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The Best Water Softener Resins for Softer & Cleaner Water

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

If you have issues with hard water, using a water softener to convert it into soft water is the top-rated solution. It eliminates problems with limescale buildup and plumbing stains. The product also helps improve soap lathering and the quality of water for bathing. With a water softener, you can also prevent dry skin and itchy hair and scalp. Therefore, people use the best water softener resin so that their system will function properly.

best water softener resin

But then, it can be hard to figure out the most solid resin that does not need frequent replacement. Buying resins for your water softener can be daunting, especially if it is your first time replacing them. Choosing the most trusted option is easy if you consider the following factors.

  • Crosslink: Water softener resins have divinylbenzene crosslinks that serve as “exchange sites” for hard minerals. Most models use an 8% crosslink resin, with an average lifespan of ten years. Although its longevity seems great, this resin is more vulnerable to chlorine and iron effects. A stronger and more durable option is a 10% crosslink resin. It is suitable for water softeners in homes with chlorinated water supplies.
  • Safety: Most water softeners are whole-house systems, although some are point-of-use units. The water from these gadgets must be free from impurities. Hence, the softener resin must be FDA-certified food-safe.
  • Volume: How much resin your water softener needs depend on its dimensions. For example, a 9×40-inch tank requires about a cubic foot of resin, while a 10 x 54-inch unit needs about 1.5 cubic feet. Some 50-pound bags are good for a cubic foot, although a few products are less efficient (i.e., 0.88 cubic foot at 53 pounds).

For help, I’ve compiled a list of the most recommended products and highlighted their pros and cons. I’ve also discussed the essential factors to consider when shopping around for this product.


Top-Rated Products

Best Overall

Purolite C100E


Best Value



Most Budget-Friendly

iFilters Water Softener Resin


Table of Contents

Most Trusted Water Softener Resin Reviews

1. Purolite C100E Resin Water Softener

The Purolite C100E Resin Cationic replacement for soft water is ideal for you and the entire household, especially if your water source is private wells. Wells are known to have high iron content so aside from the problems caused by hard water. You’d also have to struggle with the red iron rust stains.

The Purolite water softener resin is designed with the harshest possible water conditions in mind. Therefore, it ensures that any issues rooted in hard water will be addressed. After all, your family can enjoy the water with better quality. Your water can be used for both drinking and cooking without the problems that go with hard water with high iron levels.

Besides solving the adverse effects of hard water in your water fixtures and plumbing, you’d also get to take advantage of the product’s capability to eliminate the aftertaste in your water. The metallic taste of iron is often a discouragement in consuming water. So with it removed, you can start meeting the daily water needs and even more of your body.

Moreover, the Purolite c-100e cationic resin can work well with various types of water softener systems. This brand has exceeded the pertinent EEC requirements and is strictly in compliance with the US Food & Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations. This standard ion exchange resin is clear or amber in color.

One thought to consider though, is that the quality of your water would significantly impact your resin bed’s longevity. The poorer the water quality supply you have means that you need replacements more often. It is an excellent resin for all water softeners. As it is made in the US, you can expect a consistent and higher standard when it comes to reliability and effectiveness.
What We Like
  • Safe for drinking and cooking
  • Removes iron
  • Removes water aftertaste
  • Compatible with all water softener systems
  • FDA approved
What We Don’t Like
  • Longevity depends on your water source

2. AFWFilters SOFRES1 Water Resin

Hard water can be a problem in every household. Thanks to water softener systems, putting an end to this problem can be possible. One factor that plays an important part in salt-based water softeners is resin. There are many water softener resin types available on the market today based on color and size.

The ever-trusted AFWFilters SOFRES1 water resin bag replacement softener in 1 cubic foot is hugely popular right now. It is the typical ion exchange resin or cation type in black. It is an all-time favorite because it is safe for residential use and has excellent long-term efficiency.

Although not ideal for commercial use, it is capable of dissolving suspended materials and removing the excess minerals found in water like iron and manganese. It can also filter other water contaminants like dirt, rust, and sediment, ensuring that your water is not just softer but even cleaner. You can be assured of using safe water for cooking and drinking for the family.

You would also like that the ion exchange water softener resin is compatible with the standard water softeners typically used in households. It is NSF and FDA approved for your peace of mind. It is also good to know that the replacement process is easy and can be a DIY project.

