Best Portable Water Softeners 2020 – Top 5 Reviewed

You’ll probably agree with us how difficult it is to work with hard water. Because of the presence of hard minerals like calcium, water is increasingly tough to clean, bathe and wash with. This is the reason why water softeners are highly sought out. Not only are they able to get rid of hard water minerals, but these devices also turn hard water to palatable soft water. Luckily, we’ve put together a detailed review of the best water softeners in the market, all for your convenience.

WINNER

On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT

 

With this water softener, you can wave goodbye to all your hard water problems. This unit not only softens but also conditions your water so that it is easier for you to work with. It is able to produce twice the gallons of soft water compared to other water softeners on the market, and can simply be regenerated with two boxes of common table salt.

RUNNER UP

Watts Water Quality

 

When you think of convenience, this water softener should come to mind. This unit is very easy to use and is loved by consumers. It equally comes with a built-in drain flow restrictor that ensures that an effective regeneration process is carried out, allowing for an increase of capacity by up to 55 percent.

ALSO GREAT

Mobile-Soft-Water Portable

 

This portable water softener is just what you need to enjoy the benefits of soft water. It extracts present calcium and magnesium minerals that most water softeners remove. However, it takes things an extra mile by conditioning the hard water of other minerals present such as iron, lead, and radium, so as to leave you with authentic soft water.

Now that we’ve given you a preview of the top three water softeners in the market, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of the top five best units.

Best Portable Water Softeners Reviews

  1.   Best All-Round Portable Water Softener – On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener

 

On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFTThe On The Go Portable Water Softener is a lifesaver when it comes to dealing with hard water caused by minerals that are often a hassle to wash and clean with. But with this water softener, hard water can easily be softened and conditioned, ridding it of all the hard water minerals and replacing them with charged sodium ions.

It is the largest compact water softener unit on the market and features a 16,000-grain unit that is able to supply up to 40 percent more soft water than any other unit on the market. And to regenerate this OTG4-DBLSOFT unit, all you need is two boxes of common table salt and you’ll restore the sodium ions while it regenerates in less than 30 minutes.

It equally takes less than 30 minutes to produce soft water that can last you up to 40 days and for portability, there’s also a convenient carry handle which makes it easier for you to lift and transport.

Features

  • Works to both soften and condition hard water
  • Comes with a 16,000 grain
  • Able to supply 40 percent more soft water than other units
  • Can be regenerated with just two boxes of table salt
  • Can provide water that will last up to 40 days
Pros
  • Can produce water lasting for 40 days
  • Only uses two boxes of salt for regeneration
  • Comes in a space-saving, compact design
  • Features a convenient carrying handle
  • Complete with a high-grade premium resin
Cons
  • Instructions may not be too clear
  • May be difficult to lift if you have lifting issues
  • Color of the test strip is lighter than the color on the bottle

What’s more, it provides you with up to 1600 gallons of water that can last you 40 days, and even comes with a large mouth opening for easy salt addition and a high-grade premium resin.

  2.   Best High Flow Rate Portable Water Softener – Watts Water Quality/Condition M7002 Flow-Pur RV-Pro 10,000 Water Softener

 

Watts Water QualityThis user-friendly water softener unit is one of the most loved portable units on the market. Believe us when we say that you’ll love it too. This unit elongates the life of your appliances by eliminating the hard water minerals present in hard water and turning it to soft water. Hard water is known to stain your appliances and cause them to rust faster due to the iron particles present in the water. So, with the Watts Water Quality/Condition M7002 Flow-Pur RV-Pro 10,000 Water Softener, you can be assured that your appliances and pipes will last far longer.

This unit is low maintenance, requiring only table salt to regenerate sodium ions in the resin. It is easy to clean and does not cost much to be maintained. Furthermore, it is incredibly compact and portable, making it easy to carry around and also features a custom-designed flow valve that enables regeneration without you needing to connect or disconnect the system. More so, it comes with a full cradle base that keeps the tank more secure compared to open base tanks and there are even hardness strips included in the mix so that you can test your water before you use it.

