The cost of a water softener system depends on the quality, type, brand, size, and installation, among other factors. Modern water softener systems cost between $300 to $4,000. At the lower end, you have magnetic descalers, which are priced at around $100 for the smaller units. Some softeners start from $800 and are used by medium-sized families. Households that consume a lot of water or have many bathrooms will need to spend more. A water softener system with enough capacity to fulfill this need will start from $1000.
Apart from the initial cost, other factors, including recurring expenditure and maintenance, influence costs in the long run. The average water softener lasts 10-20 years. Therefore, it is prudent to consider these costs because they will affect the overall costs in the long term.
Here are some popular choices and their cost.
Ion Exchange Water Softener
The initial purchase price for an ion exchange water softener costs starts at $800. The costs may rise to $3000 depending on the size of your household. They are popular because of their effectiveness. They treat hard water by swapping calcium and magnesium with sodium ions.
In comparison to other water softeners, salt-based systems are priced averagely. You should note that there are additional recurring costs associated with these systems. The water softener system costs arise from the need to top up salt in the brine tank every 2 to 3 months.
You will require bags of salt to top up the brine tank when the levels decrease. A 40-50 lbs bag of salt will cost you around $6-$30.
Dual Tank Water Softener
Dual tank water softeners are normally recommended in regions where levels of hard water are high. The cost of a dual tank will start from $1000; however, costs may rise to $2000.
Dual tanks feature two separate mineral tanks responsible for ensuring a constant water supply. When the first tank is self-cleaning, the second is activated.
The water softener system uses a principle similar to ion exchange. The mineral ions are swapped with sodium ions. Expect to replenish salt periodically, which will add to the overall cost of running the system effectively.
Salt-Free Water Softener
Salt-free water softeners cost between $400 to $4000. The price depends on the manufacturer, capacity requirements, and the level of hardness. As an example, high-quality salt-free water softeners from Springwell or Pelican costs under USD 2000.00.
Unlike dual tanks and ion exchange water systems, salt-free water softeners do not need bags of salt. The only additional cost you will incur is a change of filter.
The salt-free softener works by suspending calcium and magnesium ions that lead to deposits buildup. The system utilizes template-assisted crystallization. They make use of potassium which is best for people trying to avoid high sodium levels.
Magnetic Water Softener
Magnetic water softeners are relatively new in the market. They cost around $100 for the smaller version. The larger high-end models can cost around $200.
The system is fixed onto existing pipes. The softener works by generating a reverse magnetic field effect. The magnetic field prevents mineral ions from depositing along the pipe, avoiding buildup.
The advantage of this water softener is the inexpensive upfront cost. You can also take up the installation as a DIY project which will reduce your overall cost significantly.
Despite the low prices, descaling has become a touchy subject among users. Users’ reviews are controversial at best; therefore, it is prudent to confirm the product quality before purchase.
Reverse Osmosis System
Reverse osmosis systems cost between $200 – $1800. Additional costs include filter replacement which is done after every 6 months. Reverse osmosis also demands a new screen every 2 years. Users also have to factor in the cost of electricity in running the water softener system.
Reverse osmosis systems are classified as both softeners and filters. They combine several stages of filtration and the screen to give you pure water. The process eliminates contaminants and minerals that result in hard water.
Commercial Water Softener
The cost will largely depend on the size and capacity. Expect the prices to start from $1,500. Such systems can handle many gallons of water per minute.
Portable Water Softener Units
These are portable units that can cost between $150 – $400. They are easy to use and hook up. Expect these units to last at least 5 years.
Which Water Softener System Can I Get With My Budget?
Before purchasing a new water softener, it is prudent to do some prior due diligence. We recommend that you check out the following example; the first one gives you a cost estimation of a basic softener setup, while the other is for a midsize water softener system for a larger family.
Example 1: For a mid-sized family, a basic ion exchange water softener would demand the following investment in its first year.
- Whole house water softener system cost: $1400
- Installation costs: Free if using DIY, otherwise $70
- Salt (topping up) for 12 months: $100
- Water and sewer for 1 year: $150
- Inspection and maintenance: $150.
- The total cost for the whole project for the first year comes to approximately $1720.
Example 2: A larger family requires a bigger system with higher throughput. This could be a mid-size salt-free water conditioner. Due to the project’s complexity, it is recommended to hire professionals to install a water softener.
- Water softener system cost: $1700
- Installation costs: $300
- Water softening agent: $200
- Maintenance: Free
- The total cost for the project is about $2184.
It is not a must that you budget over $1000 for a complete water softener installation. Some general guidelines to get the best out of your budget:
Less Than $500
With this kind of budget, your best bet is to go for a magnetic descaler. You only have to do a water test to ensure that the calcium and magnesium content in your water is not too high.
The budget also allows you to get a basic ion exchange water softener or a basic reverse osmosis water softener. The only downside is that you will have to clean the brine tank when sediments build up manually. These systems are perfect for a house with one bathroom.
Price Range Between $500 – $1000
The budget range can get you a medium-level ion-exchange softener, a salt-free water softener, or a basic dual tank system. In this case, the ion exchange unit will be self-cleaning. These systems are ideal for small-sized families that do not require constant use of these units.
Price Range Between $1000- $4000
The price range allows you to get a whole house water softener that can operate constantly. You can get a dual tank, reverse osmosis, or salt-free water softener for homes that require bigger capacity.
At $3000 and above, you can get softeners with high throughput, useful for homes with 4 or more bathrooms. The system can also sustain high water pressure.
Many factors influence the overall cost. Find out, which softener suits your needs, then try to get the best possible deal. The market for water softeners is competitive. Check out the e-commerce stores of the main brands and get quotations based on your needs. You can also visit your local dealers, where you can get the softener plus a service package.