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Do Water Conditioners Systems Really Work? | Water Conditioner

Do salt-free water conditioners even work? In short: yes, and they might be more effective than all other salt-free water conditioning systems.  

There seem to be a number of arguments against the efficacy of salt-free water softeners. Detractors mainly take the following stances:

1) semantics: (“salt-free water softeners aren’t technically ‘water softeners,’ so it’s dishonest to market them as such; they’re actually ‘water conditioners’” – we’ll dive in to why that’s, frankly, a boneheaded stance that doesn’t really help anyone but salt-based water softener salesmen).  We call our salt free systems softeners that condition the water. It’s also called an “anti-scale” media. 

2) guilt-by-association: (“magnetic water softeners don’t really work, so neither doanysalt-free water softeners”). For the record, we agree that magnetic water softeners don’t really work, and we’ve touched on it in our article titled, “Do electromagnetic water softeners even work?”)

3) an ignorance of the data: (“I can’t find any studies supporting salt-free water softeners, so clearly they don’t work” – in reality, they didn’t even search for them. If they did, they wouldn’t have missed it).

Salt-Free Water Conditioners Really Do Work

Plain and simple, a variety of different types of salt-free water softenerswork, and there’s a huge demand for them.


Mara Wiest, Dr. Peter Fox, Dr. Lee Wontae, and Tim Thomure of Arizona State University published an evaluation of alternatives to domestic ion exchange water softeners. In it, they report that the Southwest United States suffers the worst when it comes to hard water: Freshwater sources there “are considered very hard, ranging from 80 to 280 mg/l.” The most common type of water softening device, as you may already know, is a salt-based ion exchange water softener, which releases an unnecessary amount of salt into the waste stream and your main water line. This not only damages the environment but also damages your health.


 Not to mention the destruction excess salt from salt based water softeners are causing to local farmers.  In Fact many farming communities are starting to bad salt based water softeners because the sodium levels are making things difficult for local farmers.  So salt free systems are really the way things are going both health and environmental wise. Weather local water dealers like it or not, salt based softeners are getting phased out and in some cases are forced to.  Of course, it is not surprising that culligan and many salt based dealers are up in arms and in some cases trying to sue local governments that are imposing their will.

According to theHarvard School of Public Health, “too much sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It can also cause calcium losses, some of which may be pulled from bone. Most Americans consume at least 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day, or about 3400 mg of sodium, which contains far more than our bodies need.” If it’s likely that you’re already consuming too much sodium, it’s nonsensical to want to consume more of it through your drinking water, which is why they’ll probably also install a reverse osmosis system in your kitchen along with the water softener (you’ll be charged a lot extra, of course).

Naturally, if you’ve been selling these water softeners for decades, you don’t want to think that there are rapidly developing alternatives that are on the cutting edge of the scientific literature. So, as of today, when you search, “Do salt-free water softeners work?” you get a response saying, “Salt-free water softenersDON’Tsoften water – they condition it.”

This is purely a semantic argument. You can call it “softening” or “conditioning,” but for all intents and purposes, the outcome is the same. We’re going to show you why.

The First Argument Against Salt-Free Water Softeners: They’re “Conditioners.”

Instead of answering the question, “Do salt-free water softeners work?” many companies redirect the question entirely: “What exactlyisa water softener?”

It would be too difficult – and probably against their vested interest – to say “yes, salt-free water softenersdowork.” Instead, they argue, because salt-free water conditioners don’t actually get rid of the calcium and magnesium present in hard water, you can’t rightfully classify them as “water softeners.”

And, at first, this seems to make perfect sense. If hard water is water that’s laced with magnesium and calcium, and the water that’s filtered through salt-free water softenersstillcontains magnesium and calcium, then it’s still “technically” hard water. Kind of.

You see, salt-free water softeners like our FS1000 and FS1500 systems work through a process called template-assisted crystallization. We’ve gone over this time and time again in our articles, so we’ll keep this explanation short. Essentially, our water softening systems change the structures of magnesium and calcium so that they remain suspended in the water. They don’t form limescale. They don’t dry out your skin and hair. Most importantly, they aren’t replaced with unhealthy compounds like sodium – and our systems have an incredibly small impact on the environment.




Template assisted crystallization process 

The Definition of “Water Softener”

In our eyes, there isn’t any problem. Water conditioners and water softeners are one in the same: they both get rid of hard water (or the damaging effects of hard water).

According toDictionary.com, a water softener is defined as follows:

  • any of a group of substances that when added to water containing calcium and magnesium ions cause the ions to precipitate orchange their usual properties: used in the purification of water for the laboratory, and for giving water more efficient sudsing ability with soap.

The usual properties of magnesium and calcium in water, then, are changed by salt-free water softeners (or conditioners or whatever you want to call them).

