. The Best Water Softener UK | Harvey Vs Kinetico Softeners ..

The Best Water Softener UK - Water Softener Reviews

When it comes to purchasing the best water softener, there are many different brands, makes & models available, making the decision an overwhelming one.

This review post and buying guide will outline potential de-scaler scams, the best water softener brands and what features you should be looking for when purchasing a system, so you can find the best water softener UK.

How to choose the best water softener for you - before you purchase a water softener

Before you start to do any research you should answer the following questions:

1. How many bathrooms does your property have? The number of bathrooms you have, directly determines the size of system and flow rate you need. 2+ bathrooms, requires a twin tank system. 4-5+ bathrooms requires a large water softener. 

2. How many occupants are in your home? The number of people using water outlets in your home at any one time.

3. Where is the stop tap in our home and how much space is there? You need to know the measurements where your softener wll be installed before purchasing the system. This is important when buyng cheap systems online - especially from Amazon. For example, many of the machines found online, are electric and much larger in size than they look. This can create a big issue when installing the system underneath your kitchen sink.

4. What size pipes does your home have? You need to know your pipe size so you can buy the correct fitting kit for your water softener installation. Water softeners usually do not come with installation kits, so you will need to purchase one which is suitable for your pipes.

5. How much are you willing to invest? Cheap systems may seem like a great choice at the time. But wth high running costs and a short warranty - you will end up paying more for the system in the long run. A good quality water softener can cost £1200 -£1500. These types of systems usually last 10-20 years.

6. How Hard is you water? The effects of hard water can be easy to spot. Limescale deposits and issues with your boiler or home appliances - being some of the most common. If you live in a very hard water area, such as London, opting for a cheap system may not be an effective long term solution. The cheaper the system, the lower the quality of the internal resin and the less efficient the system will be at softening very hard water. You may find the system is unable to soften your water or it may end up becoming exhausted, breaking down and reaching the end of its lifetime, shortly after being installed.

Watch Out for Water Softener Scams

Be aware, shower descalers and home descalers such as Halcyan and Eddy Descalers - are NOT water softeners and they cannot produce soft water. That's right. If you have viewed them on a review post - this post is endorsed by the brand to sell the product. Prices under £200 are a good indication to prove the quality of these products. They are not water softeners, they are water conditioners. This means they can lessen the impact of hard minerals on your plumbing system, but they do not and cannot permanently remove hard water minerals. A water descaler holds the minerals in the water - they cannot remove existing scale and they don't have the same benefits as a water softener. For example, lather, bubble baths, softer hair & skin, cleaner laundry, less time cleaning. A water softener is the only system that removes hard water minerals - softening the water for the entire home.

Beware of Old & American Water Softener Review Posts

When researching for a water softener online, many of the top posts you will come across tend to review old and dated models. These posts are usually linked to Amazon and are "sponsored" or paid posts. That means companies actually pay the wesbite to write about their productsand so the feedback can be biased.

The best place to look for real water softener reviews are on forums or third party review websites like Google reviews, Trust Pilot or even Money Supermarket.

Know the facts about Electric Water Softeners

Electric Water Softeners Vs Non-Electric Water Softeners

When searching on Google you may be bombarded with cheap systems £500 - £800 and electric water softeners. Here are some things to bear in mind:

  • They need a constant supply of electricity - meaning there could be issues during power cuts and they will contribute to energy bills.
  • They are usually single tank systems - meaning they won't produce soft water as they regenerate.
  • Often the regeneration time needs to be set in the early hours of the morning (when no one is using the water).
  • Electric systems that require a timer to be set - will always regenerate at this time - whether they need to or not. This can waste water and salt, because even if the system doesn't need to regenerate - it will at the set time.
  • They need to be serviced bi-yearly and be marked safe for use. This is an additional call out fee and charge. Failing to do this will also make your warranty invalid.
  • Some systems can be large and bulky in size -making them difficult to install underneath your kitchen sink.
  • You will need a plug socket under your sink.

Electric water softeners were some of the first models to be manufactured. But as technology has become more advanced, the best systems to buy for efficiency and the latest technology are non-electric.

Electric systems may have an appealing price tag, but in reality, these systems can have several drawbacks which can lead to higher running costs over time. Non-electric systems don't require any electricity. They regenerate automatically and only when they need to. They do not require annual servicing by law and are very water and salt efficient.

What to look for when purchasing the Best Water Softener

The type of system:

Single Vs Twin Tank. Twin tank systems are designed for homes with 2+ bathrooms. They are more expensive - but more efficient.

