After testing and reviewing all the salt-free water softeners on the market to eliminate hard water problems, we decided that the following units were best based on hardness removal capability, flow rate, and brand quality factors.
#1 Springwell Futuresoft
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#2 Quality Water Treatment SoftPro Elite
#3 US Water Greenwave Salt-Free Softener
When looking at salt-free water softeners on the market, it can be hard to know which is best for your home.
Some salt-free systems will spare water pressure, while others will work better with naturally less hard water.
Some salt-free water softeners come with carbon pre-filters that reduce other contaminants and condition your water; some will need to be replaced sooner.
When picking the best no-salt water system, ensuring it will work as effectively for your home as a traditional salt-based water softener is critical.
We tested and reviewed all the water softeners on the market, evaluating them based on the most important criteria: hardness removal capability, the process used to prevent scale formation, flow rate, and brand quality.
The following reviews and guide are our top recommendations to help you choose the best no-salt water softener for your home’s needs with minimal scale and pure soft water.
Table of Contents
Best Salt-Free Water Softener List
- #1 Best Overall Salt-Free: Springwell Futuresoft
- #2 Runner Up: Quality Water Treatment SoftPro Elite Salt-Free
- #3 Largest Capacity: US Water Systems Greenwave Salt-Free
- #4 Budget Option: Evo Water Systems E-2000
- #5 Best Electronic Descaler: Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
Best Salt-Free Water Softeners Compared
|Product||Springwell Futuresoft||SoftPro Elite||USWS Greenwave||EVO Water E-2000||Aquasana Salt Free||APEC Futura Salt Free||Filtersmart FS500||Eddy Electronic Descaler
|Max Hardness||81 GPG||17 GPM||81 GPM||75 GPM||25 GPM||25 GPM||Doesn't say||20 GPM|
|Flow Rate||20 GPM||12 GPM||25 GPM||15 GPM||7 GPM||10 GPM||15 GPM||10 GPM|
|Warranty||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime||6 years||10 years||Lifetime||Lifetime|
Top Rated Salt-Free Water Softeners Reviewed
- Springwell Futuresoft
- SoftPro Elite
- USWS Greenwave
- EVO Water E-2000
- Aquasana Salt Free
- APEC Futura Salt Free
- Filtersmart FS500
- Eddy Electronic Descaler
1. Springwell Futuresoft
We rated the Springwell Futuresoft as our top recommendation because of its impressive hardness capability at 81 GPG and optimal flow rate at 20 GPM. This water softener can compete even with salt-based units, and Springwell offers a lifetime warranty.
- Process: TAC
- Max Hardness: 81 GPG
- Flow Rate: 20 GPM
- Warranty: Lifetime
There are many reasons why this is our top pick for the best no-salt water softening system.
It prevents an impressive amount of scale buildup without compromising flow and works in areas with very hard water.
Many other reviews also list the Springwell FutureSoft as the top soft water system.
Like many other softeners in our top picks, this system uses Template-Assisted Crystallization (TAC) technology.
This process takes the hardness-causing minerals in your water, like calcium and magnesium, and converts them to crystals that won’t stick to your plumbing, appliances, etc. – which means they won’t form scale.
Below are the main features that make this unit a great choice:
Scale prevention: With the ability to prevent 99.6% of scale formation, it’s safe to say that this system works.
GPG rating: You won’t have to worry about whether this product can handle your water – it’s rated for areas with up to 81 GPG.
Flow rate: This model ensures you’ll have adequate water pressure for your needs with a 12 GPM pour rate.
Durability and Maintenance: Durability is no concern – a lifetime warranty backs this product. Aside from changing out the sediment pre-filter every 6-9 months, minimal maintenance is required.
Certifications: This product is not NSF certified, but you can trust in SpringWell’s 20 years of experience.
Price: Like most salt-free water softeners, you can get this system in two sizes – one intended for houses with 1-3 bathrooms and one with 4-6 bathrooms.
The price of the smaller unit is almost $1400, which makes it one of the most expensive salt-free water softeners on the list, but you can be sure that you’re paying for a superior product.
This is a great product if you live somewhere with very hard water and want the same performance as a salt-based water softener system without maintenance.
