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The Best Citric Acid Water Softeners for 2021

Conventional salt-based water softeners bring plenty of benefits to any modern home, but often with some serious drawbacks. If you want a hassle-free system that does not rely on bags of salt, you should pick the best citric acid water softener for your home.

best citric acid water softener

This system works like traditional salt-based water softeners, except that they remove water hardness minerals by chelation. The result? Soft water ensures more enjoyable showers, more fulfilling washings and cleanups, and better overall health. You will never worry about harming the environment, either.

If you are interested, let us start with a review of some of the fascinating citric acid water softeners on the market today.

Best Citric Acid Water Softener Reviews 

1. Nuvo H2O DPHB-A Water Softener System

The NuvoH2O DPHB-A Home Water Softener System is the perfect choice for anyone who needs a safe way to address hard water problems. This product has a unique chemical formulation that does not affect detergent action while also preventing limescale buildup.

At the core of this ingenious system is a citric acid chelation system that attracts and binds water hardness molecules. The technology prevents magnesium and calcium from binding with detergent surfactant molecules. The same capability makes the minerals unavailable to surfaces, leaving your pipes’ interior surface limescale-free.

Use the softened water for ensuring a more enjoyable bath, more fulfilling plants and lawn watering, and more effective washing and cleaning. You also get to protect your water fixtures and plumbing system while removing limescale buildup in these items.

With a service life equivalent to 20,000 gallons, this product makes for a cost-efficient water softener. Installing it is a breeze, giving you more savings from not hiring a plumber. Maintenance is also fret-free because there are no electrical components, no salt regeneration, and no backwashing to make you worry.

While this citric acid water treatment system is laudable, one should never assume that it is flawless. This product is only ideal for a single or two-person household. If you have a large family, you may have to purchase the brand’s Manor system.

Overall, the Nuvo DBHB-A can address all hard water problems without the hassle of putting salt for regenerating the system. It is an effortless way to enjoy softened water.

What We Like
  • Doesn’t affect detergents
  • Citric acid chelation technology for managing hard water problems
  • Excellent limescale buildup prevention and removal
  • Long-lasting filter design
  • Effortless installation and hassle-free maintenance
What We Don’t Like
  • Not ideal for large homes

2. PurRite Shower Filter & Water Softener

Hard water makes showering quite unpleasant. It becomes almost impossible to enjoy a nice lather and feel more refreshed afterward. Your hair may also be sticky and difficult to comb. If you are already tired of showering this way, you might want to add the PurRite Shower Filter to your showerhead.

This product is compact and easy to install on your showerhead. No fancy tools or extensive plumbing experience required.

Inside this compact device is a 15-stage filtration-purification system that does several things to your water. It removes all the bad stuff that can harden the water and make showering less enjoyable.

The same filtration mechanism also removes other contaminants like chlorine, heavy metals, plus odors. Its water contaminant removal capabilities are so phenomenal that the shower water is drinkable.

Second, it adds vitamin C to water. This is why I included this product in my citric acid water softener reviews. The good news is that vitamin C can make your skin and hair healthy. The system also increases water pH by retaining beneficial minerals, making it slightly alkaline. The combination of increased pH and vitamin C is terrific news for those who want a healthier way to have showers.

This product is only for shower applications, regardless of how tempting it is to install this in your kitchen faucet, according to citrus water softener reviews.

If your hair and skin are suffering from the effects of hard water, this is one of the best citric acid water softeners that might be what you need.

What We Like
  • 15-stage water filtration and purification system for safe and healthy water
  • Excellent removal of chlorine, odors, heavy metals, and other water contaminants
  • Vitamin C for improved skin and hair health
  • Slightly increases water pH for additional health benefits
  • Compact design with easy, tool-less installation
What We Don’t Like
  • Not useful outside of the bathroom

3. Life Ionizer Water Filters Citric Acid Cleaning Cartridge

If you already have the Life Ionizer water filtration system, the Life Water citric acid water filter cartridge cleaner can come in handy. It is a unique citric acid solution that works as a powerful magnet, attracting limescale and other hard water minerals from your system.

