As an RV owner, one the more essential purchases you can make is buying an RV water softener. It’ll ensure those mineral-rich water sources located at your campgrounds won’t reign havoc on your RV’s plumbing system.
In light of this, getting the best RV water softener possible becomes a significant piece of the RV experience. I mean, if you let hard water run rampant inside your RV’s pipes, they could cause scaling or rusting, which is something nobody wants.
But finding this perfect water softener can be quite a hassle thanks to the over-saturation of these products on the market. And if you take this process lightly, it can be somewhat overwhelming, which will make the whole thing unbearable.
Due to this, I thought a buying guide that discussed all things RV water softener could help make your buying experience more relaxed and straightforward. And that’s precisely what this article will try to do.
In doing so, we’ll provide you with reviews, take about relevant discussion topics, types, key factors, etc. All this information will help you determine, which RV water softener is the best for your needs.
So read on and start your search for the right RV water softener that’ll meet all the requirements you want from one!
7 Best Water Softener for RV Reviews
What you can expect from the product review section is detailed discussions about all the RV water softeners we deem the best. And from these reviews, we hope it’ll give you a basis about what qualities make one these products a high-end unit.
With this knowledge, you should be able to understand the other essential information we start discussing later in this post. And once you do, finding the perfect RV water softener should be a relatively stress-free experience.
1. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener
The first product on our list is the On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener that allows you to take soft water anywhere you go: hence, the portable part of its name.
But the feature that makes this one of the best On the Go softeners for RVs is its 16,000-grain capacity, which is twice as much as most systems on the market. In doing so, it’s able to supply 40% more soft water than other portable units we might come across.
However, the benefits don’t stop there as this particular unit has only a 30-minute regeneration time. Consider this process usually takes up to 40-45 minutes with standard models, you can see why this specific unit is ahead of the curb.
It also helps that this unit is rather lightweight and compact, which makes it incredibly storable. As an RV owner, I’m guessing a lot of storage space isn’t a commodity you have given the number of things that are necessary for an RV trip.
If you buy this water softener, this particular problem will hardly be an issue thanks to its compact and easily moved design. I haven’t gotten to mention how incredibly powerful this water softener is yet as it guarantees up to 1,600 gallons of safe water or 40 days before it needs to regenerate.
2. Mobile Soft Water Portable 16,000 Grain Unit
Another portable water softener that offers a 16,000-grain capacity is the Mobile Soft Water Portable 16,000 Grain Unit. This particular Rv water softener will provide you top-notch performance at a reasonable cost.
But let’s forget that it’s affordable for one second and discuss these other amazing features such as it’s capable of regeneration without the need for electricity. Therefore, you’ll be able to access soft water anywhere you bring it regardless of the circumstances.
On a similar front, this model’s also extremely easy to lug around, which is always plus as RVers are often on the go; I mean, you don’t want to hurt your back as you’re moving a heavy water softener, do you?
With this model, it won’t even be an issue given its weight. It also a great sign that its inlet connection’s made of a lead-free nylon material that ensures your water remains free of hazardous chemicals such as lead.
And its ability to treat 5 gallons of water per minute isn’t too shabby either as it conditions the water free of those harmful substances such as iron, magnesium, and lead. In fact, it’s near the top of the market in this particular area.
3. Watts Water RV-Pro 10,000 Grain Water Softener
The Watts Water RV-Pro 10,000 Grain Water Softener has a little less capacity than the models above. But this quality doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of solving all your hard water issues. It has its only set of features that make it a top-notch water softener in its own right.
For instance, with its lesser capacity, it’s quite a bit lighter than these other models. As a result, the installation process is a much easier and significantly less straining event than you might encounter with other units.
And thanks to this product incredible versatility, this easy installation can happen almost anywhere you might need a water softener: RVs, campers, boats, houses, etc. All of these are in play with this Watts RV water softener.
Its uniquely designed valve is another added benefit that makes this water softener stand out from its competitors. See, its valve lest you regenerate without having to disconnect, which will raise its capacity up to 55% percent.
It also has a full cradle base that makes it much more secure than the open base tanks you might see elsewhere. Plus, it’s incredibly convenient as it can deliver high-quality performance just using ordinary table salt.
4. On The Go OTG3NTP1DS Double STD Water Softener
Our second On The Go product, the On The Go OTG3NTP1Ds Double Std Water Softener is an unbelievably durable and storable unit that’ll offer you peak performance. And this peak performance comes with a variety of features at its disposal.