The only setback for the AFWFilters is the funnel for filling the resin tank needs to be purchased separately. In conclusion, if you are after high-quality resin replacement, then this is by far the most trusted choice for you.
What We Like
  • Safe for residential use
  • Long-lasting effectiveness
  • Can filter water contaminants
  • Can remove manganese and iron
  • NSF and FDA approved
What We Don’t Like
  • Funnel needs to be purchased separately

3. iFilters Water Softener Resin

One reason why people have second thoughts when it comes to investing in resins is the high cost. Budget-conscious folks who can only spare so much can now enjoy the same benefits of better water quality, thanks to the iFilters Water Softener Resin.

This low-budget resin can be the perfect replacement for your old resin bed so that you can aid your water softener and have it functioning at its best for more years to come. This water softener resin is designed to do 100% ion exchange. Our hard water can be converted to soft water without causing any problems to your water softener system.

The iFilters Water Softener Resin is NFC certified. This product’s certification gives you confidence and assurance that your water will be free from any hazardous components.

Moreover, this resin has an 8,000-grain capacity. This feature makes it very ideal for residential homes where the demand and need for soft water are reasonable and attainable.

You are also not limited to your home’s water softener because this is also compatible with portable systems like those in RVs. Wherever you are, you can stop worrying about hard water and its adverse effects on you, your water fixtures, and to your plumbing and pipes.

The only small disadvantage of the iFilters resin media replacement is that the quantity is not for households with many members. Being straightforward and cost-efficient makes water softener resin perfect for your needs. It is the ultimate choice for those working on a budget but still want the best quality for resins.
What We Like
  • Highly recommended for residential use
  • NFC certified
  • Budget-friendly
  • 100% ion-exchange
  • Compatible with most residential water softener systems
What We Don’t Like
  • Not ideal for larger households

4. Aquatrol Water Softening Resin

NSF certified this resin softener from Aquatrol gives you a level of control when it comes to transforming your hard water into better quality and preferable soft water. Aquatrol has established a big name when it comes to the development of residential-use resins.

These resin beads can form a mesh for 8% cross-linked polystyrene and divinylbenzene. These can catch elements like iron, Sulphur, and other minerals. The Aquatrol water softener resin is ideal because it effectively removes these harmful elements from your water. It can do that without putting too much pressure on your resin bed.

It is also good to know that this product, which is very user-friendly thanks to its pouring flap, is NSF certified. Use it for drinking and cooking without the worry of any health complications. This amber standard ion exchange resin may not be considered a high-end water softener. Still, it is a bang for the buck favorite because of its 100% effectiveness and longevity.

It is also worth sharing that the Aquatrol CAT100E resin boasts exceptional hydraulic features for you to get the optimum backwash flow and flow rates. It has a high capacity and an impressive porosity advantage that makes it a great addition to your current water softener system.

One key feature of this resin that might be a drawback for some is that it is only designed and top-rated and recommended for residential use and residential water softener systems. More extended longevity and consistent reliability are just two essential benefits you get from this resin. Having steady access to water with higher quality is another one that makes this the best water softener resin cleaner for you.
What We Like
  • Safe for drinking and cooking
  • NSF certified
  • Superb chemical stability
  • Has a pouring flap for additional convenience
  • Can remove iron, Sulphur, and other unpleasant minerals
What We Don’t Like
  • Residential water softener system compatible only

5. Resin High Capacity Water Softener

This is a must-have for your home and tools improvement stash. The resin high-capacity replacement water softener has an eight percent crosslink resin. It features up to 16,000 grain capacity per ½ cubic feet. It is also very much capable of being an alternative to most resins in the market today.

You will surely be a fan of this porous and high-capacity water softener resin in bead form. It is polystyrene sulfonate cation exchange that is for residential and commercial use. It is highly capable of removing the hardness, iron, calcium, and magnesium from your water while also switching it with sodium ions.

If you are a homeowner, you know the devastating effects of hard water. It promotes mineral and limescale buildup as well as causes clogs in the pipes. Minerals like iron can cause red stains in your supposedly clean sinks and tubs. You’d be investing time to do the maintenance and money for repairs and replacements. It is not a beautiful picture, and you can change that by supporting your water softener systems using these resins. With this product, you can enjoy better water that tastes good for a long time.

