5 Best Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combo Reviews 2022

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2020/11/24 - Updated: 2022/01/23

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Whole house water filters remove harmful contaminants from water. Plus, they improve water taste and odor. What they don’t do is reduce hardness.

Water softeners and some water conditioners offer the best way to conquer hard water, but they don’t do anything to make it any healthier or more delicious.

Obviously, combining a whole house water filter with a water softener can make a lot of sense

So, here is our collection of the 5 best whole house water filter and softener combos. Enjoy!


Best Whole House Water Filter-Softener Combos – Top Picks

ProductsSpecs & FeaturesWhere to Buy
#1 for City Water
SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System Combo SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System Combo

SpringWell CSS Combo

  • Price: $$
  • Filtration Capacity: 1,000,000 Gallons
  • Flow Rate: 9-20 Gallons Per Minute (All Home Sizes)
  • Water Softener Size: 32,000-80,000 Grains (Also Available w/ Salt-Free Water Conditioner)
  • Best For: Tap Water w/ Chlorine or Chloramine

Coupon Code (5% Off): Masterz5

Or read our review

#1 for Well Water
SpringWell WSSS Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener Combo SpringWell WSSS Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener Combo

SpringWell WSSS Combo

  • Price: $$$
  • Filtration Capacity: 18-25 Years
  • Flow Rate: 11-13 Gallons Per Minute (Up to 6 Bathrooms)
  • Water Softener Size: 32,000-48,000 Grains (Also Available w/ Salt-Free Water Conditioner)
  • Best For: Well Water w/ Iron, Manganese, Hydrogen Sulfide

Coupon Code (5% Off): Masterz5

Or read our review

Budget Well Water
QWT SoftPro Iron Master with SoftPro Elite Water Softener Combination QWT SoftPro Iron Master with SoftPro Elite Water Softener Combination

SoftPro Iron Master & SoftPro Elite Combo

  • Price: $$
  • Filtration Capacity: 5-10 Years
  • Flow Rate: 5-10 Gallons Per Minute (Up to 4 Bathrooms)
  • Water Softener Size: 24,000-80,000 Grains
  • Best For: Well Water w/ Iron, Manganese, Hydrogen Sulfide

Or read our review

Best Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combo Reviews

The order of the following whole house water filter and softener combo reviews is deliberate. Our favorite products are at the top.

1. SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System (Also Available with Salt-Free Water Conditioner)

Coupon Code (5% Off): Masterz5

For people on city water, the best whole house water filter and softener combo is the SpringWell CSS. It combines catalytic activated carbon filtration – for the removal of chlorine, chloramine, disinfection byproducts, pesticides, and other chemical and organic contaminants – with salt-based water softening to reduce water hardness. The end result is clean, great-tasting, and soft water in your entire home.

You prefer salt-free water conditioning? No problem, simply opt for the SpringWell CSF combo which includes the SpringWell FutureSoft water conditioner rather than the water softener. While the FutureSoft doesn’t remove any hard minerals, it still reduces the scaling effects of hard water by as much as 99.6% through template assisted crystallization (TAC).

SpringWell CSS Combo

SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System


See More Product Images at springwellwater.com

SpringWell CSF Combo

SpringWell CSF Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener


See More Product Images at springwellwater.com

Main Specs

  • Price
    • SpringWell CSS filter + salt-based water softener: $$
    • SpringWell CSF filter + salt-free water softener: $$
  • Filtration capacity: 1,000,000 gallons
  • Flow rate and water softener grain rating depend on which system size you choose
    • CSS1 & CSF1: 9 gallons per minute water flow (1-3 bathrooms), 32,000-grain water softener (CSS1 only)
    • CSS4 & CSF4: 12 gpm (4-6 bathrooms), 48,000-grain water softener (CSS4 only)
    • CSS+ & CSF+: 20 gpm (7+ bathrooms), 80,000-grain water softener (CSS+ only)