One of these features is that it comes with a large mouth opening, which makes the regeneration process incredibly simple as you won’t have to disassemble the system. Likewise, it has a high-flow rate that’ll ensure it does its job quickly and efficiently.
This high-flow rate can be a godsend as you’ll be able to access your soft water right away and stop worrying about any effects that awful hard water might have on you or your RV. Aside from these obvious benefits in performance, this On The Go water softener has useful features in other areas too.
For example, it has a cap and plug which make it as previously mentioned unbelievably storable. Honestly, you’ll never worry about having to find a place for it as it can be put almost anywhere in your storage area.
Plus, it’s one the most user-friendly models on this list thanks to its easy use and installation processes. And if for some reason you find the install complicated, On The Go offers an expert installation add-on at an additional price.
5. On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener
The On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener is another product from this fantastic company that’ll do wonders ensuring you’ll have regular access to soft water. And in doing so, it has a couple of features, which will make considering this unit worth it.
As an example, this product’s design is specially constructed with one goal in mind: providing the customer with the water softener that’s easiest to use on the market. This goal is truly demonstrated when you realize how smoothly you can operate this product and move it around.
I mean, this unit is lightweight and compact to the point that it even outshines the other portable models on this list. Even with being so, this unit will still offer you a good supply of soft water for one to two weeks or 300 to 700 gallons of water before it needs a quick regeneration or recharge.
This amount of time between regeneration might sound unappealing given the other models on this list, but it makes up for in areas. See, this model can be regenerated in as little as 15 minutes using a box of common salt.
And given the regular time this process usually takes, 40 to 45 minutes, you can see how this model would be significantly beneficial. Plus, its shut-off valve lets you control the water flow in the inlet pipe, which gives you a sense of control that some of the other models here don’t offer.
6. On The Go OTG4-StdSoft-Portable 8,000 Grain RV Water Softener
As promised, we have another On the Go product with the On The Go OTG4-StfSoft-Portable 8,000 Grain RV Water Softener. Concerning this one customer reviews, you’ll be delighted to know this one is known to be unbelievably effective at providing buyers with soft water.
It seems these results come from its enhanced ability to avoid rust or scaling and improves the taste/odor of the water. All critical elements in creating water that RV owners would be happy to have inside their RVs.
This unit also has the added benefit of being able to allow high-flow rates with a very low-pressure drop. This feature means it’ll be able to efficiently convert all the hard water into soft water and at a reasonable rate.
Like all the other portable models on this list, it’s also built to be compact/lightweight. As a result, storability or the installation process won’t be much of an issue. It even has a handle at the top that makes this water softener a breeze to carry from place to place.
The 8,000-grain capacity isn’t a bad feature either as it’ll handle your sift water needs up to 20 days before it needs regeneration. And when it does need to regenerate, it’ll only take 15 minutes, which is an ideal timeframe for this type of process.
7. Mobile Soft Water Portable 3,200 Grain RV Water Softener
The last Mobile Soft Water product on our list, the Mobile Soft Water Portable 3,200 Grain Softener Shorty for RV has a real knack for fitting into the tightest spaces. It can do this thanks to its rather extraordinarily compact and lightweight design.
With this design, this product becomes ideal for shorter trips or owners who have real storage space issues: don’t we all? The durable materials the product’s made up of isn’t a feature you shouldn’t take lightly either.
The fiberglass reinforced vessel and the lead-free nylon inlet connection should stay in good shape for years to come. Both of these materials have been proven to resist rusting and been praised routinely in the customer reviews.
Aside from its construction, this unit is handy in many other ways as well. For instance, it can regenerate without the use of electricity; therefore, you’ll always have access to soft water regardless of your situation.
And like all Mobile Soft Water products mentioned in this article, it has the capabilities to treat up to 5 gallons of water per minute. But since it’s a smaller unit, it can only do so continuously up to 320 gallons of water before it needs regeneration.
On The Go Park Model Portable RV Water Softener (Outdated)
Our final On The Go product, the On The Go Park Model Portable RV Water Softener & Conditioner continues showcasing why this brand is highly-regarded. I mean, you can’t go wrong with any of these models, and this one is no different.
For instance, it comes with 32,000-grain capacity, which easily outdoes any of the other models on this list. With this significant capacity, this model can offer you up to 3200 gallons of soft water before regeneration.
In this regard, this model is easily the best portable water softener for RV. Therefore, if you have massive water consumption, this unit might be the best option for you given its significant capacity.
Its use of ordinary table salt isn’t a bad perk either as you won’t have to spend extra on some specialized salt. Now, its larger capacity does make the product heavier, which means it’ll be more difficult to move around.