One thing that can be improved on the water softener resin though, would be the packaging. It would be nice to have some information about the product and even some quick FYIs about it. The generic packaging may cause a lot of new shoppers to ignore the product. Existing users of this resin replacement are happy with their purchase and experience, so would if you try this yourself?
What We Like
  • 8% crosslink
  • Removes calcium and iron
  • Suitable for residential and industrial use
  • Reduces limescale and mineral buildup
  • Budget-friendly
What We Don’t Like
  • The packaging is not informative or inviting

6. HydroTec Systems H2O Softener Resin

Here is another option for you if you are looking for a resin replacement for your current water softener. It doesn’t matter if it will be used for industrial, residential, and commercial use. Regardless, it will work, and you’d be happy with the results.

The H20 Mobile water softener resin ion exchange from HydroTec systems is your system on the go. That’s why a lot of RV users are happy with the results. Anyone, including you, will be satisfied with having soft water.

It gives you water with higher quality and allows you to save money too. Now you do not need to worry about budget adjustment because there is no mineral buildup or scale in your water system. Consequently, there will be no expense for repairing pipes and showerheads.

You can rejoice because those days are over. This resin is perfect for those who want to reduce water spots, prevent those unflattering rust iron stains, increase soap lather, and get softer and smoother skin. You also don’t need to work with the metallic aftertaste of your water because that would be gone too.

This resin is very compatible and would work well with your water softener less the complicated adjustments. One disadvantage of this product though, is the lack of specific information about it that can provide that level of assurance to potential buyers. Sometimes, all you need is to be brave and try new things, resins included. Current users are satisfied with this product, so it means that it delivers well and does what it is expected to do.
What We Like
  • 8% cross-linked water softener resin
  • Suitable for residential, commercial, or industrial use
  • Perfect for RVs
  • Extends the life of your water fixtures and plumbing system
  • Large-Mouth Opening for easy pour
What We Don’t Like
  • Very limited FYIs

Outdated Products

Oceanic Water Softening Resin Ion Exchange Softener Resin (Outdated)

Oceanic water systems are new in the resin industry. So far, they are a perfect start as users have been raving about how fast and effectively their products solve hard water issues.

The Oceanic water softening resin is something that you can use for years and years. It is highly compatible with all standard water softeners. It works exceptionally well, and you can use your soft water moving forward for cooking, bathing, and laundry. You can even safely use it for your dishwasher.

You can make sure that this will cover a large surface area because its beads are incredibly porous. The whole replacement process to get the resin in place can also be a DIY for you. It is simple enough, and with the availability of videos online, you would have no issues getting it done. It can be a challenging but fun and worthwhile activity plus the fact that you save some dollars by not hiring a professional.

Restoring your water softener with this resin can also give you that confidence and peace of mind with the knowledge that it is both NSE and FDA-approved. You surely don’t want to compromise the health of yourself and your loved ones. And with this resin, there would be no further discussions because it is 100% hands down safe.

Ideally, for residential use, one downfall of this resin is its cost. The cost is the main factor why a lot of folks with a limited budget have second thoughts in investing in the product. If you want a resin for your water softener systems for high-quality output, you might wish to use the Oceanic Water Systems Water Softening Resin.
What We Like
  • 10% cross-linked water softener resin
  • Beads are extremely porous
  • Installation can be DIY
  • NSE and FDA approved
  • Good for residential use
What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

Tier1 IER-100 Ion Exchange Water Softener Resin (Outdated)

The Tier1 IER-100 ion-exchange water softener resin has a ten percent crosslink and can be suitable for residential and commercial use. It is compatible with almost all water softener systems, so you don’t need to make any changes to make it work. It almost works like the water softener resin Kinetico.

This resin can saturate your hard water until it becomes softer and safe for consumption. As a result, you get water for direct drinking and cooking. Your water fixtures and appliances also share definite advantages because there’d be lesser mineral buildup and stains, leading to a longer lifespan of your water system.

As soon as the DIY installation is done, this ion exchange resin automatically goes to work. There is no downtime or waiting period before you experience fantastic results.

