Water softener vs. water filter
There is a common misconception that water softeners and water filters are the same. While they may appear to serve the same purpose, they actually function quite differently. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between water softeners and water filters so that you have the details you need to make a decision about the right system for your home.
What is the difference between water softeners & water filters?
Water softeners and water filters are two different types of water treatment systems. Water softeners remove hardness minerals from water, while water filters remove impurities. Hardness minerals can cause problems with plumbing and appliances, so water softeners are often used in homes with hard water. Water filters are used to remove contaminants that can cause health problems and to make the taste of drinking water better. In some cases, you can use both, a water softener and a home water filtration system.
When should you opt for water softeners?
If you have hard water, it’s important to consider using a water softener. Hard water can cause mineral buildup in your pipes and appliances. It can also make it challenging to get your clothes clean when you do laundry. Water softeners use an ion-exchange process to swap the minerals in hard water for sodium or potassium ions. This process makes the water softer and easier on your pipes and appliances. What should you consider when you are wondering if you should invest in a water softener or not?
The hardness levels in your water supply:
If your water is only slightly hard, you may not need a water softener. However, if your water is very hard, it’s worth considering a water softener to help protect your pipes and appliances.
What can you afford?
Water softeners can be expensive, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget when deciding whether or not to use one.
Salt-based or salt-free water softeners?
Salt-based water softeners exchange minerals ions with sodium ions. It is a factor to consider if you are on a low-sodium diet. On the other hand, a salt-free unit neutralizes the minerals into crystals and doesn’t introduce salt into the water supply, which is why it is considered a salt-free water conditioner.
If you have specific needs like wanting to extend the life of your appliances or preventing mineral buildup in your pipes, then using a water softener may be worth it for you.
When should you opt for water filters?
Water filters remove impurities from your water, while water softeners remove minerals that can cause hard water. With that said, there are certain situations when you should opt for water filters over water softeners.
If you are worried about your drinking water quality, then you should opt for a water filter. While most municipal tap waters are safe to drink, they may contain heavy metals like lead or chlorine. The same is true of water from the well as it may also have contaminants. If you want to ensure that your drinking water is as pure as possible, then a water filter is the best option.
Which is the best softener for your home that we recommend?
Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grain Capacity Water Softener
Our top choice for the best water softener currently available in the market is the Aquasure Harmony Series 48,000 Grain Capacity Water Softener. This model’s got a lot to offer. It includes an Aquatrol Advanced Digital On-Demand Meter Control Head, in and out bypass, 1″ NPT Male Adapter, and pre-filled premium quality resin.
Need a whole house water filtration system to provide soft, spot-free water? This system can treat up to 48,000-Grain of hardness and is perfect for households with 2-5 bathrooms. This water softener also comes with an advanced digital control console that allows precise backwashing only when it’s needed, saving you hundreds of gallons of water and costs on salt.
Activated, time-delayed, metered, and manual double backwash for optimum regeneration allows you to efficiently operate this product and ensure consistent soft water quality for several years.
Aquasure water softening systems are constructed of corrosion-resistant fiberglass-lined polyethylene tanks. They also come with a durable bypass valve and prefilled premium-grade resin. Plus, they are backed by a 5-year manufacturer warranty. For all of these reasons, the Aquasure Harmony Series water softener is the best softener for your home that we recommend.
Which is the best water filter that provides value for money?
iSpring RCC7AK, NSF Certified 75 GPD, 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System
According to our research, the iSpring RCC7AK water filter provides the best value for money. This RO water filtration system is designed to restore the mineral balance and natural alkalinity of water. It removes up to 99% of over 1,000 harmful contaminants and produces the purest, cleanest drinking water possible.
The iSpring RCC7AK Reverse Osmosis system offers six stages of purification, i.e., you can feel completely assured that you have safe and high-quality drinking water. This water filtration system removes all harmful contaminants from your water supply.
This product uses all the technology you’ve ever wanted for your RO filter in one convenient package. All of that is necessary to create great-tasting bottled-water quality water is included here. Transparent filters, three extra long-life pre-filters, and an ultra-fine RO filter are just a few of the features that you’ll love.
With this water purifier, installation is easy. All the necessary parts for installation are included, and you can refer to a clear installation manual, instructional videos, and lifetime technical support. It will fit nicely under your kitchen sink with no leaks thanks to push-fit connectors which lock in place.
For all of these features at an attractive price point, the iSpring RCC7AK water filter provides the best value for money.
Does water filter go before or after softener?
Water softeners and water filters serve different purposes. A water softener removes minerals that can cause hard water, while a water filter removes contaminants from the water. Depending on your needs, you may install a water softener before or after your water filter.
If you have hard water, it is best to install a water softener before your water filter. This way, the water softener can remove the minerals that can cause hard water, and the water filtration system can remove any remaining contaminants from the water.
If you don’t have hard water, you can get by with just a water filter. However, suppose you are concerned about contaminants in your water. In that case, you may want to install a whole-house filtration system that includes both a sediment pre-filter and an activated carbon filter.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Do water filters make water soft?
Water hardness is caused by dissolved minerals in your water, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals can make it challenging to get your clothes clean and cause buildup on fixtures and appliances. Water softeners remove these minerals from your water, leaving you with softer water that is easier to work with.
On the other hand, water filters do not remove minerals from your water. They are designed to remove contaminants like sediment, bacteria, and chlorine. While water filters will not make your water softer, they can improve the smell and taste of your tap water.
2. Is softened water good for your skin?
If you have hard water, it can be tough on your skin. The hardness-causing minerals can dry out your skin and leave it feeling irritated. Softened water can help to alleviate these issues.
When water is softened, the minerals that cause hardness are removed. This can help to improve your skin’s hydration and reduce irritation. Softened water may be a good option for you if you have sensitive skin.
It’s important to note that softened water will not remove all impurities from your water. If you are concerned about other contaminants in your water, you may want to consider a whole-house filter system.
3. What do water filters not remove?
Water filters do not remove minerals from water, so they will not soften hard water. Hard water has a high mineral content, usually calcium and magnesium. These minerals can build up in pipes and fixtures, causing scale buildup and making it difficult for soap and detergent to work effectively.
Water softeners use an ion-exchange process to remove minerals from water by exchanging them with sodium ions, which prevents scale buildup and makes it easier for soap and detergent to work.
4. Does hard water cause kidney problems?
Hard water contains a high concentration of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. These minerals can cause a variety of problems, including kidney stones.
Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in the kidneys. They are made up of mineral salts that become concentrated in the urine. Over time, these deposits can build up and block the kidney’s ability to filter waste from the blood.
Some studies have suggested that hard water may increase the risk of kidney stones, but the evidence is not conclusive. Kidney stones are a complex issue, and there are many factors that can contribute to their formation.
If you are concerned about the potential effects of hard water on your health, talk to your doctor or a water quality expert.
5. Where should a whole-house water filter be installed?
A whole-house water filter is typically installed at the main water supply line to ensure that all of the water in your home is filtered. This is where water enters your home, so it is the best place to install a filter to get rid of any contaminants in the water.
Setting hardness levels in a water softener is key to having the system work effectively and efficiently. Whether the water softener has the option to set it manually or it comes programmed, the water softener must work to remove the hard water-inducing minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and iron.
Since the objective is to get softened water for consumption, it is imperative that the hardness levels are set accurately keeping the hardness of the water in mind.
You can start by testing the water in your home, be it well water or municipality water supply. Once you have the report, you can invest in a water softener and set the hardness level accordingly to ensure an uninterrupted supply of safe and soft water.
About The Author
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.