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The Best Compact Water Softeners for 2023

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

Looking for the best compact water softener? Standard water softeners are bulky and expensive. Most of these systems require a professional plumber to install.

So, if you want to enjoy the many benefits of soft water without making significant changes in your home, then you need a compact water softener.

best compact water softener

These scaled-down versions of water softeners perform as efficiently as their standard-sized counterparts. And, compact water softeners are also less expensive.

Compact water softeners have unique attributes you might not see in conventional water-softening systems. You can consider these three factors to avoid being overwhelmed by many choices.

  • Water-softening Capacity: Although small, a compact water softener should remove as many calcium carbonates and magnesium molecules as possible. You might also want to check the product’s iron-removal capabilities. As a rule, homeowners should always pick a water softener with a higher grain capacity to make the system more efficient, especially in areas with very hard water. A 32,000-grain unit is more efficient than a 20,000-grain device.
  • Salt Requirements: Water-softening performance is a crucial component of the equation. On the other hand, salt requirements during regeneration complete the formula for an efficient compact water softener. Buyers must look for a product that requires less salt without undermining its water-softening capacity (or grain capacity).
  • Physical Dimensions: Some households do not have the luxury of space in their basements, utility rooms, and similar areas. RVs and boats are also cramped. Hence, the compact water softener must fit into the user’s available space with enough allowance to move about. Knowing how much space you have should help determine the maximum dimensions of water softeners.

You can also bring these water softeners virtually anywhere. The question now is how to determine the right water softener to buy. Worry not. I have 7 of top-tier products for you to make your choice.

Top-Rated Products

Best Overall

Whirlpool WHES30E


Premium Choice

PRO+AQUA Water Softener


Best Value for Money



Table of Contents

Most Trusted Compact Water Softener Reviews 

1. Whirlpool WHES30E Water Softener

The WHES30E Water Softener is one of the smartest ways to enjoy the many benefits of softened water in one’s home. It protects appliances that use water and reduces the risk of producing limescale on your water fixtures. Hence, you will have fewer worries about rusty water pipes.

Whirlpool designed the WHES30E as a trustworthy small water softener for apartments and houses. It comes with smart programming that takes the hassle of timely system regeneration off your shoulders.

This device regenerates on demand. The moment it senses that the salt level in the system is already low, it automatically kicks in to recharge the resin. This feature is perfect for people who may have problems adhering to a schedule. The system takes care of itself to provide you with soft water when you come home from a holiday.

The smart features of the WHES30E allow for ease of operation and maintenance. Its installation is also straightforward and simple.

The WHES30E does not only remove magnesium and calcium. It also removes up to 8 ppm of dissolved iron molecules. Thus, it is one of the highest among compact water softeners on the market.

Unfortunately, this Whirlpool product does not remove sediments and chlorine. Installing a filter should address these issues.

While the WHES30E is portable, I find it to be bigger than other brands. It stands 43-5/16 inches tall and requires a floor space of about 18 by 19 inches. It remains a good water softener, nevertheless.

What We Like
  • Reduces limescale formation in water fixtures
  • Features a smart programming technology for more cost-effective regeneration
  • Ideal for small households and people with busy schedules
  • Straightforward installation process
  • Removes more dissolved iron than other brands
What We Don’t Like
  • Bigger than other compact water softeners
  • Does not reduce chlorine and sediments

2. PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener

“Small but as powerful as standard-sized water softeners” is what many people are saying about the PRO+AQUA Portable RV Water Softener. While its main use is on recreational vehicles and boats, the PRO+AQUA can also prove invaluable in small homes.

This small water softener system performs more efficiently than other water softeners of the same size. In truth, the model can provide up to 40 percent more softened water than other competing products.

This system can handle water coming from the municipal or city water plant or even the well in your backyard. It is a great solution for those living off the grid.

Besides, the resin of the water softener has a 16,000-grain rating. If you are judicious in your use, you can enjoy soft water for up to 40 days before recharging the system.

Less frequent regeneration translates to a better economy. Regenerating the PRO+AQUA is also never a problem. You can use ordinary table salt to regenerate the system. You will have your water ready in five minutes.