This resin can potentially save you from purchasing a new water softener system altogether. It is made with high-quality porous gel which is empowered with polystyrene acid cation. Those specifications result in improved quality of your water; you can get used to softer and cleaner laundry and a different feeling of freshness after showering. You will never go back to hard water after incorporating this water-softener resin into your system.

One thought to consider, though, before purchasing this product is the cost because, for a 25-liter bag, it can only conquer 0.88 cubic feet of your resin bed. This would mean you need more bags and can be an expensive cost for you. Overall, this is a resin that works excellently, and it delivers as expected. This is worth every penny.
What We Like
  • Safe for drinking and cooking
  • Lesser mineral buildup and stains
  • Installation can be DIY
  • Cross-linked resin at 10%
  • Suitable for residential and commercial use
What We Don’t Like
  • A bit pricey primarily if used in households

American Water Solutions Strong Acid Water Softening Resin (Outdated)

American Water Solutions has been a constant and reliable brand when it comes to water softeners. This durable acid water softening resin is perfect for households whose water has high chlorine levels. You’d appreciate that this is a chlorine-resilient media, and it has a longer life than the natural resin.

This resin comes ten percent stronger, which is way better than the usual eight percent usually found in the market. Its resins are coated with an additional layer that helps weather the breakdown process when it comes to connection with Chloramines and Chlorine.

You can also enjoy moving forward water that is softer, which is better water for you and the whole family. This is guaranteed safe. You can use it automatically for cooking and drinking without having to worry about any health hazards. What’s more, is this resin works very well with the regular water softener units being used today in most households. You don’t need to worry about additional expenses being incurred.

Speaking of costs, you’d also realize that this investment would save you money in the long run. You won’t need to buy chemicals anymore to help reduce the mineral buildup in your water fixtures. At the same time, there won’t be surprises as well for sudden repairs and replacements. Additionally, this is not something you purchase weekly or monthly, but this resin will last for years.

As a potential user of this resin, you’d have to be proactive in getting some information about this product. Overall, this is a product that works effectively, and it deserves its current five-star rating. Give it a try yourself so you can reap its many advantages.
What We Like
  • Resin comes with 10% cross-linked
  • Perfect for water with high chlorine levels
  • Good for residential use
  • Cost-efficient
  • Longer life than the usual resins
What We Don’t Like
  • Limited product information available

Indion Water Softener Ion-exchange Resin (Outdated)

The Indio Water Softener 225 Na F ion-exchange softener with its golden yellow to brown beads are uniquely designed to handle foods, drinks, drinkable water, and water used in the processing of food. You can feel safe knowing that it is compliant with the US Food and Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations. Hence, it is non-toxic for human consumption.

As a shopper and consumer, you’d appreciate being able to get your money’s worth when it comes to the products you purchase. This is entirely the case for the Indion water softener ion exchange water softener resin. The product is sturdy.

It has outstanding physical and chemical features that can work with any of your existing water softener systems. It can be a GE water softener resin replacement. For example, you don’t need to tweak anything in your current process.

You’d be happy to know that this product is also very efficient in removing iron and calcium from your water. It would mean that you’d have lesser problems dealing with the constant buildup coming from these minerals that negatively impact your water fixtures, pipes, and plumbing systems. With the iron being removed, you’d also see a reduction of those nasty red stains on your sinks and tubs.

As it removes the hardness in your water, you can start enjoying the benefits of soft water. You’d experience that you feel cleaner after a shower and can quickly lather your soap and shampoo. Your laundry also feels softer, and the colors more vibrant.

For some, a minor drawback of this product is quality control issues. It is an excellent product for those who love to do little DIY projects. It works and gives you the output that is expected each time.
What We Like
  • Beads are incredibly porous.
  • Installation can be DIY.
  • NSE and FDA approved
  • Good for residential use
  • Removes iron and calcium
What We Don’t Like
  • Quality control issues

LiquaGen Ion-Exchange Resin Cation (Outdated)

The Liquagen resin is a top recommendation for homemakers who have battled the destructive effects of hard water continuously. The limescale buildup and the stains all go hand in hand with having hard water, and it can cause additional expenses due to repairs and replacements that need to be done.

