Choosing the best water softener for your needs is one of the most important decisions a homebuyer can make. But there is an added stress when the water you are dealing with is coming from a well with high iron levels. Many times, when a home is primarily run on well water, there will be an increased risk of iron buildup. Throughout the evolution of the water softener, we now have the option to purchase a water softener that removes iron.

Best Water Softener for Well Water With Iron

In this article, we will cover the best water softener systems for well water and hopefully help you make the best decision for your home. It is extremely important to learn as much as possible regarding your options for water softeners, especially when dealing with high levels of iron.

If you do have a well on your property, iron will almost always be present in the water. This is no reason for alarm. However, we have researched and tested numerous water softeners for well water and have come up with the best options to hopefully help you make this decision.

Recommended Water Softener for Well Water

Iron Pro 2 Combination water softener iron filter

Fleck-iron-Pro-2-Combination
BEST PICK
  • Well water iron levels have gone from 10 to untraceable with this unit.
  • Removes hardness to 75 gpg and can remove high levels of iron and manganese.
  • 2-in-1 system of a water softener and an iron filter

Fleck 5600SXT 64,000 Grain Water Softener

Fleck-5600-SXT
BEST VALUE
  • The system regenerates only when needed, meaning you’ll save on operating costs.
  • Using an ion exchange process, the AFW unit removes elements like calcium and magnesium that cause hard water.
  • Durable paddlewheel meter.

Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck water softener

Pentair WS48 56sxt10 Fleck water
BUDGET CHOICE
  • Preloaded resin from the supplier is clean and hassle-free.
  • Easily installed by the homeowner by following included instructions.
  • 1.5 cu. Ft. Upgraded 10 percent crosslink resin.

What To Consider Before Buying A  Water Softener for Well Water

When choosing the best water softening unit for your home, several questions need to be answered. Every situation is different; just like every home is different. There several different questions you must answer in order to find the best water softener for your home.

Budget

Water softening systems can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. There are numerous features and added programming capabilities that you can purchase, but some of those are not necessary, they are nice to have, but you can still get a quality water softener that does that job at a more affordable number.

Water Hardness

To determine the best water softener for your home, the first step that we need to take is to get an idea of how hard the water is in your home. This will you exactly what elements, toxins, and chemicals are in the water and, most importantly, the grains per gallon (GPI) within your water supply.

Choose The Right Softener Based On The Water Hardness vs. Users

Hardness in GPG1 to 2   people*3 to 4 people*5 to 6 people*7 to 8 people*
5-10 GPG32,000 Grain32,000 Grain32,000 Grain40,000 Grain
11-20 GPG32,000 Grain32,000 Grain40,000 Grain48,000 Grain
21-30 GPG32,000 Grain40,000 Grain80,000 Grain96,000  Grain
31-40 GPG40,000 Grain64,000 Grain64,000 Grain96,000  Grain
41-50 GPG64,000 Grain80,000 Grain96,000 Grain110,000 Grain
51-75 GPG64,000 Grain80,000 Grain96,000 Grain110,000 Grain
76-100 GPG80,000  Grain96,000 Grain96,000 Grain110,000 Grain

You can figure out these levels in a few different ways. If you are connected to a city water supply, you can request a water report from your city itself, but if you are running water from a well or other supply, you can purchase a water testing kit from several different sources.

Depending on the results of the water test, you can determine the rating of the water softener you need by looking at your water’s GPI.

Rating

If you have a lot of sediment and grains that need to be removed from your water, you will want a higher rated water softening unit. For most household applications, water softener system come with a capacity ranging from 24,000 GPI to 80,000 GPI, the higher the number, the more grains per gallon the softening system will remove.

If you are on a city water supply, this will typically be a lower rating than someone who is using well water or an alternative source.

Usually, water coming from a well has a higher number of metal elements such as iron, which is a tough element to filter out, and therefore, the need for a home water softener system with 80,000 GPI capability may be needed.

Capacity

If you are looking for a softening system for your family home, your needs will be different than someone who is looking to get a water softener or water filtration system for a summer home or maybe even an RV or camper. According to most studies, the average human being uses 80 gallons of water per day.

You will need to combine the number of people in the home and the GPI in your water from the testing to determine the perfect unit for your home. The typical family of 4 uses 33,000 GPI of softened water daily, keep this in mind when starting your search for the best water softener for iron.

Special Situations

As we mentioned before, every situation is different. If you are living in a country home with an old well, your water test will most certainly come back with different levels of sediments than someone living in an urban environment.