- Prevents 99.6% of scale formation
- 12 GPM flow rate
- Works with both well and city water
- Easy to install
- Minimum maintenance aside from changing the sediment filter
- Lifetime warranty on the parts and tanks and a 6-month money-back guarantee
- The tank is heavy to handle
See our Springwell Futuresoft Review or Springwell Review for more information.
2. Quality Water Treatment SoftPro Elite No-Salt
Quality Water Treatment’s SoftPro Elite is our runner-up pick because of its quality scale reduction, affordable price, and minimal maintenance required to operate the unit. It doesn’t have the capability that the Futuresoft or USWS models have, but it’s a good bang for the buck.
- Process: NAC
- Max Hardness: 17 GPG
- Flow Rate: 12 GPM
- Warranty: Lifetime
The SoftPro Elite saltless water softener removes 99.6% of scale formation without needing salt or electricity by neutralizing hard water minerals. It’s also eco-friendly, producing no water waste.
It uses scale control technology to neutralize minerals like calcium and magnesium in your water supply, turning them into crystals so they don’t stick to your appliances.
This water softener is best for homes with 1-5 bedrooms with a hardness level of up to 17 GPG. It’s not quite as effective as Springwell’s model, but it’s a great budget option.
It also comes with a lifetime warranty and a 6-month money-back guarantee.
The main features we liked about this product are:
Scale Prevention: This no-salt water softener unit removes 99% of scale using SCT technology.
GPG Rating: It has a lower GPG rating than other models but still covers hardness up to 17 GPG.
Flow Rate: It has an average water pour rate of around 12 GPM, which should do the job in most homes.
Durability & Maintenance: The no-salt water softener has a lifetime warranty on the tank and valve, lasting around six years. It’s also virtually maintenance-free.
Certifications: They went through the hassle of getting their no-salt softening system IAMPO certified to assure customers that it has a 3rd party certification to back up the claims.
Price: One of the more affordable salt-free water softeners at $1200.
If you’re looking for a high-quality no-salt water softening system at a price that’s a little less than our other top picks, this unit is a good choice to prevent scale formation in your home.
- Removes 99% of scale formation
- No water waste produced
- Comes with a lifetime warranty and installation kit
- Options to add on additional filters
- Low hardness capability up to 17 GPG
- Only one size is available
- Not quite as effective as our top pick
See our SoftPro Elite Water Softener Review for more information.
3. US Water Systems Greenwave Salt-Free Softener
US Water Systems is a top brand in the water treatment industry. This no-salt softener has a whopping 81 GPG hardness capability while boasting 97% effectiveness in removing scale formation.
Due to this large capacity of changing hardness-causing minerals while maintaining a great flow rate, we think this is one of the best water softeners on the market.
- Process: NAC
- Max Hardness: 81 GPG
- Flow Rate: 25 GPM
- Warranty: Lifetime
If you’re looking for a no-salt water conditioner with the largest capacity to change hardness-causing minerals while maintaining a great flow rate, then the Greenwave from USWS is your best bang for the buck.
The Greenwave uses nucleation-assisted crystallization (NAC) to change the structure of hardness-causing minerals into tiny micro-crystals that prevent scale formation on household appliances.
This system can treat water with up to 81 GPG hardness, which is on par with a salt-based water softener.
Alongside the ability to prevent scale, this system maintains an excellent household water flow rate of up to 25 GPM. This means the system won’t cause a drop in your household water pressure when installed.
The main features we love about this conditioner are the following:
- It’s eco-friendly, producing zero water waste and using no electricity
- It prevents scale inside of plumbing and on all household fixtures where water is used
- It has a highly efficient vortech tank which evens the flow of water and increases the contact time with the NAC media making it one of the most efficient and longest-lasting no-salt conditioners on the market.
- It comes in four sizes: a 10 GPM unit with a 9 x 52.5-inch tank, a 15 GPM unit with a 10 x 58.5-inch tank, a 20 GPM unit with a 12 x 56.5-inch tank, and a 25 GPM unit with a 13 x 58.5-inch tank.
- It’s easy to install and comes with step-by-step instructions for 10 phases of installation with images.
- 81 GPG hardness removal capability
- Doesn’t reduce water flow rate with up to 25 GPM
- Eco Friendly with no waste
- Quality parts and technology
- Higher priced conditioner
- No sediment pre-filter included
4. Evo Water Softeners E-2000
We like the Evo E-2000 as an alternative to tank-based conditioners and water softeners. It uses cartridges instead of a tank to minimize scale and is an affordable, easy-to-install water conditioner that works effectively.
