There's a wealth of information available to consumers looking for water softeners. In fact, there's so much information out there that most people become overwhelmed by it all. Things aren't nearly as complex as they might seem at first though. By focusing on the following key points it's easy to quickly go through water softener reviews and figure out if a system is the right choice.
It's easy to see how easily water can carry invisible minerals. Drop salt into water and it will seem to disappear. A simple taste test will reveal that the salt is most certainly still present though. Water can contain a wide variety of different minerals while still looking pristine to the naked eye.
When water contains a large amount of minerals it's known as hard water. It's similar to the salt example, but with different minerals. Hard water usually contains large amounts of calcium and magnesium. And much like salt these minerals can be thought of as grains. This is one of the first things to focus on in water softener reviews.
Hard water is measured by how many grains of these minerals will be found per gallon of water. Rather appropriately, this measurement is called grains per gallon or GPG. Water softeners have an upper limit on what level of GPG they can deal with. It's easy to narrow down the selection of water softeners by looking at what GPG level a review says it can deal with.
The next thing to look for in water softener reviews is the location where it's meant to be used. The review should point out whether the water softener will work on a house's overall water supply or if it's limited to a specific part of the house. For example, water softeners which only work on water from the showerhead are quite popular. It's important to consider whether the water softener needs to work for the entirety of a household or if it's enough to simply concentrate on one or two problem areas. Either choice can save money in the long term depending on a household's overall usage patterns.
It's also important to look at how the water softeners actually create clean water. The water softener reviews should mention if it uses salt, whether it's magnetic or if uses reverse osmosis. The technical details involved with these options aren't as important as the practical usage concerns.
Salt based water softeners shouldn't be used for drinking water and require some upkeep to keep a salt chamber filled. At the same time they're usually very effective when dealing with higher GPG numbers.
Salt free systems are a catchall phrase which can mean a lot of different things. The variety makes it hard to be overly specific with what to expect from them other than a lack of salt chambers or brine tanks. This makes them easier to use but generally less effective than salt based water softeners.
Reverse osmosis systems have less upkeep than salt based systems and won't negatively impact drinking water. However, these benefits come at the expense of less overall efficiency when compared to salt based water softeners.
Magnetic water softeners temporarily modify water as it travels past a series of magnets. The minerals are technically still there, but temporarily changed so that they're essentially ineffective for the next 48 hours or so. One can think of it as using a magnet to draw minerals out of active movement for a while. These are usually a good match for less severe cases of hard water.
In conclusion, getting the most out of water softener reviews can be quite easy. One simply needs to focus on these key points when reading a review. Of course there will be additional elements to consider such as the overall price or user experiences. But those should be considered only after first sorting the options out by their key points.