If your water has a high amount of lead or something similar, you may want to gear your research toward iron fighting water softeners or models that come with specific add-ons to fight high levels of metal or contaminants.

This video has wonderful graphics and a decent explanation of the factors we discussed above. Watch it to get a good idea of the best water softening unit for your home.


Best Water Softener for Well Water With Iron


1. Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck Water Softener System

Pentair WS48-56sxt10 Fleck

Highlighted Features

  • A convenient USB drive that has detailed instructions to allow homeowners to install their own water softening unit.
  • Has a high-efficiency Fleck 5600SXT digital on-demand control valve, the newest in the Fleck line of valves.
  • Utilizes an ion exchange process to remove hard minerals water, ridding the water of calcium, magnesium, and other elements.
  • It comes with a standard black brine tank that can hold 250 pounds of pelletized salt.

If you’re looking for an iron fighting water softener, the Pentair is a great option if you’re looking to maximize value. The Fleck control valve is arguably the best in its class and comes with all the features for total control of yourhard water and water softening.

Not all homes come with standard pipe sizing, and one of our favorite things about the Pentair model is that they will send you the pipe connector of your choice to make installation a breeze.

We love that the resin comes stocked in the softening system; there is no messes or additional packaging that could stall you from having clean, crisp, and clear water for your home. Whether you’re in the city or the country, this model will have you covered for all your iron combatting hard water and water softening.

The large tank size holds over 250 pounds of pelletized salt, which is an amazing capacity causing less trips to the store for salt.

Additional Information:

  • Type: Ion exchange, Salt based water softener
  • Grain Capacity: 48,000
  • Flow Rate: ‎14 Gallons Per Minute
  • Maximum Hardness Removal: Up to 75 GPG
  • Regeneration Cycle: Meter Based, Uses 50-60 gallons during regeneration
  • Ideal Household Size: Up to 5 people

What We Like:

  • Easily installed by the homeowner by following included instructions.
  • Preloaded resin from the supplier is clean and hassle-free.
  • Standard 1″ male pipe thread connector included, but if you need another size, the supplier. Will include at no additional cost.
  • Tested in the factory to run up to 27 years without the need for service.
  • Includes a 5-year warranty on the SXT digital metered control head.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The instructions are all text and include no photos; this can be challenging for people with less technical backgrounds.
  • Reported issues with a leak in the bypass valve, typically resolved with a sealant.

2. AFWFilters 5600SXT Water Softener for Well Water

AFWFilters 5600SXT

Highlighted Features

  • Included video guides for installation along with written instructions to help the homeowner install the unit.
  • Programmable to have scheduled water regeneration.
  • Using the Fleck 5600SXT control valve, this AFW unit allows simple adjustments to lessen salt usage.
  • Safety float that prevents overflowing and includes an additional overflow drain as a backup.

I cannot say enough good things about the installation guide that comes with the AFW water softening unit. Having in-depth videos at your disposal for easy install is worth the price of this water softener alone.

Once you install the full system and the Fleck control valve, you can program the machine and step away while the system will regenerate on its own when needed. The only thing you will have to worry about is salt!

The safety features of this AFW water softener system give me peace of mind as a homeowner that the system will function at peak performance, and I won’t need to worry about an overflow thanks to the built-in safety float and additional overflow drain. Look no further than a quality softener that will handle its business while you handle everything else in your life.

Additional Information:

  • Type: Ion exchange, salt based softener
  • Grain Capacity: 48,000
  • Flow Rate: ‎12 Gallons Per Minute
  • Maximum Hardness Removal: Up to 50 GPG
  • Regeneration Cycle: Auto-regeneration based on water usage, uses 40-50 gallons during regeneration.
  • Ideal Household Size: Up to 6 people.

What We Like:

  • Video guides available on-line to help with the installation of the softener.
  • The system regenerates only when needed, meaning you’ll save on operating costs.
  • 1.5 cubic feet of high capacity resin included.
  • Using an ion exchange process, the AFW unit removes elements like calcium and magnesium that cause hard minerals.
  • The Fleck 5600SXT control valve is the newest and most advanced valve in the SXT lineup.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • 8% crosslink resin is a good start, but other models on the market have higher percentages.
  • The resin does not come preloaded into the unit; it comes in half cubic foot bags, which can make things messy when installing.

