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When you drink hard water, you can sometimes experience headaches and other unwanted side effects. For this reason, you may be considering a water softener to treat your water. A water softener can enhance the taste of your water as well as save you a good amount of money and time in the long run.
Making the switch from hard water to soft water is a decision you won’t regret. You can take advantage of a water softener if you are hooked up to a local water supply or even a well.
To help you narrow down your choices and make a more informed decision, we have the 7 best water softeners UK has to offer in 2020.
1. Water2Buy W2B200 Meter Water Softener
The Water2Buy water softener is ideal for a household size of one to four people and can provide you with approximately 1,250 litres of filtered and softened water daily. It is engineered for both city and well water and is equipped with a digital meter. You will find it consumes less salt and less water.
The size of this unit is 220 x 525 x 650 mm and can be installed in a garage, basement, or even a kitchen cupboard. It easily connects to the home’s main water supply and softens water for the entire home.
It features high strength and corrosion-resistant materials in addition to adjustable water hardness, a prefilled premium-grade ionX resin.
This unit is self-cleaning and runs a regeneration cycle when it is needed. This makes this water softener much more efficient and low maintenance.
- Easy manual override if regeneration is required
- Pre-fitted bypass in case of emergency
- Digital meter controller
- Adjustable hardness
- Resin tank
- Salt reminders
- Hoses recommended by the company may be too stiff and hard to fit
- May be too tall to fit under some kitchen counters
2. Water2Buy W2B800 Meter Water Softener for 7-10 people
This Water2Buy unit is designed for use in a larger household with 7 to 10 people. It generates approximately 3,680 litres of filtered and softened water each day and again, works for both city and well water.
The size of this unit is 225 x 500 x 1100mm and can be installed in a garage or basement. When installing the unit, you need to make sure you have adequate room for the hoses.
It is made from a high strength corrosion resistant fibreglass material. It has a polyethene tank, adjustable water hardness feature, and pre-fitted bypass valve that will help maintain optimal water pressure in the home.
- Quieter & quicker cleaning
- Nighttime cleaning system
- Needs a very little salt
- Easy to connect with other systems
- Installation kits are not included
3. Water2Buy W2B110 Water Softeners Compact Timer Control
This water softener provides complete limescale control for a family of one to four people. It generates approximately 1,250 litres of filtered and softened water on a daily basis.
The size of this particular unit is 220 x 425 x 650mm and can be installed in a garage, basement, or kitchen cupboard, wherever it will be the most convenient for your family.
Like the previous models from Water2Buy, this one also has a high strength corrosion resistant fibreglass construction that is built to last.
- Can fit in kitchen cabinet
- Uses long-lasting salt tablets
- Automatic cleaning system
- Great economical value
- Suitable for a small household only
4. Eddy Electronic Water Descaler – Water Softener Alternative UK/EU Version
This Eddy Electronic Water descaler is a great water softener alternative. It can reduce limescale in the home and is easy to install.
It comes with cables for pipes up to 28mm in diameter. It is a no salt alternative to the traditional water softener. It emulates softened water without altering TDS, meaning it keeps healthy minerals intact.
It produces a complex electromagnetic wave that is applied through two coils that are placed around your incoming water pipes.
- The best alternative for a water softener
- Requires no salt
- Simple to set up
- Not good for lead made pipes
5. Crown by Harvey’s Water Softener
This Harvey Water Softener is one of the UK’s number one selling water softener brands. This water softener is comparatively expensive when compared to the other models on our list; however, many consumers think of it as more of a sound investment due to the quality of the brand.
This water softener system requires minimal maintenance and is extremely user-friendly. It is very compact and can be installed in a number of different locations in the home. It comes with a testing kit so you can test the hardness level of your water. Once you know the hardness level of your water, you will be able to adjust those levels with this machine. It also comes with the installation kit you need to set up the machine.
It features a twin tank design, and it runs on water pressure which can help you save on your energy bills. So, you will also find that even though the initial investment may be higher, it is economically sound in the long run. Keep in mind, since it runs on water pressure, this unit cannot be used in areas that experience lower water pressure.
- Effortless input/output reverse
- Easy setup process
- Runs on just water pressure
- Comes with water testing kit
- Inappropriate for low pressure of water
6. Monarch Midi HE FreeFlow Water Softener
The Monarch FreeFlow Water Softener can remove existing build-up you already have while preventing new build-up from occurring. It uses FreeFlow Valve and Opti-Brining technology, making this water softener one of the more efficient water softeners on the market today.
It comes with an installation kit for easy installation. The kit includes a pair of inlet/outlet, Maxflow, braided stainless steel hoses that are 600mm long and a rapid hi-flow bypass. You will also receive a free water test kit to test the hardness level of your water.
This water softener is ideal for a household of 4-7 people in a hard water area or 4-5 people in a really hard water area. It has a higher flow rate than any other water softener in the UK, along with the lowest pressure drops of any water softeners in the UK.
- Easy to install
- Good for sustainable use
- Fast 8-minute regeneration process
- UK specific
- On the pricey side
7. Tapworks Water Softener Easyflow
This Tapworks Water Softener is an efficient metered salt-based water softener that uses electronic technology to help improve energy costs. It has a high-flow valve and is compatible with both unvented and vented plumbing systems.