However, it doesn’t mean the product isn’t portable. In fact, it’s quite the opposite as it still is a reasonable weight that doesn’t make the install or storage process too complicated. It even has a cap and plug to stop leakage and make the unit more travel-friendly.
ABCwaters Portable 16,000 Grain Capacity Water Softener (Outdated)
One of our most versatile RV water softeners on this list, the ABCwaters Portable 16,000 Grain Capacity Water Softener can be used in a lot of different ways. It’s ideally designed for boats, RVs, and even for car washing.
With this type of versatility, you might expect it to have an insane amount of features to help it be useful in all these situations. In this regard, this model certainly doesn’t disappoint. As an example, this unit can regenerate within in minutes, which is almost unheard of for an RV water softener.
The regeneration process is also made easier by the well-detailed instruction manual that ABCwaters provides with each purchase. As a customer, it’s always nice to see something simple like an instruction manual praised in the customer reviews: it shows the company really cares about customer satisfaction.
Aside from being able to regenerate quickly, this model guarantees it’ll be ready to effectively soften up to 2,000 gallons of hard water before it needs a regeneration session. This ability is easily among the best on the market today.
Performance isn’t the only area where this model outpaces several of its competitors: it’s design’s very compact, which makes it lightweight and easy to carry. Another quality that confirms this water softener would be an easy install as well.
Mobile Soft Water 12,800 RV Portable & Manual Softener (Outdated)
Our second product from Mobile Soft Water, the Mobile Soft Water 12,800 RV Portable & Manual Softener is one of the least expensive water softeners mentioned in this article; however, its low price doesn’t stop it from being a top level product.
In fact, it’ll soften your water with the best of them as it’ll treat up to 5 gallons per minute, which is an impressive figure. It’ll do so without needing regeneration up to 1280 gallons of water: a pretty respectable amount itself.
As a result, you can see the inexpensive price doesn’t affect its performance capabilities. It’s also doesn’t affect its portability as it’s incredibly lightweight; therefore, the installation and storage processes should be a piece of cake.
It doesn’t hurt that the materials used to create this water softener are high-end and durable, which should keep the product in pristine condition: lead-free nylon inlet connection and the softener’s vessel is constructed from fiberglass.
If it doesn’t, the company offers a one-year warranty that’ll cover these types of things. Any warranty is always a good thing in my eyes as it gives you some insurance just in case something goes wrong.
ABCwaters 16k Water Softener System (Outdated)
Our first automated system, the ABCwaters 16k Water Softener System lets its customers move away from having to do the regeneration process themselves. It can provide this impressive feature thanks to its digital clock value.
This digital clock value controls the unit automatically and generates on its own. Therefore, removing the need for you to monitor it continually. Instead, you could sit back enjoy the other parts of the RV experience rather than worrying about water softener maintenance.
The 16,000- grain capacity should also give you a sense of comfort as it should be more than enough to satisfy the soft water needs of most RVs. In fact, this model’s so impressive that it has been proven to be effective in condos, apartments, and tiny homes as well.
From this information, you can gather this RV water softener from ABCwaters is more than up to the task of softening up your water. And the company even added in an installation kit, which is nice touch and shows how invest the manufacturer is in creating a user-friendly product.
In this kit, you get a clear instruction manual, silicone lube, hardness test strip, a sanitizer packet, 4 ft 3/8 inch brine line, drain line, and a small parts kit. All of these things will be handy in making the installation as simple as humanly possible. Plus, they threw in a 5-year warranty for good measure.
ABCwaters Built Portable 12,800 Grain Capacity Water Softener (Outdated)
The next ABCwater product, the ABCwaters Built Portable 12,800 Grain Capacity Water Softener isn’t an automated system like the previous unit. But don’t count it out because it has a few features that make it a worthwhile product for you to consider.
For instance, the 12,800-grain capacity should meet your soft water needs without causing you any issues. I mean, this particular unit has been used with campers, RVs, boats, tiny homes, and yachts.
As a result, you can see how versatile and useful this unit in a multitude of situations. And it’s practical too as it has a built-in handle that makes for easy carrying from place to place. It also regenerates in minutes, which makes that process a lot less of a hassle.
Plus, if you want to wash your RV, boat, or car, it has RV hose fittings so you can ensure the water washing your vehicle isn’t being cleaned with hard water. After all, a washing with hard water could leave behind ugly, noticeable deposits.
Poly Salt Free Triple Action Water Softener (Outdated)
Our last product on the list is also the first salt-free water softener. And being a salt-free water softener, the Poly Salt Free Triple Action Water Softener has a lot of things that make different from the other units mentioned in this article.
