Pros and Cons of Water Softeners You Need to Know About

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We’ve been testing and reviewing water softeners for years, and we know that there are dozens of benefits of soft water to enjoy. But we’ve found that there are several disadvantages of water softeners, too.

In this water softener pros and cons guide, we’ll be sharing all the positive and negative aspects of owning a water softener.

Pros and cons of water softeners

👍 Water Softener Pros

Showerhead with limescale buildup
Limescale buildup

👎 Water Softener Cons

  • Requires salt top-ups – A traditional ion exchange water softening system can’t work without salt. When the softener regenerates, salt is drawn from the brine tank and carried by water into the resin tank to replenish the resin beads. Water softener salt costs $5-$30 per 40-pound bag, so the maintenance costs quickly add up.
  • Not suitable for low-sodium diets – According to Verywell Health, there’s a correlation between the sodium in softened water and high blood pressure. Your doctor may advise you not to use a water softener if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, or heart problems.
  • Expensive – The upfront cost of a water softener is typically $800-$1,500, depending on the system size and complexity. Some people can’t afford, or justify, the expense of salt-based water softeners.
  • Challenging to install – A water softening system needs to be installed at your home’s point of entry. The installation process is complex and involves cutting into your main water pipe, installing a drain line, and more. You may end up paying a plumber to install your water softener for you. Here’s a video walkthrough of how to install a water softener, which should give you an idea of the complexity of the process.
  • Removes healthy minerals – During ion exchange in a water softener, calcium and magnesium minerals are removed. These minerals are good for our health. However, if you eat a healthy, balanced diet, you should still meet your dietary mineral requirements from your food sources.
  • Affects the taste of water – It’s a myth that soft water tastes salty. That said, many folks prefer the taste of hard water to salt-softened water because of the water’s calcium mineral content. So it might be a disadvantage to you that water softeners change the taste of your water.

Related: Do water softeners waste water?

Brine tank of a water softener topped up with salt
  • Jennifer Byrd
    Water Treatment Specialist

    For 20+ years, Jennifer has championed clean water. From navigating operations to leading sales, she's tackled diverse industry challenges. Now, at Redbird Water, she crafts personalized solutions for homes, businesses, and factories. A past Chamber President and industry advocate, Jennifer leverages her expertise in cutting-edge filtration and custom design to transform water concerns into crystal-clear solutions.

5 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Water Softeners You Need to Know About”

  1. Avatar for Jennifer Byrd

    You did not mention what effect the salted water has on any metal that it contacts. Doesn’t it accelerate oxidation of all metal plumbing fixtures and fasteners?

  2. Avatar for Jennifer Byrd
    Victoria Addington

    Thank you for mentioning that softening your water can help prevent problems with dry skin and hair. This is because, as you mentioned, soft water has a smooth, silky quality that easily slips off your face and hair. Given that my sister recently moved into a new home and indicated that the water there is hard, I believe a water softener system would be beneficial for them. I’ll be sure to let her know about this and look into expert services that can help her install one.

  3. Avatar for Jennifer Byrd

    It’s good that you mentioned that aside from removing calcium and magnesium to produce soft water, water softeners can also get rid of low levels of iron found in our water so that we won’t have to deal with reddish-brown stains in our water fixtures. I need a water softener for my home in Long Valley soon since we’ve only been getting hard water from our faucet in the kitchen since last night and I don’t want to let this continue long enough to ruin our plumbing system. I’ll keep this in mind while I look for a water softener service in Long Valley to hire for the installation soon.

    1. Avatar for Jennifer Byrd

      Exactly! Depending on the water chemistry and iron concentrations, you maybe be able to get away with just a water softener and not have the need for additional equipment to target the iron

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