Also otherwise referred to as a portable water softener, an RV water softener is capable of supplying users with similar advantages offered by a whole house and stationary softener. However, it supplies one major advantage – that is the fact that it lets you enjoy softened water wherever you decide to go.
The best RV water softener available in the market today is a vital product that you should incorporate into your recreational vehicle. Note that several RV owners are now facing the dreaded polluted water. With the aid of an RV water softener, you get the chance to ensure that the water delivered to you is always safe for consumption.
Keep in mind that high levels of minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, and iron, have the tendency of hardening water. This hard water is usually red in color and comes with a foul smell and odd taste. It causes a few issues on users, including its negative impact on your plumbing system.
In addition, it can cause skin irritation and hair dryness. You may also have a difficult time forming a lather from a soap. If you are often on a trip using your RV then you will instantly realize how annoying these mentioned issues are. Fortunately, you can now take advantage of dependable water softeners designed to reduce mineral ions in water.
Most of these RV softeners are also portable, allowing you to bring them with you wherever your next RV trip is. It softens water by getting rid of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that cause it to become hard. This results in a regular supply of soft water, which is safe to use.
There is also a guarantee that it can protect your pipes while also making your appliances last for a long time. I gathered 7 of your ideal options for the best portable water softener for RV so you can figure out which one meets your standards.
Table of Contents
- 7 Best RV Water Softener Reviews 2020
- 1. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT Portable RV Softener
- 2. ABC Waters 16,000-grain Portable Water Softener
- 3. Mobile Soft Water 16,000-grain Portable Water Softener
- 4. Watts Water M7002 Flow-Pur RV-Pro Water Softener
- 5. On The Go OTG4-StdSoft 8,000-grain Portable Water Softener
- 6. ABC Waters Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener System
- 7. On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener
- What to Look for When Buying an RV Water Softener
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
7 Best RV Water Softener Reviews 2020
1. On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT Portable RV Softener
If you wish to invest in the best On the Go water softener then one product coming from the brand that I can recommend is the OTG4-DBLSOFT Portable RV Softener. It has a 16,000-grain capacity, which I really like because it means that its capacity is twice as much as its original version as well as other systems.
Another remarkable benefit worthy to emphasize is its ability to supply 40% more softened water than other portable units – that’s all thanks to its unique size, which supports such capabilities. I am also impressed with the less than 30-minute regeneration time of this unit.
I also view it as a powerhouse water softener because each of its cycles is capable of delivering a max of 1,600 gallons guaranteed to last for a max of 40 days. It is customized for marine and RV owners. Another positive point of this water softening unit is that it boasts of a space-friendly and compact design.
Adding salt is even very convenient because it boasts of its big mouth opening. It is also easy to carry around because of the built-in handle that you can find on top. Furthermore, you can conveniently and effortlessly connect it to the inlet hose with the aid of its 360-degree swivel.
2. ABC Waters 16,000-grain Portable Water Softener
Suitable for use on boats, RVs, and car washing, this portable water softener with a 16,000-grain capacity and coming from the reputable ABC Waters brand is definitely an excellent choice. It is perfectly suitable for use on RVs as it is capable of fully solving the problem you have with hard water each time you are on a road trip.
It works as the perfect water softener not only for recreational vehicles but also for small apartments, boats, and mobile homes. Another impressive benefit I figured to be present in this unit is its quick and easy regeneration process. In fact, I am pleased to say that it can regenerate easily within just a few minutes with just the use of rock salt or table salt.
Each regeneration cycle also gives you access to a maximum of 2,000 gallons of water, which, I think, makes it a really efficient unit. The portability of this water softener is also undeniable. I instantly noticed how portable it is after I saw its compact design. The tank is also easy to store and handle.
3. Mobile Soft Water 16,000-grain Portable Water Softener
Another water softener that I think does a pretty good job when used in softening hard water in recreational vehicles is the Mobile Soft Water 16,000-grain portable water softener. In my opinion, it is a good investment because it already has the capacity of removing up to 16,000 grains total hardness in water.