You can finally put an end to these problems thanks to the LiquaGen Water Softening Ion Exchange Resin. Unlike the competition on the market, this product takes pride in having a 10% cross-linked resin, making it a better agent to remove all the excess iron molecules of your water. Moving forward, you’d find yourself scrubbing less those stubborn red iron stains and starting to enjoy the water of higher quality.

Another plus for this black soft ion exchange resin is the accompanied loading funnel. You don’t need to buy one separately so you can easily replace the resin of your mineral tank. Additionally, it will help you save on the resin and use it efficiently because the funnel can help direct the formula into your water softener. There’ll be less waste and spills.

This product has a unique formulation that makes it more efficient in chemical and physical stability. This improved competence all starts with its bead form and first-class stable acid cation. Additionally, the LiqguaGen has been designed with drink and food beverages in mind, so it should give you peace of mind that your water is safe.

One drawback here will be the price as it is a little bit pricey for a 26-pound pack if you compare it to the other resins. With a life span and with consistently impressive results, the LiquaGen Water Softening Ion Exchange Resin is worth its value.
What We Like
  • Comes with a funnel
  • Efficient physical and chemical stability
  • Can remove iron
  • Higher cross-linked resin
  • Extended life expectancy
What We Don’t Like
  • Costs more compared to others

Watts A4004033B RV Pro 1000 Resin (Outdated)

The Watts A4004033B replacement water softener resin does an excellent job of transforming your hard water into better, softer water, and bringing all the benefits that come with it. You can forget about the days when you’d have to settle with the after-effects of hard water.

Using this product would mean that you can enjoy many advantages of soft water. Ideally, this resin is most suitable for residential users with a small household; you can immediately feel and taste the water’s transformation after going through your water softener system. The overall quality of taste and texture is immediate.

One most significant factors why the Watts RV Pro replacement water softener resin gets the buy-in of shoppers is its price. With a relatively affordable price, you won’t have any issues with the recommendation of having these changed every nine months. It is to ensure that your water softener is up to its optimum performance. It doesn’t put too much strain on the budget, and you’d be happy to know that even if it has a reasonable price, the results are the best.

One significant improvement that the Watts A4004033B can improve though would be the packaging. It is simply not user-friendly, and you’d need to use a funnel so you can pour as much resin as possible into your cartridge and not waste it.

Expect some spills so you really must be careful with handling it, or else you’d end up more of it on the floor instead of your container. It is a product that would make budget-conscious folks happy and satisfied. Overall, it is one of the finest resins around that you can trust.
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Durable and consistent with the output
  • Improves the overall quality of your water
  • Resin beads are of superb quality
  • Expect quick water transformation
What We Don’t Like
  • Poor packaging

What Is Water Softener Resin/ Who Is This For


Almost everybody has dealt with problems regarding hard water, more so for homeowners. Simply put, hard water is just water having an excess of “hard minerals.” These hard minerals are usually ions of various substances such as manganese, copper, zinc, iron, aluminum, calcium and magnesium, and many others.

While it may not be a health hazard, hard water may bring disastrous effects to your home if you’re not careful. Due to its contents, hard water can damage your home’s plumbing systems and pipes to the point that you might experience clogging and, sometimes, constant repairs.

Hard water can also affect specific devices, such as kettles and the like. Because of hard water substances, the lifespan of these devices is considerably shortened.

Moreover, hard water also affects the efficacy of cleaning agents and products. Hence, you might find it difficult to wash away the white, filmy residue it produces.

Hard water might also cause skin irritations, especially for those with sensitive skin. A good number have experienced skin problems and allergies ever since they used hard water. Aside from that, hard water also tends to dull the appearance of hair.

To solve these problems, homeowners have purchased and used water softeners. Salt-based models are especially popular and effective.

These softener types use a medium called water softener resin beads to facilitate the ion exchange process and remove these excess substances. Resin replaces the positive charges of these hard minerals to leave you with soft water.

How Does It Work

Salt-based water softeners remove all the excess minerals and substances found in hard water through the ion exchange process. Depending on their model and make, these water softeners usually come with a mineral tank and 1 or 2 brine tanks.

The mineral tank houses the medium called resin, which in turn contains many resin beads of different sizes depending on the manufacturer. These beads have an opposite electrical charge and contain sodium ions, which are used to attract the hard minerals. Ergo, because of this, resin beads can be considered the softener’s most crucial component responsible for softening the water.