- Process: TAC
- Max Hardness: 75 GPG
- Flow Rate: 15 GPM
- Warranty: Lifetime
The Evo E-2000 is a cartridge-based water conditioner that offers an alternative option to other tank-based systems.
It contains two cartridges- a sediment filter and a TAC cartridge- the sediment filter removes any sediment, such as rust, sand, silt, or clay. The template-assisted crystallization cartridge works to change the structure of hardness-causing minerals like calcium and magnesium.
The benefit of having a cartridge-based system compared to a tank is that it takes up less space and doesn’t need to backwash or require cleaning a tank. This salt-free water system looks more like a whole-house water filter since it has cartridges and is easier to install than tank-based systems.
It has a 75 GPG hardness capability which means that it can prevent scale formation in water with up to 75 grains per gallon while offering a flow rate of 15 GPM, which is pretty solid compared to other competing models.
Lastly, we think EVO Water Systems is a quality brand with good customer service. They offer a 120-day satisfaction guarantee on the E-2000 water softeners and a limited lifetime warranty.
- Very affordable
- High hardness capacity at 75 GPG
- Very little maintenance
- Compact conditioner that saves space
- Not ideal for very hard water
- Need to change the filters occasionally
- Some prefer a tank-based system instead of a cartridge.
5. Aquasana Salt-Free Conditioner
Aquasana’s Salt-Free conditioner is another good option if you want a budget model and have a small house or apartment.
It effectively reduces scale formation, and we love that it can upgrade to a combination softener and filtration system in one unit.
The only downside is it has a smaller hardness removal capability at 25 GPG, so it’s not ideal for very hard water or larger homes.
- Process: NAC
- Max Hardness: 25 GPG
- Flow Rate: 7 GPM
- Warranty: Lifetime
We like Aquasana’s no-salt conditioner because it’s a good budget option offering quality scale removal for smaller homes and medium hardness.
This unit uses scale control media (SCM) to alter the structure of hard water ions, making them unable to stick to household appliances and form scale. This means that when the softening component of this unit changes the mineral structure, it will pass through your water and into the drain without causing harm to your plumbing and appliances.
The system has a sediment pre-filter to catch debris, sand, silt, and rust. Then the nucleation-assisted crystallization softening media changes the structure of hardness-causing minerals as the water flows into your household pipes.
The best part about Aquasana’s salt-free water softeners is that you can make it a complete water treatment solution by adding a whole-house water filter and UV purification to eliminate hard water and contaminants in one device.
Some of the main features we like include the following:
Scale prevention: This system performs top-of-the-line with 99.6% scale prevention.
GPG rating: It has a lower 25 GPG capability which means it’s ideal for smaller homes and medium levels of hardness.
Flow rate: There is a moderate reduction to a 7 GPM pour rate, but this should be sufficient for all but the largest homes.
Durability and maintenance: The SCM system is designed to be replaced every six years, and the product comes with a 6-year manufacturer’s warranty. The sediment pre-filter should also be replaced every 6-9 months, and Aquasana does recommend having a plumber do the installation.
Certifications: Aquasana is one of the leading brands in the water industry, and even though this product is not NSF-certified, you can trust the brand.
Price: The $800 price tag is much more affordable than some other systems, even when you factor in replacing it every six years.
Overall, if you want quality scale prevention on appliances like hot water heaters at half the price, this is a fantastic saltless water softener product to consider. You should ensure the GPG rating will work with the water in your area to ensure maximum efficiency, and the lower pour rate is best suited for smaller households.
- 99.6% scale prevention
- Can upgrade to a combo filter-softener system
- 6-year warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee
- Brand confidence
- Needs a plumber to install
- 7 GPM flow rate
- 6-year expected lifespan
- 25 GPG maximum
See our complete Aquasana water conditioner review here.
6. APEC Futura Salt-Free
The APEC Futura is another quality, no-salt water conditioner for smaller homes with low to medium hardness. It has a lower max hardness capability at 25 GPG but maintains a quality flow rate and good water scale reductions for smaller hardness levels.
