How to Buy The Best Outdoor Water Softener in 2022 – Get rid of hard water now

Hard water can often cause a host of problems ranging from health problems like dry skin and hair to scalp itchiness and plumbing problems in your home. Nearly 85% of the USA has hard water, so this isn’t an unusual problem. The odds that the city or state you live in supplies hard water is very likely.

Let’s begin by understanding what makes water “hard” or “soft.” Unlike softened water, hard water tends to be high in mineral content. For various reasons, minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium are usually residues from limestone, chalk, or gypsum deposits found in water supplies. One way to confirm if you have “hard” or “soft” water is to observe how quickly insoluble deposits or soap curds form on your bathtubs or appear in your laundry equipment. If it’s frequent, then you most likely have hard water. However, this is an easy fix and can be resolved simply by installing a water softener.

In making this decision, various factors must be considered, such as the space available, local weather conditions, and the terrain around your home. In our article, we have compiled the expertise of experienced users and combed through extensive research to help you choose the best outdoor water softener on the market.

Buying Guide For The Best Outdoor Water Softener In 2022

According to Chicago Tribune, only 15% of Americans have access to soft water zones who are usually those living in the Pacific Northwest, parts of the Southeast, the Gulf States, and New England. A large percentage of the hard water lies from the Midwest to the West coast. The Midwest region is ranked to have some of the hardest water in the country.

However, as we mentioned earlier, this is an easy fix and can be remedied by installing a hard water softener.

Can water softener be installed outdoors?

outdoor water softener

Water softeners can be installed outdoors. However, the most significant deciding factors will be temperature and climate. In parts of the country that experiences freezing temperatures, it might be best to install softeners in an accessible basement or within a protective enclosure. It is best if the installation site is determined by a water softener professional.

Things To Consider Before Buying An Outdoor Water Softener

A few simple things to remember when installing an outdoor water softener are listed below.

  • The location of the water softener concerning the water’s entry point into the home. This means it should ideally be near a water meter or pressure tank in case the water is supplied from wells.
  • Easy accessibility to power supply since the controller will operate on power.
  • Safe drainage nearby allows for all the hard minerals to be disposed of regularly.
  • Plenty of room around the water softening unit and easy accessibility in case of any problems.

Once you have considered these factors, read on to learn more about the finer details. Attention to the following will help you make a more informed decision when selecting a water softener for your home.

1. The climate of your living region 

The water softener must be kept away from direct sunlight. Harsh sun rays can cause undue damage to the controller and tank. Temperatures that don’t drop below freezing during the winters and don’t get too hot in the summertime would be ideal– a temperate and pleasant climate is ideal for an outdoor water softener. We understand this kind of weather condition may be tricky to establish. However, based on the weather, you can make adjustments to your setup. It would simply mean choosing a device suited to the weather conditions around you.

2. Available space for installing water softeners

The best location for a water softener is a flat, level, and accessible space. It is also vital that the softener is located close to the house’s water supply entry. Examples of such areas could be a heated or insulated basement, a storage room, or a conveniently located crawlspace. In all of these examples, it’s best to have plenty of space around the softener.

3. Cost of protecting the water softener

Outdoor water softeners tend to be somewhat durable in contrast to indoor units since they are built to withstand various elements. However, they may still require protection at different levels. One way is to do it yourself. You can do it by using electrical heat wrap tape or building an insulated enclosure for the unit. Another budget-friendly alternative is to bury it into the ground. If making your enclosure sounds like a lot of work, you can also go down a simpler route and buy an enclosure. These enclosures and external cabinets range anywhere from $50 to $150. The price largely depends on your enclosure’s material, quality, size, and durability.

culligan water softener outside home

4. Grain capacity of the water softener

Every water softener unit has a different grain capacity depending on its brand and model. The grain capacity refers to the maximum number of grains of water hardness the softener can remove before regeneration. Choosing the right capacity is relative to the amount of water being used in the house. The ideal size for a unit should be such that it doesn’t regenerate more often than three days nor takes over 14 days to regenerate. In both extremes, it can cause damage to the softener unit.

5. Warranty included

While purchasing a device with a warranty may seem like a no-brainer, many often skip this step. When it comes to water softeners, not all warranties are created equal. The standard for these devices is a one-year limit on parts (which does not include labor), a three-year limit on the electronic monitor, and a 10-year limit on the resin and water brine tank.

However, softener tanks are rarely the issue regarding water softener problems, so don’t be fooled by the duration. It’s usually the valve or electronic component that falls short, so you must get a warranty extension for those parts if that option is available. This would also mean always purchasing a water softener device from a trusted store that offers you a warranty.

