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Which water softener to buy

How to Choose the Best Water Softener for Your Home

Choosing the right water softener for your home can be a serious challenge for many people.

You need the right information in order to select a water softener that best suits your needs. If you choose wisely, you won’t have to replace it for 15-20 years.

Once you have committed to a budget, you have to decide whether a smart, electric, or salt-free water softener is the best choice for you.

There are many products on the market, so you should carefully consider which product best fits the needs of your household. The main purpose of a water softener is to improve your home’s water quality.

It is essential that you choose a softener capable of meeting the needs of your home. There’s a lot to think about and following the advice below will help you determine which UK water softener to buy in 2021.

How do you know which water softener to buy?

There are some questions you must answer before selecting a water softener for your home:

  • - Is the design suitable for your home/needs? (salt or non-salt softener)
  • - What capacity softener do you need?
  • - How much water does the system need to regenerate?
  • - Does the supplier offer after-sales service and customer care?
  • - What is your budget?

If your budget is tight, you might be tempted to choose one of the cheaper systems on the market.

However, it is always better to pay a little more for a top-quality, reliable, low-maintenance softener because buying a water softener in the UK is a long-term investment.

Knowing which one to buy depends on your budget and what job the system needs to do.

There are so many different solutions, and each has its own advantages.

We’ve listed eight water softeners below that fit into most budgets and are suitable for most homes in the UK.

Small Water Softener

Sometimes, smaller is better.

Small salt-free water softeners are designed to be compact and reliable, providing as much softening power as full-sized, conventional systems.

Small water softeners are capable of providing full-size performance while using less water and saving time. There is also no need to add salt to regenerate the system.

If you choose carefully, you will also receive a better warranty for your money.

At UK Water Filters, our patented technology means our small water softeners are designed to efficiently use extra fine mesh resin to soften water in the system. This system has four benefits:

  • - Saves money
  • - Uses less water, energy, and time
  • - Salt-free
  • - Compact system uses less space.

Water Softener Salt

When it comes to water softener salt, you have two options: tablet salt and block salt.

Tablet salt comes in 10kg and 25kg bags and is usually used for older models. Block salt is used on newer models but there are some drawbacks.

Block salt-water softeners are easier to handle. They are also convenient to use, very efficient, and require much less maintenance than tablet salt softeners.

Both salt options are available for around the same price.

Many people don’t understand the difference between water softeners and water scale inhibitors.

Salt softeners are a good solution for preventing scale build-up. A salt softener removes magnesium and calcium by replacing it with sodium.

While it’s a good way to remove scale, it can be bad for your health. This is because the process increases the sodium content of the softened water.

A water scale inhibitor alters the water rather than removing the minerals from it.

Inhibitors prevent the scale particles from sticking together. It doesn’t add or remove anything, so you can drink the water safely and be sure that it is scale-free.

You can find more information on the differences between water softeners and water inhibitors here.

Salt-Free Water Softener

Many people wrongly believe that salt-free water softeners remove hard water minerals in the same way as salt-based softeners. There’s also a common misconception that the only difference between them is that one uses salt.

However, the reality is completely different. Instead of softening the water, salt-free softeners condition it.

Salt-free softeners don’t remove hard water minerals at all.

Instead, they use a sophisticated process that transforms both calcium and magnesium to prevent them from clinging to surfaces.

Salt-free softeners don’t capture the hard water minerals, which is why they don’t need a regeneration cycle to dispose of the minerals and salt. You do not need to add salt, and this saves time and money.

Put simply, salt-free softeners condition your water by altering the hard water minerals.

The minerals remain in the water because it is conditioned not softened. A no-salt single unit softener is a very effective, salt-fee solution for most average sized homes.

Channelled Softener

Many people assume that when they install a water softener the water in their home becomes “filtered”.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Softeners and filters are totally different products.

A softener prevents scale build-up, but it doesn’t filter out impurities like chlorine, nitrates, heavy metals and so on.

A water filter is primarily designed to remove impurities, not to remove scale from water.

Because of the confusion, UK Water Filters actively promotes combined/channelled water filters and softeners. These systems descale and filter the water throughout your house.

Smart Water Softener

Hard water causes problems all over the world. It is the main cause of the mineral scale build-up inside your plumbing and home appliances, causing home devices like washing machines and dishwashers to fail.

The scale build-up can block your entire water supply if left untreated. Hard water also stains your bathroom and kitchen fixtures, making them harder to clean.

Fortunately, you can solve this problem by installing a smart water softener.

In addition to softening your water, these smart devices make the water in your home cleaner, softer, and safer.

They also make it taste better. They save money and improve the efficiency of water-based heating systems and extend the life of appliances like washing machines and dishwashers.