- Process: TAC
- Max Hardness: 25 GPG
- Flow Rate: 10 GPM
- Warranty: 10 years
With the FUTURA-10, you’ll get significant mineral reduction and water hardness through the ceramic TAC technology while maintaining a reasonable pour rate, and you can also count on the carbon pre-filter to remove chlorine, and bad tastes, odors, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from your drinking water.
The main features we liked about this model include the following:
Scale prevention: The carbon pre-filter and ceramic TAC system remove 100% of manganese, iron, and oils while reducing chlorine to 2 ppm and copper to 1.3 mg/L. It also prevents scale formation for up to 25 GPG.
GPG rating: With a GPG rating of 25, this system has a lower capacity than others on this list, but it should still work well in many areas.
Flow rate: You don’t have to worry about a sharp reduction in pressure with this water softener system – your pour rate will stay at 10 GPM.
Durability and maintenance: Unlike the other top models, you have to replace the ceramic media every 3-5 years in this system, and the carbon pre-filter should be replaced every 6-9 months. The tank and parts come with a 10-year warranty.
Certifications: While this product has not been independently certified, APEC has provided quality water systems for over 20 years.
Price: At around $1,150, you’ll save a little upfront compared to the top two models, but don’t forget to factor in the cost of media replacement at $550 every 3-5 years.
The main benefit of this salt-free water softening unit is the built-in carbon filter. Unlike the filter-softener combo systems, you still get the aesthetic advantages of carbon filtration without spending a fortune on a combo model.
This softener is ideal for those who want the best of both worlds on a budget.
With a GPG rating of 25, this system will also be best for those who fall under that water hardness level.
- Prevents most scale formation
- A built-in carbon filtration system
- Cheaper than a combo filter-softener system
- 10 GPM flow rate
- 10-year warranty
- Simple Installation
- 25 GPG hardness limit
- Doesn’t do as much for mineral stain prevention
- Must replace ceramic media every 3-5 years
- Still a bit pricey
7. Filtersmart FS500
The Filtersmart FS500 makes our list because it offers quality scale prevention, a lifetime warranty, and a solid brand reputation. The only thing we don’t like about this model is the price point as it’s high priced compared to similar features from competing models.
- Process: TAC
- Max Hardness: Doesn’t specify
- Flow Rate: 12-15 GPM
- Warranty: Lifetime
The Filtersmart softener uses TAC technology to prevent most scale buildup without touching the flow rate, and it also has both sediment and granulated activated carbon (GAC) filters built-in.
After testing and reviewing this product, we found these main features to be the most notable:
Scale prevention: The TAC media used in this softener system was found to prevent at least 90% of scale by a study from the University of Arizona.
GPG rating: The GPG rating for this product has not been published by the manufacturer.
Flow rate: With this system, you won’t have to compromise on flow to eliminate hard water – the flow rate is maintained at 12 GPM.
Durability and maintenance: You won’t have to worry about replacing this water softener system with its lifetime warranty. Besides replacing the pre-filter every 8-10 months, there’s minimal maintenance.
Certifications: While the product’s claims of water conditioning haven’t been evaluated (aside from the UA study), the TAC media itself is WQA certified, and the other components are NSF-certified.
Price: This filter comes in the high price range of around $1800. We think it’s a bit overpriced compared to our other recommendations.
If you want the added benefit of a GAC filter without paying full price for a combo system, then this is a great choice.
Likewise, this system won’t affect your water pressure if you have a large household with a higher GPM requirement.
Without knowing the GPG rating, it’s hard to guarantee this model will work on extremely hard water sources. It might be best to avoid if you have water with a GPG over 25, just in case.
- Added GAC filter
- 12 GPM flow rate
- Lifetime warranty
- NSF and WQA-certified parts
- Cheaper than a combo system
- Works well for well water as long as iron and manganese levels are low
- Uknown GPG rating
- Potentially less effective at scale prevention
See our complete Filtersmart review here.
8. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
The Eddy Electronic Descaler made our list because we found that for the price point of around $200, this unit could provide decent effectiveness in scale reduction without using a tank or salt.
With a hardness capacity of 20 GPG, it’s not ideal for larger homes or very hard water, but if you are looking for a simple way to get some scale reduction with easy installation, it’s worth checking out.