I can see why automobile detailers love the PRO+AQUA. It has a commendable water flow rate that makes it great for mobile power washers. Its 5-gallon-per-minute flow rate is sufficient for washing the car, the walls of your house, and even your garage.

Installing the PRO+AQUA water softener is easy. However, some customers complain about not getting a perfect seal when connecting the hose to the ports. Improper connection can lead to leaks.

The AQUA+PRO RVF Water Softener is a reliable system that removes heavy metals from your water. It is as efficient as standard water softeners without demanding too much space. Small households will be happy to have this in their home.
What We Like
  • Provides 40 percent more softened water than models of the same size
  • Can work with city water or water coming from a well
  • Requires less frequent regeneration of the system
  • Provides a high rate of water flow for high-pressure applications
  • Regenerating the resin requires only table salt
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires proper installation to avoid leaking

3. On The Go OTG4-VM-DBLSOFT Water Softener

The On The Go water softener lets you enjoy the many benefits of softened water, regardless of where you are. So you can lead a life that is free from the effects of hard water.

This compact water softener system performs like standard-sized water softeners, yet it does so in a small package. Plus, its compact design makes it the ideal solution for people living in small homes or apartments. Those living off the grid will also benefit from its portability.

Put the OTG4-VM under the sink or in your cabinet. You can also place it in your RV or camper. The next time you park your vehicle near a public faucet, you will have access to soft water on demand.

The beauty of this product is that it has a simple yet effective design. It does not require special salts to regenerate the system. All you need is your ordinary table salt.

Notably, OTG4-VM only needs your attention every 40 days. Combined with its table salt regeneration requirement, this water softener is one of the most cost-effective solutions you will ever have.

This product can soften water more efficiently than conventional systems. It is about 40 percent more effective than other brands. The OTG4-VM’s efficiency rating translates to better savings. Less salt. Less regeneration frequency. Less hassle. You could never ask for more.

I like the inclusion of a back-flush adapter. Connecting the system to any existing water supply line is easy. It facilitates the more efficient backwashing of the system in preparation for regeneration.

Never worry about getting interruptions in your soft water supply ever again. The only real issue is that the flow rate can be higher. At only 3 gallons per minute, this model’s flow rate may not be sufficient for some people.
What We Like
  • Simple and effective system, using ordinary table salt
  • Compact design for small homes or apartments
  • Long-lasting resin formulation for extended use and less frequent regeneration
  • Can soften water up to 40 percent more effectively than other brands
  • Comes with a back-flush adapter for ease of connection during backwashing
What We Don’t Like
  • Inconsistent water flow rate

4. Watts Water Flow-Pur RV-Pro Water Softener

Owners of small houses looking for a reliable and compact water softener can put the Watts Water Flow-Pur RV-Pro on their shortlist. This model is a compact system that can fit into almost any space.

The Flow-Pur softens water to protect your water fixtures, pipes, and appliances from corrosion. It draws compounds that make water hard and drains them out of the system.

As a result, shower times are more pleasant. Washing clothes is a breeze. Gone are the hard water spots and stains on your vehicle or even on the kitchen sink, tiles, and bathtub.

The top-rated part about this water softener for small houses is its salt requirement. While most products require unique formulations of water softener salts, this model recharges the system using only a few pounds of ordinary table salt.

The 4 GPM rating of the Flow-Pur may seem insufficient. However, you will be happy to know that the flow is consistent. Never worry about not having a good time in the shower ever again.

It also helps that the RV-Pro has a cradle base. The base makes it easy to secure the device on almost any surface. It never wobbles in its place.

Some customers complain about the small diameter of the canister’s opening, as such a small hole can make it challenging to pour table salt for regeneration.

One solution I see is to use a funnel to minimize wasting the salt. Another minor issue about the design is its inlet hose connector that does not rotate. You will need to twist the hose itself to connect the system.

