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The Best Water Softeners for Septic Systems for 2023

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

Water softeners are products removing molecules that can give water a ‘hard’ characteristic. Most people think that one should never install a water softener in a house with a septic system. They say that doing so is detrimental to the overall function of the domestic sewage system. On the contrary, installing the right water softener can aid in maintaining the integrity of the on-site sewage system.

best water softener for septic systems

Water softeners for septic systems can be challenging to assess if you are unfamiliar with the factors necessary for picking the top-tier unit. We have three considerations to get you started.

  • Salt Requirement: The principal concern about water softeners is their impact on septic systems. Unsurprisingly, the most crucial factor to consider is salt requirements. The most suitable product softens water without requiring too much sodium chloride for regeneration. Hence, a water softener that only needs 30 pounds of salt is better for the septic system than a 40-pound unit.
  • Capacity: The ideal water softener for septic systems has top performance and low salt requirements. A water softener’s grain rating reflects how many hard water minerals it can hold before recharging. You might want a 48,000-grain water softener rather than a 36,000-grain unit, given they have identical salt requirements.
  • Tank Configuration: Water softeners come in one- or two-tank configurations. Most water softening experts recommend a two-tank setup to avoid regeneration-related disruptions. You can think of the second tank as a backup unit.

The key here is to use only the right product for your needs. We shortlisted and tested 4 of the best water softener for septic systems to help you make a wise decision.

Top-Rated Products

Best Overall

Whirlpool WHES30E


Most Durable

Aquasure Treatment System


Best Value

AFWFilters Water Softener


Table of Contents

Top 4 Water Softener for Septic Systems Reviews

1. Whirlpool WHES30E Water Softener

The Whirlpool WHES30E is one of the most trusted water softeners for families and households wary of overloading their septic systems with salt. It is not only for hard water management but also for iron elimination.

As a septic tank-friendly water softener, I am impressed with this product’s salt requirements. It uses 13.1 pounds of salt to treat 28,900 grains of hardness. It also calculates how much sodium is necessary for generation, saving users time during maintenance.

Salt requirements are not the only thing that astonished me about this product. Its water-softening capabilities are also noteworthy. This system can reduce hardness levels by as much as 95 grains per gallon.

Surprisingly, it can also reduce ferrous iron levels by 8.0 ppm or 0.47 grains per gallon. It has an NSF certification to validate these claims, giving consumers peace of mind whenever they use this water softener.

The device only needs about 19 inches by 18 inches of floor space, making it ideal for homes with limited room. Installation is also a breeze because the kit includes everything necessary for setting up the system. The bypass valve is handy during regeneration and maintenance.

I do not have any issues with this high-performance, septic tank-friendly hardless water softener, except for its tiny and unspectacular display. I wish it were bigger, with blue backlighting. The grayscale screen can make it challenging for visually-challenged folks to read the information.

To say I am impressed with this water softener is an understatement. I would be happy to buy it again.

What We Like
  • 30,000-grain capacity
  • Uses around 13 pounds of salt
  • Reduces water hardness levels by 95 GPG, NSF-certified
  • Removes 8 ppm of ferrous iron
  • Easy installation and maintenance with tool kit and bypass valve
  • Space-saving design with salt calculator for regeneration
What We Don’t Like
  • Display could be better

2. Aquasure Signature Series Treatment System

The Aquasure Signature Series is one of the top-rated systems among the water softeners and septic tanks we have ever seen. This is not only a water softener but a complete water treatment system. It includes a sediment filter, a water conditioner, and a reverse osmosis system to complement its water softener’s remarkable ability. The top-tier part about this product is the excellent overall value it provides.

We admire the water softening capabilities of the Signature Series. Its resin matrix can remove up to 64,000 grains of water hardness compounds. A household with an average water hardness of 10 grains using an average of 250 gallons per day should be able to make full use of the Aquasure for more than 25 days. You can start regenerating the system on the 25th day if you wish.

There is another good point about Aquasure. The company designed its resin matrix to work with the utmost efficiency. This product only requires about 40 pounds of salt per regeneration. When you compare this to other products that use hundreds of pounds of salt, you will see that the Aquasure is not only economical but also a lot friendlier to the environment.

And since the regeneration cycle is longer than other brands, you will feel a lot more comfortable about not overfilling your septic tank with brine. This is if you decide to pipe the system straight into your septic tank.

As we mentioned, the Aquasure already comes as a complete system. It can filter large particles from your water as well as condition your water. The reverse osmosis system also ensures safer and healthier drinking water. All of these also translate to more profound benefits to your septic system.

