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GE vs Whirlpool Water Softener: Let’s Compare and Contrast

Fact checked by Stephen Conklin

GE vs Whirlpool water softener

GE vs Whirlpool water softener? Drinking mineral-rich water is good for you, but too much of it will damage your household appliances. If your water source is known to have high mineral content, you need a water softener.

Today you can find numerous water softener brands in the market. Out of these many brands, two stand out: GE Appliances and Whirlpool – veterans in the world of modern household convenience. Is one brand better than the other? Let’s look into it.

Table of Contents

Hard Water and Soft Water


The best example of soft water is rainwater because this comes straight from the sky. When rainwater finds its way to the ground, it flows through waterways and picks up minerals like calcium and magnesium. These solid particles dissolve into the soft water, which then turns it into hard water.

The minerals that come with hard water are why water tastes a certain way – and fret not, these are safe to drink and have various health benefits.

So why is there a need to soften water? As it turns out, hard water’s tasty minerals do a lot of damage to clothes, showerheads, pipes, and many other household appliances that require water. Hard water also renders soap useless and is very tough on your skin – leaving it dull and dry.

If you want to tell the difference between hard and soft water without tasting it, you can feel it out while washing with it. Hard water leaves a thin layer of film in your hands caused by the calcium reacting to soap. Because of this, it may leave you wanting to wash your hands for longer, just to get rid of that thin layer.

You may find it normal to see some chalky stains in your kitchen sink, but that’s actually the residue of hard water minerals. Over time this will build up and clog your faucets, drastically minimizing water flow.

You’ll know you’re handling soft water the moment you touch it. It feels a lot more pleasant to your skin, although it may taste saltier than usual. Soft water will leave no chalky residues in your kitchen sink, will not cause your clothes to fade, and is just overall more pleasant to cook and clean with.

What Is a Water Softener?

Thanks to modern technology, it’s a lot easier to have water softened in your own home. User-friendly products can easily be purchased, and helpful guides are available online.

But How Do Water Softeners Actually Work?

First of all, water can only be effectively softened through a process called ion exchange. Since the calcium and magnesium minerals in the water are ionic, they are electrically charged. Since these minerals are positively charged, they attach immediately with nearby negatively charged ions.

For ion exchange to occur, water softeners are lined with a resin bed covered in negatively-charged beads. That alone isn’t enough to capture the minerals in the water. That’s why salt – a positively charged mineral that’s weaker than the minerals in hard water – is brought in.

Salt is added to the water softener and instantly clings onto the negatively-charged beads. When the mineral-rich water flows through, the magnesium and calcium minerals attach to the negatively charged resin, kicking out the weakly charged salt ions.

Now that the minerals have been replaced with salt, the water is now considered “soft water.” Please note that soft water isn’t the most pleasant drinking water, but it is the kindest to your household items.

Why Do I Need a Water Softener?


Have you ever noticed the white chalky stains in your showerhead? Or the buildup of gunk in the faucet of your kitchen sinks? That’s all caused by mineral-rich water, or more commonly known as “hard water.”

Having your water softened means that you won’t have to worry about ruining water-dependent appliances at home. No more chalky stains on your sink, bathtub, or kitchen utensils. Your detergent will lather better, your clothes won’t fade out quickly, and bathwater will be softer on your skin.

Because soft water is a more efficient cleaning agent, you save a lot of money in the long run. You won’t have to re-wash clothes, re-do dishes, or take long in the bath just to feel properly rinsed.

Note that ion exchange’s overall process is effective in water softening, but daily upkeep may be costly. To maintain your water softener, you must constantly add bags of salt to recharge the negatively-charged beads. You will also need to flush out excess minerals with lots of water to avoid sediment buildup.

Why Use GE?

​GE Water Softeners come with some nifty features that make it a cut above the rest. It not only softens your water, but it allows you to control how soft you want your water by way of a blending valve.

All GE Water Softeners are electronically controlled and come with helpful light indicators. These help you operate the softener with ease and alert you when it’s about to go empty. That takes away the hassle of having to open it up to check.

GE Water Softeners are efficient in saving salt, water, and energy since it only uses up to 50% less detergent. Compared to other softeners, GE Appliances claims that their softeners use 35% less water and 34% less salt during the ion regeneration process.

GE Water Softeners simplify their softeners’ recharging phase into five stages: Fill, wherein the salt dissolved becomes brine, where the water flows into the salt storage area. Brining, where the brine solution flows to the resin beads and the hard minerals are drained. Suction moves the brine at a slow rate to achieve the best resin cleaning while using the least salt.

Brine Rinse is where the brine valve closes, and the hard minerals and the brine flush out of the resin tank and on to the drain. Then during Backwash, water goes up to the resin tank at a fast rate to flush out iron, dirt, and sediments.

Finally, the softener does a Fast Rinse on the resin tank, which flushes the brine at the bottom of the tank.

Amazingly, GE Water Softeners also have state of the art features like a self-cleaning sediment filter and adaptive smart technology that “learns” about your water use patterns. You can see and compare different GE Water Softeners on their website.

Why Use Whirlpool?

Whirlpool Water Softeners offer you convenience right off the bat. On their website, you can easily compare the different water softener models in the line-up. They also guide you as to which model will best fit your home.

There is a big emphasis on how Whirlpool Water Softeners are highly effective in removing iron in hard water. Iron is harmless in small amounts, but its cons outweigh its pros.

Although calcium and magnesium cause hard water problems, it’s the high iron levels that can cause further complications. If iron levels in your hard water rise above 0.3 mg/l, it could cause water discoloration, stains, and other unwanted visible changes at home.

Keep an eye out if your water has a reddish-brown hue and a metallic taste. If it does, a Whirlpool Water Softener may be the softener for you.

Whirlpool Water Softener also features an ultra-high flow valve. It is designed for a smooth pressure flow of the many appliances in your home, as well as to meet the demands of the people in the household. Essentially what this means is that you will have a dependable and consistent flow of soft water all around your house.

Whirlpool also ensures that their softeners are equipped with demand initiated regeneration technology, which is a system that allows the negatively charged ion beads to regenerate only when it has to. This will not only save you time from dumping bags of salt all day, but will also help you save water and energy.

Whirlpool assures that their “set-it-and-forget-it” solutions are perfect for people with a busy lifestyle.

Which Water Softener Should I Get?

Both GE Appliances and Whirlpool assure their customers the best in water softening technology. There will be differences in size, technology, and capacity – which you can quickly assess for yourself using their side-by-side comparison feature on their websites.

Newer water softener models have built-in Wi-Fi that allows you to control your water softener through your smartphone. Both GE and Whirlpool have models that have this feature.

In terms of aesthetics, Whirlpool may have more options for you. While GE water softeners are straightforward and nonsensical, Whirlpool has a few stylistically models that you may want to consider if you have the luxury to do so. Both brands vary in price range but generally are between $500 and$800.

Soft for Soft Water

Whether it is for cleaner dishes or softer skin, providing your home with soft water is an investment worth pursuing. You’re not only protecting your home but everyone living in it as well. No matter what brand you go for, investing in a water softener is a small price to pay for a lifetime’s peace of mind.

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