The contaminants found in tap water are no longer a secret and the fact that the municipality puts little efforts in solving this problem is also known. Hard water is also a common problem found in many households and its effects can be seen in the limescale deposits on dishes, tiles, appliances, and even on the skin of whoever uses the water. This means that each person must take the matter into their own hands and do their best to find the best solution to eliminate the risk of contracting a waterborne disease and to fight the effects of hard water. The biggest hope rises with the development of whole house and softener filters that have the ability to fight all these problems at a time, this being the reason why every home should have a top rated softener system.

Top 3 Whole House Water Softener Comparison

  1. Pelican Salt Free Softener with UV 2. Aquasana Salt-Free Softener & UV 3. Crystal QuestSoftener
  Pelican Whole House Filter and Salt Free Softener with UV Image 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter with Salt-Free Softener, UV Filtration and Professional Installation Kit Image Crystal Quest Water Softener and Whole House Filter Image
  THE BEST OUR CHOICE  
  Check The Price Check The Price Check The Price

Product Specifications

Manufacturer Pelican Water Aquasana CrystalQuest
Capacity of Filter 1,000,000 gallons/3.78 million liters 1,000,000 gallons/3.78 million liters 750,000 gallons/2.83 million liters
Sediment Pre-Filter/Sediment Filter Sediment Pre-Filter Sediment Pre-Filter Sediment Filter
Filtration Method GAC KDF GAC/KDF
Contaminant Removal 97% 97% 99%
Operating Temperature 36-120 °F/2-48°C 40-90 °F/5-32°C 40-100°F/5-38°C
Operating Pressure 25-80 PSI 20-100 PSI 20-125 PSI
Flow Rate 15 GPM 7 GPM 11 GPM

The Most Important Contaminant Removal

Chlorine
Chloramine
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
Industrial Solvents
Pesticides
Herbicides

Additional Information

Inhibits Bacterial Growth
Keeps Beneficial Minerals
Salt Free Water Softener
NSF Certified

Filter Replacement

Sediment Pre-Filter/Sediment Filter 6-9 months 2-3 months N/A
Tank 5 years or 1,000,000 Gal. 10 years or 1,000,000 Gal. 5-7 years or 750,000 Gal.

Warranty & Support

Warranty Limited Warranty on Tanks and Parts 10-year Warranty 10-year Warranty on Resin Tank and Brine Tank Assembly; 5-year Warranty on all Computer Monitored Control Valves
Customer Support

The Softening Systems Evaluation


  • Pelican Salt Free Softener with UV

If you are looking for a system that can remove water contaminants while fighting the hard water, this is the one to go with. Pelican has outdone themselves with this product that incorporates the latest technologies in water filtration. It can handle cold and hot water as well so you will enjoy clean and soft water for bathing and it maintains a high flow rate regardless the impurities it collects.

The granular activated carbon cartridge and the prefilter do a great job in removing up to 97% of the contaminants found in tap water. Plus, the salt-free softener will solve the hard water problem so you will enjoy the highest quality water. In addition, the system features a UV light that inhibits the growth of bacteria to complete the water sanitation protection. It can last for around 10 years and enjoys a limited warranty for both filter cartridges and the tanks.

PROS CONS
High contaminant removal rate of up to 97% Warranty period inferior to what other products offer
Operating temperature ranges from 36 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit
Uses quality granular activated carbon filtration
Can filter up to 1 million gallons of water
Does not require much maintenance work
15 gallons per minute filtration rate
VERDICT

We strongly recommend this filtration system if you are dealing with hard water and want to ensure the protection of your health as well as the well-being of water consuming appliances. The impressive tank it features can remove sediments from up to 1 million gallons of water before it requires to be changes. In addition to removing sediments, it can eliminate other harmful contaminants from drinking water, including chlorine and volatile organic compounds. Also, it uses granular activated carbon filtration in order to ensure perfect results each time it is used.


  • Aquasana Salt-Free Softener & UV

This softener is another wise choice mainly due to its high performance in eliminating water contaminants, which relies on an innovative technology called kinetic degradation fluxion. This consists of a fine porosity alloy filter that, in combination with the sediment prefilter, can remove up to 97% of the impurities in the tap water. Moreover, there is a salt-free softener included that manages to make the water softening syste while keeping the good minerals in it.

