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The Best Portable Water Softeners for RV for 2023

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

Wherever you hit the road with your recreational vehicle, you can count on the best portable water softener for your RV. It’s an on-the-go water softener that can supply you and your loved ones with softened water. It works similarly like a whole house water softener, except it can be taken anywhere. This system lets you reap the benefits of a water softener anywhere you go.

This portable water softening system is an excellent addition to your mobile home because it improves water quality. It can deliver softened and safe water whenever you go camping or have an outdoor adventure. Using it, you can prevent issues brought about by hard water.

best portable water softener for rv

A few include a weird taste, foul smell, and reddish color. However, these are not the only problems caused by water hardness. It can also lead to hair dryness and skin irritation, especially among those with sensitive skin. Hard water also reduces soap’s lathering ability. All of these issues are bothersome to deal with all the time.

Portable water softeners are not that different from conventional ion exchange systems, requiring buyers to consider several factors when selecting the top-rated product. We found three parameters that are crucial in this regard.

  • Size and Weight: We cannot call a water softener “portable” if it weighs like an elephant and requires plenty of space in the RV, boat, or motorhome. The “right” water softener size and weight depend on the user. Physically strong individuals should have no problems handling a 40-pound unit. However, one might also need to check the available space.
  • Water Softening Capacity: Portable water softeners might not be as robust as full-sized residential systems, but they should still remove as many hard water minerals as possible. The higher its grain capacity, the less frequently it needs to regenerate. For example, a 16,000-grain unit is better than an 8,000-grain option.
  • User-friendliness: Portable water softeners do not require a permanent location, but will still need a connection to a water supply line. Monitoring water flow rate, pressure, and other operating parameters remain the responsibility of owners.

You might want to pick a portable water softener with a simple user interface and hassle-free setup.

The good news is you can now use a portable water softener for RVs to supply you with softened and high-quality water while you are on the go. Let us help you select an easy-to-use water softener based on the following reviews of highly recommended water softeners available.

Top-Rated Products

Best Overall



Editor’s Pick

Portable Water Softener


Most Durable

Watts Water M7002


Table of Contents

Most Trusted Portable Water Softener For RV Reviews

1. On the Go OTG4-DBLSOFT

Among the mobile home and marine water softener reviews, this unit is a favorite option as it comes from one of the leading water softener brands on the market. You will never have hard water again as the On the Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable has a double capacity of 16,000-grain capacity.

This model currently holds the largest capacity for any water softener on the market today. It provides marine and RV owners with up to an overwhelming 1600 gallons of softened water or a quality water supply of up to 40 days.

Another feature that makes this portable water softener superior one to its competitors is that it also doubles as a water conditioner. The dual action of reducing water minerals and eliminating them comforts mobile homeowners that they will use softened water no matter where they go.

You will not be worried about its maintenance. This durable unit effortlessly regenerates in 30 minutes or less. Aside from that, it only uses a few boxes of salt during the regeneration process.

Out on vacation with friends and family will no longer be a hassle. You will never be worried again that your water softener cannot accommodate everyone. Whether in bathing, washing dishes, or laundering, the largest portable water softener on the market will really save you and your friends from hard water.

It also has a compact design and a sturdy base that fits most spaces in RVs and boats. The incorporated carry handle on top also adds convenience so you can have soft water wherever you go.

Additionally, this heavy-duty water softener connects quickly and easily to water sources without using any tools. This purchase is undoubtedly worth every penny as adapters to marine or vehicle park water connectors are already included.

If you are confused between OTG3 vs. OTG4, consider how many people are with you in your RV. You can also think about how often you go on vacation. This OTG4 is ideal if you need a high volume of softened water for your trips.

Quality water softeners with high capacity come with a price. The specific model may cost a bit higher than the others commercially. Still, the amount of water it can supply without compromising the water quality makes it worthwhile. You can rest better, knowing that you will never run out of softened water on your camps or anywhere during your trip.
What We Like
  • High-volume output
  • Also works as a water conditioner
  • Low maintenance
  • Tool-free installation
  • Wide-mouthed for easy salt addition
What We Don’t Like
  • A bit pricey

2. Portable Water Softener Pro 16,000 Grain

One of the top-performing water softeners today is the Portable Water Softener Pro 16,000 Grain Premium Grade. This durable unit gets rid of hard water on boats and recreational vehicles. It also works top-rated for washing mobile cars.

A glance at this water softener will give you a hunch of how powerful it can be. It has a sturdy base that is stable on uneven planks or surfaces. It also has a tank jacket that protects your unit in sunny or rainy weather and bumps along the road.

Its promising durability is indeed highlighted as its inner shell is made of quality polyethylene wrapped with fiberglass. If being outdoors is your way of life, this sturdy water softener should be on top of your list.

This water softener takes pride in providing brass fittings, which will last for years. The usual problem of port breakage will not be of any concern anymore. Its brass fittings can also be easily removed to fit other standard ones.