Features

  • Makes use of common table salt to regenerate
  • Delivers high flow rates up to 4 GPM
  • Comes with a custom flow valve
  • Can be regenerated without disconnecting the system
  • Complete with a built-in drain line flow restrictor
Pros
  • Only uses common salt to regenerate
  • Is a user-friendly softener unit
  • Is completely compact and easy to carry around
  • Gets rid of trace amounts of iron in the water
  • Full cradle base secures the base tank
Cons
  • ​Does not come with fill port plugs
  • Instructions may be vague and difficult to grasp
  • Does not come with backflush adapter

Opt for this great unit that makes use of common table salt to regenerate its sodium ions and also features a custom flow valve that allows for the process of regeneration without disconnecting the system.

  3.   Best Lead-Free Portable Water Softener – Mobile-Soft-Water Portable 16,000 Grain ™ Unit with Tank

 

Mobile-Soft-Water PortableIf you’re fed up with having to deal with difficult hard water, then a water softener is your best bet, but not just any old product will do. The Mobile-Soft-Water Portable Unit is an ideal water softener for your needs. It conditions water of calcium, magnesium, iron, lead, radium and other heavy metal particles and altogether, produces up to 5 gallons of soft water in just one minute; as such, you don’t have to wait for ages for your hard water to turn soft before you can use it.

It is equally very easy to regenerate, using only table salt that you can pretty much get in any store. More so, it works without electricity so that it does not rack up your energy consumption. Additionally, it is very compact and easy to carry around, so that’s quite a convenient quality. It is further free from lead and comes with NSF61 approved water connections. Even better is the fact that it requires no electricity to regenerate and is able to treat up to five gallons of hard water with a 10-grain total hardness per minute.

Features

  • Comes with an easy to understand instructions manual
  • Delivers 16,000 grains total hardness removal
  • Is suitable to be used in an RV
  • Conditions water of calcium, magnesium, iron and other heavy metals
  • Is easy to regenerate with table salt
Pros
  • Removes calcium, magnesium and other heavy metals from water
  • Is easy to carry and transport around
  • Can treat up to 5 gallons of water per minute
  • Includes a comprehensive instructions manual
  • 16,000-grain total hardness removal
Cons
  • ​Hose fitting may not be of best quality
  • Is not recommended for drinking water
  • You may need to purchase additional parts separately

This is a 16,000-grain water softener that is equally very easy to regenerate. It works efficiently to soften hard minerals in water and comes with a step by step guide.

  4.   Best Lightweight Portable Water Softener – On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener

 

On The Go OTG3NTP3M PortableWith this On The Go OTG3NTP3M Portable Water Softener, you are guaranteed the best quality soft water production. When typical water softeners simply extract calcium and magnesium present in hard water, this amazing softener does not just stop there. It eliminates even the scale, rust and paint particles that may be present in your water so as to leave you with clean and pure water.

This 8,000-grain unit comes with premium features that allow for optimal functionality, such as its large mouth opening that allows for easy salt pouring during the process of regeneration. There’s also a 360-degree swivel on inlet high-flow shutoff control valve that provides an easy connection to the inlet hose.

Clearly, this device has been specially engineered to allow for high flow rates with even very low-pressure levels and further comes with a white, high-pressure 4-inch drinking hoseQuality hose that allows you to drink from the unit.

Features

  • Removes dirt, paint, rust and scale particles
  • Is a suitable for RV and marine models
  • Works to soften and condition hard water
  • Features an 8,000-grain unit
  • Comes with a large mouth for easy salt pouring
Pros
  • Portable and easy to carry the unit
  • Both softens and conditions hard water
  • Gets rid of scale, paint and rust particles
  • Largemouth opening for salt addition
  • Comes with a complementary backflush adapter
Cons
  • Only comes in an 8,000-grain unit
  • Softener unit may be flow sensitive
  • Comes with low quality plastic fittings

This is a fantastic water softener that can regenerate with only common salt in less than 15 minutes. Furthermore, it is able to provide you with soft water for up to 20 days.