The Aquasana combo system can handle high water temperatures and pressures but provides a lower flow rate, something that could seem a concern. However, due to the excellent performance, the complete protection provided by the UV filtration and the 10-year warranty, we rated it as the second best choice for any home.

PROS CONS
Capacity of filtering up to 1 million gallons of water It cannot remove chloramine from drinking water
Great flow rate of 7 gallons per minute
Uses kinetic degradation fluxion filtration
Operating pressure ranges from 20 psi to 100 psi
It can preserve beneficial minerals in drinking water
Backed by a 10-year warranty
VERDICT

If you want to enjoy other benefits besides soft water, then this is the filtration system for you. In addition to the standard capability that all of these systems come with, this Aquasana product inhibits bacterial growth and preserves beneficial minerals as well. also, it does not use salt in the water softening process, and it requires maintenance work less often than most similar systems do.


  • Crystal QuestSoftener

Last but not least, we recommend the Crystal Quest filter and softener that is a more affordable choice that tries to meet the standards of the previous two. And it does a very good job as it can be used on both hot and cold water, it withstands high water pressures, and it provides an 11 GPM flow rate. One feature worth mentioning is the combination of granular activated carbon and kinetic degradation fluxion cartridges along with a sediment prefilter, which increases the efficiency of this system.

It is not salt-free, which is a drawback, but it still provides enough protection against hard water. Also, the whole-house softener system lacks a UV light to handle bacteria in the water but, yet again, this product is a fair deal for its price. Let’s not forget that it also comes with a 10-year warranty on the tanks and 5 years on the computer-controlled valves, which is another advantage of an affordable item.

PROS CONS
Preserves beneficial minerals in drinking water Does not remove bacteria and it cannot inhibit their growth either
Removes contaminants like chlorine, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and herbicides
Capacity of filtering up to 750000 gallons of water
Uses granular activated carbon filtration to deliver great results
Contaminant removal rate of up to 99%
10-year warranty for the tanks and 5-year warranty for the valves
VERDICT

When it comes to contaminant removal rate, the Crystal QuestSoftener is as close to perfection as possible due to its 99 percent rating. Thus, not only does it leave soft water behind, ensuring that your household appliances are protected, but it is highly efficient when it comes to the removal of chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, and numerous other contaminants as well. It is a product that we recommend you install as it boasts a magnificent operation and comes at a rather reasonable price.


  • ABCwaters Built Fleck 5600sxt

Perfect for households where 2 to 5 people live, this whole-house system ensures that hard water won’t be an issue anymore. Its 48000-grain capacity is what recommends it for this size household. The fleck valves it comes with are backed by a 5-year warranty, while the tanks are accompanied by a 10-year warranty. Thus, it is clear that the manufacturing company trusts this is a long-lasting, qualitative system.

It comes at a rather reasonable price when compared to most entries on the market, and it is easy to install – as long as you follow the instructions closely, there should be no issue. Furthermore, it comes with a hardness test that you can utilize to see how big of a difference its installation actually makes.

PROS CONS
Comes with a hardness test that you can use to see just how severe the issues with water quality are prior to using it
The 48000-grain capacity makes it a perfect fit in households where 2 to 5 people reside
Mineral and brine tanks are covered by a 10-year warranty
Fleck valve is backed by a 5-year warranty
Easy to install as long as you follow the instructions provided in the manual
VERDICT

Easy to install, delivering promising results in terms of water softening, and backed with generous warranties for its most important parts, this ABCwaters was an obvious choice for our top. Best of all, it comes at a reasonable price which definitely recommends it for those who are on a limited budget.


  • Aquios FS-234

As it uses a food grade polyphosphate addition which is known as Siliphos, this Aquios softening system ensures water hardness will greatly drop without using salt that would have otherwise altered the liquid’s quality. As time passes and you continue to utilize this system, scale deposits will disappear completely, and all of your appliances that require water in their operation will receive a lifespan increase. The system is designed for use in large residences, and it can even be used in small-sized commercial facilities.

It is rated for 60000 gallons, which means that media replacement is required rarely, thus maintenance costs being minimal with this softening system. In addition to helping soften hard water, it filters out impurities that would alter the taste, smell, and quality of the water you drink for hydration purposes. Additionally, the system housing and everything it includes is backed with a 20-year warranty by the manufacturing company.

