Water Conditioner vs Water Softener – which is better

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.

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 t improves the taste and smell of your water.

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.

Water Softener vs Water Conditioner:

Well, the basic difference between these two water treatment systems has 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.


Bottom Line:

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 bet.

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.

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