Among its pro features is the premium-grade resin. Wherever your RV will take you, this water softener treats well or city water excellently. You will never be uneasy if there is hard water in your next destination as the minerals can’t come close to your skin and your appliances.

Regeneration isn’t a problem as this water softener only takes under 30 minutes for you to get back on the road. It is as reliable as an ABCWaters 16k water softener system as for quick regeneration. It also uses just about two boxes of common table salt.

Besides, it caters to many people or usages. It provides up to 40 days of quality softened water or up to 2,000 gallons. Of course, it depends on the hardness of the water as well as your usage. But that alone guarantees that it tops other water softeners of the same size.

As this high-capacity water softener delivers up to its pro features, the only downside is that it can be cumbersome. The materials are indeed durable enough, but it is highly best to check it out if you can place it on your own.

Overall, I like how this unit can be tough on the outside but still soften your water internally. That makes it an incredible investment that will last for quite some time.

What We Like
  • Sturdy base
  • Premium grade resin
  • Has a tank jacket
  • Uses brass ports
  • Quick installation
What We Don’t Like
  • Heavy

3. Watts Water Quality/Condition M7002

Taking a well-deserved vacation or camping with your family or friends is now made better with Watts Water Quality Flow-Pur Water Softener. You will no longer experience rusty and foul-smelling water as well as its metallic taste on your RV or campsite. This water softener provides you with excellent softened water.

This model is user-friendly like a Softcell water softener and sits comfortably on your vehicle, treating your water. Installation is straightforward, and its stable base will give you convenient storage. Being travel-friendly is one of its top-tier features. Moreover, it effortlessly fits tight spaces.

Each adventure will surely be memorable as daily chores such as laundering, washing the dishes, and even showering will be a great experience. I like how it saves up the amount of dishwashing and body soap and shampoo as they clean and lather more effectively. Aside from your having a fun adventure outdoors, the lifespan of your appliances will also be extended.

What makes this water softener stand out among others is its lightweight structure, promising you that it is very portable. Beyond that, it delivers quality softened water, and ensures that it is stress-free to put it on or store it away.

This unit lives up to its name as it removes up to 10,000 particles that harden water. These unwanted chemicals are easily avoided long before using your water, assuring you that this is a valuable investment in your RV. It is always safer to have less chlorine in your water.

Whether in camp, on your RV or on your boat, this excellent investment will be worth every penny. Its premium quality resin is excellent for treating chemicals and minerals in hard water. This resin also lasts a long before requiring any replacement.

Not sure if the output water is still hard? These softeners also supply a set of precise hardness test strips, which I believe is an absolute necessity for monitoring your softened water.

Maintenance isn’t tedious at all, with a long-lasting resin and a durably constructed body. The valves may not be that tight, but these can always be adjusted to your preference.

Convenience, quality soft water, and portability are just a few of the benefits of owning Watts Water Softener. Having this around is an excellent buy for travelers, campers, boat owners, and others who love living outdoors.

What We Like
  • Easy to use
  • Trouble-free installation
  • Allows high flow rate
  • Compatible with ordinary table salt
  • Low maintenance
What We Don’t Like
  • Valves are loose but can be adjusted

4. On the Go OTG3NTP1DS

If you are looking for a reliable mobile home water softener, just consider On the Go system. This dependable portable water softener is a double standard. It can produce twice the amount of water as regular models. This durable water softener comes in two fittings – brass and plastic. It is compact and is ingeniously constructed so it will confidently fit most recreational vehicles.

The On The Go Water Softeners for RV are among the highly recommended softeners. If the water in your area is hard, you will knowingly feel the change with this portable water softener. A significant difference is on the skin. It will not feel dry, especially when you spend a considerable amount of time in your RV. Showering and washing the dishes will never be the same again as soap can easily lather. Water will taste better and will have no weird odor.

Stains will no longer be seen or felt on your showers or faucets, as this softener does get the job done in keeping mineral buildup away. The high-quality and premium-grade resin is impressive. Scale buildup and rust stains will be a thing of the past with this water softener.

It also takes pride in having a 360-degree swivel for a hassle-free connection of the water softener system to the inlet hose. Leakage is also prevented as the unit has an option of a cap and plug.

What makes this an excellent investment is that it is designed for space savers. The design is compact and it can be easily installed in small places. The handle on top is also considered to be among its unique features. It brings its portability at its peak. Carrying this water softener so quickly makes it suitable for campers and RV or cabin owners.

Salt can also easily be added with its wide mouth opening, and all hose fittings are already included. Hose installation between a park faucet and your RV requires no electricity, which brings so much convenience for bustling travelers or laid-back campers.