You should also check to see if the system is HE or HF. A HF is required for high flow and combi boilers. A HE is suitable for low flow and gravity fed systems. 

The flow rate:

The flow rate is one of the most important features to compare. It is the maximum amount of water that can pass through the system at one time. If it is not high enough and the water flow in the home exceeds the maximum flow rate - there will be a visible drop in the flow of water. This is why a twin tank system is required for homes with 2+ bathrooms. A flow rate of 50-60L/min for a standard family home. 

The efficiency, salt & water usage:

The efficiency of a system will affect your running costs, therefore purchasing an efficient system is important. The efficiency determines the overall running costs. You should look at and compare: the regeneration time and how much salt and water the system uses per regeneration. 300-400g of salt per regen and up to 25L of water is a good efficiency.

The warranty:

Price and warranty are key indicators of quality. 5 years should be the minimum, 10 years often represents a quality system. You know a product or brand with this length of warranty is set to last 10 years or more.

A third party certification:

Any system you purchase should have a third party WRAS certification. In the UK a WRAS accredidation ensures the system is UK approved and a safe, tried and tested product. 

Which Brand of Water Softener is Best?

The best water softener brand in the UK is Harvey Water Softener - which gains 12,000 brand searches every month. This brand only sell through an exclusive dealer and trade network - meaning their products can only be sold by very limited and few companies. Why are they the best:

  • They have been around the longest. Harvey invented the twin tank system.
  • Designed for very hard water. They have been manufacturer to soften even the hardest ppm readings.
  • They are the most trusted and reliable. They have the best reviews online.
  • They are non-electric and automatic. Removing any issues and programming faults.
  • They are the most efficient on the market. Providing the lowest running costs, salt and water usage.
  • They last a lifetime. These brands can last anything from 10-20 years.
  • They can come with long 10 year warranties. Giving you reassurance and a guarantee.
  • They are designed for any home boiler and water system.
  • Renowned for their quality. Coming with WRAS accredidation. 

Harvey Vs Kinetico Water Softeners

Kinetico and Harvey are considered the two biggest competitors when it comes to water softeners – but are they the same? Both companies provide high technology and guaranteed quality. But which brand is better? When looking at models such as the Harvey TwinTec S4 - you'll find the best overall efficiency and value for money. 

What is the Best Water Softener UK to Buy - Water Softener Reviews

1. The Harvey TwinTec S4


harvey twintec s4

Who Is the S4 Designed for?

  • The S4 is perfect for properties with 3-4 bathrooms and families of 6 people.
  • It is a great choice for kitchens with limited space.
  • For people looking for something easy to maintain without the use of electricity.
  • A system with the highest efficiency and loest running costs.

General Specification

 General Specification

Type of System: A Twin tank, non-electric system which uses block salt regeneration. Consists of two cylinders, salt chamber and a brine tank.

Dimensions: 490mm high and 205mm wide with a depth of 440mm.

Efficiency: regeneration using 17L of water in 11 mins.

Warranty: 10 years parts.

Min/Max Flow Rate: 5L/hour 56L/min

Min/Max Pressure: 1-10bar

Salt Usage: 300g per regeneration

Salt Efficiency: 50%


Pros & Key Features:

 Cons & Downfalls:

Small & Compact Size: this softener has great dimensions and is the smallest twin tank softener in the world. It fits easily underneath most kitchen sinks.

Twin Tank Design: uses two chambers separately to deliver soft water 24/7.

Non-Electric & Automatic: the system requires no timers or controls needed.

A 10-year Warranty: the S4 has a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty for parts.

A Patented Metering System: provides an accurate measurement of water usage.

A Nano Technology Ultra Fine Resin: the patented resin consists of ultra-fine resin beads to generate a higher flow rate and greater exchange capacity. This ensures maximum operational efficiency.

Smart Shuttle Metering for Pressure Adaptations: a smart shuttle meter means the S4 can adapt to different pressure systems including gravity fed systems, tanks in the loft, combination boilers and high flow unvented hot water cylinders.

High Flow Rate: a max flow rate of 56 litres per minute.

Great Efficiency: one of the most efficient systems in terms of regeneration that uses only 300g of salt per regeneration which requires only 17L of water and takes just 11 minutes.

Tried & Tested Durability: Harvey softeners are tested for maximum durability.

Adjustable Brine Valve: Is labelled "Factory Set, do not adjust" - so it is best left to the professionals and the installer to help.

