When water falls from the sky, it is relatively pure. However, it can seep through the ground and into waterways, picking up impurities along the way. Calcium carbonate is a particular culprit for increasing water hardness.
Water softeners counteract the “hardness” by using salts that interact with con-tributing ions. Potassium or sodium chloride pellets both trap these ions and thereby remove their effect.
In turn, the type of softener salt is just as important as its chemical composition. Here, we’ll go through just a few of the brands available and why you’ll love them.
Read on to find out more!
In a Rush?
Six Best Water Softener Salts On Ultra-High Demand
Here are our reviews for six of the water softener salts that are on high-demand for their quality, efficiency, and health benefits.
1. Diamond Crystal Water Softener- 40 lb. Bag
It is made of potassium chloride, an all-around better choice compared to sodium chloride used in most other brands.This pure product is also NSF certified, so you can be assured of its quality and ability to do what it claims.
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An environment, health, and appliance-friendly alternative to the every day sodi-um chloride used in most softening salt pellets. This is one of the purest salts you will find for softening your water, and also one of the few to be NSF certified.
In addition to simply softening water, it also extends the life of appliances and re-duces film build-up on sinks and showers. The product is designed with your con-venience in mind as it even comes in a 50% recycled material bag that is easy-to-open.
99.1% Potassium Chloride Crystals
Potassium chloride is a lot harder to find than sodium chloride and is known to be the “higher quality” salt. Due to the high sodium content already in our diet, add-ing NaCl to our water supply can be bad for our health.
Potassium chloride is the better choice for both drinking and watering plants. Its use as a water softener leads to clean-tasting water without a trace of saltiness.
Designed With Your Health (and Convenience) in Mind
This product is recommended for all types of water softeners. It is made naturally using sun, wind, and time to dry potassium chloride solution into crystals.
This results in a 99.6% pure product that can get rid of hardness in your water without compromising on health and taste. The product also comes in an easy-to-open bag that is made of 50% recycled material and comes with an easy-grip handle.
One thing that is commonly noted about this product is it can produce virtually tasteless soft water. For this reason, it is certified (ANSI Standard 60) as safe to use for drinking water.
While the salt is not advised for direct addition to food products, when dissolved and filtered properly, it can even be used in meat, poultry, or other food uses.
2. Morton Salt Clean-Protect Water Softener-50 lb. Bag
This salt comes with great value and can be easily afforded. It is particularly gentle on appliances while removing magnesium and calcium (hard minerals) from your water. The bag is designed with a sturdy plastic handle and easy-tear opening for con-venience.
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This versatile softening salt product comes in pellet form and can be used with vir-tually any water softener. Proper use is said to result in pure-tasting water or close enough that the salt cannot be detected. The Clean-Protect formula signifi-cantly reduces buildup in pipes and appliances without affecting your health. Those who use this salt for laundry, dishwashing, and showering have no com-plaints with regards to the sodium in their water.
Patented Clean-Protect Formula Protects Appliances
This product is created with a special patented formula that helps reduce scale build-up in water heaters and pipes. Such build-up can become a huge problem especially for less soluble salts, such as rock salt.
With this highly soluble formula, you can expect your water softener to remain in great condition for a long time.
Fit for Drinking Water*
This is the go-to salt if you want your water softener to produce drinking water. It is good enough for even those on a low-sodium diet. It differs from standard so-dium chloride pellets which almost triple the amount of sodium in water.
Many have said that they taste almost no difference in their drinking water. In addition, it can leave skin and hair feeling softer and make dishes much easier to clean.
This product comes in a long-lasting bag (not made with recyclable material) that protects the pellets and allows them to be stored for a long time.
The product is manufactured by Morton, a company with a legacy in the kitchen, on the playground, and along winter sidewalks keeping roads safe.
3. Impresa Dishwasher/Water Softener Salt – 4.4 lb Bag.
Pure, natural salt pellets with no caking compounds, iodine, or other additives. It is also universally compatible and able to remove the hardness in water, so you get the cleanest dishes- ever. Highly affordable.
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A dishwasher water softening salt that comes in a smaller package than the rest of the salts in this review, for dishwashing applications only. It is a high-quality, coarse-grain salt which cuts through hard water residue so no trace of minerals remains on your dishes. This product is also universally compatible so it WILL work with your dishwasher as well.
This product is great for its low price and high-quality, given what it is meant to do. One bag can last for a while and really works well. It is manufactured by a small wholesale company which also sells quality small toys, reptile and amphibian products, and descaling solutions.
Coarse Grain Pellets Designed for Your Dishwasher
Coarse grain salts work particularly well in dishwasher water softeners. It should only be used in dishwashers with water softener containers. The consistency of these pellets are more coarse than evaporated salt (like rock salt). The quality is further seen in that there is no powdery residue from the pellets in the bag.