PROS CONS
Uses Siliphos instead of salt to soften the water you drink and use Cannot filter out fluoride, a common water contaminant
Maintenance work is required after the system filters up to 60000 gallons of water
Helps reduce scale deposits and prolong the lifespan of household appliances which use water in their operation
Recommended for use in large residences
Combines filtration and softening to ensure quality drinking water
VERDICT

A great pick for large-sized households where hard water is an issue, the FS-234 is one of our favorite picks in in the softener market. Maintenance work is rarely required, more precisely after it filters up to 60000 gallons of water, and is uses a salt-free softening method to keep scale deposits at a minimum and protect your water-using appliances.

What You Should Know about Water Softeners

  • Whole house filters are installed on the main water pipe that supplies your home with water so they manage to solve the water safety issue at every water source, be it a tap or a shower. Although these systems cost more than regular under counter or faucet filters, their extended efficiency makes up for the investment. The cartridges used by this type of filter are various and most of the times, you will find units with more than one filter cartridge for increased performance in eliminating as much as 99% of the water impurities.
  • Water softeners are devices that handle the hard water issue by removing the minerals responsible for the residues that are left on every item you wash with water. These devices use a type of technology that attracts the minerals in the water in order to make it softer and more beneficial. Although the damage hard water does is not related to your health, it is a matter that should concern you if you want to improve the quality of the water you use.

Maintenance Tips You Should Follow

Water that is considered as being hard contains high levels of magnesium and calcium, and it causes limescale buildup. If you live in an area where abrasive water is an issue, you definitely need to install a water softening system to protect the pipe system and the appliances that use water when they operate. Even if modern softeners do not require much in the way of maintenance work, there are still certain tasks that need to be done in order to prolong the life of these systems. To find out what you should do to protect this investment, read the following lines.

  • Make sure that you check the salt levels at least once every 3-4 weeks. In the instructions manual that comes with the softener, you will find out what is the ideal salt level that you must maintain for the system to work at peak levels. When you check the salt levels, add as much salt as needed to reach the level indicated in the manual.
  • Sometimes, the salt forms a solid layer in the brine tank, and you have to break it up. If you do not do this, the loose salt won’t mix with the water and the system will underperform. To break up the solid salt layer, you can pour hot water over it and use a long broom handle to penetrate all the way through the layer and disperse it.
  • Although cleaning the tank is a maintenance task that must be done rarely, you should not skip on it. Most modern systems require this cleaning task to be performed only once every 5 to 10 years, while older electric models require an annual cleaning. When it is time to clean the tank, you must first empty it. Just shut off the water intake, remove all the water that resides in the tank, and clear out the salt as well. When you are done with this step, you must remove the brine grid and scrub the interior of the tank with soapy water. Afterward, dump out the soapy water and rinse the tank thoroughly. If you consider that it is not clean enough yet, clean the tank with bleach and wash it out carefully. When you are done, simply refill the tank with water and salt, leave them to dissolve for a couple of hours, and use the softener normally when the time is up.

Benefits of Using Softening Systems

The Benefits of Whole-House Systems

Having a filter that will remove all the impurities from the water you use for drinking, cooking, and bathing means you will enjoy an overall improved lifestyle condition. You will manage to cover all your clean water needs so that you will only get into contact with clean and fresh water.

  • One of the most important reasons why you should opt for a whole house filter is the fact that you will eliminate the need for a separate filter on every faucet in your house. The investment will be smaller, the installation work will be easier, and the maintenance, in the long run, will be limited as well. Most of them only require first-level plumbing that you can do yourself and the fact that you will only have to replace one filter cartridge also means less work to be done.
  • Not having to deal with contaminated water automatically brings a wide range of health benefits. You will be kept safe from waterborne diseases, thus you will protect the health of your entire family. Given how dirty tap water usually is, clean water for drinking and cooking should become a top priority and the filter is the most reliable item for the job. You can now rest assured knowing that your family will no longer be threatened by the contaminants found in tap water.
  • Your food will also taste better if you cook it with filtered water because there will be no more impurities to alter its taste and smell. Get ready to enjoy a tastier cup of coffee and to eat food that tastes the way it should. Also, you will be able to wash your fruits and vegetables with clean water, thus eliminating the risk of contracting a bacteria.
  • The effects of clean and healthy water will also be visible on the outside as you will no longer have to bathe in water filled with sediment, minerals, and bacteria. You will be protected against allergies, irritations and rashes often seen in people with sensitive skin and your hair will also look shinier and healthier.

