Hard water is a common problem, especially with well water systems. Most people dislike the smell and taste of hard water, which is caused by high concentrations of hard minerals.
Luckily, there is an effective solution for treating hard water. With a water softener system, you can remove the magnesium and calcium that is making your water taste funny.
These systems are designed to remove hard minerals, and they require minimal maintenance. However, there are many different types of water softener systems.
Here is everything you need to know about these appliances along with a selection of the best water softeners for well water in 2019.
Top Ranked Water Softeners for Well Water: 2019 Comparison Table
|ABCwaters 5600SXT Fleck Softener and Carbon Filter||48,000 grains||4.9/5||$1,499.00|
|Fleck 48K 5600SXT Iron Pro Eradicator||48,000 grains||4.7/5||$773.25|
|Fleck IRON Pro 2 Combination Water Softener||64,000 grains||4.5/5||$659.00|
|Aquasana Well Water Whole House Filter with Salt-Free Softener||500,000 gallons||3.7/5||$1,849.00|
|AFW Filters Iron Pro 3 48K Softener||48,000 grains||3.8/5||$794.66|
|Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener||-||3.6/5||$439.00|
|Fleck 9100 SXT Twin Tank Water Softener by Pentair||80,000 grains||4.0/5||$1,244.49|
Why Do You Need a Water Softener for Well Water?
The primary use of a water softener is to treat hard water. Compared to a municipal water system, well water is more likely to be hard.
Instead of coming from a dedicated reservoir, well water is taken from the ground, which tends to contain more hard minerals. The municipal systems are also regularly treated to remove minerals and impurities, whereas wells typically are not.
Wells draw water from a water table located deep beneath the earth. As water from nearby water sources and precipitation seeps into the ground, minerals found in the soil also work their way into the water table.
Hard water is not typically considered a major health risk. However, some health professionals believe that regular exposure to hard minerals may cause damage to organs and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Skin irritation is another potential side effect of drinking hard water, especially for people who already suffer from a skin condition such as eczema. You may experience dry skin, bumpy patches, and irritation as a result of consuming hard water.
Hard water can also affect the health of your home. The buildup of calcium and magnesium deposits increases the risk of clogged pipes.
It can also make soaps and detergents less effective. When you have hard water, you may notice yellowish or brownish stains in your sinks and tubs. The hard water may even make it difficult to clean clothing and linens in your washing machine or to remove stains.
If you detect any of these issues, you may need a water softener for your well water.
How Does a Well Water Softener Work?
The typical well water softener is installed in your home’s plumbing system. It treats the water coming into the home from the well before sending the softened water to your bathrooms and kitchen.
These appliances rely on a process called ion exchange wherein they replace minerals with other minerals. In most cases, the water softener replaces hard minerals with sodium.
Most systems have two tanks – the mineral tank and the brine tank. The mineral tank is filled with resin beads that carry a negative charge. The hard minerals carry a positive charge. When the hard water flows into the mineral tank, the calcium and magnesium cling to the resin beads.
The system can then send softened water through the home’s water supply. A brine solution is then used during a regeneration cycle to wash away the magnesium and calcium.
The brine tank is filled with a brine solution, which typically includes common salt. When the water softener system is regenerating, it reverses the water flow and flushes dirt from the tank.
The brine solution containing sodium ions flows into the mineral tank and replaces the calcium and magnesium minerals that are attached to the resin beads. The hard minerals get flushed down the drain, the mineral tank gets flushed, and the brine tank gets refilled.
This process repeats itself to continue delivering soft water to your home. However, there are different types of water softeners featuring various settings and options. For example, some softeners allow you to set the frequency of the regeneration cycle.
When Should You Not Use a Water Softener for Well Water?
Depending on the mineral concentration of your water, a water softener for well water is sometimes not recommended. The trace minerals found in all water systems are beneficial to your health.
Calcium and magnesium are essential nutrients. However, excessive levels of hard minerals may lead to the disadvantages discussed, such as increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stains in your tubs and sinks.
If your water does not have high levels of hard minerals, a water softener is typically not necessary and may remove beneficial minerals from your water.
