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The Best Upflow Water Softeners for 2023

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

In many households with hard water problems, the use of the best upflow water softener is standard. It is a must-have and energy-efficient appliance that softens water and improves water quality. Using it, you can eliminate hard water issues, such as unappealing odor, taste, and unhealthy drinking water.

best upflow water softener

Other problems that it can solve include dingy and stained clothes and streaks on glasses and plates. It can also prevent dry and damaged hair and itchy scalp. Additionally, a water softener can also help those with sensitive skin by solving issues such as rashes, itchiness, and dryness. Finally, this device can improve the soap’s lathering ability.

Choosing an upflow water softener is not that different from buying conventional water-softening systems with downflow technologies. However, some factors are more crucial than others, such as the following.

  • Capacity: Upflow water softeners have the same objective as downflow systems – reduce hard water minerals and prevent limescale formation. Therefore, the most trusted upflow water softener must accommodate as much calcium and magnesium as possible before it requires regeneration. A water softener with a higher grain capacity (i.e., 48,000) should last longer than a unit with a lower rating (i.e., 24,000).
  • Flow Rate: It is not unusual for water softeners to reduce water flow rates. If your household already suffers from lower GPM than the average, you might want a product with negligible effects on water flow. Picking a product with a higher GPM rating makes perfect sense (i.e., 15 GPM vs. 10 GPM).
  • Salt Requirements: One advantage of upflow water softeners is their lower salt requirements than downflow ones. However, it does not mean brands do not vary in salt consumption. Some products only use 300 pounds of salt, while others need 350 to 400 pounds.

Undoubtedly, a water softener can enhance the quality of water. To help you choose the most efficient water softener, keep reading this guide.

Top-Rated Products

Best Overall

Tier1 Digital Water Softener System


Editor’s Pick

Genesis 2 Water Softener


Best Value for Money

ABCWaters Water Softener


Table of Contents

Top-Tier Upflow Water Softener Reviews

1. Tier1 Digital Whole House Water Softener System

The Tier1 WS is a dependable point-of-entry water softener with an upflow technology. It promises to deliver better water-softening performance than conventional softeners with a downflow system, allowing homeowners to enjoy the many benefits of soft water while saving on salt and water.

Within its impressive design is an advanced ion exchange resin that accommodates 48,000 grains of calcium and magnesium. Families with moderate to hard water will never worry about unpleasant showers, clogged sinks and shower heads, latherless shampooing, and limescale-covered fixtures again.

Controlling the water softener’s regeneration cycle is also more straightforward than the Durawater Fleck 5600SXT. Users can adjust the cycle times based on the digital controllers. I like the user-friendly LCD displaying only relevant information. The text is simple, too. I commend Tier1 for ditching the symbols that can confuse first-time users.

Surprisingly, this water-softening system delivers a maximum water flow of 11.2 gallons per minute. It should be sufficient for a two- or three-bathroom household. Nobody will complain about not having enough soft water for their needs, even with simultaneous use.

This upflow water softener comes with a mineral resin tank filled with 1.5 cubic feet of the finest-quality resin beads. Families will also like the brine tank, water connections, and other components to make installation a breeze.

Families living in tiny spaces will love this system’s space-saving design. This upflow water softener can save households as much as four square feet of floor space.

Although I appreciate this high volume upflow water softener’s performance, I wish the company could shorten its regeneration time. Two hours might be short for some folks, but reducing the waiting time to only 30 minutes will make me give this product five stars.

Besides this issue, everything is perfect with this upflow water softener.
What We Like
  • 48,000-grain capacity for extended operation between regenerations
  • Delivers 11.2 gallons of water per minute
  • Fully digital controller with user-friendly LCD display for effortless operation
  • Complete system for installation ease
  • Space-saving design
What We Don’t Like
  • Long two-hour regeneration cycle

2. Genesis 2 High-Efficiency Water Softener

The Genesis 2 water softener is also commonly referred to as the Revolution, utilizing an upflow regeneration system. It can impressively deliver 20 gallons of water softened in just 60 seconds, making it one of the most reliable water softeners on the market today.

What makes this unit from the list of discount water softeners stand out is its ability to track the amount of water used. Most systems either regenerate once they reach the intended filtering capacity or regenerate as scheduled, say by 2 or 3 a.m., but the Genesis 2 regenerates smarter.

Once reaching the 3% mark of its filtering threshold, it already goes to a little regeneration cycle. It will partly start cleaning itself so you don’t have a prolonged interruption or downtime of service. It will continue with this short and tracked regeneration phase until the scheduled time for it to go on full regeneration mode.