Clean Dishes Every Time
People have remarked how pleased they were with the cleanness of their dishes using this salt to soften their dishwasher water. The result are spotless dishes without the white film or spots left by hard minerals. Many even say their dishes literally sparkle!
4. Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter Salt Pellets- 40 lb Bag.
This is one tough product on water supply with a high iron content. The pellets are also almost entirely soluble in water. Highly effective for getting rid of rust stains in pipes or in your water softener.
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These ultra-pure iron-fighter pellets are different from most regular salt pellets. They help combat iron deposits that can sometimes be present in excess, in mu-nicipal water. While it softens the water, it also prevents rust stains from forming in pipes and appliances. It is recommended for all types of water softeners.
Fights Rust Stains
The presence of rust often indicates high iron content in water. It can be quite common in city water supplies and private wells. This unique softener salt comes with an FDA-approved additive that helps to prevent rust stain in laundry ma-chines, sinks, and appliances.
Highly Water Soluble
This salt also helps prevent other types of staining and build-up from forming due to its high solubility. Its manufacturers claim virtually 100% solubility and from what many people have said, it’s actually quite true.
The iron-fighting water softening pellets are stored and delivered in a patented two-handle bag to make lifting and carrying easier. It is recommended for most types of water softeners.
5. Diamond Crystal Bright & Soft Salt Pellets- 50 lb Bag
Virtually 100 percent water soluble, these compacted pellets are specially formu-lated to prevent mushing and bridging in the brine tank – helping to keep your sof-tener clean and trouble-free… easy to use (environment-friendly) packaging.
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These multi-purpose water softening pellets are some of the most efficient since they are nearly 100% water soluble. This makes them gentle on appliances and assures that they will not cause damage to the brine tank even after prolonged use of the water softening system.
The pellets also come in an environment-friendly bag which is made of 50% recy-cled material and layers of reground resin as well as comes with a study “2-handle” handle.
Highly Water Soluble
These compacted water softening pellets contain a special formula preventing mushing and bridging in the brine tank. Its >99.7% water solubility helps to keep your softening system clean and flowing freely.
Easy to Work With
This product comes in a patented two-handle bag to make lifting and carrying eas-ier than ever. The Bright and Soft pellets work with most water softeners. The bag is also very easy to open.
Delivers Quality Soft Water
The Supersoft® guarantee with this product means that it will help to remove most of the hard minerals from your water. The product itself is made of 99.8% pure salt and can even transform the hardest water into the water you can use for almost anything.
6. Diamond Crystal Solar Naturals Softener Salt- 50 lb Bag.
This product comes in crystal form (from seawater), which are much smaller than pellets, and thus less likely to cause buildup within your softening system. Solubili-ty tends to be higher than rock salts and slightly lower than evaporated salts.
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This convenient product is affordable, easy to find and made from the salt that comes from seawater. The solubility of solar salt is in between evaporated salts we saw earlier in this review and rock salt, which is somewhat low in solubility. It works just as great for those who do not require intensive softening.
The product also comes in polyethylene bags with polyethylene film liners for moisture protection.
Natural Salt from Seawater
This salt comes from natural seawater, is coarse screened, and crystalline. It is a high purity salt with 99.6% sodium chloride crystals dried up by sun and wind. It’s especially great since it contains absolutely no additives whatsoever.
Food-Grade and Multi-purpose
This is a food-grade salt that can be used for softening drinking water, with mini-mal taste. In filtered brine form, it can be used to process meat and poultry, as well as make olives and pickles. The same salt, in a more concentrated form can be used in hide curing and removal of snow and ice along winter sidewalks.
Packaged with Care
Special care is given on packaging this product for shipping. The salt is placed in a polyethylene bag to retain moisture. The bag also contains polyethylene film liners for enhanced moisture protection.
How to Buy a Water Softener Salt
While they may all seem quite the same, not all water softener salts are created equal. They can come in many different varieties and composition.
In addition to overall quality based on source and manufacturing, the chemical composition in the salts can also determine whether they are fit for use with drinking water.
The best softening salts are those that are versatile, work great with every soften-er, and leave very little taste in your water. It can be hard to find a salt that can give you all these benefits.
Fortunately, we’ve been doing our research and can help you know what to look for. Here are some things you should keep in mind when buying some softening salts to use in your water softener.
The majority of water softening salts will be made of sodium chloride, the chemi-cal name for table salt minus all the additives.
This mineral is naturally occurring and easily found in salt minds or solar evapora-tion ponds. As brine solution with sodium chloride washes over the resin tank in a softener system, hard mineral ions like calcium and magnesium are replaced with the sodium.
The hard ions then replace the microscopic excavations left by the sodium ions and are “trapped” in the salts. It is useful for most applications but may not be the best choice for drinking water since it can increase your sodium intake by as much as three times your regular intake.
Potassium chloride is a more recent addition to the choices available. It can be considered a healthier alternative for those who want to soften their drinking wa-ter.