Getting an upgrade by using smart technology will benefit your health and lifestyle – and your wallet. Some of the benefits of smart water softeners include:

  • - Saving time – manage your water salt level and flow rates in an organised manner via your smart screen and get 24/7 customer care. Smart softeners come with an app that enables you to get all the data you need to effectively manage the water in your home.

  • - Saving water – smart softeners come with many options that help you conserve water. If you are working around your home or garden, washing your car, or cleaning outdoor surfaces, you’ll need softened water. Turn your smart softener on and off with the touch of a button or set the built-in timer according to your needs.

  • - Saving money – saving water means savings on your water bill. Track your water usage on an hourly, daily, and weekly basis to manage your home water efficiently. You can also reduce other costs like water waste and energy consumption.

  • - Peace of mind – enjoy peace of mind knowing that smart technology is working to your advantage. Smart softeners have advanced controls that allow you to customise your system so you can monitor and track water usage, salt levels, and more.

Water Softener System

A water softener system is also known as a whole house system. Its main purpose is to completely remove hardness-causing minerals like magnesium and calcium from the water in your home.

The process of removing minerals and softening your water is known as ion exchange.

This system is the best way to eliminate the most devastating and prevalent water problem that bothers most homes around the world – hard water.

Hard water is the arch-enemy of every modern home and causes scale to build up in your plumbing and all water-using appliances.

Scale build up causes a drop in water pressure and can clog your pipework.

In addition to plumbing problems, scale also significantly shortens the lifespan of your home appliances like ice and water machines, coffee makers, dishwashers, washing machines, showers, and other hot water appliances.

Using a water softener system provides these benefits:

  • - Safer and healthier drinking water – a whole-house water softener and filtration system ensures that the water you use for bathing, washing, cooking, and drinking is safe and clean.

  • - Showers – reduce the levels of chloramine and chlorine in your water to improve your skin health and prolong the life of your shower equipment.

  • - Ice makers and refrigerators – avoid costly maintenance fees and save time and money.

  • - Sinks and faucets – get clean tap water 24/7.

  • - Dryers and washers – you can significantly improve the quality of water in your home by using both a softener and conditioner to remove hardness at the point where water enters your plumbing. This helps you save money by reducing the amount of soap and detergent needed to keep your clothes softer and brighter.

If you are thinking about buying a water softener system, we recommend you consider investing in a reverse osmosis system with a water filter.

It’s affordable, comes with 24/7 customer support, and is easy to install and maintain.

You won’t need a plumber to install it, and it will improve the quality of your tap water by removing all contaminants, including bacteria, chlorine, arsenic, and lead.

Electric Water Softener

Similar to non-electric systems, electric water softeners remove hardness-causing minerals from your home water by softening your water supply.

The biggest difference when compared to non-electric devices is that electric softeners use a timer to regulate the periods of regeneration (the process of cleaning the resin bend inside the tank).

The user sets a time, usually once per day, for the system to flush the resin bed. The bed is rinsed with salt and water to remove the brine so that it can continue the softening process.

If you need soft water 24/7, electric softeners are the ideal solution.

The best electric water softeners use a twin cylinder design. When one tank is regenerating, the other takes over the softening process. That way, you have soft water on-demand 24/7.

Outdoor Water Softener

If you live in a warm climate, you might want to install your water softener outside your home. These systems can be noisy, and they aren’t very attractive.

As long as the outside temperature is high enough, installing an outdoor water softener could be a good solution.

However, there are a few things to consider when adding an outdoor device to your shortlist. Most outdoor softeners are designed to withstand typical weather conditions, but they will not tolerate extreme weather.

They can quickly freeze in sub-zero temperatures and they can be damaged by rain, wind, and sun.

If you want to prevent the premature failure of the mechanism, you should be aware of the following:

  • - Good quality outdoor softeners have a fiberglass tank designed to withstand a range of weather conditions, but the mechanical parts need protection.

  • - If you live in a cold area, the water in your outdoor tank can freeze and damage the drain line. You can mitigate problems by wrapping electric heat tape around the lines to insulate them from frost.

  • - The sun can’t damage your softener directly, but it can cause the fiberglass tank to weaken and deteriorate. You can eliminate this problem by installing the device in the shade.

  • - You can bury your device underground to insulate it from freezing temperatures.

What Brand is the Best Water Softener?

When choosing a brand, there is a lot to keep in mind.

It all comes down to the key features you need to ensure you have the best quality water in your home or business.

Think about your preferred unit size, water softening needs, and your budget.

The key features that you should consider before choosing a water softener brand are:

  • - Capacity/Space availability in your home
  • - Technology type and certifications
  • - Maintenance and installation costs
  • - Bypass valve

Bearing this in mind, let’s see what the best options are.