Since you are permanently removing large chunks of compounds and potentially hazardous substances, you are likewise safeguarding your septic system’s integrity. You are also ensuring the optimum health of everyone in your house.

However, installing the system in your house requires special skills. Knowing basic plumbing may not be enough. Second, the system only has one tank. You will have to shut down your system to regenerate the resin matrix. In other words, you will have to schedule the regeneration of the unit.

Other than that, the Aquasure Signature Series is an excellent choice for homes with septic systems. Not only is it a complete water treatment system. it is also a very effective one in terms of safeguarding the integrity of your plumbing network. The most suitable news is that the kit does not cost you a fortune.

What We Like
  • A complete water treatment system
  • High water softening capacity
  • Great for RO systems
  • Very efficient regeneration capability
  • Great value
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires expert installation
  • No alternating tank

3. AFWFilters 56SXT-10% Water Softener

Some people wonder if water softeners and concrete septic tanks can work together. While there is not much you can do about the design of septic systems, you can always choose the right water softener to go with it. And one of the most remarkable water softening systems on the market today is the Fleck 5600SXT from AFWFilters. This is a water softener that comes with a carbon filter to provide you with ample treatment options for your water.

The Fleck 5600SXT is an extensive system measuring about 56 inches long. It has two alternating tanks that house the resin matrix. This is capable of exchanging up to 48,000 grains of hardness molecules, like magnesium, iron, and calcium. A typical household with a water hardness level of 10 grains per gallon should be able to use the system for at least two weeks before regenerating.

AFWFilters also upgraded the design of its resin to make it more efficient. This system can facilitate a 12 gallons-per-minute rate of water flow. It is more than adequate for a small household of up to 5 people. The construction of the tank is also sturdy enough to last about a decade or more. Operating the system is also effortless because of the use of an advanced digital meter valve, the 56SXT.

What surprised us about the Fleck 5600SXT is its Upflow carbon filtration. The company says that this technology eliminates the need for backwashing the system.

And since there is no need for backwashing the water softener, it also eliminates the need for the construction or addition of a drain pipe from the water softener to a drain field. The absence of backwashing is not only good for the environment but also friendly to your pocket since you will not have to use electricity to run the system anymore.

At 100 pounds, the AFWFilters Fleck 5600SXT is quite heavy. It is also significant, so you will have to think about where to place this baby in your home. Another issue you might want to know is its salt requirements. The system’s tank can hold up to 200 pounds of salt. And if you are going to regenerate it every two weeks or so, you are looking at about 4,800 pounds of salt per year.

This product does a great job of softening your water. It can help improve the ability of microbes in the septic tank to break down organic matter. At the same time, it can help minimize the need for using large amounts of cleaning materials. This helps ease the burden of the septic system in managing these chemicals.

What We Like
  • Large water softening capacity
  • Very easy to use
  • Good flow rate
  • Eco-friendly design
  • Double tank design
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires plenty of salt for regeneration
  • Very heavy

4. DuraWater 40K USA On-Demand System

If you want to enjoy the many benefits of a system that combines water softeners and sewage treatment plants without spending a fortune, you should consider the DuraWater Fleck 9100 SXT On-Demand System. This product can help you soften your water and improve the integrity of your septic system.

This DuraWater product features a digital meter valve that makes it super easy to control the system’s different settings. The touchpad controls also work like a charm and all the buttons are very responsive, too. Moreover, the 9100 SXT control valve makes it effortless to control the flow rate of the system.

It works in conjunction with a paddlewheel meter that DuraWater upgraded to make it more efficient and accurate. Also, DuraWater integrated it with its digital controller to help improve the accuracy and efficiency of the meter.

Each tank of the system can exchange up to 40,000 grains of iron, calcium, magnesium, and other elements to make water hard. And since the system comes with two tanks, you can remove up to 80,000 grains of hardness molecules. Of course, the idea of having a dual tank setup is to avoid downtimes. Regenerating the system does not require shutting it down, which gives you unrestricted access to soft water.

The 3-digit price tag of the DuraWater is also appealing to budget-conscious families. And since the system’s regeneration cycle is pretty long, you can be sure of even more significant savings in the long run. Unfortunately, we could not get any information about how much salt is needed to regenerate the tanks. We can only assume that it is within the range of 50 to 200 pounds.

We commend the inclusion of an installation instruction manual with the package. Unfortunately, the instructions are written in a way that can be very confusing for newbies to install. People with basic plumbing knowledge should not have any problems. Also, the addition of a bypass is noteworthy. We only wish it did not come in cheap plastic.