The friendly price of the Flow-Pur RV-Pro makes it ideal for small and budget-conscious homes. The device softens water like conventional water softeners. It does not demand space.
What We Like
  • Softens water by reducing the number of compounds that harden water
  • Only requires ordinary table salt for regeneration
  • Optimal water flow rate for sufficient water supply
  • Features a cradle base for improved security and stability
  • Comes at a competitive price
What We Don’t Like
  • Small opening for pouring salt
  • Stationary inlet hose connector

5. Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Water Softener

If you are looking for a water softener for small spaces, I recommend the Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Water Softener. It is a compact system that does not demand plenty of space, thus ideal for recreational vehicles. Plus, it is lighter than other compact systems. Bringing it to your RV or boat should never be an issue.

This powerful device can be a reliable companion for your car wash chores. The unit can handle almost any level of water hardness without sacrificing the water flow rate.

Washing clothes is more effective when you have this device in your house. You can also say goodbye to hard water spots on surfaces. Shower times are also more enjoyable. These benefits are possible because this system can reduce heavy metals in water.

The product also protects your metal water fixtures and pipes from rust. It draws dissolved iron across its exchange resin to improve the service life of water pipes and fixtures.

The company is kind enough to include an installation manual with the package. Connecting the system to your water supply should be hassle-free.

Unfortunately, the package does not include all the things that you need to install the system. It is important that you check the hardware that you need when you purchase this system.

The Mobile-Soft-Water is a good choice for anyone who wants an easy-to-use water softener. It is an effective system that maintains the integrity of your water appliances and fixtures. Gone are the days of putting up with hard water.
What We Like
  • Reduces the level of water hardness
  • Ideal for use in recreational vehicles and small houses
  • Can reduce the amount of iron in water for improved rust protection
  • Lighter than other brands that have the same capacity
  • The system is easy to install and regenerate
What We Don’t Like
  • The package does not include all the necessary hardware for installation

6. Watts Premier OFPSYS Water System

Watts Premier had all the right intentions for the OFPSYS OneFlow Plus Water System design. The remarkable system combines two water quality improvement products – water softener and water filter – in a compact design.

The OneFlow Plus features a revolutionary technology called Template-assisted Crystallization that binds calcium and magnesium into tiny crystals. These crystals do not adhere to surfaces, thus preventing the formation of limescale. It saves your water pipes, ice machine, dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater from limescale.

Another distinct advantage of the OneFlow Plus from other compact water softeners is the durability of its ion exchange resin cartridge. Many products of this type only last several tens of thousands of gallons.

The cartridge of the OneFlow Plus has a service lifespan of 250,000 gallons. You can expect about three years of continuous use before replacing the cartridge.

What surprised me about the OneFlow Plus is its small footprint. As a miniature water softener, the OneFlow Plus only requires a 9×9 inch space. You can also install this on the floor or mount it on your wall. The latter option is perfect for people who want to maximize their vertical space.

Watts Premier also includes all the necessary materials you will need for installing the system. Just follow the included manuals, and you should be able to put the OneFlow Plus system up and running in no time.

It is easy to appreciate the scale-prevention capabilities of this softener. The integration of a carbon block filter also helps in improving the quality of water.

However, I find the 20-micron size of the filter to be too large to trap small sediments, bacteria, and other microorganisms. It should still be effective in removing large sediments and making your water safer.

Do take note that the OneFlow Plus costs more than twice the average price of other compact water softeners.

What We Like
  • Features a crystallization technology for more efficient water softening capability
  • Durable and high-capacity water softener cartridge
  • Lifespan of 250,000 gallons
  • Compact and space-saving design
  • Comes complete with all the fittings and hardware necessary for installation
  • Carbon block filter improves water quality
What We Don’t Like
  • Pricier than some competing models
  • Filter pores are not the smallest size

7. On The Go OTG3NTP3M Water Softener

One of the most interesting water softeners on the market today is the On The Go OTG3NTP3M. It is an all-new model with a smaller and lighter design than any compact water softener. While it is a mini water softener, the OTG is big in performance.

This 18-pound device is easy to carry. You can place it under your kitchen sink one day and put it in your RV the next. It can also serve as a water softener for your car wash system. You never have to worry about having water stains on your car ever again. Its footprint is also small, requiring only about 7×7 inches of space.

