The water your washing machine uses has 60 mg of magnesium in addition to some calcium. While this combination may be good for eliminating dirt and clearing out bacteria, it is also harmful to clothing. The high concentration of chemicals degrades the quality and color of clothes. It also makes them very rough and unpleasant to the touch.

Instead of wasting money on bottles of fabric softeners, there’s an easier way to fix this — converting hard water to soft water. While the process may sound complicated, it’s actually fairly simple. All you need is a good water softener.

These nifty machines filter out the harsh chemicals and transform the water from hard to soft. Soft water is not only good for washing clothes, but it also helps preserve the pipes in your home, as well as your appliances, which saves money in the long run. Without any plaque clogging up your appliances, they are less likely to break. As a result, you won’t have to shell out cash to repair them.

That alone is reason enough to invest in a water softener. But how to choose the right one? Worry not. We’ve scoured the market for the best water softener for washing machines. The options that we came up with have their own advantages and disadvantages, but we guarantee that you’ll find one that will work for you.

Water Softeners 101

In order to select a quality water softener, you first need to understand how they work. These remarkable machines actually function like magnets. Magnets have two sides to them — one ‘positive’ and one ‘negative.’ Though common sense would say that bringing two positive or two negative sides would result in them connecting, this isn’t the case.

Magnets with the same charge repel each other. On the other hand, if you bring a positive and negative side together, the two will immediately connect. Water softeners also use this principle of opposites attracting to transform hard water into soft water.

Calcium and magnesium are both positively charged molecules. When you pump hard water through the softener system, it has to pass through a filter lined with negatively charged resin beads. The resin will attract the two positively charged molecules and remove them from the water. Thus, you get soft water which you can use to wash your clothes safely.

What’s more, this system of opposites attracting is what makes water softeners easy to maintain. When you want to clean the system, all you have to do is add a bit of salt to the water.

H2O and salt are positively charged molecules that will bind with the resin beads when they pass through the filter. However, since there’s already some positively charged calcium and magnesium stuck to the beads, these molecules will all repel each other. This, in turn, will make the calcium magnesium plaque detach from the resin and drain out along with the salty water. Thus, you get a perfectly clean water softener, ready for another round of purifying.

Does Your Washing Machine Require a Softener?

While a water softener sounds great on paper, you may wonder if it’s really all that necessary. If all it does is keep your clothes soft, then perhaps the extra splurge is not worth it. But that isn’t the case.

Though washing machines are made to be durable, frequent use can wear them down. They can rust, get blockages, and suffer internal damage. One of the most common causes behind all these issues is actually hard water.

The chemicals in hard water will coat your tub and water pump with plaque build-up. The plaque will put a strain on your washing machine motor to pump harder, which will significantly reduce the effectiveness of your washing machine. Not only that, but it will frequently result in your laundry room smelling bad, especially if you don’t clean the appliance regularly.

However, the issues don’t stop there. Hard water impacts other house appliances in a similar fashion. Everything from coffee makers to toilets and shower faucets can suffer plaque build-up, rust, and erosion.

Therefore, having a water softener to fix those issues is extremely beneficial. It not only helps you maintain your pipes, but it also saves you money on repairs. What’s more, a lot of water softeners are eco-friendly, so having one on hand is a small step toward being greener!

Best Water Softener for Washing Machine: Top Brands

Now that you know how water softeners work, it’s time to do some shopping. However, how do you choose the best water softener for your washing machine? There are so many brands out there, and finding the right fit for your home can be tricky. To help guide your choosing process, we’ve decided to do some market research.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular water softeners currently on the market. Keeping in mind their quality, price, and how easy they are to install, we’ve selected the top 5 best water softeners for washing machines.

1. Ispring ED2000 Whole House Water Softener

After reviewing countless different products, we concluded that only the Ispring water softener could take the top spot on our list. This appliance is hands down the best water softener for washing machines when it comes to quality and ease of use.  Unlike most water softeners with just negatively-charged resin beads, this state-of-the-art tool uses electromagnetic waves.