As such, when water passes through these beads, the beads’ different charge reacts with that of the water. This interaction causes these minerals to stick into the beads, effectively removing them from the water.

In turn, the resin beads then replace the lost minerals with sodium ions or potassium ions, depending on the manufacturer. With this, the water is gradually softening.

As a result of constant, these resin beads will eventually run out of sodium ions and be full to the brim with these hard minerals. One might find their water softeners not working as effectively as before in these situations.

Once this happens, the salt-based water softener automatically goes through the regeneration process. Also known as brining, this process utilizes a salt-brine mixture to wash and flush away the hard substances stuck in the resin.

Due to their importance, it’s crucial to get high-quality water softening resin for a smooth-sailing experience.

What Are The Different Types Of Water Softener Resins


Resin mediums are found in salt-based water softeners to facilitate the ion exchange process. Currently, there are only two types of resin mediums, but still, people often have a hard time choosing between them.

This section will list down the different types of resin mediums available in the market.


Standard Ion-Exchange

It is typical in most salt-based water softeners. The most suitable resin for water softener comes in two sizes (8% cross-linked and 10% cross-linked). They can effectively remove hard minerals between 3 to 5 PPM. During the regeneration process, they either use sodium and chlorine to recover.

Aside from softening the water, ion exchange resins also aid in the water purification process, by removing organic contaminants like copper, lead, etc.

Fine Mesh

It is small-sized resin bead that can get rid of hard minerals up to 10 PPM. Usually, it is combined with activated carbon to improve the water’s smell, taste and feel.

Due to their small size, excellent mesh resin medium has problems with resin migration. Hence, you might want to place a gravel resin bed or a single riser screen.


Resin mediums also differ in terms of sizes, as indicated in the crosslink. A crosslink is a connection between the resin beads’ core, which is tightened by the cross-linked Divinylbenzene (DVB). There are currently two available.

8% Crosslink

The 8% model is the most common type in the market and is said to hold more water due to having larger resin beads. They are ideal to use in well water or medium to tough water.

These types have an effectivity of 3 to 5 PPM. They are quite durable, lasting up to 10 to 15 years, depending on the water quality.

However, it’s essential to check and monitor its condition continually. It can be easily damaged by various factors such as attrition, oxidation, etc.

10% Crosslink

These types are usually found in high-end salt-based water softeners and appear to be more durable than their 8% counterparts. As such, they work well in municipal well. On the downside, however, they tend to cause higher pressure drops due to their size and disposition.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using Water Softener Resin

Water softener resin replacement is essential for the overall health and condition of your water softener. If you don’t know, these parts are necessary as they contain the resin beads for the ion exchange process. Hence, it’s crucial to buy a high-quality one.

Like all products, a water softener resin also has its fair share of pros and cons. Knowing what these are essential for a buyer can help him/her make an informed decision. This section will list down all the pros and cons a water softener resin can provide.


Not expensive

Unlike the whole water softener system, the resin component is quite easy on the wallet. Regardless of the type, you might buy and the amount you might need, it won’t cost you as much.

The market for water softener resins is quite competitive; hence, these producers come in quite cheaply. Plus, there are different types and models to choose from.

Just take note of the differences in each type and model of the resin medium since it can very well affect your overall water quality. It’s best to research more about the product and read different reviews and check out the resin medium yourself.


Water resin mediums are also convenient in terms of its packaging and storage. When you buy one, these resin mediums come in bulk, meaning they’re usually sold in high volumes. As such, you can find them in at least 2 kgs. This makes them quite affordable.

Moreover, resin mediums also come in resealable packs that you can conveniently store once you’re done. With this, you wouldn’t have to worry about spilling or possible contaminations.


Water softeners resin replacement media come in different types, sizes, and materials. Often, resin mediums also can improve the water’s taste, feel, and smell. Other mediums have unique additions as well. With this, you can surely find a product that can meet your needs.


Too much salt

Salt-based water softeners inject sodium ions into the water for the ion exchange process. It affects the taste of the water. For people that need to cut and regulate their sodium intake, using this might be a problem.

Buying Guide


Water softener resins are considered as a crucial component of the water softener as it facilitates the ion exchange process. It is because this medium contains the resin beads which attract the hard minerals found in the water. In return, they then inject sodium or potassium ions to soften the water.

