Best Compact Water Softener – (Reviews & Buying Guide 2021)

If you are looking for purified water but are worried you do not have enough space to install a full-size water softener, then a compact water softener may be the solution for you.
Compact water softeners give you all the benefits of a water purification system but in a convenient size that you can bring with you anywhere.

If you are someone who lives or spends lots of time in an RV or Camper, then a compact water softener is a very popular choice. Their easy mobility and their small footprint make them a tremendous option for providing you and your family with softened water, no matter where your adventure takes you.

There are several different compact water softeners available to you, and determining the best compact water softener will depend on your specific situation and goals. In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about compact water softeners and help you answer some important questions that will determine the best compact water softener for you.


Best Compact Water Softener Reviews


1.On The Go OTG-4-VM-DBLSOFT Compact Portable Water Softener

On-The-GoHighlighted Features

  • You can choose if you would like brass or plastic fittings for the water attachment line.
  • It is a 16,000-grain unit that will last for up to 40 days before needing to be regenerated.
  • There are no tools are electricity required to use this compact water softener.
  • The inlet valve spins 360-degrees to allow you to attach the waterline at any angle.

The One The Go compact water softener is the perfect size for a compact purifying system. It easily fits under any sink or cabinet and has a long-lasting capacity that allows you to have clean water for up to 40 days or 16,000 gallons.

The inlet and outlet valves come in both plastic and brass, but it seems like both will get the job done. They are durable and easily connected to your existing water line.

When it comes to the physical water filtering capability, the On The Go system does a great job removing hardness particles that cause water spots and scale buildup within your appliances.
One of the best features of this system is its ability to elongate the life of your appliances by eliminating calcium and other contaminants. We noticed an immediate improvement with the taste and clarity of the water after installation. Speaking of installation, it is a breeze with this system, and it is completely tool-less!

What We Like:

  • We loved the longevity that you can get from this softener, 40 days is a ton of time for a compact system.
  • The installation is easy, thanks to the 360-degree swivel inlet valve.
  • Regenerating the system is simple compared to many systems; it requires just basic table salt.
  • Water hardness tests showed that this softener does a great job of reducing calcium and other limescale contributing contaminants.
  • The size of the unit is just right for basically any application. It fits easily in mobile homes, RVs, and campers.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The flow rate does not seem to stay stable.

2.Watts Water Quality M7002 Flow-Pur RV-Pro Water Softener

Watts-WaterHighlighted Features

  • There is a built-in flow restrictor that maximizes the effectiveness of regeneration.
  • It uses common table salt to regenerate the system.
  • The flow rate will remain at four gallons-per-minute, even with a drop in pressure.
  • It comes with a cradle/base for the unit to keep it from moving around.

The Watts System is a great portable water softener. It can provide you and your family with a month of quality water before needing to be regenerated, and when that time comes, all you need is table salt.

Many compact water softeners require the use of a special resin or compound for regeneration, but the Watts compact softener uses two boxes of common table salt. This will save you money in the long run. Aside from regeneration, the system is virtually maintenance-free. You can install it and have peace of mind knowing that your water is fresh and clean for gallons to come.

One thing we loved was the dual-valve system that allows you to regenerate the compact water softener, without disconnecting it from your water supply. A common complaint we receive about compact water softeners is that they are not stable.

Luckily, the Watts softener comes with a molded cradle that holds the softener in place. This is great for when you are moving your RV around the country!

What We Like:

  • It is the perfect size for all your on-the-go needs; it easy to carry too!
  • The inlet/outlet valve is designed to allow you to regenerate the system without every disconnecting it from the water supply.
  • The Watts system comes with hardness water test strips so you can know exactly what sort of water you are dealing with.
  • It does a tremendous job with iron, calcium, and magnesium removal.
  • We were impressed with the flow rate; it stays steady at around 4 GPM.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The instructions were not as detailed as other systems.

