Water Conditioner vs Water Softener – which is better

Last Updated on 2 years by

Drinking clean, safe, and pure water is the right of every person on this planet. But unfortunately, due to some undefined reason, people living in different parts of the world have to compromise on the poor quality of drinking water. This may either include hard water and contaminated water.

Both types of water causes significant health problem such as Gastric upset. So it’s mandatory to pass water through different treatments so that it becomes drinkable and clean water. Water conditioning and water softening are the two popular treatments that produce crystal clear water. These two treatments are quite different but they produce the same end product that is safe and pure water for use.

When comparing water softener vs. water conditioner people might get confused in making a final decision about these two water treatments. So in this water conditioner vs. water softener article, we will ponder some lights on these two water treatments technique and will show you the clear difference between them.

Let’s get started!

What Is Water Softener?

If you are supplied with hard water then a water softener is the most common technique to get rid of hardness minerals from your water. This is a great device to enjoy soft and pure drinking water. Read this guide to select the best water softener for you.

Water softeners are comprised of two tanks out of which one is a brine tank that holds the concentrated salt solution whereas the other tank holds the resin bed which is responsible for the conversion of hard water into soft water.

Water softeners are a time-tested way to get rid of hard water. They are good for when you have lots of water. You need to do some maintenance, though. The process needs to be done regularly, and the owner has to add salt every so often.

Working Of a Water Softener:

Hard water is converted into pure and soft water via the ion exchange method. In this method, positively charged calcium and mineral ions get stuck on the negatively charged resin beads. This way water becomes free of hardness causing minerals. Therefore, you won’t experience limescale build-up on your sink, and sanitary tile. Also, your hair and skin become healthy and shiny day by day.

How water softener Work

Advantages of Water Softener:

  • A water softener removes calcium, magnesium, and other hardness causing minerals from municipally supplied water.
  • You will experience less build-up of limescale on your appliances and washroom tiles.
  • Reduces the usage of soap and detergent.
  • Your skin and hair won’t experience dryness and dullness.

Disadvantages of Water Softener:

  • A water softener removes only calcium, magnesium, and other positively charged ions. It is not effective against herbicide, pesticide, and chlorine removal.
  • It does not remove micro-organism such as bacteria and virus from water.
  • It does not filter out dust and dirt from water.

What Is Water Conditioner?

Water conditioners are far different from water softeners in terms of working. They are also known as salt-free water softeners since they do not require salt for improving the quality of water. Water conditioners are compact devices that require small space for installation. When it comes to water quality, water conditioners gives better quality of water because of the fact that it filters outs unwanted substance from your water such as chlorine, herbicides, volatile organic compounds and organic gasses. This way it improves the taste and smell of your water.

Electronic water conditioners are not proven to be as effective at removing scaling from the pipes. There is conflicting evidence from available studies, but they are a new technology.

Working Of Water Conditioner:

As far as the working of water conditioner is concerned, every type of water conditioner works in a different manner. So it’s hard to state one fine mechanism for all types. The mission of all types of water conditioners is to produce safe pure and contaminant-free water.

On the basis of working mechanism there are three types of water conditioners.

Carbon filtration water conditioners:

Such type of water conditioner uses activated carbon that is responsible for the absorption of multiple series of dissolved chemicals. Such type of water conditioners is effective in removing organic compounds such as sulfur and chlorine. In fact, you will experience improved taste and odor which is due to the activated carbon filter.

Electromagnetic water conditioners:

Such water conditioners create a magnetic field around the pipe which causes agitation in water. This agitation will break and blends the particles of carbonate salts with water, thereby reducing the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in water. This process reduces the limescale build-up. Let me clear to you, such water conditioners don’t actually soften the water. There are still calcium and magnesium in your water.

Catalytic media water conditioners:

With the use of Template-assisted crystallization (TAC) this type of water conditioner changes the physical form of calcium and magnesium minerals. This way it won’t adhere to the surface and you won’t experience any limescale build-up even after using hard water. Such water conditioners are an excellent system for well water.

Advantages of Water Conditioner:

  • Water conditioners require less maintenance and are cheap.
  • They reduce limescale build-up in your sink tiles and plumbing
  • Water conditioners waste less water as compared to water softener
  • They remove additional chemicals and gases from water
  • Energy-efficient and does not require any drain line

Disadvantages of Water Conditioner:

  • The water conditioner does not remove hardness causing minerals from your water. Rather it changes their form.
  • Using water conditioners may result in a lower value of total dissolved solids.

Why Choose to Soften or Condition Your Water Supply?

