Best Resin for Water Softener

Best Resin for Water Softeners 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

Looking for the best water softener resin to treat the hardness of your water? If so, then you are lucky to have stumbled upon these reviews. We have made it easier for you to get the satisfaction you are looking for by narrowing down the options to the best of the best.

Before going ahead with the reviews, let’s first discuss what water softener resin beads are. Some of you may be new to this, so it’s essential to go back to the basics. On the other hand, those who have been trying out various water softener resin replacements may jump forward to the reviews.

Our Top Picks Compared in 2020

What Are Water Softener Resin Beads?

Water softener resin beads are ion exchange media typically made of polystyrene. This is wrapped around with divinylbenzene (DVB) bands in a process called cross-linking. Each bead ranges from 0.3 to 1.2mm in diameter and can retain up to 45% moisture.

This skeletal structure and porosity enable every resin bead to become ion exchange media with its large surface area for trapping ions and releasing ions.

Which Is the Best Resin for Water Softeners?

Softening applications commonly use a resin that has undergone cross-linking polystyrene with 8% or 10% DVB. 10% cross-linked resin can last longer and has an additional softening capacity compared to 8% cross-linked resin.

Why are there so many choices when it comes to water softener resin?

Contrary to popular opinion, water softener resin does not last forever. During constant use, the resin beads are subjected to wear and tear from hydraulic shock, oxidation, osmotic shock, and many other factors.

Manufacturers advertise that most resins to last at least more than 10 years. However, in reality, it is really more dependent on the hardness of your water and how you maintain your water softener system.

Best Water Softener Resin Reviews

To help you find the best resin for water softener system in your home, we tried several options from the most trusted brands. Check out each of them below to determine which will fit your needs and preferences the most.

1. Purolite C100E Cationic Resin Replacement for Water Softener, 1 Cu. Ft.

The Purolite C100E is made of polystyrene gel cross-linked with divinylbenzene. It is a strong acid cation resin in sodium ionic form formulated for potable water use. It is designed principally for softening potable hard water, processing food and beverage, and removing unwanted mineral impurities in water for industrial use.

It is available in 1 cu. ft. packaging for private or residential use. Purolite C100E boasts efficient regeneration, good kinetic performance, and low extractables. These resin beads retain up to 46% to 50% moisture. They range in sizes from 300 to 1,200 micrometers and can withstand temperatures up to 120 degrees C.

This product is compliant with FDA Regulation 21 CFR 173.25 for food treatment ion exchangers and certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) and by the National Sanitation Foundation – American National Standards Institute (NSF/ANSI Standard 61). What’s even more interesting is that this has been kosher-certified!

Pros:

  • Industrial-grade water softener resin
  • High-strength beads
  • Made in the United States
  • Compatible with most water softeners
  • Excellent chemical stability
  • Can withstand high temperatures

Cons:

  • The hardness level of water affects resin longevity

2. AFWFilters SOFRES1 Water Softener Resin Replacement, 1 Cu. Ft.

AFWFilters sells high-capacity softening resin in 1 cu. ft. packaging. One cubic foot of the AFWFilters SOFRES1 Water Softener Resin contains an average of 32,000 grains of the same polystyrene gel cross-linked with 8% DVB.

This is a sulfonate cation exchange resin ready for use in both residential and industrial water conditioning systems. It is designed to replace hardness-causing ions, such as magnesium and calcium with sodium ions.

Only common salt is required for regeneration of an exhausted resin bed when it comes to this product. Regenerated capacity is dependent on the amount of salt used in the brine tank. AFWFilters produces the most common grade of resin used in households and meets federal guidelines for potable water use.

This resin is capable of removing ferric iron, manganese, and suspended particle matter. It has particle sizes that measure up to 1.2 millimeters and operates up to a maximum temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros:

  • Best resin for iron removal
  • Can be used in any water softener system
  • Compliant with FDA Regulation 21 CFR 173.25
  • Won’t pass through 14-50 mesh membrane size

Cons:

  • Cannot withstand high temperatures of water

3. Tier1 IER-100 Ion Exchange Water Softener Resin, 0.88 Cu. Ft.

Tier1 manufactures premium ion exchange strong acid cation resin in high-capacity gel polystyrene, making it ideal for most household and commercial softening use. Tier1 IER-100 Resin is sold in 0.88 cubic feet capacity to ensure ample replacement for small home requirements.

With the Tier1 IER-100 resin, you’ll be sure to inhibit the buildup of limescale calcium deposits in your plumbing fixtures. This calcium buildup can lower equipment efficiency or lead to expensive plumbing system failures.

The Tier1 IER-100 resin blocks the entry of these limescale deposits into your house’s plumbing system. As a result, it helps reduce the risk of having rough, dry hair and skin when showering and extend the life of all your water-run appliances. Tier1 IER-100 ensures hard water enters your home as soft water clear of any sediments.