Exclusive Dealership: the S4 can be difficult to find, this softener is sold through an exclusive dealer network. Offline dealers in London may charge £1600 fr the softener alone! NE Water Softeners sell this system online for the lowest price at £1099.99.


Why 5 Stars?

The TwinTec series 4 is the latest model of water softener from Harveys and an upgrade of the S3. This model has the same specification as new Harvey models and tops old models found online. You can expect a small and compact size, yet the best capacity and efficiency of any standard domestic water softener. This TwinTec product has been tried and tested for maximum durability & reliability. 

It is the most efficient system on the market with the lowest salt usage - saving you money on salt running costs. It also provides a maximum flow rate of 56 litres per minute - making it perfect for high flows and combi boilers. This system contains smart shuttle metering, which is designed to adapt to all different types of heating and water systems. This includes tanks in the loft, combination boilers and high flow hot water cylinders. 

The Harvey TwinTec S4 water softener can last anything from 10-20 years. This is due to the quality of the internal resin. The resin used in the S4 is patented and contains a unique ultra-fine exchange resin. It also comes with a 10 year warranty, unlike other Harvey water softeners.

The downfall of the S4 is it can be hard to find online, meaning many people have to source offline sellers. Many offline suppliers in London areas can charge exceptionally high price tags. You can find it from NE Water Softeners for the best price at £1249.99.



2. The Kinetico Premier Compact


kinetico premier compact

Who Is the Premier Compact For?

  • This Kinetico model is perfect for properties with 2-3 bathrooms.
  • It is a good fit for homes with limited space.
  • For people looking for something easy to maintain and long lasting.
  • For individuals requiring a constant supply of water without electricity.
  • If you are looking for the best quality system that lasts a lifetime.

 General Specification

Type of System: Twin tank, non-electric, block salt fed system. Consists of two cylinders, salt chamber and a brine tank.

Dimensions: 49.8cm by 21.9cm x 46.8cm

Efficiency: The compact uses 20.5L of water to regenerate in just 11m

Warranty: 10 Years

Min/Max Flow Rate: in low pressure systems 0.25l/min - 41 l/min. In High Flow systems 1l/min - 51l/min.

Min/Max Pressure: 1-6 bar

Salt Usage: 340g

Salt Efficiency: 35%


Pros & Key Features

Cons & Downfalls:

Small & Compact Size: to easily fit under your kitchen sink.

Twin Tank Design: to ensure an uninterrupted supply of soft water 24/7.

Non-Electric & Automatic: no higher energy bills, no timers or controls needed. A non-electronic softener is super easy to use and needs fewer repairs.

A 10-year Warranty: even with more external testing the compact comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty for parts Vs only 5 years for the S3.

Third Party Certification & Externally Accredited: Kinetico are renowned for their high quality and trustworthy machines that go through robust processes of testing including external accreditation to verify efficiency.

Uses Its Own Soft Water Rinse: The Premier Compact cleans itself using soft water, protecting the machine and prolonging the lifetime.

Metered Regeneration: uses accurate meters to prevent over producing soft water. They determine the best time to regenerate based on your water usage, meaning less waste and more savings. It also means when you go on holiday you won’t have to do a thing – when you are not using water the softener knows not to regenerate.

Efficient Regeneration: the regeneration process occurs in just 11 minutes and regenerate the resin beads from the bottom up to use less salt use and less water.

EMax Technology: Unique and patented twin-tank design to give you and your home the ultimate in limescale prevention 24 hours a day.

Economical to Use: and low salt consumption.

QuietDrive: designed to make your soft water production as quite as possible.

Available Online: you can buy a Premier Compact (without installation) online directly from NE Water Softeners for £1395.

Lower Operating Pressure: the max operating pressure of the compact is 6 bar which may not be suitable for homes with a higher pressure. In these cases a PRV will be essential. Most homes operate with a water pressure set around 3-4 bar which allows showers and taps to work efficiently. But for larger homes with a larger operating pressure the softener would need to be fitted with a pressure reducing valve.

Salt Efficiency: is only 35% vs 50% for the Harvey TwinTec S4.

Design: the design does not allow you to be able to see the salt running low and needs completely lifting off to replace the salt.


Why 4 Stars?

Kinetico are a great brand of water softeners with quality systems - however, at a much higher cost than other brands on the market with very similar systems. The Kinetico Premier Compact is the latest model - previous being the Kinetico 2020c.

The Premier Compact is a twin tank, non-electric, block salt fed system. Similarly to the Harvey TwinTec S4, this system allows you can forget about high energy bills & running costs. It is easy to use, and free from any timers & controls.