3. iSpring RCC7 High Capacity Water Softener for Well Water

 iSpring RCC7

Highlighted Features

  • Convenient under sink mounting is space-saving.
  • Removes over 1,000 different contaminants from your drinking and sink water.
  • Easy installation for any homeowner, there is no need to rethread any piping and no need to have the prior plumbing experience.
  • 75 gallon-per-day capacity of clean and pure filtered water.

If you’re looking for better drinking water and sink water without the need for a full-scale water softening unit, then look no further than the iSpring under sink model. Using a 5-stage reverse osmosis process, your sink water will come out crystal clear after the softener, and filter combo removes over 1,000 different elements that do not need to be in your water.

Another thing we love about this iSpring unit is how easy it is to change the filters out. First off, filters are available from the manufacturer at direct pricing, and they can be changed in mere minutes. On average, a filter replacement is needed every three months, but considering this small sink unit does not use salt, you can offset the cost, and besides, there is no value you can place on clean drinking water.

Our Recommended Best Water Softener Reviews – (Tested In 2021 for Homeowner)

With the iSpring model being used specifically for sink applications, it also comes in handy when washing dishes. Water that has gone through the iSpring hard water treatment systems and water filtration system will not leave water spots on any dishware. You will also realize very quickly how much better the water is for your skin compared to untreated water!

Additional Information:

  • Type: 5-Stage Ro Water Filter
  • Capacity: 75 Gallons
  • Certified: NSF/ANSI 58
  • Contaminates Removes: Including Iron It’s Removes up to 99% of over 1,000 contaminants.
  • Flow Rate: Takes about 10 seconds to fill a glass.
  • Ideal Household Size: Up to 5 people.

What We Like:

  • There are no moving parts within the system, making it quiet and low maintenance.
  • iSpring provides lifetime support, no matter the issue, they are there.
  • Included 1-year warranty and money-back guarantee on all parts of the filtration and softening system.
  • The packaging is solid, and all parts were individually wrapped and protected to ensure everything was working and intact upon arrival.
  • Installation can be done very quickly, on average from 1-2 hours for most people.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • We did notice that the water pressure is lacking a little bit with the iSpring unit.
  • There was a slight chemical/plastic taste in the water when I first started using it.

4. Iron Pro 2 Combination Water Softener with Iron Filter

Iron Pro 2 Combination

Highlighted Features

  • Includes a specific iron filter along with all the features of a water softener.
  • Features the Fleck 5600SXT digital valve, with its 5-year warranty.
  • Removes hardness ions to 75 gpg and can remove high levels of iron and manganese.
  • The resin is made of fine mesh, which aids in the removal of iron from water.

If your water supply is coming from a well with high metal content, specifically iron, the Iron Pro 2 may be the best option for you. We mentioned that there is a specific iron filter associated with this water softening unit, and when you combine that with its unique, specialized mesh resin, you may not be able to find a better iron-fighting hard water treatment system than this.

One of the few units on the market that can remove traceable sulfur from water, this model of the Iron Pro 2 is a great choice for anyone who has many contaminants in their water. At a very affordable price, the Iron Pro 2 system is a great option for those looking for cleaner water from their wells.

Watching sink water go from a brownish color to crystal clear, pure water is an extremely satisfying feeling, and the Iron Pro 2 hard water treatment systems with Iron Filter do just that with proper installation. It can remove over 1,000 different particles and elements in your water, promising a refreshing shower, clean glass of water, and water spot-free dishware.

Additional Information:

  • Type: Ion exchange, Salt based water softener
  • Grain Capacity: 64,000
  • Flow Rate: ‎16 Gallons Per Minute
  • Maximum Hardness Removal: Iron up to 6 ppm range, Manganese up to 6 ppm , Harness remove up to 75 GPG.
  • Regeneration Cycle: Auto-regeneration based on water usage.
  • Ideal Household Size: Up to 4 people.

What We Like:

  • You can set the system to regenerate at whatever time you want, ensuring that you have enough water when you need it.
  • Choose between a 48,000-grain system or 64,000, based on your household needs.
  • The tank comes with a 10-year warranty while the valve control head comes with a 5-year warranty included.
  • The Iron Pro 2 can remove up to 2 PPM of sulfur, which is unique and an added benefit.
  • The unit can provide nearly 800 gallons per regeneration cycle.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • If you are installing this unit into a space that has never had a water softener before, it can be tricky to install without previous plumbing experience.
  • If the power goes out, the system loses its programming and will need to be reprogrammed.