It works in conditioning water to ensure that it is free of radium, lead, iron, magnesium, calcium, and any other heavy and harmful metals often present in municipal water and wells. I also find the ability of the unit to treat a max of 5 gallons of water per minute a big advantage.
This portable water softener also promotes ease and convenience in their truest sense. One reason is that it is capable of quickly and effortlessly regenerating without the need for electricity. It is also very easy to use while also promoting its mobile nature.
One more benefit of the unit is that it has a tank, which can handle a load of up to one-half cubic feet of high-capacity and high-charged water softening resin. It also makes use of top of the line and durable materials, including lead-free nylon for its inlet connection and the fiberglass reinforced plastic for its pressure vessel.
4. Watts Water M7002 Flow-Pur RV-Pro Water Softener
I also highly suggest checking out the Watts Water M7002 Flow-Pur RV-Pro Water Softener if you are interested in buying a dependable and reliable Watts RV water softener. I specifically love the compactness and portability of this unit. Weighing only 24 lbs., it is definitely compact and lightweight, promoting ease in installation.
Another plus point of this unit is that it comes with a unique valve design, which lets you regenerate it without having to disconnect it. It also guarantees a more effective regeneration with the aid of its drain line flow restrictor. Such is also a big help in raising its capacity by up to 55 percent.
I am also pleased with the fact that the tank is more secure when compared to others that use open base tanks. It is mainly because this water softener from Watts features a full cradle base. I also realized how flexible it is as I was able to install it almost anywhere – whether it’s in a boat, cabin camper, RV, or home.
It also delivers a good performance even with just the common table salt. Another reason why this unit is a good buy is that it delivers a high flow rate. It reaches a max of 4 GPM. Such is also combined with its low-pressure drop. This high output lets you maintain a decent water pressure until the last drop.
5. On The Go OTG4-StdSoft 8,000-grain Portable Water Softener
Another of the best On the Go Water Softeners for RV that you can easily access in the market today is the OTG4-StdSoft 8,000-grain portable water softener. I find it truly effective when it comes to supplying soft water and preventing hard water from being delivered to users.
I also noticed that it is mainly designed in such a way that it can avoid rust stains and scale build-up while improving the odor and taste of water. With its guaranteed ability to provide a good supply of soft water, it can also prevent rough and dry skin, let you easily lather soap, and increase the lifespan of your onboard appliances.
It is actually built for marine and RV users. You will enjoy its 8,000-grain capacity because such makes it a perfect fit for the mentioned units. Another advantage of this portable water softener is that it has the ability to regenerate using just a box of table salt within 15 minutes or less.
Each regeneration cycle also gives you a decent supply of soft water for up to twenty days. Another positive point of this water softener is its compact size as it gives you the chance to install it even in the tightest spaces. In addition, it promotes a high flow rate while complementing it with a low-pressure drop.
6. ABC Waters Fleck 5600sxt Water Softener System
I am also one hundred percent sure that the ABC Waters Flex 5600sxt Water Softener System will continue to satisfy and impress its users because of its overall quality, efficiency, and performance. What I really like about this system is that it is automated. I can finally say goodbye to messy and manual regeneration process with this unit.
It is mainly because it has a digital time clock valve, which controls the unit automatically, allowing it to generate without having to constantly monitor it. It has a high 16,000-grain softening capacity, which can be attributed to its high capacity resin.
Aside from being used in recreational vehicles, you can also use it in tiny homes, apartments, condos, and mobile homes. The fact that the water softener system comes at a compact size is also an advantage. It is compact in the sense that it can supply soft water in just a small area or space.
It has a programmable valve, which lets it operate automatically while boasting of the sturdiness and quality of the materials used in its overall construction. I also find the inclusion of a clear and easy to understand instruction guide as well as an installation kit a big advantage.
7. On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener
Another excellent option for the high quality RV water softener is the On the Go OTG3NTP3M. I am greatly satisfied with this portable water softener from On the Go as I figured out that it is mainly designed to be easy to use while also offering a good supply of soft water for around 7 to 14 days.
