An Extensive Guide For Buying The Best Water Softener For Apartment

It is common knowledge that hard water leaves stains on almost all surfaces because it is full of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, and heavy metals. It causes untold damage to plumbing systems and household appliances.

Moreover, hard water harms the skin, clothes, dishes, etc., by leaving a film of soap even after many rinses. Strong evidence shows that hard water makes your skin sticky and your hair dry.

It is also becoming increasingly common to invest in a water softener and have it installed in homes. Many have a whole-house water softening system installed. But, in the case of a small to mid-sized apartment, space may be a constraint.

Fortunately, water softeners are also designed to fight hard water problems regardless of the amount of space available. That makes it easy to review the new water softener models in the market that are suitable for small condos or apartments.   

According to studies, hard water affects around 85% of people in the United States. Most of them have found the answer in water softening systems.

It is a good thing that water softeners are not restricted to property owners. Water filtering or softening solutions are available to those that are relocating to different locations and are renting apartments, or looking for smaller units that are budget-friendly.

💧 Highgrade Premium Resin💧

On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain

Capacity: 16,000 grain
Weight: 
25 Pounds
Flow Rate: 3 GPM

Warranty: 1 year

💧 Dual stage Pre-filter 💧

PRO+AQUA 16,000 Grain Portable Water Softener

Capacity: 16,000 grain
Weight: 25 Pounds
Flow Rate: 3 GPM
Warranty: 1 year

💧 Hardness Strips 💧

FLOW/PURWATT Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002

Capacity: 10,000 grain
Weight: 15 Pounds
Flow Rate: 2.5 GPM
Warranty: 3 years

Can you have a water softener in the apartment?

water softening system

You can have a water softener in your apartment, even if it is a rental. There is no reason why you should put up with hard water and all its effects just because you are in a rented space and may not be there for long.

For instance, you may have just moved into a new apartment because you like the community and the view. You realize that the water tastes different, and your clothes are losing their shine only after you move in. You probably notice that your skin is itching, and your hair is losing its sheen. All of these effects are caused by hard water. So, you decide to buy a water softener.

There are many types of water softeners, and some of them don’t need a permanent connection. These point of use (POU) systems are different from the point of entry (POE) systems. 

The POE water softeners are installed at the point of entry where the water enters your home. They are more commonly known as the whole house water treatment systems. Generally, homeowners opt for whole-house water softeners because it is a more permanent solution for the hard water in the area.  

The POU water softeners, on the other hand, are connected directly at the place where water is being used, i.e., showers or faucets. They are just as effective as the point of entry systems in removing impurities and softening the water.

The POU water softeners are smaller and more compact units and can be easily used in mobile homes, condominiums, and small apartments by installing them at the source of a single water connection. 

There are also portable water softeners if you are living in a mobile home like an RV or boat. They ensure that your water quality remains good as they have features such as quick regeneration, are compact in design, have handles to carry them around, full flow heads, and are high-efficiency and low-maintenance water softeners. 

Which is the best water softener for apartment in 2024?

The best water softener for apartments in 2024 is the On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener. This double standard softener produces twice the gallons compared to the other standard models. It is also the largest compact RV softener on the market.

Built for any RV/ Marine model owner, this 16,000-grain unit is a perfect fit and supplies approximately 40% more soft water than any other unit on the market. It simply regenerates with two boxes of common table salt in less than 30 minutes. It also provides the home with soft water of up to 1600 gallons or up to 40 days. 

Why you should trust us?

Our review of the water softeners in the market is based on in-depth research into the products and extensive testing. The water softeners we have picked are those that provide the greatest value for money.

Below, we have listed the six best water softeners for apartments along with their pros and cons so it is easier for you to decide on the one you need. 

How to choose the right size water softener for apartment?

While the size of the water softener may not be a consideration if you are looking to install one in your home, it will be a factor when space is limited. Water softeners have a grain capacity, i.e., the maximum grains of hardness that the water softener can remove before regeneration.

Some portable water softeners have a basic regeneration cycle that requires you to add salt to the brine tank to start the regeneration process manually. The newer models start the process automatically. 

When you are making a choice of the right size of water softener for your apartment, you need to use the below formula:

  • Multiply the number of people using the water by 70, which is the number of gallons of water per day.
  • Multiply the answer by the water hardness grains per gallon, which is the grains per day.
  • Divide the number into the softener capacity.

Ideally, the water softener should be sized to ensure that it does not regenerate more often than every three days and does not run for more than 14 days before regenerating. 