The design, durability, and efficiency of this water softener RV make it ideal for travelers, cabin and RV owners, and campers. I believe that it will surely be an asset and an essential for mobile homes. Although it has no insulated cover, its remarkable output and hassle-free installation are enough to make this a smart purchase. It will change the way you experience softened water.
What We Like
  • Compact
  • Wide mouth opening
  • Allows high flow rates
  • Stress-free installation
  • Easy to carry and store
What We Don’t Like
  • No insulated cover

5. Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain

It is best to have a quality water softener that removes soluble iron and other minerals while you are on the road. That is why you should consider having the Mobile Soft Water Portable 16,000 Grain Unit. Total hardness of the water won’t be a bother anymore.

One incredible feature of the Mobile Soft Water Portable 16,000 Grain Unit is that it can eliminate up to 5 gallons of water in a minute. A 10-grain hardness is a powerful unit to convert it into a 0 soft conditions.

You can also guarantee that its water output is safe for washing, showering, and drinking. All the materials used to build the unit are based on the National Sanitary Foundation. It is lead-free and safe for people’s health.

The unit is also low maintenance, as the regeneration does not require electricity. A manual is also included that is easy to understand for installation and regeneration purposes.

You can count on this product to treat hard water with its powerful and safe system. Aside from creating high-quality water for your hair and skin, it leaves no spots on cars, boats, and other appliances. It cuts down your costs on soaps and appliance repairs in the long run.

This unit can produce a total of 1600 gallons of soft water. This eases your worries about whatever chore you need to accomplish in a day. Your basic needs will be met, and your tasks won’t be compromised with the output it can provide just like the high-quality ABC RV water softener.

Are you concerned about the resin that is used to treat the water? Well, the highly-charged quality resin can soften the water from wherever you source it. The hardness of the water won’t be a bother as the resin gets the job done excellently. The given results of softened water don’t hurt your pockets, either. The unit is inexpensive compared to other mobile water softeners that provide the same outcomes.

As excellent as this water softener can be, it does not use brass fittings. Instead, it uses sturdy nylon fittings that can become cross-threaded and may be unusable. However, these can be replaced so the unit will still function much for RV, trailer, marine, and car wash use.
What We Like
  • Easy to install
  • Low maintenance
  • Quality material
  • Inexpensive
What We Don’t Like
  • Does not use brass fittings

6. On the Go OTG4-StdSoft-Portable

Don’t risk your road trips or vacations with hard water. Let the OTG4-StdSoft-Portable give you a helping hand so your adventure will not be compromised.

This high-capacity model has an 8,000-grain capacity and is perfect for RV owners and campers. Its compact size and portability with an easy-to-carry handle are just a few of its top-quality features.

Preventing rust and scale-buildup on boats and RVs is a no-sweat job of this water softener. The lifespan of your common appliances is extended as they are not exposed to hard water residues. Rough skin can also be avoided by using soft water. Water odor and taste are pleasant after being treated with the unit. Showering and vehicle washing will then be enjoyable experiences on your RV.

Are you worried about maintaining this portable water softener? Don’t fret as this unit doesn’t need a tedious regeneration process like an RV-PRO 10,000 water softener. In under 15 minutes, your unit is functional and efficient again. It also just uses one box of table salt for its reservoir. Softened water for up to 20 days will be available.

With just a little pressure drop, this powerful water softener allows high flow rates. Additionally, it is compact for the output that it delivers. It can easily be set up or stored away if not in use.

The standard soft unit also just uses the standard garden hose. There is no need to use any other complicated tool or to connect it to power. It is that laidback to use. It is also very user-friendly for a quick hook-up on water sources. Installation isn’t a hassle, and soft water is ready for use in a short amount of time.

When you need to reverse your connection, you will be comforted knowing that the package already includes a back-flush adapter. Storage caps and other hose adapters are also there. If you are worried that the unit isn’t functioning well, test strips for hard water are provided to monitor water quality.

Reliability is never a question with On the Go. This standard portable water softener will never disappoint mobile homes.

If you live on a bigger RV or constant travel, its output may be limited, and you might need twice the standard ones for your convenience. For regular use, this RV and camper water softener is excellent in assuring your safe water.
What We Like
  • Quick regeneration
  • Allows high flow rates
  • Compact design
  • Has a back-flush adapter
  • Fast and easy hook-up
What We Don’t Like
  • The output may be limited

7. On The Go OTG3NTP3M

This quality water softener is made for superb efficiency and functionality in treating hard water. On the Go OTG3NTP3M is excellent in getting rid of scale-build-up, rust, paint, calcium residue, and dirt from direct water sources.

Although the unit is not a salt-free RV water softener, it features a trouble-free salt addition because it has a wide opening for the reservoir. That gives users easy access to regeneration, which usually just requires you 15 minutes or less. A single box of the common table salt is all you need to bring its efficiency back on track.

It is an 8,000-grain unit that is perfect for standard trailers and RVs. It can store clean water for up to 20 days. However, it depends on its usage and the hardness of the water on your location.

Soft water is excellent for bathing and washing your utensils. It also brings out the best of your hair and skin as the residues of hard water will not mix up with your shampoo and body soap, making it lather effectively while in use. Water produced by this item is also drinkable, so you’ve got to have this to prevent dehydration.