Hence, purchasing a high-quality resin medium is essential as it can dictate the overall efficacy and water quality produced by your water softener.

There are numerous types, models, and forms of water softener resins available in the market. Due to this, it might be challenging to choose just what unit to buy, which can be confusing and overwhelming to beginners.

However, you don’t have to worry. This section will list down all the factors you need to consider when you are looking for the top-tier water softener resin.

Resin Type and Size

There are two types of resin mediums available in the market- fine mesh resin and standard ion exchange resin. The latter model even has different sizes available-the the 8% crosslink and the 10% crosslink. Choosing what to get depends on the hard water level.

If your water has high iron levels, then a fine mesh resin is ideal since it can remove up to 10mg/l of iron. With this installed, you also wouldn’t need to purchase another filter like the iron filter. Using it, you can have water without this element.

If you don’t like the exceptional mesh variety, the 10% crosslink model is also good. Aside from iron, these types are also effective against ammonia and chlorine. Hence, they are usually a choice when treating well water and municipal water.

The 8% crosslink is suitable for hard waters with lower concentrations. Its PPM rate is enough to treat city water and most private water sources.


Most resin mediums have a lifespan of 10-15 years, depending on its model and manufacturer. However, this can decrease significantly depending on the water’s hardness level, the medium’s organic coating, and the frequency of regeneration.

Be sure to take all these factors into account when choosing your resin medium.

Installation and Maintenance

Of course, no one wants a product that’s difficult to install and maintain. Otherwise, it would just pose as another hassle and hurdle for the user.

Choose a medium that’s easy to place inside your water softener system. It enables you to monitor its condition easily.

Amount of Resin

The amount of resin you’ll need to use depends on the size of your resin tank. Usually, these tanks come with a size sticker that indicates the tanks’ circumference and height. The sticker contains four digits, the first two being the tank’s circumference while the other two point to the height.

If the tank doesn’t have a sticker, you’ll have to measure its height and diameter.

Knowing this is important as you shouldn’t fill the tank to the brim. Otherwise, it may restrict water flow as some resins require ample space to expand.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is salt-based softener resin different from the media in salt-free water softeners?

Yes, a salt-based water softener resin differs from salt-free water softener media. The difference lies in their mechanisms of action.

Salt-based systems use sodium chloride attached to special ion-exchange resin beads to knock calcium, magnesium, and other hard minerals off the water.

The resin beads (consisting of divinylbenzene and polystyrene) release their sodium chloride in exchange for calcium and magnesium. The system flushes these hard minerals during regeneration, making water softeners reusable for iron removal as well as other substances.

Meanwhile, a salt-free water conditioner features template-assisted crystallization (TAC) media consisting of polymer beads. Each bead contains nucleation sites for capturing magnesium and calcium.

These captured calcium and magnesium do not form limescale, making folks believe they are excellent alternatives to food grade salt-based water softeners. Water conditioners do not remove minerals that “harden” water. They only prevent these molecules from sticking to the inside walls of water pipes, appliances, and fixtures.

In short, salt-based systems are the only “water softeners,” while salt-free technologies are “water conditioners.” That should spell out the difference.

How much resin should a water softener have?

To replace old water softener resin, consider the manufacturer’s recommendations and the tank’s capacity. For example, Culligan recommends filling its water softeners to 75% or three-quarters of the tank capacity. Other brands might suggest a different amount.

You can check the following capacity chart to determine how much water softener resin you must place in your tank.

Tank Size in Inches Resin Requirements in Cubic Feet
7 x 44 0.50
8 x 35 0.64
8 x 44 0.75
9 x 35 0.75
9 x 40 1.00
9 x 48 1.00
10 x 35 1.00
10 x 40 1.00
10 x 44 1.25
10 x 54 1.50
12 x 48 2.00
12 x 52 2.00
13 x 54 2.00 to 2.50

Experts also recommend gravel under-bedding for water softener tanks with a diameter greater than 12 inches. So, a 12×52 unit can benefit from 4 inches of stones, while a 10×54 resin tank for well water doesn’t need them.

Do the water softener resin beads go bad?

