A Guide to Water Softener Sizes

Doing the research before you get a water softener can save a lot of money for you, since choosing the wrong size of water softener could great impact how effective it is in your home. Factors that go into choosing a water softener is how hard your water softener is, the size of the home, the water usage for that home, where the water softener will be stored and how much does the unit cost to purchase and maintain.

It is not as simple as buying the most feature rich unit available, which is a purchase that can lead to headache and frustration for the buyer. This is not even taking into account water softener alternatives which work on any size home, without the need to worry about the listed prerequisites.

It is a quick fix solution, but only under certain circumstances. The list below gives some good information on how to choose the correct size water softener, what to look for, and how to prevent the first time buyer’s mistake when it comes to water softeners.

Choosing a Salt Based Solution

First and foremost, if the purpose of buying a water softener is to lower the hardness in your water, then you must go with a salt based water softener and none of the alternatives. Hard water can only truly be softened by salt based solutions, so start with that fact in mind. Now look at the size of your house, and how many people are in it along with their individual water usage. Using a set average of gallons per water used by each person, multiply that number by the number of people in your home.

This is the gallons in use by your household each day, or at the very least a rough estimate. The next part requires the use of a water testing kit, so you can test how hard your water is. These kits can be bought at a store, ordered online, or even shipped for free if you look in the right places. Using the kit test the hardness of your water, and take the above number you just multiplied previously and multiply that by the number of grains of hardness in the water.

Water Softener SizeThis is the amount of grains that need to be removed each day in order for you to achieve the effective level of water softening desired. The amount of grains that can be removed is shown on in the feature list for each water softener, and is an important aspect to remember. When using water softening solutions that don’t meet this requirement, you’ll often get stuck in a situation where the water softener is continuously regenerating in order to keep up with the needs of the household.

This is why solutions that have an on demand meter are more desired, even when the meet the grain capacity. Since regeneration automatically restricts water flow until the system is ready, an on demand water softener will adjust itself accordingly to the water usage habits so it only regenerates when needed, or when the water usage is at its absolute minimum.

Choosing an Alternative Water Softener

If the above seems like too much to take in, then water softener alternatives are available that will do the trick, and they work on any size home. The only downside is that they only emulate the water softening capabilities of salt based solutions.

These types of alternatives are best used in situations where you need something small that will get rid of lime and scale, and don’t want to deal with the plumbing install of a water softener. An outlet is needed for these solutions, but it doesn’t require any salt, and the install itself takes a couple of minutes and works within the day. Just once again be aware that the soft water function is emulated, so the water will feel and function the same.


Getting the correct size water softener for your home may seem like an arduous process, but in reality it is a very simple and straightforward task that will reap wonders for your home. Following the steps above will make sure that you have everything necessary for the correct size of water softener as well as the correct softener overall, and don’t have to spend extra time sending back a unit that isn’t correct for the current household.

The option to use alternative methods exist, but these methods are far below the quality that one would get with a salt based solution, so when going into that area make sure you go in with eyes open.

Hiring a professional from start to finish is also an option, but since everything is pretty much simple from the start, it would be a bit of a waste of money if you have a little know how. Take the time to go through some guides, pace yourself and you’ll come out successful in choosing the correct size water softener for your home.