  • A 5-micron sediment pre-filter blocks sediments to protect the main system from clogging.
  • The whole house water filter uses a bed of granular catalytic carbon mixed with KDF to improve water aesthetics and to remove a wide range of potentially harmful contaminants including water disinfectants and their byproducts, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides and herbicides, and heavy metals like lead. In addition, KDF filter media controls microorganisms.
  • The manufacturer guarantees chlorine and chloramine reduction below the minimum detection level for 1 million gallons of water or 6 years, whichever comes first.
  • Neoprene jackets protect the fiberglass tanks.
  • DIY installation isn’t any more difficult than installing just a whole house water filter or just a water softener. But you need more time to connect the different components. An installation kit and detailed instructions with photos for each step are provided. All tanks have a bypass built in.
  • The pre-filter needs replacement every 6 to 9 months at minimum cost.
  • The filter-softener combo comes with a money-back guarantee which allows you to return the system for a full refund within 6 months after purchase.
  • There’s a limited lifetime warranty.
  • About the salt-based water softener
    • The system exchanges calcium and magnesium in the water with sodium, which is the most effective method to soften hard water and eliminate scaling. This way, your home’s plumbing system and appliances can work more efficiently, require less maintenance and repairs, and ultimately will last longer.
    • Properly softened water is also easier on your skin, hair, and clothes.
    • Uses long-lasting and chlorine-resistant 10% crosslink resin.
    • The digital control valve can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth for easy programming and monitoring.
    • The only maintenance task is refilling the brine tank with salt.
    • Water softener regeneration is metered to save water and salt. A vortech plate further improves backwashing efficiency.
  • About the saltless water conditioner
    • With the help of catalytic media, the FutureSoft crystallizes water minerals so that they cannot stick to surfaces. Scientific tests have shown that the process is suited for waters with up to 81 grains per gallon hardness which is considered extremely hard and that it reduces scaling by up to 99.6%[1]. On top of that, template assisted crystallization not only protects your plumbing and home appliances from new scale, it also dissolves old deposits.
    • Any remaining scale wipes of easily.
    • Conditioned water doesn’t feel slippery compared to traditionally softened water.
    • TAC doesn’t rely on salts or chemicals, it doesn’t affect water pH, and it doesn’t require regeneration. Thus, you can save money and preserve the environment.
    • The catalytic media has no expiration date.
    • The FutureSoft water conditioner is 100 percent maintenance free.


  • There is one minor issue and that is the plastic fittings. You might want to use brass instead.

2. SpringWell WSSS Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener (Also Available with Salt-Free Water Softener)

Coupon Code (5% Off): Masterz5

For people on well water, the best whole house filter and softener system combo is the SpringWell WSSS. It combines a well water filter reducing iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide content with a traditional ion exchange water softener to eliminate hard water.

And in case you favor salt-free water conditioning over regular salt-based water softening, you can opt for the SpringWell WSSF combo. It features the FutureSoft water conditioner which, instead of removing hard water minerals from water entirely, only neutralizes their scaling effects – by more than 99 percent according to research.

SpringWell WSSS Combo

SpringWell WSSS Well Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener Combo


See More Product Images at springwellwater.com

SpringWell WSSF Combo

SpringWell WSSF Well Water Filter and Salt-Free Water Softener Combo


See More Product Images at springwellwater.com

Main Specs

  • Price
    • SpringWell WSSS filter + salt-based water softener: $$$
    • SpringWell WSSF filter + salt-free water softener: $$$
  • Filtration capacity: 18 to 25 years
  • Flow rate depends on which version and system size you choose
    • WSSS1: 11 gpm water flow (1-3 bathrooms), 32,000 grains water softener
    • WSSS4: 4-6 bathrooms, 48,000 grains water softener
    • WSSF-1: 12 gallons per minute water flow rate (1-4 bathrooms)
    • WSSF-4: 15 gallons per minute (5+ bathrooms)