With this water softener, you will get an easy fit all-in-one installation kit for 15mm and 22mm standard plumbing. It is recommended for a household of up to seven people.
The salt cabinet of this machine is made of polyethylene that prevents any deformation when it is full. There is also a mixer to adjust the hardness and a safety float in the salt cabinet that helps you avoid any accidental and unwanted spillage.
The salt cabinet remains dry during normal household usage and can continue to soften water during the first phase of regeneration.
- Conventional vented system
- Pressurized system
- Megaflow system
- Good for larger house size
- Comes with installation kit
- Easy salt refills
- On the pricey side
What to Consider When Buying a Water Softener
Many areas of the UK are subjected to hard water. This means that the water in some areas has a higher level of calcium carbonate content. When you have hard water, it can lead to a build-up in your appliances and can affect the overall quality of the water in your home.
When looking for the best water softener for your home, there are a few things to consider as well as a few other things you should know before making a decision.
Water Softener Solutions
There are three water softener solutions you can choose from:
Salt-Based System: this kind of system uses sodium to replace the hard water ions, and this softens the water. This system needs a tank for resin beads, and this is what turns the water soft. It is a regeneration process, and this kind of system is relatively low maintenance and timer or metre based. They also tend to be on the large side and will need to be installed close to a drain in the home, so the waste in the tank can drain.
Salt-Free System: Instead of salt, this kind of water softener unit uses nano-technology instead. It changes the atomic structure of the water and makes it soft. If you already have limescale build-up because of hard water, then this water softener can help remove the build-up. The cost to run this kind of system is on the lower end, and they are incredibly easy to maintain. You also don’t have to make sure there is a drain close-by.
Electromagnetic System: this system is one of the smaller solutions you can choose. So, if you are working with limited space, then this would be the ideal water softener solution for your home. They use magnetic wires around the water pipes, and this changes the structure of the water and softens it. If you have low to moderately hard water, then this is the system for you. It is also environmentally-friendly, easy to install, and requires minimal maintenance.
You will find that most water softeners use salt as the means of removing the minerals found in the water. If you choose this kind of system, you need to consider the type of salt and water filter you are using as well. Many systems allow you to use any form of salt while others require a specific type. For example, some might require something known as a salt cake, while others require the salt in a crystalline form.
The same applies to the filters. Check the machine beforehand to see what kind of salt and filters you need to use with the machine for softened water.
Next, you will need to consider the capacity of the water softener. A larger tank will require a larger water filter and will also last a lot longer than smaller units. You will also see a difference in how much it costs to run a larger machine versus a smaller one.
When it comes to any purchase for the home, you want to make sure it is efficient and works as it should. Check out the size of the reservoir of the water softener you are interested in and see how long your salt supply will last before you need to top it off again. Same with the filters. How long do you have between filter changes? This will help determine just how much maintenance and attention your water softener will require.
Best Water Softener UK FAQ
Still have questions? See if our FAQ below can help answer any questions you may still have about water softeners and what would be best for your home.
How is water softening beneficial?
When you have hard water, it can easily dry out your skin, create a build-up in your plumbing, and leave water spots on newly cleaned glassware. Softened water can help lengthen the lifespan of some of your appliances and can reduce and prevent mineral spots on your glassware.
How do I know if I have hard water?
If you find that your laundry is stiff or scratchy, your skin feels dry after a shower, your water bill is higher than usual, or your tub and shower has rust rings or scale build-up, then it is a likely possibility that you have hard water in the home.
What is the difference between a saltwater softener and a salt-free softener?
Saltwater softeners are often more expensive initially and will require a fair amount of maintenance when compared to a salt-free water softener. Another difference is a salt-free softener isn’t actually removing the hard minerals from the water. So, they are not as effective as the saltwater softener system.
Do water softeners shorten the life of water heaters?
Something not many people know is that water softeners have been the most common cause of premature water heater failure. The water softener may damage the performance of the anode in the water heater, which can cause a reduction in its working life. The average life expectancy of a well-maintained water heater is approximately 8 to 12 years.
Is there an alternative to a water softener?
Yes, there are some water softener alternatives including a reverse osmosis system, template-assisted crystallization (TAC), an electronic water conditioning system, an electrochemical water treatment, and electronic descaler. However, these options sometimes get pricey and may require even more maintenance than your typical water softener systems for the home.
What do I need to know about water softener installation?
Before a water softener system installation, the water needs to be shut off at the main line to the home. The hot water heater then needs to be shut off along with the power leading to it. You then locate the area along the main line where you want to install the water softener. Some require that you install them near a drain in the floor so that the wastewater can drain away.
What is a non electric water softener?
A non electric water softener is simply a marketing term that is used by some water softener manufacturers to imply that the other “electric” water softener options aren’t as good. However, neither water softener option actually uses electricity to soften the water.
What are sodium ions?
When hard water passes through a water softener system, the calcium and magnesium in the water switch places with sodium ions. The sodium ions are replaced easily by the calcium and magnesium ions. During the process, the sodium ions are then released into the water.
Are there different kinds of water softener salt?
Yes. There are different kinds of water softener salt. The most common types of water softener salt include crystals, salt pellets, and potassium chloride.
What is the brine tank?
The brine tank is what holds the salt solution that flushed the mineral tank. It is where the calcium and magnesium ions are replaced with sodium. There is usually a meter at the top of the brine tank that also regulates its recharging cycles.