These waves force water through the pipe using a specialized electronic chip, making the machine run much more efficiently than the standard water softener. Not only that, but the electromagnetic waves reduce limescale build-up in the washing machine. They also maintain the optimal mineral levels in the water, removing any excess calcium and magnesium that could potentially damage clothing.

Therefore, you don’t have to worry about your clothes becoming splotchy after you wash them. You can also wash your dishes freely because the softened water will help protect your skin. It will also help maintain the softness of your hair, which is especially beneficial if your hair is sensitive to damage.

What’s more, the Ispring water softener is simple to use. You can install it either horizontally or vertically. The Ispring is compatible with all types of pipes, including PVC. Not only that, but you can install it entirely on your own without needing to pay for a plumber.

However, this water softener does have a few downsides. For one, since it’s so state-of-the-art, it is more expensive than other brands. More importantly, it increases the iron content of the water, so you will need to install an iron filter to keep things clean.  


  • Electromagnetic waves
  • More efficient than standard water softeners
  • Comes with a one-year warranty
  • The company offers life-long customer support
  • Keeps essential minerals in the water


  • Leaves high iron deposits in the water
  • Requires installing an additional iron filter
  • Needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet
  • Pricier than other brands on this list

2. Pentair Ws48 Fleck Water Softener

If you want to keep an eye on every step of the water softening process, then the Pentair Ws48 Fleck Water Softener is for you. This impressive appliance comes with an inbuilt lock 5600SXT digital meter with an LCD easy-to-use touchpad. That allows you to keep track of every unit of water you filter and control the entire filtration process.

The softener comes equipped with a bypass valve and an adaptor. Not only that, but the company has recently upgraded the model by adding a 1.5 cubic ft tank on the side.

The filtration system is also about 10% crosslink resin. This additional crosslink makes the water softener more resistant to chlorine damage and keeps the resin beads from deteriorating too quickly.

When it comes to the filtration process itself, the Pentair Ws48 has quite a lot to offer.

Like all water softeners, this appliance removes excess calcium and magnesium from the water. However, unlike the Ispring, it also takes care of excess iron, which saves you from having to splurge on an iron filter. It also helps maintain your appliances since iron-heavy water can damage things like coffee makers.

Aside from softening washing machine water, you can use this appliance for a variety of different things. For one, it works perfectly for softening well water as well. Lastly, the softener comes equipped with a 48-hour internal power backup, meaning that it will run even if you get an unexpected power outage.

If there is anything to critique about the Pentair, it is that it’s bulkier than other water softeners — weighing a whopping 130 pounds. While this means it will work efficiently, you may have to pay a plumber to help you with the installation process. 


  • Has a grain capacity of 48,000 and a flow rate of 14 GPM
  • The weight of the water softener is 130 pounds


  • May require a plumber to install

3. Iron Pro 2 Water Softener Combination

Though the Iron Pro 2 water softener takes the third spot on the list, it was a pretty close call. That is because this gadget packs quite an impressive set of features. For one, it has a grain capacity of a whopping 64,000 grains, with an additional fine mesh grain which is ideal for removing build-up.

These extra features take care of excess magnesium and calcium and remove iron from the water, as well. Therefore, this gadget doubles up both as a water filter, as well as an iron filter. Thus, you don’t have to waste money on buying an iron filter separately.

Furthermore, the Iron Pro 2 water filter has an exceptionally high flow. It’s capable of filtering hardness of up to 76 GPM. Not only that, but it can also remove over 8 ppm of iron and 6 ppm of magnesium. Plus, the Iron Pro 2 comes equipped with theFleck 5600SXT, a smaller yet equally powerful water softener.

The addition of the second water softener helps the Iron Pro 2 function as a water purifier, too. That allows it to filter out other harmful chemicals, such as sulfur, rust, and even dust particles.

Lastly, the Iron Pro 2 comes with a detailed set of instructions. These will be more than enough for you to install it by yourself. However, if you’re having trouble with the whole process, this gadget comes equipped with a five-year warranty. So, not only will your machine be ensured against potential damage, but it also comes with full access to the company’s customer support.