List of 6 Best Outdoor Water Softeners

1. SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener System

Springwell salt based water softener

The highly efficient salt-based SpringWell water softener is one of the most reliable softeners on the market. Thousands of customers stand by this particular device. Not only does it prevent hard water scale build-up, but it also uses 40% less detergent. It works on an ion exchange system that is much more efficient in this model and produces far less waste than before.

This model runs using salt and, like most softeners, comes with two tanks: a brine tank for the salty brine solution that cleans the resin beads and a resin tank where the water enters the softener. In this process, usually, the resin forces out the minerals and replaces them with sodium ions which are later flushed during regeneration.

A bonus is that the tank already comes equipped with a neoprene jacket that protects the tank from temperature changes. This model is available in three capacity options, and you can choose the one best suited to your household or commercial property. It also comes with Bluetooth, allowing you to program and control your salt-based system through SpringWell’s app. The app also makes monitoring the softener easy and ensures it runs smoothly.

Pros

  • It comes with its own protection, which saves you the hassle of investing in an enclosure.
  • It is available in three capacity models.
  • It can be monitored through the SpringWell app.
  • The unit comes with a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Water filtration cartridge is not included
  • It is not an iron filter

2. SpringWell Futuresoft Salt free Water Softener System

Salt free softener

The Futuresoft salt-free water Softener system is made of durable stainless steel, designed to withstand the elements, and can easily be installed outdoors. It promises to eliminate up to 99.6% of hard deposits through a process that does not use salts and chemicals. The device converts the minerals causing the hardness into a crystal that won’t stick to any surfaces in your home through a process called Template Assisted Crystallization or TAC. These are also conditioners since they neutralize the minerals in hard water. The best part is that this device doesn’t release any discharge back into the environment.

A top pick for many looking at salt-free softeners, this one should be on top of your list. It is a low-maintenance system since it does not run on electricity nor discharge salt. The only thing you may potentially need to replace is the pre-filter every 6-9 months. There is no worry about a brine tank, and the resin in the unit can last for at least 6-years. It also comes with a 6-month money-back guarantee, so if it is delivered faulty or doesn’t work for your property, you can return it for a refund. Moreover, it can be installed anywhere, barring extreme weather conditions, without worrying about disrupting the flow.

Pros

  • The unit doesn’t need electricity to run
  • It comes with low maintenance costs
  • Eliminates about 99.6% hardness without discharge

Cons

  • It does not remove hard water minerals. It simply crystallizes them
  • It only prevents build-up and doesn’t remove hard minerals or salt from the water
  • It can’t be used in water with a high percentage of iron

3. Whirlpool WHES40E 40,000 Grain Water Softeners

Whirlpool water softener

This is a great option if budget is an essential constraint on your list when selecting water softeners. Best for a household of up to 6 people, it can remove up to 11 ppm of clear water iron. An NSF-certified brand, Whirlpool is a brand trusted worldwide to provide high-quality appliances. This water softener is designed to prevent limescale build-up and residue that are often formed on water faucets, shower heads, and sometimes even washed dishes. It is a powerful device and gives you great value for your money. It is also a smart device using an updated technology system to automatically calculate the amount of salt and water required for regeneration. It saves you time, effort, money, salt, and water.

With its super easy installation process, this unit comes with simple instructions to speed up the process of receiving soft water in your home. Moreover, it also has a specific cleanser that can be purchased at an additional cost, saving you the hassle of going to a local store or plumber for service and maintenance. It is ideal for a self-sufficient individual looking for a hassle-free budget water softener option.

Pros

  • It comes with a 40, 000-grain capacity.
  • The Whirlpool WHES40E removes up to 11 ppm of iron
  • It is easy to install
  • The unit offers automatic regeneration
  • It treats the various symptoms of hard water

Cons

  1. The Whirlpool WHES40E uses plastic clips on the bypass valve.

4. Portable: On the Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener

On the go portable water softener

This device is an easy-to-transport water softener. It is perfect if you have a mobile home, want to carry it around on long recreational trips, or simply have limited installation space. It comes equipped with a handle and weighs only 18 lbs. This device also has a full mouth, which is ideal for inputting salt during water regeneration.

Designed to save space, it can fit in the tightest corners in homes, your RV, or even the smallest enclosures in your storage area. It produces around 320-800 gallons with a hardness of just 10-25 grains. The resulting soft water prevents rust stains on your metal appliances, preventing scale build-up, which can significantly improve the lifespan of your machines.