Additionally, this product wins more points because it calculates the amount of salt brine required to complete the regeneration process, which helps you save on salt usage by up to 45%. It works as intended as a water softener, but at the same time, it doubles as a money saver for you too.

Everything about this upflow water softener is designed for your convenience. You will like how it has a built-in 7-day programmed flush cycle to remove stagnant water and address any possible bacterial growth. This feature gives you an added security layer when it comes to the quality of water that you and your family are using.

Ideal for a family of four, this softener with a 10% crosslink resin plus a larger than usual filtering capacity ensures that you’ll all have more than enough soft water to use.

For the win, Genesis 2 is also easy to set up and install. It also comes with the standard and usual 1 inch and ¾ inch fittings. For this bit, good DIY background and skills would be required to get the installation done.

What can deduct a point from this unit is its price. It is quite pricey than some of its competitors. However, excellent service and quality output always come with a price. Undoubtedly, this unit, with its amazing results, is an example of a smart but costly purchase.
What We Like
  • Automatically refreshes the system
  • Small regeneration process at 3% mark of threshold capacity
  • Saves on salt due to accurate calculation of usage
  •  10% crosslink resin
  • Possible DIY installation
What We Don’t Like
  • Quite expensive

3. ABCWaters Water Softener and Upflow Filtration

This water softener is designed for a typical family of 2 to 5 members. The ABCwaters water softener and upflow carbon filtration system are your well-rounded unit to ensure that hard water is part of your soon-to-be-forgotten history.

You’ll be satisfied with this complete water system with impressive features that can help you treat your hard water. With a flow rate that can be up to 12GPM, this one is guaranteed to be efficient. You’ll be happy with its dual carbon filtration system, too, which is proven to be the 100% solution for treating water with a level of hardness ranging from moderate to very hard.

The ABCwaters water softener can give you that level of security, knowing that it can remove various contaminants including the usual chlorine and iron, pesticides, and organic impurities. It gives your water that natural taste sans the metallic taste. It also does not give you that mucky water while it is undergoing the treatment.

With this, you and your family can enjoy the cleaner, greener, and overall, safer water. It has a 1.5 cubic feet of active carbon media derived from coconut shells, so you can expect the filtered water to be the purest that it can be. A 5600sxt valve meter controls the system, allowing it to work effortlessly. It gives you an overview of what’s happening in the background because it accurately surveys the amount of water you have left and the one that is currently being filtered.

For those eco-warriors, this unit doesn’t need electricity to function. The entire filtration cycle doesn’t require any backwash thanks to its upflow design. Ultimately, this is among a few of the genuinely eco-friendly systems and it is a 100% energy-efficient water softener.

According to the current users of the system,the customer support provided to its consumers is excellent, especially if you are planning to install this system yourself. Yes, it can be your next DIY project because the instructions are provided.

The only shortcoming of this softener is you’ll have to purchase the tubes separately. These tubes are for draining the resin tank for the regeneration cycle, connects to your water supply,and connects your carbon tank to your resin tank.

Overall, it is no wonder that this upflow water softener is a crowd favorite with good reviews. It works and exceeds expectations, and you will never go back to hard water again.

What We Like
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Computerized valve to provide accurate previews
  • No wastewater
  • High capacity
  • Adequately supply for large households
What We Don’t Like
  • Incomplete tubes and connectors

4. SoftPro Elite Plus High-Efficiency Water Softener

One of the top favorites when it comes to the next generation water softeners using an upflow technology is the Softpro water softener. Like its name, it is indeed elite thanks to its many pluses when it comes to features. It is your ultimate choice if you are looking for efficiency, convenience, and durability.

For the past 30 years, the SoftPro Elite Plus is one of the two water softener systems that save a lot of water and salt. Imagine going from 2 to 5 bags of salt every month to 2 to 5 bags for 12 months. The savings involved is a considerable help to the budget.

This system follows a reverse flow regen scheme. It drives the hardness of the minerals up through the already washed-out resin and out to the drain, which saves the salt and the fresh portion of the resin for the next use.

Based on the results of online water softener efficiency comparison reviews, efficiency is the SoftPro Elite Plus trademark. Yes, it costs more, but the additional bucks are worth it. This unit has a primary control valve that is advanced. Its4-line touchpad LCD is without confusing and frustrating codes and symbols.

Additionally, you’ll get a whole filtration system for the entire house. The whole family can enjoy better-tasting water, not to mention water without smells or metallic after-tastes. It utilized a media-guard KDF 55 filter to remove those unwanted and unpleasant lead and other heavy metals from your city water.

You will like that its resistance to chlorine is better. Also, it has a 10% crosslink resin, making it more resistant to chlorine plus a more robust bond so it can last longer.

