How Much Does a Water Softener Cost? Installation Costs & More

by Jay | Updated on July 26th, 2022

What is the price of a water softener?

In a nutshell, you should expect to spend anywhere from $700 and $2,000 or more. But, of course, we are aware that the pricing range is wide.

Water Softener

Check out the following advice to find out how much you need to invest in a decent system without getting ripped off!

Factors influencing the cost of a home water softener system

The price of a water softening system is determined by its type, size, features, and brand.

  • Type – There are salt-free and salt-based water softeners (also known as “water conditioners”). Salt-based water softeners are typically more expensive.
  • Size – The larger your water softener – salt-based or not – should be, the harder your water is and the more of it you use daily. The service flow rate is also crucial in this case. Even so, you’d like to be able to turn on your shower, and washing machine and open the kitchen faucet without losing pressure.
  • Features – Undoubtedly, some features that the more expensive products may offer are unneeded frills. Look for a water softener with a digital control head that allows easy setup and monitoring.  In addition, instead of a timer, look for a metered system that recharges before water usage.
  • Brand – There are a few incredibly expensive brands out there that excessively charge prices for products and services that you either don’t want or need or are no better than the competition offers. Aside from that, we recommend that you go with a popular brand that has established itself through time, such as Fleck by Pentair.

Remember that not all whole-house conditioners and water softeners are created equal. A product with a cheaper price tag may wear out faster, causing more upkeep and costly repairs (and vice versa).

Prices for identical models can vary between retailers.

Finally, keep in mind that a well-functioning system will pay for itself in the long run:

  • It prevents the buildup of scale. This increases the lifespan of your household appliances, like your water heater and plumbing system, resulting in lower maintenance expenses.
  • Heat exchangers will perform more efficiently.
  • Because of improved lathering, you can save money on detergents, toiletries, and other cleaning products.

Prices of water softeners by type

Prices for ion exchange water softeners

A typical ion exchange water softener costs between $700 and $2,000.

Only 20,000 to 30,000-grain off-the-shelf units from one of the Big Box retailers may be purchased for less than $700. The water softening capacity is adequate for small to medium-sized houses. However, several components are likely of poor quality and prone to leaking and other problems.

For $2,000, you may purchase an 80,000-grain or even larger system that is top-notch and provides adequate soft water at all times, regardless of the size of your family or residence.

FYI: You’ll discover versions for over $2,500, which you should avoid wasting your money on at the absolute top of the price range. Simply put, the most expensive does not always imply the best quality.

Water softeners with dual tanks

A dual tank solution that provides softened water 24 hours a day, seven days a week, typically costs $1,500 or more.

Cost of a salt-free water softener/conditioner

A salt-free water conditioner typically costs between $1,000 and $2,000. However, these methods, generally based on Template Assisted Crystallization, are extremely effective and permanently fix your hard water problems.

The cheapest price: electronic and magnetic water descalers

Small electronic or magnetic water descalers are already on the market for less than $100. High-end items might cost as much as $200.

However, descaling is a contentious issue. Most products have received mixed customer reviews, so do your research before purchasing.

Mobile units

Portable water softeners range in price from $150 to $400.

Water softeners for business

Commercial water softeners may handle dozens of gallons of water per minute and are thus substantially larger than domestic water softening systems. Prices start at $1,500 and go up from there.

Tank costs

Brine and resin tanks can both be purchased for under $100. However, keep in mind that the control valve, at the heart of any salt-based water softener, is the most expensive component.

Water distillers and reverse osmosis systems

Water distillers and reverse osmosis devices remove hard water minerals (calcium and magnesium). They are, however, meant to provide potable water and are impractical to utilize on a large scale.

How much does it cost to install a water softener?

Any whole-house water treatment device must be connected to the water supply. This is also true for water softeners (Magnetic descalers are an exception to the rule).

Water softener installation typically costs between $300 and $1,000.

Factors affecting water softener installation costs: labor (job complexity) and water softener type and size

The charge includes supplies, basic labor, equipment and tools, project materials, worksite preparation, package disposal, and workspace cleanup.

Add $70 on average for removing old equipment and debris disposal if necessary.

Other considerations are the job site’s remoteness, the accessibility of your home’s water softener, and regional labor expenses.

Installing a water softener for industrial use might cost up to $10,000.

Consider buying your water softener and installation service together to save money. You may also be eligible for free system delivery, setup, programming, and free removal of your old unit.

Cost of installing a water softener loop

Water softener installation costs might skyrocket in older homes that aren’t pre-plumbed. Do you need to put in a water softener loop? This is a time-consuming task, with costs ranging from $750 to $3,500 depending on the project’s intricacy.

