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Water Softener: Rent or Buy

When does it make more sense to rent a water softener over buying one? And when does it make more sense to buy?

In this article, we’re going to look at a couple common scenarios to better help you determine whether you should rent or buy a water softener.

If you aren’t interested in diving into the exact numbers, here’s the gist of it:in short, if you’re renting a home for only a few months (or up to a year), and you’re planning to move soon, it might make more sense to rent a water softener rather than buy one. If you’re looking to stay in your current location for the long-term, though, it always makes sense to buy rather than rent.

How Much Do Water Softeners Cost?

First, let’s get a general idea of how much you might spend on a water softener.

A water softener’s price can change based on a number of factors: installation costs, maintenance costs, and thetype of water softener, to name a few.

According to Angie’s List, you can expect to pay anywhere from $400 for water softener installation if you do it yourself or hire a cheap local plumber, all the way up to $4,000 for a specialized professional installation. The average self-reported price for installation, though, is about ~$1600.

 water softener rent or buy

Certain water softeners, like salt-based water softeners, are going to require higher installation and maintenance costs because of the nature ofhow they work. In order to install an ion-exchange salt-based system, you need a discharge valve and access to a power source for regeneration. Also, you’ll need to regularly refill the salt for the mineral tank, which will rack up over time.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question since it largely depends on the hardness of your water. If you have only a minor hard water problem, you don’t need a higher-end intensive system; if your water is so hard it hurts to shower, you’re going to need to spend some extra cash. There are lots of different water softeners available on the market, sodo some research to find out which is best for you.

As a general rule of thumb, though, expect to pay anywhere from $1k-$3k for the system, and an additional $1k for yearly maintenance, particularly if you have to buy bags of salt all the time.

Water softeners are expensive, but not anywhere near as expensive as regularly replacing your appliances because of malfunctions due to limescale build-up. The average lifespan of a water softener is about 15-20 years, and theaverage homeowner moves once every 13.3 years. Rest assured: this is a purchase you’ll only make once for every home you buy; unless, of course, you’re on the move often… 

Read More>> The difference between a water softener and water filter?

Should I Just Rent A Water Softener?

Renting a water softener will lessen some of the costs associated with outright ownership. If you’re renting your home, it might also make sense to rent your water softener.

If know you’re only going to be renting your home for a short period of time, you’re naturally not going to care as much about the long-term value and health of your appliances. After all, they aren’t reallyyours; that’s something your landlord needs to worry about.

It’s difficult to find an average rental price for water softeners. It will likely depend upon the availability of water softening companies in and around your city. Some expensive systems rent for a fraction of what they would normally cost, but keep in mind that installation costs are often not included in that monthly rental cost.

You might have to pay for the installation of a system that you don’t actually own, which, as we’ve seen, can add up fairly quickly.

An Important Note for Renters

If you’re renting an apartment or home, you probably don’t have the right to cut into the main water line in order to install a water softener in the first place. 

Always check with your landlord before any renovations.

An Important Note for Home-Owners

Many water softening companies will tell you that a high-quality water softener will increase the value of your home, but this is unfortunately incorrect. On the official “appliance-mechanicals” section of Fannie Mae’sUniform Residential Appraisal Report, water softeners aren’t even listed.

However, much like solar panels and great landscaping, a newer water softening system could be used as an important selling point when you’re listing your home. Even though it technically won’t increase the value in the 

Image result for water softener rent or buy

Renting vs. Buying Water Softeners: Pros and Cons

Here are the pros and cons of buying versus renting a water softener. Over the long run, buying a water softener always makes more sense, but there are certain instances when you might want to rent.



  • Will cost less in the long run.

  • Will increase the life-span of your other appliances.

  • Could be used as a selling point when you’re looking to move (but won’t, unfortunately, increase the value).


  • High start-up and installation costs, depending on the system.




  • Lower start-up costs

  • Can temporarily alleviate your hard water problem without a huge investment.

  • You can find expensive, higher-end systems for a low monthly rate.

  • Since you might not even be allowed to install a water softening system inside of a rental property that you don’t own, you might be better off renting a lower-end system that doesn’t require cutting into the main water line.



  • You might have to pay for the installation costs, even if you don’t own it.

  • Some water softening companies don’t even offer their product for rent.


If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to call a FilterSmart representative at 866-455-9989.

Also, if you’re looking into buying a water softening system for your home, check out ourproducts page to see if any are a good fit for you. Since our systems utilize template-assisted crystallization rather than ion exchange, the maintenance costs will be much lower. You won’t have to buy a new bag of salt every month.


If you’re looking to buy or rent a water softener, keep in mind that the FilterSmart systems, like most salt-free water softeners or conditioners, are going to cost much less in the long run. You’ll save money on salt because you won’t have to constantly refill it every month or so. There are lower installation costs because a template-assisted crystallization system doesn’t require a discharge valve -- or electricity. Most importantly, we back up our systems with a lifetime guarantee; all you have to do is occasionally replace the filter media.


Questions? Concerns? Feel free to get in touch:

Call us: 866.455.9989

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