Water is called hard if it has a lot of minerals in it. The minerals are usually calcium and magnesium. It happens because the water has been soaking in the ground for a long time. Water hardness has the potential to have a significant influence on your home, body, or career. The most prevalent consequence of hard water is mineral deposits left on surfaces that have been in touch with it.

Scaling is a condition caused by hard water in which minerals build up on fixtures and other characters such as shower doors. You’re likely to find scale. Scale is not only a problem in your bathroom and kitchen. Over time, scale accumulates on the inside walls of plumbing systems. The scale has the potential to have a significant influence on appliances that heat water, such as your dishwasher or water heater. Scale build-up will reduce the efficacy of these appliances and their lifespan.
Some people choose to soften their tap water because they don’t like the effects of hard water on their bodies. The mineral deposits left behind by hard water can also be found on your hair and skin. These mineral deposits will rob hair of its natural shine and volume while also causing it to become more brittle.
The easiest method to fix these difficulties is with a house water softener. While water softeners are primarily used to remove hard minerals from water, water conditioners are frequently used to eliminate unpleasant tastes and smells. Some water conditioners also offer soft-water benefits, whereas hybrid systems integrate both treatment processes into the same system.
How can you tell whether a water conditioner or a water softener is best for your home? These systems must be installed where your water line enters your property to provide softened or conditioned water for the whole house.

Let’s look at how each water filtering system works so you can decide if a water softener or conditioner is ideal for you?

Which System is Right For You?

You can choose between a water softener and a water conditioner. They both stop hard water from doing things like making hair feel dry. But people should know how they work too.

Water Softeners

  • Remove hard minerals from the water supply.
  • Sodium is present in a very small amount in softened water.
  • The device requires a source of electricity and a drainage line
  • It is important to top up the salt solution on a regular basis.

Water Conditioners

  • This water filter removes chlorine, chloramines, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from your water. It will change the smell and taste of your water.
  • It doesn’t need a drain line, is energy-efficient, and requires no water.
  • No brine or salt required
  • Some water conditioners remove solid minerals from surfaces, preventing them from adhering and causing scaling.

There are several things to consider when deciding between a water softener and a water conditioner, one of which is that some cities and regions have restrictions on the use of water softeners. These limitations, sometimes known as brine rules, do not allow systems that flush surplus brine down the drain line.

Because many wastewater treatment facilities do not remove salt, high levels of salt in the wastewater can limit how that water is reused. If you live in a place where saline limitations apply, contact Rayne to see what treatment system will work best for you.

Water Softener vs Water Conditioner:

Well, the basic difference between a water softener and a water conditioner is water treatment systems have been mentioned above. But still, if you are confused about these two systems, then here we have a clear comparison between a water softener and a water conditioner.

Quality of Water: 

Both type of water treatment system, yields pure and high-quality drinking water. But there are certain differences in the quality of water.

A water softener does not actually filter water rather it converts the hard water into soft water. In contrast to this, the water conditioner filters and purifies the water by removing impurities. But water conditioners do not remove hardness-causing minerals.







Quality of water


Does not filter water – only soften the water by getting rid of hardness causing minerals


Filter water- converts soft water into hard water but hardness causing minerals are still there in the water.


So if you are more interested in removing the hardness of water irrespective of water quality then a water softener is the win-win system for you.

If you are more concerned about the water quality then a water conditioner is the ideal device.

Maintenance and Cost:

Cost and maintenance are the important parameters that has to be considered while choosing the best water treatment system for your home. Usually, people only consider the upfront cost.

Water softeners are a little bit expensive as compare to water conditioners. They have huge tanks that require deep cleaning in a year. They work via an ion exchange process and for this, they require electricity to work. So electricity bill is another cost. Besides this, you need salt bags for making brine solutions. In short, the overall cost of maintaining a water softener is too high.

In contrast to this, water conditioners are pocket-friendly and do not require high maintenance costs.







Maintenance and cost


  High maintenance cost


Easier to maintain


Bottom Line:

So if you have a tough budget and can’t spend thousands of bucks for the maintenance of water softeners, then water conditioners are the best best. This justifies water conditioner vs water softener.

Final Verdict:

Water softener and water conditioners are both highly efficient water treatment system that yields safe and pure drinking water. It’s hard to decide which one is best while comparing water conditioners vs. water softeners. Both devices are best at their places. Now the job is your, based on your needs, choose between water conditioner and water softener, and give your family access to clean and pure drinking water.

Water conditioners and water softeners are both excellent water treatment alternatives. The fundamental mechanism that drives these two soft water systems is quite different, and each has its own set of criteria. Because they don’t need a drain line, water conditioners are easier to install.

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