The On The Go OTG3NTP3M protects the different fixtures and appliances that use water. It prevents scale from forming and the formation of reddish stains on your kitchen sink.

It does this by drawing heavy metals in water and replacing them with salt compounds. You get more refreshing showers and more effective washings if you have this small device in your house or RV.

Regenerating the system is also easy. The wide-mouth opening makes it effortless to pour a box of ordinary table salt. The resin lasts a full 20 days before you recharge the system again.

The downside is that I have seen other systems completing their regeneration in five minutes. The OTG3NTP3M takes 15 minutes to complete the cycle.

Connecting this device to your water supply line is also easy. The inlet valve swivels a full 360 degrees. You will never worry about the correct positioning of the device.

While the water softening capability of the OTG3NTP3M is commendable, it does not do well with high-flow systems. The level of water softening that it offers on high-flow systems is almost negligible. It would be wise to keep this under consideration.
What We Like
  • A compact and lightweight design ideal for marine and RV use
  • Protects water fixtures and appliances against limescale and rust stain formation
  • Unique swivel inlet valve allows for convenient connection
  • Uses ordinary table salt for regeneration
  • Comes with a large opening for easy pouring of salt
What We Don’t Like
  • Not recommended for high flow systems
  • Takes a longer time to regenerate than other brands

Outdated Products

WATER BOSS 74011 Water Softener (Outdated)

Small things are smart things. Such products are what Water Boss aims to provide. The company’s Model 74011 small water softener proves that even the most compact device can perform as efficiently as larger systems.

Inside the compact casing of this water softener is a built-in water filtration system. It can reduce the level of iron in the water. This helps protect your steel water fixtures against rust.

The device also features a water treatment technology that removes other substances in the water. What you get is not only soft water but also safe and clean water to drink.

The ultra-fine resin of the Water Boss 74011 ensures more effective softening of your water. It uses less water and less salt during regeneration. This product also requires special water softener salts, such as cubes, pellets, or crystal salts. Too bad you cannot use your ordinary table salt to regenerate the device.

You also do not need to wait that long to complete the regeneration cycle. Seventeen to 19 minutes is all it takes to recharge the system and give you access to fresh and clean water.

I like the quiet operation of the Water Boss 74011. While it is not whisper-quiet, it does hum a lot softer than other systems. This makes it the ideal water softener for small and tight living quarters.

Regardless, the Water Boss 74011 remains one of the ideal solutions to have in a small house. It softens, filters, and treats your water. It does the job of three different systems in a small and compact package. That is what I call ‘cool’!
What We Like
  • Reduces iron levels in water
  • Removes other substances for safe drinking water
  • Features ultra-fine resin for effective and economical water treatment
  • Quick generation cycle within 19 minutes
  • Ultra-quiet operation for small living quarters
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires salt formulated for water softeners

SoftPro Portable RV Water Softener (Outdated)

The SoftPro Portable RV Water Softener is a low profile water softener that offers exceptional versatility. While its intended design is for recreational vehicles, homeowners will also appreciate having this unit in their small houses.

It can accommodate up to 16,000 grains of dissolved heavy metals in water. And, you will find the SoftPro to be a better choice when it comes to small spaces. Its vertical clearance is low.

Carrying the SoftPro is never a problem. It is light enough for one person to haul from the house to his trailer and vice versa. The cradle base also ensures better stability in your RV. You can drive over rough terrain without the water softener tipping over.

While the SoftPro looks easy to install, I wish the package includes a manual. Not everyone knows how to install and connect the different fittings that come with the package.

The SoftPro RV Water Softener may be small, but it can do a decent job of softening your water. You can easily connect the device to any water outlet at the RV park. You can start enjoying softened water instantly.

The water softening capability of SoftPro protects the different water fixtures and pipes in your vehicle. You will be able to safeguard the optimum functionality of these objects. You can also ensure their optimum working condition for many years.