5. Aquasana EQ-Well-UV-Pro-Ast Salt-free Water Conditioner

Aquasana EQ-Well-UV-Pro-Ast Well Water Filter

Highlighted Features

  • Removes 97% of chlorine along with 99.9% of harmful contaminants and viruses.
  • Salt-free technology, which will save money in the long run.
  • Filters are easily replaceable.
  • Includes 500,000-gallon filtration dual-tank with the option of upgrading to a larger scale unit.

The most customizable water softener in our list, the Aquasana is not just a water softening system but entire water purifying, filtering, and softening system all in one. Using the saltless technology that Aquasana has developed on its own, this unit uses customs filters that easily replaceable and affordable.

While this unit may be on the higher end of price, it is the only one on the list that features a UV light purification technology that adds additional cleaning elements to your water tank. This is also the largest tank system we have using dual tanks to lessen the amount of time between regenerations.

The Aquasana Salt-free Water Conditioner system is not your typical water softening system, while it does do a great job at softening water, it is also a purification and filtration system all rolled into one. It can clean your sink and shower water of 99.9% of contaminants, all while providing a dedicated drinking water line for clean drinking water every time.

Additional Information:

  • Type: Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative.
  • Capacity: 500, 000 gallons or 5 years.
  • Flow Rate: ‎7 Gallons Per Minute
  • Maximum Hardness Removal: Works best with hardness levels at 15 GPG or below.
  • Ideal Household Size: Up to 5 people.

What We Like:

  • Reduces lime buildup on sinks, showers, and faucets extremely well.
  • No noticeable drop in water pressure upon installation like many other softening systems.
  • The saltless system requires little to no maintenance.
  • If your water has any odd odors, this system does a wonderful job of removing odors.
  • Filters are very easily changed.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The installation has proven to be very difficult, usually requiring a licensed plumber in most cases.

6. DuraWater 80K-56SXT-10AL 80K Water Softener System

DuraWater 80K-56SXT-10AL

Highlighted Features

  • 10% crosslinked resin, extending unit life by a few years.
  • Brine tank includes a safety float to help with any overflow that can occur.
  • A bypass valve is included, which allows the water softener to be turned off or serviced without cutting off the main water supply.
  • The top of the line SXT valve comes with a standard 5-year warranty.

The Durawater model is a classic design and technology that has been proven time and time again by homeowners all over the world. The included 10% crosslinked resin is better for the system tanks due to needing fewer regenerations because the resin can capture more particles than a typical 8% crosslinked system.

The LCD display touchpad could not be simpler, even for folks that have extremely little experience with technology or plumbing. The price point is just right as well, but you will see as you upgrade capacity from 24,000 GPI to their 80,000 GPI model, the price will increase, but that is to be expected within the water softener world.

Additional Information:

  • Type: Ion exchange, Salt based softener
  • Grain Capacity: 80,000
  • Flow Rate: ‎14-16 Gallons Per Minute
  • Maximum Hardness Removal: 28 GPG.
  • Regeneration : 8 lbs of salt and 60 gals of water per regeneration.
  • Ideal Household Size: Up to 8 people.

What We Like:

  • Easily installed by the homeowner by following the instructions.
  • This water softener comes with testing strips includes so you can get an idea of how hard the water is.
  • Depending on the need of the homeowner, you can get a size that ranges from 24,000 to 80,000 grain.
  • LCD Display touchpad controls on the brine tank for full control of the system.
  • Great value for the price point compared to other models that have similar features.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • We have heard reports of a chemical smell in the water after installation.

7. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable Grain RV Water Softener

On The Go OTG3NTP3M

Highlighted Features

  • Weighing only 18 pounds, it is the lightest we have reviewed thus far.
  • The control valve swivels 360 degrees.
  • Includes a 4′ drinking quality hose.
  • Hardness test strips are included so the user can test their water.

If you are looking for portable, on-the-go water softening and purification, the OTG is the way to go. Designed for campers and RVs, all our test runs with this resulted in nothing but satisfaction. If you have an onboard water supply, this can be hooked to that to provide clean and softened drinking water and give owners peace of mind that water will not be a worry.

The standard size of 16,000 GPI is plenty for an RV or camper usage as well; we never ran out of water during our weekend trial in the mountains.

Using common table salt rather than pelletized salt, carrying regeneration salt is much easier than most water softeners for this application. You can store this machine anywhere on your vehicle or campsite and weighing only a mere 18 pounds; it is a must-have for RV users.