Engineered well to allow flow rates at high quantities, it only needs a low-pressure drop upon use. You can stop holding on to those old water softeners that are faulty and cost you much time and effort to produce clean water.

This product comes with easy instructions, so installing it on RVs, campsites, and boats is not a problem at all. If compared to other models of the same brand, this is lighter and easier to move around your vehicle. Carrying it is also convenient with its rope handle.

The unit is ideal for families or a group of friends who love being on RVs. The water source on various trips is just all you need as its hardness is easily treated with the unit.

However, this product uses plastic fittings, which may easily break. The good thing is it can be replaced ahead of use. The affectivity in softening water isn’t affected at all. Your RV’s plumbing will be preserved, and you will never have to settle on hard water again.
What We Like
  • Wide opening for salt addition
  • Produces drinkable water
  • Allows high flow rates
  • Fast installation on RVs
  • Easy to move around
What We Don’t Like
  • Uses plastic fittings

Outdated Products

Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Softener (Outdated)

Even for a short trip, you wouldn’t want your vacation to be stained with rust and an unpleasant water experience. The high-capacity Mobile Soft Water Portable Softener Shorty is the perfect addition to your RVs or campsites.

Whether you are out on a road trip, a leisure drive, or in the camping world, different options are readily available. You won’t necessarily need to use hard water on these outings. Shower, wash the dishes, and clean your utensils in a relaxed manner because now you have soft water.

This unit just prides itself on the portability and the compactness that comes along with it. No matter how tight the spaces are in your vehicle, this water softener will not be a burden when it comes to storage. At 14 pounds, this lightweight model can be held up for installation by anyone. It is just perfect for most short drives and day trips.

Everything about the Shorty is for travelers. The design of this product is appropriate for close-fitting spaces, yet it is reinforced with fiberglass for durability. It also has a plastic component making it light and easy to carry around.

Regeneration is easy with the Mobile Soft Water Portable Softener Shorty as it doesn’t need electricity or any stored power. It is also quick to set up or store away, just right for your time-limited getaways.

The rate of 5 gallons per minute of treating water is impressive for a water softener which is smaller than usual. It will be a relief if you have up to 320 gallons of much-conditioned water whenever you go on drives and camps.

You cannot underestimate the resin in this mini water softening product. It is a high-capacity quality resin that provides you with quality soft water immediately.

As the Shorty is excellent for most RVs, you might need a bigger unit for more water output, especially if there are many of you on a trip or a camp. It is compact and perfect for short trips, but other water softeners might be better for the job if you stay on the road for days. For its size, the fact that it saves much space and is very light can already make it a great asset for your RV, friends, and family.
What We Like
  • Space-saver
  • Lightweight
  • Efficient water softening abilities
  • Also works as a water conditioner
  • Quality and durable unit
What We Don’t Like
  • May not be suitable for longer trips

SoftPro Water Systems RV Water Softener (Outdated)

Bringing along a portable hard water filter on your vacations or just outdoors is such a hassle. Check out this high-capacity Portable RV Water Softener that ensures you will have soft water on your stops on long drives.

This water treating unit can be set up quickly. It also connects to most fittings in a matter of minutes. The body is also compact and well-designed to fit most RVs. Some have it laid down or upright for storage and travel purposes.

Easy-to-haul water softeners are on top of every RV owner’s list. This unit can easily be transported to your RV from storage. It lives up to its portability as it is made of lightweight materials for your travel convenience. The water can also be treated with this unit. So, no matter where your stop is, soft water is easily accessible.

If you still have spots on your dishes or kettle pots, your old units might not work. Try having this durable product that protects your appliances and other kitchenware from the residues of hard water. RV fixtures and its plumbing are spared from rust stains of hard water as well. The product is also great for washing your RV or other mobile cars.

Soft skin and hair are only a shower away with soft water. Your soap will lather more and eventually give you more savings in the future. Good skin, savings, and quality water can be achieved with the Portable RV Water Softener’s efficiency.

The unit survives the harsh winter and the sunny weather as well. It is built with a black boot so that it can be stable on most surfaces and temperatures. A water softener that delivers soft water and is budget-friendly is already a great deal, especially if you travel a lot or live in a mobile home. You won’t be burdened with the price, and it will most likely be a wise investment for your RV.

This fantastic product gets you softened water on any route you take. However, instructions on how much salt it may need for regeneration and other processes are not included. This may be quite a stress, but once you get the hang of regenerating the unit, it works like brand new.
What We Like
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to hook up
  • Compact
  • Inexpensive
  • Weather-proof
What We Don’t Like
  • Regeneration instructions not included

On the Go Water Softener & Conditioner (Outdated)

As an astounding 28,800-grain unit, the On the Go Water Softener and Conditioner can easily stand out from the others. If regular water softeners take a lot of space in your home, this is the perfect alternative for a constricted area.