I am also glad about the fact that it is designed to be lightweight and compact, making it truly portable. It has the capacity of softening around 300 to 700 gallons prior to recharging it. I am sure that you will be pleased with its quick recharging or regeneration time, too.
It is possible for you to recharge or regenerate it in just fifteen minutes using a box of common salt. You can also easily store the tank because of the caps that you can place on the outlet and inlet valves of the unit. Another advantage of this unit is that it is possible for you to control high water flow in inlet pipe because of its shut-off valve.
Another potential benefit that you will surely enjoy from this unit is the fact that it features adapters that will let you hook it up to RV, marine, and garden hose water connectors. Such promotes the flexibility and versatility of the unit.
What to Look for When Buying an RV Water Softener
Getting the correct water softener for your RV is crucial because it can be considered as a really huge investment. Note that buying the wrong one will cause you to waste not only money but time.
With the aid of this short buying guide covering some of the features and factors to look for when shopping, you can better decide which water softener is indeed right for you.
Type – The first thing that you have to do during the selection process is to decide on the kind of water softener you need for your RV. One choice you have is the salt-free water system, which is a perfect solution if you are dealing with salt issues. However, take note that unlike other water softeners, this only descales and conditions the water.
You can also go for the electronic water system, which makes use of electrical wires as a means of changing the charge associated with the hard mineral ions. It is a bit similar to the salt-free units as it can’t completely get rid of hard minerals and soften the water.
Still, it is beneficial because it prevents hard minerals from getting connected to your pipes and plumbing fixtures, thereby allowing you to save money from maintenance. Another option is the magnetic water system. It is referred to as a magnetic softener as it makes use of strong magnets attached to the device’s pipe.
With the aid of the magnets, the way mineral ions are charged will be disrupted. This can prevent possible clogs in the plumbing pipes and fixtures.
Size – Since you are looking for a water softener designed for your RV, you have to pick a size, which is indeed suitable for it. If possible, go for a portable softener – one that’s perfect to use in case you will be in need of water once you are already outdoors. It should make your life in the RV, motorhome, or holiday camp comfortable.
In most cases, the portable RV softener appears in a portable tank style. Some of them even allow you to utilize standard table salt. While this portable water softener is not suitable for use in the household because it is somewhat smaller, it is still large enough when used in your RV.
The size is just enough to supply you constantly with soft water. It can also accommodate up to 4-5 users.
Water hardness level – Another factor, which should contribute to your decision is the water’s level of hardness. In this case, you have to measure and test the level of hardness that is present in your water. You can use commercial kits for this purpose.
It should be noted that the average water hardness level in the US is around 30 to 20 GPM. Some of the water softeners in the market are capable of working efficiently for water that has slight to moderate hardness. In case of severely hard water, it is advisable to look for an even more efficient water softener.
Capacity – You can actually measure a water softener’s capacity based on the specific number of grains of hard water that it can get rid of. You have to decide first on the grains of hard water you wish to eliminate on a weekly basis. That way, you can figure out what capacity of a water softener is ideal for you.
To determine the capacity of water softener that you need, multiply the GPG value with the water consumption of your entire family in gallons. This will definitely give you a clearer idea of your required capacity. Commercial water softeners actually have around 15,000 to 100,000 grains capacity.
Avoid buying a softener with inadequate capacity as it may be unable to serve its purpose. Ensure that it is not too big, though, so you can avoid wasting money. Furthermore, remember that if you are planning to buy a salt-based water system, it would be better to go for a larger one as it regenerates less often while giving you a longer service time.
Built-in features – Find out if the water softener you are planning to buy holds all the features that you need. Note that some of these softeners can be operated manually, causing the need to regenerate it every time you are in need of softened water. Other softeners, on the other hand, are equipped with high-tech features and qualities.
In fact, there are those that tend to restart automatically, which is more convenient since you will no longer have to be burdened by constant renewal and regeneration. If possible, choose this type. The best one is also usually the meter-based one as it facilitates the automatic regeneration of water, saving you time and effort.
Flow rate – The flow rate in water softener systems actually refer to the speed through which they can produce soft water. Such speed is measurable in grains per gallon (GPM). The flow rate actually varies based on the model.