I should emphasize that this product is not a replacement filter. It is a cleaner cartridge that you insert in your filter housing, run it for about 16 seconds, turn the unit off, let it sit overnight, and replace it with the original filter cartridge. You can then run your system for about three minutes to flush all the limescale and water contaminants down the drain.

Removing limescale from your system’s platinum/titanium plates extends its lifespan while improving its water contaminant-removing capabilities. It also enhances your system’s purification and alkalinization performance, ensuring safe, clean, and soft water for your family.

I have seen a water test result after using this cleaning cartridge. It removed at least 60 chemicals and particles from the system. You can imagine what will happen if these substances get into your drinking or cooking water.

While I appreciate the ease of using this citric acid cleaning cartridge, it is not a cost-effective solution. The company recommends using this cleaning product once every three to four months or about three to four times a year.

It is also worth noting that the product only works with the No. 2 filter of the company’s MX and MXL water filtration system models. It is a shame you cannot use this product to clean other water filter brands.

The Life Ionizer Citric Acid Cleaning Cartridge is perfect for maintaining your Life Ionizer water filtration system’s optimum performance. It is a simple solution to ensuring optimum water contaminant removal, purification, and alkalinization.
What We Like
  • Recommended for cleaning Life Ionizer water filtration systems
  • Improves water filtration, alkalinization, and purification performance
  • Citric acid formulation for more efficient limescale removal
  • Removes at least 60 water contaminants
What We Don’t Like
  • Not budget-friendly
  • Only fits MX/MXL Life Ionizer systems

4. Nuvo H2O DPMB-A Manor Water Softener

Are you tired of clogged water fixtures because of limescale buildup? It would be best if you consider buying the Nuvo H2O Manor Water Softener System. This product gives you all the benefits of a salt-based water softener without the hassle of maintenance, harmful environmental effects, and tedious regeneration. Oh, you will never worry about jacking up your electric consumption, either.

This citric acid water softener is perfect for households with at least four residents. It effectively prevents and removes calcium and magnesium deposits in your water fixtures. This citric acid water filter makes it easy for you to extend your plumbing fixtures’ lifespan while also giving you the benefits of conditioned water.

If you doubt its performance, you will be glad to learn that it has NSF certification. Independent testing, validation, and certification offer greater peace of mind than having the company perform its own tests.

Installing this citric acid water softener is never a problem because it already comes with the right tools. The easy-to-read installation guide also adds to its effortless addition to your plumbing fixture.

I admire this citric acid water softener’s 50,000-gallon filter capacity. On average, you would only have to replace the cartridge every six months, and less frequently if your family uses little water like mine.

On the downside, this product is not suitable for private wells. If your family uses well water, it’s better to look elsewhere.

The Nuvoh2o DPMB-A Manor is the right choice for medium-sized households. Removing and preventing limescale buildup is a cinch, affording you and your family all the benefits of using softened water.

What We Like
  • Ideal for medium-sized households of at least four people
  • Efficient in preventing and removing limescale buildup
  • Better cost-savings because it does not use electricity
  • Eco-friendly with hassle-free maintenance
  • Certified by the NSF for guaranteed performance
  • Easy-to-install softener with high capacity
What We Don’t Like
  • Incompatible with wells

5. Aqua Eva 15-Stage Shower Filter

Like the PurRite, the Aqua Eva is a neat-looking combo filtration system perfect for the modern bathroom. It integrates the water-softening capabilities of citric acid and the water contaminant-removing properties of a standard carbon block KDF filter.

With 15 stages of filtration, this product can be a superb device to purify and soften your water. It can remove nasty odors due to chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, heavy metals, sediments, and other water contaminants. Not only will you protect your water fixture from limescale, you also get to enjoy safe water.

One of the 15 filter layers contains Vitamin C, making it a citric acid water softener-filter-purifier combo. It smoothes and softens your hair, so you won’t have to worry about hair follicle damage.

Showering will always be a delight. So is cleaning your items because there will be no limescale formation to worry you.

