If you’re looking for the best water softener in UK, then you’ve come to the right place. This review has put together all of the best water softeners that promise efficiency and cost-effectiveness for you and your family.
Living in an area with frustratingly high levels of hard water can really affect you and your family adversely, and this is why the best water softener is needed to take all of this away. Even with this, picking the best water softener is quite difficult.
You don’t only have to buy the best brands, but you also have to understand water softeners and how they work before you can decide if one is the right for your home. Our water softener review has done most of the hard work and this review has everything you need to know about the best water softeners.
Best UK Water Softener Reviews 2020
Based on our research, here’s our list of the best UK water softeners in 2020:
1. Water2Buy W2B800 Water Softener
The first on our list is the Water2Buy W2B800. This water softener company is known for their efficient products. This system is at the top of the list because of its top-rated quality and excellent performance.
This system is best for any type of household, especially a big family, in need of a constant supply of soft water. The system works best for large households because it produces a lot of soft water on demand.
- This water softener system has a capacity of up to 3,680 litres of water which it can produce daily. This amount of water is ideal for a household of seven to ten people.
- The system also reduces limescale in your home drastically and makes your water smooth just weeks after you’ve installed it.
- The unique feature of the Water2Buy W2B800 is that it automatically cleans up itself and doesn’t make any noise. This means that you get to spend less money and time on cleaning and maintenance of the system.
- This unit also doesn’t cause a change in the water pressure in your home and the system lets you control the hardness of the water.
- This water softener is not picky at all and would work great with any kind of softener salt.
- The system also allows for self-installation, although if you don’t have a vast knowledge of tools, you should employ a professional.
- Size: Large/ 25 Kg
- Colour: Green and White
- Style: Modern
- Pattern: Ion-Exchange synthetic resin
- Includes: Power source, easy to understand manual, hardness test kit, allen key, manual, fittings.
- It does not affect water pressure.
- It limits limescale build-up and the effects of hard water.
- It is ideal for large families.
- It automatically cleans itself.
- It is easy to maintain and change the salts.
- It might be a bit hard to install it.
- It might not be ideal for small families except that family consumes a lot of water.
2. Water2Buy W2B200 Water Softener
We also have the W2B200 from Water2Buy, and so it is also a highly efficient system. If you’re looking for something like the W2B800, but for smaller families and easier installation, try out this system.
The Water2Buy W2B200 is ideal for small families. It can serve a family of up to four or five people. It also has a compact size unlike the previous model and so it is great for small homes too.
- It has a capacity of about 1,250 litres of soft water, and can provide this amount daily for a family of four.
- It has a compact size and a space saving design.
- It is very easy to install because of its small size and small components.
- It also doesn’t affect the water pressure of the home and it softens your water efficiently.
- The Water2Buy system can also clean itself without making any noise, and it only does this at 3AM. This prevents the system from disturbing or distracting you during the day.
- This system gets rid of limescale after a few weeks of use, and reduces the hardness level.
- It is also very durable.
- Size: W: 230mm x D:440mm x H:640mm
- Colour: Blue and White
- Style: Modern
- Pattern: Ion-Exchange synthetic resin
- Includes: power source, easy manual, fittings, hardness test kit and allen key.
- It is very easy to install and is compact sized.
- It can be programmed for regeneration and water hardness level.
- It is very easy to maintain and fill with salt.
- It does not affect the water pressure.
- It is noiseless.
- The hose included in the system for installation can be a bit stiff.
- It is only ideal for small families.
3. Harvey Crown Water Softener
Although this system is one of the most expensive water softeners, the Crown model which was made by Harvey Water Softener is a great system with a lot of efficient features.
This water softener is ideal for any size of family, although it is especially recommended for small households who do not use water a lot.
- Although this system has a compact size, this doesn’t stop it from featuring an impressive twin tank system which allows it to produce more water than expected. The compact size also allows you to save space.
- The system also doesn’t need any electrical supply to produce water. This means less electric bills and less strain on your electricity. Without electricity, this system can still produce soft water on demand.
- It also features a very helpful five-year warranty.
- The system is easy to maintain and all you have to do is replace the salt blocks when needed. It is also easy to install.
- It is not affected by a low flow rate of water in your home.
- Size: W: 490mm x D:460mm x H:212mm
- Colour: White
- Style: Modern
- Includes: 15mm fitting kit, block salt and starter pack.