It is among the most significant water softeners commercially available. It is perfect if you permanently live in an RV or if you use soft water in an excessive amount. It is also suitable for yachts, and boats.

Boasting in size for function, it also works as a water conditioner. Minerals are reduced to a significant amount and then easily removed through its water softening mechanisms. This ensures that its water output is higher than others when it comes to water conditioning and softening.

Setting up the unit is not tedious, as it is tool-free and would not require any electrical connection. The swivel revolves around 360 degrees, so the inlet hose connection is effortless. Capping and plugging are also possible, which makes it a perfect choice for travelers.

Hard water can be monitored while on the road because the bundle comes with hardness strips. This secures you that the unit will always give out clean softened water. Additionally, this softener comes with a cradle base, a durable back-flush adapter, and a high-pressure drinking hose.

As the product is one of the biggest water softeners in the market, it requires around four boxes of common table salt for regeneration. Regeneration is hassle-free as the top can easily be removed, so adding salt is very easy. After that, it can offer you an incredible 1280-3200 gallons of soft water that you can use for days or weeks.

It is undoubtedly built for common usage because the fittings that come with it are compatible with what most RV and yacht owners have. The Park Model just utilizes regular hose connections.

High-quality water and large capacity obviously come with a price so it is reasonable that this unit may be quite expensive compared to its competitors. Weighing 50 pounds, it is also a bit heavier than other water softeners. But considering its power to produce soft water, this is an excellent investment for permanent mobile home living.

Overall, it is one of the most sought-after products in the category to choose from. It is worth every penny as it only needs low-key maintenance.

What We Like
  • High-output
  • Works as a water conditioner
  • Low maintenance
  • Requires no tool for installation
  • Utilizes standard hose connections
What We Don’t Like
  • A bit costly
  • Heavy

What Is A Portable Water Softener For RV/ Who Is This For


Portable water softeners for RVs are water softeners explicitly designed for recreational homes, mobile homes, and campers. These units function the same way as the conventional water softener units used at home but at a smaller scale and with a more compact design.

Mostly during the summers, as you cruise the open and new roads on your RV, you will most likely be faced with hard water challenges. You’ll see more visible hard water stains on your water fixtures like dishes, sink, and faucets. You might be battling drier hair and itchy skin, and it’s not because of the heat of the sun but because of the mineral scaling and soap scum caused by your hard water.

Your portable water softener, such as a Travelsoft system, will help you take care of those issues and more. It can help you eliminate all your hard water problems and enjoy softer water and all its benefits.

Portable water softeners are generally easy and straightforward to install sans the need for complicated tools. If you can follow instructions and are determined to do this as a DIY project, then the installation is yours.

The most usual portable water softener being installed on RVs is the salt-based system. It follows the same principle as the household water softener that uses ion exchange to remove the calcium and magnesium in your water. The only difference is that you’ll only be using a single tank due to the limited space.

All RV owners should consider getting a portable water softener installed on their homes wheels vehicles. These on-the-go water softeners will be extremely helpful not just to the passengers. Still, your whole RV system will also enjoy its positive impact. Having a softener can be handy!

How Does It Work

On-the-go and portable water softeners work on a smaller scale compared to household and industrial water softeners. Usually, it would only have a single tank and being transportable is one feature that sets them apart. That’s why it’s easy to have a portable water softener on your RVs, boats, and campers.

Portable water softeners follow the same principle as the home and commercial water softener units. The main objective is to remove the magnesium and the calcium ions to stop the scaling and mineral buildup. Depending on the type of portable water softener you have on your RV, the approach in getting these hard minerals from settling may vary. Still, the result is the same, which is the production of soft water.

Your portable water softener unit has resin beads responsible for holding or containing the electrically charged ions. As the hard water flows or goes through the softener, the ions of magnesium and calcium are then attracted to these charged resin beads. This attraction results in the removal of the ions of magnesium and calcium. Once that’s completed, the hard water becomes softer.

Part of the water softening process is regeneration. It entails getting the resin beads soaked in sodium or salt ions. Salt is referred to as sodium chloride, so the stable brine solution that you mix or put into the resin will displace all the contained magnesium and calcium, and the resin beads will be salt-enriched again. The leftover brine plus all the magnesium and calcium will eventually be removed once you drain it from your water softener system.

Additionally, for portable water softening products to work, standard hose connections are used. These are common to RVs, all parks, and boat faucets. Portable water softeners also don’t need any tools during installation and when you decide to remove it from your recreational vehicle.

What Are The Different Types Of Portable Water Softener For RV


There are different types of portable water softeners for RVs. Getting info about every type can help you decide which one is the most suitable for you. Below are the primary ones, and each has a slightly different approach when it comes to softening your water.

Salt-based water softeners – the most common water softener type. They replace the magnesium and the calcium ions with salt ions, so these two elements can’t damage the water systems. This process is called ion exchange. RV owners who use this would agree that this is the most competent when removing the hard water in the RV’s plumbing and pipes.

