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Salt-based vs Salt-free water softeners, what’s better?

A water softener is undoubtedly the best solution for a living facility with hard water issues. But the bigger question might be, should you go for salt-based or salt-free water softeners? With so many marketing claims for each of these products, how do you know which is the perfect one for your home? As experts in the industry, we have created a quick guide that differentiates between the two products. This will help you make the right decision for your home.


Salt-based water softeners

Water softeners are used to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium through a process called ion exchange. With a salt-based water softener, all these minerals that increase the hardness of the water are eliminated even before your tap is turned on. The system uses two tanks through the principle of ion exchange to recycle the water you use - unique resin beads and brine. During the water softening process, the water is softened with substituting salt to remove these minerals through a cleaning cycle that runs a series of back flushes. Salt-based systems are considered to be highly effective and the best choice for household requirements.

Salt-free water softeners

Salt-free water softeners on the contrary retain the minerals in the water and convert them into crystals to avoid them from sticking onto the surface that could cause limescale build-up. In a salt-free water softener, a PTT media is used to reduce hard scale from forming in plumbing and appliances. Although this process helps treat the hard water at your living facility, it may not be as effective as salt-based water softeners.

The differentiating factors

Salt-based water softeners - Pros

  • Calcium and magnesium ions are completely removed from the water.

  • Saves cost on future plumbing concerns and maintains the efficiency of your appliances.

  • No limescale build-up issue.

  • Water tastes better and becomes soft

  • Zero maintenance

Salt-based water softeners - Cons

  • Requires salt

  • Uses water for regeneration process

Salt-free water softeners - Pros

  • Calcium and magnesium ions are not removed from the water. Instead, they are crystallized.

  • Free from chemicals.

  • Easy installation and low maintenance.

Salt-free water softeners - Cons

  • Not as effective as the salt-based water softeners as the minerals are not removed.

  • Salt-free water softeners are slower than salt-based water softeners.

  • Doesn’t soften the water, only conditions it.


Whether you opt for salt-based water softeners or salt-free, always consider the pros and cons for each. As industry experts, we lean towards salt-based water softeners, as it eliminates all the minerals that cause hard water. For drinking water, we highly recommend that you install a reverse osmosis system at home as well.


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