The cost of replacing or moving a water softener

You already have a water softener but wish to move it. The expense is comparable to that of installing a brand-new water softener. However, when you think about it, there isn’t much more work that has to be done.

Because all necessary plumbing attachments should already be in place, replacing an older unit is usually less expensive. A price range of $300 to $500 appears to be a suitable starting point.

Hiring a pro vs. Do-it-yourself water softener installation

If you are proficient with tools, you could install your new softener. The most necessary skills are cutting and joining (non-)metal pipes to link the system’s intake and outlet ports to your main water line.

Basic installation kits cost $50 to $100, so you may save a lot of money if you have the appropriate tools (or you can borrow them from someone).

However, other firms, such as Aquasana, require that a licensed plumber do the installation. Otherwise, your product’s warranty would be null and invalid.

How much does a water softener cost per month in service and maintenance?

Assume you’ve located a water softener that you like and is within your price range. How much does it cost to run the system every month?

1. Salt (ion exchange systems only)

One high cost for an ion exchange water softening system will be salt, specifically sodium chloride or potassium chloride.

Once the resin beads in the tank have been saturated with hard water ions, the salt is required to replenish them (mainly calcium and magnesium). This procedure is also known as “regeneration.” The salt is kept in a brine tank, which is usually separate from the central softening tank.

How often and how much salt you need to replace is determined first and foremost by the hardness of your water and the amount of water you and your family use.

Other considerations include:

  • Resin tank size – The more salt necessary for proper regeneration, the larger the tank. Partial regeneration, on the other hand, turns out to be far more salt efficient. This, however, necessitates a sufficiently big tank. (Also, a water softener sizing guide can be found here.)
  • Individual settings – Performing frequent regeneration cycles with a reduced salt dosage results in greater salt savings. However, at the same time, water use will increase.
  • Outdated system – An outdated system may use more salt if regeneration is based on a timed schedule rather than water usage.
  • Other circumstances affecting water supply Increased salt consumption is caused by high TDS and iron concentrations.

According to industry standards, a family of four consumes one 40-pound salt bag monthly. One bag can cost anywhere from $6 to $25, depending on the brand and purity. Morton’s 40-pound bag of salt pellets costs $6.56 at Home Depot — not a bad price.

Other water softening compounds

Magnetic descalers operate without the use of any additional supply. Unfortunately, this is not true of all salt-free conditioners.

For example:

To lessen the scaling effects of hard water, a conditioner that depends on citric acid, a chelation agent, may cause replacing a filter cartridge every 3 to 6 months. The cost of a cartridge is $50.

A Siliphos-based system also causes a new cartridge every 3 to 6 months, costing $60 to $70.

2. Sewer + water (ion exchange only)

When salt-based water softeners regenerate, they produce wastewater. Some people squander no more than 20 gallons per cycle, while others waste up to 50. This means that your water and sewer bills will go up.

How much is it? It isn’t easy to estimate because so many variables are at play. However, a budget of $150 to $200 per year is reasonable, assuming no responsibility.

You will realize that you use less soft water than you would if it were not softened. Will the beneficial impact outweigh the negative? Unfortunately, we can’t state that with certainty once again.

3. Electricity?

All modern ion exchangers use electricity to run their digital control head unit and drive motors. The draw, however, is so small that it is insignificant.

4. Servicing

A well-maintained whole-house water softener requires very little, if any, maintenance. However, most firms recommend that you get your system inspected by a professional once every 1 to 2 years to guarantee that it is in good operating order.

However, if you know how to configure the control head yourself, we don’t think this is necessary. This allows you to confirm that the valve works properly and, if necessary, alter settings such as how frequently you want your water softener to renew and how much water to use.

Replacement of the pre-filter

Many water conditioners need pre-filtration, so you must regularly replace the sediment pre-filter cartridge for a low cost: $40 each year seems reasonable.

What else to consider

Additional pre-and post-treatment may be required depending on the overall quality of your water. This will, of course, increase the cost.

An under-sink water filter is an example of this. In addition, because water softening might make drinking unsafe, you might set up a reverse osmosis system to remove surplus salt.

Where can I get water softeners?

The best place to buy a water softener is online, directly from the brands and manufacturers operating their e-commerce stores. This way, you can take advantage of factory rates and exceptional customer service.

Large platforms, such as Amazon, provide a diverse range of products and are a viable option.

If you prefer buying locally, get cost estimates from a few dealers and negotiate a lower price. Prices are normally a little pricier here, but you can get the whole package, including maintenance and installation. A local water specialist should also be aware of your water supply situation.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."