Usually, this type will give you two tanks: one for the resin and one for the brine solution, but for RVs, it will just be a single resin tank. This is the most trusted choice you can make. A drawback, though, is moving it around and storage. You also must consider having a steady stash of sodium wherever you go to complete your RV water softener regeneration process.

Salt-free water softeners – as the name suggests, this type doesn’t use salt. Instead, it uses the power of potassium chloride salt, which is a salt substitute, to go through its regeneration process. This type doesn’t 100% remove the magnesium and calcium ions, so you are still prone to hard water. One advantage of this type though, is it takes up less space, and again, available space is a deal for RVs.

Electric and magnetic water softeners are also salt-free water softeners. They use magnetic force or electrical currents to modify the molecular composition of the hard water. This will cause the molecules to lose their ability to stick to the surface so no scale can be built. These types don’t get all the hard minerals in the water, but most of them. An electric and magnetic water softener is excellent in containing but not eliminating calcium and magnesium. Some RV owners go for these types because they are less expensive than salt-based and salt-free, plus they’re smaller.

Filters – using filters to soften water is also getting popular now because although it is not as effective as other options, it can still eliminate mostly the minerals that cause hard water. The first reason why RV owners opt for filters is that aside from removing the minerals, they can also provide safer water because they can also get rid of chemicals and metals.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Portable Water Softener For RV

Many people are now gearing towards getting a water softener for their homes and even portable ones for their RVs, mobile homes, boats, and campers. It is not surprising, though, because the effects of hard water can be devastating. At the onset, though, it should be clear that water softeners, both the portable ones and those being used at home and commercially, are not purifiers. These are designed to remove the hardness of water, including minerals, specifically magnesium and calcium. Here are some advantages of using a portable RV water softener:

Fixtures Last Longer this alone is already good. With sinks, faucets, and your RV pipes lasting longer, it would also mean lower maintenance costs. Mineral buildup is one of the main problems that RV owners must endure, and repair and replacements are not cheap. Thanks to water softeners, you can extend the life of your RV fixtures and allocate the budget to more important matters.

Stain-Free – It is most likely a top benefit if you have a travel buddy that is a woman. With a portable water softener, stains on the cutleries, dishes, glassware, sink, and tubs are things of the past. With these things being limited in an RV, it is helpful to keep them squeaky clean.

Easy Cleaning – Lathering soap and cleaning detergents can be challenging when there is too much hardness in your water. You end up using more of these cleaning agents because it just won’t lather as much as you expect. With water softeners, you save time on cleaning. You can maximize the use of your cleaners while achieving a satisfying gleam on your RV.

Since there are always two sides of every story, water softeners are not perfect, so here are some disadvantages:

Increased Sodium – It is specifically for salt-based and salt-free RV water softeners since softened water treated with salt can increase sodium or potassium intake, which might not be healthy to a certain extent. These two can be a factor in high blood pressure and hypertension.

Operational Cost – Salt is an additional cost, and a steady supply of salt should be baked into your budget. You must also consider the backwashing and the maintenance of the resin bed to ensure that your portable water softener is always in its best shape.

Environmental Impact – Because of its salt or potassium content, soft water is harder to recycle. The wastewater coming from your RV can add gallons and gallons of water that might end up in the streams or rivers. It is not for our freshwater system and for aquatic life.

Buying Guide


You need to factor in many considerations when it comes to deciding which kind of water softener you would be purchasing for your RV. When the market is heavily saturated with portable water softeners and each promises top-tier premiums, it is not easy to make a straightforward decision.

At this point, going through an intensive detective and research mode is a must. Here are some factors that you should concentrate on so you can choose the best portable water softener.

Type – if you want to have the most functional product, go for a salt-based camper water softener system because this type is deemed to get the job done. Note that any of the three types of water softener systems will be a great purchase depending on your circumstances and preferences. Find out the pros and cons of each RV portable water softener and do a self-assessment.

Size and Weight – space is minimal on an RV, and you don’t want your water softener system to be so intimidating. Yes, a large tank that can soften more water sounds good, but is it necessary? You must consider the number of people that you are traveling with, as this can be a smart indication of how large your unit should be. At best, find a water softener system that gives you three days of water use before it needs to regenerate.

Manufacturer – like any other product, some manufacturers are meant to be trusted. Their business delivers quality and reliable output. It is where the mixed and honest portable water softener reviews come into play. Read them because it can be an excellent source. Eventually, you’d find out that buying a product from a trusted brand will most likely increase your chances of being satisfied and happy with the unit that you will buy. Don’t settle for a manufacturer that just pays attention to profit but a brand that knows the portable water softener system. Consider starting with a Watt RV pro-1000 review, and you’ll end up being close to what you want.

