Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Mattias
For a Water Softener System to treat hard water efficiently, it needs salts like sodium chloride or potassium chloride in its brine tank that will be broken down and released into the water when the resin beads in the resin tank remove the water’s hard minerals such as calcium or magnesium ions in the ion exchange process.
The salt, in collaboration with the water in the brine tank, also forms salt water that aids the regeneration process of the resin tank, which flushes away the hard minerals that are trapped in the resin tank and makes it ready for another softening process.
The only time when salt isn’t needed to treat the hardness of water is when salt-free water softeners or water conditioners, which do not soften water, are used.
Nevertheless, the importance of salt in water treatment using salt-based systems cannot be overemphasized.
There are different types of salt, but not all salts can be used on a salt-based water softener to remove hard water minerals.
There are specific water softener salts than can be used for this purpose.
So to make the decision-making process easy for you, in this article, we have highlighted and reviewed the best high-quality salts for your water softener system to help you make the best choice.
Also, after we look at the different options of high-quality salts from different brands that you can use for your water softener system, we will look at the factors you must consider before choosing a salt for your water softener.
So, fasten your seatbelt because it will be a fun ride to answer every question you have concerning softener salts.
The Best Salts For Your Water Softener System
• Cargill Salt — Salt Crystals for Water Softener
These white sodium chloride crystals are made to ensure the efficiency of your water softener’s ion exchange and regeneration processes. They are built to work with the best water softeners — whether it is used for commercial purposes or at home.
In addition to its efficiency and purity is its inability to cause mushing and salt bridging in your brine tank.
And in addition to its water softening prowess, this salt can also be used for ice removal, processing meat and poultry, and curing pickles and olives.
With a 4.4/5 rating and numerous positive reviews, this salt is known for always delivering.
The only con of this product is that it is sometimes when ordered, pellets are delivered to customers
Read also: How To Add Salt To Water Softener
• Morton Clean and Protect Water Softener Pellets
This salt is built to ensure the efficient running of your water softener system, clean it, and secure that there is no formation of scales in your plumbing system and other water-using appliances in your home.
It also ensures the efficiency of your home’s water heater and other heating elements.
It is built with a handle that makes carrying, opening, and pouring it stress-free.
This product has a 4.5/5 stars rating and countless positive reviews.
The main reason behind its awesome delivery and softening ability prevents you from frequently spending money on repairs and maintenance of your home’s water softener and other appliances.
Some people consider this product expensive, but these claims are often overlooked due to its delivery of the best value.
• Other brands such as Diamond Crystal, Morton Salt, Windsor Salt, Nature’s Own Salt, and Cargill Salt produce the best water softener salt and iron-removing salts, so you can also check out their stores for other water softener salts.
Some of the high-quality salt these brands produce include nature’s own water softener potassium solution, diamond crystal bright and soft pellets for water softeners, etc.
Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Salt For Your Water Softener
• Effect On Water Softener
Certain water softener salts that, when used in your water softener, will lead to a salt bridge or the accumulation of salt particles at the bottom of your brine tank.
This can prevent your water softener system from undergoing its regeneration cycle and stop it from efficiently softening water.
It can also cause clogging and affect your brine tank’s water level.
An effective solution will require breaking the salt crusts in the brine tank and draining it.
To avoid this, ensure you purchase salts of high quality.
Read also: How To Remove Hard Water Stains From Toilet
• Type Of Water Softener
Before you purchase a softener salt for your water softener, you should make sure it is a salt-based water softener and not a salt-free water softener.
Salt-free water softeners don’t need sodium or potassium chloride to treat the minerals responsible for the water hardness levels. Instead, use the Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) system to turn these minerals into salt crystals.
Once these hard water minerals are converted into salt crystals, they lose the potency to form scales in your household’s plumbing system.
However, because these water treatment mediums do not remove hard minerals from the water like salt-based systems, they tend to cause harm to your plumbing and water systems in the long run.
Nevertheless, if your water softener is a salt-based system, you can choose from the above-listed softener salts.
Always remember to go through the product’s descriptions first before purchasing it.
• The Hardness Of Your Water
One of the key factors you should consider before purchasing salt for your water softener system is the hardness of your water supply.
When the hardness of your water supply is high, much salt is needed to soften it.
The hardness level of your water supply can be known by its hardness number on your water softener. To know more about your water softener’s hardness number.
When the hardness of your water is high, that signifies that the quantity of hard minerals such as calcium and magnesium ions in it is much, so much salt will be needed for the ion exchange process to be carried out effectively.
When the hardness level of your water is high, you would need to refill your brine tank more often, too, so you should get a lot of salt in bulk to reduce the cost of buying in smaller quantities over time.
Another factor you should consider before choosing a water softener salt is the cost.
Ensure that the cost of the salt doesn’t exceed your budget, and if it does, you should go for a cheaper one.
You can also check out the store of your water softener manufacturers, as they offer discounted prices on such products from time to time.