Less chlorine in water is always best because it would personally mean softer hair, skin, and laundry for you. It also means additional dollars not being spent on soap, shampoo & conditioner, and detergent because you’d use them less. Moreover, days of watermarks, rust stains, and mineral scaling would be over.

With a 32,000-grain capacity and one that is pre-loaded with resin, installation can be something you can quickly and efficiently accomplish. Anyway, calling in a plumber is always a good option.

The minor hitch for this is it doesn’t have a base model. However, the bottom line is that the Soft Pro Elite is the top-tier one for you. The values and premiums that come with it are worth the price, making it a cost-effective investment in the long run.
What We Like
  • More savings but less salt and water use
  • 10% crosslink resin
  • More powerful chlorine resistance
  • LCD design
  • Adequately supply for large households
What We Don’t Like
  • Lack of a base model

What Is An Upflow Water Softener/ Who Is This For


An upflow water softener is the new norm and technology in the world of water softeners. It is perceived to be a more effective means of removing the hardness from your water. As the name suggests, an upflow unit will direct your water upwards.

An upflow water softener will inject your hard water to the bottom of the tank. This is where your resin settles down. It will then allow it to flow forward via the media layer before you get your result of soft water through the tap. This kind of water softener undergoes an anti-gravity motion that stops it from producing a tunneling effect. It does not compress your tank’s resin.

Upflow water softeners also use less salt and water, which makes it a cost-effective system. It also does not require any backwashing. Ultimately, this type of water softener is what manufacturers are adopting today because it is more efficient. Yes, it is pricier, but you’ll reap more savings as time goes by.

This water softener unit is top-quality and recommended for folks who want soft water and take advantage of all the benefits that come with it. If you are looking for a high-efficiency water softener, then an upflow is for you. It is the choice for folks who want to grow their savings and not keep on buying salt or replacing the pipes because of mineral build-up.

This is a system for smart and practical homeowners and even business owners who want a better quality of water.

How Does It Work

Besides knowing the answer to “what size water softener for a family of 4,” you might also be interested in finding out how a water softener with an upflow technology works.

An upflow water system allows a more accurate recharge of the resin, so the system will just need to restore the depleted resin and not the whole resin tank. This system pushes the hardness away from the resin and into the drain, which is the opposite of the downflow system that leads ‘dirty’ water through the treated charged, clean resin.

The upflow unit swirls the water, therefore removing channeling that can occur in a downflow water softener system, consequently getting an extended resin life. The water softener principle of removing the hardness in your water via the exchange of water ions is still the same. It will remove the hard minerals, including magnesium and calcium, and exchange it to sodium or salt ions; thus, your soft water is produced.

Note that although the magnesium and the calcium has removed, the sodium remains dissolved in your water and will not form any scale. It also does not have any adverse effect on general cleaning products like soap.

The salt that is being released by the charged resin is contained in the softener. It is the same resin that is also responsible for trapping the magnesium and calcium ions of your water. In due course, the resin would release all its salt and accumulated ions, thus the need to regenerate. The regeneration is done by washing the resin using a salt-drenched solution that will remove the magnesium and the calcium while at the same time reloading the salt of the unit.

Buying Guide

Yes, the upflow water softener system finally has your buy-in, so it is time to get that unit to your home. Ultimately, deciding on getting one is entirely different from ensuring you get the best upflow water softener. If budget is not an issue, then a Genesis or a pro logic high-efficiency water softener should make it to your top three choices.

There is some consideration to ensure that you bring home the correct one for you and the whole family. Here’s a buying guide than help you make the ultimate decision:

Size and capacity – it would be smart to reflect on your daily water consumption and the number of people in your household. You can calculate what size of water softener for a family of 4 or 6 should be. Usually, considering the number of bathrooms, the service flow rate, and most importantly, the level of water hardness. You should have a minimum of 48,000 grains for a family of 4. Many available online calculators can help you determine the right size for your household. The right size will then dictate the budget for water, salt, and maintenance.

Convenience and ease of use – opt for an upflow water softener that is easy to use with features that can help you understand what’s happening in the background. Some have digital touch-screen LCDs that can tell you exactly how much water is left on your unit and how much water is being processed.

Keeping track without the confusing jargon and codes can help you use your unit to its maximum. Another part of the ease of use would be the initial experience with the water softener. Most water softener units can be installed easily. However, you should also consider your skills and find out if there are enough online instructions for a successful installation.

 Functionality and Effectiveness – the main reason you’d even consider getting a water softener is that you are tired of hard water and its destructive effects, so you must make sure that your future unit’s brand and model is excellent in doing that. Check how reliable it is when it comes to removing the hard minerals from your water. Other things that you must consider when it comes to efficiency will be the materials that make the water softener work, like the crosslink resin percentage. This filter is responsible for removing the iron, chlorine, and other metals.