3.CR Spotless DI-120 Simplest RV & Car Wash System

CR-SpotlessHighlighted Features

  • It is a mobile softener that quickly attaches to any garden hose or water line of that size.
  • It was designed to be a purifier for water when you are cleaning vehicles.
  • There is a stand included that allows you to place the softener in a secure space.
  • Depending on your water quality, you can get up to 1000 gallons with one filter.

This compact water softener is loaded with user-friendly features and tools that make it fun to use and very effective. The first thing you will notice is that the system is as light as a feather. Not literally mind you but anyone will be able to carry this thing around the yard or garage with ease. The stand that is included is solidly built and I am confident that as I attach the softener to the stand, it is not going anywhere.

The de-ionized water flows fast throughout the entire lifetime of the filter. When washing my car or boat, this is extremely important to me because there is often dirt and grime that needs a little pressure to come off. Luckily, the CR Spotless takes care of this. It also does a great job of removing calcium and magnesium.

These are known contaminants that will leave spots on your glassware and vehicles. If you love to have all your toys shine like brand new, you need to look at the CR Spotless compact water softener.

What We Like:

  • This system comes loaded with features. It includes a stand, spray nozzle, and a water purity indicator.
  • There is a built-in TDS meter that measures the softened water in real-time as it comes out.
  • The system is so light, even while it is attached to the stand, I can easily carry it around with one hand.
  • The de-ionized water process has shown a huge decrease in water spots left on my vehicle.
  • The flow rate remains solid through the life of the softener’s filter.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • It does not include any attachments that allow you to connect it to a different size water line.

4.OneFlow + Salt-Free Scale Prevention And Water Filtration System

OneFlow-+Highlighted Features

  • It produces 75 gallons of clean and softened water every day.
  • Their patented template-assisted crystallization process converts water hardness particles into harmless, microscopic particles.
  • It will work with water temperatures ranging from 40-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • It weighs only 15 pounds, making it a great choice for camping and other on-the-go needs.

The OneFlow compact softener is great for people looking to save space but still require the use of several gallons of water daily. This softener can produce 75-gallons of fresh, purified water daily, which is more than enough for a standard family of 4. Because it uses a filter cartridge rather than a regenerative process, it has a longer-lasting purifier that only needs to be replaced one time per year. The flow rate is maximized at 10 GPM, which is the strongest that we have tested to this point.

Installation is easy, and the instructions are simple to follow. One of our favorite things about this system is the size and weight of the unit.

You can bring this anywhere and do so with relative ease. It only weighs 15 pounds, and because it is so easy to install and uninstall, moving it from your camper into your home is easy! It comes with a metal mounting bracket that holds the OneFlow filter firmly in place and will not allow it to slip or move around.

What We Like:

  • The installation was easy and straight forward.
  • We love that the system is NSF/ANSI approved for standard 372, which is lead removal.
  • The system has a strong and steady flow rate; with the proper pressure, it can produce ten gallons-per-minute.
  • The filtering cartridge lasts for 50,000 gallons, which allows a family of 4 to nearly a year of usage before needing to be replaced.
  • There is no wastewater with this compact softener; many others discharge wastewater after the softening process.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The water line fittings are made from plastic; we always prefer brass.

 


5.ABCwaters Built Portable Water Softener

ABCwatersHighlighted Features

  • The system will produce 2,000 gallons of softened water before needing to be regenerated.
  • It is 10” wide and 18” tall, making it easy to maneuver and fit into any place you might need it.
  • For regeneration, it can use common table salt or rock salt.
  • The ABCwaters system comes with a molded cradle to help it from sliding around.

The ABCwaters compact water softener is one of the toughest, most durable, compact softeners that we have reviewed thus far. Right after taking it out of the box, I noticed that it is well-built, and each part was designed to withstand anything you could throw at it.

One of the first things I look at when reviewing compact water softeners is the fittings. Plastic fittings tend to break often, and replacing them is a huge pain. You will not have to worry about this with the ABCwaters softener, the fittings are strong, brass that will not bend or break no matter what you do to it.