The first thing being it doesn’t use salt, which could be a huge plus for some of you who don’t like the idea of too much being inside your RV’s plumbing. It’s also much smaller than your typical salt-based unit, which makes it more practical for storage capabilities.
The fact it’s eco-friendly is another added benefit this particular salt-free model will offer as well being incredibly effective against corrosion and stains. Both of which can be a real pain for RV owners as we’re more susceptible to these kinds of things with the unpredictable water sources we frequent at campgrounds and such.
It’ll also protect your plumbing system from mineral build-ups such as calcium and iron. In other words, this salt-free water softener can stand toe to toe with any salt-based one and hold its ground.
And it also helps the installation process is a breeze thanks to the inclusion of the wall bracket along with the straightforward instruction manual. From the looks of it, even someone with my mechanical deficiencies shouldn’t have an issue doing this install.
RV Water Softener Buyer’s Guide
As with most purchases, there are certain things about RV water softeners that you must know before making a responsible decision about buying one. With this in mind, this entire section will focus on these essential pieces of information to give you a better understanding of the product you intend on buying.
Things to know before buying an RV water softener
Like with any product, there are a few factors you’ll need to decide upon before choosing the best RV water softener. And this section will help make those decisions easier by discussing those factors at length.
As a result, we hope this entire process will become much more relaxed and less likely to cause you any frustration. Honestly, everything in this article was put here to make sure you find the perfect product with relative ease.
Since we already discussed the types of water softeners in-detail above, there’s no real point in going over them extensively once again. However, I think a brief review will do some good as it’ll be the first decision you’ll make regarding the RV water softener you want.
With this in mind, I’ll make this easy. If you want the most effective product, you’re going to want a salt-based RV water softener. But these come with a couple of drawbacks as they’re often a lot more expensive than the other types and take up a lot more room. There’s also the use of salt that causes concern among certain RV owners.
If any of these three drawbacks cause you concern, there are two other types available that might fit your needs more: magnetic-based water softeners or salt-free water softeners. Either one will be take up less space than your standard salt-based ones.
But this lack of salt comes at a price as both products are known to be less effective than the more common salt-based models. However, some of them, like the salt-free one in our product review section, is still incredibly effective; it’s just not 100%.
It’s also essential to note that the salt-free models don’t eliminate the issue causing ions, but instead make them change form. Often, this means crystallizing them, which stops them from damaging your surfaces, but you’re still getting exposed to those ions.
Given all these pros/cons, you can see that there’s a lot to go into deciding which type fits your preferences the best. But honestly, any of the three could be an incredible purchase depending on your circumstances.
Just like with any RV part, certain manufacturers continually produce high-quality RV water softeners. And buying from one of them will increase the chances you end up satisfied with the unit you buy.
Due to this, it’s essential you ensure the one you buy comes from one of these brands. I mean, there are a ton of fraudulent companies out there looking to profit off their malfunctioning products.
Unfortunately, the RV water softener market isn’t any different as it’s littered with these types of sellers. Which is why I’m here to help remove these manufacturers from your consideration list and point you towards the notable ones: like the companies mentioned in our product section.
All of those manufacturers will provide you with excellent products that’ll get the job done. But if you’re researching a model from a manufacturer not mentioned in this article, you can always check the product reviews to help give you some idea.
Another essential factor you must consider when choosing an RV water softener is size. Now, size is a vague term. But in this case, it means the rated number manufacturers present on the product itself that tells you how much grains of hardness the model can remove between regeneration sessions.
I’d recommend trying to find a water softener that can handle at least three days of usage before needing to be regenerated or recharged. The standard will be rated about 8,000-grain capacity, which should be enough for most RV owners to fit this 3-day minimum.
To determine how much water a water softener can handle, you can multiply the GPG (grains per gallon) with your family’s water consumption in gallons. From this info, you should have a good idea of what grain-capacity model you’ll need.
However, as you’ve seen from the product review section, the amount of water these softeners can handle varies quite a bit. So please, ensure it can handle at least an enough of a period without regeneration that it doesn’t become a nuisance.
And if an 8,000-grain capacity model that can’t handle your amount of water usage efficiently, you can always get a higher capacity model. The most common on the market are 10,000 and 16,000, which will both more than meet your needs.
In the end, it’s all about finding the right size at a reasonable price. And once you do, you’ll be happy and content with your purchase rather than being frustrated by paying too much or selecting one with too low of a capacity size.