The essence is the same. You don’t want to get rid of magnesium and calcium in hard water. Magnesium and calcium are healthy minerals that a majority of Americans actually supplement into their diet. It’s agoodthing that they’re in your water.

Just because salt-free water softeners don’t get rid of magnesium and calcium doesn’t mean that they can’t be classified as “water softeners,” nor can that be used as an argument for their inefficacy. Salt-free water softeners, as we’ve seen in the ASU study,work – and they work really, really well.

The thing is that salt-free water softeners are sometimes associated with magnetic water softeners. They’re all kind of thrown into the same category, and some people use that association to try and say that, because magnetic water softeners don’t work, neither do salt-free water softeners.

The Second Argument Against Salt-Free Water Softeners: They’re Magnetic


Not all salt-free water softeners use magnetism or electromagnetism to reduce the effects of hard water, but it’s easy to throw them all into the same bin and call it trash.

This is the classic “guilt by association” fallacy. Essentially, A is B, and A is also C. Therefore, all Cs are As. Here are some examples:

  • Dave is a jerk. Dave has brown hair. All brown-haired people are jerks.

  • Lance Armstrong lied about doping. Lance Armstrong is a cyclist. All cyclists lie about doping.

  • And, of course: magnetic water softeners don’t work. Magnetic water softeners are salt-free water softeners. Salt-free water softeners don’t work.

Here at FilterSmart, we agree that magnetic water softeners don’t work. In fact, we wrote an article about it not too long ago.

But it’s a stretch to say that all salt-free water softeners work through the same mechanism (as if all catalytic softeners or conditioners are the same). It’s just not true, and because it doesn’t even make sense we won’t go into it much further.

As we’ll see in this next point, our template-assisted crystallization water softeners are actuallymoreeffective at removing limescale than any other salt free softening device.


The infamous Arizona State University Study On Alternatives to ion exchange 

Alternative conditioning devices” title=

Testing the 3 devices on some of the hardest water in the country; Arizona tap water.

Testing Apparatus

The testing protocol to determine just how effective salt free softener are at reducing scale.

”TAC Eletcromagnetic


The study concluded that TAC was 99% effective in hard water reduction on the coils.  Electromagnetic and Electronically induced performed poorly.  


The Third Argument Against Water Softeners: “Where’s the Data?”

As we’ve already seen above, there is highly promising data from Arizona State University showing the demand for alternatives to salt-based water softeners.

But, it turns out that they actually organized a study that evaluated the efficacy of certain alternatives against the standard (salt-based ion exchange water softeners). The result: template-assisted crystallization systems removed an astonishingly higher amount of limescale than any other system on the market.


At temperatures ranging from 60c to 80c, TAC (template-assisted crystallization) systems outperformed all other treatment systems.

However, TAC is still a relatively new way to remove limescale. More studies will be done to further prove their efficacy.

For now, in case you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should choose a salt-based or salt-free water softener, we have something that we hope will sway you beside that fact we use the best scale reduction TAC media:

 90-Day Moneyback Guarantee

We’re so confident in our units that we offer a 100% moneyback guarantee if you’re still unsatisfied at the end of 90 days. The only way to know whether or not salt free water softeners work is to test one out in your own home.

If it has the desired results, it’s safe to say that it works. If it doesn’t (or if you don’t like it), simply issue a refund. It’s that easy.


Salt-based water softener companies like to say that salt-free water softeners don’t work. They’ll blame it on any number of reasons:

  1. Semantics (“Salt free water softeners are actually water conditioners”). The reality is that conditioners and softeners are essentially the same thing – except with an effective conditioner, you don’t have to worry about unnecessary sodium in your diet.

  2. Guilt by association (“Magnetic water softeners are salt-free, so all salt-free water softeners are magnetic”). This is a guilt by association fallacy. As we’ve shown with our data, it doesn’t make any sense. Salt free water softeners work. Plain and simple.

  3. Lack of data (“I didn’t search for any data, and I didn’t want to find it”). This is a similar stance we’ve heard. Just because template-assisted crystallization systems are new to the market doesn’t mean there isn’tanydata out there showing how effective they can be. There is. We’ve shown you at least one third-party study in this article.

Ultimately, salt free water softenersdowork. Whether you want to call it conditioning or softening is kind of beside the point. If it gets the job done, then it gets the job done.

If you’re interested in asking us any questions about salt-free water softeners, talk to one of our representatives at 866-455-9989.

Also, be sure to check outour store for a vast variety of products guaranteed to suit your water softening (and/or conditioning) needs.

Questions? Concerns? Feel free to get in touch:

Call us: 866.455.9989

Email us: sales@filtersmart.com

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