Basically, though, the larger its capacity, the higher amount of soft water it can produce. It would be of help to you to determine a specific system’s flow rate. That way, you can easily compare it with the peak usage in your RV, helping you determine which one is indeed appropriate.
Maintenance – Your choice of a water softener should also be determined by its maintenance requirements. Several systems actually need regular maintenance, like the need to periodically clean the tank or regularly refill the salt pellets.
Others models, on the other hand, can function even without requiring a lot of tune-up and maintenance. In this case, you have to find out which one can give you the most benefits as far as effort and cost are concerned. That way, you will be able to enjoy its smooth function without losing money on expensive maintenance in the long run.
Other Important Factors to Consider
What is an RV Water Softener?
An RV water softener is a valuable device that you can install in your recreational vehicle as it works in softening water by getting rid of certain minerals that trigger the formation of hard water. Water can be considered as hard if it has a higher amount of minerals, like calcium and magnesium, compared to ordinary water.
This means that if your water has a huge amount of magnesium and calcium then it falls under the hard water category. Calcium and magnesium are actually ions that are positively charged.
Due to their existence, it is greatly possible for other ions that are positively charged to be dissolved less easily in hard water compared to the water without calcium and magnesium. Such is the main reason why you can’t expect the soap to be completely dissolved in hard water.
The problem with hard water is that it tends to clog pipes. It also tends to complicate the process of dissolving detergent and soap in water. Because of that, it is necessary to get rid of those chemicals that trigger the hardness in water. This can be made possible through the water softening technique that water softeners apply.
Such a technique is effective in removing ions that trigger the hardness in water. Water softening also tends to remove iron ions in water. The most effective way of softening water in your RV is to utilize an RV water softener then directly connect it to the source of your water supply.
What is good about the soft water brought on by your chosen water softener is that it lessens the amount of soap you need for similar cleaning effort. It is mainly because you no longer need to waste too much soap just to mop up calcium ions. The soft water that you will get from a water softener can also extend the life of your plumbing system.
It is mainly because it can reduce or fully eliminate the buildup of limescale in your pipes and their fittings. In most cases, the water softening process takes place successfully with the aid of ion-exchange or lime softening resins.
How Does It Work?
Water softeners often work like magnets. It basically works based on the fact that negative and positive things attract. As mentioned earlier, magnesium and calcium are among the major culprits of producing hard water. Both are molecules that are charged positively.
While the hard water pumps into your water softener, you can expect it to pass into a filter, which is full of resin beads that are negatively charged. Similar to magnets, it is safe to say that the hard water will then move into the resin beads. That is how the saying “opposites attract” work in the use of a water softening system.
It is also possible for your chosen RV water softener to continue working through the process of regeneration. This process is how your water softener will clean and recharge itself in such a way that it can continue supplying your RV with soft water.
Also, take note that most, if not all of RV water softeners, have a secondary storage tank, which is the place where you will add the salt for water softening. You need to add water into the tank in order to create a brine, which is a salt solution. This is the main reason why many call it the brine tank.
When the process of regeneration takes place, the water softening system will bring the brine solution to the tank. This is where the process of ion exchange will take place once again. The only difference is that it does so in reverse. You can then expect the media to get a bath in the solution containing salt.
Any hard minerals trapped in the resin will be released while the media will be replenished using the sodium ions. The regeneration process is also the time when your water softener will be cleaned and disinfected. The last part of the process involves flushing out water with wastes, like hard minerals, from the system.
Types of RV Water Softeners
As an RV owner, you would want to invest in the best equipment for your recreational vehicle. That specifically holds true for water softeners as these play a major role in giving you and the people you are with clean and safe water all the time. To help you choose, here are some details about the most common types of water softeners:
Ion-exchange water softening system – This type works using the ion exchange principle, which involves softening hard water after substitution salt or sodium for hard minerals, like iron, magnesium, and calcium. It is a popular water softening system, which has been around for a long time already.
It replaces the magnesium and calcium present in water with hydrogen, potassium, and salt. Out of the three mentioned choices, salt is probably the most popularly used item to soften water using this system. The ion-exchange water softener has a brine and a resin tank.