Almost everything has a risk of “going bad,” even the most expensive water softener resin beads from Menards. Resin beads have an operational lifespan of about a decade to a decade-and-a-half. However, some factors can shorten their longevity.

Unusually high iron in the water can make water-softener resin beads go bad faster than normal. Incomplete cleaning of the iron-filled resin beads can cause the iron molecules to grow 20 times their size because of oxidation. This can clog the resin beads and increase replacement costs by shortening their lifespan.

Chlorinated water can also make resin beads go bad. The chemical breaks the ion exchange resin crosslinks by damaging divinylbenzene. Water with 2 ppm chlorine will shorten the resin beads’ lifespan to five years.

Hydraulic shock is another reason your resin beads could turn bad fast. Water travels at eight feet per second and exerts pressure at 8.3 pounds per gallon. The sudden closure of a faucet can produce a shock wave that slams the resin beads against each other and the tank walls.

When should I replace my water softener resin?

You might need to look for a water softener resin for sale within ten years (maybe sooner) if you live in a city with chlorinated water. Chlorine swells the resin beads and breaks their crosslinks. The higher the chlorine levels in the water, the faster the resin bead degradation.

It is the same story as iron, although its impact is oxidation-related clogging. Hence, you might want to start asking Google, “water softener resin near me.”

You can also perform a periodic assessment of the resin bed by checking for algae growth. Fine sand or silt accumulation at the tank’s bottom is also a good indicator of the need for water-softener resin replacement. If the resin beads emit a foul odor, it is usually a sign of advanced degradation.

Other indicators of the need for resin replacement include water “not soft” enough, sudden unexplained water pressure drops, and reduced tank capacity.

Posting a question on Reddit and similar online forums remains a viable idea for determining when to replace your water softener resin. You could provide details to make it easier for forum members to respond accurately.

What are the most trusted water softener resin brands?

Before adding a product to the cart, you must also determine the resin’s brand because it can give you an idea of whether it is reliable or not. Some of the most trusted names in this industry are Purolite, Aquatrol, and iFilters, and the rest featured earlier. They are committed to the performance, quality, and effectiveness of their water softener resins. They also offer an affordable water softener resin price that can save you money.

How long does water softener resin last?

What is the water softener resin life? According to sources, the resin can last at least 20 years, depending on the condition of the water that you’re using with it. On the other hand, the average is between 10 and 12 years.

How much does it cost to replace water softener resin?

The price varies based on the type of resin that you’re looking to buy. Anyway, these resins are not that expensive when you weigh their benefits and longevity. You can get started in the selection using our buying guide earlier.

When to replace my water softener resin?

One of the essential components of a water softening system is the resin, which doesn’t require frequent replacement. However, take note that its life can be affected by the regeneration cycle of your unit. Typically, it might need replacement after at least ten years. However, it can be shortened between five and ten years if you’re feeding it with well water containing manganese, iron, and other contaminants.

How to replace resin in a water softener?

Generally, you replace the resin in a straightforward process. To give you an idea, you must switch off the water supply and disconnect the plumbing. Then, you should unscrew the control head before laying the water-softening device over a trash can. Afterward, you can insert a hose and rinse out the old resin. Throw it away, but save the gravel.

When done, position the tank upright and then place tape over the tube’s Opening. Make sure to cover the screen by refilling the gravel. Pour in the new resin until your tank is 50% full. Remove the tape on its tube before reattaching the control head and reconnecting your plumbing system. Turn the water supply back, and put your water softener in the manual regeneration mode. Finally, test the product waster for softness.

Can you clean water softener resin?

Yes, you can clean the water softener resin and do it regularly. Use a resin cleaner to do it. Check out the packaging instructions on the resin cleaner amount to use. Also, refer to the water softener manual for the specific manufacturer’s directions on how to clean the resin.

Where to buy water softener resin?

You can buy a water softener resin from sources like the manufacturer’s websites and online shopping sites, like eBay and Amazon, to compare as many products simultaneously and look for the top-rated deals. In your community, you can also find these resins in plumbing supply shops.


There you have what to know about the best water softener resin and what makes it so. When shopping around for one, make sure that you choose a resin from a trusted brand, effective and high-quality. Using the right resin for your system, you can have the peace of mind of using a solid resin. Buy yours today!

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