User-friendliness – When something goes wrong with the water softener at your home, you can always call in an expert. But as for an RV water softener, it’s just you and the system all the time. Consider the ease of use from the very start, which is the installation, until the maintenance process you need to do. You want to be in partnership with your water softener unit and not end up hating it. A great example of a user-friendly as well as efficient system is the watts RV water softener.

Stress-free regeneration is an essential part of ensuring that your water softener will always work smoothly. Regeneration is when you need to refill your tank with salt. The time it takes to complete the regeneration is dependent on the size of your water softener and the salt dosage. The downtime can be anywhere between 15 minutes to half an hour. Another consideration you need to look at is the mouth opening. It should be significant to provide you with easier access when it is time to refill the salt. You want the salt inside the tank and not scattered outside the tank. Opening and closing should be a breeze, and there should be no disassembly required.

With these factors to consider, you can help yourself not to become the next victim of false advertising and bring home a water softener that is good for nothing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will portable water softener affect my water pressure?

A portable water deionizer or ion-exchange water softener does not impact water pressure, provided you connect it to the water supply line properly.

Besides incorrect mounting, clogging in the water softener and recharging cycle malfunctions can cause a drop in water pressure. You might notice this in the poor water stream from your pressure washer.

Many things can impact water pressure in trailers, motorhomes, RVs, marine vessels, homes, and car wash facilities. Damage to water appliances, malfunctioning water devices (i.e., water softeners and heaters), plumbing system clogs and obstructions, pump issues, hard water, and leaks can reduce water pressure.

Hence, even top-rated water softeners can underperform if they have obstructions or malfunctions.

Water softeners exchange sodium for magnesium, calcium, iron, and other minerals. Although these chemicals are microscopic, they can still clog the resin crosslinks. Water pressure reduction occurs when water descalers have sufficient mineral buildup.

Sadly, portable water softeners connect to supply lines with varying hardness levels. Linking it to an RV camp water line with 12-GPG water hardness can clog the softener and cause its pressure to drop.

How do I know when portable water softener needs to be replaced?

You will know it is time to replace a portable water softener for home when you notice tell-tale signs of hard water.

For example, soap or shampoo refusing to form a rich lather on the skin or hair during a shower is an excellent indicator of hard water.

A car wash service will use more pre-soaking solutions and detergents because these compounds react with calcium and magnesium in the water. Washing cars could be an expensive activity.

Hard water can also make clothes feel scratchy and stiff after laundry. Your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater might not function properly or show signs of damage.

A whitish substance might grow around faucets, pipes, and other water fixtures. You might even notice your drinking water tasting a bit “off” because of the increased hard minerals.

If you notice any of these signs, you will know it is time to replace the water softener.

How do I soften water when traveling?

You can add sodium carbonate to your water to neutralize magnesium and calcium and make the water “soft.” This technique should help improve your laundry water’s characteristics if you wash your clothes when traveling.

You can boil the water when camping and allow the hard minerals to stick to the pot’s bottom. It is not as efficient as a water softener, but this technique will suffice.

If you must clean your faucets, adding distilled white vinegar to the cleaning solution can prevent hard water stains.

Of course, you can always bring a portable water softener when traveling. For example, the Flow Pur RV-Pro 10000 is compact (8.5 inches x 20.5 inches) and lightweight (26 pounds) enough to bring to the campsite. You can enjoy water flow rates up to 4.0 GPM.

For those who want a low-maintenance choice, the Pro+Aqua water softener (WS-P-16 model) is excellent. This compact water softener only requires a 30-minute recharge, and it can soften 8.0 GPG water for 40 days or about 2,000 gallons.

You can also check the ratings of leading portable water softeners to choose the most suitable system to bring on your travels.

How often do portable water softeners need to be cleaned?

Although Consumer Reports does not have an article about water softener cleaning frequency, you can find maintenance recommendations online for the salt, resin tank, etc. Everything depends on the water softener’s components.

Homeowners should clean the brine tank (the sodium chloride compartment) every one to five years, depending on regeneration cycle frequency. Do this task when you add new salt, so there’s no need to reserve an extra day for washing.

The water softener’s resin tank does not require any cleaning until after ten to fifteen years, corresponding to the ion exchange resin’s longevity. However, pay attention to the beads or granules in the component. If your softener uses salt as usual but the water is still hard, the resin has reached its limit and needs replacing.

These figures are for standard water softeners, not portable versions. Hence, it would be safe to assume that portable water softeners require more frequent cleaning than their bigger counterparts.

Can portable RO systems soften water?

Yes, reverse osmosis (RO) water filtration systems can “soften” water.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes RO systems as effective in removing common chemical contaminants, such as lead, sodium, chromium, copper, chloride, other metal ions, and other aqueous salts.

The agency also adds that RO filters “MAY” reduce calcium, magnesium (the “hard water minerals”), sulfate, arsenic, potassium, phosphorus, and other minerals.