  • The whole house well water filter uses air injection oxidation followed by greensand filtration to remove up to 7 parts per million of iron (ferric and ferrous), up to 1 ppm manganese, and up to 8 ppm hydrogen sulfide (infamous rotten egg smell)
  • This solves any staining issues in toilets, tubs, sinks, and showers, plus it improves water taste by a whole lot.
  • Greensand also lowers radium and arsenic content.
  • The process is safe for your septic system.
  • Greensand filter media lasts up to 25 years with no maintenance needed from you.
  • The electronic valve can be programmed at the head itself or via app.
  • Neoprene sleeves protect fiberglass tanks.
  • Relatively easy to install if you have some prior experience as a do-it-yourselfer. An installation kit and detailed instructions are part of the package. Both filter and softener tank have a bypass built in.
  • Both combos come with a 6-month satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
  • About the salt-based water softener
    • The system replaces hard water ions, mainly calcium and magnesium, in water with sodium. This has a softening effect so that your plumbing system and home appliances are protected from scale. As a result, efficiency and longevity go up, while maintenance and repair needs go down.
    • Soft water is also easier on your hair, skin, and laundry.
    • The 10% crosslink resin is chlorine resistant for a long service life.
    • You can program and monitor the control head using your phone if you want to.
    • All you need to do for maintenance is refill the salt tank.
    • Metered regeneration saves water and salt.
    • A vortech tank plate improves backwashing efficiency.
  • About the FutureSoft saltless water conditioner
    • Sediment pre-filter prevents fouling.
    • It crystallizes hard water minerals so they remain suspended in the water. Hardness levels of up to 81 grains per gallon can be handled with as much as 99.6% scale reduction.
    • Template assisted crystallization also dissolves old scale deposits over time.
    • You can clean any remaining scale with ease.
    • The conditioned water doesn’t feel slippery as regularly softened water does.
    • Neither salt nor chemicals are involved. System regeneration isn’t necessary. This allows you to save money and help the environment.
    • The catalytic media has no expiration date.
    • For system maintenance, you just need to make sure to replace the sediment pre-filter every to 9 months – that’s all.


  • There is one minor issue and that is the plastic fittings. You might want to use brass instead.

3. Combo Review: Crystal Quest SMART Whole House Water Filter with Softener or Saltless Conditioner

The Crystal Quest SMART Whole House Water Filter combines various filter media including catalytic carbon and ion exchange resin to remove all contaminants from A to Z that are commonly found in tap water supplies and private wells. The result is much cleaner and delicious drinking water.
Additional pre and post-filtration together with the Crystal Quest water softener or saltless conditioner are the icing on the cake and take care of hard water and many other water problems.

Crystal Quest SMART Whole House Water Filter with Softener or Conditioner


See more product images at crystalquest.com

Main Specs

  • Price
    • Crystal Quest filter + salt-based water softener: $$$
    • Crystal Quest filter + salt-free water softener: $$$
  • Filtration capacity and flow rate depend on which size you choose
    • Smaller unit: 1,000,000 gallons, 9 to 11 gallons per minute (1-3 bathrooms), 48,000-grain water softener
    • Larger unit: 1,500,000 gallons, 10 to 13 gallons per minute (4+ bathrooms), 64,000-grain water softener


  • A five-micron sediment pre-filter traps large particles.
  • The Crystal Quest SMART Whole House Water Filter applies a multi-stage filtration process to remove chlorine and chloramine, disinfection byproducts, chemicals like benzene, pesticides and industrial solvents, chromium and lead among other heavy metals, hydrogen sulfide, VOCs, and other organic and inorganic water contaminants. What’s more, it greatly improves water taste and odor, balances water pH, and controls microorganisms. Involved filter media are granular activated carbon as well as catalytic carbon, Eagle Redox Alloy (KDF), ion exchange resin, ceramic balls, and tourmaline balls.
  • A 5-micron coconut shell carbon block post-filter removes any residual tastes.
  • We would only recommend installing this filter-softener combo yourself if you have prior experience as a handyman.
  • Maintaining this Crystal Quest combo is simple. The media is the large tanks last up to 10 years with no manual servicing needed. The filter cartridges can be used for 12 to 18 months. New filters are affordable.
  • The product warranty covers the first year after purchase.
  • Crystal Quest water treatment equipment is made in the USA.
  • About the Crystal Quest water softener
    • The traditional ion exchange water softener replaces hard ions with sodium or potassium. This increases the efficiency of water heaters by as much as 30 percent; it reduces spotting; water-using appliances, pipes, and fixtures last longer; soaps and shampoos lather better; and clothes are brighter and more colorful.
    • System regenerates on demand based on precious water usage to save resources.
    • Remember to refill brine tank with salt.
  • About the Crystal Quest saltless conditioner
    • Anti-scale media turns calcium and magnesium ions into nano crystals. In their crystalline form, the minerals won’t stick to surfaces leaving your water system without causing problems. Above that, the saltless conditioner dissolves existing scale deposits in a short time.
    • All healthy minerals are kept in the water.
    • The catalytic media doesn’t need to regenerate which saves water and salt.