Additional Information:

  • Type: Ion exchange, Salt-based
  • Grain Capacity: 16,000
  • Flow Rate: ‎5-7 Gallons Per Minute
  • Maximum Hardness Removal: 10-25 GPG.
  • Regeneration : 15 minutes.
  • Ideal Household Size: Up to 2 people.

What We Like:

  • Weighing only 18 pounds, it is easy to bring anywhere you want to soften or clean water.
  • It provides a high flow rate with little to no pressure drop.
  • It does not use pelletized salt, instead, it uses common table salt, which is far cheaper.
  • Has an included back-flush adapter.
  • Easily stored thanks to its compact size.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The unit comes with only half a load of resin, making the user refill almost immediately.
  • Plastic pipe ends are weak and can easily be broken.

8. Tier1 Essential Series 48,000 Grain Water Softener

Tier1 Essential

Highlighted Features

  • Includes a Fleck 5600SXT control valve.
  • Space-saving design that takes up, on average, four fewer feet of floor space.
  • LCD display control valve for easy programming.
  • 3 stage regeneration cycle that kicks on when the resin is saturated.

Boasting one of the highest flow rates we have seen, the Tier 1 is a great choice for people who want to keep their water pressure up, which is a concern of many homeowners. Another concern for many homeowners is finding a water softening system that does not take up a ton of space in their utility closet or basement.

The Tier 1 takes up four less square feet of space than the typical water softening unit, all while providing the same features as the big players in the water softening game.

It comes with a standard capacity of 48,000 GPI, which is more than enough for the typical family of four. On average, a four-member family needs a unit that can produce 33,000 gallons in a day, and this unit covers that and a lot more.

Additional Information:

  • Type: Ion exchange, Salt-based
  • Grain Capacity: 48,000
  • Flow Rate: ‎9 Gallons Per Minute
  • Maximum Hardness Removal: Recommended for iron levels above 3ppm and Hardness 26 GPG.
  • Regeneration : On Demand Regeneration.
  • Ideal Household Size: Up to 4 people.

What We Like:

  • High flow rate at 11.2 GPM.
  • Any time we reach out to the support team, they are extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
  • Includes a ¾” water line connection, but if a different size is needed, the company will send you one free of charge.
  • The LCD display is simple and easy to understand and is easily programmable.
  • Installation can be done very quickly, on average, from 1-2 hours for most people.
  • Standard 48,000 Grain is plenty for the average family.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • While the unit does have a bypass valve, it is manual.
  • When recharging the system, the water will be completely shut off, causing a lengthy delay of water within the house.

Frequently Asked Questions And Answered

Why do I need a water softener?

When water is considered “hard,” this means that more elements and toxins in the water that can cause issues with your water supply. Softer water is healthier and better for skin, drinking, and glassware.

Do I need a professional to install my water softener?

Many models are designed to be installed by the homeowner, even if you have little to no plumbing experience. If you’re not comfortable with installing it, then getting a professional is always the right decision.

Is there any financial benefit to having soft water?

Hard water is often more damaging to your piping and appliances. Eliminating limescale buildup will early in the life of your appliance make it last longer.

What does the resin in a water softener do?

The resin is there to act as a buffer between the water and hardening particles in the water. The resin captures the hardness ions particles while the clean water is let through to your water supply.

Best Well Water Softener – (Comparison Chart)

NameTypeGrain CapacityFlow RateHousehold Size
Pentair WS48-56sxt10Ion exchange48,00014 GPM5 People
AFWFilters 5600SXTSalt-based48,00012 GPM6 People
iSpring RCC7Ro Water Filter75 Gallons10 seconds to fill a glass5 People
Iron Pro 2 CombinationSalt-based64,00016 GPM4 People
Aquasana EQ-WellWater Softener Alternative500, 000 gallons7 GPM5 People
DuraWater 80K-56SXT-10ALIon exchange80,00016 GPM8 People
On The Go OTG3NTP3MSalt-based16,0005-7 GPM2 People
Tier1 Essential Series 48,000Salt-based48,0009 GPM4 People

Conclusion

Choosing a water softener, especially when dealing with well water and high iron levels, can be a daunting task, especially for new homeowners. Using our guide, you will, at the very minimum, have a great place to start your search, and hopefully, you will find the right water softener in our in-depth list above.

With technology constantly evolving, it can be difficult to know what the newest and ‘best’ water softening units are on the market, but at this point, we know what works, and we have so many stories about people whose lives have been changed by the information above, I hope we can aide in your search too.

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