Installing this citric acid water softener-filter combo is also effortless. It does not take a professional plumber to get this baby working for you and your family.

While the company limits this product’s use to showerheads, it can have other applications. Regarding how else to use this citric acid water softener This Old House has a few suggestions. One of the most intriguing recommendations is to use it in specialty kitchen faucets, provided you have the right adapter.

One thing I noticed about this product is its actual flow rate. The company promises sufficient water flow. Unfortunately, some customers beg to disagree.

The Aqua Eva may only be good for the shower. However, its design offers enough versatility if you have an adventurous DIY spirit. You get the water-softening capabilities of citric acid and the water purification performance of multiple technologies in one small package.

What We Like
  • 15-stage filtration design for improved water softening and purification
  • Vitamin C filter block for smooth and soft hair
  • Removes chloramine, chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, and sediments
  • Easy to install
  • Cleaning is more pleasant
What We Don’t Like
  • Lower-than-expected flow rate

6. Life Ionizer MX & MXL Replacement Water Filters

Water filter cartridges do not last forever. Their pores can get clogged with contaminants over time, requiring replacement. Suppose you already have the Life Ionizer system in your home. In that case, the MX & MXL Replacement Water Filters are a perfect choice.

Three filtration systems form the core of this filter. There is a unique vitamin C ceramic block filter that takes care of water-softening duties. Never again will you worry about chlorine and chloramine in your drinks.

I also like the addition of a KDF filter that works in tandem with the activated carbon block. Together, these two filter elements remove common water contaminants, such as chlorine, organic chemicals, heavy metals, and more. In fact, the filter pores are small enough to trap some bacterial species.

This citric acid water filter system is also effortless to install into your existing water filtration unit. Remove the original filter, pop this baby in, and prime your system. You should have soft and clean water for another eight months or about 800 gallons.

I know 800 gallons is not much, given that some units can filter at least 3,000 gallons. You have to note its size to appreciate how efficient this product is in its filtration duties. Additionally, some products can only filter about 500 gallons before replacement.

It may still come out as expensive, especially if you want a filter that lasts at least a year or so. Its unit price is also higher than generic replacement filters.

The Life Ionizer MX & MXL #1 is a great buy for anyone who already has the Life Ionizer water filtration system. It is the perfect choice for extending your system’s water contaminant-removal capabilities and water-softening performance.

What We Like
  • Vitamin C Ceramic Block Technology for more efficient water-softening
  • Advanced activated carbon filter for more effective water contaminant removal
  • Kinetic Degradation Fluxion technology
  • Works with Life Ionizer water filtration systems
  • Effortless installation into existing softener
What We Don’t Like
  • Modest filter lifespan
  • Quite expensive compared to generic filters

7. Eddy Electronic Water Softener Alternative

You might be surprised to see the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler in many citric water softener reviews. The brand is not marketing it as a citric acid water softener. Instead, it offers it as a simpler and more efficient alternative to salt softeners, which is what citric acid softeners are.

Given that a citric acid water softener’s primary purpose is to prevent limescale formation, this small electronic device does that, too. The only difference is that this device relies on electricity instead of citric acid to draw magnesium and calcium from surfaces.

Calcium, magnesium, and other hardness minerals will never stick to surfaces. This action safeguards your water and plumbing fixtures from limescale formation, extending their lifespan for several years. You can generate more savings from not purchasing water fixtures every few years or so.

Installation-wise, this product is one of the most straightforward devices. You only loop the coils around your water pipe and plug the unit into an electric outlet.

The best part is that there is no effect on water flow. Water filtration systems often reduce water flow because of water passage through a semipermeable membrane. This product does not have barriers that can impede efficient water flow.

As expected, the only downside to this descaler is its dependence on electricity. Power outages can be a real concern unless you have an emergency power backup system.

Moreover, this product is not ideal for those who seek water filtration. It only conditions water, not removes its contaminants. You will need a water filtration system for that. On the plus side, this means you can enjoy beneficial minerals in your water.

The Eddy Electronic Descaler is a fantastic alternative to a salt-based or citric acid water softener. It does an excellent job of preventing limescale buildup to safeguard your plumbing system’s integrity. It is hassle-free to install and operate, too.