Apartments and condos have limited space and that is where the point of use water softeners can be handy. They are smaller by nature and you won’t need to find large spaces to have them installed. All you need is the unit to treat or soften the water that you are using for specific purposes.

4 Things You Must Keep In Mind before Choosing the Water Softener

Choosing a water softener can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be. Once you know the type of water softener you need, you can choose the right one depending on the current water quality in your home.

Choosing a water softener can be daunting. It doesn’t have to be. Once you know the type of water softener you need, you can choose the right one depending on the current water quality in your home.

Get high-quality components with a metered style valve

Water softeners that come with quality components and metered valves work efficiently and last longer. The upfront cost may be a bit higher, but they have fewer operating costs and can last longer without the need to replace parts or waste too much salt and water.

Meter-styled valves help you program different levels of hardness depending on the number of people using water. The unit can adjust the regenerating times automatically.

Get the right size of water softener

Water softeners are not all of the same sizes. Their size will depend on the flow rate and water hardness in your home. If the water softener is too small, it will reduce the lifespan of the unit and parts costing you much more in the long run. An efficient water softener is one that will be the exact size for the space.

Get your water tested

Knowing the type of water treatment is essential to choosing the water softener system. You may need a water filtration system, too. These decisions depend on the water quality.

For those using city water:

A copy of the water analysis report for the city will help. If you find that the water is hard and also contains other impurities, you may need a water filtration or drinking system to add to the water softener system. 

For those using water from a well:

The well water may contain contaminants that need to be monitored. A thorough analysis of well water every six months is good to ensure that the water is safe for your family. Water from a well can be tested for nitrates, arsenic, and other contaminants.

Compare pricing and quality

Naturally, you will have to keep your budget in mind. Water softeners can be an investment, and you will want them to last long. What may seem like a good bargain may not last long, and you’ll end up spending more money on repairs and replacement parts. 

When comparing brands and prices, a water softener with a good warranty, high-quality resin beads that won’t need replacing often, and a metered valve are all good factors. 

List of 6 Best Water Softener For Apartments

1. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener (Top Pick)

On the Go Main

The double standard softener unit produces twice the gallons compared to other standard models and is the largest yet compact RV water softener on the market. It is a 16,000-grain unit and is a perfect fit supplying approximately 40% more soft water than other units on the market. It regenerates with two boxes of common table salt in less than 30 minutes and provides softened water up to 1600 gallons or up to 40 days.

The number of gallons the unit makes will depend on the hardness of your water source. It is compact – 22″ H x 9.50″ dia., with a space-saver design allowing it to be installed in tight places.

Its unique features are that it is easy to carry with handles on top, a large mouth opening for easy salt addition, high-grade premium resin, the travel-friendly option with its cap and plug to prevent any leakage, and is built for quick & simple regeneration. It utilizes a standard hose connection between the park faucet and your RV/Marine, requires no tools or electricity, and can be easily stored in the storage bay or dockside locker. It offers high flow rates with very low-pressure drops.

The water softener provides soft water that prevents hard water & rust stains, scales build-up, improves taste and odor, increases appliances’ lifespan, and improves rough, dry skin while increasing lathering of soaps.

The system is travel-friendly with an option of cap & plug to prevent leakage. A back-flush adapter is included for quick reverse connection when required. 

This unit comes with hardness test strips, storage inlet/outlet caps, handle, adapter to back-flush, a high pressure 4′ drinking hose, and a full cradle base for a very secure & stable setting. 

Pros

  1. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain, RV Water Softener is compact and portable with a stable base. 
  2. It uses common table salt for regeneration.
  3. It has a wide enough opening for easy pouring of salt.
  4. The unit has a 360-degrees swivel head making it easy to connect the hose.
  5. It is easy to assemble and does not require tools or assistance.
  6. It also has water hardness testing strips.

Cons

  1. There is no sediment filter in the On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener.
  2. It needs to be disconnected from the RV to regenerate.
  3. It doesn’t have an indicator to warn when regeneration is needed.
  4. Some of the parts are made of plastic.

2. Portable RV Water Softener 16000 Grain Pro Premium Grade (Runner Up)

Water Softener For Home

The portable RV water softener has a wide 10-3/8″ base for maximum stability on uneven surfaces. It also has high flow ports for minimal pressure drop and 5 GPM flow. The 16,000-grain capacity can provide up to 40 days (2,000 gallons) of softened water depending on water hardness and usage.

Additionally, an adapter is included for backwash (WS-P-REG-KIT kit available for faster regeneration). It is effective on both well and city water.

This system reduces Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Lead, Radium, and other Heavy Metals. This Portable Softener & Conditioner produces twice the gallons compared to other standard models and offers the best value as it is a compact RV softener measuring 10″ x 19.5″ total size.

