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10 Best Water Softeners to Buy in 2018

The Monarch Midi unit has a high flow rate of 83LPM and is designed with a self-protection system that detects when there are issues with your plumbing system, stores your data in the event of a power cut and remembers your water usage.

This model is great value for money because it performs two tasks at once, filtering and softening the water, and costs a minimal amount to run. It’s perfect for small households looking for an eco-friendly solution.

An efficient and long-lasting water softener unit that’s designed to work quietly and smoothly. It’s a compact model that can fit easily underneath the kitchen sink or work surface, so it’s perfect for smaller homes.

Much of the UK is subject to hard water, meaning the water supply has a high calcium carbonate content. This can lead to limescale to build up in appliances and affect the quality of clothing once it’s been washed, as well as reducing the efficiency of boilers. If you’ve decided to combat the problem by purchasing a water softener system, you may be overwhelmed by the range of options available which can make choosing the right unit for your needs difficult.

There are three categories of water softener solutions, excluding filter systems which use reverse osmosis to purify water, which include:

  • Salt-based systems – Salt-based water softeners use sodium to replace hard water ions to soften the water. These units need a tank for resin beads as well as a salt chamber or brine tank which should be kept topped up to keep it working effectively. A process known as regeneration refreshes the resin beads which in turn soften the water. These systems are low-maintenance as they’re typically timer or metre-based. The units can be larger and need to be installed near a drain so that the salt tank waste can be drained off.
  • Salt-free systems – Salt-free units use nano-technology to change the atomic structure of the water in order to soften it, usually in moderately hard water areas. If limescale has already built up in the plumbing system of your home, this form of water softener is highly effective in removing this from the plumbing to make sure the situation doesn’t get any worse. The running costs of salt-free systems are usually lower, and they are easy to maintain, as well as there being no need for them to be installed near a drain. They’re also considered to be eco-friendlier, but they might not be as effective in removing the hardness of the water.
  • Electro-magnetic systems – Electro-magnetic systems are the smallest units available so they’re ideal for space saving, and they work by using magnetic wires around the water pipes to change the structure of the water molecules to soften the water. This type of system is ideal for low to medium hard water and is also environmentally-friendly. Electro-magnetic systems are easy to install and are low maintenance, as well as being cheap to run.

What to consider when buying a water softener?

There are a few different factors to consider when buying a water softener, which are:

Salt – As mentioned above, most water softeners work through the use of salt to remove minerals in the water. Water softener salts usually come in either salt ‘cake’ form or in crystalline form. Some filters will be able to function with any form of salt, while others will specify the type of salt needed, so this should be checked beforehand, so you can choose the most practical option for you depending on the mineral content of the water in your local area.

Capacity – Larger tanks which have larger filters will typically last for a longer period of time without requiring any maintenance than smaller tanks. This impacts how much the unit will cost to run, not just for the device but also the filters it will use.

Efficiency – Efficiency is key to any unit you decide to purchase for the best water softening effects. Some important factors are the size of the reservoir, the quantity of salt it can contain and therefore how long each supply will last before it needs to be topped up, as well as how long the filters will last before they need to be replaced.

Mineral-dense water can cause serious problems to a building’s plumbing and to water-based appliances, as well as causing the body to accumulate potentially harmful amounts of minerals. The following list of water softeners are some of the best on the market to suit a range of needs and water types.

A great quality water softener with a 5-year warranty, the Harvey’s Crown Water Softener is a non-electric block salt water softener to supply the home with an unlimited and constant supply of soft water. The smaller size makes this an ideal addition to the home, particularly for flats, as well as offices. It’s easy to store and maintain and is a long-lasting model that relies solely on water pressure to function so there’s no need for electricity. The two tanks use 50% less water and can regenerate at any time, plus the inner mechanisms can be removed with ease to accommodate piping and your home’s water system.

Key Features:

  • Clear instructions for an easier installation process
  • Includes two blocks of salt
  • Comes with a water hardness test kit

This Water Filter Man EcoPlus Whole House Water Filter System is unique in that it doesn’t replace or remove minerals and chemicals to soften the water. Instead, it uses a process known as Template Assisted Crystallisation that converts the minerals in hard water to miniscule crystals. The EcoPlus model is well-suited to smaller homes of up to four people and those who want to benefit from water purification as well as softening. The filter doesn’t need replacing for around three years and is 99.6% effective in descaling hard water to protect pipe work.

