If you have hard water in your home, you know the struggles! Constant limescale buildup, dry hair and skin, and inefficient appliances are just some of the casualties of hard water. Luckily, there are some inexpensive fixes for the issue. While salt-based softeners are most popular, salt-free water conditioners are also very useful in some situations. This guide will help you find the best salt free water softener for your needs, and explain why you may wish to use one over a traditional salt-based softener.
Quick Picks for the Best Salt Free Water Softener 2018
Key Features: Electric water descaler; removes limescale buildup; affordable and compact
Price Range: $$
The Eddy Water Descaler is a good salt-free water softener from a trusted brand. In our tests and research, we determined it to be the best salt free water softener overall. It prevents limescale buildup and protects appliances, without removing healthy minerals from your drinking water. It’s simple to install and use, and requires virtually no maintenance. It’s a compact design, but still has the capacity to descale your entire water system.
The Eddy is backed by a 12-month satisfaction guarantee. After that, it’s protected with a lifetime repair or replace warranty! So, despite the low cost, this is a product that the manufacturer truly stands behind. And if you read customer salt free water softener reviews, you’ll see that most people rate this unit quite highly.
Price Range: $
The iSpring ED2000 is the best salt free water softener for those on a budget. It costs less than $200, yet it’s a well-built, durable and effective water conditioner. It’s designed to handle very hard water of up to 10-19 grains, and has the capacity to soften water for your entire system.
The unit is also very easy to install and use. Once setup, it requires no maintenance, and it works with just about any type of piping. It is very energy efficient, and in fact it can help reduce your total energy consumption by improving the efficiency of appliances! The device is protected with lifetime support, and a money-back guarantee for the first 12 months.
Key Features: Combines filter, softener and ultraviolet filter in one unit; whole-house capacity; well reviewed
Price Range: $$$$
The Aquasana EQ is a whole-house salt-free water softener. It’s also an advanced water filter, with multiple stages of filtration including a UV light filter to kill viruses. As you can tell from the picture, this is a LARGE unit that’s designed to install under your sink or in a utility room, and supply water to the entire house.
The Aquasana helps to soften water without the use of salt, and also removes chemicals like chlorine, heavy metals and other contaminants. The salt-free softener helps protect your appliances and reduce limescale, while the filtration tech helps improve the quality of your drinking water. If you have the budget for it, this is the best salt free water softener on the market.
There are two types of water softeners: salt-based, which are more common, and salt-free.
Salt-based water softeners actually remove hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium. This results in softer water with a reduced mineral content. In many cases, it will increase the sodium content of the water, however.
Salt-free water softeners really aren’t water softeners at all. They’re best referred to as water conditioners. They do not remove hard minerals. Instead, they stop the minerals from sticking to your pipes and appliances, by crystallizing the hard minerals and altering their structure.
Which is better? It depends what your goals are. If you intend to simply protect your pipes and appliances from mineral buildup, a salt-free water conditioner will be your best bet. If you want to actually remove hard minerals (to soften your shower water, for instance), then a traditional salt-based unit will be more effective.
Salt free water conditioners are primarily used to protect appliances and reduce the buildup of limescale. Some benefits include:
Protects Appliances – the hard minerals found in hard water can build up inside appliances that use water (such as washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters). Over time, this can cause the appliance to function less efficiently, and can even cause damage. Given the high expense of replacing appliances, and the high cost of electricity needed to run an inefficient appliance, it’s highly beneficial to use a water conditioner if you have hard water.
Cleans More Effectively – hard water can leave spots on dishes fresh out of the dishwasher. It can also reduce the effectiveness of washing machines, and even results in more detergent being necessary for the same load of clothes.
Reduces Limescale Buildup – limescale and mineral deposits can cause unsightly stains on faucets, sinks, showers and more. While typically not harmful in any way, they can make an otherwise sparkling kitchen look a bit lackluster – and they can be hard to remove. The best salt free water softener will help by neutralizing the hard minerals, preventing them from sticking to surfaces.
Less Sodium – salt-based units can actually increase the amount of sodium in your drinking water. For those with cardiovascular health concerns, this can be a problem. Salt-free units do not alter salt levels, so they may be a better choice for those watching their salt intake.
Flow Rate: We chose models that had a relatively high flow rate, so that they wouldn’t affect water pressure.
Filter Capacity: We picked units that had a high filter capacity, so they would last a long time.
Reviews: We chose units that had earned good ratings in salt free water softener reviews – both from customers and from industry experts.
Durability & Value: We looked at the long-term outlook for each unit to determine how long it would likely last, and how much value it offers over the course of its lifetime.