Families who want to extend their water softener’s lifespan should get only the water softener to replace their machine’s resin beads. It is the only way people can continue enjoying the full benefits of soft water while saving the cost and hassle of expensive water softener repairs.
Choosing the best water softener resin is challenging for first-time water softener owners, particularly because they might not know what factors they must consider in buying. In this article, we identified three factors crucial to making an intelligent buying decision.
- Resin Type: Two water softener resin types exist on the market: ion exchange and fine mesh. Manufacturers classify their products according to the water source. For example, fine-mesh water softener resins are ideal for iron-rich well water. On the other hand, an ion exchange resin is suitable for removing calcium and other water hardness minerals.
- Quantity: The resin amount people must buy depends on their water softener’s specifications. For instance, a water softener with a 1.5-cubic-foot rated capacity should purchase a 1.5 cu. ft. replacement resin.
- Crosslink Percentage: Resin beads connect through chemical bonds known as crosslinks. Hence, the more crosslinks in the beads, the sturdier and more durable the resin beads. That is why many homeowners are shifting from an 8% to a 10% crosslink structure because they know the water softener beads will last longer.
Like any other product, other parameters are worthy of a buyer’s consideration. We will discuss these factors in our buying guide and highlight them in the following product reviews.
Table of Contents
Top 11 Water Softener Resin Reviews
1. Purolite C100E Resin Cationic for Water Softener
The Purolite C100E Cationic Replacement Water Softener is one of the most trusted products on the market today. It has multiple certifications from different water quality standards organizations.
I am glad this resin for water softener has various certifications from reputable organizations. It makes me feel more confident about its quality and performance. First, it has the Water Quality Association’s (WQA) assurance of compliance to the NSF/ANSI 61 Standard.
I know families and establishments will appreciate this information because it gives the product credibility and trustworthiness.
Second, the resin beads also comply with FDA Regulation 21, allowing commercial establishments to use the product in their industrial and commercial-grade water treatment systems.
It is Kosher Certified, further proving the beads’ cleanliness. People and organizations can use the water for processing beverages and food items without worries.
Its performance in the real world is also impeccable. Some customers describe how this product improved their water treatment systems’ performance, reducing water hardness levels from 15 GPG to 2 GPG. To think that this product only has an 8% crosslink makes one wonder how it can perform exceptionally.
I think its performance relates to its excellent cationic formulation, chemical stability, and exemplary kinetic action. The crosslinks feature divinylbenzene and gel polystyrene, creating a meshwork for its sodium ions. This product’s formulation is sufficient to extend a water softener’s lifespan by another 10 or 15 years.
2. AFWFilters Water Softener Replacement Resin
Many salt based water softener owners trust AFWFilters for their water treatment needs. It makes perfect sense that they are also confident in this product. Not only does it excel at its job, but it also has a commendable water softener resin price.
I like the bag’s integrated spout, ensuring none of the spherical beads will spill out of the tank. Some products I know require pouring the contents into a container before dumping into the water softener, making the process exhausting. It also increases the risk of wasting these precious resin beads.
Adding another decade to a water softener’s lifespan is a cinch with this product’s eight percent crosslink resin formula. However, a 10% design will extend the device’s service to two decades. Regardless, I am glad the crosslinking promotes resin bead longevity without reducing water pressure.
I am also pleased to learn this resin has an NSF/ANSI 61 certification. It gives people confidence in using the product. Not only is this replacement resin suitable for domestic use.
Industrial and commercial establishments can also use it in a salt based water softener for processing foods and beverages because it already meets federal guidelines on drinkable water.
3. iFilters Water Softener Resin Media Replacement
This iFilters product is a high-quality water softening resin replacement many homeowners use to extend the service lifespan of residential water softeners.
It can save families hundreds of dollars and allow them to continue enjoying more pleasant showers, scale-free plumbing, and more efficient washings.
I like this resin replacement’s sizing because it is less tedious to work with, unlike other products. Its 12.23-pound (0.25 cubic foot) bag is painless to carry and empty the contents into the mineral tank’s mouth.
I once used a 60-pound bag, and I had to ask for assistance. I am confident anyone can pour this product into the tank to replace the old resin.