It works by letting the water pass first through the resin bed. Once it does, sodium ions will then be used to replace the mineral ions found in water. Once the hardness minerals saturate the resin, you can expect the softener to undergo a regeneration cycle, which tends to flush the brine solution into the resin bed.
After that, you will notice the hard minerals being washed down the drain. This can leave the resin more prepared to undergo the process one more time. Right after treating the water, your water softening system will then let soft water enter your RV.
The softened water will most likely have potassium or sodium. This will be dependent on which one is specifically used during the water softening process. While sodium or salt is less expensive and more readily available compared to potassium, there are those who stay away from it because it can cause them to take more sodium.
It also tends to have environmental effects. If you want a more environmentally friendly solution then you can use potassium for this specific water softener. Another thing that you have to remember when choosing a good ion exchange water softener is whether you need a multi-tank or a single-tank system.
One problem with the single-tank unit is that it is greatly possible for it to experience downtime when the regeneration cycle takes place. The majority of systems are often set to do the regeneration process overnight as it is the time when there is a lower need for softened water.
However, if you use water at the time when it regenerates, there is a great possibility for the water to not be softened successfully. You can choose to invest in a multi-tank system, instead, especially if you and the ones you are with during your RV travels need soft water all the time.
It is mainly because the multi-tank system is capable of switching from one tank to another when needed. This is a major help if you want to regenerate the depleted tank while using the other.
Salt-free water softener – You can also go for salt-free water softening systems. These systems do not utilize chemicals or get rid of minerals as a means of softening water. What it does, instead, is utilize nanotechnology with an aim of changing the structures of molecules present in water.
It changes their structure from being scale building into a non-scale building. It features a filtering media where you can expect the water to go through. While the molecules flow through the tank, they are also restructured.
With the newly structured molecules, it is possible for the mineral buildup present in your fixtures and pipes to be positively affected while water flows through them. One positive effect is the effective descaling of your plumbing system.
One major advantage of the salt-free water softening system is that it does not require users to use chemicals. This means that you will no longer introduce chemicals to your drinking water or release them to your wastewater system.
Another advantage of a salt-free water softener is that it requires less maintenance. It is mainly because you no longer need to buy or add salt to it regularly. The fact that it does not undergo a regeneration cycle also prevents it from wasting water, which is a major plus.
It is also a good choice as it prevents water from getting too slippery, just like what happens in water softened with salt. One more advantage is that it does not need electricity to work.
Magnetic water softener – This system makes use of magnets around or in the water pipes. The magnetic field that the magnets create can be expected to make some changes to the water. It usually appears as a plug-in device, which you can clip to an incoming pipe.
After that, it creates a magnetic field, which alters the electromagnetic properties found in calcium carbonate minerals. This results in them being repelled not only by pipes but also each other.
While this is a convenient and favorable water softener, it still has a drawback, which is causing the water to go back to its hard stage within just forty-eight hours of leaving its magnetic field.
Benefits of Installing an RV Water Softener
Installing the best RV water softener can make your life on the road even more exciting and fun. With this system around, you get the chance to take advantage of the following positive results:
Lowers your energy bill – All appliances that use water, including your coffee pot and dishwasher can be expected to function even more effectively with the aid of soft water. It is mainly because there will be no limescale that will most likely interfere with the transfer of heat.
There is also a lower risk of limescale clogging your pipes. This is something that your water softener can help you with as it gives you a constant supply of soft water while you are on the road.
Keeps your hair and skin soft – Remember that hard water buildup has the tendency of slowing down the water flow of your plumbing system. This results to not only dull water pressure when showering but also having traces of magnesium and calcium on your hair and skin.
It can cause your hair to become brittle, dry, and dull. As for your skin, you will most likely feel dryness after you bathe or shower in hard water. There is even a chance for it to become irritated and itchy. It is mainly because the minerals present in water tend to deplete the natural oils in your skin.
With the aid of a water softening system, you can preserve the natural oils of your skin and hair. This can make them soft and smooth, thereby allowing you to enjoy your bathing experience even if you are far from home and on a trip.
