No-Salt Water Softeners

” What is your opinion of the “new” no-salt water softeners?  Is there real science behind their operation?”

Here is The Water Doctor’s Response:

First of all, there is no such thing as a “no-salt water softener.”  By definition, a water softener removes hard minerals (calcium and magnesium) and replaces them with soft minerals (sodium or potassium).   That is the only way to “soften” water.  The term “salt-free water softener” is inherently misleading.  It is however, appropriate to call them “no-salt water conditioners,” because they can condition the water.

There are two distinct sides to this issue:  (1) many water treatment dealers say that this type of technology does not work at all; and (2) many companies selling these products make claims which are unsubstantiated or even outrageous in nature.  What’s the truth?  As a 38-year water treatment industry veteran as well as one of the highest certified water treatment specialists in the country, I would have to say that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  First of all, not all of the devices work, and some work better than others, so in my vast experience, I have to say that the side that says they don’t work is not facing fact – some do work.   However, the side that calls them “water softeners” and claims they deliver “naturally softened water” that use 50% less soaps and detergents, is also something that is easily proven false.  Some of these systems are very effective at preventing scale, but they do not soften the water, cause you to use dramatically less soap and make your clothes whiter and brighter.  In fact, these devices are very “site specific” and greatly impacted by certain contaminants in the water.

As long as the customer understands it is not a “salt-free water softener,” then I would suggest that they do their due diligence and investigate the product.  Promises that sound too good to be true, frequently are.  The biggest problem is that there is no regulation or testing of these salt-free devices and until there is, it is “let the buyer beware.”  My advice is to deal with a reputable company.  Check them out with the BBBto make sure they have a Money-Back Guarantee before buying any no-salt water conditioner.

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This article has 9 Comments

  1. I live in Dixon, CA and the city is facing fines and renovation of the water treatment due to high levels of salt in the water. They are offering a $600.00 credit to those who are willing to deinstall their water softners and install a salt free devise. I am finding vast information regarding the effectiveness of these salt free devises. I understand that they are not softners but they are conditoners. My question is, do they work and which one should I buy if any.

  2. I am SO confused! I have perused your site and nodded my head at many of the comments saying “Yes! Thats our problem!” I live in Winchester, VA. We have city water/sewer but the water is VERY hard. It is ruining my appliances and leaves a tremendous amount of scale, we have had to replace the heating element in our hot water heater three times in the last four years. When we do replace the element we have to make a “make-shift” hose to vacuum out the calcium deposit that has built up only to have to do it again next time. I really don’t want a salt system (I don’t think we have the space next to our waterheater to put a salt system in place) and don’t care about 40% in detergent savings, we don’t have skin problems nor do we have sulfer smells or staining. I just want the lime deposits gone and my appliances/faucets saved. What type of system should I be looking for or need?? Thank you.

  3. “Dr.” Mark, above you’re implying that the site is the University’s study – only to take us directly to your business! And the Angie’s question is apparently a gimmic to you.
    Shame for playing with people’s confusion and nerves. You make us sick.
    And you lost me/customer.

  4. Didi wrote:

    “Dr.” Mark, above you’re implying that the site is the University’s study – only to take us directly to your business! And the Angie’s question is apparently a gimmic to you.
    Shame for playing with people’s confusion and nerves. You make us sick.
    And you lost me/customer.

    The Water Doctor Replied:


    I think you need to go back and read what I said. You do comprehend English don’t you?

    Anyone who thinks that we are pretending to be the Arizona State Study either doesn’t comprehend English or is totally devoid of reason and we would chose not to do business with that person anyway.

    The ASU study is found on the page where I posted the link. If you can’t comprehend that, then I feel truly sorry for you.

    We promote our product because it works, and works better than most other technologies on the market. However, we are not locked into any single product. We sell more products than any other site and when we find better technology, we sell it.

    You are distorting what I said. All we do is tell the truth. Maybe you can’t handle the truth, but there is nothing misleading about what I wrote.

  5. A little late to answer these questions, but better late than never for anyone researching right now.
    There are 2 major kinds of salt free systems on the market right now: the plug-in antiscale type with the wrap around coils and the tanks with the template assisted crystallization (TAC) media (also known as seed crystallization). If you are looking for a descaler, either of these will work.
    Seed crystallization has been proven to be very effective with hard water under 25 gpg. It requires NO ELECTRICITY and NO BACKWASHING. Simply replace the media in the tank when it wears out. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell you how long the media will last – all water is different. It can last last up to 5 years. And the media can be a bit pricey to replace. However, it does a really good job of preventing that buildup in your pipes and appliances.
    The Plug-In type system with the coils can also do a good job, taking up less space than a tank and not having to worry about plumbing anything in. Be very careful when ordering these units. Cheap prices mean cheap junk. Also pay attention to the amount of hardness it treats. Some go up to 20 gpg, some go up to 100gpg, so know your water hardness. Always – look at the warranty.
    Neither of these units make you use less soap, keep spots off the dishes, or feel slick in the shower – they simply keep the white scale from tearing up your pipes, fixtures, and appliances.
    Hope this helps.

  6. Dear Mark,
    I am a missionary in Belize and we have very hard water in this country. We have a well and lots of Calcium that plugs up our shower heads etc. For a while we used a tankless water heater for hot water and it plugged up.
    We need something to help with this problem as well as purify the water.
    Halo Water Systems has an impressive video in which they claim to convert the Calcium to Aragonite that then coats the inside of a water heater to protect it from scale build up. This 5 stage unit is very expensive. I am unable to contact any customers in the US to validate these claims.
    They have a small unit that can be attached to a tankless water heater to prevent scale build up. I believe this is done by magnets. But in some of my research I found that heat and distance converts these crystals back into Calcium.
    Please advise…
    Tom McKinney

  7. Tom,

    Halo is simply a fairy tale. No substance to it. We are rolling out a new product that does work in the very near future and I will offer it to you at 40% off. Please get back with me in 5 to 6 weeks. I can’t tell you much about it yet, but it is under $700.

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