Its convenient sizing makes this resin replacement ideal for portable water treatment-softeners. Its 8% crosslink small sized resin beads make it suitable for families with conventional water softening devices, extending their systems for another 12 to 15 years.
I appreciate its NSF certification, making me feel more confident about its performance, quality, and safety. Many users are also delighted with its water softening capabilities, noting substantial improvement in their water quality. It also works better than conventional salt free water softeners.
I can only guess the resin replacement’s water softening prowess relates to its excellent formulation. The company says it formulated the product with exceptional hydraulics characteristics, uniform particle size, and outstanding mechanical strength. One will never have issues using this product in their water softener, regardless of brand.
4. Aquatrol Water Softening Resin Softener Media
If one wants a reliable water softener resin replacement, the Aquatrol is an excellent choice. This product has one of the most solid performances among the ion exchange resins on the market, giving users confidence in improving their water softener’s performance, longevity, and uninterrupted soft water supply.
With its advanced premium quality resin, the Aquatrol water softener resin does a phenomenal job of replacing conventional resin beads. It has excellent chemical characteristics and physical properties to remove as many calcium, magnesium, and other minerals from the water as possible.
Many homeowners are ecstatic about the product’s performance, producing noticeable results a few hours after replacement. I do not think they are exaggerating, either. This water softening ion exchange resin has an NSF Certification to prove its performance, quality, and safety. I believe everyone will appreciate this guarantee.
Families will love how the product breathes life back into their water treatment systems. It does not matter if their water treatment system is already 15 years old or more.
It is like having a brand new water softener without the hefty price tag and complex installation requirements. Households will love the savings this product provides, extending the water softener’s lifespan for another decade or two.
This replacement water softener ion exchange resin comes in 1-cubic-foot bags, suitable for water treatment systems with the same resin tank capacity.
5. LiquaGen Water Softening Resin
The LiquaGen Ion Exchange Resin is an excellent choice for families who want an affordable yet durable product for a water softener resin bed. It is perfect for households with medium to large water treatment-softeners, helping families prevent scale formation, enjoy better showers, and extend water appliance’s service lifespan.
Most water softener resins with a 10% crosslink matrix are expensive, making this product a steal. Families do not need to worry about shelling out a large sum of money for this replacement resin. Its ability to extend the water softener’s lifespan by another 15 or 20 years further improves the replacement resin’s exceptional economy.
I am happy this product complies with the FDA’s strict regulations on food and water safety. I feel more confident knowing I get a reliable resin replacement that produces soft water, sufficiently safe for food and beverages.
I am also pleased with the company’s decision to include a resin loading funnel with every purchase. Users no longer have to worry about messy applications.
This product’s 10% crosslink resin design is not the only thing that astonishes. I am also surprised with its 1.5-cubic foot capacity. I guess this resin is sufficient for removing at least 30,000 grains before requiring regeneration. In that case, an average household will save extra money from less frequent recharging.
6. HydroTec Systems Water Softener Resin
The HydroTec Systems is a reliable replacement for many water softener resin particles. It is one of the few products on the market that features the INDION 225 resin that leading water softener manufacturers use and recommend in their products.
While INDION 225 is an Indian product, people can feel more confident about this replacement resin’s quality.
The manufacturer has ISO: 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 certifications highlighting the company’s high-quality standards. The resin also has ANSI/NSF 61 certification, further ensuring people of its quality, safety, and performance.
Some might argue this product is only a standard ion exchange resin with 8% crosslink. That may be the case, but this replacement resin is compatible with many water softeners.
People can use it for domestic, commercial, or industrial applications. Businesses use this product to extend their water softeners’ lifespan, allowing them to process food and beverages safely.
I like to underscore the resin’s proven track record, adding at least ten more years to the water softener. I also love this resin’s 1-cubic-foot packaging, ensuring less frequent regeneration. A family can enjoy more substantial savings if they observe water conservation measures, such as using water only when needed.