  • If your water contains high levels of iron, manganese, copper, phosphate, hydrogen sulfide, or hardness, pre-treatment of the water may be required.

4. QWT SoftPro Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System with SoftPro Elite Water Softener for Well Water

The SoftPro Iron Master AIO Water Filtration System is super effective at removing iron, sulfur, and manganese even at extremely high concentrations. If you combine that with the SoftPro Elite Water Softener for Well Water you’ll have the perfect combo.

QWT SoftPro Iron Master with SoftPro Elite Water Softener


See more product images at qualitywatertreatment.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$
  • Filtration capacity: Katalox lasts 5 to 10 years
  • Flow rate depends on which filter and softener size you choose
    • 1.0 cu. ft. filter: 5 gpm (1 bathroom)
    • 1.5 cu. ft. filter: 7 gpm (1-3 bathrooms)
    • 2.0 cu. ft. filter: 10 gpm (up to 4 bathrooms)
    • Water softener: 10 to 20 gpm, 24,000 to 80,000 grains


  • The SoftPro Iron Master features the Elite control valve, an Iron Master tank, and Katalox filter media. The setup reduces up to 30 ppm iron, up to 7 ppm manganese, and up to 5 ppm hydrogen sulfide. Air injection is used to boost the iron removal.
  • The SoftPro Elite water softener softens the water with all the associated benefits.
  • Metered on-demand regeneration saves resources.
  • Neoprene tank jackets provide protection and insulation.
  • The combo is easy to install for DIYers who want to save. Right now, you can get a quick-connect hose kit as a free bonus upgrade at the time of writing this review.
  • Programming the SoftPro water softener is user friendly and shouldn’t be overly difficult.
  • You can try the softener-filter combination for 60 days risk-free. A money-back guarantee allows you to return it if you’re not satisfied and receive a full refund.
  • A limited lifetime warranty covers the control valves and tanks.


  • There’s no warranty on the Katalox.

5. Tier 1 Essential Series 48,000 Grain Water Softener With Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System (+ Reusable Glass Water Bottles)

The Tier 1 Essential Series water softener together with Tier 1 under sink reverse osmosis system is as good as it gets for people on a limited budget. The combo gives you whole house water softening with point-of-use filtration.

Tier 1 Essential Series Water Softener With RO System


See more product images at discountfilterstore.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $
  • RO filtration capacity: Filter stages last 3 to 6 months, RO membrane around 2 years
  • RO flow rate: ?
  • Water softener size and flow rate: 48,000 grains, 11.2 gpm (1-4 bathrooms)


  • The Tier1 water softener removes hard water minerals for little to no scaling.
  • A protective tank jacket is included.
  • The Tier1 RO5 under sink reverse osmosis system provides purified water at a single faucet. It uses a sediment pre-filter, a carbon block pre-filter, a reverse osmosis[2] membrane, and a granular activated carbon post-filter to filter larger particles, chlorine taste and odor, all kinds of chemicals, arsenic, chromium 6, lead, fluoride, nitrates, radium, cyst, and more.
  • Water is stored in a pressurized tank and can be dispensed using the dedicated chrome faucet.
  • 4 reusable glass water bottles are part of the package.
  • Written instructions and detailed video tutorials guide you through the installation process which is doable if you are handy around the house.
  • For maintenance, you need to fill new salt into the brine tank and replace the RO filter stages in a timely manner.
  • A satisfaction guarantee gives peace of mind. If you want you can return the water softener within 90 days of purchase and get your money back (only valid if water is within stated specifications).
  • The RO system is warranted for lifetime, the water softener tank and control valve for one year.