Testing Your Well Water Before Installing a Water Softener
The best way to determine whether or not your well water contains high concentrations of hard minerals is to have your water tested at a professional water testing laboratory (select your state or territory here to find and contact a certified laboratory to test your drinking water).
In fact, many water treatment professionals recommend that you get your well water tested at least once per year.
Testing labs are available in most regions. You may also be able to find a water testing lab at your local university. Many agricultural departments offer water testing or can direct you to the nearest laboratory.
Another option is to contact a local water softener company. These companies occasionally offer free testing to encourage homeowners to purchase their equipment. Depending on the company, they may send you a home testing kit or request that you deliver a water sample.
You can also purchase home testing kits on your own. These kits include testing strips that you place in the water.
The strip contains chemicals that react to the presence of specific minerals. When these minerals are present, the testing strip changes color to indicate the hardness measurement.
Whether you use a home testing kit or send a water sample to a lab, you are primarily testing the hardness of the water.
The hardness is measured in grains per gallon (gpg) or parts per million (ppm). One gpg equals about 17.1 ppm. Typically, 60 to 120 ppm indicates moderately hard water. Levels above 120 ppm may lead to soap scum, stains, and potential health risks.
Besides testing the hardness of the water, these tests may help detect any other issues with your water as well. You can test for the presence of lead, chlorine, and pesticides. You can even check the pH level of your well water.
Bacteria is another contaminant that you may want to test for in your well water. High concentrations of magnesium and calcium make it easy for bacteria to grow and travel through your water system.
If a water test confirms that you have hard water, your best option is to install a water softener system.
The Best Water Softeners for Well Water (2019 Reviews)
Choosing the right water softener system for your home depends on the amount of water your household uses. Most softener systems include a maximum flow rate and grain capacity.
The maximum flow rate refers to the flow rate of your water system. Most residential systems have a flow rate of 6 to 12 gallons per minute.
The grain capacity refers to the total number of grains of hardness that the system can remove before needing to complete the regeneration cycle. You may find systems with grain capacities ranging from several thousand to tens of thousands of grains.
To determine your needs, estimate your water usage. The average person uses about 80 gallons of water per day. With a four-person household, you may use 320 gallons per day.
After testing your water, you should know the hardness rating in grains per gallon (gpg). Multiply your daily household water usage by the total grains to determine the grain capacity that you need.
For example, a household using 320 gallons per day and 10 grains per gallon of hardness will need a water softener system with at least a 3,200-grain capacity.
There are many other features to consider, including digital controls, regeneration time, and additional filtration. To help simplify your search, here is a roundup of the seven best water softeners for well water in 2019.
1. ABCwaters 5600SXT Fleck Softener and Carbon Filter
The ABCwaters 5600SXT Fleck Softener and Carbon Filter system combine a whole-house water softener system and carbon filtration to help deliver cleaner, softer water.
It also includes installation guides and an installation kit to help you get it set up. Other features include the following:
- 48,000-grain capacity
- 12 gpm maximum flow rate
- Five-year warranty
- Carbon filtration
This water softener system works with salt or potassium, which is useful for those who do not want to use salt to soften their water. The flow rate is monitored using the dependable 5600SXT Fleck monitor.
- It is a reliable system that does not require any electricity or access to a drain line.
- It is a self-contained appliance that easily connects to your home plumbing system.
- The upflow carbon filtration system is another useful advantage.
- You can remove a wide variety of particles and contaminants from your water while also softening the well water.
- You can get rid of chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, herbicides, and even organic substances.
- It has an LCD display and a simple three-button control panel.
- You also get almost everything that you need to install the appliance, including a wrench, silicone lube, sanitizer, and an instructional manual with full-color photographs.
- While installation is a straightforward process, the water softener does not come with a few of the items that you need to connect to the appliance to your plumbing.
- You will still need to purchase all the necessary tubes, including a tube for connecting the resin tank, carbon tank, and water supply.
The ABCwaters softener and carbon filter system is one of the top-rated water softeners. It includes carbon filtration without requiring electricity.
The system is built to provide an efficient water softener solution. After you set up this unit, you should not need to worry about the hardness of your water anymore.
