Save 50% Plus an EXTRA 5% Off With Code: save5

Best Water Softener System Buying Guide | Filtersmart

 

Best Water Softener System Buying Guide

Looking through ratings, comprison chart and reviews you might be wondering which is the best water softener should you buy? Do you need a salt-free water softener? A salt-based water softener? What about a dual-tank water softener? Electromagnetic or ion exchange? Is a reverse osmosis system a “softener?” 

In short, what’s the best water softener type out there? And how can you tell?

Water Softeners: A Quick Introduction

 

“Water

(An Example Of A Traditional Salt Based Water Softener)

A water softener, true to its name, softens hard water. Hard water is water that, for whatever reason, has a high concentration of magnesium and calcium. There aretonsof methods to either get rid of this magnesium and calcium or to lessen its effects.

We’ve already reviewed the various systems and processes by which water softeners work, like distillation, reverse osmosis, electromagnetism, ion exchange, and – of course, template-assisted crystallization (which ourFS1000 system uses in order to affect the crystalline structure of magnesium and calcium so that it remains suspended in the water).

If you want to learn more about the scientific (or, in some cases, non-scientific) basis of those systems, read our article, “How does a Water Softener Work?”

Now, let’s talk about the old-fashioned way to sell water softeners and how you can avoid some basic hard seling that local water softener salesmen use in order to sell you a product that 1) you might not need and 2) doesn’t work.

Local Whole Home Water Softener Dealers: Avoid High Pressure Sale Tactics

This, at first, might seem off-topic, but I’ll tie it back to the main point so that you can understand exactly how it relates.

Subscription Services vs. One-Time Payments

In recent years, you’ve probably seen the rise of subscription-based services. Think Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, FabFitFun, Amazon Prime, Ipsy, Blue Apron, and Spotify. The list goes on and on – and the lesson is clear: If you can get people to sign up for a recurring service rather than make a one-time payment, your business is going to make more money. In a lot of cases, it makes perfect sense. It’s not like you could buy Netflix for a one-time payment of $10 (although thatwouldbe nice, wouldn’t it?). Netflix is constantly updating their database and software, giving you more and more value so, naturally, you’re paying for that increase in value every month.

In fact, according to the Stanford Graduate School of Business,every business will soon be a subscription-based business. The market for subscription models has grown “by more than 100% a year, increasing from $57 million in sales in 2011 to $2.6 billion in 2016.”

Think about it: if a salesman shows up at your front door, he’s probably trying to sell you a subscription to something, right? The local newspaper, cable, electric.

There’s nothing wrong with subscription models, per se, but if youcouldbuy Netflix for a one-time payment of $10, wouldn’t you be angry if you had been subscribed for the past three years?

Well, unfortunately, if you’ve bought a water softener from a local salesman, you could argue that, well, you kind of did.

“Water

 

“Hello, Ma’am. Mind if I Test Your Water Hardness in Your Home? It’ll Only Take a Minute.”

That line above – that’s the basis of selling water softeners the old-fashioned way.

If someone offers you a free service, like testing your tap for “hard water,” (which sounds dangerous and undesirable) you’re probably not going to turn them down. Even if you don’t plan on buying whatever they’re selling, it couldn’t hurt to know whether or not you have a hard water problem, right?

And so you let them in and the test comes back positive: youdohave a hard water problem, and you decide – since the salesman was so kind to identify the problem for you – you’ll just buy whatever water softener he’s selling. He’s doing you a favor, after all, so you might as well return it.

Besides, he’s incredibly pushy: He knows that you don’t know anything about hard water, so he insists that it’s a problem you have to get rid ofimmediately. He’s even surprised that you haven’t suffered any health issues as a result of drinking, bathing, and showering in hard water for this long.

Now there are two problems: 1) hard water isn’t bad for you; in fact, the magnesium and calcium are actuallygoodfor you in a lot of ways, and 2) instead of selling youa salt-free, template-assisted crystallization water softener, the salesman installs a salt-based water softener (which takes the healthy magnesium and calcium ions in hard water and replaces them with unhealthy sodium ions, a dietary problem that we’ve talked about time and time again in our articles), and signs you up for a service that replaces the sodium tank every month.

He not only forced you into buying something that you don’t really need, but he also turned the business of water softening into a subscription model, costing you a ton of value.

The Best Alternatives to Salt-Based Water Softeners

If salt-based water softeners are off the table, what are the best salt-free water softeners of 2019?

“East

The FS500 from FilterSmart

Of course, the first product we have to mention is theFS500 from FilterSmart. Through the process of template-assisted crystallization, the FS500 changes the way that limescale forms on appliances. It doesn’t remove the magnesium and calcium ions in the water; it just breaks them down into smaller crystalline structures, keeping them suspended in water for up to 72 hours, thus preventing limescale build-up.