Ease of Installation
Maybe the most essential factor you’ll want to consider before putting a unit into your Amazon cart is ease of installation. If you get one that makes installing or using them incredibly difficult, you’ll end up hating the thing.
And let’s be honest; nobody wants that experience with any product. Therefore, it’s best you check the actual install steps before purchasing to ensure you can handle it on your own. If you find that you can’t, make sure they offer an expert installation with your purchase or move onto a different model.
If you can’t seem to find the actual steps online for the install, another way you can check is through the customer reviews. I mean, you’d be surprised by how infuriated the installation process for some of these models can make people.
As a result, these reviews become an excellent source that’ll ensure you don’t become the next person who ends up writing one of those reviews. Ideally, you’re looking for a unit you can install in less than two hours.
Anything longer than that will probably require an expert or isn’t worth the hassle. We must also remind you that an expert install will cost you a ton of money, so, if you’re looking for a bargain buy, these models that have complicated installation processes are most likely not the option for you.
The controls on each RV water softener can differ a little bit. Some units will allow you to set a predetermined time for the regeneration process every week through a time controller system. A feature like this one makes these products much more convenient for the owner.
Other units will come with automatic controls, which offers a little bit more convenience than a time controller system. See, with these models, you can choose a specific time when the softener regenerates water: it’s not based on week time-frame, but rather yours.
These automatic controls also keep track of how much water passes through the product. As a result, you can regenerate water when it’s necessary. It’s little things like this that’ll end up ensuring you’re happy with the product.
If you find these automatic or time-controller systems intriguing, you should seek a reasonably priced model that has these capabilities. It’ll make your experience with the product you buy significantly better.
What are the different types of RV water softeners?
As mentioned above, there are different types of RV water softeners. But the primary ones you should know about are magnetic-based water softeners, salt-based water softeners, and salt-free water softeners.
Each one has a slightly different way of working and a situation where they’ll work the best, which we’ll discuss in detail below. As a result, we hope it’ll help you decide which type fits your circumstances the best.
Magnetic-Based Water Softeners
With the magnetic-based water softeners, the hard water will pass through a magnetic field, which will severely diminish the effects hard water will have on your RV experience. But it won’t get out all the calcium and magnesium ions from the water.
In other words, this type of water softener is more of an effective containment unit rather than an elimination unit. However, these have their own set of perks that still make them solid options for RV owners.
For instance, even though they don’t get rid of all the calcium and magnesium: they eliminate most of it. Plus, they’re less expensive than your typical salt or salt-free models. It also helps they’re often smaller in size.
Therefore, if you’re on a budget and can’t see yourself paying 200-300 or more dollars for the other two types, try your luck with a magnetic-based water softener. It’ll keep your bank account from emptying and do a pretty effective job protecting your RV.
Salt-Based Water Softeners
The most common type of water softener is the salt-based models. And these models work as we discussed above by replacing the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ones to keep hard water from causing any damage.
Often, RV owners will agree this type is the most impactful when it comes to ridding your RV’s plumbing system of any hard water. In most cases, these models will come with two tanks: the first makes use of the resin and the second is full of brine.
However, these salt-based water softeners can be a little bit of burden to move around and could represent a problem when you try storing them. But in the end, these models are the best units around, unless you have limited storage or don’t want to take into much salt.
Salt-Free Water Softeners
If you don’t want to take in too much salt, a salt-free water softener will represent your best choice. These models don’t, as the name suggests, use salt. Instead, they’ll often use potassium-chloride salt, a safe salt substitute used in many different products, for the regeneration process.
But without using salt that’s sodium based, these models don’t wholly destroy those problem-causing ions. They’ll instead change them into a different form, often, crystallizing them, which makes it so these ions can’t stick to a surface.
In other words, these units will only descale and condition the water, but it won’t rid them of those ions altogether. As a result, a salt-free water softener will keep your RV plumbing system from suffering from the effects of hard water, but you’ll remain exposed to them.
Overall, if you’re having problems with salt and don’t feel comfortable buying a salt-based unit, these water softeners can be a blessing. And they do take up a lot less space than your standard salt-based models.
Concerning my personal preference, I’d go with the RV owner consensus and get a salt-based RV water softener. It just seems to fit my situation the best as a customer, but there’s no real right answer here as you might find your needs mesh better with a salt-free or magnetic model.
How to regenerate an RV water softener?
As you might expect, the regeneration process for a manual RV water softener will depend on the unit you end up buying. But I thought it’d be useful to link you towards the instructions for one the top rated RV water softeners mentioned in our product review section.
For this particular task, I think the On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener would be a good choice; as most of the products mentioned come from this brand and represent what you should reasonably expect:
- Step 1: Turn off the water supply.
