Review: The BEST Salt-Based Water Softeners You Can Buy In 2020

by | Nov 4, 2019 | Blogs | 3 comments

The ADS experts review the top offerings from water softener providers BWT/Harvey/Monarch/Tapworks/Water2Buy

So you’ve decided to ditch hard water and live a softer life, but aren’t quite sure which softener is for you? Here at ADS we know just how many brands and products there are on the market, which is why our experts are here to provide the best options for you at the best possible price. As an independent water treatment supplier, our number one priority is finding the right solution for your home! If there are any terms or jargon you are unsure of, then please feel free to query us in the comments and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Now without further ado, let’s get into it:

The Tapworks Ultra 9

£435 @ Amazon
tapworks easyflow water softeners

Buckinghamshire-based firm Tapworks have been producing softeners for over 20 years, and provide a no-frills, budget-friendly solution to your treatment needs. These machines are electrical, which may not be ideal for homes on pay-as-you-go meters, or areas where power cuts are more common. However, most electrical softeners include some form of protection against this. In this case, the ‘EasyFlow’ series provides a 48-hour back-up of your settings. Handy! Though not the prettiest machine, it is compact, and can be easily hidden away. Capacity is not an issue either. The average person uses 140 litres of water per day, which for a household of 1-5 people is no problem for the 1690l-capacity Ultra 9. The only other downside is that this unit is not compatible with 28mm water supplies.

Tapworks list the following benefits:

  • High flow valve – compatible with vented and unvented systems
  • Easy-Fit – all-in-one installation kit for both 15mm and 22mm plumbing as standard
  • Easy to install and maintain – simple fit and forget installation
  • Up to 32% cheaper to run
  • Just add tablet salt from time to time to maintain the endless flow of soft water
  • Substantial warranties:
    • 2 years parts and labour warranty
    • 10-year warranty on resin vessel

Pros Cons
Large capacity Not suitable for 28mm supplies
48-hour settings backup in case of power-cut Not the prettiest of units
Huge 10-year warranty on resin vessel Only 2 years parts and labour warranty

The Harvey Crown

£895 @ Amazon

Though the most expensive option on the list, Harvey‘s ‘Crown’ system certainly makes a good argument for its price. Unlike single-cylinder softeners which have to stop while they regenerate, the ‘Crown’s’ twin-cylinder design ensures softened water 24/7. This is certainly ideal if, for example, a member of your household is a night-owl or works late. Additionally, Harvey‘s system runs on blocks of salt, which are easier to load and store than bags. The other major selling point of Harvey‘s solution is that it doesn’t run on electricity. That’s right. This unit runs purely on water pressure, and does not require any sort of user input. While this ‘plug-in-and-leave’ solution may appeal to some, the lack of digital display means you cannot manually programme the hardness of your water should it change. A minor point, but one worth bearing in mind. Harvey claims a non-electric system will save you money on your energy bill over other softeners. While this may be the case, the reality is that electric softeners have become incredibly energy-efficient, resulting in only a tiny impact on your overall usage. The ‘Crown’ is an incredibly capable system, and is ideal for night-owls and homes where power-cuts are a common occurrence. With that said, at almost double the price of other softeners, we cannot say the ‘Crown’ provides that much more value than other solutions.

Pros Cons
Dual-Cylinder for 24/7 Water Far more expensive than other softeners
Block salt is easier to load and store  
Non-electric so (small) savings on your bills  

The Water2Buy W2B200

£369 @ Amazon

We don’t know a whole lot about Water2Buy as a company, but if one thing is clear it’s that they are producing no-nonsense products that ‘do the job’. The ‘W2B’ series of products provide the cheapest softening solution you can get from Amazon, so it comes as no surprise that there are over 270 reviews on the W2B200’s product page. However, despite a glowing 4.5 star review, there are a couple of flaws. Firstly, the machine uses more salt than others listed here, due to the fact other manufacturers use special technologies to maximise efficiency. The second, and much larger problem, doesn’t come from the product itself… Water2Buy offer a generous 7-year warranty on their machines. But, as a small number of Amazon customers have found, the non-existent customer support system has made it almost impossible for them to fix issues with their softener. Because of this, although the ‘W2B’ series provides exceptional value for money, we would advise readers look elsewhere if they don’t fancy chancing a faulty machine, or an expensive visit from a plumber or electrician.

Pros Cons
Cheap, ‘does what it says on the tin’ solution Less salt-efficient than other softeners
Generous 7-year parts warranty Customer service is… lacking
Well-reviewed on Amazon  

The BWT WS355

£459 @ Amazon
BWT ws355 water softener

The penultimate softener for review comes from Best Water Technology (BWT). Though not as long-established as other competitors, the firm’s 35 years of developing new technologies is clear to see in their ‘Waterside’ (‘WS’) series of softeners. Like Monarch‘s ‘Midi’ which we will come to discuss, the WS355 has a self-protection programme in the event of a power-cut. BWT also sport their own ‘proportional brining’ tech which reduces salt usage, saving you money in the long-run. Whilst this machine only comes with a 5-year parts warranty compared to the 7 you get from Monarch and Water2Buy.

Pros Cons
Advanced memory electronic control system (AMECS) for efficient operation More expensive than the other electric options
72-hour settings memory in the event of a power-cut Not as aesthetically-pleasing as the Monarch systems
Proportional brining for optimum efficiency, saving water and salt, further reducing operating costs  
Rotary valve for maximum reliability  
5-year parts and 2-year labour warranty  
   

The Monarch Midi HE

£ @ ADS
monarch he water softeners

With over 50 years in the industry, both manufacturing and distributing softeners, Monarch‘s heritage is second-to-none. The company’s ‘HE’ range of softeners come in three different sizes: the MiniAqua for a household of 1-3 people, the Midi HE (1-6), and the Master HE (1-9). Likewise with other electrical softeners, these stylish machines boast a self-protection programme which not only detects leaks in your plumbing, but also stores user data in the event of a power cut! Additionally, thanks to the units’ ‘Opti-Brining’ technology, they use less water to regenerate which is great for both your water bill and the environment. Though slightly pricier than most competitors, the company is renowned for providing top quality products that are built to last. The confidence the firm has in their products is shown through their excellent 7-year parts warranty.

Monarch lists these 7 reasons to opt for their solution:

  • 7-year parts and 2-year labour guarantee
  • Freeflow valve technology
  • Highest flow rate of any domestic softener (lowest pressure drop too!)
  • Opti-Brining ® with HE resin as standard – giving up to 56% salt savings over conventional softeners
  • Self-protect programme
  • Suitable for 15, 22 and 28mm supplies
  • Includes Rapid-Fit bypass for quick and easy installation

Pros Cons
Sleek design More expensive than other electrical softeners
Generous 7-year parts and 2-year labour warranty  
Suitable for all water supplies  
‘Opti-Brining’ technology improves salt efficiency  

If you have any other queries then why not use our handy contact form and get in touch? Alternatively, drop us a message on Facebook or, if you are local enough to our showroom in Westbury, Wiltshire, feel free to pop in for a chat!

Disclaimer: Please note that this article utilises affiliate links, so whilst we are NOT sponsored by ANY of the brands discussed in the article, we do draw a small commission from any purchases completed on Amazon. This way you can buy externally and to an extent still support local business!