  • There are a few quality issues which are to be expecting in this price range.
  • A manual bypass valve means water service will be disrupted while the system regenerates.
  • The water softener uses 8% crosslink resin wears out quicker when used with chlorinated city water.

Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combos Comparison Chart

Product$$$Filtration Capacity & Softener SizeFlow RateBest ForDetails
SpringWell CSS & CSF Combo$$1,000,000 Gallons, 32,000-48,000 Grains9-20 gpmBest Overall for Tap Water w/ Chlorine or Chloramine
SpringWell WSSS & WSSF Combo$$$18-25 Years, 32,000-48,000 Grains11-15 gpmBest Overall for Well Water with Iron, Manganese, Hydrogen Sulfide
Crystal Quest SMART + Softener or Saltless Conditioner$$$1,000,000-1,500,000 Gallons, 48,000-64,000 Grains9-13 gpmFor City or Well Water
QWT SoftPro Iron Master AIO + SoftPro Elite Water Softener$$5-10 Years, 24,000-80,000 Grains5-10 gpmWell Water with High Iron, Mn, Sulfur
Tier 1 Essential + RO System$Varies, 48,000 Grains11.2 gpmSmall Budgets

Buyer’s Guide – How to Buy the Best Filter-Softener Combo

Testing Water Quality

Buying the perfect water filter and softener starts with testing your water quality and conditions. You need know which contaminants are present in your water and at what levels, the water pH, and the water hardness level[3]. Only by measuring these parameters can you buy a water filter-softener combination that’s capable of solving your water problems.

How to test? You can either hire an independent lab which provides you with the most complete picture but won’t be cheap, or you can do your own testing to get a basic idea of what you’re dealing with.

If you don’t want to spend any money on this at all and you’re on a municipal water supply, at least check your latest water quality report provided by your local utility for free. You can reach out directly or visit https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/, enter your ZIP code, and choose your utility from the list.

The EWG Tap Water Database lists the total number of contaminants detected and how many exceeded EWG health guidelines. You’ll even find recommendations for what type of equipment you need for the most effective treatment.

Just so you know, water treatment utilities in the United States are only required to test for certain substances. They don’t need try and find every single contaminant that may be present in their water supply.

Choosing a Water Filter Type and Media

The most common type of whole house water filter applies activated carbon filtration. This reduces chlorine and chloramine, disinfection byproducts, pesticides and other (in-)organic chemicals, some heavy metals like lead, and last but not least unpleasant odor and taste. Usually, the carbon is in granular form.

KDF media is often used to improve overall filtration effectiveness and stop microorganisms from fouling the system.

Whole house water filters for well water usually target iron, manganese, and sulfur. Filtration methods include pre-oxidation, for example aeration, chlorine injection, or ozonation, followed by mechanical filtration or oxidation filter media.

Sediment filters are great for, well, high levels of sediment.

Choosing a Water Softener or Water Conditioning System

There is only one way to soften hard water and that is through an ion exchange water softener. The technology is highly effective and has proven itself over the years. In a nutshell, negatively charged resin attracts positively charged hardness minerals in water and substitutes them with salt. Thus, calcium and magnesium which cause scaling are removed from the water entirely. Problem solved!

Then there are saltless water conditioners which are becoming more popular by the day. They apply different methods – some more effective than others – to reduce hard water scaling without actually removing any hardness from the water. Our prime example is template assisted crystallization. It prevents scale by more than 99 percent under ideal conditions. Plus, it can even dissolved existing scale.

