If you are looking to combine the best of both worlds when it comes to your home water supply, a whole house water filter, and softener combo is right for you. By choosing one of these systems, you are capturing all the water purification elements that filters provide and are removing hardness particles thanks to the softening unit.
These combination units are becoming more and more popular recently because they offer such great benefits, are easy to install for most homeowners, and require virtually no maintenance once they are in place.
With water filtration technology continuously evolving, you will notice thousands of products on the market to choose from. We understand that this can be intimidating. But this should not stop you from being able to achieve purified, delicious, and safe water in all parts of your home.
In this guide, we will discuss all the important factors to consider when searching for the best water filter for you. We even took the time to add in-depth reviews of a few of our favorite water softener and filter combination systems. Once you have reviewed our guide, we are confident that you will have all the confidence there is to go out and find the best whole house filter and softener combo for you.
How Do a whole House Water Softener and Filter work?
The beauty of a whole house water softener and filter combo is their simplicity. They are not over-complicated machines that have hundreds (or thousands) of moving parts. When installed correctly, you will not even know that it is there.
These combination systems are designed to be connected to the main water supply as it enters your home. By connecting the main water supply to your new whole-home softener and filter, you redirect the raw water into your machine, where the filters and softeners do their job. As water flows into the filter and softener combo, it will usually reach a sediment filter first. This is there to remove any larger particles of rock or rust; this helps tremendously with your water’s appearance and taste. From there, the water will go through several more filtering stages where bacteria, protozoa, and other common contaminants will be removed.
Once the water is finished with all the filtration stages, it is now time for the softener to do its job. As the filtered water reaches the softener, water is typically run through a carbon activated compound (or salt.) This process will remove any particles that the filters missed and target limescale and other compounds that can cause harm to your appliances and water pipes. If your system has UV light, that step is usually last, and this will take the filtered and purified water and use UV rays to remove any more bacteria that could have snuck through the water filter and softener.
Once this process is complete, the water will be discharged back through your existing water lines, and this now filtered and softened water will be coming out of all your faucets.
What are the benefits of a water filter and softener combo?
Alone, a whole home water filter can provide numerous benefits to you and your family’s home. Same with a water softening unit. But a combination of the two is the right formula for providing clean, purified water to your entire home, with the added assurance that our appliances and pipes are clean.
Whole-home water filters are a great device for providing your home with clean, purified, and safe water for drinking. But what they do not is lookout for the pipes and your appliances.
The water softener was designed to remove hardness particles from your water. These particles are known to cause issues within your appliances and pipes and can cause them to erode and ultimately destroy them from the inside. By combining a quality whole home water filter with a water softener, you are getting the best of both worlds.
Water softeners tend to work better when they are dealing with fully filtered water. Since the water softener is working at maximum capacity and does not have to worry about filtering any contaminants, it does a better job of targeting dissolved solids and bacteria. These toxins can sneak through your filter and wreak havoc on the piping and appliances in your home.
The phrase “Best of Both Worlds” could not apply more here. With a whole home water softener and filter combo, you are getting the cleanest water possible to benefit your health and the health of your home.
Which one is better, a water softener or water filter?
This is an excellent question, a prevalent one as well. The truth is it depends on what your goals are in terms of your water quality. If you are looking to improve the drinking water, bathing water, and cooking water within your home, then a water filter is right for you.
Water softeners do an admirable job of purifying water of a few select contaminants, but water filters are specifically designed to reduce commonly found tap water toxins. This can lead to healthier water for drinking and all other uses possible.
You will notice that your hair, skin, and nails are much healthier after installing a whole home water filter. A softener helps with these things, but you are losing out on a filter’s other benefits.
If you are comfortable with your home water’s overall quality, then turning to a water softener may be right for you. They are designed to remove hardness particles from water, leading to spotted glasses and dirty shower doors. Their other main function is to reduce water elements that lead to limescale build-up and erosion within pipes and appliances. If you are dealing with tough water, water will do a number on your appliances and piping. A water softener will fix that problem right away!
Do I need a water softener if I have a whole home filter?
The answer to this question comes down to personal preference. The benefits of a whole home water filter are amazing when it comes to your drinking water quality and all other water sources within your home. But you do not want to forget about the well-being and healthiness of your appliances and pipes.
Without a softener, you are leaving these things vulnerable to many eroding chemicals and other toxins that can damage your home.
Best Whole House Water Filter And Softener Combo
1. Filtersmart Whole House Water Filter & Salt-Free Softener Combo
There are so many things we love about the Filtersmart water filter and softening combo. The first thing was an easy installation. Lots of companies advertise that everyone can install their product but rarely is that the case. With the Filtersmart system, installation took less than an hour.
The long-lasting filter capacity makes this system virtually maintenance-free.