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Sold in smaller, more manageable quantities
  • Compatible with any water softener
  • Treats hard water
  • Extends appliance life
  • Inhibits limescale buildup

Cons:

  • Costs more than other water softener resins

4. Oceanic Water Systems Water Softening Resin, 1 Cu. Ft.

One of the best 10% cross-linked resin for water softener setups is this 100% ion exchange resin from Oceanic Water. Its polystyrene gel cross-linked with 10% DVB lasts longer than the conventional 8% cross-linked products.

The Oceanic Water Systems resin is an insoluble support structure in the form of 0.5 to one-millimeter diameter microbeads. It boasts hard water softening for better water purity. It separates and purifies trace elements in water used for hydro-metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage treatment and processing.

Benefits gained from using this water softener resin include softer skin and hair, cleaner laundry, longer-lasting appliances, and more manageable home maintenance.

Pros:

  • 10% cross-linked
  • Lasts longer than conventional 8% cross-linked products
  • Works better than 8% cross-linked beads
  • Excellent physical and chemical stability
  • Good selectivity and thermo-tolerant characteristic

Cons:

  • No issues

5. Ion Exchange India, Ltd., INDION 225 Na F Resin 1 Cu. Ft.

Specially designed to treat food, beverages, potable water, and water used for the processing of food, the INDION 225 Na F Resin complies with FDA Regulation 21 CFR 173.25. It is a strong acidic cation exchange resin that contains sulphonic acid groups.

Compared to its counterparts, you’ll notice that this resin has yellow and brown beads made of 8% cross-linked styrene-divinylbenzene copolymers supplied initially with ionic sodium.

Measuring 0.3 to 1.2 mm in diameter, the beads can hold anywhere from 43% to 50% moisture. Furthermore, they can withstand temperatures of up to 140 degrees C. These INDION resin beads operate with pH ranges zero through 14. The effective size of beads is from 0.45 to 0.55 mm.

Pros:

  • Good resistance to reducing agents
  • Generally resistant to oxidizing agents as long as the water is not chlorinated
  • Resistance to high heat
  • Removes soluble iron
  • Comes with a one-year manufacturer guarantee

Cons:

  • Not suitable for use with hard water containing ferrous iron

6. Purolite C100E Cationic Resin Replacement for Water Softener, 1.5 Cu. Ft.

AFWFilters also sells the Purolite brand, the same with C100E Cationic Resin Replacement but in larger quantities of 1.5 cu. ft. If this meets your system’s requirements, the AFWFilters might just be the best water softener 1.5 cubic foot softener resin for you.

AFWFilters makes it easier for large homes or small businesses to have the principal applications and advantages of the Purolite C100E.

Purolite’s typical packaging only allows for the distribution of the C100E Resin in 1 cu. ft. sacks, 25-liter sacks, 5 cu. ft. fiber drums, 1 cu. meter super sacks, and 42 cu. ft. super sacks. You would be purchasing too much resin if you only needed 1.5 cu. ft. and bought a 1 cu. ft. sack with a 25-liter sack.

AFWFilters makes it possible for you to purchase the Purolite C100E Resin in increments of 1.5 cu. ft. This is roughly 48,000 grains and is just enough for a 10 by a 54-inch mineral tank. They repack one cu. ft. sacks of Purolite C100E and sell them as 0.5 cu. ft. sacks so that you can purchase the item in 1.5 cu. ft. increments. Convenient, right?

Pros:

  • Great for medium to large-sized water softeners
  • Efficient regeneration
  • Good kinetic performance
  • Low extractables

Cons:

  • Higher water hardness affects service life duration

7. Liquagen Ion Exchange Resin Cation for Water Softeners, 0.5 Cu. Ft.

On a budget and just want to replace the resin from your small water softener? Check out the Ion Exchange Cation Resin from Liquagen. It is mainly used for softening hard water and preparing high purity water.

This resin is made of polystyrenic gel cross-linked with 10% DVB, making it a better and longer-lasting alternative than its 8% cross-linked counterparts.

Like other water softener resins out there, Liquagen’s ion exchange media separates trace elements in water for hydro-metallurgy and pharmaceutical purposes. High purity water resulting from the ion exchange process can be ideal for food and beverage treatment, or basically just potable water.

Sold in 0.5 cubic foot bags, this resin is great for portable water softeners. It can prevent scale buildup, provide cleaner, mineral-free water, and lets you maintain your portable plumbing while you are on the go.

