In this article, I will warn you about the biggest dangers linked to buying and using a “saltless or salt free water softener”.

Now let’s face it, the appeal of getting a saltless water softener makes complete sense. I don’t imagine there is anyone that likes the idea of buying or hauling around large bags of softener salt.

Enter the “no salt water softener”, the answer to all our problems. But “no-salt” really? Salt is essential to the softening process as oxygen is to keeping human beings alive.

So how exactly do you remove salt from the equation? Does it do as good a job as traditional water softeners?

I am asked about the quality of no salt or saltless water softeners all the time so let’s go ahead and get some answers.

What Is A Salt Free Water Softener?

They are normally called “descalers or “water conditioners”. The idea is to dissolve pre-existing calcium scales while also reducing the chances of new ones forming. Since they don’t use salt (the active ingredient for water softening), they only reduce and delay the effects of hard water.

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Red Cross - Salt Free Water Softener LiesFacts (& DANGERS) About “Salt Free Water Softeners”

  • The name is slightly deceiving because a “water softener” is a machine that removes hard water by definition. However, a saltless water softener does not completely remove water hardness. (Read: Water Softener: Secrets Only A Handful Of People Know).
  • Salt free water softeners are sometimes designed to look like regular water softeners. However, they can only reduce odor, sediment and perhaps some chemicals like chlorine. Yes, these devices can greatly improve the quality of your drinking water. But it will not create the “soft water” you’re expecting.
  • Technologies that are incorrectly marketed as a salt free water softener can prevent scale build up but wont give you soft water. So if your main concern is preventing hard water from “scaling” then this is a good option for you. For instance, if you want to use it to prevent hard water damage to expensive equipment.
  • Companies can sometimes call a “salt free water softener” a “descaler” or “water conditioner”.
  • Some companies will call a water softener “salt free” because it uses potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride (salt). Yes, it is true that this version of “saltless water softeners” WILL REMOVE hard water minerals. But be careful because potassium is about 5x more expensive than regular softener salt and about 30% less efficient!
  • If you have severe hard water issues then the only appliance that will 100% effectively protect your plumbing, expensive appliances, clothes, hair and skin is a traditional water softener machine that uses salt like one of my favorites, the Nuvo.

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Salt Based Vs. Salt Free Water Softener?

Salt based water softeners will completely eliminate hard water. This will leave you with a more “slick” feeling in your water. You will notice the soap creating more bubbles etc.

The reason soft water has a “clean feeling” is because of all the removed minerals that are no longer present to dry your skin.

Salt Free Water Softener

Salt Based Water Softener

A salt free water softener will lightly descale your pipes and reduce the “hard” minerals present in your water. Salt based water softeners will completely eliminate hard water. This will leave you with a more “slick” feeling in your water. You will notice that soap creates more bubbles etc.
The salt free water softener captures some of the minerals by creating “hardness crystals”. However, the crystals won’t stick to the surface so there is less scale build up. The reason soft water has a “clean feeling” is because of all the removed minerals. In other words, they are not present to dry your skin.
You may get brighter looking clothes after laundry and see less soap usage. Soft water makes bright colors keep better in your clothes.


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Green Plus ArrowBenefits of Using A Salt Free Water Softener

  • One of the biggest benefits you get from a saltless water softener is that it is maintenance free.
  • It is also a chemical free alternative to using a salt-based water softener.
  • Mr Water Geek ThinkingA salt free water softener will very often use no electricity, create no waste water and, of course you won’t need to continuously buy softener salt. All of this saves you a lot of money in the long run.
  • Saltless softeners are much cheaper than buying a full water softener.
  • Ideal if you simply want to maintain expensive equipment. E.g. you are a dentist and rent your space. So can’t tamper too much with plumbing to install a water softener but need to keep scale away from your expensive equipment.
  • If you only have mild hard water and want a hassle free option to keep your pipes descaled and make your appliances last longer, the saltless water softener is perfect for you.

The Best Saltless Water Softener 

The table below compares the best “saltless water softeners” currently available. I have carefully selected the best options based on performance, price and customer experience.

ProductBest FeaturesPrice Range 
Aquios FS-220 Salt Free Water Softener and Filtration System
Aquios FS-220 Salt Free Water Softener and Filtration System
- Softens and filters.
- Cartridges are easy to replace.
- Compact design.
- Removes existing scale in your pipes
$$Check Price Button
Eddy Electronic Water Descaler
- Reduces lime scale.
- Easy installation.
- Emulates softened water.
- 12 month 100%
- Money-Back Guarantee + Lifetime Repair or Replace warranty.
Aquasana 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter with Salt-Free Softener

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- Exceeds NSF standards by removing 97% of chlorine for up to 1,000,000 gallons
- Salt-free water softener is proven to reduce scale.
- Does not require electricity, drainage, or back flushing.
Fountainhead Water Systems - Water Softener Conditioner
- Steel cover.
- 4.5 L capacity with 15 GPM.
nuvoH2O Studio Complete Salt-Free Water Softening System
- Capacity: about 25,000 gallons (average annual water usage of household of 2).
- Uses 10-inch salt-free replacement cartridges.
I'm a health author, science enthusiast and 100% certified geek. My passion is to help you take control of your health and well-being by understanding the true importance of good quality water and healthy hydration.


    • Hi Mollly,
      I think the Flow Tech salt free water softener is as good as any of them. Personally, however, I prefer Aquasana’s Gallon Whole House Water Filter with a Salt-Free Softener, UV Filtration, Professional Installation Kit
      and lasts for 10 years or treats one million gallons –
      Slightly expensive but worth it because it’s a high performance machine that both filters and softens without salt.
      Hope this helps!

  1. I’ve always owned a salt water softener so it was good reading about the pros and cons of the non salt ones. I don’t have a problem hauling salt bags and I love my water softener so I won’t be switching anytime soon!

  2. Hi Luke,
    I was happy to come across your website. Just like a prior comment, I am interested in the Flow Tech water softener system because I don’t have a lot of space for a traditional water softener in the room where the main water line comes into the house. However, I’m feeling skeptical about the Flow Tech as I can’t find any good reviews on it that are from a neutral source. However, I have found reviews claiming that it is a scam. Your unbiased opinion is greatly appreciate here. Thanks for any feedback you can provide. Best, Maria

    • Hi Maria
      It’s difficult for me to comment on Flow Tech as I’ve never used it personally.
      However, I’m very skeptical of so called “magnetic” or “electronic” water conditioners like Flow Tech. I once tried a magnetic system and it was a total waste of money.
      Go for something like the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler if you really want to save money and space because this system has a lot more verified customer reviews and places like Amazon will provide you with a reliable customer satisfaction guarantee and option to refund (without hassle) if it doesn’t work properly.
      But if you have extremely hard water then you will really need one of the more powerful whole house options mentioned in this article.
      Best wishes,


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