You should also assume that you will be purchasing this salt regularly to refill and maintain your water softener, so you should go for a salt you can repeatedly purchase without needing to break the bank.
And while searching for salt within your budget, ensure it is from a reliable and trustworthy brand.
• Health Concerns
People with health issues such as high blood pressure won’t need much sodium frequently in their food or water consumption, as it could cause harm to them.
So, in this case, you should use pure potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride.
However, if you have only healthy people at home with no skin allergies or health issues, the best option is sodium salt for your water softener.
• Source Of Water Supply
The source of your water supply can also play a role in selecting salt for your water softener.
City water, tap water, and well water can exhibit different hard water problems in your home, and knowing which particular source is supplying water to your home would also help you choose the best salt to handle it.
• High iron content in your water is another factor you should consider.
Types Of Softener Salt
There are two types of softener salt: Sodium Salt and Potassium Chloride. Let’s discuss them.
Sodium Salt is the most commonly used water softener salt. It is also much cheaper than potassium chloride.
Sodium salt is divided into four major types: rock salt, block salt, sea salt, and evaporated salt.
Widely considered the best type of salt for water softening, evaporated salt is a pellet-formed salt with a mind-blowing 99.9% purity, making it perfect for softening water and improving your home’s water quality.
It is the purest type of softener salt.
It doesn’t form salt bridges in your brine tank.
It reduces your brine tank’s maintenance frequency.
It doesn’t form mushing in your brine tank.
It ensures the smooth running of your water softener system’s softening cycle.
It doesn’t cause clogging in your brine tank.
It dissolves in water easily.
It is a more expensive softener salt as compared to other types of sodium salt.
This kind of salt is a highly pure salt formed by exposing seawater to sunlight and the wind.
This kind of salt exists in pellet and crystal form but can’t be able to handle in water with high levels of hardness minerals.
This is also called solar salt, all thanks to its manufacturing process.
It has a low tendency to cause salt bridges in your brine tank.
It is easily accessible.
It is purer than rock salt, making it a better option.
Its purity varies in different products.
It isn’t the cleanest type of softener salt.
This type of water softener salt is structured like pebbles or small rocks and contains a high level of calcium sulfate, so it won’t be a good idea to use it for your water softener.
It is sold at an affordable price.
It is easily accessible.
It can cause a salt bridge in your brine tank.
It doesn’t break down easily in water.
It can cause clogging in your brine tank.
It isn’t as pure as the other salt types.
It leaves a lot of residues when used.
Block salt is built like a block, just as its name implies, and due to its structure, the water level in the brine tank needs to be high for it to go under.
Several experts also consider it unsafe for usage in your water softener.
Despite not being as common as sodium chloride, potassium chloride is a great salt often used by water softener owners as a salt alternative.
This salt type is also great at treating water and preventing the buildup of scales in your home water systems.
Also, it has just 0.1% sodium, making it the best salt for people on a low sodium diet.
Potassium Chloride also tastes like ionized table water, making it good for people who do not like the salty taste of sodium chloride.
However, potassium chloride isn’t as effective at softening hard water as sodium chloride, so to get the same softening results as sodium chloride, there needs to be an increase in the settings of your water softener by 10 — 15% when using potassium chloride.
It is a great alternative to sodium chloride.
Water softening can be used to water plants and quench the taste of pets, as opposed to water softened with sodium chloride.
It is more expensive than sodium chloride.
It isn’t as effective at water softening as sodium chloride.
Can You Mix Sodium Salt and Potassium Chloride In Your Brine Tank?
Yes, you can mix sodium salt and potassium chloride in your brine tank without any negative effects.
Forms of Softener Salt
Softener salts are in two different forms: crystals and pellets.
Salt in its crystal form is made when brine, salt, and water are exposed to sunlight and the wind, which does away with the water and leaves only hard white salt. This process is called solar evaporation.
You should only this form of salt in your water softener if you use water very often, or else it could lead to the formation of a salt bridge in the brine tank l, leading to the inability of the salt to break down into the water, preventing the formation of brine solution and the ion exchange process which will produce soft water from taking place.
Water Softener pellets are made by evaporating steam and water to form crystals that are carefully screened and dried to form pellets, with the addition of citric acid, which ensures scales don’t buildup in your plumbing system and damage it.
And unlike salt crystals, salt pellets can work perfectly in homes with an all-in-one tank system and homes with high water usage.
Can I use table salt in a water softener?
No, it’s not recommended to use plain salt in water softeners.
Best Salt for Water Softener System Summary
In this article, we have provided the best water softener salt reviews and buying guide, coupled with the essential factors you should consider helping you make a good choice.
Suppose your water softener is in good shape for long-term use. In that case, you should endeavor to use the right salt, as it assures you of freedom from frequent maintenance issues on your water softener system, water heater, water pipes, and your entire water system in your household in the long run.
Meet Mattias Jonsson, the head of content at RainSaucers. Passionate about gardening and water-related topics, he’s dedicated to providing expert information and resources to help improve your home, health, and wallet. Learn from his research and experience.