  5.   Best Efficient Portable Water Softener- On The Go OTG3NTP1DS Double STD Water Softener

 

On The Go OTG3NTP1DS DoubleWhen you think of the qualities of a good water softener, what comes to mind? Portability? Easy regeneration process? Inexpensive maintenance? Effectiveness when converting hard water to soft water? Well, if these are the features that you look out for, then the On The Go OTG3NTP1DS double water softener is just the right product for you.

This water softening unit does not disappoint in any way. Although it is a double unit, it is still very portable and easy to carry around in your RV. It simply removes hard water minerals leaving you with sodium charged soft water that lathers well with soap and leaves your skin, hair, and clothes feeling cleaner and softer.

More so, this device is incredibly easy to regenerate as all you need is table salt poured into the wide mouth to replace the sodium ions. This unit also features hard water strips that can be used to test the hardness of your water.

Features

  • Comes complete with hard water test strips
  • Weights 32 pounds on shipping
  • Can be regenerated with common table salt
  • Is easy to install and simple to maintain
  • Is suitable to be used in an RV
Pros
  • Can be regenerated with table salt
  • Produces water that lathers well with soap
  • Can be used in an RV
  • Comes with complimentary hard water test strips
  • Regenerates in less than 30 minutes
Cons
  • ​May not be suitable for certain vehicles
  • May be difficult to assemble the parts
  • Does not come with a set of instructions

Here’s an efficient water softener that is highly portable, weighing 32 pounds and can be regenerated in less than 30 minutes. Rest assured that you have cleaner, softer water in no time.

Buyer’s Guide

How does a portable water softener work?

A portable water softener is a very beneficial product to have, especially if you travel by road quite often. Many people who travel by road with their RV’s, all over the United States, come to discover that a lot of campgrounds provide only hard water.

Hard water by definition contains certain minerals known as hardness minerals. This is as a result of rainwater passing through the earth and the water-absorbing these minerals from the earth. The issue with hard water is that it can interfere with how your soap lathers, and also, as a result of a large amount of limescale in the water, it can change its taste as well as odor. This further creates water spots resulting in rough, dry skin. This is where a good water softener comes in, as it reduces the concentration of hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium in your water.

A portable water softener incorporates resin beads that carry ions that have been electrically charged. The ions here are sodium-based because sodium does not cause rusting of pipes, neither does it have an undesirable reaction with soap. Hard water is passed through the portable softener and the calcium and magnesium ions in the water are then attracted to these charged resin beads.

The sodium ions are further swapped with the hard water minerals until the resin contains only these hard minerals and no sodium. In this way, it can then be said that the water has been made ‘soft’.

What are some things to look for when buying a water softener?

Weight and capacity:

It’s important to consider the weight as well as the capacity of your water softener. This determines the number of gallons of water that your softener can turn to a soft water based on its grain capacity. Most portable softeners typically have an 8000 grain capacity and weight of roughly 18 pounds, while larger compact softeners have a 16000-grain capacity and weigh about 30 pounds.

Exchange resin:

Another crucial feature to look out for is the exchange resin. This basically consists of the sodium charged ions that are exchanged with hard water chemicals to turn your water soft. When buying a portable water softener, make sure to only consider softeners that come with high grade and premium exchange resins.

Access for regeneration:

Regeneration involves introducing a stream of sodium ions (typically making use of salt) into the resin so that it can replace the calcium and magnesium ions that have been building up in the resin. In choosing a portable water softener, ensure that it comes equipped with a large enough opening that allows for convenient filling of salt.

Additional accessories:

A lot of water softeners come with some really helpful additional accessories that can make using it a whole lot easier. Some of these accessories include a carrying handle that allows for convenient carrying or even storage as well as transportation adapters that help to prevent the spillage of water.