What We Like
  • Efficient limescale prevention for increased water fixture lifespan
  • Effective beneficial mineral retention for better health
  • No effect on water flow for optimum water usage
  • Worry-free installation
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires electricity to run
  • Not a water filter

8. Hansing Water Softener System Alternative

Suppose you are looking for a saltless water softener alternative. In that case, I recommend the Hansing Whole House Water Softener System Alternative. It looks and functions like conventional salt-based water softeners, but without ever using salt.

This product has a robust design, thanks to the use of premium-quality 304 stainless steel. This metal’s unique properties give it exceptional stability against temperature and pH fluctuations. It also resists corrosion, ensuring you do not get rusty debris in your water.

I am amazed at the product’s scale-inhibiting filter design. First, there is a pleated polypropylene filter that ensures optimum water flow. It resists clogging up to 7 times better than other systems. Second, a carbon block filters up to 95% of chlorine and further reduces limescale by as much as 98%.

The performance is evident in every glass you drink. The water is crystal clear, does not have a nasty odor, and is very pleasant to drink. You will also appreciate the softened water every time you take a shower, wash your clothes or dishes, or clean your car.

The company designed the filters to accommodate up to 280,000 grains, making it far better than even the leading salt-based water softener brand. I think it is the perfect choice for families living in the countryside that depend on well water.

Given its all-stainless steel design and the innovative salt-free water-softening mechanism, you can expect this unit to be pricier than others. What I do not understand is the absence of a shutoff valve. Most units have a valve to stop the flow of water for maintenance purposes or safekeeping.

This Hansing is a good citric acid water softener alternative for families that do not want to use salt. It is a reliable system that doubles as a chlorine-removal unit.

What We Like
  • Chlorine, limescale, taste, and odor removal
  • No salt required
  • High-capacity filter for optimum longevity
  • Anti-corrosion, pH-stable, and temperature-stable filter housing
  • High water flow and clogging resistance
What We Don’t Like
  • More expensive than other units
  • No water shutoff valve

9. APEX 3-Stage House Water Filtration System

Most families want more than to soften their water. They also want contaminants gone from the water they use for drinking, cooking, washing, bathing, and more. Suppose you already have a citric acid water softener. In that case, you might want to invest in the APEX Whole House Water Filtration System.

This unit is perfect for complementing a citric acid water softener to provide you and your family with an efficient whole house water conditioner citric acid system. The water passes through your citric acid water softener to chelate magnesium and calcium. It then passes through the system’s three filtration layers.

A polypropylene filter forms the first layer of defense against sediments, rust, and other large particles in the water. A KDF 85 filter unit forms the core of the product, allowing it to remove unpleasant odors, mercury, iron, and other heavy metals. It is efficient enough to remove up to 99% of lead.

An NSF-certified carbon block forms the system’s third filtration layer that attracts chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, pesticides, solvents, and other organic matters. It also improves water’s overall taste and odor characteristics.

I like the filter’s design because it does not substantially impede water flow. You can still expect a generous water flow of about 15 gallons per minute, which is a lot better than the industry average of 5 gallons per minute.

Installing this unit should be easy. However, its weight and size often require professional help. If you factor the labor cost of installation with its purchase price, you are looking at a substantial investment.

The APEX 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System is the right choice for households that want a reliable water softener. Its GAC and KDF filters are enough to guarantee safe water for the whole family.

What We Like
  • Recommended as an addition to a citric acid water softener
  • Three-stage filtration for more efficient removal of water contaminants
  • NSF certification for peace of mind
  • High-flow design for optimum water consumption
What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive, profe

10. Tier1 Essential Series Digital Water Softener

In general, citric acid water softeners are water conditioners. They do not remove calcium, magnesium, and other hardness minerals from the water. These products use different processes to prevent minerals from sticking to surfaces, mimicking the action of salt-based systems.

So, suppose you want a system that removes hardness minerals from your water. In that case, you should not get a citric acid water softener. A better solution is to get a salt-based system, such as the Tier1 Essential Series High-Efficiency Digital Water Softener.

