RV or boat travels with family and friends sure are fun. But it can be spoiled by hard water. A portable water softener for RV or boat can eliminate hard water problems during travels, like the terrible taste and odor; dry, rough skin and hair; difficulty in dissolving soap; water spots; scale buildup; damaged water-based appliances.
To find the best option for a portable marine or portable RV water softener that can effectively deliver your water softening requirements on the go, you need to keep in mind these three main features:
- Grain capacity: This refers to the amount of grains of hard water that a water softener can get rid of. The higher number for grain capacity means a consistent soft water supply for long periods before regeneration. For a smaller demand for soft water, there’s the 8,000-grain capacity. Also, the best portable water softeners available in the market with grain capacities of 10,000 and up.
- Flow rate: This refers to the amount of water used per minute in gallons (GPM). It’s best to go with flow rates around 4 to 5 GPM. Of course, more water-based appliances and travel buddies would require a higher flow rate.
- Type: There are many types of portable water softeners in the market. There are salt-based ones and a variety of salt-free RV water softener. But the most popular type for its effectiveness in softening water is the salt-based type. They are highly reliable and can prolong the lifespan of water-based appliances.
Those are just a few valuable pieces of information. Read further, and you can find excellent options for a mobile water softener in our RV water softener reviews/marine water softener reviews. And at the end, you’d be shown the ideal portable system features in the comprehensive buying guide.
Table of Contents
Best Portable Water Softener Reviews
1. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT Portable Water Softener
The On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT RV water softener is a highly capacious system with high-grade premium resin. It’s perfect for long trips with loved ones.
This can supply twice more gallons of soft water in comparison to the standard system model. With this 16,000-grain capacity system, you can get 1,600 gallons of soft water at a flow rate of up to 4 to 5 GPM for up to 40 days until regeneration time.
And I’m impressed that it can bring water hardness down to 0 grain per gallon (gpg), making the water so clean and soft that it leaves no rust stains and scale buildup. As extensive as its period of water supply is its 1-year limited warranty.
It has many user-friendly features. One is regeneration, as it’s designed with a large opening for ease in refilling salt, and it can regenerate in lesser than 30 minutes with only the use of 2 boxes of table salt. Ease of carrying and secure storing is also allowed, as it comes with an ergonomic handle at the top and a fully cradled base for keeping it in place firmly.
Installation is also not a problem with the clear instructions, and a back-flush adapter was even provided for ease in reverse connection if necessary.
2. PRO+AQUA FBA-WS-P-16 Portable Water Softener
I am amazed how this Pro+Aqua portable water softener is 40% more spacious in soft water supply than other similar-sized units. It’s a 16,000-grain system that can provide approximately 2,000 gallons of water without hard water particles like calcium, magnesium, iron, radium, lead, etc.
Furthermore, soft water can be accessed through this at 5 GPM. As a powerful system, this is the perfect portable water softener for pressure washer. We can have clean and soft water using two table salt boxes and allowing the device to regenerate for 30 minutes.
There is a female adapter included for backwashing. But there’s also the brand’s 2-in-1 prefilter/regenerating kit that comes for a more straightforward regeneration process. Moreover, setting it up is a breeze, as it comes completely assembled with pretreated resin.
Composed of high-grade and NSF-approved materials, this system is durable and safer in providing drinking water. High-grade Polyethylene makes up the inner shell and is reinforced with robust fiberglass. Inside the construction is an NSF-approved and food-grade resin.
3. Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 Water Softener
A few descriptive words for Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 Portable Water Softener are user-friendly, effective, and low maintenance.
This is a 10,000-grain capacity system equipped with premium-grade gold resin that can provide soft water for up to 1 month until regeneration time. This softener can effectively remove calcium, magnesium, and iron and is capable of dealing with hard water. Furthermore, it can supply soft water at a flow rate of up to 4 GPM.
As effective as its water softening is its regeneration. Because its drain line flow restrictor is built-in, there is an improvement by 55% in its regeneration capacity. Its regeneration process doesn’t consume too much water and requires only 2 pounds of salt.
I like the unique features that make it user-friendly, one of which is its resin pre-treated with salt. Another one is its flow valve that comes in a custom design, which makes the regeneration process more manageable by enabling the isolation of the drain line from the output line, which also allows regeneration without disconnecting the system.
Keeping this compact system is no problem with its fully cradled base that can keep it intact. In contrast to its size is its extensive warranty of 5 years, limited on its tank, and one year, limited on its head component.
4. On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener
The On The Go device is 6.75 inches wide, 22 inches tall, and weighs 18 pounds. For a compact, light system, I like how it can produce up to 320 to 800 gallons of soft water for as long as 20 days with its 8,000-grain capacity. And it can bring water hardness down to 0 gpg from 10-25 gpg.