- The system does not make use of electricity, only water pressure, and so it saves money.
- It is a dual tank system which makes it more efficient.
- It is also easy to install.
- It comes in a space-saving design.
- It is easy to maintain, and features an impressive five-year warranty.
- It is a bit expensive.
- It is small which makes it more ideal for smaller families.
4. Fleck 9100SXT 96,000 Grain Dual Tank Water Softener
This dual tank water softener is made for heavy-duty business. With the Fleck 9100SXT system, you and your family won’t run out of soft water at all.
The Fleck 9100SXT is ideal for larger families and households. This is a large system and it produces a lot of soft water on demand, and so if your family uses up a lot of water, then this system is just what you need.
- It is a dual tank system. These two tanks share the load of the softening process together and provide you with double the amount of water that one tank would’ve produced.
- It has a very large capacity. The two tanks have a grain capacity of 96,000 each!
- The water softening process of this system is very thorough and the flow rate is strong/
- The system also features a digital meter, LCD display and touch controls which allows you to control your system easily. These features make the Fleck 9100SXT truly one of a kind.
- This system is also great for limescale, and within weeks of using this water softener, your limescale build-up would’ve drastically reduced.
- The regeneration system of this water softener depends on how much water is consumed and not the timer that you set.
- The tanks come with an outstanding 10-year warranty and so you won’t have to worry about your water softener failing on you for a decade. Also, when you buy the system, you have a 30-day money back guarantee in case it didn’t meet your expectations.
- This is not a space-saving system and so you would have to make space for it in your kitchen.
- Size: 14 x 14 x 65 inches
- Colour: Light Green or Almond and Black
- Includes: Bypass valve, flow meter, 1” male connections, installation guidelines and preloaded resin.
- It has a large capacity for each tank.
- It also has a strong flow rate.
- It does heavy duty business and is highly durable.
- It features a digital meter and touch controls.
- It removes build-up of limescale and provides quality soft water after a thorough process.
- The 10-year warranty is exceptional.
- It is really bulky and is not ideal for small homes.
- It is also very heavy.
- It is expensive to maintain because of the resin replacement.
5. Tier1 48,000 Grain High Efficiency Digital Water Softener
The last system on our list is simple, affordable and still efficient. The Tier1 system might look like a normal water softener but it is very efficient and would get the job done.
This system does not have a very high grain capacity and so it should be ideal for small and medium sized households. It is also a space saving unit and so it is best for small homes too.
- The system features an LCD display and a digital meter control valve which allows you to see and control the flow rate and water pressure of the system. It also allows you to set the regeneration cycles depending on how much water you use and the time you want it to regenerate.
- It has a low grain capacity.
- This system is very good in getting rid of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. The unique feature about the Tier1 system is that it is able to retain any healthy mineral in the water.
- This system also gets rid of any limescale build-up anywhere in your home.
- This system is also a cost-effective unit. It saves money in both purchase and maintenance.
- It can also be installed outdoors as long as the weather isn’t freezing.
- Size: 15.5 x 15.5 x 66.5 inches
- Colour: Blue
- Style: Modern
- Includes: big mineral tank, valve with bypass, brine tank and adapter.
- It is a space-saving and cost-effective unit. It allows for installation in small or tight areas.
- It is also very effective. It removes the most dominant hard water minerals and it prevents the build-up of limescale.
- It has an LCD display and a digital metered control valve which makes it very easy to use and convenient to customize your water softener according to what flow rate and water pressure you prefer.
- It is easy to install and can be installed outdoors.
- You can control the regeneration cycles of the system.
- It does not have a high capacity.
What is Hard Water and Why Do We Need Water Softeners?
Looking from a technical perspective, hard water is basically any water which has more than 1 GPG of dissolved hardness minerals. Hard water usually contains high levels of calcium, iron, magnesium and more minerals and particles. Soft water on the other hand is any water that is up to 3.5 GPG. Hard water poses a lot of problems to your home and your health, which is why water softeners are needed to solve the problems that hard water brings. Although hard water does not affect health greatly, it affects a lot of other things in your home and cost you money and cause frustration. You might not even realize that your hard water is a problem until the effects start to become prominent. If you are connected to a municipal or city water supply, then there is a high chance that you have hard water.
