What Is The Difference Between A Water Softener And A Water Filter?

Water softeners and filters; you’ve heard everything about them, but how do you know which one is better for you, as far as the purification of water is concerned? Here is everything you need to know about a water softener and a water filtration system and what the major differences between them are.

Water Softeners

A water softener is exactly what it sounds like. It softens water and removes the heavy metal ions of calcium and magnesium from the water. Before knowing how a water softener softens water, it’s important to know exactly what hard water is, and if you have hard water coming through your taps. Hard water is basically water with excess calcium and magnesium in it. Because of this, there is a huge possibility that your water will not lather and it will leave large yellow scales and stains on your dishes, and clothes and even damage your faucets.

If you want to know whether or not your water is hard, then try to use this water with soap. If lather produces easily, then it means that the water is soft and there’s no need to soften it further, but if lather is difficult to produce, even though you’ve used a lot of detergent, then your water is probably hard and it needs to be softened with the help of a water softener.

What Does A Water Softener Do?

A water softener basically works on the mechanism of the ion exchange process. Sounds complicated, right? However, it really isn’t. A water softener contains an inlet and outlet for water to come in and out of, along with a massive chamber in the middle. Inside the chamber, there is a bed, which is made out of resin and this is where the ion exchange process occurs. Water will basically enter the inlet, from where it goes straight towards the resin bed and it is left there for a couple of minutes.

During that time, the ions present in the resin bed will attract the heavy calcium, magnesium, and potassium ions and it will replace these ions with either neutral ions or sodium ions. Once the process is complete, the water is pumped into the outlet, from where it can be pumped throughout the house via tanks and pipes.

It is important to mention that water from a water softener can be a bit salty in taste. This is because of the exchange of heavy calcium ions with sodium ions, forming sodium chloride, which can impart a slightly salty taste to your water.

Is Water Softener Better For Your House?

This is probably the most asked question from people who want to do something about the hard water coming into their house. Hard water is not only useless, but it can damage your taps, pipes, and drains, along with your clothes and dishes.

Yes, you can use a water softener in your house, if the water is hard, but it needs to be clean and free from dirt and impurities, otherwise, you can damage the water softener and it will be a pain to get it fixed. Water softeners don’t clean or filter the dirt and other chemicals from the water. It is only responsible for softening the water and that’s about it.

A water softener is also pretty expensive to install in your house because the unit is big and you need a lot of space. It also requires regular maintenance in order to ensure that water is being softened efficiently. The pipes and valves need to be cleaned every so often and the resin bed also needs to be refreshed from time to time, especially if you’re softening large amounts of water on a regular basis.

Water Filters

A water filter is pretty self-explanatory as well. A water filter is responsible for cleaning the water and making it less murky and dirty. A water filter is a decent-sized cylinder and as water passes through it, the sieves or filter paper, present inside, will catch the impurities and the result will be clean and clear water, which is safe for drinking. A water filter is like a gigantic sieve meant to catch all of the impurities and sediments particles in the water. Water filters are available in a variety of sizes and filtration capacities and you can easily choose which one you want to go for.

The thing with water filters is that they need to be changed after a couple of months or so because over time, the filtration efficiency will decrease and the water won’t be as clear as you want it to be. But, changing filters is super easy and takes no time at all, so it’s not an impossible task.

Water filters are available for the taps, which can be installed right by your sink or there are also filter jugs available, in which you can put water, and then when you pour it out in a glass, it will be filtered automatically and you have clean water on demand.

The Function Of A Water Filtration System

A water filter can remove any suspended particles or metals present in the water. It can remove sand, dirt, small rocks, and minerals. It can also remove metals like iron, cadmium, lead, and other toxic substances present in the water. A filter can also remove excess chlorine and sulphur from the water. However, it can’t soften water. A water softener is needed in order to remove the scales of calcium and magnesium. So, if you have dirty as well as hard water, then you can’t get away with using a water filter on its own.

Are Water Filters Worth It?

Water filters are a lot cheaper than water softeners and their installation is super easy too. But it can’t be said for sure whether it’s the best thing to use for purifying water until you know what kind of supply water you’re using. A filter does a great job in making the water appear clear and it will get rid of harsh metals and substances, which can cause a plethora of issues in your body, but that’s about all it can do.

Conclusively, a water softener is a type of advanced water filtration system but it’s not necessary that all filters will soften the water. The type of system you need solely depends on the nature of the water coming through your taps and faucets. If the water is murky in appearance but isn’t abundant in salts of calcium and magnesium, then you don’t need a water softener; a water filter will do the trick.

However, if the water is clear in appearance, but it doesn’t lather or has scale in it, then you need a water softener and not a filter. In some cases, there is a necessity to have both of these water purification systems installed in your house because the water is extremely dirty and hard in composition.


Water filters and water softeners are two completely different things and they both serve different purposes. Now you can easily decide which system you actually need for your home. There various types of water filters and softeners. You can choose whole house water filters and also filters that are for specific taps. Look for water softener installation Warren options to learn more.