Reduces the amount of time needed for cleaning – It is mainly because a water softener can prevent the buildup of scale. Note that as limescale accumulates over time, it can also cause the buildup of a white crust as well as stains from hard water. Such a buildup might be difficult to get rid of. In most cases, this needs heavy-duty scrubbing.
Through your water softener, you no longer need to spend a lot of time cleaning. You can also minimize your need to utilize harsh chemicals for cleaning that will get rid of the scale.
Also, take note that in severe cases, the buildup of scale can cause permanent damage to your plumbing fixtures and appliances. With that in mind, it is necessary to invest in a water softening system, which can prevent that from happening as much as possible.
Saves the environment – A water softener is also good for the environment. It prevents you from using chemicals in cleaning products that might damage the environment. You can lessen your need for cleaning products containing harsh chemicals, thereby allowing you to save rivers and streams from the negative effects of chemical degradation.
Aside from the already mentioned advantages, it is also possible for your chosen RV water softener to prevent rust stains, increase the life of your onboard appliances, lessen water spots, and improve the taste and eliminate foul odor in water.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to regenerate a water softener?
The manual regeneration of the water softener is actually dependent on the specific model you own. However, note that several of these softeners come with built-in knobs that you just need to turn on to activate the process of water regeneration.
Once the water regeneration process is activated, the softener will take water coming from the source of the utility hookup then send this through a number of tanks. During the regeneration, a water loop is also used by the device as a means of extending the water flow to flow back.
The loop is designed in such a way that it extends the softened water flow, letting it flow again through the softener. What’s good about the regeneration process is that it works in clearing out all impurities. In addition, it is a big help in preventing rust as well as other issues affecting the pipes.
What is the regeneration time?
In most cases, it would take around 85 to 90 minutes for a water softener to regenerate. This is the standard time often required to complete its automatic regeneration cycle. Such is the process through which the water softener cleans the treatment medium.
It does so once it reverses the chemical reaction used in getting rid of unwanted dissolved minerals from water. Also, take note that the frequency through which the regeneration is required is controlled by the system’s valve. It serves as the brain of the unit, giving commands at to the perfect time the regeneration process should take place.
Does the water softener go through a lot of salt?
Yes, the water softener needs to go through and use salt to function. Make sure that you added the right amount, though. Remember that you will not be able to solve the problem with hard water if your water softening device does not have the right amount of salt.
With that in mind, it is really necessary to maintain the correct level of salt in the unit’s tank. The amount of salt required, though, will be dependent on the specific unit and model you own as well as your total water consumption. The standard rule, though, is to use salt, which is either at or over the halfway mark.
After figuring out the correct pattern for adding salt, make sure it stays consistent. In this case, you just need to check the softener once after a certain period, let’s say after a month, and add salt as required. This will let you get a regular supply of soft water.
Is it possible to use potassium instead of salt?
Yes, you are actually allowed to use potassium chloride as a substitute for salt in your water softener. Potassium chloride, while a bit more expensive compared to salt, is a good alternative, especially for those who have a salt-restricted diet. However, note that potassium chloride has the tendency of melting when wet.
This results in it developing a bridge within the salt tank – that is the main reason why it is highly recommended to fill the brine tank at only halfway or slightly more than that mark if you plan to use potassium chloride. This will let you easily keep track if it goes down within the tank after the regeneration.
When it comes to finding the best RV water softener, educating yourself about all your choices is a must. You have to compare different models and products so you can better decide which water softener can offer you more confidence when you are on the road.
With the aid of the short reviews and buying guide indicated in this article, you actually have a higher chance of making a more informed choice. It is possible for you to purchase a water softener, which is not only affordable but also efficient and effective while having the ability to perform its function for several years.
We would like to thank you for reading this article. Find out more about how to choose the best RV water pumps, best RV water hoses, best RV tankless water heaters and best RV water pressure regulators with our reviews and ratings. Furthermore, please take a look at the best RV water filters and best RV shower heads, to choose the best one for your RV freshwater systems.