Pros:

  • Free funnel for resin refilling
  • Just enough resin for portable water softeners
  • Lowers water hardness for small on-the-go applications
  • Great for RV and motor home installations
  • Good selectivity
  • Excellent physical and chemical stability

Cons:

  • Does not remove all TDS’s in hard water

8. Nelsen Corporation Water Softening Cation Resin, 1 Cu. Ft.

Neslen Corporation sells high-capacity water softening cation exchange resin in 1 cu. ft. sacks. It provides the same quality strong acid cation designed for use in residential and industrial water softening equipment.

This cation resin is supplied in sodium form to remove both calcium and magnesium hardness ions. Like all other resin media, the Nelsen Corporation Water Softening Cation Resin gets exhausted after exchanging ions with hard water. As such, regeneration with potassium or sodium chloride is necessary every now and then.

Each cubic foot of the Nelsen Corporation Water Softening Cation Resin pack has about an average of 33,000 beads or grains jam-packed with 8% meshed divinylbenzene. This mesh cation provides economical softening for both residential and commercial water softeners.

Pros:

  • WQA certified
  • Higher standard than NSF/ANSI 61
  • Fine mesh resin with a greater exposed surface area
  • Higher kinetic capability compared to other resin media
  • Impressive ferrous iron removal
  • Remarkable longevity rating

Cons:

  • Not enough for commercial and industrial applications

9. American Water Solutions DI-tech UXC-10S Water Softening Resin, 1 Cu. Ft.

The DI-tech UXC-10S Water Softening Resin offers superior strength, making it ideal for industrial softening and demineralization. Made with styrene fused with 10% cross-linked divinylbenzene, it has a high TDS (total dissolved solids) removal capacity. What’s more, it can accommodate high temperature softening up to 150 degrees C.

This resin is insoluble in acids and bases that are moderately concentrated. It is one of the best 10% cross-linked resin for water softener setups. The gel structure is highly resistant to oxidizing minerals such as chlorine, ozone, and peroxide. This means that the resin media is very chemically stable.

The high count of whole beads in this resin media gives it uniform flow distribution, a lower pressure drop in service, and no losses on backwash incidents. The high number of whole beads also provides the media with greater resistance to wear and tear for longer-lasting service.

Pros:

  • High chemical stability
  • 98% rounded beads, very tough
  • Greater resistance to breakage
  • High-temperature limit
  • Ideal for condensate polishing

Cons:

  • Does not come with replacement instructions

10. iFilters Water Softener Ion Exchange Resin Media Replacement, 0.5 Cu. Ft.

Perfect for portable water softeners in camping trips and RV installations, the iFilters Water Softener Resin Media Replacement sets are packed in 0.5 cu. ft. packs with around 16,000 beads. This resin media is 100% compatible with any water softener system requiring only half a cubic feet of media.

Designed for portable use, food and beverage treatment and processing, iFilters cation resin produces high-purity soft water. This resin is compliant with US FDA CFR 21 Title 173.25 and NFC-certified, meaning it is safe for producing water suitable for human consumption.

With 95% minimum whole bead count, the iFilters resin media has high capacity and porosity for exceptional kinetic behavior and long-lasting stability. This product offers high exchange strength because of its uniform particles with good hydraulic characteristics.

Pros:

  • Exceptional kinetic behavior of beads
  • Good physical, chemical, and thermal stability
  • Insoluble in diluted or moderately concentrated acids, alkalis, and solvents
  • Can withstand temperatures higher than 120 degrees C
  • High mechanical strength

Cons:

  • Not enough for larger softeners requiring up to 32,000 grains

Frequently Asked Questions

With all the technical jargon we presented, we’re sure you have more than a few questions you’d like to ask. For that, we’ve got your back.

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding water softening systems and resin replacements.

1. What is a water softener?

As its name suggests, a water softener is a house water supply transfer system that “softens” hard water. It is a system that uses a process called ion exchange. Hard water that goes through a water softener trades in its “hard” ions for “soft” ions. As a result, it releases water that has less hardness.

2. What does water hardness mean?

So, what is hard water, anyway? Hard water, as described in scientific terms, is water that has too much dissolved minerals. The level of water hardness is basically the total amount of suspended magnesium and calcium in the water.

You will know you have hard water when you have a slimy feeling on your skin after you’ve showered. With hard water, you will also notice that glass loses its crystal-clear appearance. The high calcium content in hard water reacts with soap, making it more difficult to rinse and get rid of.

Too much calcium in hard water that travels through water conveying systems can cause many problems in water supply fixtures. These problems may include but are not limited to clogged steel pipes and faulty faucets.

On another note, clean hard water is naturally healthy for drinking because of the surplus of minerals. Then again, too much magnesium in the body can also have negative side effects, such as low blood pressure, slowed breathing, and confusion.

3. Why should you use a water softener?

Wellwater or groundwater sits on underground cavities surrounded by different naturally-occurring minerals. This makes the water you pump out of the ground carry a certain level of hardness. Again, this type of water is not ideal for daily washing, cleaning, bathing, or doing laundry. You will need more soap and water to thoroughly do these activities.

