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Is a Pentair Water Softener a Good Buy?

This Pentair water softener will tell you everything you need to know before you think about purchasing.

Pentair isn’t limited to just water softeners. They sell everything from pool and spa equipment to pest control spray nozzles. Does this lack of specialization affect the quality of their water softeners? Or does it improve it? Read more to find out.

In this article, we’ll be looking at some of their most popular residential water treatment systems, the OmniFilter High Efficiency Cabinet Series line of softeners, as well as the 5600SXT series softener.

We’ll also tell you what other people are saying about these softeners, referencing online reviews from actual customers, to tell you what you should look out for.

About Pentair

As we mentioned above, Pentair isn’t just a water softening company. In fact, they were founded in 1966 in St. Paul Minnesota by five men (“penta”) aiming to build high-altitude hot air balloons (“air”). Nowadays, they’re dedicated to improving water quality around the world with their products, even though their name hasn’t changed. Furthermore, they aren’t a small, five-man company anymore. They’re the furthest thing from it.

Pentair is a publicly traded company (PNR) that had $3 billion worth of revenue in 2019. They have over 100 locations in 25 countries, and more than 9,000 employees.

When it comes specifically to water softening, though, being such a big company can either be a good or a bad thing.

OmniFilter High Efficiency Cabinet Series Review

The Pentair Cabinet series, true to its name, aims to offer effective water softening without having to take up a lot of space with a bulky water softening unit. But that’s not all: It also claims to be so easy to install you can DIY. The series line comes in four different units, with four different grain capacities: 26,000, 32,000, 36,000, and 40,000. Most families will opt for the 32,000 or 36,000 units, while the 40,000 services those large households with six or more people.

The Cabinet Series is fairly small, at only 12.5” x 44.4,” and they can attach to any incoming ¾” water line in your home.

However, is it high efficiency compared to other models on the market? For all of its claims about being small and DIY, the website doesn’t seem to offer a lot of info on whether or not the softeners outperform other salt-based ion-exchange softeners.

Instead, it claims to reduce water heater energy use by up to 30%, which is pretty muchthe average for all water softeners.

Pentair 5600SXT Review

What about the Pentair 5600SXT? This is one of Pentair’s other popular models.

Through and through, this is your standard ion exchange water softener. It comes in three different sizes: one cubic foot, one and a half cubic feet, and two cubic feet. 

However, the 5600SXT can be programmed to regenerate between a 7 to 12 day cycle -- while interesting, this is a little bit behind other competitors on the market, which will regenerate on an as-needed basis.

It does have a flow rate of 20gpm with a backwash of 7gpm, which is pretty good, but really nothing that far out of the ordinary.

Finally, let’s get to the most important point of all...

Quick Note on Price for Cabinet Series and Pentair 5600SXT...

How much do these systems cost?

Water softeners generally cost anywhere from $500 to $4000, for just the system (on the lower-end) to a top-of-the-line softener with professional installation (on the higher end).

Unfortunately, it isn’t clear from the website alone how much these systems cost. For us, at least, that’s a red flag. We recommend that you steer clear of inviting salesmen into your home to price a system that you know little to nothing about, because those salesmen are going to be incentivized to sell you the most expensive unit that they have. If you don’t know a lot about water softening, it’s going to be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

If you’re set on buying one of these units, make sure you get a ballpark quote from PentAir before they send a rep over.

What Are People Saying about Pentair Online?

Unfortunately, a lot of the reviews we could find online about Pentair were negative.

This Yelp page, mostly on their pool products, complains about products lasting only as long as their warranties and customer service that’s less than responsive. Naturally, they have a1.5 star rating.

Their Better Business Bureau page only has 2 reviews, but both areoverwhelmingly negative.

Finally, the aptly-named “Pissed Consumer” has 33 one-star reviews. Some of the negative reviews involve their pool products, others involve their water softeners.

If their hands are full with just the pool customers, though, it’s unlikely that someone with a water softening issue will get much professional, specific help from anyone in tech support. When evaluating a company, those factors are very important. And, again, unfortunately it doesn’t appear that Pentair has a good track record in that regard.

Furthermore, after reviewing Indeed and GlassDoor reviews from former and current employees, it’s clear that Pentair has gone (and probably will continue to go) through many transitions in structure and leadership.

Conclusion: Pentair Water Softener Review

In this article, we looked at both the Pentair High-Efficiency Cabinet Series and the 5600SXT. We also scoured the internet for reviews from former customers (and even former employees).

The overall picture isn’t great. While the softeners seem to be generally reliable and standard, nothing is really separating them from the rest of the pack. The Cabinet Series, while smaller than your average softener, doesn’t necessarily function at a higher-efficiency than most other ion exchange models (or at least Pentair isn’t claiming it is).

And another red flag that we don’t really like: There are no listed prices on their website for the models. Instead, like a lot of water softening companies that try to upsell you on units that you don’t really need, they send a representative to do a consultation to determine what unit would suit you best.

Worst of all, there are a lot of bad reviews for Pentair, citing everything from their pool products to their management structure.

All in all, there’s not enough here to recommend Pentair water softeners, and in our opinion there’s more than enough to suggest you should stay away.

If you want to check out some alternatives, feel free to stop by our store and check out our line of no-salt water conditioners andwhole house water filters. FilterSmart uses template assisted crystallization instead of ion exchange, so that means no salt and no waste.


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