It is designed for portability and durability and is the perfect choice for serious RV/boat owners, carwash detailers,s or anyone looking for the best mobile softener on the market. It provides approximately 40% more soft water and regenerates in under 30 minutes with two boxes of table salt.

The Portable RV Water Softener is designed in California and built with high-grade NSF materials; the tank’s inner shell is made of high-grade Polyethylene and reinforced with a durable fiberglass wrap. The Polyethylene inner shell houses the NSF Certified food-grade premium resin.

The unit has 3/4″ high flow in/out garden hose ports with a removable head and comes fully assembled with a riser tube and premium top and bottom distributors. These garden hose connections allow it to easily connect between the park faucet and your RV, Boat, or Pressure Washer. The unit requires no tools or electricity to operate and get started. Included is a female-to-female adapter to allow you to backwash the unit when regenerating without the optional WS-P-REG-KIT 2 in 1 prefilter/regenerating kit.

Pros

  1. The Portable RV Water Softener 16,000 Grain PRO Premium Grade has a sturdy base.
  2. It uses premium grade resin
  3. It comes with a tank jacket
  4. It also has brass ports.
  5. It is easy to install.

Cons

  1. The Portable RV Water Softener 16,000 Grain PRO Premium Grade is heavy and cumbersome.

3. Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000 Grains Portable Water Softener

Watts RV Water Softener Front

The Watts RV Pro-1000 is a built-in drain line flow restrictor and offers a more effective regeneration process, thereby increasing the capacity by up to 55%. Its custom-designed flow valves allow regeneration without having to connect or disconnect the system. Its full cradle base keeps the tank secure, and the hardness strips are included.

The Watts RV Pro-1000 has high flow rates up to 4 GPM with low-pressure drop and uses common table salt.

Pros

  1. The Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000 Grains Portable Water Softener is easy to use
  2. It offers trouble-free installation
  3. You can use ordinary table salt for regeneration
  4. It allows a high flow rate
  5. The Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000 Grains Portable Water Softener
  6.  It is low maintenance

Cons

  1. The Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000 Grains Portable Water Softener’s valves are loose but can be tightened.

4. Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain ™ Unit with Tank 

Mobile Water Softener

The Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain unit conditions water of Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Lead, Radium, and other heavy metals found in wells and municipal water. It regenerates without electricity, is mobile, and is easy to use. It is a single 9-inch diameter by 18-inch or 10-inch by 17-inch unit with a garden hose in-out connection. The tank can be loaded with 1/2 cubic feet of highly charged high-capacity water softening resin.

This water softener can treat up to 5 gallons per minute of water with a 10-grain Total Hardness load to 0 soft conditions on a continuous base up to 1600 gallons of conditioned water. It comes with a one-year warranty. 

Pros

  1. Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain ™ Unit with Tank is easy to install
  2. It has high-quality materials.
  3. The Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain ™ Unit with Tank requires minimal maintenance.
  4. It is budget-friendly

Cons

  1. The Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain ™ Unit with Tank does not have brass fittings.
  2. It has only a one-year warranty.
  3. It may release strong odors.

5. Portable RV Water Softener by SoftPro

SoftPro Water Softener

SoftPro’s portable RV water softener uses regular table salt or potassium chloride to regenerate, and is compact and light enough to carry around easily. It is easy to connect and protects the appliances from scaling. It uses an 8% premium resin designed for durability and efficiency. It is also budget-friendly. It is built to last and can be stored when not in use and is travel-friendly.

Pros

  1. The Portable RV Water Softener by SoftPro is lightweight
  2. It is easy to hook up
  3. It has a compact design
  4. It is budget-friendly
  5. The Portable RV Water Softener by SoftPro is weather-proof

Cons

  1. The Portable RV Water Softener by SoftPro has no regeneration instructions.

6. WECO Portable Mini Softener for Recreational Vehicles (RVs) (SOFT-RV-0613) 

Weco Water Softener Main

The WECO Portable Mini Softener is suitable for RVs, motor homes, trailers, campers. It comes with garden hose connectors, a test kit, and a 6 ft. garden hose for quick and easy installation. This salt-based water softener uses around 2 pounds of common salt per regeneration and has a 1900 – 3800 grain capacity. The tank size is 6″ Diameter x 13″ in Height. 

Pros

  1. The WECO Portable Mini Softener for Recreational Vehicles has a simple in/ out design.
  2. It uses regular table salt for regeneration.
  3. The unit works with well water and city water.

