The Best Water Softener 2022
Choosing a water softener can be a hard choice - especially when you're looking at old, American or dated reviews online. In this article, we will outline everything you need to know to help you find the best water softener 2022.
Why you need a water softener – what are the effects of hard water?
Around 60% of the UK has hard water, meaning over half of the country are experiencing the effects of hard water damage. If your home has hard water, you may find yourself constant cleaning limescale from your surfaces and taps and dealing with broke appliances or boiler and heating issues. Hard water causes permanently damage to your hot water system and boiler. It can even make energy bills 20-64% more expensive! Hard water can be very costly over the years, you may find yourself paying for:
- Repairing bathroom and kitchen damages. Due to limescale. Limescale can block taps, sinks and shower heads in a matter of months. Newly renovated homes beware!
- Replacing appliances. Dishwashers, kettles and washing machines can become damaged and broken by limescale. Hard water can even shorten their lifespan by 50%.
- Boiler repairs. Hard water blocks pipes and damages boilers. Boilers can be very expensive to replace and could cost you up to £2000.
- Replacement of blocked taps and shower heads. Hard water can reduce water pressure in the home by blocking taps and shower heads.
- Cleaning products & descalers. Hard water leaves white deposits in the home, which can stain surface and screens. It can also cause dirt and scum build up in your bath & shower. Removing limescale requires constant cleaning and expensive cleaning products.
- Extra washing powder & showering products. Hard water does not react well with soap and surfactants. It cannot create a lather. It needs around 50% more product to effectively clean. When washing laundry – clothes can often appear dirty even after washing.
- Higher energy bills. By insulating the inside of pipes, limescale build-up needs more energy to heat. This makes your home heating systems less efficient and more energy is required.
- Hard water cause eczema, dry skin & hair – the reaction of hard minerals with soap, leaves mineral deposits on the skin during and after showering. These minerals can damage the outlet layer of the skin, making it more sensitive.
A water softener can remove limescale permanently and protect your home for the future.
Watch Out for Electric Eddy Descalers & Water Softener Scams
You may have come across descalers and water conditioners online. These products claim to remove limescale – but at a price of £150 - £200 there is certainly a catch. Be aware, home descalers and conditioners such as Eddy Descalers - are NOT water softeners. To put it simply, they cannot produce soft water and they cannot remove hard water minerals from your water. A water descaler holds the minerals in the water. By installing a descaler you can temporarily lessen the impact of hard minerals on your plumbing system, but cannot remove existing limescale. You therefore, will not experience the benefits of soft water. A water softener is the only system that removes hard water minerals and existing limescale - softening the water for the entire home.
Different water softener brands: which water softener brand is the best to buy?
When doing a Google search, you may come across many different brands, many of which coming from the USA. In the UK, the best brands are Harvey Water Softener and Kinetico. In fact, these brands can be hard to come by because they are sold through an exclusive dealership. That means only select companies in the UK are given the latest models to distribute at a fixed price.
Why are Harvey & Kinetico the best? They are the biggest in the UK and have been around the longest and are renowned for their quality. Harvey invented the twin tank design and Kinetico the non-electric water softener. Their latest products have the best designs, specifications and highest efficiencies on the market today. Systems such as the Harvey TwinTec S4 and Kinetico Premier Compact, have been manufactured to last a life time.
How much should you be paying for a water softener?
You should be paying around £1200-£1600 for a high-quality water softener, said to last 10-20 years. Yes, you can find very cheap systems online. However, these machines are often dated and have poor efficiency. As a result, what may seem like a cheap investment – will end up costing you more in running costs.
Beware of old models & cheap systems sold online
Most other water softener brands found online are electric. Electric water softener have several drawbacks, including high running costs and very poor efficiency. With energy bills increasing by 40%, electric water softeners are a thing of the past. With cheap electric softeners, you may find yourself being ripped off and not getting the best value for money. You may also find a lot of wasted salt and water. These softeners, will always regenerate at a certain time - regardless of whether they actually need to! Not only that, but they also have a much lower capacity and operational pressure - which isn't great if you have more than 1 person using the water in your home at the same time.
For that reason, when purchasing an electric water softener, you should always consider the efficiency and overall running costs of the machine. This includes the amount of electricity, water and salt the system uses. Other issues that can occur with electric systems include, that they tend to be very large and unsightly, they often have short circuiting issues and make for complicated installations – you need an electric plug socket underneath the kitchen sink.
Non-electric systems are fully automatic. They have the best efficiency and lowest running costs.
What to look for in a water softener: the specification
When choosing the best water softener in the UK you should be looking for:
- A Good Brand: You should invest in a trustworthy and well-reviewed brand. There are several - Kinetico or Harvey being the best.
- Non-Electric Vs Electric: You should be looking for a non-electric system. These systems cost less to run, are easier to use and install and don't require servicing every 2 years.
- The Model: Look for a model made in the last 5 years - older models do not have the same efficiency and technology. You should also look for a twin tank system if you have 2 or more bathrooms.
