signature Series Water Purification Unit - Chlorine Reduction, Fiberglass Material, Multicolor, 4-6 Bathroom Homes, 64,000 Grain Hardness Rating, Digital Metered Control Head
Aquasure Signature Series Water Purification Unit - Chlorine Reduction, Fiberglass Material, Multicolor, 4-6 Bathroom Homes, 64,000 Grain Hardness Rating, Digital Metered Control Head
$1,699.99
-
Best Portable
On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener with Drinking Water Safe Brass Fittings (NOT made in China, assembled by U.S. Workers in Indiana
On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Portable Compact Double Standard 16,000 Grain Water Softener with Drinking Water Safe Brass Fittings (NOT made in China, assembled by U.S. Workers in Indiana
$270.00
Amazon Prime
Best Electronic Descaler
YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler Whole House Solution - Alternative No Salt Water Softener System, Reduces The Effects of Limescale and Hard Water [CWD24, Max 1" Pipe]
YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler Whole House Solution - Alternative No Salt Water Softener System, Reduces The Effects of Limescale and Hard Water [CWD24, Max 1" Pipe]
$189.99
-

#1. Best Overall: Whirlpool Whole House Water Softener

Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Softener | Salt & Water Saving Technology | NSF Certified | Automatic Whole House Soft Water Regeneration, White
  • 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.

Pros

  • Includes a step-by-step installation kit
  • Operates efficiently without any manual intervention
  • Effectively reduces water waste
  • Hassle-free cleaning

Cons

  • The unit does require frequent salt refills to work optimally

#2. Best Value: Aquasure Harmony City Water Softener 

Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grains Whole House Water Softener w/High Efficiency Digital Metered Control Head (48,000 Grains)
  • Reduces hardness in the water, and eliminates scale, spot build up for the entire home.
  • Rated to treat 48,000 Grains of Hardness by removing skin damaging hard minerals like iron and magnesium that clog up the skin pore and causes irritation.
  • Equipped with Aquatrol Advanced Digital On-Demand Meter Control Head, in and out bypass, 1" NPT Male Adapter, and pre-filled premium quality resin.
  • Featured, time delayed, metered and manual double backwash for optimum regeneration, cleaning, and performance.
  • Every Aquasure Water Softener is constructed of High strength corrosion resistant fiberglass lined polyethylene tank, durable bypass valve and prefilled premium grade resin. It also comes with 5 year manufacturer warranty
  • 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.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • High-capacity tank
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Detachable bypass valve

Cons

  • It lacks an indicator for salt level

#3. Best Softener & Filter Combo: Aquasure Signature Complete Water Treatment

Aquasure Signature Series Water Purification Unit - Chlorine Reduction, Fiberglass Material, Multicolor, 4-6 Bathroom Homes, 64,000 Grain Hardness Rating, Digital Metered Control Head
  • 💧 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.

Pros

  • High capacity of 64,000 grains
  • Made from durable, corrosion-resistant material
  • Straightforward controls
  • Auto regeneration

Cons

  • It requires professional installation by a plumber

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

  • 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.

Pros

  • Easy to transport
  • An easy-to-carry handle on top
  • Brass Fittings
  • Prevent scale build-up

Cons

  • Some parts are plastic-made

#5. Best Electronic Descaler: Yarna Capacitive Water Descaler

Sale
YARNA Capacitive Electronic Water Descaler Whole House Solution - Alternative No Salt Water Softener System, Reduces The Effects of Limescale and Hard Water [CWD24, Max 1" Pipe]
  • HOW IT WORKS: Yarna CWD24 is a Patented alternative water softner for homes that 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 which breakdown crystals that would otherwise buildup into limescale, which can break appliances.
  • WHO BENEFITS FROM YARNA: Our customers report cleaner pipes and faucets, lower costs for descaling and heating, and better overall water quality using our whole house water softener system alternative. Depending on the current condition of your plumbing, it may take up to three months to observe a significant improvement
  • EASY INSTALLATION: All you need is access to a minimum of 10" of free pipe space with a maximum pipe diameter of 1". Yarna whole house water descaler is completely DIY with no need for any tools or specialized help. Our whole house water descaler works with any type of piping up to 1" thick
  • WHY DESCALING IS BETTER THAN SOFTENING: The Yarna CWD24 water softener descaling system won't eliminate beneficial minerals from water. Additionally, unlike traditional whole house water softeners, Yarna does not require the use of salt and does not allow water to be wasted
  • 365 DAYS MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: 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.

Pros

  • Best salt-free water softening alternative
  • Easy & hassle-free installation
  • Compact design (works on any pipe)
  • Affordable

Cons

  • 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.

Soap Test

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 Method

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

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

Water Hardness

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.

Regeneration Cycle

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.

Cost

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.