Helping improve water quality and the system’s capacity is the slow rinse allowed by its inlet high-flow shut-off control valve. Regenerating this is as simple as pouring table salt into its mouth opening designed largely for ease of regeneration. And it’ll be ready for the next cycle in minutes.
Its one downside is that it has a lower flow rate. But it’s recommended for those who want to save space and don’t have high soft water demand. For storing it securely, it comes with a fully cradled base.
What makes it user-friendly is the ease in setting up, clear instructions, ease in inlet hose connection with the swivel of 360°, ease of reverse connection with an adapter for backflushing if necessary, and ease of carrying with its handle. Adding to its convenience is its 1-year limited warranty.
5. Mobile-Soft-Water MSW Water Softener
Not all compact systems have a high capacity and vice versa. The Mobile-Soft-Water MSW 16Kgr Portable Water Softener, however, can give you the best of both worlds.
Measuring 9 inches in diameter and 18 inches in height, this portable system is relatively smaller than other models with a high 16,000-grain capacity.
In addition, it has a high flow rate of 5 GPM. As a result, it can provide 1,600 gallons of water free of calcium, magnesium, iron, radium, lead, and other hard water particles. I love how it can effectively get rid of those metals, and that’s thanks to the high-capacity 8% cross-link styrene resin.
Making it more desirable as a soft water source is its lead-free fittings. Its fittings are made of durable nylon, a safer material for treating drinking water and approved by the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF). Using this system is easy, as the instructions completely cover all matters dealing with the system.
6. On The Go OTG3NTP1DS Portable Water Softener
Effectively and quickly providing soft water with a high capacity, the On The Go portable water softener otg3ntp1ds could be the solution for a high demand for soft water.
It can eliminate hard water particles such as calcium, magnesium, iron, radium, chlorine, led, etc. Thus it prevents rust stains and scale buildup.
I find it amazing how the softener can also eliminate toxic chemicals, dirt, sediments, silica, and oils. Its 16,000-grain capacity allows an abundant supply of soft water for long periods until regeneration time.
This allows quick access to soft water, as it can produce 4 gallons of clean, soft water only within a minute. And it can provide soft water at high flow rates up to 4.5 GPM. Equally quick is its easy regeneration.
Also, the device comes equipped with an inlet flow control for efficient regeneration. It packs all the necessary attachments for quick setup and a handle for portability ease. So, first-time owners will not be confused with how to assemble this piece upon arrival.
7. RV Water Filter Store E4012 Portable Water Softener
Capable of providing more than 2,000 gallons of soft water lasting up to 60 days, the RV Water Filter Store E4012 Portable Water Softener is suitable for people who like to take long RV trips with loved ones.
I am amazed that it can deliver 50% more soft water than its competitors. After approximately 60 days of consuming its soft water, it’s time for regeneration, which can easily be done by pouring salt into its large opening.
This highly capacious system is equipped with 16,000-grain resin that can effectively eliminate hard water particles such as calcium, magnesium, radium, lead, iron, etc. High flow rates are also allowed in this with its high flow port.
Setting this up is very easy, as this comes pre-assembled complete with a 4-foot, no-kink, 200-PSIG rated, PVC water hose and fitted hose connections.
In addition, this system is durable and guaranteed safe for use, as it comes with an NSF-approved Polyethylene inner shell reinforced with fiberglass and lead-free brass ports.
8. Mobile-Soft-Water MSW0618-M-8S-W-2 Softener
The Mobile-Soft-Water MSW0618-M-8S-W-2 Portable Water Softener is a compact 8,000-grain capacity system that can supply up to 800 gallons of soft water. Also, it would take a long period of use before regenerating.
It works highly effectively in softening water with its 8% cross-link styrene softening resin. It can bring 10-grain hard water down to 0 gpg.
Housing its effective softening resin is a hardwearing fiberglass-reinforced plastic tank designed to endure 150 PSIG pressure. It has a premium tank head that is also made durable with PVC material.
The instructions help make installation easy. This comes with a salt port as big as 2.5 inches, making pouring in salt for regeneration easy.
It also comes with a handle for carrying easily. Moreover, it’s super compact, measuring only 6.5 inches in diameter and 21.63 inches in height.
9. Camco 40655 Portable Water Softener
Coming in a ready-to-use compact design and easy to maintain, the Camco 40655 Portable Water Softener is a well-equipped system prepared to cater to RV traveler’s high soft water demand.
This space-saving system has an 8 ½-inch diameter and 20 ½-inch height. In contrast to its size is a large softening capacity of 10,000 grains. I like how for such a compact system, it has a large grain capacity.
The softener is equipped with a premium resin that can effectively eliminate hard water particles such as magnesium and calcium. And it can run at high flow rates up to 4 GPM. Such an impressive rate results in a quick supply of water for everyone in my family.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort in setting up, as it comes ready to use, complete with a 4-foot hose and male-to-male hose fitting for regeneration.