This product features an advanced digital meter control valve that is more effective than the Fleck 5600SXT system. It is an on-demand system that counts down to the next regeneration cycle.

The controller also improves the system’s energy efficiency. It only operates as needed, unlike other products that draw electricity continuously.

I appreciate what the company did with the system’s connections. Having these components pre-installed shortens the time needed for installation. It also eliminates guesswork and the resulting frustration from not being able to put the whole system together.

Like all salt-based systems, this product demands periodic and regular regeneration. It also translates to higher maintenance costs because of the amount of salt you need to purchase to regenerate the device.

The Tier1 Essential Series remains an excellent choice for medium and large families that want optimum limescale prevention and water appliance protection. It may be cumbersome to maintain, but this device is your best bet if you are going to maximize the benefits of softened water.

What We Like
  • Recommended for medium to large households
  • Digital meter control valve for hassle-free operation
  • High energy-efficiency for better savings
  • Pre-installed connections for worry-free installation
What We Don’t Like
  • Regular, periodic maintenance required
  • High maintenance cost

11. Select Filters 18-Stage Shower Filter

It will blow you away to learn that the Select Filters Shower Filter with Vitamin C comes with 18 stages of filtration. Most shower filter products on the market can only provide up to 15 filtration layers. This design makes it one of the most exciting products any family can ever buy.

I can see several unique filtration layers in this device, including vitamin C balls, an ion-transferring resin, alkaline ceramic balls, Germanium balls, magnetic energy balls, and Maifan stone balls. There are also far-infrared ceramic balls and calcium sulfite.

The remarkable combination of filtration elements makes this product impressive enough to ask why the company limits its design to only a shower filter. I think many families will become loyal brand followers if the company can extend this device’s use beyond showerheads.

Nevertheless, I admire the product’s inclusion of Vitamin C and other agents. Protecting your showerhead and bathroom fixtures from limescale formation is straightforward. Cleaning your bathroom walls and glasses will never be a problem. Washing the sink to keep it looking pristine is also a cinch. Showering will be an enjoyable experience for everyone.

For all its worth, this product is a citric acid water conditioner. It doesn’t remove minerals from your water, only heavy metals. It is a good thing because you get to enjoy all the beneficial minerals every time you shower. You can also connect this unit to any showerhead you may have; no tools are required.

The Select Filters can do a phenomenal job of preventing and removing limescale from your water fixtures. It also has other features that make it a great compact filtration device.

What We Like
  • An impressive 18-stage filtration unit
  • Compatible with different showerhead styles
  • Vitamin C and other agents for efficient water softening
  • Hassle-free installation
What We Don’t Like
  • Showerhead application only

12. SpringWell Futuresoft Salt-free Water Softener

There are not many citric acid water softeners on the market. If you want a reliable alternative to a citrus based water softener, I recommend the SpringWell FutureSoft. This product works like a citric acid water softener in removing and preventing limescale formation and buildup. It is better than a salt-based system because it requires no electricity to run, and there’s no salt to harm the environment.

This water conditioner relies on an innovative Template-Assisted Crystallization technology to prevent magnesium, calcium, and other hardness minerals from sticking onto surfaces. It helps extend your water fixtures and water appliances’ lifespan, allowing you to enjoy them for many years.

I like this product’s self-adjusting mechanism. It provides a hassle-free way to account for water hardness variances. You can have high water hardness levels on some days and low levels on others. The system takes care of that for you.

I also love the unit’s water conditioning design. Most products have a capacity of only 50,000 to 100,000 gallons. This product has a water conditioning capacity of 1 million gallons, translating to about ten years. It may be expensive, but you will only replace the media after a decade or so.

The SpringWell FutureSoft may not be a citric acid water softener. However, it functions like one. It also has durable water conditioning media that should give you and your family conditioned water for the next ten years or so.