Key Features:

  • Compact design that is wall-mounted to save on space
  • Doesn’t affect the water pressure
  • Can descale and soften over 750,000 litres of water before replacements are required

The versatility of the Water2Buy W2B200 model makes it ideal for home use. It’s incredibly efficient at eliminating limescale and the compact 18kg unit means it’s not going to be taking up valuable space in your house. The W2B200 supplies enough water each day for a family of four and the quiet processing won’t cause a distraction day to day. This model is designed to be capable of using all types of salt, including tablets and blocks, and it’ll only use salt when regenerating to enhance efficiency, regenerating automatically when a set amount of water has been softened.

Key Features:

  • Versatile unit that use different types of softening salt
  • Has automatic regeneration which enables the unit to work continually with minimal input from you
  • Supplies up to 1,250 litres of softened water each day

Designed to last up to 20 years, the ScaleWatcher 2 Star unit is easy to install without the need to hire a plumber and is compact enough that it won’t take up a lot of space in your home. The ScaleWatcher model uses patented audio frequency signals to dissolve the minerals in hard water, but the low electricity consumption means it’s cheap to run. The 2 Star model is lightweight, so it can be mounted to the wall easily too – the unit should be mounted close to a power outlet and up to a metre away from the pipe.

Key Features:

  • Uses radio signals for 98% efficiency in descaling hard water
  • Low running costs of around £5 per year
  • No need to purchase softening salts or change filters

The Fleck 8 litre 5600 SXT model is renowned for its simplicity and durability, with a great lifespan that makes it a brilliant investment. The unit features four modes of operation, which include delayed meter and time clock regeneration, day of the week regeneration and immediate meter regeneration. It features a backlit electronic display that will enable you to clearly see the volume before the next regeneration. The SXT can reach a water flow rate of up to 20 gallons per minute that’s suitable for most households.

Key Features:

  • Comes with the necessary accessories for simple installation
  • Has four modes of regeneration, such as delayed metre regeneration
  • Perfect for installation under a work surface

The Monarch Midi FreeFlow Water Softener unit has one of the highest flow rates – up to 83LPM – of any water softener in the UK, with a meter control that only regenerates the resin that’s been used. This innovative system remembers your water usage patterns to help you make savings on water use and salt and stores your data so if you have a power cut it will still be stored. It’s a shorter and more compact model that’s space-saving, but it still works to soften water for four to seven people in moderately hard water areas.

Key Features:

  • Comes with 22mm hoses and 15 valves for easy combi boiler installation
  • Detects leaks in your plumbing system
  • Perfect for families of four to seven people, allowing 160 litres per day

The Tapworks AD11 Water Softener is designed to help save you money over time, while also providing cleaner and softer water each day. The unit can soften up to 2,266 litres of water each day with high flow rates. The AD11 model includes all the valves and flexi connections you’ll need to install it, so it’s quick and efficient to get started with, and has simple controls for ease of use. It also has a remote diagnostics facility, so if you have any issues with your water softener, it’s easy to resolve them.

Key Features:

  • Smart technology monitors your water usage to adapt to your needs
  • Includes a 48-hour power loss back-up
  • Easy to use and maintain, with simple installation

Perfect for use with a combi boiler, the Softline SL10 unit operates just with hydraulic pressure without the need for motors and wires. The unit has been designed specifically for use in the home, meaning it’s small and compacted design takes up little storage space. It’s energy and water efficient, helping to prolong the life of your appliances and providing your home with softer, cleaner water that’s free from minerals.

Key Features:

  • Includes a 15mm installation kit
  • Features an 8-litre vessel that’s suitable for up to four people
  • Has a minimum flow rate of 5LPM and a maximum flow rate of 20LPM

The Water2Buy W2B500 Water Softener provides an average of 1,250 litres of soft water each day and is designed to be used with all types of softening salts, including crystal, tablet or blocks. This unit offers excellent efficiency as it only uses salt when it’s regenerating to clean the patented IonX Resin parts. The W2B500 has a flow rate of 118 litres per minute and is effective in preserving the life and functionality of your plumbing and appliances. It’s a highly efficient water softener that can easily be fitted without the need for a plumber.

Key Features:

  • Designed for households with one to seven people
  • Works with water hardness levels of up to 500PPM
  • Uses ion exchange technology to remove hard minerals

The technically advanced BWT WS355 Standard Electronic Water Softener has a digital control system with an easy at-a-glance indicator to show the capacity remaining so you can ensure a continuous supply of softened water. This unit has been designed for standard flow plumbing systems, with an installation kit included with the system. The WS355 also has a memory backup facility which allows it to restore all of the key settings, should a temporary power outage of up to 72 hours occur.

Key Features:

  • Family-sized water softener that’s discreet enough to fit in a cupboard
  • Includes a 15mm fitting kit for convenient installation
  • Has a rotary valve for maximum dependability