  • Comes with a bypass valve
  • Has detailed instructions for easy installation
  • A 5-year warranty
  • Grain capacity of 64,000

4. Nuvo H20 Water Softener System

If you’re looking for the best water softener for a washing machine that is also eco-friendly, then you can’t go wrong with the fourth entry on this list. The Nuvo water softener is an incredibly advanced gadget. Aside from completely removing calcium and magnesium from the water, it also has an inbuilt system that lowers the pH of hard water.

Water with a high pH content is filled with heavy chemicals. These chemicals coat metal piping, which can cause blockages over time. Furthermore, high pH water depresses the effectiveness of chlorine. Since chlorine is used to treat water for bacteria, fungi, and other contaminants, high ph water can potentially be dangerous for your health. 

By lowering the water pH level, the Nuvo water softener protects your pipes, prevents spots from appearing on your clothing, and keeps your water clean and safe. Plus, if your Nuvo H2O water softener breaks, for whatever reason, the brand has your back.

The company offers a warranty and access to their team of professionals who will fix any manufacturing defect.

But best of all, this water softener is eco-friendly. It wastes neither water nor salt. All the water that goes through the Nuvo will get filtered through your home. Whatever water you don’t use, the Nuvo will filter right back into nature. And because the gadget lowers the water’s pH, the excess water is ideal for helping plants grow. Therefore, this appliance could help you cultivate a little garden on the side.

As if all these benefits weren’t enough, this gadget is very budget-friendly, too. Because it has only basic features, it is much more affordable than the other options on this list.


  • Eco-friendly
  • Doesn’t require a plumber to install
  • Lowers water pH
  • Budget-friendly


  • Only has basic features

5. ABC Waters Fleck 5600 Water Softener

The fifth entry on this list is yet another 2-in-1 gadget. The ABC Waters Fleck 5600 doubles as a water softener with the addition of a carbon upflow filtration system. This filtration system successfully removes calcium and magnesium from water, but it also targets other chemicals: chloramines, pesticides, herbicides, as well as unpleasant tastes and odors.

Because this is an upflow filtration system, there’s no need to backwash. No backwash means you don’t waste electricity or need to worry about a drain line. Plus, since this water softener comes equipped with a carbon tank capable of holding 1.5 cubic ft of water, you don’t have to worry about wastewater either.

Lastly, both the carbon filter and carbon tank are made from coconut shells. That, coupled with the water-saving and power-saving features this gadget boasts, makes the ABC Waters Fleck 5600 one of the most eco-friendly water softeners you can buy.

In terms of installation, the ABC Water Fleck 5600 is very easy to use. It comes with an installation kit, a detailed guide, and simple instructions to make everything as easy as possible.

The water softener has a 48,000-grain capacity, which is fairly high for a water softener of this caliber. It also uses 10% cross-linked resin, meaning that it has a service flow up to 12 GPM. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best water softener for a washing machine to support a larger household, the ABC Waters Fleck 5600 may be the perfect fit for you.

What’s more, if you choose to buy it, you’ll be getting both a five-year warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee. So if you end up not liking this product for whatever reason, you can always return it and recoup your investment. 


  • Comes equipped with a digital meter
  • Upflow carbon filtration design
  • No drain line needed
  • Made from high activity carbon
  • 5-year warranty
  • Removes a wide range of chemicals from the water

Final Thoughts on the Best Water Softener for Washing Machine

Water softeners may not be the first thing you think of when someone mentions ‘essential house appliances.’ However, these incredible gadgets are more important than you think. They help remove heavy chemicals from water so that they don’t damage your washing machine.

Filtering water in this manner also helps protect your piping and preserve your other house appliances. That helps you save money in the long run since you won’t be wasting money on replacing gadgets or paying for repairs. In addition, water softeners will also help you be greener.

These machines don’t waste water or use unnecessary power. Plus, the filtered water also contains the perfect pH levels to support plant growth. Therefore, if you’re considering planting a lovely garden, invest in a water softener to make your home more vibrant!

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