When it comes to water quality, the Filtersmart system checks every box. It will work well with city water supplies and well water as well. It is perfect for well water because, unlike standard water filters, this combination unit can remove total dissolved solids and small bacteria that many filters miss.
Why We Love It
- The installation is easy for anyone, regardless of plumbing experience.
- I like the longer, more slender tanks; they can easily fit into virtually any space and stay completely out of the way.
- The water filter capacity is 1,000,000 gallons, which is good for nearly an entire year.
Keep In Mind
We noticed that the coconut-shell activated carbon took a few priming days before it was ready to go.
2. SpringWell Whole House Filtration & Softening Combo
The Springwell system is imposing. It works especially well for those who live in cities and are dealing with municipal water supplies that are heavy in fluoride and sodium. One noticeable thing was the water pressure after the installation was not as affected as many other whole home water filters and softeners.
As consumers, we all love to have choices when buying something for our homes. The Springwell system comes with numerous different options that give you the option to customize your water experience. You can choose between a salt-free or salted water softening unit. The salted system is cheaper but still provides great benefits.
You can also choose a system with enough capacity for your entire home. Springwell has different size units based on the number of bathrooms in your home. This ensures that you will have enough water pressure throughout the entire home.
Why We Love It
- Although most people prefer salt-free systems, we liked that you could choose between that option and not.
- After months of regular usage, we did not see any calcification or limescale build-up on any appliances.
- The odors and tastes associated with chlorine were removed, and the water tastes great!
Keep In Mind
The mounting bracket was made of metal, but it should be sturdier.If you have hard water, a water softener will need to be purchased and installed in addition to the filter.
3. Aquasana Whole House Filtering System And Softening Combo
Aquasana has been a leader in the effort for cleaner water for the last decade. They have consistently provided us with quality products from pitchers to whole home filters and softeners like this. This whole home water filter and softening combo is a great product that provides homeowners with peace of mind that their water will be clean and healthy. For you city-slickers, this system is great for removing large amounts of chlorine, lead, and fluoride from your water supply.
Its unique up-flow technology is cool because it slows the water down as it goes through a few of the filters. This allows the filters to ensure they are not missing any toxins trying to sneak their way through. The price tag makes this one of the most affordable systems we have seen thus far.
You would have no idea that this was an ‘affordable’ system because the water quality matches the expensive combo systems.
Why We Love It
- As water flows through the different filtering stages, there are areas where water flows upwards, which is great for filtering because it is moving slow and gives the filters more time to work.
- The salt-free technology is great for your pipes and home appliances, with no limescale build-up.
- The option UV looks great and is easy to install with the system.
Keep In Mind
If you do not use a licensed plumber to install the system, it will void the warranty.
4. Pelican Whole House Water Filter And Softener Combo
The Pelican system has a whole range of options and benefits to choosing from. But what impressed us the most was that even with their most basic option, you are getting all the most important purification elements. They use a carbon activated filter to remove odors, tastes, and bacteria from the water supply and combine that with a dedicated sediment filter. This combination is lethal when it comes to getting rid of pesky impurities.
Pelican created its own unique softening compound specializing in preventing scale build-up and damage to your pipes and appliances. This is invaluable; long term erosion in pipes and appliances can cause massive headaches and even bigger bills. Pelican also includes lifetime warranties on all their tanks and parts. When they say that this system will last a lifetime, they mean it.
Why We Love It
- This system is straightforward yet effective at removing hardness particles and impurities.
- The lead removed from this water was the best we have seen so far.
- There are three levels of this system (Basic, Standard, and Premium), but you get carbon and sediment filtration regardless of which you choose.
Keep In Mind
If you are relying upon a well for your water, this is not the best choice.
5. Pelican Water EZ-Connect Compact Softener Alternative Combo
If you do not want to find the perfect place in your home for two large tanks, this system is for you. It is a small, sleek design that will fit virtually any home and with any water supply. The salt-free softening stage removes any hardness particles that can harm your appliances and does not leave a slimy taste to the water like some salted water softening systems.
Installation with the Pelican EZ-Connect system was, in-fact, easy! The entire filtering structure is one molded piece. This was especially nice for installation because I did not need to worry about leaving room for another tank or any separate pieces.
This filter and softening combo come with a heavy-duty mounting bracket that allows you to install it on a wall or cabinet. The bracket is strong and sturdy, and I do not worry that it will bend or break.
Why We Love It
- The entire system is molded into one piece, making installation easier.
- This combination system is smaller than any other we have reviewed, and it is straightforward to find space for it.
- There is no electricity required, which saves on energy costs when compared to similar systems.
Keep In Mind
We have heard reports of some leaking at the inlet valve.
How to Choose a Whole House Water Filter and Softening Combo System
What Type Of Whole House Water Filter & Softener Combo Do I Need?