- Step 2: Disconnect outlet hose from the outlet side of the softener.
- Step 3: You can drain water by tilting unit over or turning it upside down with the head/cap ON.
- Step 4: Remove top cap.
- Step 5: Add the correct amount of table salt into the top for your softener.Two full 26 oz. boxes of iodized/non-iodized salt. A few ways to add Salt:
- Pour salt into the softener.
- Mix salt with warm water and pour the solution into the softener.
- Pour salt into the softener while periodically pouring water slowly over it with a cup.
In extremely hard conditions, also use 2-4 teaspoons.
- Step 6: Replace cap and turn the water on and rinse VERY SLOW for the directed amount of time. Stream of water should just clear the side of the tank/the stream should be the size of a pencil. Rinse for 24-30 minutes
- Step 7: Increase water flow to a full stream.Rinse for 6-8 minutes
- Step 8: To verify the regeneration process is complete use the hardness test strips to insure the water at the OUTPUT of the softener is soft. Soft water is 0-3 GPG. At the end of the regeneration process the water should also not have a salty taste.
- Step 9: Regeneration cycle is complete.
As mentioned before, the process will vary from unit to unit. But I thought seeing a set of instructions within this article could save you a click and give you some idea of what you might expect.
However, if you choose a manual regeneration model, it’s essential that you read the customer reviews to ensure this process isn’t overly complicated or something you can’t handle. After all, there are plenty of automatically controlled water softeners out that are reasonably priced.
How to hook up an RV water softener?
Since the answer to this will obviously depend on the product you end up buying, I thought taking one of the products from our product review section and go over how you install it would be beneficial. I hope this demonstration will give you some idea of what the overall process will be like with your water softener.
Let’s again, use the On The Go Water Softener instructions we used above as our example because I found the process is pretty similar to what’d used see for most units:
- Step 1: Turn off the water feeding the point of application.
- Step 2: Connect the source water to the inlet of the softener.
- Step 3: Make sure the unit is standing upright for use.
- Step 4: Turn the water on and flush system into a drain for 4-6 minutes. This flushes any resin dust out.
- Step 5: Connect the outlet of the softener to the point of application.
- Step 6: Your unit is ready for use.
And most models will come with detail instructions such as these, which will give some significant insight into exactly how the until is supposed to be installed. Trust me; if you’re buying from a reputable company, they won’t leave without proper instructions.
If the instructions aren’t detailed enough, you can always call the manufacturer yourself. A high-quality brand should have a customer service representative waiting to guide through the process.
And if that fails, you can always call a professional, some products even offer expert install, or watch a YouTube video online demonstrating the ins and outs of the installation. In the end, this install isn’t something you should stress over as there will be plenty of resources to help you through it.
RV Water Softener FAQs
What is the best water softener for RV?
An RV water softener is a product that’s designed to keep your water free of mineral ions, such as calcium and magnesium, which will make your water hard. If you let these ions stay in your water, several adverse effects from the hard water can cause a heap of issues.
For instance, this “hard water” will cause issues for your RV’s plumbing system, make your skin/hair dry, and it becomes increasingly difficult to use soap in the shower. But with a high-quality RV water softener, none of these issues will be apart of your RV experience.
But you’re probably saying to yourself, aren’t these ions supposed to be good for you? Well, yes they’re as these ions provide essential nutrients to our bodies every day. However, outside your body, these ions create reside and can form deposits on surfaces they come in contact with such as your water heater or pipes.
These deposits are also called scaling, which RVs, boats, motorhomes, and campers are more susceptible to because the places where they get water often have mineral-rich water: campgrounds, RV parks, marinas, etc.
As a result, RV part manufacturers came up with a product to stop this from happening: the RV water softener. And with this product, you’ll have softer clothes and cleaner dishes. Plus, you’ll able to prevent that previously mentioned scaling and rusting in your dishwashers, water heater, showers, and sinks.
With all this in mind, you can see why an RV water softener is an ideal purchase for any RV owner. And once you get a high quality RV water softener, you can feel comfortable knowing that you’ll never have to worry about the effects caused by mineral-rich, hard water from your local campground.
How does it work?
How your RV water softener works will depend on the type you get, which we’ll get into later on in this post. But the main gist of these products is they remove these issue-causing ions from your water to get rid of the harmful effects hard water cause.
With the most common systems (the salt-based systems), these issue-causing ions, calcium and magnesium, will be removed by a process called ion-exchange: a process that filters your water through an exchange media known as resin or zeolite.