- Process: Electromagnetic waves
- Max Hardness: 20 GPG
- Flow Rate: 10 GPM
- Warranty: Lifetime
After testing and installing an Eddy unit, we found that it was surprisingly not bad at offering a decent level of scale reduction for lower hardness levels of water.
The Eddy uses electromagnetic wave projection to alter the structure of hardness-causing minerals instead of trying to remove them completely.
Specifically, it takes deposits of hardness minerals away from the inside of pipes by an electronic wave that the device creates, preventing these minerals from sticking to appliances.
Some of the main features we liked about this product are the following:
Easy to install: The Eddy is super easy to install, and it contains no tanks or barrels, so you save space and money on hiring a plumber.
Low power consumption: It doesn’t require much power compared to another water softener, so you will save on your electricity bill
No maintenance: This unit doesn’t require any maintenance as it doesn’t need salt or a tank to function.
Environmentally friendly: This is a very eco-friendly water conditioner since it doesn’t use salt or needs much electricity.
Overall, we think this is an option to consider if you have lower water hardness levels of less than 25 GPG. If your water hardness is 20 GPG plus, we recommend one of our other models with a higher capacity.
We also found that it reduced scale formation, but not completely, so it will definitely help, but it may not get you the level of effectiveness you can get in a higher-quality system above.
- Lower cost than traditional water softener
- No filters or salt to replace
- No wastewater created
- Leaves minerals in the water while reducing scale
- 12-month money-back guarantee + lifetime warranty
- Not good for hard water levels (only 20 GPG hardness capacity)
- Some customers report ineffective
See our complete Eddy Electronic Descaler review here.
Salt-Free Water Softening System Buyer’s Guide
Now that you’re familiar with the top no-salt system on the market, it’s helpful to know more about how they work and their other specifics to make an informed purchase.
What is a Salt-Free Water Softening System?
A salt-free water softening unit does not use salt to remove hardness-causing minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Instead, it changes the structure of hardness-causing minerals, so they don’t form scale.
A traditional salt-based water softener uses a process called ion exchange to remove hardness-causing minerals. In contrast, a no-salt conditioner uses a process like template-assisted crystallization to change the structure of hardness-causing minerals so they don’t form scale on household appliances.
Difference Between Salt-Based Water Softeners & Salt-Free water Softeners
Unlike traditional water softeners or a salt-based system, a salt-free water conditioner’s media is not used up when conditioning your water, which is why most of these saltless water softener systems require minimal maintenance compared to having to refill the salt stores on a regular system periodically.
Many people complain that the water from traditional water softeners or salt systems has an unpleasantly slippery feel due to the added salt. Since there’s no salt added with no-salt water softeners, you don’t have to worry about your water feeling any different.
Also, no-salt water softeners don’t require electricity to function or waste water to flush their media, and they don’t pollute the environment with salt brine as salt systems do. They’re greener all around!
The only downside – in areas with extremely high GPG, a salt-based water softener is more effective at preventing scale.
Overall, the main difference is that salt-based versions actually remove hardness minerals while no-salt versions change the structure of minerals, so they don’t create scale formation on appliances.
You can also see our water conditioner vs. softener guide for more information.
Advantages of Saltless Water Softeners
Salt-free water conditioners are becoming more common because of their many benefits compared to salt-based versions.
- They don’t add salt to water– no-salt softeners simply don’t add salt to your water and increase your sodium intake, while salt-based versions have a small impact on increasing sodium intake.
- They allow healthy minerals to stay in water– no-salt softeners don’t actually remove the minerals in water but change the structure of hardness-causing minerals, so they don’t create scale. This means you still benefit from healthy minerals in your drinking water.
- They don’t use electricity– Most saltless softeners don’t need to be hooked up to a power supply, but some do as well. On the other hand, most salt-based softeners need the power to regenerate the salt solution.
- They are very low maintenance– Salt-based softeners require good maintenance in refilling salt and conducting deep cleaning, while saltless versions require virtually zero maintenance.
- They don’t waste water– Saltless softeners don’t require regeneration, which wastes a lot of water. On the other hand, salt softeners require regeneration when the resin fills up with calcium and magnesium ions to flush them out.
- They are compact and save space– Saltless softeners are much more compact than salt-based versions because they don’t require extra tanks for refilling salt.