The appliance is simple to install and is backed by a five-year manufacturer warranty. It is also effective at removing hard minerals and other contaminants. With the ABCwaters softener, you can have great-tasting, softer well water within minutes.
Who should consider using the ABCwaters 5600SXT softener?
This water softener is a top choice for medium to large households. It is also recommended for those that need to remove other contaminants such as bacteria.
2. Fleck 48K 5600SXT Iron Pro Eradicator
Compare Prices: Amazon | Quality Water Treatment
If your water has high levels of iron, the Fleck 48K 5600SXT Iron Pro Eradicator may be the right choice for you. It includes a KDF 85 filter for removing heavy metals, including iron. It can also remove hydrogen sulfide and hard minerals that contribute to hard water in your well.
You can eliminate up to 50 grains per gallon of hardness from the water, along with up to 4 ppm of iron. The system is easy to set up and features a touchpad control and LCD display.
You can install this system with no previous plumbing experience, making it a wonderful option for homeowners that want to eradicate iron and hard water.
Read the full review (including the pros and cons) of this Fleck water softener here.
3. Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener
The Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener is another suitable option for tackling hard water and iron. It is a whole-house unit with a 64,000-grain capacity. You can remove up to 75 grains per gallon of hardness and iron up to 6 to 8 ppm.
Besides filtering out the iron and hard minerals, this system helps remove sand, rust, and sediment from your water. It is also suitable for households with high flow rates, as it can treat up to 16 gallons per minute.
The unit is controlled by the Fleck 5600SXT digital control, allowing you to quickly set up the system and start softening your water.
Read the full review (including the pros and cons) of the Fleck Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener here.
4. Aquasana Well Water Whole House Filter with Salt-Free Softener
If your water test detects the presence of other contaminants, you may need more than just a water softener. The Aquasana Well Water Whole House Filter with Salt-Free Softener helps eliminate lead and cysts while also eliminating hard minerals.
You also benefit from the following features:
- LED flow rate monitor
- Removal of up to 99% of lead
- Removal of up to 98% of PFOA/PFOS
- Carbon block water filters
- Seven gallons per minute maximum flow rate
The Aquasana system provides multi-stage filtration, and it offers a complete solution for providing clean well water. Besides going through the softening process, the water must pass through a pre-filter and a UV filter. The UV filter helps to kill bacteria while the pre-filter catches sediment and minerals.
One advantage of the Aquasana Softener is the lack of salt. Some homeowners do not want to use salt to remove hard minerals from their water. There is some concern about the potential health risks of adding sodium to the water, even if most of the sodium gets washed away during the regeneration cycle.
One of its drawbacks is the flow rate. This appliance is rated for use in households with a maximum flow rate of 7 gallons per minute. Some households have flow rates up to 12 or 14 gallons per minute, which would make this system ineffective for treating well water. However, if your home has a low flow rate, this system offers advanced filtration.
Due to the filtration components, there are additional tanks to install. Some users may experience trouble getting it set up properly. Luckily, the instructions help explain the installation process with step by step details.
In the end, the Aquasana Softener and Filtration System is an efficient appliance. After you get it installed, you can relax knowing that you have clean water traveling through your pipes. However, not everyone needs the advanced filtration features.
- It is salt-free.
- You can remove harmful contaminants and deliver pure water to your kitchen and bathrooms.
- You can also remove chlorine and chloramines with this system.
- Ineffective for use in households with a flow rate of up to 12 or 14 gallons/minute.
- Another issue is the installation process. While installation is relatively straight-forward, the Aquasana system includes more components compared to a standard water softener.
- Some users may face trouble getting it set up properly due to the additional tanks. Professional help might be needed.
Who should consider using the Aquasana Softener?
If you simply want to eliminate hard water, this softener system is overkill. For those that want to get rid of lead and harmful pollutants, it is one of the most effective options.
5. AFW Filters Iron Pro 3 48K Softener
The AFW Filters Iron Pro 3 48K Softener is a whole-house system with a 48,000-grain capacity. Like many softeners, it can remove more than just hard minerals.