Advanced features:

Advanced features in your water softener should also be looked out for. The controls that your water softener comes with determining how easy it will be for you to operate it. Some softeners come with timer controls and even main display options, as well as keypad configurations, all of which work to enable ease of use.

What are some advantages of having a portable softener?

Saves money:

Hard water contains the minerals and ions that cause the buildup of rust to form in your pipes as well as your appliances. This unwanted buildup can have a negative effect, meaning a lot of money will be spent on repairs and replacements. What’s more, water produced by water softeners does not contain these minerals and so saves you the cost of repairs.

Spend less time cleaning:

Cleaning can be a real hassle when you are making use of hard water. Cleaning and scrubbing your walls, showers, and sinks of scum and grime become a lot more difficult. However, portable softener produces soft water that easily penetrates and dissolves soap scum as well as grime so that you don’t have to spend all day cleaning.

Cleaner and softer skin/hair:

Hard water is tough on skin and hair as it doesn’t completely work with soap, resulting in soap scum and hair/skin that isn’t truly clean. Water softeners produce water that is void of hard water minerals, allowing for a deeper lather as well as the retention of moisture in your skin and hair that makes them soft.

Brighter clothes:

With a water softener, you can enjoy the benefit of having the color and brightness of your clothes preserved as soft water doesn’t contain the minerals that often cause color fading or unwanted stains.

Cleaner dishes:

When hard water is used to wash your dishes, it can be quite frustrating because no matter how much or how hard you wash them, your dishes are always left with a cloudy appearance once dried due to the effect of hard water minerals. A portable water softener eliminates these minerals, allowing for truly clean dishes.

What are the different types of a water softener?

Salt-based ion exchange:

A salt-based ion exchange water softener works essentially by exchanging the hard water ions in your water with the sodium or potassium ions in the charged resin which then removes the hardness in your water. This type of water softener is not recommended for drinking water because of the high levels of sodium used to regenerate the sodium/potassium ions in the resin.

Salt free water softener:

When it comes to salt-free water softeners, this type of softener makes use of a filter rather than chemicals to turn your hard water soft. It requires no salt or potassium and is widely preferred by a lot of consumers. With this softener, the minerals in the water are not affected, however, it means that it cannot be used on water that is very hard.

Magnetic water softener:

A magnetic water softener incorporates magnets that have been placed in or around the water pipes. This is so that the magnetic field that is formed can then change the water from hard to soft. This type of water softener, though effective, does not leave a lasting effect. Think of it as a Cinderella situation, seeing as your water will revert to hard water within 48 hours after it has left the magnetic field.

Reverse osmosis softener:

With a reverse osmosis water softener, this type of softener makes use of high pressure to efficiently remove the impurities in your water through a membrane that is semi-permeable. This type of water softener is highly effective as it removes up to 98 percent of impurities. The only hitch, which isn’t really a hitch if you think about it, is the fact that it’s a bit on the pricey side.

FAQs

What things does a water softener typically remove?

A water softener is an effective appliance when it comes to getting rid of the ‘hardness’ in water. Hard water typically contains minerals such as magnesium and calcium. This type of water also contains other minerals known as hardness minerals. When rain falls, the water involved there is actually soft. However, hard water is formed as a result of this rainwater passing through the earth as well as through rivers, lakes, and groundwater.

In the process of rainwater being transported across the earth, it becomes enriched with these hard minerals that are not known to be harmful to your health. The hardness of water is typically measured by the concentration of magnesium and calcium as they are the most present. However, there are other minerals such as iron, manganese, and aluminum that are also often present in hard water, sometimes at higher levels at some locations.

These minerals can often alter the color and even the taste of water. A water softener removes these hard water minerals that have been aforementioned, typically replacing them with sodium ions so as to restore the properties of water that makes it easier to wash, clean and even bathe with.

Do water softeners work for hard water?

