Best Water Softeners in 2021
Updated 14-01-2021 – Charlie Miller
What to Consider When Buying a Water Softener?
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.
Water Softeners Features to Consider
Salt – 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.
Best Water Softener UK
|Best Water Softener||Key Features||Price|
|Harvey’s Crown Water Softener||Runs entirely on water pressure, small, installation kit, 5 year warranty.||££££|
|EcoPlus Whole House Water Filter System||Suitable for up to 4 people, wall mounted softener.||££|
|Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener||Uses variety of salts, automatic regeneration allowing it to work continuously.||££|
|ScaleWatcher 2 Star||Low running costs, up to £5 a year, 10 year warranty, no filter or salt changing.||£|
|Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener||Perfect under a work surface, 4 modes of regeneration.||£££|
|Monarch Midi FreeFlow Water Softener||Suitable for up to 7 people, Detects leaks in pluming system.||£££|
|Tapworks AD11 Water Softener Meter||Monitors water usage and adapts, installation kit, 48 hour power loss back up.||£££|
|Scalemaster Softline SL10 Water Softener||Suitable for up to 4 people, installation kit, minimum flow rate of 5LPM and max of 20LPM.||££|
|Water2Buy W2B800 Meter Water Softener||Suitable for up to 7-10 people, 3680 litres a day, with a delay timer.||£££|
|BWT WS355 Standard Electronic Water Softener||Discreet enough to fit in a cupboard, includes 15mm fitting kit & rotary value.||£££|
1 Harvey’s Crown Water Softener
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.
- Clear instructions for an easier installation process
- Includes two blocks of salt
- Comes with a water hardness test kit
2 EcoPlus Whole House Water Filter System
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.
- 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
3 Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener
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.
- 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
4 ScaleWatcher 2 Star
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. For more great home products check out our guide on air purifiers.
- 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
5 Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener
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.
- 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
6 Monarch Midi FreeFlow Water Softener
The link for this product is to the newer model, we will look to update the review accordingly for any new features. 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.
- 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
7 Tapworks AD11 Water Softener Meter
The link for this product is to the newer version of this product, we will look to update the review to highlight any new features, though it still remains one of our top choices. 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.
- 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
8 Scalemaster Softline SL10 Water Softener
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.
- 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
9 Water2Buy W2B800 Meter Water Softener
The Water2Buy W2B800 is an excellent, yet budget-friendly softener. With the ability to remove 100% of all limescale deposits, this variant from Water2Buy should definitely be one of your top picks. The installation is simple and does not require a lot of effort. Simply plug it into your water source and the hard water gets de-mineralized for soft water. A plus point of this softener is that it does not affect the force or pressure of the water leading to your property. The only noticeable difference is the quality of soft water.
The capacity of the Water2Buy W2B800 is fantastic and it can easily demineralize over 3680 litres of water daily. This quantity of water is easily sufficient for a medium-sized family of 7 to 10 people with regular uses in washing, cooking, and showers. In addition to all other benefits, this softener from Water2Buy is noiseless and works in the background. You can also set a delay timer for it to start at 3 am for optimum utilization. The dimensions of this fantastic product are depth 225 mm x height 11000 mm x length 500 mm.
- 100% removal of limescale
- Delayed start for sound sleep
- Does not affect water pressure
10 BWT WS355 Standard Electronic Water Softener
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.
- 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
Water Softener Buying Guide
Hard water is a known problem-creator in almost all homes. It causes spots of the glassware and crockery, a film on shower curtains, and build up in pipes and appliances that rely on water. Water softeners can help descale the water and aids in the smooth running of machines.
What Types of Water Softeners Are There?
Several brands sell water softeners. However, you need to know the differences between each and then choose the best one for your home.
- Salt-free systems
- Salt-based systems
- Electromagnet softener or descaler
- Dual Tank Water softener
How to Select The Best Water Softener For Your Home?
By now you already know the different types of water softeners available in the market. Apart from just understanding how the systems work, you should look at the other considerations.
Water Softener Certification:
Always look for accreditation. Many companies make softeners but are not authorized to do so. Before spending your hard-earned money on softeners, it is still a good practice to check that the brand is certified and has followed all the norms, rules, and regulations governing protocol. Certificates prove that the parts and equipment have passed a safety and quality check. These certificates guarantee that the claims of the manufacturer are valid, and you can trust the word of the brand or company. Manufacturing and safety need to be carefully observed so that you can protect your home and family from harm. Accidents caused due to softeners and other mechanical equipment can prove fatal. Hence, you should always check the certification and credentials of the company before purchasing a softener. If you’re interested in other home items, see our picks on electric showers.
How Much Is A Water Softener?
Different manufacturers may sell a similar product at different rates. Before you finalize on a softener, always check the price from another manufacturer. The quotes that you receive will usually be based on the same norms warranty on the control valve and the resin tank, service structures, regeneration cycles, and the types of control that the equipment offers.
Established companies usually give higher quotes since their softeners have been tried and tested for several years. You should also pay attention to the costs associated with installation. Some softeners can only be installed with the help of a plumber, while some need an engineer from the manufacturer to be present. These charges would be over and above the cost of purchasing the softener. You should also check the monthly maintenance charge before buying.
If you live in an area that has a water recycling system that uses water from sewage plants, it would be a good idea to select an annual maintenance plan with the manufacturer so that you can be assured that the resin and sodium levels to your home are entirely under control.
Restrictions on Water Softeners
It is of no use buying a water softener that is not going to be of any use to you. Before selecting one, you should attempt to get in touch with a representative from the local municipality. Many times, information about water softening measures for citizens is available on government sites. This information usually includes the names of plants and softeners, the sizes and the specifics required to get safe water to homes.
If you are unaware of how to get this information, book an appointment with a local representative, and carry some of the information brochures from different companies. Once you get an idea of the kind of water softener you need, you would be able to look at other aspects like size, type, and requirements.
Some municipalities emphasize on not using water softeners since these rely on salt and resin. If your town has these restrictions, it would be a good idea for you to search for alternatives like salt-free softeners, or softening shower heads for washing, and treating water with aluminum sulfate before spending money and purchasing one outright.
How Does A Water Softener Affect Selling My Home?
If you are planning to sell your house shortly, it is a good idea to consider ways and means to increase the price of the home without making too many changes to it. Houses that have water softeners previously installed always get higher price points than ones that run on hard water, since the pipes, appliances, and household parts are safe from damage and do not need to be replaced every few years.
Installing a water softener helps save time and money in the long term, and if you plan to sell your home in the future, installing a water softener unit before the house goes on the real estate block is an excellent way to get a higher return on your investment. If you’re intersted in other home products, check out our guide on steam irons.
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