The internet can be a powerful resource for information, and almost everyone can access honest reviews from fellow consumers. It would be nice to consider the current water softener systems that your family, friends, and even neighbors use to have first-hand experience of the quality of water that comes out of their tap. It takes time, patience, and a lot of information before you can finally decide on which upflow water softener you’ll buy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Upflow vs Downflow water softener: Which one is better?

A huge factor that you need to consider if you are looking into having a water softener at home will be the type of unit. Right now, it’s a debate between an upflow vs. downflow softener. Of course, both have their strengths and opportunities, and knowing this information can help you decide.

Upflow water softeners direct your water in the upflow fashion, meaning the water goes through the water tank’s bottom in a spinning motion, going up and through the resin. Meanwhile, a downflow water softener would be traveling more. It directs the water flow from the entrance of your tank. Then, through an upper holding basket, it flows down and around the outside of the distributor’s cylinder before getting to the water’s resin. After it reaches the resin, it will further continue into the riser tube’s bottom basket. Then from there, the water travels up the same tube and then exits the tank.

In comparison to their process, an upflow water softener where you won’t have any issues with channeling can cause you to save thousands of water gallons and thousands of pounds in salt while downflow systems are deemed to be wasteful on both elements.

If you compare data usage for four families, a downflow system will likely be using 912 pounds of salt annually with a rate of 76 lbs. monthly to ensure that the unit is efficient. In contrast, if this same family uses an upflow unit, they’ll only be using 360 pounds yearly with a monthly rate of 30 lbs. In a 15 years operation, the family can save 8,280 lbs. of salt. Do that math and find out how that translates into savings.

Furthermore, most downflow water softener units are scheduled to run its regeneration process on specific days at a time. Once set, it doesn’t consider the volume of water usage. This would mean that there would be times that there is already soft water available. Still, since a regeneration needs to kick in, these treated softened water would have to go to waste. An example of this would be the 5600-fleck water softener. Lastly, downflow water softeners would also need backwashing to raise its media filter.

In summary, these two water softener categories can get the job done to soften your water and help rid of chlorine and iron but based on different features and premiums. An upflow system proves to be the more efficient system, thus a better choice for you.

Is upflow water softener worth the investment?

An upflow salt water softener system is an excellent investment for households that want to save money, water, time, and effort. This technology has several distinct advantages over conventional downflow systems.

Upflow water softeners do not require periodic backwashing because the ion exchange components undergo constant “cleaning” every time the system spirals the water upward. No backwashing translates to zero water waste.

Many upflow systems also feature vortex-like operations, allowing the water to extend its contact time with the iron exchange media. The swirling effect improves water-softening performance, maximizes the resin beads, and reduces salt consumption. An excellent example is the US Water Systems Matrixx Smart Metered Water Softener.

Upflow systems do not waste water and do not require electricity to run. They might be pricey, but the water and electricity savings you get in the long run are more than enough to offset any cost concerns.

Are upflow water softeners more expensive?

Yes, upflow water softeners are more expensive than downflow systems. For example, the Neo Pure High-Efficiency Up-Flow Series Water Softener can cost you more than a thousand dollars.

Other examples are the Springwell salt based water softener and the salt-free version. Both of these will set you back at least 2 grand – this is a discounted price. If you get these at the list price, you’re expected to pay over $4000.

And then there is Fleck vs Genesis water softener. These water-softening systems are high-performance technologies but with a hefty price tag. For example, their water softeners with carbon pre-filters cost families around $1,500 for the Genesis Revolution Duo and $1,800 for the Fleck 5810 XTR2.

Upflow water softeners are expensive because they feature complicated liquid engineering to deliver various benefits, including reduced brine usage, more effective water-softening, low-cost operation, and zero channeling.

Is an upflow water softener more difficult to install?

Yes, an upflow water softener is more challenging to install than a downflow one. That said, setups should not bother you because most manufacturers recommend professional installation—which is easy to understand why.

This water-softening system features advanced fluid engineering technologies that allow water to circulate upwards against gravity. It is a complicated device that requires well-trained professionals to handle and set up.


It is best to opt for an upflow and high-flow water softener for a more practical and cost-efficient approach. It does the job of removing the hard minerals from your water and, at the same, allows you to save on salt, water, and effort. The water softener is an excellent investment. After a year or two, it practically pays for itself and gives you additional savings. It is a trustworthy and reliable system that would ensure that you’re well supplied with soft water for a very long time. The quality you get in exchange for it is well worth it. Buy the best upflow water softener today!

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