Water Conditioner Vs Water Softener: What’s The Difference?

Hard water has always been an issue for most countries. Industrial civilization has significantly impacted water quality, whose results can be easily seen in the deteriorating health of living organisms.

Contaminated water should concern all living beings, not only because it smells terrible or tastes destructive, but because it highly impacts the lives of all the organisms on earth.

Research has proved that contaminated water enhances the chances of cancer and other sensitivities.

The water conditioner and the water softener are two different systems developed to purify or soften the water. They are both responsible for purifying the water but have several dissimilarities. If you are thinking of installing any of them in your home, then it is essential to know about these filters in detail.

In this article, we will discuss more about the water conditioner vs softener and‌ the difference between them!

What is a Water Conditioner?

What is a Water Conditioner?

The water conditioner is ‌used to enhance water quality, but this does not remove the hard particles from the water. This means that this technology can change the conditions of water, like changing the chemical structure of the components in the water for a particular amount of time.

The water conditioner reduces the building up of scale in the plumbing system for a short time or in the initial days of its fitting. It also removes several chemicals like chlorine, and the water wastage is significantly less than the water softener.

The different water conditioners are listed down below:

  • An electrochemical water treatment system is a water conditioner that removes the hard minerals dissolved in the water. The system uses electricity (different names like capacitive deionization, known anode and cathode, electrically regenerated ion exchange, and electrolytic deionization. The positive and negative charges in the chemical structure highly influence the rate of removal of contamination from the water.
  • Electrically induced precipitation is another type of water conditioner that uses the electrical current to precipitate the hardness of water and other contaminants. The electrodes are used to remove the pollutants, and these electrons are cleaned periodically.
  • Magnetic water treatment is a type of water conditioner technique that uses electromagnetic devices and magnets to remove contaminants from the water. However, this method is still in question and is not commonly used. It is an unproven technology with no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of water treatment.
  • Template-assisted crystallization is a type of water conditioner that ‌uses charged beads to convert the hardness of ions into microscopic scale-resistant crystals.
  • The carbon filtration water conditioners comprise activated carbon. These types of water filters remove the organic compounds like chlorine and sulfur that the municipality department of your country or area has added. It also removes the foul orders and tastes.

Many researchers claim these methods are 90% effective in providing safe drinking water. These types of water purification processes ‌use a catalytic reaction, which changes the way biological contaminants and minerals work in a liquid solution.

This water does not altogether remove the mineral. Still, they prevent the building up of such minerals in the pipes or the water supply system. Water conditioners are cheaper than water softeners and require low maintenance.

Also Read:- Soft Water vs. Hard Water: What’s The Difference?

What is The Water Softener?

What is The Water Softener?

The softener removes certain chemicals like magnesium and calcium, responsible for the water’s hardness. The ion exchange process is utilized for this process. The ion exchange process consists of certain resins which have sodium ions.

When the water flows through them, the particles like calcium and magnesium stick with these resins. This way, the water is purified and collected in a separate container.

To understand this process much more smoothly, sodium has a positive charge, while calcium and magnesium are negatively charged. Because of the opposite directions, these chemicals attract each other and make a bond with each other.

Thus, the component of the hard water gets stuck in the resin and doesn’t move forward.

The majority of times, the sodium ions can also move along with the water, but it is completely okay because it doesn’t have any side effects on the health, skin, and even plumbing.

The sodium is not added in a considerable quantity and comes out as sodium chloride, so it doesn’t create any such big issue.

It is essential to regularly backwash or regenerate the raisins because once it is full of hard particles, the equipment will not be able to work correctly. Usually, the regeneration process has to be repeated in 2-10 days.

The water softener is also responsible for eliminating or reducing the scale buildup in the pipes or other appliances. If you use a water softener, the detergent or the soap usage will automatically decrease.

You will also not feel extreme dryness (usually from the hard water use) in your skin after washing your face with filtered water.

The main disadvantage of processes is that they waste a lot of water even when it is not required. The equipment also requires a considerable maintenance cost which means it is much more costly than the water conditioner.

The equipment is also unhealthy for humans or any other living organisms, as well as it highly impacts the environment.

What is The Difference Between Water Conditioner and Water Softener?

Before knowing the differences between water conditioners and water softeners, it is imperative to understand their disadvantages.

A water softener is a powerful technique that does not remove harmful chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and chlorine. The differences between water conditioners and water softeners are listed down below:

1. Quality of Water

The quality of a water conditioner is better than a water softener. The water softener only removes hardening chemicals, calcium, and magnesium; they don’t have any role in filtering the water. They remove disease-causing organisms but filter the impurities.

2. Cost And Maintenance

Water conditioners are much cheaper than water softeners because they depend on the pressure of the water. The water conditioner also does not require electricity and doesn’t waste water, while it is not the same as water softeners.

One has to change the filters once a year, and the maintenance is also effortless. The water softener requires charged resins, which need frequent maintenance because once they are blocked, they will not be able to work. The maintenance cost of water softeners is very high and wastes a lot of water. So if you are opting for a water softener, you have to be prepared for the increased annual expenses on the maintenance and water charges.

A water softener is also much more expensive than a water conditioner, so it will be an intelligent choice to opt for a water conditioner. You can easily find different brands and types of water conditioners and softness in the market.

3. Working

People don’t feel like using a water softener because water quality is the same as tap water. The water conditioner does not remove any hardness or lower the total dissolved solids in the water. Most of the time, it also does not prevent scale buildup in the appliances, bathtub, shower, and dishes.

What Should You Not Opt For?

Sometimes people look for a single solution to both of their problems, for example, removing the contamination and the hardness of the water. In such a situation, most people choose between both options, for example, using the water softener and water conditioners simultaneously.

Believe us; it is not a good option! You should always drop this idea.

Starting with a water softener will remove all the hardness from the water, impacting its chemicals and structure, making it entirely useless to run through the water conditioner.

While if you are using the water conditioner first, then the ion exchange system will completely change the hardness particles, so it will become useless to use a water softener.


Every coin has two sides, the same way the water conditioner vs softener has disadvantages and advantages. This article has covered all the benefits and weaknesses, so you can finally decide what you want.

To sum up, if you have a problem with the hardness of water, then you can choose a water conditioner. If you are looking for equipment that can filter water from disease-causing microorganisms and harmful chemicals, you should opt for a water softener.

We know this decision will be challenging, but you must clear out your requirements to get the best product from the market!

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