Here is What Customers HATE About Northstar Water Softeners

Published: December 10, 2019

Last Updated: November 2023

Everything Customers HATE About Northstar Water Softeners

Most people are happy with their level of effectiveness especially when it comes to treating hard water. However, one of the reasons I wrote this Northstar water softener review is the high number of bad reviews North Star has when compared to other UK water softeners. The biggest complaints are:

Red CrossUnhelpful technical support.

Red CrossUncertainty about longevity. For instance, one verified customer talks about how their NSC40UD1 only lasted for 2 years before completely breaking down. This is unfortunate because it is likely they were out of warranty at this point.

Do You Even Need A Water Softener?

Hard water is what causes white limescale stains in your kitchen and bathroom. Particularly around faucet, plumbing, pipes, appliances and at the bottom of your kettle.

The best and most effective way to deal with hard water is to get a water softener. Getting one will remove all the hard minerals and make your water “soft”.

lazy placeholderThe best part of this is that it will do all of this at the water source. The result of this is that all the water that comes into your home will be treated.

A good quality water softener will not just produce soft water. It will also extend the life of your home’s appliances and keep your plumbing fixtures scale-free.

North Star Water Softener Buying Guide

Hard water is one of the biggest problems facing home water supplies today.

Standard SoftenerThe result of this is limescale stains around the kitchen, bathroom, appliances and the cause of hard mineral crystals at the bottom of your kettle.

The most effective way to treat hard water is with a softener. The issues, however, is that the market is flooded with lots of different, brands, models and styles to choose from.

The water softener buying guide below will point of the key things to consider before making this expensive purchase:

Single vs. Twin Tank Water Softeners

The average softener comes with either 1 or 2 cylinders (however, commercial, high volume and industrial softeners can have many more).

Aquasana Superior Filtration DetailA single cylinder softener is able to regenerate water non-stop even if there is a sudden increase in demand.

While 2 cylinder softeners are more able to work 24-7 since one cylinder is always on while the other recovers.

Two cylinder or double tank machines will usually use block salt.

Northstar softeners are typically single tank cylinders with a smaller brine tank (i.e. where the salt goes).

Softener Size & Capacity

How much water do you use in your house each day? This will help you decide the level and capacity of softener that you need to buy.

A larger family with more than 3 people and extremely hard water need to consider getting something like a regular softener.

However, Northstar is suitable for a small household with low to moderately hard water. This is because Northstar models typically deal with 22,090, 31,300, 35,600 grain capacities. Meanwhile other softeners in a similar price range tend to start at around 48-64,000 grain capacity and go much higher.

App Controlled Softener

Salt-Based vs. Salt-Free Systems

The only way to get genuine soft water is by using a salt-based softener.There are so called salt-free softening systems that don’t produce soft water but instead “condition” and sometimes filter the water to reduce the effects of hard water.

If you have extremely hard water then your best bet is to get a softener that uses salt like Northstar softeners.

Common Features In All North Star Models

Unlike other brands Northstar does not have a long list of softener models and they all have similar features:

Backlit Small Display Diagnostics.

All the top Northstar models come with a diagnostics mechanism that allows you to quickly view the unit’s performance, set up the softening level and time the regeneration. Aquasana Whole House UV Filter

It will also allow you to check past settings like the total number of regeneration cycles, number of days in service etc. There is also the opportunity to view problems with switches and turbines.

Compact Single Tank Design.

Lots of traditional water softeners come with 2 tanks so that it can provide you with soft water 24-7. This is because when one tank finishes regenerating the other one takes over.

However Northstar models typically only have one tank (and one brine tank i.e. where the salt goes). This means that you really should not consider Northstar if you have a large household or extremely hard water.Optimh20 Whol House Filter

Patented “Look Ahead” Technology.

“Look Ahead” is a patented Northstar feature that lets you set it up to predict the future. This follows on from the previous point of efficiency. Over time you will be able to see the average monthly usage and then adjust the water regeneration cycle accordingly.

Efficiency Selector.

This is a great feature for people that want to save resources, like water, energy and salt. The easy to use efficiency selection panel lets you set up how much water to generate. This means that you can reduce output if there are fewer people in the home.

Benefits of Northstar Water Softeners

Green Plus ArrowComes with lots of great features (e.g. Look Ahead technology) that help you save energy, water and resources like salt.

Green Plus ArrowSmall compact space saving designs that are also very durable.

Green Plus ArrowThe diagnostics panel lets you set and track the softening performance.

Green Plus ArrowIts resin bed agitator will keep circulating and moving everything inside the softener. The result of this stops dirt and iron from actually getting into the unit.

Top North Star Models

Northstar softener models typically have the same features and set up. However, the main difference from one model to another is the size and capacity. Here are 2 of the top models:

North Star NSC40UD1 Ultra Demand Water Softener

Features:

Flow Rate: 10 gallons per minute.
Iron removal rate: 5 ppm.
Capacity: 39,000 grains per gallons.lazy placeholder

The NSC40UD1 has all the common Northstar features discussed above.

This includes a small display unit that allows you to view regeneration time, level of hardness and check other efficiency settings. It even comes with a means to opt for high or low efficiency, which is possible with its “Look Ahead” technology.

Having a 39,000 grain capacity means that it can treat moderately hard water for a small household of between 2-4 people.

Pros

Green Plus ArrowEffective at treating hard water.lazy placeholder

Green Plus ArrowEfficiency and energy saving options.

Green Plus ArrowEasy to use compact LCD screen for programming the device.

 

Cons
Red CrossVery expensive as prices start at $2500-$3000 for ONLY 39,000 grains per gallons. Meanwhile you can get a 48,000 grain Fleck 5600SXT with a starting price that is around $600.