Its regeneration is as easy as pouring salt into its large mouth opening. And it only requires two boxes of salt. Adding to its convenience is its handle for ease in carrying.
10. SoftPro PWS-16 Portable Water Softener
Having hard water can be a struggle. Thankfully, the SoftPro PWS-16 Portable Water Softener is a hassle-free solution to water problems.
This trusty Softpro RV water softener is equipped with 8% cross-link premium resin for effectively cleansing hard water to make it soft. Aiding in making the water cleaner is the optional sediment filter that comes along with it.
With the 16,000-grain capacity, it can provide 1,680 gallons of soft water that can last for extensive periods, so my family does not have to regenerate it more often. Moreover, it allows access to soft water at a high flow rate of 5 GPM.
For this on the go water softener regeneration, you only have to put 2 boxes of salt into its user-friendly salt port. Another feature making it less laborious is its easy installation. Also, it even conveniently comes with quick connections.
Although slightly big at 10 inches in diameter and 21.5 inches in height, its size can still work for RV storage. However, it’s a bit on the heavy side at 40 pounds. It does come with a handle that helps in carrying, though.
11. Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Water Softener
I love how its very compact size combined with its moderate capacity make it a great camper water softener for short trips or an excellent option for traveling in short periods with any recreational vehicle with limited space.
This small system is space-saving at 6 inches wide and 15 ⅝ inches tall. It’s also very light at 14 pounds. With a grain capacity of 3,200, this can sufficiently supply up to 320 gallons of soft water for short trips. Then, when regeneration time comes, you can just easily pour salt into its user-friendly mouth opening.
But don’t underestimate this small system, as it can serve soft water at a high flow rate of up to 5 GPM. And this delivers soft water that has been effectively rid of hard water particles such as calcium, magnesium, lead, iron, radium, etc.
This device’s design comes with the safety of drinking water treatment. So it adheres to the NSF’s requirement of lead-free connections for drinking water applications with its strong nylon fittings. It is also a hardwearing system, as its tank is plastic with fiberglass reinforcement, allowing it to endure high pressures up to 150 PSIG.
What to Look for When Buying a Portable Water Softener
With the best portable water softener equipped in your RV, you can have the best time on your trip without struggling with hard water. And to know which one is the most suitable to pick, let’s delve more into those important factors, which we had a brief of earlier.
The grain capacity you will need would depend on water consumption. High water consumption would require higher grain capacity. Very hard water also requires a high grain capacity. The resin inside the tank is responsible for getting rid of hard water particles. The bigger the size of the resin, the higher the grain capacity.
High grain capacity systems are also advisable for long travels, as road trips can also be unpredictable. And in the case that you run out of salt or forget to buy salt, it would still be functioning until you finally reach a store.
Each of your water-based appliances has its flow rate. And each person on the trip will be consuming water. So you can determine your required flow rate by considering these 2 factors.
The most effective type of system and highly recommended is the salt-based type. It’s popular in the market for its effectiveness and how it can keep water-based appliances and pipes in good condition. A couple of downsides to it, however, are the consistent maintenance for regeneration and the health problems for people that require a low-sodium diet.
Although you may have to regenerate it regularly manually, it’s worth the excellent results in water softening. Also, people with health issues related to sodium intake can go for potassium chloride as a substitute.
Size, Weight, and Portability
Because you will put your system in your RV, it should fit accordingly and can be accommodated by your vehicle. Before purchasing a system, make sure to get one that will fit into your RV’s cargo space. Measure the cargo space and select a system that would be able to fit in it.
Ease of Use
The last thing you want to do in your travels is to deal with a complicated system. You would want an easy to manage system, a breeze in hooking up to a water line, changing the filter, and refilling with salt.
How Do I Know What Size Water Softener I Need
You have to consider how many people join you on the trips and the grains of the hardness of your water supply every day. Suppose the average water consumption per person is 75 gallons. You can multiply the total number of people living and traveling in your RV by 75.
Then, multiply the result you got by your water supply’s grains of hardness to get your requirement for water softening daily. Then, you will have to base on the result when choosing your water softener. Usually, a family with four people should use a unit of 33 000 grains.
How Long Do Portable Water Softeners Last
The life span of the resin in a tank would depend on the quality of water that enters the tank and how often it regenerates. Usually, it would last about 7 to 10 years.
Do Portable Water Softeners Require Powering
Most portable water softeners, particularly the basic ones, need not be powered. They are to be regenerated manually. However, the more high-tech models equipped with smart features like the total dissolved solids (TDS) meter would usually be powered with batteries. There are also a variety of other types of water softeners suitable for your home, you can refer to twin tank water softeners.
Hard water going through your pipes and water-based appliances in your RV can give you all sorts of problems during your trips. With a trusty portable water softener in your RV, you won’t have to worry about all of those issues anymore and just enjoy it. So RV owners need to choose the best portable water softener that can cater to their needs while they’re on the go.
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