This salt is also found in nature, though its primary use is in agriculture. It works the same way as sodium chloride but softens the water with potassium ions in-stead of sodium. It is beneficial for health in most cases since potassium is re-quired for proper organ, nervous, and muscular function.
Many people also face challenges in getting the adequate potassium they need from green leafy vegetables, dairy, lean meat, and fruits such as bananas. So hav-ing potassium in the drinking water can be an added bonus.
However, since extracting potassium is more difficult than mining sodium chlo-ride, the cost can be considerably higher.
With technology constantly reforming itself, many water softening salts don’t just stick with softening your water anymore. As you may have seen in this review, there are salts that help clean and protect your pipelines and appliances (tubs, faucets, etc.).
There are also salts that help fight against rust buildup and remove excess iron in water. It’s important to think of whether these are necessary in your case and get the type of salt you need.
Crystals vs. Pellets
Whether you buy your salt in crystal or pellet form can also affect how well they work with your softening system. While both will work, crystals tend to be smaller and more compact. They dissolve faster in the brine tank and take a long time be-fore causing build-ups.
They are also usually made from evaporated seawater. That way, you can be sure (in most cases) that if you have crystals, your product comes from nature.
Any type of salt can be made into pellets, but usually they consist of evaporated salts. These are more processed and fully evaporated. They also take a long time to cause build-ups but are more likely to contain additives. On the bright side, most of the additives are FDA approved or NSF certified, so you can still be as-sured your soft water is safe to use.
In order to find and buy the right salt for your needs, you also need to make sure whether you just want something for your dishwasher or intend to drink your softened water.
Dishwasher salt is different from table salt and the salt used in regular water sof-teners. It is much coarser and doesn’t get in the way of regular cleaning opera-tions.
There’s no mess involved if used correctly and they are necessary to prevent clog-ging. Smaller grains will get stuck easily and cause quite a problem.
Dishwasher salts are also the closest to 100% sodium chloride without any other additives. Food-grade salt is used since it’s expected that you’ll be eating from your newly washed dishes.
If you want to have water that you can use to water plants, do the laundry, and even brush your teeth, sodium chloride is the best choice. It’s quite cheap and you won’t need to worry about adding a substantial amount of sodium to your diet.
Of course, if your plants are sensitive to sodium, you may need to switch to potas-sium chloride. Otherwise, you are all set.
Last but not least, if you do plan to drink your water, be sure to use potassium chloride especially if you are monitoring your sodium intake. The taste is also much less noticeable. Your health and tastebuds will thank you.
Since you’ll need to replace your salt at least once every three months, you have to determine how much you are willing to spend. Obviously, purchasing fifty pounds of salt from a company from the other side of the country will cost you a great deal more than purchasing locally.
Choosing potassium chloride over sodium chloride can also raise how much you need to pay for your water. As mentioned before, this may still be worth it if you’re drinking that water. Purchasing from small businesses which sell their items at a wholesale price can also save you money.
Fifty pounds of salt is too much for me at once. Are there any smaller sized bags I can purchase?
For sure! While some brands come in only one size, there are quite a few with more than one to choose from. For example, the Morton Clean and Protect comes in 25, 40, 44, and 50 lb. Bags.
This is especially helpful if you know you won’t be using that much since you only need a little softening. Most of the Diamond Crystal products are also available in both 40 and 50-pound bags. Be sure to go on the manufacturer’s official website to check all of the choices for size available.
Is the taste left behind by the sodium (or even potassium) ions really that noticeable?
The taste left behind by sodium is definitely more detectable than the trace that may be left by potassium. Moreover, there are serious negative side effects with drinking excess sodium in the water supply.
The risk can be avoided by using potassium chloride which releases potassium ions that are good for human, and even plant, health.
The use of potassium over sodium chloride is also better for the environment as brine discharge will have less impact on waterways. Potassium being a nutrient people often do not get enough of, it may even be helpful!
Why do I need to soften my water?
Hard water affects your health as well as the “health” of your water appliances. It can even raise the price of the water you use by as much as two or three times. Irritation can result when it comes in contact with sensitive skin.
It is certainly not something you’d want to be drinking. By eliminating or reducing the number of hard mineral ions that get into the water supply, these problems can be reduced.
Before we wrap up, let me reiterate why some water softener salts are just simply the best.
The Diamond Crystal Water Softener made from pure potassium chloride is truly a complete package. Not only does it soften your water by getting rid of hard mineral ions. It also improves the taste of your water and provides nutritional benefits for your body and any plants you might be caring for.
Without any additives required, it helps to prolong the life of your appliances and prevents build-up. In fact, the only real complaint anyone can have about it is the bagging!
If you’re looking for something more affordable at the moment, Morton Salt Clean-Protect is the best sodium chloride water softener you could come across.
It works wonders in reducing the hardness of your water while keeping your sof-tener working smoothly. It also works with virtually all water softener systems. What’s not to want?