This water softener system is small in size and fits easily under most sinks. Not only does it come with a 10-year warranty, but it also has a third part certification to verify its efficiency.

The Kinetico Compact also has two different models available - HE, designed to work with low pressure systems/gravity fed systems and HF which is designed for high flow systems. Due to the lower pressure range, we don't recommend this system for homes with over 3 bathrooms.

Despite being one of the best systems you can buy, on paper the specification is not as impressive as Harvey TwinTec S4. Drawbacks are that it it is less efficient, uses more water and salt within the regeneration process - making it more expensive to run and less efficient. Essentially for £1695, the specification of the Premier Compact is not as good as the Harvey TwinTec S4 - which is a fraction of the price at £1149.99. You can find a full specification comparison below:



Kinetico Premier Compact

Harvey TwinTec S4

Max Flow rate



Pressure min/max

1 – 6 Bar

1 – 10 Bar

Salt usage per regen



Water usage per regen



Regeneration time

11 min

11 min

Salt Efficiency



Max Water Hardness

500 ppm

600 ppm


10 years parts, 2 labour

10 years parts, 2 labour

Price £1695 £1149.99



3. The Harvey TwinTec S3



Who Is the S3 Designed for?

  • The s3 is designed for homes with 2-3 bathrooms and up to 6 people.
  • It perfect for kitchens with limited space.
  • Ideal for people searching for something easy to maintain.
  • People looking for a constant supply of water without the use of electricity.

 General Specification

Type of System: A Twin tank chamber, non-electric system that uses block for regenration. Consisting of two cylinders, salt chamber and a brine tank.

Dimensions: 49cm high and 20.5cm wide with a depth of 44cm.

Efficiency: regeneration using 17L in just 10 minutes.

Warranty: 5 years parts.

Min/Max Flow Rate: 5L/h 65L/min.

Min/Max Pressure: 1/8bar.


Pros & Key Features 

 Cons & Downfalls:

Small & Compact: its small and compact design allows it to fit easily under your kitchen sink. 

An Automatic System: a non-electric system means no timers or manual settings so the softener is exceptionally low maintenance.

Accurate Water Measurement: this twintec model uses an advanced and patented displacement meter. This allows the softener to measure water usage very accurately – down to measuring two drips per second.

Adjustable Brine Valve: allows for fine-tuning to your water hardness level to alter the salt used per regeneration – saving you salt and money.

Fast & Efficient Regeneration: the regeneration of the S3 occurs in just 10 minutes, requiring only 17L.

Softened Water 24/7: the 2 cylinders means you will receive softened water 24/7.

Great for Low Pressure Systems: works with very low-pressure systems.

Independently certified: examined and tested by the water regulations advisory scheme.

Exclusive Dealership: this softener is sold through an exclusive dealer network, meaning they are harder to find - especially online. We supply the S3 and can disclose a price quote by enquiry only.

Only Suited for Homes with a Low-Pressure Flow: not as beneficial for homes with high flow systems or large homes.

Pressure Drops: in larger homes the S3 can cause a pressure drop of 1 bar at 30 litres of water per minute (suitable for the majority of homes but not all).

An Adjustable Brine Valve: the fine-tuning can be frustrating if not carried out correctly and by a professional.


Why 4 Stars?

The Harvey Twintec S3 is the last previous model released by Harvey Water Softener, after the Harvey Crown and before the S4. The S3 is no longer made and has been much improved in the TwinTec S4.

The main drawback of the S3 is that it tends to work best with low pressure systems and may not be well suited for larger homes or homes using a high-pressure system. In larger homes, there is likely to be a small pressure drop of around 1 bar per 30L. This is usually fine for most average homes and is the equivalent to running a shower at the same time as running kitchen taps and using the toilet flush. Another drawback is the adjustable brine valve. Although this is considered a pro of the S3, the setting itself is set at a factory default setting. It is recommended the valve is set by a professional and can be frustrating to get right when adjusting yourself.


4. The Kinetico Premier Plus

Kinetico Premier Plus Water Softener

Who Is the Premier Plus For?

  • Unlike the S4 and Premier Compact, this semi-commercial water softener is ideal for households with 4+ bathrooms and up to 8 people
  • It is a good fit for homes with a larger amount of space and families that use more water.
  • For people looking for something easy to maintain and long lasting. For individuals requiring a constant supply of water without electricity.
  • For those with a high budget.

 General Specification

Type of System: Twin tank, non-electric, block salt fed system. Consists of two cylinders, salt chamber and a brine tank.