Getting the SoftPro RV Water Softener makes perfect sense. Its unparalleled portability makes it a wonderful choice for mobile homeowners and road warriors.
What We Like
  • Recommended for RV use
  • Compact and portable design makes it easy to haul
  • Protects water fixtures in RVs from limescale formation
  • The package already contains the materials needed for installation
  • Wide and secure cradle base for greater stability
What We Don’t Like
  • Does not come with a manual

AFWFilters 48K-56SXT-10-1 Water Softener (Outdated)

The AFWFilters is the water softener of choice for people who want an advanced system that softens their water. The model uses several technologies that allow it to soften water more efficiently.

At the core of the device is the revolutionary Fleck 5600SXT digital controller. It has state-of-the-art sensors that monitor water usage. If the system ‘senses’ an increase in water demand, it automatically regenerates. This guarantees you have an unlimited and uninterrupted supply of softened water.

The technology also allows you to make simple adjustments, depending on your needs. You can increase the capacity of the system to ensure an adequate water supply.

You can also set the system to prioritize salt usage. Either way, you have a more efficient water-softening system in your home with this design.

Adding to the ease of operating the device is its large digital display. You will never second-guess what setting you keyed in. The information displayed on the screen is large and readable enough for most people. The control buttons are also responsive. Choosing the correct settings should be easy.

The AFWFilters water softener for small households also has a power backup system. It keeps operating for 48 hours in case you do not have electricity in the house. You still get to enjoy your showers and wash your clothes more effectively.

I like the built-in safety mechanisms, which is a safety float to prevent overfilling the tank. If this safety mechanism fails, there is an overflow drain to catch the overflow.

Some customers also complain about the condition of the packaging of the water softener. So I suggest you inspect the product thoroughly right after receiving the package.
What We Like
  • Superior removal of hard water-causing elements
  • Features the Fleck 5600SXT digital controller for unparalleled efficiency
  • Large display and user-friendly controls for ease of operation
  • Comes with a power backup system in case of a power outage
  • Features a safety float for improved safety
What We Don’t Like
  • Might encounter packaging and shipping issues

Compact Water Softener Buying Guide


Water softeners require more than picking the next available device you see on the shelf of your favorite water treatment supplies store. It entails considering a few factors. The following factors can help you determine the best compact water softener for your needs.

Grain Capacity and Water Hardness Level

The main function of a water softener is to exchange dissolved heavy metals in water with other chemicals found in the system. The number of dissolved minerals is what we call ‘grains’.

Hard water contains many ‘grains’ of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. The higher the grain count in water, the higher is the water’s hardness level.

It is for this reason that you should always consider the hardness level of your water. You can then compare this with the grain capacity of the system you want to buy.

The grain capacity of a water softener reflects its ability to soften the water before requiring regeneration.

In general, small home water softener systems have a grain capacity of 16,000. These water softeners can handle 16,000 grains of dissolved minerals in water before they require regeneration.

There are also systems that have a lower grain capacity of 8,000. Others are higher at 48,000.

If you have a high level of water hardness, you can expect more frequent regeneration of the system. The opposite is true if you have low water hardness levels.

Water Flow Rate

Another factor you have to consider when buying a compact water softener is the amount of water that flows through the ion exchange resin over time. The ideal water softener should provide you with the same water flow rate as the water line in your house.

If you have a water flow rate of five gallons per minute, then you should pick a device that has the same flow rate. Getting a 3 GPM unit will reduce the amount of water coming out of your faucet and other water fixtures.

You also need to consider the number of people who will use water at the same time. A 3-GPM unit is often enough for a household of two or three people. This unit may not be sufficient for a family of five. This is true if everyone uses water simultaneously.

Salt Use

The most efficient water softeners are those that use salts. There are also water softeners that do not use salt. However, they are not really water softeners because they do not remove the minerals that harden water. Instead, we call these systems water conditioners.

Water softeners require salts for regeneration. As such, you should check the amount of salt that the system requires every time it needs to regenerate.

Compare this with the grain capacity of the system. A system with a low grain capacity will require more frequent resin regeneration.

You should also consider the type of salt that the system requires. Some products use ordinary table salt, while others use specialty salts formulated for water softeners.


Compact water softeners are small enough to fit in spaces where standard water softeners cannot. Consider the location where you intend to place the water softener.

Take note of the measurements. Compare these measurements to the physical dimensions of the product you want to buy.