Nevertheless, for its affordable price and commendable performance, we still recommend the DuraWater Fleck 9100 SXT. It is perfect for medium to large households. It can also be an excellent system for small commercial establishments. At the very least, you will not only be ensuring the safety and quality of your water but also be keeping the optimal functioning and integrity of your septic system.

What We Like
  • Large capacity for softening water
  • Accurate flow meter
  • Dual tank design
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
What We Don’t Like
  • Confusing installation instructions

Outdated Products

Abundant Flow WS-48K-91SXT 9100SXT (Outdated)

Can a water softener be used with a septic system? Of course! However, you may need the WS-48K-91SXT Complete Softener from Abundant Flow Water. This product is one of the most revered systems because of its uncanny water softening ability.

One of the most exciting things about WS-48K-91XST is its user controls. Most of the water softeners you see on the market will often come with simple knobs and dials. Abundant Flow ditched this traditional thinking and gave its product a much-needed ultra-modern upgrade. This water softener comes with a touchpad interface that is a pleasure to control.

The LCD screen is also significant in providing you with all the critical information you need at a glance. There is no need to second-guess its settings. The other good news is that this water softener does not impact water flow. It can ensure an optimum flow rate of up to 12 gallons per minute.

What amazes us about this water softener is its large capacity. It has a resin matrix that can remove up to 48,000 grains of magnesium, calcium, and other minerals that can make water hard. If you are using about 250 gallons of water per day with a hardness level of 12 grains, the entire system will be working to soften your water for up to 16 days. That is the only time that you will need to backwash your system to regenerate the resin matrix.

Regenerating this water softener does not also involve any downtime. Why? Well, this baby already comes with a pair of large tanks. One will always be on standby. You can backwash and regenerate one tank, while the other takes care of the system’s water softening functions. There is no need to stay up late at night just to regenerate your system. You will never be in a compromising situation where you need softened water but you cannot have some because the system is regenerating.

While the WS-48K-91SXT is a joy to operate, installing it can be tricky. It does come with installation instructions. There is also a bypass system that comes with the system. However, you need to have basic plumbing skills to set this baby up.

Another loophole is the humongous amount of salt needed to regenerate the system. You need about 300 pounds of salt. If you are going to regenerate it twice a month, you need about 600 pounds every month. That is 7,200 pounds of salt every year.

These drawbacks are minor if you ask us. The Abundant Flow Water WS-48K-91SXT is the top-tier when it comes to water softeners for septic systems and entire households.

What We Like
  • Powerful removal of water hardness minerals
  • Large water softening capacity
  • Comes with two alternating tanks
  • Easy to operate
  • High water flow rate
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires plenty of salt for regeneration
  • Tricky to install

AFWFilters WS-96k-91SXT Fleck 9100SXT (Outdated)

The AFWFilters WS-9SK-91SXT Fleck 9100SXT is a dependable water softening system for large households. It has one of the largest water softening capacities on the market that can easily translate to less frequent regenerations.

One of the most pressing concerns of people about such systems is related to the question, “Does soft water hurt the septic system?” There are now studies showing that such water softeners do not negatively affect septic systems. It is also proven that a properly-installed water softener could benefit both the plumbing and the sewage system of houses.

First, there is the enhanced biological activity of microbes in human wastes. The ion exchange resin in the WS-96K-91SXT water softener can help improve bacterial action on organic matter. This can make your septic system more efficient in terms of treating sewage. The other benefit is that this water softener can help improve the quality of your water. Besides, you can minimize stains on your dishes and other items when cleaning and get to enjoy a fresher shower. These are benefits that the AFWFilters water softener can provide.

This system comes with an intelligent digital controller that makes setting up the system a breeze. The user interface is also straightforward, easing its use and operation. This water softener has a 96,000-grain capacity, so a small household can expect to recharge the resin once a month. A medium-sized or large house can start regenerating the system within 2 to 3 weeks, which translates into more significant savings.

Installing this water softener is also surprisingly easy because the instructions are straightforward to understand. The company also included a bypass to help with the installation of the system.

Where most water softeners can only guarantee a maximum flow rate of about 12 gallons per minute, the WS-96K-91SXT Fleck can provide you with a maximum flow rate of 20 gallons per minute. Homes that use large volumes of water should welcome such a feature.

One downside of this AFWFilters product is its rather high volume of salt requirement for recharging the system. You will need about 350 pounds of salt to have the system up and running. This can also pose some environmental issues if you decide to dump the backwash into open ground.