Here is a closer look at its main features:
- Whole-house filter with 10×54 tank system
- 48,000-grain capacity
- Removes iron and sulfur
- Digital control head with metering
- Iron and water hardness test kit
- Maximum flow rate of 12 gpm
This softener system includes the materials that you need to install the appliance in your basement. It comes equipped with instructions and video on a USB drive. You also get lubricant and a water testing kit.
Everything that you need to install the appliance is included. Most homeowners can get it installed within a few hours. The softener system is also controlled with the popular Fleck 5600SXT digital valve. You will find this valve on most of the top-rated water softener systems.
The AFW Filters Iron Pro 3 Softener uses a metered digital control head so that the appliance only begins the regeneration process when necessary. This helps to reduce water waste and energy, saving you money compared to a time-based regeneration system. With the 12 gallons per minute flow rate, the system should not reduce your water pressure.
The fact that this appliance can remove iron and sulfur is an advantage. It can remove iron staining and small amounts of sulfur to help produce cleaner water and maintain the health of your well system.
It is difficult to find any significant problems with this system. It works as advertised and does not include any major drawbacks. The AFW Filters Water Softener is also reasonably priced.
However, some homeowners have complained about the KDF85 filter media needing to be changed frequently. Keep in mind that the frequency of changing the filter also depends on the amounts of contaminants in your water. If your water contains a lot of sulfur, the filter will likely need to be replaced more frequently.
- It is energy-saving thanks to its metered digital control head.
- It should work for most households unless your home has a high flow rate.
- It removes iron and sulfur.
- It is affordable.
- It does not come pre-loaded with filter media. You will need to purchase a KDF85 resin filter media.
- The KDF85 filter media might need to be changed frequently.
Who should consider getting the AFW Filters Water Softener?
This system is best suited for medium to large households that need to soften water and eliminate lead. It is also a great choice if you need to get rid of sulfur from your well water. Just remember that you may need to replace the filter frequently.
6. Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener
If you do not like the idea of using salt to remove hard minerals from your water, you should examine the features of the Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener.
It features a unique design with a single tank that easily connects to your existing plumbing. Other details include the following:
- Has a maximum flow rate of 30 gallons per minute
- Features a 140 psi maximum pressure rating
- Can be installed indoors or outdoors
- Uses a stainless steel filter that can last for many years
This unit is also called the Hard Water Bullet, which is a fitting name when you look at the design of the softener system. It is a compact filtration system that offers triple action softening and filtration.
It includes a stainless steel filter to help remove contaminants. After the water passes through the stainless steel filter, it reaches the main component, which includes an electro-mechanical process to condition the water. It breaks down the calcium into aragonite crystals.
Aragonite is a softer type of calcium and does not cause the same hard water problems. It does not clog up your drains or cause stains. However, it does help coat the inside of your pipes and provides a protective layer against corrosion.
The third part of the filtration and softening process includes polyphosphate crystals. These crystals keep the iron and aragonite from entering traveling to your kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures.
There are several reasons to consider getting the Triple Action Poly Salt Free Water Softener instead of one of the other options. First, it is one of the easiest water softeners to install.
The unit can be placed almost anywhere. In fact, you can even install it outdoors. It is built for rugged use and can withstand both cold and hot temperatures.
The Hard Water Bullet is also compact. It measures just 4.5 x 4.5 x 10 inches, while many water-softener tanks measure 45 x 10 inches. Its compact lightweight design makes it easy to install.
As the softening process does not require backwashing, there is no wasted water. You also do not waste brine water, as the system does not use a brine solution.
While the ease of installation is a great reason to consider buying this water softener, there are other advantages as well. With this system, you may never need to replace the filter. The stainless steel filter may need occasional cleaning; however, it is designed to last for a lifetime.
This appliance is also suitable for use in residential properties with a lot of occupants. The 30 gallons per minute maximum flow rate ensures that you do not experience any changes to your water pressure.
You also get everything that is needed to install the unit, including a mounting wall bracket, polyphosphate cartridge, and instructions.
While this is a great appliance, there is one issue that may deter some homeowners from using this water softener. The Hard Water Bullet does not eliminate calcium and magnesium.