7. Watts FloMatic RV Pro 10000 Water Softener Resin
Motorhome owners do not need to live with hard water in their road trips if they get the Watts FloMatic RV Pro 10000. This product has a unique formulation for RVs, campers, and travel trailers, allowing users to enjoy soft water wherever their adventure takes them.
Each resin bag contains 0.33 cubic feet of high-quality ion-exchange resin beads to replace the mushy, worn-out resin bed. While the product is for RV use, it should also work well with small-capacity household water softeners. One must only remember the package size to make a more accurate estimate of how many bags to buy.
At only 15 pounds, people will have no issues pouring this resin into their water softeners. However, I recommend using a funnel to direct the spherical beads straight into the tank and not on the floor. It becomes more efficient this way.
The resin also adds another five or seven years to the RV water softener, which is more economical than replacing the device. I guess people can further extend the water softener’s lifespan by observing more frugal water consumption and installing a pre-filter.
I am surprised to learn this 8% crosslink ion-exchange resin can accommodate 10,000 grains between regenerations.
Not only is this another way of extending the water softener’s service lifespan. It can also save motorhome owners more money from buying regeneration salts. A more exciting road trip or holiday vacation with the family is a cinch with this water softener resin.
8. AFWFilters High Capacity Water Softener Resin
Households with portable water treatment-softeners should consider the AFWFilters High Capacity Water Softener Resin. It performs exceptionally like the company’s other water softener resin formulation. Families will appreciate the benefits this water softener resin brings to their homes.
While the product is only for half a cubic foot water softener, it can accommodate 16,000 grains between regeneration cycles.
Families can regenerate the resin beads with ordinary salt once a week. If they conserve water, households can reduce the regeneration frequency to twice monthly. Doing so can give the family significant savings while retaining the water softener’s full functionality.
Some people think this product only works with AFWFilters water treatment-softeners. However, its universal formulation translates to unparalleled compatibility with other systems. One must consider the size, nevertheless. The bag is only for half a cubic foot of water softener. If one has a water softener that requires one cubic foot of resin, two bags will be necessary.
The 8% crosslink resin also ensures maximum compatibility with different water softening systems. Its ANSI/NSF certification is also noteworthy. I know people will sleep better at night knowing they have a safe and high-quality water softener resin removing hardness minerals from their water.
I wish other products take their cue from this brand and incorporate a convenient pouring mechanism in the bag. Many homeowners love these water softener resins because of their hassle-free use. However, I still recommend using a funnel when pouring the beads into the tank.
9. Oceanic Water Systems Water Softening Resin
Some replacement resins require frequent regeneration. The Oceanic Water Systems Strong Acid Cation Resin has a high-capacity rating that calls for more economical water treatment system recharging. Not only does this product handle more grains than other brands. It also softens water more efficiently than other systems.
I love this product’s 32,000-grain high capacity resin, ideal for a large-sized ion exchange water softener. A family with modest water softening needs can expect to regenerate their system every six to eight weeks. Even if the household has high levels of hard minerals, this product will still be more economical than other products.
The secret is the 10% cross linked water softener resin beads. Most water softening resin softener replacements have a conventional 8% design that extends water softeners’ life expectancy by 15 years. Adding two percent to the chemical bond can add at least two decades more to a family’s existing water softener.
I am glad the company formulated the resin with premium-quality chemicals, ensuring more robust characteristics to handle any water type. Families that source their drinking water from a well will love the taste and fluid attributes this product brings to the water. It is also efficient in enhancing the profile of chlorinated city or municipal water.
10. Tier1 IER-100 Ion Exchange Water Softener Resin
Tier1 is a reliable company that sells water treatment-softeners, filters, replacements, and other water treatment products. The Tier1 IER 100 ion exchange resin cation is one of its most trusted resin media for water softener systems, letting families enjoy soft water for at least another 15 years or so.
I like this water softener resin’s ion exchange media because of its bead consistency and chemical characteristics. The ion exchange water softener resin bed has 2% more chemical bonds than other brands, improving the product’s hydraulic, mechanical, thermal, and physical properties – signs of premium quality.
Each bag can fill 0.88 cubic feet of water softener space, making it suitable for households with portable units. Larger-capacity devices can also accommodate this product, albeit requiring a few bags. I also like this replacement resin’s package weight, allowing almost anyone to lift the bag and dump it straight into the tank.