Which of the two do we recommend? Both! Because both have their pros and cons. The advantages of water softeners vs water conditioners are mentioned above. Disadvantages associated with using a water softener include that regeneration of the softening resin is required which consumes extra water and salt. In addition, the salt puts a burden on the environment. A water conditioner on the other hand may not be suited for your water and only achieve mediocre results.

Water Softener Grain Rating

Water softeners have a fixed softening capacity before they need to regenerate which is determined by how much resin they contain. Small portable water softeners start at 8,000 hardness grains capacity. Whole house systems for very large homes can go as high as 80,000 grains and above if needed.

What’s important is that you choose a water softener size that matches your home and water hardness level. If you go too large you’ll overpay. Go to small and the system will need to regenerate far too frequently which is inconvenient and wastes resources.

Water Pressure and Water Flow Rate

trickling faucet

Flushing toilets, showering, washing dishes, or brushing teeth – it is estimated that the average domestic water use per capita in the United States is anywhere between 50 and 100 gallons every single day.

The reason why this is important is because your potential new whole home water filter and softener must be able to meet your water demand even at peak times. Otherwise, water pressure may drop or untreated water may bleed through if you’re using more water than what can be processed.

You should therefore calculate your home’s max total use in gallons per minute. Tip: Peak use is usually on a regular week day when your family is getting ready for work and school. How high of a flow rate do most people need? We recommend at least 8 to 10 gallons per minute for a family of four. If you have 3 or more bathrooms you might need more than that, though.

System Installation and Maintenance

We don’t see a problem if you want to install and maintain your filter-softener yourself so you don’t have to pay a plumber to do it for you.

The installation is certainly doable even without prior plumbing experience – flex tubing and shark bite fittings for the win. Installing a water filter AND a water softener at the same time isn’t more difficult than just installing either of the two, but it’s a bit more time consuming. If you don’t like the idea of cutting into your main water line expect to pay at least several hundred dollars for hiring a professional.

Maintenance includes replacing any pre and post-filters up to a couple of times per year and re-filling the water softener brine tank whenever it’s running low on salt.


Whole house water filters are larger than you might think. Water softeners are no different. Next to one another, they require even more space so make sure that you have enough room to accommodate a filter-softener combination.


Purchase price is one thing. For a water softener or conditioner alone you can spend anywhere between 500 and more than 1,000 dollars. Whole house city water filters are usually within the same range. Well filter systems can easily reach 2,000 dollars. To this you have to add expenses for installation if you’re not a do-it-yourselfer.

That said, costs for running and maintaining a water filtration and softening system shouldn’t be neglected:

  • Water softeners require salt and extra water when regenerating.
  • With whole house filters, cartridge replacements are the determining factor.

Up to a couple of thousand dollars is a lot, but keep in mind that this is a long-term investment that will pay itself off in several years when your plumbing system is still in great condition and your home appliances are working just fine.

Product Warranty & Money-Back Guarantee

We prefer products with a lifetime warranty and a money-back guarantee in case anything goes wrong.

Where to Buy

We like to buy online because you get the largest selection of products and prices are hard to beat.

All-in-One Water Softeners and Filters

All-in-one water softeners and filters are usually less effective and less efficient than their regular counterparts set in sequence. That’s why we would recommend you to stay away from them.

What Is a Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combo?

best whole house water filter and softener combo systems thumbnail large

A whole house filter system removes contaminants from water that can be harmful to your health and/or create unpleasant taste or odor.

A water softener and certain types of water conditioners offer the best way to deal with water hardness.

If you combine the two, you can solve all your water problems for good.

How Does a Whole House Water Filter and Softener Work?

Let’s start with whole house filters: Many come with a pre-filter to catch larger particles like sand and rust. The purpose is to protect the following water treatment stages from clogging. The filtration is based on size exclusion.

Sediment pre-filters are usually followed by the large main tank filled with one or more types of filter media. For example: An activated carbon bed is great for removing chlorine and other disinfectants as well as their byproducts. When the water enters the tank and gets in contact with the carbon granules, many chemicals and organics will be reduced, too. Improvement of water taste and odor is a nice side effect.

Ideally, when the water reaches the bottom of the tank (or the top if it’s a bottom-up system) it is free from any undesirable contaminants.