Why Hard Water is a Disadvantage
- Affects your skin
Hard water makes your skin become dry and itchy because of the soap scum that it leaves behind. Hard water and soap do not mix and so the hard water leaves behind a substance on your skin which causes the dryness and itching. The same goes for your hair. In worse cases, it leaves behind colours on your hair that depend on how bad or concentrated the minerals in the hard water are.
- Affects your faucets and dishes
This soap scum would also be left behind on your plates and utensils, and on your bathroom and kitchen fixtures like the sink and the faucet. When you use hard water and leave it to dry, it leaves behind some sort of white, cloudy film which means that you have to clean more often than usual. This is one of the main problems of hard water.
- Affects your laundry
Your clothes would also be adversely affected if you do laundry with hard water. It causes your clothes to get stiffer and it causes the colour to fade. Also, there might be some stains on your clothes after washing depending on which mineral is more prominent in your water supply.
- Affects your pipes
If you think that all of the features above aren’t much to worry about, then you should know that hard water can lead to the worsening and possible destruction of the whole infrastructure that is related to water in your home. This is because of limescale which hard water causes. The minerals in the hard water causes limescale to build up in your showerheads and your pipes. If not taken care of, the limescale would block the pipe completely and you would have to replace them with new ones. There is no point doing this if you don’t make use of a water softener to prevent it from happening. It can also cause crusty showerheads and blocked pipes.
- Affects water appliances
Because of the build-up of limescale, water appliances are adversely affected by hard water. These are appliances like coffee makers, washing machines, kettles boilers and dishwashers. If the hard water isn’t taken care of, you would have to constantly fix and replace these appliances. Water heaters are also highly affected. If your water heater has not been working as well as it was expected to do, it is because of hard water which reduces the efficiency of the heating elements in your water heater. It can also damage it because of limescale build-up.
- Causes corrosion
With hard water, there would be corrosion and rust anywhere that you use water in. In your kitchen and bathroom, appliances would begin to rust faster than they are supposed to. You can also have rust in your plumbing or water system.
- Affects soaps
Because of hard water, there is barely any lather worked up when you’re using soap or shampoos. It reduces the lather that any hygiene supply is supposed to make, and it makes the soap less effective. The soap also produces less foam.
Is there a Downside to using Soft Water?
Soft water is basically hard water that has been made soft through a type of process. Even with this, there might be a few disadvantages of soft water although they are nothing compared with the many problems that hard water brings.
For example, if you use copper pipes, then they are likely to become corroded by the chlorine in the soft water. This can cause green colouration of your appliances or even your hair in worse cases. This chlorine is important because it is one of the things that prevents limescale, and so the pipes would be affected by the corrosive features of chlorine. This is only for those with copper pipes, and if this is the case, then this can be easily solved by buying a water softener which does not add chlorine to the water or purchasing the affordable carbon block filter which removes a significant percentage of the chlorine in the water.
Also, because of high levels of sodium carbonate in soft water, some water softeners do not solve the problem of taste and so the water doesn’t taste very nice. Also, anyone who is on a sodium diet cannot use any of the salt-based water softeners because the salt would add to the diet. You can also easily solve this problem by purchasing a reverse osmosis system which does not make use of salt and the water tastes fresh.
Lastly, during regeneration, water softeners waste a lot of water before they can make more soft water. There is nothing to be done about this problem, although if you want to waste less water, you should purchase a non-salt based system which hardly wastes water.
All in all, soft water does not have much downsides and it is still recommended better than hard water.
Is Soft Water Harmful to your Health?
If there’s one thing that scares people, it is the thought that soft water might have adverse health impacts. But, soft water is not harmful to your health except if you are using a salt based water softener system and you are not allowed to take more than a recommended amount of salt daily as I mentioned above. This also included diabetic patients, those with high blood pressure and anyone that is sensitive to high salinity. This is because salt based water softeners replace the minerals in the water with sodium. You can easily purchase non-salt based water softeners or reverse osmosis systems in order to accommodate these set of people.
Apart from those set of people, soft water is not harmful to your health at all. You should keep it in mind that if you have plants or an aquarium, don’t use the soft water to water the plant or to fill up the fish tank. It is very harmful to fishes or plants. Soft water also creates extra foam when using soap or shampoo and so you would be using more water than usual when taking a shower.