With just one small box of common salt, it can regenerate water in 15 minutes. It can also run continuously for at least 20 days, making it the best pick for RV owners looking for water softening solutions. Easy to set up, this unit does not require electricity or tools to get it up and running. You can connect it to an easily accessible water source like a garden hose or park faucet.

Pros

  • The On the Go OTG3NTP3M is worth the investment
  • It is portable and designed for easy transportation
  • It is a space saver
  • The On the Go OTG3NTP3M enables quick regeneration

Cons

  • It offers limited capacity for regeneration
  • It has a limited output

5. DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener

Iron Pro 48k grain

The DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT Water Softener comes preloaded with 48,000 grains of high-capacity resin. It also includes a plastic bypass which saves you a lot of time on installation. There is a fully programmable metered paddle wheel, which makes it convenient to customize the device to your requirements. It is an efficiently designed system and is relatively low maintenance. You may need to occasionally add salt to ensure the smooth running of the device.

Pros

  • DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT is easy to install
  • It comes with low maintenance costs

Cons

  • The DURAWATER Fleck 5600 SXT is not equipped with connection hoses and drain lines.
  • The injectors can become clogged over time.

6. Aquasure Harmony Series Water Softener

aquasure water softener for home

With a high device capacity of 64,000 grains, the Aquasure Harmony Series Water Softener eliminates unwanted scale build-up and deposits in your water. It removes skin-damaging irritants and hard minerals like iron and magnesium from water. It is also equipped with an Aquatrol Advanced Digital Meter Control Head and comes with a pre-filled quality resin tank.

It is a user-friendly model and can be programmed with just one button. All features can be changed and adjusted using the device’s control panel and helpful LCD interface. It is also durable and corrosion resistant because of its fiberglass-lined polyethylene tank. Another great feature is the 5-year limited warranty on all water softener parts. So you can install this water softener and put your mind at ease.

Pros

  • The Aquasure Harmony Series Water Softener offers high capacity
  • It comes with a five-year warranty
  • It is easy to install
  • The Aquasure Harmony Series Water Softener has a pre-filled mineral tank

Cons

  • Is best suited for larger residential or commercial properties, so best to check your requirements before purchasing this one
  • The unit requires an additional investment in an enclosure or some protection

How to protect outdoor water softener

The best way to protect an outdoor water softener is to build an enclosure around it. This could range from wrapping it in insulated tape or fabric or building a sturdy enclosure for it. There are many readily available enclosures on the market for various budgets. The ideal conditions for an outdoor softener are cool, dry, and shaded places protected from natural elements. It should also be placed on flat terrain where it will experience minimal disruption.

Indoor Water Softener Vs. Outdoor Water Softener

comparing water softener types

A water softener has to be placed on level ground and close to the water’s point of entry into the house. If this is not possible outdoors, you may have to consider an indoor water softener. However, most entry points are next to the pressure tank if your home uses water from a well. If your home uses city water, it can be found near the water meter. Other factors to consider include easy access to a drain, ample space, and a power source (some devices don’t require electricity).

Most homes require a fairly standard-sized water softener, so the requirement for space is not very much. This space ideally should be protected against extreme weather conditions, the elements, and pests. The best temperature for a water softener is somewhere between 35 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be controlled with insulation and a well-designed enclosure. Depending on these, a water softener can be placed indoors or outdoors.

The Verdict

Our verdict on the best outdoor water softener is the SpringWell Salt-Based Water Softener System.

We have reviewed the various water softeners in the market today and compared them based on budget, capacity, energy efficiency, space demands, customer reviews, etc. This short list of products and each one’s pros and cons are here to guide you in your selection process. Now that you know some factors to consider, your decision ought to be easier.

Our research shows that the highly efficient salt-based SpringWell water softener is a winner. Not only does it prevent hard water scale and build-up, but it also uses 40% less detergent. It works on an ion exchange system that is much more efficient in this model and produces far less waste than before.

This unit has two tanks: a brine tank for the salty brine solution that cleans the resin beads and a resin tank where the water enters the softener. It also has a neoprene jacket that protects the tank from temperature changes. This efficient salt-based SpringWell water softener is easily the most reliable system on the market. It also comes with a mobile app to control your salt-based system, making monitoring the softener easy and ensuring it runs smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How to protect the water softener from the sun?

Taking good care of outdoor water softeners is like maintaining electrical appliances at home. When installing outdoor water softeners, consider the device’s longevity. By taking this into account, you can plan maintenance and upkeep accordingly. Some basic things to remember include:

Away from the elements

Keeping it away from direct sunlight, harsh weather conditions (extreme temperatures), and natural calamities.