Cons

1. The WECO Portable Mini Softener for Recreational Vehicles requires installation instructions.

Most water softeners allow you to set the length of the regeneration cycle. However, the default regeneration cycles take between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. It is a practical time frame for most households.

If the regeneration cycle is too short, it could result in ineffective resin beads, and if the cycle is too long, it will increase the time you go without soft water.

Water Softener vs. Water Descaler for Apartment. Which one suits you?

It is always uncomfortable to deal with the effects of hard water. Hardwater damages laundry, the tiles in the bathroom develop stains, and there is soap scum in your dishes. Unfortunately, water hardness is not the only problem, as you may find other contaminants in the water that can be harmful o your health.

That’s why there are two types of filtration systems, water descaler, and water softener. Both are effective in solving water issues. It will help to understand the difference before choosing between a water descaler and a water softener. 

Hard water causes build-up on your surfaces and damages household appliances. It also contains calcium and magnesium, and other minerals, including heavy metals. There are different levels of hard water, depending on the area that you live in. You can find out the water hardness by using a test kit or calling the local municipality. 

The big difference between a water softener and a descaler is that a water softener will remove all the hardness in your water, which means the GPG count will be zero. On the other hand, a water descaler will prevent all the secondary effects from contaminants in the hard water. The descaler is smaller and can be placed in almost all locations.

A water softener needs two tanks and is either placed at the point of entry or point of use. One tank has resin beads, and the other is a brine tank. With ion exchange, the water softener changes the chemical composition of the water. The incoming water supply enters the tank containing the resin beads, where the sodium replaces the calcium and magnesium.

Essentially, the water enters the tank with the resin beads that are already charged with sodium ions. Then, the resin beads trap the calcium and magnesium minerals and replace them with sodium, after which the brine tank cleans the water through a process of regeneration. To charge the resin beds with sodium, the brine tank needs to be filled with salt or potassium chloride.

Water softeners are most effective when regularly maintained, but a descaler requires minimal upkeep. An effective water softener can improve the taste of water, reduce the amount of water needed for a good lather, and remove the soap scum from sticking to surfaces and kitchen utensils.

When is it better to use a water softener?   

In some specific situations, only a water softener will work if your water hardness is between 25 and 30 GPG. This is classified as very hard water. Continued use of such water can harm your health. It can also cause damage to pipes and appliances. When this happens, the best option is to use a water softener. 

Water Descalers, also called water conditioners, do not remove the minerals in the hard water. Their main purpose is to prevent the build-up of scale deposits caused by calcium and magnesium minerals and remove the contaminants.

Water descalers use several types of technologies, for instance, magnets placed in the pipes or using a low voltage current. A low voltage current creates crystals, and such a templed crystallization helps avoid scaling. The installation and maintenance of water descalers are less expensive.  

When is it better to use a water descaler?   

A water descaler is an ideal choice if you want to be eco-friendly and save water. It is also more budget-friendly. Knowing all the differences between a water softener and a descaler and the quality of water in the apartment or home will make it easier to make a choice between the two. 

How to deal with hard water if you live in apartments [Follow these expert tips]

water softener guy

There are different ways in which you can handle the hard water in your apartment. Some of them are listed below and can help you deal with varying levels of hard water.

1. Boiling the hard water 

Hard water that mostly contains calcium bicarbonate is also called temporary hard water. If you boil the water, the high temperature precipitates the dissolved minerals from the water. By removing the calcium content, the water becomes softer. 

Boiling is a quick way, and it is also cheaper to boil the water you consume. It is essential to remember that boiling only addresses temporary hardness. 

2. Use cleaning acid or solutions to remove the soap scum 

The hard water’s calcium, magnesium, and other minerals react with soap’s chemical contents, leaving behind soap scum. The soap scum is also known as lime soap, and it causes a white build-up on all surfaces. It accumulates in sinks, bathrooms, drains, and shower doors, etc. 

The positively charged calcium atoms cause soap scum as these atoms prevent soap molecules from dissolving completely. The undissolved soap molecules attach themselves to surfaces. You can use a cleaning solution to counter the positive calcium atoms in hard water. 

3. Use Washing Soda to do Laundry 

Washing soda is one of the best solutions to treat hard water for laundry purposes. It’s a type of chemical that contains carbonic acid salt (sodium carbonate). It can soften both temporary and permanent hard water. The washing soda can get rid of the dissolved calcium and magnesium in hard water. By removing these mineral ions from the water, hard water becomes softened. 