Disadvantages of No Salt Water Conditioners
Besides having a lot of benefits, water softeners that don’t use salt also have a few main drawbacks compared to traditional water softeners.
- They aren’t as effective as salt-based softeners– Salt-based softeners are much better at reducing water hardness issues in areas with higher hardness levels. At the same time, saltless versions are not as effective and are mainly used on low to moderate hardness levels.
- They don’t produce soft-feeling water– Since no-salt softeners don’t actually remove hard minerals, the water will not have a soft feel from removing hardness minerals.
- It can be hard to prove effects– The only evidence that the system works is if you see scale reduction in your home, as the water will still test hard since they don’t remove minerals.
Who is a NO-Salt water softener Best for?
People seek an alternative to salt-based water softeners with low to moderately hard water. They don’t want to add extra sodium to their water supply while saving on maintenance and energy.
Salt-Free water softeners offer the following benefits compared to Salt Based Systems:
- Environmentally friendly
- Less maintenance and hassle
- No salt
- Doesn’t produce a salty feeling of water
- No electricity or waste produced
The only downside is that salt-free water softeners do not work well on hard water levels. If your water is not in the very hard range but is lower, you are an ideal candidate for a salt-free water softening system.
Different Types of Salt-Free Conditioners
We will review a few leading technologies of saltless water conditioners below.
Template-Assisted Crystallization (TAC)
One of the best saltless water softener types is template-assisted crystallization.
How it works is water flows through a catalytic media, which causes all calcium and magnesium ions to crystallize. Hence, they stay suspended in the water instead of sticking to pipes and appliances.
It changes the hard minerals’ structure into microcrystals that don’t stick and cause scale. When implemented correctly, TAC has been shown to prevent scale buildup by 99%.
Nucleation-Assisted Crystallization (NAC)
You may also see NAC as a process mentioned in a saltless softener. The main thing to remember is that nucleation-assisted crystallization is the same as TAC. Nucleation-assisted refers to the nucleation sites on the media beds inside the NAC media.
The process is the exact same as TAC, where water enters the tank and comes into contact with the media bed, where the hardness-causing minerals are changed into microcrystals which are then released back into the water supply where they won’t stick to appliances or pipes,causing scale.
Certain types of saltless softeners use chelating agents to soften water. Examples are the NuvoH20 unit which adds citric acid, and the Aquios water system, which uses polyphosphate.
Chelants, otherwise known as sequestrants, are created to bind to positively-charged metal ions like calcium and magnesium in aqueous solutions.
These softeners use a chelation agent to bind hardness-causing minerals to prevent appliance buildup. After reviewing these softeners, we think they can do an ok job on lower hardness levels, but they don’t work as effectively as TAC or regular salt-based models.
The last form of scale prevention is electromagnetic or units called water descalers. These units use electricity or plain magnets to alter the adhesive properties of calcium and magnesium by creating a magnetic field in the water supply.
The Eddy electronic water descaler, which we listed above, is a unit that uses this technology.
This technology can work slightly for lower water hardness levels, but we don’t recommend it over template-assisted crystallization units.
How Easy Are Salt-Free Systems to Install & Maintain?
Salt-free conditioners are generally easier to install, operate and maintain than salt-based water softeners.
As mentioned, most can be installed DIY in front of your water heater without a plumber, though you should double-check to ensure this doesn’t void the warranty. And while you may be able to do it without a professional, depending on the size and weight of the tank, it may be easier to do it with someone with professional experience.
It’s worth noting that some water conditioners can be installed indoors or outdoors, while others are only rated for indoor use near the water heater. Ensure you put your water softener system where it’s meant to be; otherwise, you could face an untimely replacement.
Maintenance is also minimal, with most water softener systems requiring you to periodically replace the sediment or carbon pre-filters. This can usually be done in minutes without shutting off your water supply.
What to Consider When Choosing a Salt-Free System
After dealing with many installations and purchases of saltless water conditioners, we recommend considering these before choosing your water softener system.
What’s in Your Water
The quality and contaminants in your water can greatly impact your no-salt softener’s performance. For example, having a lot of iron, manganese, sulfur, or sediment in your water can damage the media and shorten the water softener’s lifespan.
This is why some saltless softeners contain a sediment pre-filter and carbon post-filter.