What Makes it Special?

Our filters are produced using a specialty coconut shell-based activated carbon called AquaSorb HS. It’s perfect for low conductivity and exceptionally high purity. Together with Jacobi Carbons, we’ve developed a carbon that we hope sets the industry standard for excellence.

Anti-Scale Salt Free Water Softener/Conditioner 

Similar to the FS500, this water softener doesn’t remove magnesium and calcium from your water. It only changes the way that hard water reacts with appliances.

Water Softeners vs. Anti-Scale Conditioners: What’s the Difference? 

“Water

Basically, they all treat theeffects of calcium and magnesium in hard water, but not the calcium and magnesium itself.  A traditional water softener uses ion exchange, a process that replaces the calcium and magnesium with sodium, thus softening the water. If you were to take a test strip and test for hardness, the rating should be zero.    

A water conditioner sometimes refers to either a salt-based water softener or a salt free water softener.   As with a salt free water system, the calcium and magnesium are "conditioned" so that they cannot create scale. That’s why they’re also sometimes referred to as anti-scale systems.  

There’s an ongoing debate in the water treatment industry on what to call the salt free systems.  We tend to still use the word "softener" as it treats the hardness. The definition of “water softener” according toDictionary.com is, “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.” Since salt-free systems change the usual properties of calcium and magnesium by preventing limescale build-up.

The objective of this debate – which is usually pushed by salt-based water softener companies – is to confuse the buyer. If people hear the terms “anti-scale system” or “water conditioner,” they might think that those systems don’t treat hard water at all, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

To avoid this confusion, we call our systems, “water softeners.” They effectively do the exact same thing, so why change the language?

Out with the Old

“Common

Traditionally, this is how the water treatment industry would work: Someone would come into your home and test your water hardness. And, because the majority of water in America has some calcium and magnesium, it would usually pull up some hardness rating.  It was easy to sell you on monthly salt subscriptions or monthly exchange tanks – the same subscription model we discussed above. For years, traditional water softener dealers were getting away with convincing home-owners that hard water is a contaminant. Let's make this very clear: Hard water is in no way, shape, or form, a "contaminant.” In fact, it’s not bad for you at all.

Because, with traditional salt-based systems, the calcium and magnesium is taken out and replaced with sodium during the process of ion exchange, usually the next step is to add a reverse osmosis system in the kitchen in order to remove the sodium and make it safe for drinking.

Essentially, a salesman came into your home and convinced you that magnesium and calcium (which 43% of Americansactually takesupplementsof), sold you a system to replace that magnesium and calcium with sodium (whichno one thinks is good for you in excess), and then sold you another system to remove that sodium from your drinking water.

What’s worse is that, in most cases, these water softeners had no carbon filter, so every other outlet in your home was using chlorinated water. 

In with the New

Nowadays, people are more concerned about removing chlorine, chloramine, volatile organic compounds, pharmaceuticals, and other chemical compounds in the water than with removing natural minerals like calcium and magnesium.  Some of the purest spring water wells in the world are filled with these healthy natural minerals.  

Traditional water softeners were highly effective in treating the negative effects of these natural minerals, but not so great at treating all of the other unhealthy contaminants in the water. That’s why we use a granular activated carbon filter to remove and treat real "contaminants.”

To treat the effects of hard water, we sell an anti-scale, salt-free water softener that addresses the effects of hard water without the need to add salt or sodium.  So, the “new way” of water treatment is to filter the water and treat the hardness with anti-scale media, like with our FS5000, a best-selling water treatment and filter combo.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

FILTERSMART

WATER SOFTENERS

One system for all water in the home

Yes

No

Wastes electricity and water

No

Yes

Reduces scale build up

Yes

Yes

Removes chlorine and dirt

Yes

No

Environmentally friendly

Yes

No

Requires maintenance

No

Yes

Safe for plants and pets

Yes

No

Good for cleaning and dishwashing

Yes

Yes

Requires additional system for drinking water

No

Yes

Produces salty, slimy, slippery water

No

Yes

Pollutes with salt brine discharge

No

Yes

Banned by law in many communities

No

Yes

Removes healthy nutrients from water

No

Yes

Lifetime Guaranteed

Yes

No

 

Buy Water Softener Systems Locally vs Online

“Money

Local distributors sometimes sell traditional water softeners for thousands of dollars – and that doesn’t include installation costs. When you factor in monthly subscriptions, you might be looking at another thousand dollars a year on top of that.

With online sellers like FilterSmart, you buy direct from the manufacturer – with, of course, manufacturer-direct pricing. That allows us to keep the costs extremely low and cut out the middle men (local dealers) entirely, passing those savings on to the consumer. The only hurdle is the installation.  Fortunately, with our non-electric water systems, you don't need an electrical hookup or even a drain, so the installation is easy to do for a DIY homeowner with basic plumbing knowledge or, at worst, a certified plumber.