First off, you want to do your best to ensure the combination system that you purchase is safe and reliable system. You want to ensure that it can remove every water toxin you are dealing with. Many people fail to investigate the size and longevity of the water filter and softener combo that they choose.
You will want to make sure you understand the amount of water your household uses each day. This will be based on the number of people you have and the number of rooms in the house with a water supply. Many combination systems have a pre-sediment filter level that is the first stage of the process.
These filters have a maximum amount of water that it can handle before it becomes ineffective. The longevity of these filters can range from 6-12 months, depending on usage. Make sure you look at all filters with the system and ensure that they can handle all your water supplies without changing the filters constantly.
My Water Quality
This is the most important step you can take when you begin your search for the best water filter and softener combo. By performing a simple water test (they can be found online), you will know exactly what is floating in your water. Knowing this will allow you to combat those contaminants with the best filters possible to remove them.
Each filter has different characteristics. Some filters are better at removing certain toxins than others. By comparing a filter’s ability to your water test, you can determine the best filter to combat your specific water’s makeup.
Filter Process And Stages
You will want to investigate the number of stages and the process that the filters go through. Because some filter and softening combos take longer to run water through their system, you will want to ensure that the system you purchase can handle enough water each day for your home.
Just because there are more filters to one system does not necessarily mean that it is the best filtering system possible. While researching water filters and softening combos, ensure that you check their flow rate and each stage’s ability to remove toxins.
Meets NSF Standards?
I am sure you saw that I mentioned the NSF in this article. The NSF is a 3rd-party testing company that will thoroughly test products like a water filter and softening combinations to ensure that they receive a quality product.
The NSF has different standards for different qualities within a filter or softening system. For example, if a product is labeled as NSF certified for standard 42, this means that the NSF has tested and proven that the product can remove chlorine effectively. The more certifications and standards a system has, the more peace of mind you should have about buying it.
When it comes to water filtration, pH is an important thing to consider. Many systems will not work with water that is considered acidic. If a water’s pH level is seven or below, it is considered acidic and not the safest water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. You will want to ensure that the water filter and softening combination that you buy can do one of two things.
You will want to see if the system can handle acidic water. Most of them can, but it is still something you need to be on the lookout for. The other thing to consider is if the filter can increase water’s pH level. This is a valuable aspect of a filter, and if there is a stage that increases pH, then it is a good thing.
Water Flow And Pressure
Many people are worried that a whole home water filtering system will slow down their flow rates throughout the home.
Luckily, we no longer see massive drops in flow rates. You will want to investigate a certain system’s flow rate because some will be available in stronger flow rate models.
Typically, water filter and softener combos can be requested based on the number of bathrooms in your home. The more bathrooms, the higher the flow rate. Nothing is stopping you from ordering a 7+ bathroom combination system for your 2-bath home.
There are several water filter and softener combos that offer a UV light stage with their system. These are usually optional, but they do a fantastic job of removing stubborn bacteria and invisible protozoa that other filters just cannot remove. If you can swing the additional costs and do not mind that the UV light will always need to be plugged in, we highly suggest installing them.
One of the best aspects of a water filter and softener combination is the lack of maintenance. Most symptoms are now designed to handle up to 1,000,000 gallons before any filters need to be changed, or any maintenance must be performed. Ensure you check the longevity of all filters and ensure it is enough to keep up with your family’s water usage.
Installation & Maintenance
This has long been a hot-button issue with water purification systems. Many folks are intimidated by any amount of plumbing work, which has turned them away from considering a whole home water filter and softener combo.
Fortunately, most systems are now made with the consumer in mind. Engineering departments have steered their focus toward making systems installation-friendly. However, you still want to read reviews and hear from other homeowners about the installation process. Some are easier than others.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answered
How long will my water filter and softener combination last before I need to replace the unit?
Short answer, forever. Many companies that make a water filter and softener combo design these systems to have a lifetime warranty. You will still need to replace the sediment filters, but the unit itself should last forever.
How often will I need to change my sediment and other water filters?
This will depend on the filter you choose. Many will need to be changed once or twice per year, while others will have longer ratings than that. Make sure you investigate the exact capacity of a filter before they need replacing.
Is a UV light required for water filtering and softening?
No, you can still obtain amazing water without the UV light stage. They are a great option for those who can afford them, but they require electricity and some cleaning. The light is usually covered by a quartz tube, which will need to be cleaned 1-2 times per year.
Installing a water softener and filter combo is a wise decision for every home. There are so many quality options on the market today that you are bound to find the right one for you and your home. The most important advice that I can give is to do the research and weigh your options by going through our ultimate buying guide. Make sure to consider the size of the system and the space required for it as well; many folks forget that little detail!
We sincerely thank you for reading this guide and hope you learned everything you need (and more) about the whole home water filter and softener combos. We are confident that the perfect whole home water filter and softener are out there for you!