- Flow Rate & Capacity: The flow rate determines how much soft water can be delivered at once. If you live in a home with more than 2 bathrooms and 2 people, you should look for a flow rate over 50L/min.
- Efficiency: It's all good and well purchasing an older water softener for a cheap price ... But if it is less efficient, you'll pay more over time for the upkeep. It is important to look at how much salt and water the softeners use per regeneration.
- Warranty: Look out for a good warranty. Warranty can often be an indicator of how long the system will last and it's quality.
- Size: Make sure you have enough room! Dated and cheap or electric softeners are often big and bulky in size.
The Best Water Softener 2022
There are two main water softeners that can be considered the very best on the market today: The Harvey TwinTec Series 4 and the Kinetico Premier Compact.
The S4 has an unrivalled efficiency and flow rate and has an extremely competitive price. This is the best priced Harvey model, with the same specification as newer models and Harvey products. You'll experience a high flow rate, a resin that lasts longer and the most efficient water softener money can buy. It has the lowest salt and water usage, with great running costs. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.
The Kinetico Premier Compact has a very similar specification to the Twintec S4, the quality of Kinetico products is known around the world to be the best. These systems really last the long run and at £1395, you'll be getting a softener that can last 20-30 years.
The S4 is the one of the newest models from Harvey, an exclusive dealer model. You can only find it online from very few supplied. NE Water Softeners, provide the best price on and offline.
The price is highly competitive at just £1249.99 including an installation kit (use code: TTS4).
Cons: May not be suitable for large families of 6+ people and homes with over 4 bathrooms.
This S4 is the smallest water softener made - so great for small spaces. Due to the high flow rate of 56L and pressure of up to 8 bar, this model is great for properties with 3 bathrooms and families of 4-6people. It's twin tank design allows for a 24/7 supply of soft water and has one of the most efficient regenerations at 11 minutes using 300g of block salt. You'll also find the latest resin technology that is patented and allows for the best ion exchange rate. Meaning you'll have one of the most efficient models on the market.
When it comes to reliability - Kinetico is by far the best brand to buy. Their systems really are some of the most tested and robust models that have very few issues and last a long time!
Cons: May not be suitable for large families of 6+ people and homes. Price is higher than other models at £1595 but with the code COMPACT you can get the system for just £1395 this week only.
Kinetico can almost be considered a top designer when it comes to softener brands and you get what you pay for, which in this case - is the best. Although higher in price - it is most certainly worth it when investing in a water softener.
The premier compact is a similar design to the S4, being a twin tank block salt fed system. This product however, can come in two models HE and HF. HF is suited for normal and high pressure systems and HE for specific low pressure systems. It also has a soft water rinse and actually cleans itself with soft water to prolong its life.
If you have a home with more than 4 bathrooms and under 6 bathrooms the best softener for you is the Kinetico Premier Plus!
Cons: Price is higher than other models at £1645.
The Premier Plus is the new and updated version of the Premier Maxi. It is considered a semi commercial and is suitable for a families of 4+ and larger water usages. Like the compact, when it comes to reliability - Kinetico is the top brand to buy from. In fact they have even supplied to Buckingham Palace, Savoy Hotel, NHS Hospitals and Thames Water.
If you have a large family and large home the best softener for you is the Harvey TwinTec XL2. The system is the same as the HVX and MiniMax Major models.
The XL2 is a semi commercial system designed to support large water usage and higher pressures. It has a flow rate of 80L/min - so there is no risk of pressure or water flow drops.
The Essentials is a single tank system. This softener is tablet salt fed and designed for homes with 1 bathroom and 1 occupant.
Cons: Small flow rates so only unsuitable for small homes. Could be more efficient. Only comes with a 12 month warranty.
The essentials 8 is a good starter system for small homes or flats. It is a single tank, non electric system that uses tablet salt. The system has a small flow rate of 36L so is made for smaller homes with 1-2 people max. It is however geared for very hard water. It works of tablet salt which is less efficient than the latest block salt models. It takes a longer time to regenerate and also uses more water than most modern systems at 25 litres of water per regeneration.
The Sumo 1 is single tank water softener designed for 1- 2 bathroom small homes or flats.
Cons: Only comes with a 24 month warranty. A single tank means you will loose your soft water supply during regeneration.
This softener is a good reliable model from Kinetico that trumps the Essentials 8. Despite having a similar price this model can support a slightly higher flow rate of 40L. This model is small in size and a single tank non-electric system that uses block salt vs tablet. This means it is more efficient and uses around 100g less salt per regeneration, with a quicker regeneration time. It also has a slightly higher operational pressure, meaning it can support homes that have varied pressure systems.
Installing a Water Softener
If you purchase an installation kit with a water softener, this should give you or a plumber everything you need to carry out the installation. If you aren't familiar with plumbing systems then all you'll need is 1-2 hours of a plumbers time. To find out more about water softener installation, click here.
Need More Information?
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