Cases Where You Need a Water Softener
How do you notice that you need a water softener? Sometimes, the effects of hard water don’t become prominent until they have escalated to dangerous levels and so you should want to look out for any signs now so that you can quickly prevent those effects. So, what are the cases where you realize that you need a water softener?
Firstly, you would notice limescale build-up on your appliances like coffee makers or kettles. If you notice any white, hard, chalky substance anywhere in your home where you use water, it is a sign that you have hard water and you need to purchase a water softener.
Also, if you notice that your skin and your hair gets dried out after taking a shower, then you have hard water. Hard water would cause dry, leathery and rough skin with more inflammation and black heads. It can also discolour your hair or make it dry and weak. Apart from your skin, if you’ve been constantly noticing that your clothes look faded and feel scratchy, then you need to buy a water softener.
When you notice that your water bill has increased drastically, then it is probably because of hard water. Because of limescale build-up in your pipe, your water usage would increase and so would the bills. If this happens, call your local utility company to ask if your water is hard or soft.
Also, when you realize that you have been spending a lot of money on plumbing and fixing the pipes, you should call your local utility company to ask too because hard water makes it hard to maintain a house.
Types of Water Softeners
There are four main and popular types of water softeners out there. They all have their different levels of effectiveness and it all depends on the one that you prefer.
- Salt-Based Water Softener
This is the most popular type of water softener out of all the other types that you can find out there. It is widely purchased by a lot of people. It is also called ion exchange softeners because they soften the water by replacing the hardness mineral ions with sodium ions, thereby making it hard water. This type of water softener also needs constant refill of salt, depending on the type of system it is, so that it can work properly. This increases maintenance costs but it also works efficiently.
- Salt-Free Water Softener
As the name implies, this system does not make use of salt and is especially ideal for those with sensitivity to high salinity. Although, the salt free water softening systems are not as efficient as the salt-based systems are, some people still prefer it to the latter. Salt-free water softeners are more like water conditioners than softeners. They remove limescale and in some cases, reduce the hardness level, but would not do it as properly as salt-based systems.
- Magnetic Water Descaler
This type of water softener is not as well-known as others because it uses a different type of system. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t very effective, and it is a stress-free system too. Descalers are electrical devices and they do not affect your existing piping system. They also don’t require installation and there is no bypass valve. The only thing that you need to do is wrap a few wires around your intake pipes in your home. When you plug the system in, it would create a magnetic field set round the pipes and water, and then reshape the minerals to make it soft water.
- Dual Tank Water Softener
Lastly, we have the water softeners with dual capacity. This type of water softener always comes in a pair: one brine tank and two large iron tanks. They are usually heavy duty systems that are ideal for large families. The great thing about the dual tank water softener is that you don’t have to wait for it to finish regenerating before you can use some soft water. While one tank is regenerating, the other one would be fully functional and would be able to provide you with soft water. Dual tank water softeners are usually long-term investments and so you would enjoy it for a long time.
The Ultimate Water Softener Buying Guide
Knowing what you need
Before purchasing the best water softener, you would want to know what you need. There are a lot of things that you should think of before going for one of the systems on our water softener review above.
- What type of water softener do you need for the size of your family? It would be a waste of money to buy a water softener which would not be enough or would be too much for your household. If you have a large family, then you should purchase a 2-piece water softener. They are also usually more cost-effective than a 1-piece system and they have a higher capacity and is able to take a bigger workload. If you have a smaller family, then you could purchase a 1-piece water softener.
- You also need to buy a water softener with proven technology. Go for a brand that has been around for a very long time. Their products would be more reliable and efficient than new brands.
- Also, you need to consider maintenance when purchasing a water softener. You would need one that is serviceable in such a way that you won’t have to take the whole unit apart just to fix or replace a small part.
- It is advisable to buy one from a local dealer because they would know the type of water that is in that area and what you need. They can also help with installation and customer service support afterwards.
- You would also need a smaller version of an industrial water softener because of how efficient, durable and reliable it would be.
- You should also check out for brands whose parts are non-proprietary. This is important because if the unit fails, you should be able to get spare parts from a local dealer. Also, if the brand gets discontinued later on, you wouldn’t have access to the parts you need ever again.