Useful Features

It is always nice to have a water softener that is easy to use. For example, the Culligan water softener features advanced technology that monitors the performance of its system. It saves you the hassle of always monitoring the water softener. You also need not worry about maintenance.

Other useful features include safety mechanisms, digital displays, and user-friendly controls, among others.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who makes the most efficient compact water softener?

Whirlpool makes the most efficient compact water softener, the WHES30E, with a 30,000-grain water-softening capacity. This compact water softener enjoys thousands of positive ratings on water softeners. Its demand-initiated regeneration reduces salt and water wastage, improving its overall efficiency.

WaterBoss is another brand that makes efficient and space saving water softeners (it only requires 19×15 inches of floor space and a 25.5-inch ceiling). It has a 22,000-grain capacity that uses less salt than other brands while completing the regeneration within only 20 minutes.

You might also be interested in the 32,000-grain capacity Kenmore 350. Although it is not as compact as other water softeners for well water, this product can handle hard water as high as 90 grains per gallon. It can also remove 8.0 ppm of iron.

Some might have other recommendations for the most efficient compact water softener for apartment, RV, or boat use. Whatever the suggestion is, the rule of thumb is that an efficient softener should be able to remove as many hard minerals as possible without consuming too much salt.

How much salt does an average compact water softener consume?

The average compact water softener for mobile home and boat applications need is around ¼ to ½ pound of salt for every gallon of water passing through the system.

For instance, suppose you use the water softener for the bathroom only. Let us say your bathroom activities consume 20 gallons of water daily. In that case, the water softener for condo units will need about five to ten pounds of salt.

Note that these figures are for a standard-sized water softener. A smart and compact water softener will only consume about a quarter of a conventional unit’s salt requirements. In our example, if a water conditioner uses five to ten pounds of salt, a low cost compact water softener will only require 1.25 to 2.5 pounds of salt.

How many people can depend on a compact water softener?

The number of users a compact water softener can accommodate depends on the product’s capacity, water hardness level, and daily water consumption.

For instance, a family of five needs a 40,000-grain water softener, while a four-member household requires a 32,000-grain unit. In short, you might want to do a little math to determine how many people can rely on a compact water softener.

Determine your home’s hard water levels. You can do the test yourself with a test kit or ask the municipal/city water supply office to assess the water’s hardness level. Let’s say your home’s hard water level is 10 grains of calcium carbonate per gallon (GPG) or 171 ppm.

Calculate how many gallons of water the household uses daily. You can check your monthly water consumption. Divide it by 30 if you have a municipal water connection. Let us assume your three-member family uses 250 gallons daily.

Calculate how many grains of calcium carbonate you must remove from the water daily. Multiplying 10 GPG by 250 gallons gives us 2,500 grains. Multiplying 2,500 grains by seven days produces 17,500 grains per week.

Hence, a 20,000-grain water softener is sufficient for a three-member household, provided that the family allows the device to regenerate weekly.

What happens if you get a water softener that is too small?

A water softener too small for your needs can make it challenging to “soften” the water. A small size unit will work harder than an appropriately-sized device to compensate for its reduced water-softening capacity. Pushing the equipment beyond its operating parameters can lead to faster wear.

The smallest water softener might save space and cost, but it is more prone to clogging. This issue is more pronounced in large homes and households with unusually high water consumption. Clogging can affect the water softener’s regeneration capabilities, leaving you with “hard water.”

The good news is you can circumvent these issues. If your best budget is only for a compact unit, you might want to get two water softeners to accommodate the household’s daily water consumption.

Another trick to avoid these problems is to consult a water softener expert. They can help you determine the most appropriate size for your DIY compact water softener installation project.


The best compact water softener performs as effectively as standard-sized water softeners. It allows users to save more money on the amount of salt they use. They also economize on the amount of water used for backwashing.

The ideal compact water softener should fit virtually any space. It is perfect for small homes, apartments, boats, and even recreational vehicles. Installation is never a problem.

Operation and maintenance are also a breeze. A compact water softener is a perfect solution for anyone who wants to optimize the space in their home.

5/5 - (2 votes)