Waterproof enclosure

Build a weatherproof enclosure for your softener or place it in a well-insulated enclosed space like a basement, storage area, or crawlspace.

Underground installation

If building an enclosure proves challenging, you could always consider installing the water softener under the ground. It ensures that the temperature is regulated. However, ensure there are no holes around the softener as this can negatively impact the unit.

2. Can Kinetico be installed outside?

If the conditions are ideal, a Kinetico can easily be installed outside your home. By ideal conditions, we are referring to the space available, the protective enclosure, the flatness of the terrain, and accessibility.

Before installing the device, ensure you have purchased or built some enclosures to protect your water softener. This enclosure should be sturdy and designed to protect your softener against extreme temperatures, the elements like strong winds, or natural disasters and keep the device dry. Another important thing is protecting it against dirt, insects, rats, and other pests.

Lastly, ensure that the device has been placed on flat terrain so it remains stable and doesn’t disrupt the proper functionality.

3. How to winterize the outdoor water softener?

Winterizing your outdoor softener can be done as a DIY using the tips below:

  • Cut enough insulation tape to secure all the pipes of your softener
  • Wrap this insulation around a pipe and drape it to cover both pipes.
  • You can use any tape or sturdy cable wire
  • Repeat the entire process for each pipe that is fixed to the inlet and outlet of the unit.

This will ensure that any temperature changes won’t affect the flow of water in and out of your device.

4. Should you run an outdoor water softener all the time?

Usually, a water softener takes anywhere between 85 to 90 minutes or 1.5 hours to run through an entire regeneration cycle. During this cycle, the softener reverses the chemical reaction that removes unwanted dissolved minerals from your water. This is the device’s way of cleaning the treatment medium. Once the minerals have been removed, the device is ready to draw out more minerals from your water.

Each cycle is referred to as a regeneration cycle. Most experts agree that regular regenerations are optimal because it keeps the resin bed active, preventing build-up. While most devices average 2-3 days, highly efficient softeners work at generating anywhere between one to multiple times a day.

5. Will installing a water softener outside affect the flow rate?

It depends on the location of your softener and model. However, most systems are built to ensure no drop in water pressure. It is essential to buy the right-sized water softener as their capacities are specific to the size of a home and the number of appliances accessing the water supply.

Most water softener capacities are measured by the number of full bathrooms in a home. For example, if you have between 1-3 bathrooms, it would be best to go for a moderately sized device, whereas a household with 4-6 bathrooms may require a large unit. Be sure to compare all your options with your requirement before investing in an outdoor water softener.

6. How to tell if the outdoor water softener is working?

A well-maintained and cared for water softener can last up to 15 years. Often it is only a matter of replacing a part, improving the enclosure, or cleaning out the device. However, if you are concerned about whether your outdoor water softener is working, go through the following steps.

The first is to test the softness of your water by checking if the soap creates enough lather. You can take a bucket of water and stir in a reasonable amount of soap. If bubbles form quickly, then it’s working. However, if you need more soap to get decent lathering, your water softener is not working as it should.

Ideally, your clean laundry should not have mineral deposits and should retain their quality. Frequent discoloration, scratchiness, or clothes that look old before time may indicate that the water is too hard.

The easiest signs of hard water are finding limescale build-up and mineral deposits. If, despite frequent cleaning, care, and maintenance, you are seeing these deposits on faucets, piping, wash basins, appliances, kitchen, and glassware, it is a sign your softener is not working well.

Softened water changes the taste of water; if you become used to it, you will find it easy to notice the difference because of the unusual taste in the water.

Hard water can be an annoyance at different levels. It can lead to problems such as dry skin, an itchy scalp, or may irritate existing skin conditions. These can often go unnoticed for long periods, and it is not always easy to determine that hard water is the problem. We hope this guide can help you navigate the world of water softeners and make your purchasing decision easy.

Conclusion

Once you have understood the requirements of your home and the extent to which hard water impacts your residential or commercial property, selecting a water softener can become easy. Suppose you are experiencing an unusual taste in your water, finding that it takes far more detergent to create lather, limescale build-up on your tiles and pipes, or suffering from persistent skin conditions. In that case, you may need to invest in a water softening system. We hope our guide will make the process of matching your needs with a suitable device easier.

About The Author

Our Web Producer

Judith— a passionate water treatment specialist — is a waste water management enthusiast, clean drinking water advocate, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about various water equipments. Her work was mentioned in countless notable water associations. Previously she was an editor at Water Alliance.