If anything, it is the product’s pre-filter that could be better. It only has a filter lifespan of about six to nine months. On the bright side, I have seen products with worse ratings.
What We Like
  • Ideal as a citric acid water softener replacement for the whole house
  • A self-adjusting mechanism for more efficient water conditioning
  • Template-Assisted Crystallization Technology for water conditioning
  • No electricity or salt required to run
  • High-capacity water conditioning unit for improved economy
  • One-million gallons capacity
What We Don’t Like
  • Modest pre-filter lifespan
  • Price is high

Citric Acid Water Softener Buying Guide

citric-acid-water-filter

Buying a citric acid water softener should never be a problem for you because there are not that many products to choose from. While the idea of a water softener citric acid system is not new, very few manufacturers dare create such technologies.

The reason is quite simple. You need precise amounts of citric acid introduced into the water at any given time.

Citric acid works as a chelation agent that attracts water hardness minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Instead of these minerals sticking to surfaces, they stick to the citric acid.

Chelation agents are also important in optimizing the cleansing properties of soaps and detergents. Calcium and magnesium do not react with detergent or soap surfactant ions. They react with the chelation agent, so detergents retain their cleansing properties.

However, most of the detergents and soaps we use already contain chelation agents. Adding too much citric acid can reduce the cleansing properties of the detergent’s alkaline molecules. They will not be able to clean that much. If you use too little citric acid, it can result in partial chelation. You’ll only have ‘semi-soft’ water.

Because of these water softeners’ precise citric acid requirements, you have to admire companies that offer such products in the market. Here is how you can narrow down your choice of citric acid water softener to bring home.

  • Standalone or Part of a Water Treatment System?

Some households only require limescale prevention and removal. They do not need to remove contaminants, such as chlorine, chloramine, mercury, lead, arsenic, other heavy metals, agricultural chemicals, industrial solvents, microorganisms, and more. If you are this type of person, a standalone citric acid water softener is for you.

However, if you also want to remove the contaminants mentioned above, you might need to consider a water treatment system. These products incorporate the citric acid water softener into their water filtration and purification design. Do keep in mind that these products are not inexpensive.

  • Consider the System Capacity

It is essential to determine the citric acid water softener’s capacity that translates to the number of gallons of water it can ‘soften’ before requiring a replacement. The greater the softening capacity, the longer the device media’s lifespan. You can enjoy better savings this way.

  • Check for Ease of Installation

Ideally, you should always get a citric acid water softener you can install yourself. It makes no sense to get a system that requires a lot of guesswork to set it up and get it running. There may also be some products that require professional installation. It is your choice whether to call the plumber or not.

  • Consider Your Budget

We are not only talking about the unit’s purchase cost. You also have to factor in the replacement media. Again, the lesser the media capacity, the more frequently you will need to replace it.

How Do Citric Acid Water Softeners Work

citric-acid-water-softener-reviews

Does citric acid soften water? Understanding how citric acid water softeners work requires learning the difference between citric acid water softener vs salt systems.

Conventional salt-based water softeners remove hardness minerals by replacing them with other ions. They store the removed hardness minerals in a substrate, ready for discharge during regular brine solution recharging.

Citric acid water softeners work the same way, except that the system never discharges magnesium, calcium, and other hardness minerals. Citric acid binds to these minerals, preventing them from sticking to surfaces. In a way, it is a water conditioner.

How Do You Use Citric Acid In A Water Softener

citrus-water-softener-reviews

The only way you can use citric acid in a water softener is by installing a device that dispenses precisely-measured amounts of citric acid into the system. It is impossible to manually add citric acid you can buy from the drug store. It is difficult to determine the correct amount to add to your water softener.

Installing a citric acid water softener into your existing water filtration system as a pre-filter is best. You get to soften the water before it goes through the system’s primary filtration mechanism.

Conclusion

The best citric acid water softener protects your plumbing and water fixtures from limescale without ever harming the environment. It also gives you all the benefits of soft water without a traditional salt-based system’s high-maintenance requirements.

While it is not a new technology, your options are somewhat limited. Nevertheless, the products we shared in this article should give you an idea about which citric acid water softener to add to your existing water filtration system. For the best results, you might want to invest in a citric acid water softener cleaner, too.