We emphasized “MAY” here to underscore the system’s variable water-softening capabilities. Although some RO filters might remove hard water minerals, others might not.

Reverse osmosis systems have filtration membranes that are 0.0001 microns in diameter, allowing them to trap the smallest particles. However, it’s better to get a softener if you have very hard water; this device will lighten the workload placed on your RO system so that it can last longer.

For Arizona homes (with an average hard water level of 210 to 350 ppm or 12.3 to 20.5 grains per gallon), this recommendation will lower water wastage as well.

What is the most trusted water softener for RV brands?

The most popular RV water softener brands include On the Go, Watts, and Mobile-Soft-Water among the rest, which was featured earlier. They are reputable and trusted by consumers worldwide because of their commitment to offering nothing but top-quality products that perform and last.

How do you regenerate a portable water softener?

An on the go water softener regeneration is something that you can accomplish and be mighty proud of afterward. The steps below will guide you on how you can regenerate your portable water softener. Note that these specific steps are for salt-based water softeners.

  1. Make sure that the water supply is off.
  2. Disconnect the outlet line from the outlet side of the water softener.
  3. Start draining the water. You can do this by tilting the unit over, or you can also turn it upside down. Make sure that the head or cap is on.
  4. You can proceed with removing the top cap.
  5. Determine the correct quantity of table salt and add it to your tank. There are several ways that you can add salt. You can either:
  6. Simply and directly pour the correct amount of salt into the water softener.
  7. Dilute the salt in warm water, and then once the salt is dissolved, you can pour the solution into the water softener.
  8. Pour the salt directly on your water softener then periodically and slowly pour water over the salt using a cup.
  9. Replace the top cap and turn on your water. Do a very slow rinse for the time directed by your water softener. The stream of water should just be the size of a pencil. Do this rinsing for 24 to 30 minutes.
  10. After half an hour, increase the water flow and do a full stream. Do this for 6 to 8 minutes.
  11. To ensure that the regeneration process is complete, use a hardness test strip on the water output. Soft water should be between 0-3 GPG. Note that at the end of the restoration process, the water should not be salty, nor should it have a salty aftertaste.

At this step, you have completed the regeneration process. Steps may vary. There might be some additional directions that you need to do or not do, based on your manufacturer’s direct recommendation.

How do I know what size water softener I need?

The size of your water softener is dependent on the hardness of your water and your overall water consumption. The hardness is the amount of calcium and magnesium content in your water. You can try getting this info from your local water utility or check it online too. Your water consumption is technically your usage. It’s best to check your water bill to get an average calculation. If you don’t have an available water bill, you can multiply the number of people in your household by 75 gallons per day.

To get your softening requirement daily, you must multiply your water hardness by your overall water consumption. Once you have your daily need, you can already multiply it by seven for the whole week. You can already check if your most suitable option is 24,000, 32,000, 48,000, or 64,000 grain capacity for your water softener. Note that you also must consider the regeneration process, which includes the amount of salt needed to complete the regeneration.

Don’t worry, though; there are online calculators available online, so you don’t need to do the math manually. You must get your hardness level and water consumption accurately so you can correctly get the correct size for your water softener.

How to set up and use?

The setup and installation of portable water softeners is manageable and doable. The on the go water softener instructions are often easy to understand and do. Here are the steps that you can follow for its initial hook up. Note that these steps are applicable for both standard and double standard water softeners, including park models.

  1. Ensure that the water feeding is turned off during the point of application
  2. Get the source water connected to the inlet of the water softener. Using a thread tape always comes in handy when it comes to securing water connections.
  3. Always make sure that the water softener unit is standing upright.
  4. Turn the water on so that the system can be flushed into the drain. Do this flushing for 2-3 minutes for the standard model and 4-6 minutes if you’re using the double standard system.
  5. Connect your water softener’s outlet to the point of application.

At this point, your portable water softener is all set and ready to be used. Note that this softener is not using salt, nor does it need an initial regeneration for first-time use. Also, do not attempt to remove any of the materials that you find inside the water softener tank.

Your system will then proceed and remove the hardness in your water. You can enjoy soft water that is better in quality and safer for everyone.

Where to buy?

With all said and done, you can now head to your local home depot or Walmart and bring home that portable water softener. Conveniently, you can just browse the pages of Amazon or even directly on the manufacturer’s website and order it from there.

Online deals are aplenty right now, and you might save more when you do it online. It also saves you time and energy of having to drive to your local store. You can now sit back and enjoy your steady supply of soft water. Getting that efficient and well-designed RV water softener can make your RV experience better.


Reap the benefits of softened water, including soft and smooth skin, healthy hair, and quality drinking water anywhere you go! We’re hoping you can select the best portable water softener for your RV in this buying guide and top-rated product reviews. Again, consider the factors that matter, including those highlighted earlier in this guide. Determine the right water softener capacity for your needs, set a budget that you can afford, and buy an easy to use and maintain RV water softener. Buy the right portable water softener today!

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