Generally, this resin or zeolite is either a synthetic or a sand-like material that’s covered in positively charged sodium ions. From there, the magnesium and calcium ions will dissolve in the water to form positively charged, which creates the right environment for the change to happen.
And when the water flows over the resin or zeolite, it’ll release its sodium ions, which get traded for those pesky calcium or magnesium ones. This water is now considered “soft water” and won’t cause you any of those problems that these calcium or magnesium ions would have created.
But unfortunately, this water won’t stay soft forever; the sodium ions on the resin will eventually all be used, and the water will no longer be soft. At this point, your RV water softener will need to run on a different cycle called regeneration.
In this cycle, the resin is backwashed with a salt solution, which creates brine. This brine will do two essential things: restock the sodium ions and eliminate any calcium or magnesium ions that may have reappeared.
After the regeneration process, your water softener is now ready to start the process all over again. It’s also imperative to note some water softeners will be able to detect when the sodium ions get low and switch over to the regeneration process themselves.
Overall, this whole thing sounds rather complicated, right? Well, it’s not. Just think about like this, you’re replacing those calcium and magnesium ions for sodium ones to ensure your RV appliances don’t incur the wrath of things like scaling and rusting.
And the other types will have different variations on this process as you’ll see in the next part of this article.
Do water softeners cause kidney stones?
There’s no evidence to suggest that water softeners for mobile homes cause kidney stones. In fact, most experts see them as a kidney stone preventative measure. After all, drinking soft water is much better than hard water for people with kidney stones.
If you’re an RV owner who suffers from this condition, I’d recommend choosing an option like Watts Water RV-Pro 10,000 Grain Water Softener. This camper water softener will provide excellent performance to ensure your drink meets expectations.
How long do RV water softeners last?
High-quality RV water softeners should survive a long time. In fact, RV owners who take care of their portable water softeners should get them to last more than a decade. I’ve even known people who had their devices for over 15 years without much issue.
But I do have to note that some factors will impact your water softener’s lifespan. Users with significant hard water issues will probably get fewer years out of their device. It just stems from the softener having to be used on a more regular basis.
Moreover, I wouldn’t recommend using the smallest water softener for these RV owners. They’ll need a device capable of softening their entire water supply. A large capacity option like the ABCwaters Portable 16,000 Grain Capacity Water Softener would be more their speed.
How do you know when your water softener needs to be replaced?
It isn’t too tricky to determine whether it’s time to replace your water softener. It comes down to understanding what signs present themselves when it’s not working effectively. The most common one would be a change in how your water tastes.
Honestly, it should become rather apparent almost immediately. The water will taste more like hard water, which often has a chalky or chemical taste. Of course, this sign isn’t the only one to be on alert for when deciding whether to replace your softener. Others are:
- Faucets have scale buildups
- Noticeable streaks on dishes
- Film feeling on your hands after dishwashing
- Lower water pressure
- Rough, dull clothes after laundry
However, your issues might be solved by a simple RV water softener recharge. So please, go through the recharge process before putting money down on a new system. It could end up saving you some cash.
What is the warranty?
Warranties are an often overlooked feature when buying an RV water softener system. However, these policies can become crucial, especially for people who might be prone to breaking things. I fall into this category, so I always advise buyers to purchase options with a warranty.
Of course, the warranty’s length will differ from product to product. You may see a salt free RV water softener with a 1-year warranty (which is the most common one), while another compact water softener offers a lifetime warranty. So it’s essential to research these components before making a final decision.
You’ll want to know the exact status of your warranty. Then, it’ll allow you to act and use it effectively when it becomes necessary. I’d also recommend reading through customer reviews to see whether the manufacturer honors its policies. You’d be surprised how many only use it as a marketing ploy.
What are the most trusted RV water softener brands?
All the companies mentioned in this article are ones that come with a pristine reputation. But even in this article, there are some that stand out a little more than the others. And we’ll discuss these high-quality manufacturers in this section to point you toward who genuinely are on top of the RV water softener market.
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that the brands that I’m talking about are On The Go, ABCwaters, and Mobile Soft Water. After all, they’re listed multiple times in our product review section, but I thought a little background knowledge on each of them could show why.
As the “the leading developer of water softening products for the recreational vehicle (RV) market,” On The Go has cultivated a trusting relationship with their customers. And it’s something that the company continues to build upon through the relentless pursuit of their goal.
This goal is simple: create easily used water softeners“designed for RV owners who need a simple and affordable way to eliminate harmful hard water for plumbing fixtures.” Who wouldn’t trust a company with a goal like that one?