Some people have concerns with the product’s water softener compatibility. They should never worry because they can use this replacement resin on almost any water softening device. As long as the tank requires an ion exchange resin, this replacement product should work splendidly.
11. American Water Solutions Water Softening Resin
Most homeowners shun 10% crosslink resins because it is more expensive than products with an 8% crosslink. Hence, if one can buy a more durable 10% crosslink resin for the price of an 8% formulation, one can consider it an exceptional buy. The American Water Solutions is an excellent example of such a product.
With its affordability, more families can protect their plumbing and water appliances longer.
They also get to relish more pleasant showers without the sticky feeling after bathing. Washing the clothes and dishes will also be more practical because people will use less detergent, allowing them to generate more substantial savings for the next 15 years or so.
I also appreciate this replacement resin’s chemical composition. It promotes more efficient chlorine and chloramine neutralization without undermining its water softening capabilities. Families can enjoy more exciting beverages without the off-putting chlorine taste and odor.
This replacement resin is also sufficient for almost any water softener size. However, it is more practical to use in 1-cubic-foot units accommodating up to 30,000 grains before regeneration. Ordinary households will save more money by recharging their systems less frequently.
It does not have any NSF certifications, though. Despite the ‘American’ in its brand name, the resin particles come from China. Some people might dislike this information. However, I must point out that many softening media on the market are Chinese-made unless specified otherwise.
What to Look for When Buying Water Softener Resins
Since we have listed our choice and even hinted at where to buy water softener resin. Whether you are choosing between a Purolite water softener resin or a Liquagen resin, here’s a guide on what to consider and what to look for when determining the right brand of water softener resin for you.
There are two generally used types of water softener resin produced depending on your water source and your needs for your water softener resin tank.
Here we outline different types and their properties for your consideration.
- Fine Mesh Resin
Fine Mesh Resin is what you go for when what you will be softening is iron-rich water coming from a well because fine mesh resins work best in removing iron.
This resin type removes excess iron molecules through its unique cation iron chemical structure. You can see these products in iron filter tanks with more tightly packed resins than standard substrates.
This water softener resin for iron also works with removing sulfur, especially when used along with an activated carbon element.
Some products also trap hydrogen sulfide and other elements.
- Ion Exchange Resin
Water softener Ion exchange resins are your standard resins found in many home water softeners.
This type of resin can’t soften iron levels in the water that is up to 5 ppm.
Ion Exchange resin attracts calcium, magnesium, and other minerals in the water and releases sodium ions in their wake.
Then, it is washed away down the drain.
You can read your owner’s manual to determine how much resin you need. Under-sizing the water softener resin will not yield the best result, and overestimating the resin needed will waste resources.
Tank size is integral in determining the amount of solution you’ll be needing, so if there’s no finding your user’s manual, a simple measuring will suffice.
First to note is that the higher the crosslink percentage of a resin, the more durable and more potent it will be.
Usually, they come in two percentages, 8 and 10 percent.
Water softener resins with 8 percent crosslink are the more common ones used in modern resin solutions.
Still, the 10 percent crosslink ones are slowly taking over — not only are they becoming more affordable, but they work better for tanks with higher chlorine contents.
Ultimately, opting for the higher 10 percent crosslink will last you longer between resin replacements.
However, if your tank is a private well, there’s no need to use the 10 percent crosslink since the 8 percent would do so effectively.
This factor answers the question of how long the effects of the water softener resin will be.
If the conditions are ideal, your softening solution can last up to 20 years.
But if it is not, the iron, chlorine, and other mineral content in your water will cause the resin to work faster because there is more ‘hard water’ to work with.
Since the predictability of the amount of hardness in your water is hard to quantify, even water softener resin manufacturers have difficulty determining how long their product would work in a standard water tank.
If you are looking for resin beads that would last longer, try looking into chlorine pre-filters as an add-on, it will create the ideal environment for your softening solution to last longer.
Added Factors to Consider
Aside from your budget, a sure-fire way to ensure that you are getting quality water softener resin is looking out for NSF certification and The Water Quality Association Gold Seal.