Another small issue about this water softener is its tiny display. It is a minor inconvenience for most people. However, if you have visual problems, then this might be a concern.

The AFWFilters WS-96K-91SXT Fleck water softener is an excellent system to place in your home. It provides good value because of its large water softening capacity, which makes it a very efficient system that will minimize waste while also improving your septic system’s overall function.

What We Like
  • Large water softening capacity
  • High flow rate
  • Ease of installation
  • Ease of operation
  • Good value
What We Don’t Like
  • Requires a large amount of salt for regeneration
  • Small display

What Is A Water Softener For Septic Systems/ Who Is This For


Some people may ask, Is water softener system safe for a septic system?” To answer this question, let us look at what each system entails.

A water softener intended for septic systems has the same fundamental design as any other water softener. This is a technology that exchanges sodium or potassium molecules for compounds that can make water ‘hard.’

A septic system typically comes with three necessary parts. This includes the septic tank that receives waste from the house. There is also a distribution box that receives wastewater overflow from the septic tank. It ‘distributes’ wastewater into the particular leach field or the drain field. Pipes connect these three components.

Household wastes, including human waste matter, get emptied into the septic tank. Bacteria present in human fecal matter help decompose the different organic compounds in wastewater.

Using a water softener with a septic system allows you to minimize your use of cleaning materials, such as soaps, chemicals, and detergents. This reduces your wastewater levels and leads to more efficient use of the septic system.

Some people worry that introducing sodium into the wastewater can undermine bacteria’s biological activity in the septic tank. However, there are university studies that show that the addition of a small amount of sodium in wastewater can enhance the biological activity of bacteria, which leads to a more efficient process of septic treatment.

There are also some concerns that water softener discharge can overflow the septic tank. Yet, it has been proven that the amount of wastewater dumped by a water softener after every regeneration is not more significant than the amount of sewage coming from an ordinary water-using household appliance.

If you are wondering where to discharge water softener backwash, you have three choices. One is to course it through your sewage pipe and empty it into the septic tank. You can also empty the backwash into a drywell, turning the system into a water softener dry well type. The last one is to pipe the backwash out of your house and onto the ground. The safest way to go is to dump it into your septic system.

It is for this very reason that a water softener with a septic system is the best. Anyone who has a septic system in their home should have a water softener installed. That the water softener is piped into the septic system for a more environmentally-friendly approach to the management of waste is also a great benefit.

We also have a list of outdoor water softeners for your reference. Furthermore, take a look at our top-quality water softener cleaner if you need.

How Does It Work


Water softeners for septic systems work like any other water softener. They replace the minerals that can ‘harden’ water with other minerals. The two most common elements used in water softeners are sodium and potassium, which can replace magnesium and calcium. Water softeners also remove manganese and iron that are often found in drinking water.

Water passes through a matrix that contains a resinous material embedded with either potassium or sodium. This traps the hard minerals by replacing them with potassium or sodium. Unfortunately, the continuous ion exchange can also deplete the resin matrix of potassium or sodium. That is why the water softener has to undergo regeneration by backwashing it with a concentrated solution of either potassium or sodium. Backwashing produces brine, which households must learn to dispose of properly.

There are a few water softener discharge options. The safest way you can dispose of brine water discharge from the regeneration of your water softener is by connecting it to your sewage pipe and going to the septic tank. The amount of backwash discharge is typically less than the amount discharged by your washing machine or dishwasher.

If you do not like connecting your water softener drain to the septic system, then you can course the backwash to a dry well. Another option will be to drain it directly on the ground. Unfortunately, this last method is not recommended as the high chloride content of water softener brine backwash can be detrimental to the environment. That is why water softener discharge on a lawn is often frowned upon.

Water softeners can provide you with a host of benefits. You no longer have to use a large amount of cleaning agents to wash objects, which helps reduce the number of chemicals in wastewater, minimizing their impact on the septic system.

The sodium or potassium molecules in wastewater do not impair bacteria’s ability to decompose organic matter in human wastes, either. In fact, these molecules can help improve the biological activity of bacteria.

The right water softener does not also risk overflowing your septic tank. You will get to keep the septic system’s integrity for many years.

Buying Guide


Buying a water softener for your septic system can be confusing for first-time buyers. There are certain things that you have to consider when purchasing such a device. This will allow you to pick a water softener that is perfect not only for your septic system but also for your house.