This company strives to make their customers feel like they’re buying from a friend rather than a stranger. Honestly, it’s not too often you see a negative review about a product made from this manufacturer; it really doesn’t get better than ABCwaters.
And I expect this comes from their willingness to ensure each “line of equipment is built exactly to our customers specifications and needs. [ABCwaters] back-up each unit [they] build with [their] warranty and support.” There isn’t much more you could ask for in an RV water softener manufacturer.
As trademarked brand under HydroTec Inc, Mobile Soft Water “will provide [their] customers with excellent pre-sale and post-sale service and will uphold HydroTec’s standards”And given the other brands that fall under HydroTec, you can bet these standards are high-quality.
All in all, these three brands are what I consider the best of the best. In fact, if you buy from one of these manufacturers, I’ll promise there’s a considerably high probability you’ll end up happy with your purchase.
What is the regeneration time?
The timeframe of an RV water softener regeneration process will depend on the model you end up buying. Some will tend to be a little longer, and others will be shorter. But typically, the standard timeframe for an RV water softener to regenerate is about 40 to 45 minutes.
During the regeneration cycle, the softener cleans the treatment medium through reversing the chemical reaction, which removes all the dissolved minerals. From there, the treatment medium is now ready to pull more unwanted minerals out of the water.
It’s also imperative we note that the system’s valve controls the regeneration cycle’s duration. It’s essentially in control of the whole unit and will tell the rest of the water softener when the perfect time is for the process to begin.
Does an RV water softener go through a lot of salt?
If you chose a salt-based RV water softener, the answer to this question is yes. For example, the On The Go RV water softener regeneration example above says you must use two full 26oz boxes of iodized salt, which in my experience represents a lot of salt.
It’ll vary from product to product as most things will, but this amount should provide you with a basis of what you should expect from a salt-based unit. There are a few other things you must keep in mind regarding salt as well.
For instance, if you don’t have the correct level of salt, your hard water issue will remain unsolved. Therefore, maintaining the right amount of salt inside your device becomes an essential part of this entire process.
As a result, you should make sure the salt is at a consistent level. It’ll help your device work smoothly and provide you with access to a regular supply of soft water.A good checking point would be once a month (or whenever the product says it needs to regenerate) and adding salt when it seems needed.
Is it possible to use potassium instead of salt?
Yes, potassium-chloride salt is often used as a salt substitute, and it’s entirely safe for use in your RV water softener. It’s seen as a fantastic alternative for people who have a salt-free diet or issues with high blood pressure.
But there are a couple of drawbacks with using potassium-chloride salt that we must mention before you change over to it. First, it’s more expensive than your regular salt, which might be an issue for some people on a budget.
Secondly, potassium-chloride tends to melt when wet, which can create a bridge inside the salt tank. This bridge formation can cause some issues, and it’s why most experts recommend only filling the brine tank at halfway when using this salt alternative.
But honestly, if you don’t have issues with salt, I don’t see a real reason why you’d use potassium-chloride instead; it doesn’t make logical or financial sense and could end up causing some issues in the water softening process.
How to maintenance your RV water softener?
Another quality that’ll vary from unit to unit is the maintenance each one requires. But all the information you’ll need about these maintenance tasks will be readily available in the manual that comes with your device.
And you’ll also find out in your research that most models will need general care such as refilling the salt pellets or cleaning the tank. You know, the usual things you’d expect from buying a product such as an RV water softener.
Others might not require any significant maintenance whatsoever and be relatively simple to maintain. In the end, it’s all about finding a product that has a maintenance requirement that doesn’t exceed a level you feel uncomfortable with becoming a part of your RV life.
With all this information, you should be well on your way to buying the best RV water softener available for you. Once you do find this perfect product, you’ll never have to worry about hard causing you any issues ever again.
Instead, you can sit back enjoy your regular supply of soft water that doesn’t cause any rusting or scaling. Honestly, finding an efficient and effective RV water softener can make your RV experience significantly better.
I mean, you’ll be shocked how much a top-notch unit could increase the quality of life aboard your RV. And we hope our buying guide has given you the right tools to make an informed decision about which water softener could help brighten your RV life.
So please, find the right water softener based on your needs such as the features, price, and type as it’ll make this whole process a much more relaxed experience. After all, isn’t that what the entire RVing lifestyle is about: being relaxed?
Hi, I am Dane Heldt, a full-time RVer since 2016. I am always passionate about building and joining an RV community where people share their love for RV lives. This blog is a dream of mine, as I can finally share my experiences to help people who want to start living differently. So, feel free to reach out to me!