Dimensions: 29cm x 68.9cm x 69.1xm

Efficiency: regeneration in 12 minutes requiring 34 litres.

Warranty: 10 years

Min/Max Flow Rate: 1 l/min -57 l/m

Min/Max Pressure: 1- 8.3bar

Salt Usage: 500g

Pros & Key Features:

Cons & Downfalls:


Dual Tank Design: for soft water 24/7.

Non-Electric & Automatic: the non-electric design means lower energy bills and that the machine itself is less likely to need any maintenance or repairs.

A 10-year Warranty: even with more testing and a guaranteed quality the Premier Plus comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty for parts.

Third Party Certification & Externally Accredited: Kinetico are renowned for high quality robust testing including external accreditation.

Uses Its Own Soft Water Rinse: like the compact the maxi cleans itself using soft water.

Metered Regeneration: helps prevent over producing soft water and determines the best time to regenerate.

Efficient Regeneration: despite its large size the regeneration process occurs in just 12 minutes.

EMax Technology and QuietDrive: a patented twin-tank design delivers uninterrupted soft water and QuietDrive, so you will not be disturbed.

Flow rate: Is 57L/min - similar to the smaller premier compact and harvey twintec s4.

Price Point: The Premier Plus has a high price tag and a similar flow rate to standard size systems such as the Harvey TwinTec S4.


Why 5 Stars?

The Kinetico Premier Plus is a large water softener. It is larger in size but has a much greater capacity, flow rate and operational pressure for larger homes. It is also great if you have a large family, with high water usage. It is economical with a low salt consumption and regenerates again in just 11 minutes. Not only that, but this system comes with a 10 year warranty and guarantee. Unlike many other softeners on the market, this model is perfect for mega flow and combi boilers and ideal for 28mm pipework.

5. The Harvey TwinTec XL2


Who Is the Harvey TwinTec XL2 For?

  • This semi-commercial water softener is ideal for households with 4+ bathrooms and up to 8 people
  • It is a good fit for homes with a larger amount of space and families that use more water.
  • With a 10 year warranty, this Harvey Model, is a great choice if you are looking for reliability.

 General Specification

Type of System: Twin tank, non-electric, BLOCK SALT fed system. Consists of two cylinders, salt chamber and a brine tank.

Dimensions Brine Tank & Softener: lxwxh


Efficiency: regeneration in 20 minutes requiring 37 litres.

Warranty: 10 year from the manufacturer.

Min/Max Flow Rate: 1 L/min -80L/m

Min/Max Pressure: 1- 8bar

Salt Usage: 900g - 1300g

Daily Soft Water Capacity: 6444L

Inlet/ Outlet: 1inch or 3/4 inches

Max Temp: 20 degrees

Pros & Key Features:

Cons & Downfalls:

Large Capacity: suitable for large homes.

Dual Tank Design: for constant soft water 24/7.

Non-Electric & Automatic: this system does not use electricity. It also has no need for ttimers or controls. 

Higher Flow Rate & Operational Pressure: With a flow rate of 80L/min - this system can really deliver soft water to very large homes and small businesses.

High Salt Capacity: this system hold 6 blocks of salt at any one time. 

Works Well with Higher Pressure Systems: suited for mega flow and combi boilers.

A 10-year Warranty: comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty for parts.

Third Party Certification & Externally Accredited: WRAS certified.

Efficient Regeneration: despite its large size the regeneration process occure less often. A higher salt storage capacity also means you'll refill the salt less often.

Economical to Use: and low salt consumption.

Available Online Now: you can buy a Premier Compact (without installation) online directly from NE Water Softeners at the cheapest price for only £1795.

Large Size: This system comes in two parts - a softener and separate brine tank. Therefore you need to have adequate space for the install. It is best off installed in a plant room or garage.


Why 5 Stars?

The Harvey TwinTec XL2 has a huge flow rate of 80L/min. Meaning there is no worry about any prssure or drops in water flow. Being a TwinTec model, you'll have quality guaranteed and a 10 year warranty to support that. This system is larger in size, with two separate compartments, but has a much greater capacity, flow rate and operational pressure, required for larger homes. 

Summary: Kinetico Vs Harvey?

When it comes to choosing the best system - there is no doubt that a non-electric and twin tank system is best.  Both Harvey & Kinetico deliver quality products but Harvey softeners are super efficient on water and salt, you'll also find they are the most popular in the UK.

Ultimately the decision depends on your price point, pressure in your home water system, size of your home and water usage.

Need More Information?  

Get free expert advice from our team or download our free water softeners buyers guide. Click here to download the guide.


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