The Benefits of Water Softening

Hard water is a common problem found in many homes and it can affect the functioning of your appliances, the durability of your water pipes, and the way you look. The fact that water softening systems can deal with this problem is what makes these devices so useful and almost essential in any home.

  • Since hard water can cause limescale deposits on the main components of your appliances, you can say that getting a water softener is the best thing you can do to extend the lifespan of the appliances that use water. You will manage to protect items like your washing machine, dishwasher, dryer, and coffee maker so you will prevent further repairs caused by limescale damage.
  • Hard water also affects your skin and hair because the mineral particles are very harsh and can cause irritations. Washing your clothes in hard water can worsen your sensitive skin problems because minerals stick to the fibers and get into contact with your skin. Using the water softener will ensure the proper care for your skin and will help you improve your aspect.
  • Due to the fact that soap crud will be greatly reduced, you won’t have to do as much housework as you used to, cleaning being made easy with the simple addition of a water softening system.
  • It might sound surprising at first, but installing a softener will actually help a lot when it comes to the production of hot water. Water heaters perform at a more efficient rate when they have to heat up softened water due to the fact that it does not have the same chemical structure as hard water. Therefore, you will actually improve energy consumption by making this addition to your home.
  • Due to the fact that there will be reduced costs on the energy bills, your appliances will be better protected, and the pipes won’t have limescale deposits on them, thus not needing to be replaced, you will save a lot of money in the long run. This means that the money you invest in a water softener will feel like nothing compared to how much money you save when you look at the big picture.

Nevertheless, finding one product that includes all the benefits of both these devices means you will solve many problems in one shot. A top of the line system will treat your water for contaminants and hardness, guaranteeing that all the water you use at home is perfectly clean and healthy.

What to Look For

When you shop for a device that will filter your water and remove the damaging minerals from it, you must be aware of some aspects that influence its performance. By reading our helpful buying guide, you will increase your chances of finding the most reliable system so your investment will not be questioned.

  • A high filtering capacity

    The filtering capacity of the water filter and softener indicates how many gallons of water it can filter before needing a tank replacement. There are systems that can last for as much as 10 years or 1,000,000 gallons of water and systems that will last a shorter time and can handle a smaller amount of water. However, keep in mind that every model will require you to replace the cartridges every 6 months or so.

  • Several types of filter cartridges

    If you want to enjoy a high performance in filtering the water, you must choose systems that include at least two types of filters, usually a prefilter and another type of cartridge. The prefilter acts as a bumper for the cartridge because it retains the larger particles that would otherwise damage the fine porosity of the second cartridge that is usually an activated carbon one.

  • Advanced contaminant removal

    It is the combination of various types of cartridges that influences the contaminant removal rate of the filter. A good system will handle the unpleasant odor and taste caused by chlorine in water, will remove large residues and deposits like rust and sand, and will also deal with volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and industrial solvents often found in tap water.

  • Efficient water softener

    Besides the water filtering capacities, the device you are looking for should also handle the hard water issue that is caused by the minerals in the water. However, it should not remove the good minerals as well, like calcium and magnesium, but should only interfere with the ones that cause limescale.

  • UV Light

    In order to extend their performance, some of the best filters and softeners are paired with a UV light that completes the water filtration process. Although the filters are already designed to remove bacteria from the water, a UV light feature increases their efficiency and guarantees that the water resulted will be 100% pure and safe for drinking. This device is highly recommended in areas with severe water pollution and in case you want to make sure the water you and your family drink, especially if you have babies. Also, we recommend that you choose a model that comes with the amazing UV light to ensure that the water you drink will be truly clean.

Trustworthy Brands of the Moment

Every area of the market has its favorite brands that manage to stay at the top due to the attention they put into designing high-quality products. In the water filter and softener area, there are a few brands that have gained the trust of their clients in time with the advanced and efficient filters they have been constantly developing. Discover below the top 3 favorite brands customers are very pleased with.

  • Pelican

    One of the most powerful brands is Pelican and all of their products are designed with performance and convenience in mind. The range of products provided includes water filters, water softeners, well water filters, UV filters, shower filters, and replacement parts and filter cartridges for every product they sell. Pelican really puts a high price on water quality so they only provide system you can count on when handling water safety matters. Among their top products, you will find the water filter and softener combined with the added efficiency of the UV light that will target every aspect of the water quality in your house. The high price of this product is a match for its quality, durability, and performance.