Instead of eliminating the hard minerals, the appliance breaks the minerals down. The calcium becomes aragonite. This aragonite can protect your plumbing. However, some people find that the water still tastes like hard water.
- It is vert easy to install.
- It can withstand both cold and hot temperatures.
- It is not space-occupying.
- The system is built such that you may never need to replace it.
- It is good for households with a large flow rate (up to 30 gallons per minute.)
- It comes with everything needed to install the unit, including a mounting wall bracket, polyphosphate cartridge, and instructions.
- Some users have complained some that the water still tastes like hard water.
Who should buy the Triple Action Poly Salt-Free Water Softener?
The top reason to consider buying this appliance is its compact design. You should not have any problem finding a spot for this water softener, whether you choose to install it indoors or outdoors.
With the provided mounting bracket, you can mount it on a wall, instead of needing to find a spot on the ground to set a large tank.
7. Fleck 9100 SXT Twin Tank Water Softener by Pentair
The Fleck 9100SXT Twin-Tank Water Softener by Pentair is one of the most powerful water softeners for residential use. In fact, it is even suitable for light commercial applications, thanks to the following features and technical details:
- Twin tank design
- 80,000-grain capacity
- Fleck 9100SXT digital control valve
- Includes iron hardness testing kit
- Includes two different meters
With this twin-tank water softener, you should never have to worry about running out of water or experiencing changes to your water pressure. This unit is suited for a wide range of applications, from single-family homes to small commercial buildings.
It includes two separate meters—a paddle wheel meter and a turbine meter. The paddle wheel comes pre-programmed into the valve and is more durable compared to the turbine meter. However, it is also larger. The turbine meter is compact but requires additional programming.
The twin tank water softener offers greater grain capacity compared to the other options. Each tank has a 40,000-grain capacity, providing a total capacity of 80,000 grains and reducing the need to frequently complete the regeneration cycle. This saves you energy and ensures that you always have fresh, soft water.
The softener system comes equipped with the filtration media inside the fiberglass tank, making installation a fairly easy. The installation process itself is already simple. You can quickly connect the tanks to your existing plumbing and start softening your well water within a couple of hours.
You can also test your water to determine whether the appliance is working. It comes with an iron hardness testing kit, which also detects the presence of chlorine, copper, nitrates, and nitrites. You can also check the pH level of your water.
With the twin tank design, you can enjoy 24/7 soft water, as the system continuously softens water. The second tank acts as a backup. When the first tank needs to regenerate, the second tank goes into service.
The 9100 SXT valve is also an advantage. This advanced valve is designed to withstand 27 years of uninterrupted use.
There are no major drawbacks to discuss. This is a reliable appliance that helps eliminate hard minerals from your water. However, some people have complained about the lack of helpful instructions. Luckily, the installation process is not difficult.
- It offers a greater grain capacity than the other options described here.
- It comes with the filtration media.
- It is easy to install.
- It also comes with an iron hardness testing kit and can also detect the presence of chlorine, copper, nitrates, and nitrites.
- The twin tank design ensures that the system continuously softens water.
- It is designed to withstand 27 years of uninterrupted use.
Who should consider getting the Fleck 9100 SXT Twin Tank?
This appliance is best suited for those who need continuous water softening. The twin tanks ensure that one tank is always available to help soften your well water.
Conclusion – Which Water Softener System Should You Choose?
You now have seven great options for eliminating your hard water problems. These water softener systems are easy to install, operate, and maintain. They allow you to continually remove magnesium, calcium, iron, and other heavy metals and minerals from your well water.
Remember to consider the capacity of the appliance and compare it to your water usage. If the softener cannot handle your water usage needs, it may not remove enough minerals to soften your water.
You should also consider the features that matter most to you. Some of these systems include filtration to remove other contaminants.
There are also digital meters with LCD displays and touchscreen controls. These systems can help reduce waste by only initiating the regeneration cycle when needed.
Each of the options discussed possesses these features. You can easily remove contaminants and soften your water. You can also install almost any of these softeners without having any plumbing experience.
The bottom line is that softening your water should not be a major challenge. Simply remember to consider the details that matter most to you and then compare your options.