The Aquasana SimplySoft Salt-Free Water Softener is one of the most well-known salt-free water conditioners available today – but does that mean it’s the best?
In this Aquasana water softener review, we’ll be sharing everything you need to know about the performance features, specifications, conditioning process, and maintenance requirements of this popular Aquasana product. By the end, you’ll know whether the SimplySoft Salt-Free Water Softener is worth your money – or whether there are better options out there.
Table of Contents
The Aquasana SimplySoft is a salt-free water conditioner that works to safely reduce scale buildup without the use of salt or harsh chemicals.
This whole-house system is installed as close as possible to your main water pipe’s entry into your home, upstream of your water heater. It has a maximum flow rate of just over 14 GPM and a conditioning media lifespan of 6 years, and it treats water hardness up to 25 grains per gallon (although it’s best to use this unit for hardness up to 15 GPG).
📝 System Specifications
|Maximum Operating Pressure||100 psi|
|Size||27 x 46 x 9 inches (length x height x diameter)|
|Maximum Water Hardness||25 GPG|
|Maximum Flow Rate||14.4 GPM|
|Rated Flow Rate||7 GPM|
|Capacity Gallons/ Years||600,00/ 6 years|
|Warranty/ Guarantee||6 years/ 90 days|
The Aquasana SimplySoft uses a conditioning technique known as nucleation assisted crystallization (NAC). This is considered the most effective means of conditioning, and effectively inhibits scale buildup without the use of salt or chemicals.
This salt-free softener requires minimal maintenance. Just change the sediment water filter when needed. The conditioning media lasts up to 6 years from installation.
7 GPM Flow Rate
Most small-to-medium families should fare well with the SimplySoft’s 7 GPM flow rate. You shouldn’t notice a dip in your water pressure after installing this system.
6-Year Limited Warranty
The SimplySoft’s performance is backed by a 6-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects, and there’s a 90-day guarantee that lets you try the system at no risk.
To get a proper understanding of the performance capabilities of any water conditioner, we consider the following factors:
- Hardness treated in grains per gallon (or the effectiveness of performance)
- System flow rate (or speed of performance)
- Scale-control media lifespan (or longevity of performance)
Below, we’ll look at how the Aquasana SimplySoft performs across these three areas.
But first, let’s discuss the conditioning media used in this water conditioner, and the process of reducing scale.
The Aquasana SimplySoft uses nucleation assisted crystallization (NAC) technology to condition water. This technology is considered the best salt-free alternative to ion exchange softening, so when it comes to performance, you know that systems (like Aquasana’s) containing this media are pretty capable.
By the way, nucleation assisted crystallization seems to just be another name for template assisted crystallization (TAC), which you’ve probably read about in your research. Most manufacturers seem to favor using TAC in their marketing, but as far as we can tell, TAC and NAC are exactly the same processes.
Onto the performance factors discussed above.
First, hardness treated. The scale-control media used in Aquasana’s salt-free water conditioner treats up to 25 grains per gallon (GPG) of hardness, but Aquasana recommends using the system if your water has around 15 GPG of hardness. Considering that more than 10 GPG of hardness is considered very hard, the SimplySoft should be fine for your treating your water issues.
Next, system flow rate. On average, you can expect a system flow of 7-10 GPM. That’s fine for most families of up to four with moderate water usage. If you use a lot of water or you have more than two bathrooms, your water flow might decrease slightly during periods of peak use.
Finally, media lifespan. The media in this system lasts up to 600,000 gallons, which Aquasana estimates is about 6 years. Considering the upfront cost of this system is about $800, and there’s no other maintenance involved aside from changing the sediment filter, we’d say that’s pretty good value.
📌 In all, we’re impressed with the SimplySoft’s performance. Just keep in mind that if you have very hard water, a big family, or a higher-than-average water use, this system may not be best for you.
🔧 Installation & Maintenance
There are instructions in the user manual to install the Aquasana SimplySoft, but note that you’ll need a professional to install the system if you want Aquasana to honor the system’s warranty.
Included with the SimplySoft are:
- An installation kit, featuring a shut-off valve, filter wrench, a hose adapter, support bracket, and unions and nipples
- The 27 x 46 x 9-inch descaler
- A 5-micron sediment pre-filter
- A 4-pack of replacement cartridges for the pre-filter
Here’s a basic overview of the installation process:
- Choose a POE installation location, preferably indoors away from direct sunlight.