The water purifying qualities are top-notch with this system too. We noticed a huge drop in calcium, magnesium, and other hardness particles that can contribute to water spots. We also noticed the taste of the water was better right after installation. This system is unique because it has so many different uses for everybody. It has a long-lasting filtering capacity, and when you combine that with a high flow rate and quality filtering, it is a great choice for most people.

What We Like:

  • The water line fittings are made from brass, which is a sign of a well-made product.
  • We loved how easy it was to install the system, it has so few parts making it easy to work with.
  • The regeneration process only takes a few minutes and is easy to perform.
  • The water quality was greatly improved after installation, calcium, and lead levels were reduced greatly.
  • There is a handle on the top of the tank that is comfortable and makes it easy to carry around the compact water softener.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Compared to other similar softeners, this one is much heavier.

 


How Does a Compact Water Softener Work?

One of the biggest reasons why compact water softeners are so popular is they are easy to install and can provide you with softened water virtually anywhere.

Compact water softeners are designed to easily attach to an existing water line and produce purified, softened water after going through the softening process. Water will be taken into the compact water softener from the main water supply and into the system.

The system boasts a softening compound or filter cartridge, that takes water from the source and rids it of impurities and contaminants. These impurities and contaminants can cause limescale buildup in appliances, leave water spots on dishware, and can be harmful if ingested in large quantities.

The reason they are considered compact is their size. They are constructed to fit into small spaces or cramped quarters and allow you to bring the softened water with you. Even with their smaller stature, they can provide the same water softening benefits as many full-sized water softening systems. The only difference is that the compact shape and size of these units are easier to install in smaller spaces.

Do I Need a Compact Water Softener?

If you are constantly worrying about whether your RV, camper, boat or mobile home water is safe to drink, then a compact water softener is right for you.
Due to their smaller stature, they are especially effective for places that are short on space like RVs, campers, and boats.

Depending on where you get your water from, and the characteristics of the water supply will determine whether a softening system will be beneficial.

Most municipal and rural water supplies would benefit from a compact water softener. These water supplies are typically very high in chlorine, lead, magnesium, iron, sediment, and other things that can harm appliances and possibly people if they ingest too much.

Things to Consider Before Buying Compact water Softener

Where Will I Use It?

The beauty of a compact water softener is that they are, well, compact. Their small stature makes it easy to fit them into tight spaces. One of the most important things you must consider when choosing the best compact water softener is where it is going to be needed.

If it is going into your RV or mobile home, make sure you scout out the spot where you want to place it. It must be near a water supply line, and there must be enough room to ensure it fits. Some systems are more adaptable than others.

If you want to use your system outside and use it for washing vehicles like cars and boats, then you may be looking for something different then someone who wants better water in their mobile home. You must consider the goals you wish to obtain from your compact water softener and make sure the one you choose can accomplish these.

Size (How Do I Know What Size Water Softener I Need?)

This is one of the most common questions we get. Finding the perfect size of water softener depends on the space you have available, and how often you are going to use it.

But there is another thing that many people fail to consider, the weight of the compact softening system. If you are going to be on the move constantly and will be installing and uninstalling the system often, or using it around the house, you want to consider the weight.

It may seem like a small thing, but having something easy to maneuver will be a godsend. The difference between packing and carrying around a 70-pound system versus a 15-pound system is extremely telling.

Capacity And Longevity

When we refer to capacity in the compact water softener world, we are referring to the capacity of the filtering and softening agents.

Softening systems will vary when it comes to how much water they can produce every day and how long they will be effective before needing to regenerate the system. Based on the amount of water your family uses daily, you need to ensure that the system can keep up.

Systems will have a maximum amount of water they can produce before they become ineffective. If you have a large family, you will need to find a system that can last for months before needing to be regenerated.

I can tell you from experience, having to regenerate and change filters constantly is pain and are expensive. Make sure your long-term goals match up with your short-term goals when searching for the best compact water softener.

How Often Will It Be Used?