Capacity or Size

When one talks about the size of the best water softener for septic systems, it does not refer to the device’s physical dimensions. The size of the product is a reflection of its ability to remove hard minerals from your water. The device should remove as much magnesium and calcium molecules from the water as possible in the shortest possible time. This translates to how much water ‘softening’ you want to achieve every day.

The first step to determining the size of your water softener is knowing the hardness level of your water. If you source your water from a municipal or city water utility, you can check your water’s hardness level.

Water hardness is often expressed in milligrams per liter or mg/L. In the US, you may be more familiar with grains per gallon or GPG. If you have a device that measures water hardness in mg/L, you can determine the GPG by dividing the mg/L value by 17.1. For example, if the measurement reads 50 mg/L, you know that your water hardness is 2.92 grains per gallon.

The next step in determining an appropriate size of sodium or potassium water softener septic system is the determination of your average water consumption. This is easy because you can look at your monthly water bill to get an idea of how much water you are using every month. Divide this by 30 to get the average daily water consumption.

Once you have these two pieces of information, you can start computing your daily water-softening requirement. Multiply your GPG by the average daily consumption. Let us say you have a water hardness of 15 GPG and average daily water consumption of 250 gallons per day. Your average regular water softening requirement is 3,750 grains per day.

Use this information to determine the right size of water softener for your household and septic system. These devices require at least one weekly regeneration. So, multiply your ADWSR by 7 to get your weekly water softening requirement. In our example, this is 3,750 x 7 days to give you 26,250 grains per week. The size of the water softener that you need to purchase should remove at least 26,250 grains per week before you regenerate the resin matrix.

Salt Needed for Regeneration

Determining the softening capacity of a water softener is only one part of the equation. You will also need to check the amount of salt required to regenerate the resin matrix. For example, a 26,000-grain water softener may require 26 pounds of salt. You will need 1,352 pounds of salt per year. That is why it is essential to check a product that requires less salt for regeneration while maintaining its ability to soften water. It is also worth remembering that the lesser the salt needed for regeneration, the better it is, regardless of water softener drain options.

Dual Tank or Single Tank

Regenerating your water softener requires its disconnection from your water line. It will not be able to perform its principal function. That is why it is essential to pick a water softener with at least two alternating tanks. One tank delivers the water softening function while the other gets regenerated. You can always choose a single-tank system and schedule the regeneration at night.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does salt harm a septic system?

This question is a hotly-contested debate, with some claiming salt can damage septic systems because sodium chloride kills the microorganisms necessary for breaking down organic matter in the effluent.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency, Water Quality Association, and university researchers have a different answer to the question, “is salt bad for septic tanks?”

The two organizations say salt has negligible effects on septic systems, particularly biological activities related to effluent management.

As far as water softeners are concerned, you can always use a salt-free water conditioning system if you are wary of salt’s effects on septic systems.

Are water softeners bad for septic systems?

The Environmental Protection Agency says that salt in septic tank systems is not harmful. The agency released a document supporting the Water Quality Association’s stand on salt-based water softener systems. It highlighted the following evidence-based findings.

  • Water softener discharge does not produce aerobic or anaerobic effects on microorganisms in the effluent.
  • High calcium and manganese concentrations in the water softener backwash do not disrupt the septic system’s biological functions.
  • There’s no concern about hydraulic overload due to the discharge of softener wastewater.

You may also wonder “is water softener salt bad for concrete? Water softener salt is an excellent de-icing alternative. Salt crystals or pellets are ideal for melting the ice on roads, driveways, and other concrete structures.

You can opt for a salt-free water softener for septic systems if you think salt is harmful to the septic tank.

You might also want to hear the professional opinion of water experts in your locality by searching on Google. That’s what I do before looking for water softener service near me.

How many gallons of water does it take to regenerate?

The average water softener consumes 20 gallons of water to flush out the hard water minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, from the ion-exchange resin.

The water volume can be higher or lower, depending on the water’s hardness levels. As a rule, the more minerals the water softener “captures,” the more water the system needs to regenerate.


Choosing the right water softener to use in your septic system should be related to a proper water softening capacity. It is essential to compute the average daily water softening requirements to determine the size of the system that you need to buy. It is also ideal for getting a system that has two tanks, which helps ensure the round-the-clock operation of the system. It guarantees soft water all the time. The right water softener should never get in the way of microorganisms’ biological activity in the sewage tank.

This is important in the partial treatment of human waste. The correct installation of the system is also necessary to improve the overall efficiency of both the water softener and the on-site sewage or septic system. This review of the top-quality water softeners you can use with the septic system in your home should already enable you to make a well-informed decision. Buy the best water softener for septic systems today!

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