4. Distilled White Vinegar can Remove Hard Water Stains 

Calcium is alkaline and has a pH level of more than 7. On the other hand, white distilled vinegar is very acidic, as it has a pH level of about 2.5. So, vinegar can help neutralize the calcium content in hard water. But, it is essential to know that you can’t add too much vinegar to drinking water, and it is most effective for cleaning purposes. You can also use vinegar to soak fixtures that have a limescale build-up for around an hour or spray vinegar on household appliances to remove all the spots left by soap and hard water. 

5. Use a Magnetic Water Conditioner

Some water conditioners use a magnetic field to condition the water, although they can’t be used to soften water. Homes with moderately hard water can still find magnetic water conditioners effective.

The unit is connected to the main water supply, and the magnetic field can change the properties of the contaminants in the water, i.e., the mineral ions get separated from each other, ensuring that they don’t stick together and cause limescale build-up. These minerals don’t get removed, but they will get drained out of the water. 

6. Install a Faucet Water Softener

A point of use water softener in the faucet is the most optimum way to soften the water. Installations costs will remain low if you choose to install one under the sink or onto a faucet. 

The two types of water softeners are Sodium or Potassium Chloride.

Salt-based Water Softeners

Salt-based water softeners are generally more common. They come in different sizes. Sodium or potassium chloride are crystalline substances, and as such, are the main elements in a water softener. Salt-based water softeners rely on a process called ion exchange. The crystalline solution holds and suspends a medium such as resin to soften the water.

The exchange of ions is almost immediate even as the water flows through the softener, and this helps swap the mineral ions with the chloride ions. The minerals that make the water hard get trapped in the softener’s chamber resulting in softened water. You will see an immediate change in the quality of water as your skin reacts favorably to softened water. The same is true of household appliances, too.

Salt-Free Water Softeners

You can also use saltless water softeners that will convert the mineral ions into very tiny crystals. This results in the crystalized minerals staying suspended in the water. Although the hard water continues to retain the magnesium and calcium content, the mineral ions won’t attach themselves to surfaces. This reduces the risk of scale build-up on your fixtures and plumbing pipes. Salt-free softeners don’t use salt; instead, they turn calcium ions into nanocrystals. 

The Verdict

It is clear that water softeners are the ideal solutions for homes and apartments as they ensure softened water supply for bathing, washing kitchen utensils, laundry, and consumption. While all other measures may help reduce hard water contents, the choice of investing in a good water softener may be well worth it in the long term, not just for your family’s health but also for your home. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can you put a water softener in condo?

Yes, you can fit a water softener in condos as the compact designs are capable of fitting into small spaces. It can be fixed under a sink or onto a faucet and can be taken with you, wherever you go.

2. How do portable water softeners work?

Portable water softeners can be hooked up and are designed for portability and durability. It is the perfect choice for serious RV/boat owners and provides approximately 40% more soft water and regenerates in under 30 minutes, with two boxes of table salt.

3. Can you install a water softener in a rental?

You can use a water softener unit in a rental apartment or condo. All you have to do is install a unit on a faucet or under the sink. 

4. Which is the best water softener for small spaces?

The best water softener for small spaces is the On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener as it is compact and supplies approximately 40% more soft water than other units on the market. It regenerates with two boxes of common table salt in less than 30 minutes and provides soft water for up to 40 days or a maximum of 1600 gallons.

5. How can you soften shower water in apartment?

You can soften the shower water by using a shower head filter or adding baking soda or bath salts to counter the hard water elements. 

6. How long does a portable water softener last? 

Water softeners can last 7 to 10 years with proper care and maintenance. The resins have a life span of a minimum of 10 years, depending on the quality of water and the frequency of regeneration.

7. Should you rent or buy a water softener?

The choice between renting and buying a water softener will depend on your budget. It may also be based on whether you are a renter or homeowner. The advantage of using portable water softeners is that they are portable and can be taken with you anywhere.

Renting water softeners can limit the choices and may not be as effective as the units may not be brand new with the new technology. It is likely to be used equipment, and it is difficult to gauge if it has had any problems. It might need some repairs or replacement of parts before it can be used again.

While the costs may be part of the rental agreement, they can also be a lot of trouble and cost a lot more over time.

However, even if it is a question of affordability, it may still be more advantageous to buy a water softener. There are also financing options you can use that can lead to owning the water softening system, in time. Once you invest in a water softener, it will become yours to take even if you relocate.

Conclusion

Here, we have given you all the reasons why water softeners are perfectly usable in apartments and mobile homes. We have also given you an in-depth review of select water softeners with their pros and cons for you to choose from. With the many portable and compact softeners available in the market, it is only a matter of buying the one that is best suited for your needs.  

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.