Do *NOT* Buy Water Softener Alternatives Until You Read This

Article Last Updated: August 2022

Water softener alternatives are great if you don’t want a water softener but still want to make sure you can preserve your pipes, home appliances and plumbing.

If you live in an area with hard water, you will know it’s causing you problems if you find white limescale at the bottom of your kettle. It’s also the case if you see the accumulation of limescale around your faucets and sinks.

Standard SoftenerThese stains can be unsightly and difficult to remove without harsh chemicals. It will also reduce the effectiveness of your soap and detergent.

The end result of this is the poor performance of dishwashers, washing machines and other home appliances.

Hard water is water with a high content of minerals like calcium and magnesium. This is a big problem for industries that work with critical water management machines as they can seriously be affected by limescale accumulation.

Left untreated, this can lead to considerable time and effort to resolve, which in turn leads to considerable costs.

The PROBLEMS with Water Softeners?

Here are specific benefits of getting a salt free water conditioner over a traditional water softener:

Red CrossWater softeners create pollution through wastewater.

Red CrossSoft water is silky filmy slippery water.Water Softener Valve

Red CrossHigh maintenance is necessary because you need to clean the system, buy salt and routinely check your.

Red CrossThey sometimes use electricity, which can increase the running costs.

Red CrossYou will still need an extra filter like reverse osmosis to filter the water and make it drinkable.

Red CrossSalt is necessary to make soft water and this can mean a salty taste in your drinking water.

Red CrossSoft water is not safe for plants.

Red CrossIt can also be very harmful to septic tanks.

3 Water Softener Alternatives

1. Magnetic “No Salt Softeners”

These systems are promoted on television, radio and internet. They are small (like a small shoe box) and can be installed in minutes. Just fix the wires around the pipe.Standalone Salt Free Aquasana

The theory of the magnetic water softener is that it uses a “complex signal field that is modulated with variable frequency and induces an electric field in the pipeline.

This changes hard water ions and increases their solubility. The result is water that is effectively “soft” because the hard minerals are displaced.

2. TAC (Template Assisted Crystallization) “No Salt Softeners”

This filter medium uses a technology called TAC (Crystalization Assisted Template). These “physical water treatment systems” are installed in a similar manner to conventional water softeners.

TAC hard water conditioners use a highly specialized medium that prevents hard minerals like calcium and magnesium from sticking to pipes and appliances.

3. Aquasana SCM Salt-Free Softening Technology

This technology naturally and safely reduces limescale deposits in plumbing and inner pipes without the use of salt or aggressive chemicals.Optimh2o Reverse Osmosis + Claryum

SCM stands for “Scale Control Media”. This is what uses the flow of water to naturally alter the structure of hard mineral ions in a crystalline structure.

And this is essentially what prevents the clash of minerals that form limescale. Unlike salt-based water softeners, Aquasana SimplySoft will not demineralize your water (this means it will not remove healthy minerals).

Nor will it damage your pipes with coarse salt or add excessive amounts of sodium waste to your drinking water.

Aquasana SimplySoft ResultsHere are some of the best benefits of using Aquasana SimplySoft:

Green Plus ArrowProtects plumbing and hot water heaters from scale buildup without lowering water hardness levels.
Green Plus ArrowLow to no maintenance. No cleaning, no need for salt and no back washing.
Green Plus ArrowNo slimy slippery water feel.
Green Plus ArrowSafe for plants.
Green Plus ArrowSalt-free drinking water i.e. there is no extra sodium in your water.
Green Plus ArrowDoesn’t pollute the fresh water supply.See customer reviews
Green Plus ArrowNo electricity needed.
Green Plus ArrowDoes not waste water.
Green Plus ArrowSafe for septic tanks.
Green Plus ArrowNo reverse osmosis or extra filtration needed to make water drinkable.
Green Plus ArrowCreates a significant reduction of hard water spots on your glassware and around your plumbing.

How Saltless Water Softeners Work?

They work by restructuring the minerals in water so that they don’t stick to the pipes and cause hard water deposits.

Many households and businesses try to reduce the effects of hard water by installing a water softener.

Aquasana SimplySoftAlthough softeners generally work well and effectively soften water, there can be some issues.

Conventional water softeners work by passing hard water through a cylinder containing a mechanism that replaces calcium and magnesium in water with sodium (salt).

This can mean continuous maintenance, the need to keep buying salt, the production of wastewater and the need to use electricity.

Both salt based and salt free technologies work in theory to make hard water soft. But the amount of minerals in the water does not change in salt-less water softeners.

Why a Salt Free Water Conditioner Might Be BETTER Than a Softener

Water softeners use salt to remove hard minerals while regenerating the resin bed. During regeneration, the positively charged sodium ions replace the hard water minerals trapped in the resin bed and the hard water concentrate is drained.

In contrast, water softeners without salt do not remove hard minerals from water. They chemically transform magnesium and calcium so that they do not stick to surfaces and fail to create white scales. Since hard water minerals are not really caught by saltwater softening systems, no salt or regeneration cycle is required to remove the minerals from the system.

Saltless softeners or salt-free softeners can be a great alternative because:Optimh20 Whol House Filter

Green Plus ArrowYou save money on buying softener salt.

Green Plus ArrowThey are easier to maintain because they don’t need to constantly regenerate.

Green Plus ArrowThey do not need harsh chemicals to produce what is effectively “soft water”.