  • Aquasana

    Another popular brand that has managed to remain one of the favorites of customers is Aquasana, a reputable manufacturer that aims to provide the most reliable and durable water filtration systems. They provide anything from counter filters to whole house systems and water softeners that combine only the latest technologies in order to maintain a high operating standard. Their combo of water filter and softener is an excellent choice that ensures a safe and clean water for a very long time. Although very expensive, it will make up for its money and will offer a high level of satisfaction.

  • Crystal Quest

    Our third brand option is a more affordable one that provides filters of a high quality for those who want to shorten their investment. Crystal Quest manages to combine affordability and performance into water filters that meet the needs of every family. You can find a wide range of products from this manufacturer and the best part is that you will be able to save some money without sacrificing quality. The water filter and softener we have chosen is an excellent product that includes a series of features that keep up with technology advancements.

How We Rate & Review

  • We rated the filtering capacity

    When we analyzed the three softener systems in our comparison, we rated them according to their filtering capacity. The first two models were designed to filter as much as 1,000,000 gallons of water or over 3 million liters, which is the highest capacity available in water filter. This not only means extended protection against water contaminants but also less maintenance and fewer costs in the long run.

  • We analyzed the temperature and pressure range

    This aspect is important because you will want your filter and softener to handle both cold and hot water and you would not want it to be damaged by a high water pressure. The Pelican has proven to be the most versatile as it can handle temperature as high as 120F while the one that withstood the highest pressure was Crystal Quest.

  • We looked at the flow rate

    Often, installing a water filter tempers with the flow rate of the tap water meaning the water will not flow at the same intensity is used to, therefore, we looked for devices that will not affect this aspect. Our top choice, the Pelican model, provides an incredible flow rate of 15 gallons per minute, being the most impressive from this point of view.

  • We tested for contaminant removal

    Without a doubt, how many contaminants a softener system can remove is an important detail in deciding its efficiency so we looked only for those that could eliminate a wide range of impurities from the unpleasant chlorine odors to the very dangerous pesticides, industrial solvents, and VOCs. We were very pleased with the performance shown by the Pelican although the last two were not far from matching its efficiency.

  • We checked the softener technology

    To make sure the systems chosen will meet all the needs of the customer, we chose the most efficient softener that was able to reduce the hardness of the water by removing the minerals that caused it. However, we also ensured that the softener will not eliminate the good minerals in the process.

Although any of the three systems you pick is sure to provide more than excellent results, as you have probably already figured out by yourself following the lecture of this article, we must admit that the 97% contaminant removal rate and the granular activated carbon technology of the Pelican Salt Free Softener with UV makes it a bit better when compared to its competitors. By far, the biggest highlight of the Aquasana Salt-Free Softener & UV is the fact that its tank needs replacement only once per decade. However, this is not to say that its performance is neglectable as this softener boasts an operating pressure range from 20 to 100 PSI, and it utilizes the KDF filtration method. Our third pick, the Crystal QuestSoftener, boasts numerous noteworthy features and specs, including a high 11 GPM flow rate and a 20 to 125 PSI operating pressure.

Frequently Asked Questions



1How often do filters need to be replaced?
There does not exist a clear answer to this question as it depends on the specific water softener you purchase. What is a certainty is the fact that all softening systems come with spec sheets and user manuals where you can find this piece of information.

2Does the UV light technology make a difference?
Yes, the UV light system helps make a big difference in the quality of the water you consume and use as it eliminates bacteria, germs, and viruses.

3Does the brand I purchase from really influence the softener’s quality?
While there is no actual correlation between the performance that a softener boasts and the manufacturer that produces it, what no one can deny is the fact that there are certain brands out there that seem to constantly produce better quality water softening systems than others. So yes, it is smart to take brand name and recognition into consideration as the experience of these manufacturers usually makes them better, smarter options to go for.

4How do I figure out if I need one or not?
The answer to this question fully depends on the quality of the water provided by the local water supply. Use a test kit to figure out if there are any worrying issues with the hardness of the water which you use and comes from the supply. If the test reveals a worrying level of hardness, it is obvious that a softening system is needed.

5Is the installation complicated?
Although we do not necessarily encourage you to call in a professional as this does cost a few extra hundreds of dollars, we do recommend you do so if you feel like the process explained in the manual is too much for you to handle. Usually, the systems come with clear instructions which, if you follow closely and step by step, you should have no issues and finish the whole installation in approximately 1 hour.

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