Local water dealers will try and give no salt systems a bad rap because there’s no monthly maintenance cost or service repairs. That’s because you don’tneedmonthly maintenance costs or service repairs; no-salt systems simply hold up better in the long term. Meanwhile, salt systems are having constant issues with electrical, brine tank, water pressure problems and more.  

But if you’re dead set on a salt-based system, Amazon truly is the cheapest option for quality salt-based systems.

The Benefits of Choosing Online Dealers like FilterSmart

“Benefits

The new way of doing things cuts out all the things that were wrong with the water treatment industry. It makes for a much healthier, environmentally low-cost solution to homeowners.  We were one of the first companies that only sold salt-free water systems, so we’re glad to say that we’re a central part of this new wave of water treatment.

We’ve been selling online successfully for over 8 years now. We’ve consistently ended the debate on whether or not salt-free water softeners work. We were one of the first to sell a filter/softener combination and all of our no-salt softeners and carbon filters have at least a 4.5 or higher rating on Amazon and our website (which are verified by a third-party).

The main reason our systems have always had such high customer satisfaction is because we tell them the truth on what our salt-free systems do and don’t do. They will not remove calcium and magnesium, but they will eliminate the negative effects of those naturally-occurring minerals – like creating limescale on your pipes and appliances. If you test the water with our systems, it will still register as "hard.” We tell people this all the time.

The biggest noticeable difference with a no-salt water softener like ours is that there is no slimy, slippery feeling after taking a shower. Some people love it and some people hate it.  If you love that feeling, maybe our systems aren’t the best option for you. 

Your skin still will feel soft as there won't be chlorine in the water to "dry" your skin out, so there are no worries there. 

Do I Even Need a Water Softener?

If you live in an area with a low mineral content – like the Pacific Northwest or Northeast – you can get away with just filtering the water. If you can, get your water tested for hardness to see if the hardness levels are high enough to cause limescale build-up. We have a lot of customers that order our carbon filters and then later on down the line order our salt-free systems to address the hardness. 

Other Things to Think About

Beside the anti-scale media on the market, there are no other methods (magnetic or electromagnetic) that has been tested for effectiveness.Arizona State University published one of the best third party tests in the industry that tested the effectiveness of all the different water treatment devices. They showed that by far anti-scale media using the template-assisted crystallization method is the most successful. The test not funded by anyone in the industry, and it showed a 99% effectiveness in keeping coils free from limescale. Our systems really work.

There are No True Comparison Sites

Every comparison site goes into two categories. First, water softener companies will disguise themselves behind a different domain name (which will then list their system as #1 and other ambiguous products down the line with lower ratings and reviews).  If you click on the "About Us" page, you will often see that they are operated by another company. They’re just trying toappearnon-biased.

The other is an affiliate site. These will usually list products that are only sold on Amazon because they get an affiliate fee for listing the products on their site. Any company not interested in using affiliates won’t be reviewed by the site owner. Affiliate sites aren’t interested in reviewing the best products on the market; only the ones they can get commission for.  

So, in short, there are no true comparison sites. It’s really up to the homeowner to research the best buying decision for themselves.

How Can FilterSmart Help?

“East

We help customers all the time guiding them through the process of choosing a new water softener system. With so much conflicting information, there are always endless perspectives and options. We always try to be as upfront as possible about salt-free systems and traditional salt-based systems. In the end, it’s up to the homeowner to make the final decision. Most of the anti-scale systems on the market get the same media from the same few manufacturers. Warranty and components are usually the big differentiating factor.

At FilterSmart, we offer lifetime warranty on all tanks and valve heads and our carbon filters have the longest capacity at 1 million gallons.

How Long do Salt-Free Softener Media Last?

Our salt-free anti-scale media is also an industry best. It’s the most affordable and longest-lasting media that we have tested over the years. We have been in business for over 8 years, with thousands of salt-free water softener tanks sold online, and we’ve only had to replace a handful of salt-free water softener tanks. Withall salt-free softening media, the longevity depends on water quality and hardness. We generally tell people salt-free media should last over ten years depending on those factors. Replacing the pre-filter for sediment and having a carbon filter prior to the salt-free media we have found extends the life of the anti-scale media.

Luckily that’s exactlywhat our systems do. If you’re interested, try it free for 90 days. If you’re not 100% satisfied, we’ll give you a full refund.

 

Questions? Concerns? Feel free to get in touch:

Call us: 866.455.9989

Email us: sales@filtersmart.com 

Or you can simply:

Learn-More-CTA-button

As seen on:

Search

z