For older houses that still use steel pipes, you do not want a high level of hardness on the water that circulates your plumbing systems. This will undoubtedly cause clogs in the pipes. Copper and plastic pipes won’t have calcium buildup over time, but the scale deposits from hard water can damage appliances connected to your water supply.

You would not even need an advanced knowledge of chemistry to notice the difference between hard water and soft water. After some time of using hard water, your skin and hair can dry out, and you might need to replace your clogged showerheads because of the calcium buildup.

4. What are the components of a water softener?

A water softener system is comprised of three major components: a mineral tank, a control valve, and a brine tank.

Ion Exchange Mechanism

The mineral tank is the major component of a water softener system that contains what we call charged resin beads. These resin beads sit on a bed at the bottom of the mineral tank.

Each bead has a positively charged ion that exchanges with the ions of hard water as it passes through. During this part of the process, magnesium and calcium are deposited and left behind. Hence, the water that exits the water softener system is no longer hard water.

Control Mechanism

Over time, the resin beads lose their ion charges and require recharging or regeneration. The control valve basically sets when the recharging of the resin beads takes place.

This is dependent on many factors, including the number of water fixtures in your house, the number of occupants, and the hardness of the water. The valve also has a meter that measures the amount of water passing through the system and into your house.

Recycle Charging Mechanism

The brine tank kicks into a regeneration cycle by flushing the resin bed with its contents. The control valve detects diminished softening in the mineral tank. This smaller tank beside the mineral tank recharges the ions in the resin beads to a positive charge using a high-concentrate sodium or potassium solution.

When Should You Replace Your Water Softener Resin?

Water softener resins typically last for a very long time. However, contrary to what many people say, it does not last forever. Manufacturers generally rate their resin products to last for 10 years. Still, replacements may be required even during a shorter period of use.

As water continuously flows into the mineral tank, the resin material also continuously receives damage from various sources. It may be affected by iron, calcium, and magnesium buildup, as well as hydraulic and osmotic shock.

In addition, if your area has water with a higher level of hardness, you may need to replace your water softener resin sooner than as specified by the manufacturer.

You will have to replace your water softener resin when you notice that the system produces hard water instead of soft water even after just a day or two of regeneration from the brine tank. Check that your system still uses the same amount of salt at the usual rate. If so, and the output water has a large number of minerals, then you will really have to replace your resin.

How to Replace Your Water Softener Resin

After purchasing water softener resin replacement, you will have to manually remove the old resin from the mineral tank. You can have a plumbing professional do this task, but you can save some money by doing it yourself. Replacing it is actually relatively easy; just follow these steps:

Step 1: Complete System Shutdown

Make sure all water supply valves and electricity supply lines are shut off. Then, unbolt the mineral tank’s top cover and set aside any rubber O-rings you might find. These rubber rings are crucial for sealing the tank and ensuring it does not make any leaks.

Step 2: Complete System Flush Out

Take the mineral tank and flush it out with running water several times until you are sure that the tank is rid of any old resin beads. Be sure to flush it out over a fine strainer, or you will be making a huge mess. The old resin can be disposed of as non-hazardous regular garbage after completely drying and solidifying.

Step 3: Resin Refill

Now that your mineral tank is completely devoid of old resin, you can fill it in with a new pack of fresh resin. Using a funnel will make things a lot easier for you. Imagine super tiny resin beads scattering all over the place!

You will also find it a lot easier if someone holds the resin bag for you while you direct the bag’s opening into the funnel. Shake the tank several times while refilling to make the new resin settle at the bottom.

Step 4: System Restart

After filling in the new resin beads, replace the O-ring seals into the lid and screw it back on tight. Plug the device back into a power outlet and turn the water supply valves back on. Wait for a few minutes for the tanks to fill, and then, voila! You’re done! You can now get back to enjoying soft water.

What Is Best Water Softener Resin for Hard Water?

If you are looking for the best water softener resin for household, commercial, or industrial applications, you have come to the right place. You can obtain the value of your money with the best and cheapest water softener resin from among the choices in these reviews.

Most of the products on this list offer the best water softener resin for well water. With high calcium and magnesium content, well water can be softened by any of these resin media before it enters your home. They vary only with output capacity and softener system tank sizing. Pick out the correct amount you need for the system size you have.

Water softeners are designed to effectively remove calcium, magnesium, and sometimes some trace minerals such as manganese and iron. Chlorine is not one of these minerals, so you won’t find the best softener resin for chlorinated water here. To remove chlorine, your system will require an additional carbon-based filtration attachment.

If you have the extra cash, pick out the 10% cross-linked resins because they last longer, and provide better softening capacity. However, if you are on a budget, the 8% cross-linked versions will work great for you.