Green Plus ArrowDon’t produce wastewater.

Green Plus ArrowLower running costs than a traditional softener.

Green Plus ArrowVery little on-going maintenance.

Green Plus ArrowNo filters to replace.See customer reviews

Green Plus ArrowUsually don’t need electricity in order to run or operate.

Green Plus ArrowYou don’t have to worry about replacing filters etc.

Water Softener Vs Water Conditioner Table

The concept of a no salt-free softener means you get similar benefits as you would with a traditional water softener. However, here are specific differences that you should consider before making this big purchase decision.

Salt-Free Water Descaler / ConditionerTraditional Salt Water Softener
Does it require salt?NO
It is a salt based water softener
Scale prevention efficiency?41-98.9% effective
Depends on which method you use.
99+% efficient.
Whiter whites, brighter clothes?YES
Depending on which model you use.
Whites don't yellow and colors look vivid.
Slick slippery feel of water?NOYES
Impact on skin?Calcium and magnesium remain in the water. Eliminates calcium and magnesium which is bad for dry skin.
Environmental impactDoesn't create any waste water.Does not create any waste water.
ExampleAquasana Whole House Filter
Pelican Softener with Filters
Price range?$$$
Ships to US and CA.
Ships to US, CA and Puerto Rico.
Exactly how much does it cost?Check Price Button Check Price Button

The BEST Water Softener Alternative?

Aquasana SCM SimplySoft Salt-Free Technology.

If you want to soften water at home or in the office, but are looking for the best water softener alternative then I have identified 3 methods in this article.

Mr Water Geek ThinkingAlthough they generally work well and effectively soften water, conventional water softeners can be a lot of work, expensive and wasteful. You will also need to consider on-going maintenance and cost such as electricity and softener salt.

BUT water softeners are the ONLY way to go if you have very hard water.

Here’s a rule of thumb that can help you decide if getting a water softener alternative is right for you.Aquasana Rhino

A conventional water softener is best for = hardness levels over 25 PPM

This is very hard water, lots of limescale problems and white stains around your pipes and plumbing.

Consider something like SpringWell.

A water softener ALTERNATIVE is best for = hardness levels up to 25 PPM

This is low to medium hard water but you just want something to protect your pipes and plumbing as you also have a water filter. Or are buying a whole house filter along with a salt free softener.

This is the case with what is on offer from places like Aquasana.

Check Prices & Read Customer ReviewsThe Aquasana SCM SimplySoft Salt-Free Technology is behind their products like SimplySoft machine. There is also the option to upgrade for you when you buy the Aquasana Rhino Gallon OR OptimH20.

Yes, they are very expensive machines but you can use coupon code.

AQGEEK50 to get an extra 50% OFF certain products while this offer lasts. ENDS SOON.

Aquasana SimplySoft Water Conditioner and 10-Year, 1,000,000 Gallon Whole House FilterAquasana SimplySoft Conditioner and OptimH20 Whole House Filter
Aquasana Whole House Features ListAquasana SimplySoft
Softens and filters
SimplySoft is a salt free"softener" only.
But you can choose OptimH2O + Salt Free Softener
- 97% chlorine.
- Cysts.
- UV upgrade removes 99% bacteria, e.coli, giardia and cryptosporidium
- Over 90% chlorine and chloramines.
- 99% of lead and cysts.
- 99% of lead.
- 98% of PFOA/PFOS
mrwatergeek winner badge
- 10 year warranty.
- 90 day guarantee.
- 6 year warranty.
- 90 day guarantee.
“50% “50%
Sale prices automatically applied by clicking this link.Sale prices automatically applied by clicking this link.
If there is *no* sale try coupon code:
If there is *no* sale try coupon code:


  1. Mr. Water Geek,
    I have found your site extremely helpful as I research water softeners and alternatives. I live in NC and have city water, and the water quality is driving me crazy. I have chemicals in my water (chloramines and chlorine), and a hardness of 9GPG, which is not terrible, but is annoying enough to ruin my laundry and cause significant scale buildup. In researching all the water issues that you so helpfully discuss, I have come to realize that there is a big difference between water hardness measured in Grains Per Gallon (GPG) and Parts Per Million (PPM). I notice in multiple Aquasana reviews, you mention that their softener alternative is effective for water hardness up to 25PPM. I think you mean 25GPG (this is what Aquasana specifically states). 1GPG is equivalent to approximately 17ppm, which means that a hardness of “25ppm” is less than 2GPG. That is some pretty soft water. I think it might be less confusing for people if you would update your statement regarding Aquasana. Thanks

    1. Hi Kit

      The 25PPM number comes directly from my correspondence with Aquasana.

      But you are right 25PPM is ridiculously low and not good for anyone with even a moderate amount of hard water. Hence I also include an alternative offer from SpringWell, which is a salt based softener that treats extremely hard water.

      If you could supply a link to where Aquasana say it’s 25GPG (and not PPM), I would greatly appreciate it.

      Stay hydrated,

    1. Hi Judy
      The best I can suggest is Amazon Plumbing as they now provide installation and old softener removal. The good thing about this is that you can check their reviews before you buy and fall back on Amazon’s A-Z guarantee if anything goes wrong.
      Alternatively, you can check places like Yelp for local plumbers with good reviews.
      Best wishes,

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About The Author

About The Author Of This Post

I'm Luke and I enjoy researching, testing and writing about water treatment products. Read full bio.