If you are a weekend camper or do not spend all your time in an RV or mobile home, then you should consider how much you will use the system. There is no reason to spend big money on a softening system that is only going to be used for 1/4th of the year when a smaller capacity system will get the job done just as well.

Remember, just because the capacity is less does not mean it is not an effective water softening system.

Technology (UV)

As the water softening industry evolves, more features are available to consumers to ensure that we have the best water purifying available.

The newest technology features a purple UV light that disperses throughout the water and can kill microorganisms and other small contaminants that your softener would have missed. Many people consider UV light a luxury, but if you are fortunate enough to find a unit with it in your price range, it will do even more to ensure that your drinking water is the best it can be.

Certification

One thing to always be on the lookout for his certifications from the NSF/ANSI or the Water Quality Association (WQA.) Both organizations are 3rd party testers that obtain water purification tools, and they test them independently to ensure that they are proficient at removing specific contaminant groups.

The NSF/ANSI will provide products with certifications based on their testing results. For example, if a product is certified by NSF/ANSI for standard 372, then this ensures that the unit is proficient at lead removal. You will often see products that are NSF/ANSI certified for standard 42, which is chlorine removal.

While it is not required that your compact softener be certified, it does give you peace of mind that the softener you choose is proven to be effective. I always look for these certifications, and the more they have, the more comfortable I am with a certain product.

Installation Process of a Compact Water Softener

My favorite part of compact water softeners is that they do not require electricity and are virtually maintenance-free. Many systems do not even require tools to install the system onto your existing water supply line.

When it comes to the installation, I like to ensure that the product I chose has detailed and well-written instructions for me to follow. For the most part, they all install similarly.

There will be an inlet and outlet valve on your unit. Connect the main water line to the inlet valve and the outlet valve to the water delivery system of your choice. This is usually a sink or sometimes a hose.

As water goes from the main water line through the inlet valve, it is then brought through the softening and filtering process.

This where the raw water will be rigorously scrubbed for contaminants and the water that makes its way through will be clean and pure. This water will go out of the outlet valve and into your sink or hose, providing you with clean and soft water.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & ANSWERED

Is it bad to an oversize water softener?

In short, no. Having more softening than you need can be a good thing. The only thing you may regret is that you spent a few extra dollars, but in the long run, having more softening capacity will just make your system last longer.

How often should I regenerate my water softener?

Every compact water softener will come with different guidelines regarding how long you can go between regenerations. The problem is, these are usually an average timeline, and your family’s water usage may be more or less than what the company tested the product. The best way to determine when to regenerate the system is to test the water with hardness strips. By testing the softened water, you will be able to identify if the contaminant levels are increasing or not. If they are, it is time to regenerate.

Can I use my water while my softener is regenerating?

This is a great question. The answer depends on the system that you choose. Many allow you to redirect your water to avoid going through the compact softener. With these models, you will still have water access. With other systems, the water will be unavailable unless you uninstall it from the main water source.

Conclusion

Choosing compact water softener for you can feel like a daunting task. There are so many small differences between systems that it can be confusing when determining which route you want to go to.
By following our buying guide, we promise you will have an easier time determining the best compact water softener for you. All these questions we answered are imperative when it comes to finding the right compact softener.

There is no “Best Compact Softener” out there. There is only what is best for you, and we are confident that with our buying guide and reviews, you will know exactly what to look for. We sincerely thank you for tuning into this guide and hope you learned everything you needed (and more) about compact water softeners.

Recommended Resources:

  • Our Tested Whole House Water Filter And Softener Combo.
  • Top Water Purifiers in 2021 – (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide)
  • Top-Rated Water Dispensers in 2021. (Buying Guide)
  • Best Water Filter for Chlorine in 2021 – [Tested & Reviewed]
Bob Allen
About Bob Allen

Bob has been a plumber for 15 years and loves it! He has always been interested in Plumbing from an early age and has the cuts and bruises to prove it as he set out to work with fix leaks, replace faucets, and make home improvements.