These two organizations do research and examine many products holding them against tight and strict standards.
Though this is not a guaranteed indicator of excellent performance, one can trust them in establishing the veracity or truthfulness of a product’s claims.
You might also want to read water softener resin reviews to determine the best product for your system.
Do All Water Softeners Use the Same Resin
Essentially, yes, this will answer the question of – what is water softener resin made of.
Since most water treatment-softeners use resin as an agent in the ion exchange process, the building block of most mineral resin is the gel-like polystyrene-type resin.
The only indication of their difference is the percentage by which they crosslink.
As stated above, the higher the crosslink percentage, the ‘stickier’ it will be and the more hardness it will attract.
That is why a 10 percent crosslink in resin will result in more capacity and a longer lifespan than the 8 percent crosslinked resin ones.
What Is the Difference Between 8% and 10% Resin
There are subtle and noticeable differences between 8 percent and 10 percent crosslink resin.
It does not mean that households can’t use the 10 percent resin because in cases with waters more prone to chlorine and other hardness, the 10 percent resin will work better.
With ten percent resins, the scoop is, they have a higher capacity and can withstand substantial-frequency regenerations.
They are also more effective and tolerant to chlorine, as stated above, more than the 8 percent resins are.
Resins with a 10 percent crosslink can also operate more adequately to counter other oxidants.
In conclusion, a well that is prone to chlorine will be softened effectively by the 10 percent resin, and it will last for years.
Still, if we’re dealing with a well that is not chlorinated but only has problems with hardness, such as calcium and magnesium, it is more advisable to use the six percent resin.
Are Water Softener Resin Beads Toxic
Water softener resin beads replacement consists of materials like polystyrene, and it is customary to think that they tend to sound toxic.
However, resin beads are not toxic, but it does not mean that they are safe to ingest or leak in the tap water that we drink.
Each of these beads that looks like brown sugar granules are sodium charged, making hardness such as calcium and magnesium attracted to them.
In turn, they trap this hardness in the resin cylinder with the beads; this process is called ion exchange.
As water passes through to the cylinder, it traps all the hardness and gives you soft water that is clean and safe to drink. Explore top-rated water softener cleaner here.
How Do I Calculate Water Softener Resin
Calculating the capacity of your water softener resin is essential to soften your water effectively.
You need three things to calculate your resin requirements:
- The raw water hardness in ppm
- Salt dosage in pounds per cubic feet of resin
- The resin volume in cubic feet
If you don’t know your resin volume, a simple measuring of your tank’s circumference and height would suffice.
The first thing to do is convert the water hardness from parts per million to grains per US gallon, and you can use a converter on the internet to do that for you.
Once you have that, you then calculate the softener capacity in grains by multiplying the resin volume with the raw water hardness.
The last step is calculating the softener capacity in gallons, and you do that by dividing the softener capacity by the total hardness.
The answer to this equation can be in grains and gallons, and it will be the size of the quantity of a water softener resin to use.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Resin in a Water Softener
Resin beds need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years of use, depending on how bad or how good it works and looks.
The amount of resin used in a tank is dependent on the size of your tank.
Here are some standard water softener tank issues and maintenance with their corresponding estimated costs.
To replace water softener resin, it will cost somewhere upward between 200 to 400 dollars estimated. If yellow resin fragments are present, a replacement of the bottom distributor should also be in order.
A replacement tank is estimated to cost 150 to 500 dollars, and that is without installation; prices also depend on tank size and how advanced the system is.
To replace the water filter, expect to shell out 30 to 200 dollars.
Removing water softener can cost you 50 to 100 dollars, including disposal.
Some repairs could go upward to 600 dollars, and it is advisable to replace them than to have them repaired as it will last you longer with a new one.
The best water softener resin extends a water softener’s lifespan, allowing families to enjoy the many soft water benefits. No longer will they worry about unpleasant showers, costly washings, limescale formation, and rusty plumbing and water appliances that may require expensive replacement.
The products reviewed in this article can also serve as a starting point for water softener owners who may have difficulty deciding which product to buy.
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