An ongoing debate in the world of hard water is:

“whats better, A salt-based water softener, or a salt-free water softener?”

In order to answer this question, we must take a look at each system and how it works, the pros and cons for each, and in what situation each is best suited for.

Salt-Based Water Softeners

These systems actually remove the hard water minerals from your water, and therefore leaves you with soft water.

Through a process called ‘Ion exchange’ these systems will remove magnesium and calcium minerals (hard minerals) and replace them with sodium (which is known as salt). Salt-based systems require the use of salt pellets and regeneration periods, which in simple terms, is like a ‘recharge’ of the system.

You may not like the taste of the water you end up with after using these systems (or you may be watching your sodium levels due to health issues), but there are three simple solutions for this:

  • Install a by-pass valve– You can now disarm your water softener with the turn of a knob
  • install a water filter onto a certain tap in your household- to filter your water for drinking
  • Bypass the system to one supply point in your house

Best situations to use salt-based system: This method of water softening is an effective way to remove hard water, so if your hard water levels are high, you should be using a salt based system.

Salt Free (Saltless) Water Softeners

Also known as ‘water conditioners’, these systems DO NOT remove the hard water minerals, but rather stop them from adhering to your pipes.

Hard water undergoes a process whereby the hard water minerals are ‘crystallized’, meaning they can no long adhere to surfaces, such as the inside of your pipes or your dishes.

This method is not as effective as using a salt-based system, and will not work as well when exposed to high levels of hard water.

Some of the salt-free systems on the market will come inclusive with an internal filter, which will filter the hard water minerals as it ‘conditions’ your hard water.