- Find the inlet and outlet port on the filter housing and remove the caps.
- Connect the unit to your garden hose and flush the system for up to 10 minutes.
- Disconnect the unit and shut off your water supply.
- Install the unit at your main water line, securing the connections with plumber’s tape.
- Open the water supply and check the system for leaks.
- Flush the system for 10 minutes.
You don’t need to program or set up the system before use, so once you’ve flushed it a final time, it’s ready to use. Here’s the user manual, with more information on the installation process.
As for maintenance, that’s low-hassle, too. You’ll just need to replace the sediment pre-filter as required. Get into the habit of checking the filter every month. When you can’t see the filter’s original white color, replace it.
You’ll also need to replace the media after 6 years or so of use. Speak to Aquasana about buying and replacing this media.
You can change the filters and media yourself – no need for a professional for this.
📝 Filter Info
As we mentioned earlier, the Aquasana SimplySoft uses an NAC media to condition water.
NAC is a natural process, meaning that it doesn’t add or remove anything from water. No salt is required for NAC, and no water is wasted.
According to Aquasana, the SimplySoft system’s media can reduce up to 99.6% of scale. It does so by altering the formation of hardness minerals in your water supply, preventing them from sticking to surfaces and forming scale.
Your water’s TDS won’t change after installing the SimplySoft, since you’re not replacing hardness minerals with salt.
The media has a lifespan of around 6 years. After that, you’ll need to contact Aquasana and enquire about buying replacement media for the tank.
Also included with the SimplySoft is a 5-micron sediment pre-filter, which protects the media from damage and increases its longevity.
📌 Note that the SimplySoft isn’t a filtration system – it’s a water conditioner, designed to prevent the effects of water hardness. If you want to filter your water, too, consider installing the SimplySoft alongside the Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter System, which also removes chlorine and other chemicals from your water.
🔔 Pros & Cons
👍 What We Like
- Our favorite thing about the SimplySoft is that it doesn’t use salt. That means you won’t have to drink sodium in your water, and your water won’t take on an unpleasantly slippery feel. Plus, you won’t contribute to excess salt waste, and Aquasana’s salt-free technology wastes no water.
- Another notable benefit is that the SimplySoft retains healthy hard minerals while still being able to effectively inhibit scale buildup.
- The 6-year limited warranty and 90-day money-back guarantee are reassuring. Essentially, the 90-day guarantee means you can send back the conditioner for a full refund for any reason within the trial period. The warranty covers you against manufacturing defects.
👎 What We Don’t Like
- Unlike traditional water softeners, the SimplySoft doesn’t actually remove hardness minerals from water, so it doesn’t offer all the soft water benefits, like improved lather with soap and healthier hair and skin.
- You can’t DIY install this softener, or you’ll void the warranty. That means you’ll need to pay an additional $100-$200 upfront for a licensed professional to install the system for you.
- There’s no way to actually measure the performance of this salt-free conditioner since it doesn’t actually remove hard minerals from water. That’s where salt-based water softeners have the advantage over salt-free conditioners.
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
Does Aquasana soften water?
No, Aquasana doesn’t soften water – it conditions it. That means that water is still technically hard, but the hardness minerals are unable to stick to surfaces as scale. So, you get the same benefits as you’d get with soft water, but you can still enjoy the health benefits of calcium and magnesium in your water.
Do salt-free water softeners work?
Yes, salt-free water softeners work. Traditional water softeners that use salt are typically better for high hardness levels, but if you have moderate water hardness and just want to prevent or reduce scale buildup, a salt-free water conditioner is a good option to consider.
How much does it cost to install Aquasana?
It costs about $200 to install the Aquasana SimplySoft. The exact cost depends on what your local plumber or handyman charges. We strongly recommend getting your conditioner professionally installed to avoid voiding the warranty.
Does Aquasana remove hard water?
No, the Aquasana SimplySoft doesn’t actually remove hard water. It simply stops hard water minerals from forming limescale in a process known as conditioning. If you want to remove hard water, you’ll need a salt-based softener.