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How To Pick The Right Water Softener For You (2021)

If your shampoo does not get a frothy lather, or your bed sheets appear dingy even after being washed, then chances are that you have hard water. Hard water causes a lot of health problems as well, such as skin itchiness or irritation. If you have been going through these problems, you have landed on the right page. In this article, we are going to share a few tips that will help you choose the best water softener to cover your needs.

The purpose of sharing these steps is to help you invest in a water softener that can supply clean and pure water for your family. In this guide, we will help you know the hardness level of your drinking water so you can purchase the right softener to resolve the problem.

1. Measure Your Water Hardness level

First of all, you need to find out how hard your tap water is. You can contact your utility company to find out about the hardness level of your tap water. Apart from this, you can purchase your own water testing kit for the same purpose.

Generally, water hardness is measured in GPG or Grains per Gallon. In other words, this measurement will tell you the type of minerals in your water supply. The most common minerals include magnesium and calcium. This is an important step to help you choose the best product.

Use a Test Kit

For some reason, if you are unable to get this figure, you can invest in good quality hard water testing kit. The good news is that you can purchase these testing kits at your local home supply or hardware store.

Regardless of which water testing kit you purchased, all you need to do is dip the test strip in a sample of your tap water. And then you just need to compare the color of the test strip with the provided color chart. This will help you get a better reading on how much mineral content is in your drinking water.

If you want accurate results, we suggest that you go for a lab test kit. In this case, you need to submit your sample of water to your nearby certified lab. They will analyze the sample to give you the most accurate figure of the level and type of minerals in your drinking water.

Determine Your Water Usage

The size of the water softener is another important factor to consider. Make sure that you consider your household water usage before purchasing this type of product. For example, if you have a family of 10 members, you need to get a bigger unit.

As a general rule, you can multiply the number of family members by 75 gallons. So, if you have four members in your family, you need to multiply 4 by 75. This calculation will give you a figure of 300 gallons. In other words, you need a unit that can clean 300 gallons of water on a daily basis.

Find out if there are any other elements in your water

With a good water testing kit, you can identify other contaminants and minerals in your water supply. For example, if you suspect other contaminants in your tap water, such as lead and sulfur, we suggest that you invest in a high-end water testing kit.

Ideally, you can use a salt-based water softener to filter other types of contaminants. As an alternative, you may also consider are a combo of filter and softener.

Consider your source of water

Finally, you need to take into account the source of water as well. Some water softeners are designed to filter well water. On the other hand, some of them work better with municipal water supply. Therefore, before you purchase a unit, don't forget to take a look at the specifications. This approach can help you create a shortlist of products that may cover your needs.

2. Choose the right size

You need to follow some clear steps if you want to go for the right size. All you need to do is do a few calculations. After you have got your measurements, your next move is to follow the steps given below.

Figure out your required Grain Capacity

This calculation is not difficult at all. All you need to do is multiply the hardness level by the number of gallons of water that you can consume on a daily basis. With this approach, you can figure out the grain capacity you need. Next, you need to find out the number of days in the regeneration cycle.

Consider The Regeneration Cycle Time

It is important to keep in mind that tank-based systems require time for regenerating soft water. Primarily, this process filters out the minerals that make your well water harder. If you want to invest in the most efficient system, make sure that the system has a regeneration cycle time of 3 days. For best energy efficiency, you can go for a system that comes with a regeneration cycle time of 7 days.

If you want to get the capacitor measurements, you need to multiply the daily grains by 7, which will give the best figure.

Given below is an example that will help you make this calculation:

  • 3 people & 70 gallons per day = 210 gallons per day

  • 200 gallons per day x 8 = 1600 gallons of softer water per day

  • 1600 gallons x 7 days = 11,200 grains

Based on these calculations, you need a system that filters 17000 grains during a 7-day regeneration cycle. Generally, this figure can help you choose the best tank-based water softeners. If you have a family of four members, you can go for a system that can filter 20,000 grains in a 7-day cycle.

3. Go for The Right Type of Water Softener

First of all, you need to decide whether you need a descaler or a water softener. A water descaler is relatively less expensive than a water softener. If the hardness level of your tap water is around 7 GPGS or lower, we suggest that you go for a water descaler. But if a descaler is not enough to cover your needs, you may consider a conventional salt-free water softener. Based on the calculations given above, you can go for the right system.

As said earlier, a softener features a regeneration cycle. All you need to do is multiply the GPGs you have to filter from your tap water with the system's regeneration cycle. Based on this calculation, you can go for the most efficient unit.

4. Consider Price and Certifications

Finally, you need to consider your budget and certification requirements before you choose a system. At times, it is better that you consider your budget and the product certifications.

Just because a water softener does not come with certifications doesn't mean it cannot provide great results. There are other ways to choose a good system. For example, you can read customer reviews on different water softener systems available on the market. You can then choose the system that has a lot of positive reviews from customers.

Read reviews

You can go for either a water treatment system or a water softener system. They are known as salt-based systems and salt-free systems. Given below is a deeper insight into each type. After you have gone through the details, you will be able to choose the best system.

Traditional Salt-Based Tanks

These systems have an ion exchange process, which may sound quite complicated. This process involves breaking the bonds between the hard minerals and your water and then exchanging them for some other substance, such as potassium and sodium.

Unlike metals are minerals, these elements don't increase the hardness level of your tap water. Therefore, these units are an ideal choice to clean your water. With this type of system, you can filter out all of the minerals to make your water softer once again.

Basically, this type of system features a layer of resin that collects minerals that make your water harder. When minerals continue to attach to the resin, it creates a coating on it. As a result, the regeneration cycle begins. And this cycle uses a solution to rinse the resin. This process removes minerals and leaves behind soft water.

Conventional tank systems require more maintenance, but they come with a bigger capacity, unlike modern systems.

Salt-Free Water Conditioners

Salt-free water conditioners are also known as descalers. These units modify the structure of the minerals for preventing scale formation, unlike a conventional tank system. Typically, the cost of a descaler is higher than the cost of a softening system. But these units come with a smaller capacity.

If your well water has a low to moderate level of hardness, you can go for a water conditioner to cover your needs.


In short, if you follow this step-by-step guide, you will be able to identify the type of problem you have with your well water. Apart from this, it can also help you go for the best water softener or water descaler for your home. If left untreated, hard water can damage your plumbing system. Therefore, you may want to invest in these systems to maintain your health and plumbing system.

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