Next, the water flows into the water softener. But this time the tank contains softening resin. The bed consists of thousands of tiny microbeads supersaturated with sodium ions. Each bead acts like a magnet and pulls hardness ions out of the water, the sodium goes into solution. This process is called ion exchange. Ideally, the water leaves the tank completely softened.

Some water filtration and softener system make use of post-filtration as their final step. This is usually to remove any residual taste from the water before distribution.

A few words on water softener regeneration: The softening resin can only bind so many hard water ions until it’s saturated. This is when a softener starts its regen cycle which includes backwashing of the tank to expand the softening resin and remove dirt, followed by a brining phase where highly concentrated salt brine is sucked from the brine tank into the resin tank. The salt brine washes over the resin beads to release all accumulated hard water ions replacing them with a fresh layer of sodium.

How Salt-Free Water Softeners Work

Salt-free water softeners use different methods to reduce scale without actually removing any hard mineral ions from water:

  1. Template assisted crystallization (TAC) is certainly the most effective method. Catalytic media is used to bind calcium and magnesium ions so they form large crystals which remain suspended in the water.
  2. Many water conditioners use a chelating agent to try to create the same effect. Citric acid is one of those chelation agents but only delivers moderate results.
  3. Magnetic and electronic water descalers induce electromagnetic waves.

All three types have in common that they don’t involve regeneration which is the main advantage compared to regular water softening[4].

What Are the Benefits of Using Water Filter and Softener Combo Systems?

  • A great whole house water filter system protects you and your family from any harmful contaminant.
  • Your water will be much healthier and taste and smell a lot better.
  • You’ll have filtered and softened water everywhere in your home.
  • Properly filtered soft water is easy on your plumbing system and home appliances which reduces maintenance and repair needs. Studies show that the average lifetime increase by up to 30%.
  • Home appliances work more efficiently with soft water which lowers energy cost.
  • Water staining and spotting won’t be an issue anymore. And the cleaning goes much faster.
  • Soft water promotes healthy hair and skin.
  • Your clothes will maintain their color and softness for a longer time.
  • Improved lathering[5] reduces the use of soap and detergent.
  • The installation is simple enough to do it yourself.
  • Most of the filter elements are long lasting so you don’t need to spend too much of your time doing service tasks.

Water conditioners only:

  • Even existing scale deposits dissolve over time.
  • Conditioned water doesn’t feel slippery.
  • No regeneration means no downtime, no waste water, no need to buy and refill salt, and no added sodium which is important for homeowners on a salt-restricted diet.

Do I Even Need a Water Softener if I Have a Whole Home Filter?

Do I need a water softener if I have a whole house filter? The short answer is yes. If you have hard water a water filter won’t help soften it.

Water filters were designed to remove contaminants from water for health reasons or to improve water aesthetics.

Minerals causing hard water won’t affect your health. In fact, they are considered healthy. However, they can damage your home’s water system which is why having them removed using a water softener is important.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ thumbnail

How long does a water filter-softener combination last?

If it’s high quality, 10 to 20 years isn’t too farfetched.

How often will I need to change the pre-filter?

Sediment pre-filters need replacement between once and a couple of times per year. Large filter media beds can last 10 years and more.

Is UV treatment required for water filtering and softening?

If you have dangerous pathogens in your water then UV treatment can make sense.


Whole house water filtration and softener systems work great if you choose one that’s suited for your home and water. Our first choice for people on tap water is the SpringWell CSS Water Filter and Salt Based Water Softener System. For well water we recommend the SpringWell WSSS. Both are also available with the salt-free FutureSoft water conditioner.

If you have questions about these or systems please leave a comment below!

Further Reading

More Whole House Water Filter and Softener Combos Reviewed


Meet Jason Hollow

Jason Hollow Jason is the founder of Water Masterz and head of content creation. After six years in the industry, he has tremendous knowledge and first-hand experience on all things related to water treatment.

His credo: Not a single American should have to drink unhealthy water at home.

Get in Touch with Jason

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