- Lastly, your budget matters a lot. You shouldn’t sacrifice efficiency and good quality for affordability, or else you’ll end up wasting more money than you planned. Instead, fix your budget around £300 – £1000, depending on how expensive or affordable you want yours to be. Also, those with the money back guarantee feature are also ideal, just in case the model isn’t what exactly you were looking for.
Choosing the best for your home
There are different factors to consider when choosing the best water softener for your home.
You should check the resin capacity of a water softener before you purchase it. This is dependent on how much water you use in your family or how many people make up your family. Water softeners with very large capacities don’t usually have to regenerate as often as those with smaller capacities do. Do not purchase a water softener whose capacity is too small for your family.
- Bypass Valve
A bypass valve would come in real handy when it comes to your water softener and so you should buy one that comes with it. This allows the water to bypass the water softener and it is useful when doing things like filling up a pool with water or watering plants. These activities don’t need soft water.
- Regeneration settings
You can either go for a metered or timed water softener when it comes to the regeneration cycle. In the case of the metered water softener system, it calculates the regeneration time after a certain amount of water has been used. You would decide on the amount of water when you set up your system. For the timed system, the unit would have a specific interval of time when it would regenerate. The metered system is usually more advisable because the times system can waste water when the softener doesn’t need regeneration.
- Size and Space
The size and space of your kitchen, or any other room where you want to put it, also matters. For a small room, a space saving unit would be more advisable than a bulky one. If you want to purchase a dual tank, then you would need to have a lot of space ready. Apart from the size of the kitchen, you also have to make sure that your intake pipes are big enough for the water softener that you want to purchase. Once you are sure that the model you want to purchase is big enough for the size and space that you have available, then you can purchase it.
Installation of Water Softeners
The installation of all water softeners are similar because they are built alike, although it can be a challenging task, especially for those that are not well versed with tools. If you are not sure about installing it yourself, it is highly advisable to hire a professional.
- Shut off the main water supply and find your inlet pipe. It should be in your basement or garage.
- Before the pipes are connected to the house, cut them after the water meter.
- Attach your pipes. It should have three valves; the bypass valve, the valve that prevents water from leaving the softener and the one which prevents it from entering.
- Cross check the connectors to ensure that they are tightly connected.
- Using a 3/8 plastic tubing that is usually included in the package, connect the brine tank to the media tank.
- Also, attach the drain elbow, using a hose clamp, to the drain line.
- Lastly, attach the discharge pipe to the drain for wastewater.
FAQs on Water Softeners and Hard Water
- How much electricity do water softeners use?
This depends on the type of water softener that you purchase, although most of them don’t use a lot of power that would have a significant impact on your electricity bills. Some water softeners, like the Harvey Crown mentioned in our water softener reviews, don’t even use electricity and depend more on water pressure. If you’re concerned about your electrical bills, then you shouldn’t worry, or you can purchase those which don’t require electricity.
- What is the size of the water softener that I need for a family of five?
You should either purchase a 2-tier water softener or one with a very large capacity. Buying a smaller size would be a waste of money and wouldn’t provide enough soft water for everyone in the home but for a large capacity or 2-tier water softener, there would always be enough water.
- Which technology is the best for water softening?
If not for the fact that salt-based water softeners are harmful to those that are sensitive to high salinity, this would have been the overall best. Most of the best water softeners are actually salt-based. This is because this classic technology is efficient and well trusted.
- Is it safe to drink hard water?
There is no proven scientific research that says that hard water would cause any damage to your health. Some scientists even recommend it for drinking because it contains all the natural minerals which can prevent cardiovascular and heart diseases. Soft water doesn’t have these minerals and so hard water is safe for drinking. All of this depends on the hardness levels of the water. Some areas have a really high concentration of hardness minerals in the water which gives off a sulphur smell.
The Verdict: The Best UK Water Softener
From the water softener review above and the complete and detailed guide, it is obvious that the water softener that you decide to purchase would be different from another person’s choice. Water softeners depend on what you and your family needs, and so you should pick the one that satisfies your need, that is the one for you. If you’ve had a problem with hard water for a while, then you must be in a hurry to purchase and install an ideal water softener. We’ve done the hard work for you by picking out the best water softeners out there, and now, all you have to do is pick one.
Instead of looking for the best water softener overall, pick the one that you wouldn’t regret buying, and that is the best water softener for you.