Founded in 1970, Kinetico is a well-established, leading supplier of salt-water softeners. Their water softening solutions are designed to provide the highest value for money and are tailored to your lifestyle and water softening needs.

Kinetico takes pride in designing and manufacturing non-electrical softeners that are easy to use and require low maintenance while providing unrivalled performance. If you want to treat your water economically, effectively, and efficiently, Kinetico should be your number one option.


Water2Buy is an excellent brand that supplies salt-water softening solutions to help you get the highest quality water in your home. They sell a wide range of excellent systems at affordable prices, and all their products come with warranties and certifications.

If you have any issues, their customer service is available 24/7.

Whether you need a small water softener or a large capacity unit, Water2Buy has you covered. The most popular water softener on the UK market today is the Water2Buy W2B500 Meter Water Softener.


Harvey is much more than a brand selling salt-water softeners. Their website has a lot of useful information about the benefits of soft water.

Known as the UK’s number one salt-water softener manufacturer, Harvey provides quality products for a range of home water softening needs. With more than 200,000 happy customers throughout the UK, you can’t go wrong with this brand.

If you want to buy a Harvey model, we recommend Harvey’s Homewater Twin Tank Non-Electric Water Softener.

How much do water softeners cost in the UK?

When it comes to buying a water softener in the UK, the prices can range from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand.

There are cheap, basic systems, and there are cutting-edge systems with large capacities and advanced features.

All systems offer reliability and efficiency, but you must consider your particular needs before choosing a system.

The running costs are determined by the type of salt used, the softening capacity of the system, and any additional built-in system functions.

To know what softener you need, you must first determine the softening capacity you need, and the type and amount of salt needed for regeneration.

Water Softener Prices

In the UK, the price of a regular water softener ranges from £300 to over £3,000.

Water Softener Installation Costs

Installing a water softener in the UK should cost around ⅓ of the cost of the device.

If your softener costs around £350, the installation should not be more than £150.

The typical price for a fully installed water softener is around £500 - £1,000.

The cheapest water softeners in the UK range from £300 – £500.

Are water softeners worth it for people in the UK?

If you live in a hard water area of the UK, we recommend buying and installing a water softener.

In addition to eliminating hard water problems, a simple water softener guarantees increased longevity for appliances, water heating efficiency, increased water flow rates, stain and lime-free surfaces, healthier skin and hair, and more efficient cleaning.

Even though it may seem like an expensive up-front cost, it’s a smart investment that will save money in the long term.

Water Softener Systems in London

Water softener systems provide your London home with all the soft water you need daily, removing contaminants and potentially harmful minerals that exist in problematic water areas.

Although these minerals are a natural occurrence, they adversely affect the quality of the water in your home.

If you want to get rid of hard water, installing an efficient, top-quality water softener system is the best way to do it.

There is a wide range of systems available in London, from basic systems that suit tight budgets to the most advanced solutions for large properties.

Water Softener Installation Costs

On average, it will cost £1,000 or more to install a softener in your home. However, the installation cost should not be more than £150-300, depending on the model and type of softener you choose.

Different cost factors determine the price of installation. The total cost depends on the type of water softener, the condition of the water at your property, and the size of your home.

Other considerations include your plumbing, system maintenance requirements, and the salt type used.

How do Water Softeners Work in the UK?

Water softeners in the UK use a chemical reaction called ion exchange to remove hardness-causing ions from minerals like magnesium and calcium and replace them with sodium.

A softener passes hard water through a tank(s) filled with food-grade resin beads that capture the mineral ions through attraction.

After ion exchange occurs, sodium is released into the water, causing it to become softer, tastier, cleaner, and safer for drinking.

Put simply, a water softener in the UK takes hard water from your home and replaces it with soft water.

Some softeners come with electrical components and others are non-electrical.

If you buy a twin-tank softener, you’ll always have soft water at your disposal.

To make sure your softener remains serviceable, we recommend you use pure salt with iron remover. Wait until the salt in the tank is used up before refilling.

Clean the valve assembly, the brine tank, and the resin bed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Take special care when handling the softener’s drain line.

The end of the line should not go into a floor drain but should hang above the grate of the drain. Regular cleaning and maintenance will prolong your water softener’s life and ensure that you enjoy high quality soft water in your home.

Even though soft water has a slightly higher level of sodium, it is safe to drink. The latest water softeners in the UK use the most advanced technologies to manufacture the highest quality water softener systems and water filters.

They guarantee top quality, contaminant-free tap water in your home.

If you want to improve your tap water quality, the best solution is to install a water softener.

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