Can You Mix Water Softener Salts? (Pellets & Crystals)

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There are a few different types of water softener salt, including pellets and crystals. In this guide, we’ve answered the common question, “Can I mix salt crystals and pellets in a water softener?”

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways:

  • In most salt-based water softeners, it’s fine to mix salt crystals and pellets in the brine tank.
  • Salt crystals are formed by natural evaporation, while pellets are made by compacting salt granules into pellet shapes.
  • There are a few exceptions to this rule. All-in-one water softeners only take salt pellets, so you shouldn’t mix water softener salts in these systems.

πŸ”€ Can You Mix Salt Crystals And Salt Pellets In A Water Softening System?

In most cases, you can mix salt pellets and salt crystals in a water softening system.

Water softener salt dissolves in water to form a brine solution. It doesn’t technically matter what type of salt is in the water softener brine tank (salt tank) since the sodium ions will all end up dissolving in the water anyway.

However, there are a few exceptions to this, which we’ve shared later in this guide.

Mixing water softener salt pellets and crystals

πŸ†š Water Softener Crystals Vs Pellets: What’s The Difference?

Salt pellets are made by compacting salt granules into pillow-shaped pellets. Crystals are formed during saltwater evaporation and are the most natural, unprocessed form of salt.

You can usually find all sorts of water softener salts in crystal or pellet form, including evaporated salt pellets, rock salt, solar salt pellets, solar crystals, and more.

Most commonly, solar crystals are the type of salt found in crystal form (although you can buy them in pellet form too). Evaporated salt is most commonly found in pellet form.

πŸ€” What Happens If You Mix Water Softener Salt Pellets and Crystals?

If you mix various water softener salts in the same brine tank, nothing should happen.

Let’s say you run out of water softener salt pellets and the next bag you buy contains crystals.

You top up the salt as usual by pouring the new water softener crystals onto the existing pellets.

The salt will probably mix together in the brine tank as it settles, but this won’t have any problematic effects on the softener’s performance.

Both types of salt will simply dissolve in water to form brine as usual, which will be carried into the resin tank through the brine draw pipe.

It doesn’t matter whether you add pellet salt on top of crystal salt, or crystals on top of pellets – your water softener will still work as usual.

The same goes for if you want to add potassium chloride pellets to a tank containing sodium chloride crystals. It’s safe to do and won’t affect the softener’s performance.

adding salt to a water softener brine tank

πŸ”ƒ Can You Mix Salt Crystals And Salt Pellets In An All-In-One Water Softener?

All-in-one water softeners are water softener systems that have the brine tank and resin tank all in one unit.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ”§ Most all-in-one softener manufacturers advise against using water softener salt crystals since they’re known to form a “salt crust” around the top of the tank, making them unable to reach the water level below.

So, in an all-in-one water softener, you shouldn’t use a mix of both salt pellets and crystals – stick to water softener salt pellets.

🧐 Can You Mix Salt Crystals And Salt Pellets In Water Softeners Without A Salt Screen?

Some water softener systems don’t have a salt screen at the bottom of the brine tank. These systems are designed specifically for holding water softener pellets, since smaller solar salt crystals might get sucked into the brine draw pipe, causing a blockage.

So, for a water softener system without a salt screen, stick to water softener salt pellets and don’t mix both salt pellets and crystals.

πŸ”Ž Is It Better To Use Salt Pellets Or Crystals In A Water Softener?

We know that whether you use salt in pellet or crystal form in a water softener, or a mixture of the two, the salt will still dissolve as normal in water.

But what’s better for your water softener: pellets or crystals?

In most water softeners, pellets are better than crystals because they dissolve quickly in water and often contain additional ingredients that reduce scaling, caking, and other issues in the salt tank.

Plus, pellets are more adherent and longer-lasting than crystals, so they’re the better option for people who plan to buy in bulk and store their salt for months or years before use in the salt tank.

With that said, you won’t notice a difference in your drinking water taste, and (as long as you choose a high-purity salt) your salt usage should be about the same, regardless of the salt form you use.

Salt pellets in resin tank

πŸ“‘ Final Word: Should You Mix Water Softener Salts?

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ”§ It’s safe to mix water softener salts, whether you’re mixing different forms of sodium chloride or you’re adding potassium chloride to a brine tank that currently only contains salt.

Regardless of what type of salt you use in your water softener’s brine tank, just make sure it’s as high quality and high purity as possible. We advise against using rock salt due to its increased concentration of impurities.

Although mixing water softening salts is safe, your softener tank and resin bed will remain much cleaner, and with a reduced risk of clogging and salt bridge formation, if you use high-purity salt pellets in the salt tank.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

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