However, note that this $600 amount does NOT include a whole house filter or professional installation costs.

Dashed Line

North Star NSAS 6500 Review

The most important thing to note about this unit is that it is *NOT* sold as a water softener. It is presented as a “Scale Management System”.lazy placeholder

This means that it will not turn your water soft but will reduce the effects of limescale.

This is one of the smallest and most compact units in the Northstar range.

Despite its small size it can treat hard water about 50,000 gallons of water with a flow rate of up to 18 gallons per minute.

Pros

Green Plus Arrow50,000 gallons capacity.

Green Plus ArrowThe pressure vale is built-in.

Green Plus ArrowVery small, space saving compact design.

Green Plus ArrowThe unit comes with 1 year full parts and labor (warranty) on the entire system.

Green Plus Arrow3 year warranty on the valve body and electronic control board.

Green Plus Arrow10 year warranty on the mineral tank and salt storage tank.lazy placeholder

Cons

Red CrossIt does not produce soft water, simply reduces the effects of hard water.

Dashed Line

Fleck vs Northstar Comparison Table

North Star NSC40UD1Fleck 5600SXT
lazy placeholderFleck 5600SXT
39,00048,000+
LCD displayLCD display
Programmable setup.Programmable setup.
Treats low to medium hard water.Treats hard to extremly hard water.
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$$$$$
lazy placeholderCheck the Price Now

Are Northstar Water Systems WORTH It?

No-ish.

Don’t get me wrong Northstar water softeners ARE effective at removing hard water. Everything in this Northstar water softener review should show that.

Mr Water Geek ThinkingHowever, I think there are better options (e.g. this) are better overall. This is simply in terms of value for money and overall positive customer reviews.

Northstar softeners seem to start at $1200+ despite NOT having a powerful filter. For a little extra you can get a full softener WITH a powerful multistage whole house filter.

Although this might seem like you’re spending more money, you’re not. This is because when you get a basic standalone Northstar softener, you will still NEED to buy a filter to make the soft water drinkable.

Whole House Softener Filter ComboApart from costing you less, getting an all-in-one water softener filter treatment system means you don’t have separate devices to install / worry about / maintain etc.

However, the biggest reason why I think this option is better are all the positive verified customer reviews.

The average Northstar water softener review is mixed and some customers raise issues that seriously concern me.

What is a Better Option?

This is salt based softener includes a powerful multi stage filter. This means it is ideal for very hard water and also filters all contaminants. The result is that you drink fresh clean filtered water direct from your faucet.

This is because it actually uses salt so will generate soft water unlike so called “salt less softeners”.

Consider getting this softener and filter model because:

Green Plus ArrowIt is a combination of a whole house filter AND salt-based softener in one single device. This means you don’t have to worry about buying an extra filter down the line which is not the case when you buy a basic softener from Northstar.

Green Plus ArrowApp Controlled SoftenerThis device uses a multi-stage filtration process to treat your water including carbon filters.

Green Plus ArrowEffectively treats up to 48,000 grains for 1-3 bathrooms.

Green Plus Arrow

Easy to install with instructions and manuals.

Green Plus ArrowComes with a controller head that will allow you to control and monitor the machine.

Green Plus ArrowYou can program it to automate your regeneration process so it takes care of itself after the initial set up.Check Prices & Read Customer Reviews

Green Plus ArrowExtensive warranties, performance, satisfaction and guarantees.

Aquasana Whole House FilterPelican Softener with Filters
Treats hard water UP TO 25 ppm (low to medium low hard water).Treats hard water OVER 25 ppm (medium to extremely hard water).
Does NOT require electricity.Requires electricity if using the electronic head monitor.
Control Your System With An App:? NOControl Your System With An App:? YES
- Powerful salt-FREE water softener.
- 1,000,000 one million gallon capacity.
- Aquasana Rhino exceeds NSF standards.
- Treats hard water WITHOUT salt.
- Removes chlorine, bacteria, iron, sulfide, manganese, mercury, lead etc.
- Includes pre-filter, copper-zinc and carbon filtration stages with standard fittings.
- 90-Day Pure Satisfaction Guarantee.
- Limited 10 year warranty.
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- Powerful salt-BASED water softener.
- 1,000,000 one million gallon capacity.
- Also includes a multi-stage filter.
- Easy installation (inside or outside)
- Sufficient for 1-3 bathrooms (options for 4-6 and 7+ bathrooms also available).
- 6 month money back guarantee.
- Limited lifetime warranty.
$$$
Ships to US and CA.
$$$
Ships to US, CA and Puerto Rico.
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3 Comments

  1. I’ve been through 2 Northstar home water softeners in less than 4 years. The first, and then the replacement, both blew out the threaded collar on the tank. (#1 lasted 2.75 yrs, #2 lasted 1 yr almost to the day. In each case the garage was flooded and some property lost. No, the psi of the water supply was tested at 80 psi. It wasn’t too much water pressure. Northstar went straight to psi issues, promised to contact me back, and then ghosted me from then on. I moved on and went with Aquasure. Too early to tell.

  2. Luke,
    Where did you get your info on the NorthStar brand? You seem to be referring to older units that have not been in place for about 4 years. Also, your pricing is way off as well as many facts and features.
    If you would like to get it right you may contact me.

    1. Hi Linda

      Although this article has recently been corrected for grammar, spelling etc, the core of the article has not been updated since it was written a few years ago.

      So feel free to produce any corrections / updates and I’ll publish it here in the comments.

      Stay hydrated,
      Luke

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