We think it’s important to get a water test done to determine if you have high amounts of contaminants and learn exactly how hard your water is. This will help you decide which water softener, filter, and no-salt softener combo is best.
You can see our water testing kit guide here.
Process Used to Change Minerals (Technology)
Another key consideration is the technology used in the no-salt water softener. We discussed the main types above: template-assisted crystallization, chelation, and electromagnetic descaling.
After testing and reviewing many filters, we believe TAC or NAC is the best option for a no-salt water softener because it is more effective than chelation and magnetic descaling.
Chelation or magnetic descaling would be worth considering if you have low hardness levels and are looking for only budget options.
Max Hardness Capability
Determining the max hardness capability of the no-salt water softener you are considering is always important. For example, the Springwell Futuresoft and USWS Greenwave units offer 81 grains per gallon, just as effective as many salt-based units for softening water.
Other models have around 25 GPG hardness capacity, which is much lower, so you must understand what hardness capability you need for your water and find a unit that will get the job done.
Water Flow Rate
One of the leading customer complaints regarding water softener systems is the impact on the water pressure (pour rate) from the faucet.
The flow rate will affect how you’re able to shower, wash dishes, do laundry, etc., so making sure the pour rate will be high enough to meet your family’s needs is a must.
Look for units with at least 10-15 gallons per minute flow rate ability.
To determine if a water softener system’s flow rate will meet your household’s needs, you must determine your expected GPM usage. To calculate it, you simply add up the GPMs of the individual appliances in your house.
These are the average GPM requirements for the most common fixtures:
|Appliance||Flow Rate (GPM)|
|Bathroom Faucet||0.5 GPM|
|Kitchen Faucet||0.5 GPM|
|Clothes Washer||1.5 GPM|
Ease of Installation & Maintenance
It’s important to look into how difficult it is to install the saltless water softener in your home, as hiring a professional will cost extra money. The good news is that most salt-free softeners are easier to install and maintain than salt-based ones.
Typically, most salt-free softeners will be relatively easy to install for people with DIY experience. They are also virtually maintenance-free, besides maybe replacing a sediment filter occasionally. Just make sure that this is the case with the one you choose.
Both the NSF and WQA offer certifications for water-softening systems. Certification means a system has been extensively tested through these third-party labs, and the manufacturer’s claims have been verified for each standard.
Common certifications for saltless water softeners are NSF/ANSI 61 and 42, which means that the system’s components are not contaminating the water in any way and that aesthetic bad odors and tastes have been removed from the water, respectively while softening water at the same time.
You can see our guide here to learn more about the certification standards.
The best softening units always come with a lifetime warranty and guarantee period where you can get a full refund if you don’t like the product.
If you buy one of the top units with a lifetime warranty and money-back guarantee, you can rest assured that your hard-earned money won’t be wasted.
Your budget will dictate the price point you want to go with. Find the best water softener model for the money based on competing brands.
We’ve done most of this work for you when we tested and reviewed each brand based on critical factors, but you need to choose the softener that fits your budget and needs best.
Salt-Free Conditioner FAQs
How Do I Know For Sure That a Salt-Free Softener Will Work?
You will know if your saltless water softener works by examining your home appliances to see if the scale formation is reduced after a few weeks. It’s impossible to do a water test in this situation because salt-free units do not remove the minerals but change their structure, unlike salt-based water softeners.
When is a Salt-Based Water Softener System Better?
If you live in an area with very hard water or don’t mind maintaining a salt system, opting for a salt-based water softener is a good choice.
How Can a Salt-Free Softening System Help My Home?
Salt-free water conditioners will provide you with less scale formation on your home appliances, better overall water quality, and longer appliance lifespans, all while leaving in beneficial minerals that the traditional saltwater softening process takes out.
A salt-free water softening system offers all of the benefits of conditioned water. These include increasing appliance lifespan, preventing water spots and scale buildup, saving money while requiring less maintenance, and running greener than a traditional water softener.
The Springwell FutureSoft is our choice for the best salt-free water softening system due to its high scale prevention percentage, minimal impact on flow, and lifetime warranty.
No matter which system you purchase, you should ensure it will meet your home’s needs.
If you’re still on the fence and want to check out salt and salt-free water softeners, check out our best water softeners guide here for all the top models in one review.