Water softeners are devices that eliminate the presence of hard water minerals in water in order to soften, hence making it much easier to work with. The hardness of water comes in different levels that are measured in grains per gallon. Moderately hard water measures at 3 to 7 GPG, normal hard water measures at 7 to 11 GPG and very hard water measures at 11+ GPG. As a result of this, there are different types of water softeners that affect these samples differently.

If you’re typically classing water softeners, a salt-based softener affects hard water by essentially exchanging the magnesium and calcium ions present in the hard water with sodium or potassium ions so as to make the hard water soft. These water softeners are effective on even very hard water, however, the soft water they produce are not suitable for drinking due to high sodium levels.

With salt-free water softeners, they generally do not make use of any sodium or potassium ions. Instead, they incorporate a filter that does not affect the minerals in the water. This type of softener is not incredibly effective on hard water with an 11+ GPG. Other types of water softeners include magnetic water softeners that make use of a magnetic field to change hard water to soft water, and reverse osmosis water softeners that use pressure to remove the hard water impurities, hence turning it into soft water.

Is a portable water softener suitable for an RV?

More and more people around the United States are adopting the ‘home on the road’ lifestyle and traveling around the country in their RVs. While this mode of living can prove to be quite exciting, it is not without its own difficulties. When you travel in an RV, sourcing water can sometimes prove to be a hassle. What’s more, when stopping over at campgrounds to gain access to water, you might come to find that the water there is hard.

Now, hard water is not detrimental to your health; however, it is very difficult to clean, wash and even bathe with, as a result of the presence of hard water minerals (such as magnesium, calcium, and iron) which can alter the properties of water.

Furthermore, this type of water does not produce a lot of lather when it comes in contact with soap. Even worse, it is often colored and could even leave stains on your clothes when washed. Traveling with a water softener in your RV can help eliminate these issues for you, as not only does it work to get rid of the hardness minerals in the water, but it also goes a long way to ensure that you have clean laundry and maintain basic hygiene as you’re out on the road. Furthermore, this type of water softener is also compact enough for you to pack in your RV and use it when needed.

What size softener should I get for my RV?

Now that it has been established that a portable water softener would be beneficial to carry around in your RV, it is important to know just the right size of water softener to get. There are home water softeners that are installed in grounded houses to turn hard water to soft water, however, these types are too heavy to carry around in an RV. In the same way, some other types cannot be used when you live in an RV.

A magnetic water softener, for example, has a lot of magnets placed around water pipes so as to create a magnetic field that removes the magnesium and calcium ions in your hard water; that’s basically how it produces soft water. However, this type of water softener cannot be used when in an RV due to the lack of water pipes that would typically be present in a typical house. Besides, the water produced using a magnetic water softener turns back to hard water within 48 hours of leaving the magnetic field. Let’s face it, in an RV, 48 hours is too short a period of time to have a supply of soft water. More so, this type of softener is often very expensive.

If you’re after a water softener suitable for an RV, a salt-based water softener is the most ideal. This softener usually comes in two sizes at 18 pounds and 30 pounds. The size you choose should depend on the number of grains needed for the softener (due to water hardness levels) as well as the amount of hard water you are looking to convert to soft water.

An 18-pound water softener typically has about 8000 grains and a 30 pounder has about 16000 grains. Further, an 8000-grain softener can turn up to 727 gallons of hard water with 11 grains per gallon to soft water, while a 16000-grain softener can convert up to 1454 gallons of hard water with 11 GPG to soft water.

Do portable water softeners require powering?

A softener is a great investment for anyone who travels in an RV. When you come to campgrounds, this device is practically a lifesaver, as water in such areas is typically hard. As such, it is difficult to wash and clean with, so a softener is a beneficial piece of equipment to have packed in your RV.

Additionally, although powering can be expensive, the good news is that most softeners do not require any sort of powering and work individually. However, there are some that come with smart features like a TDS meter and are powered through the use of batteries.

How durable is softener equipment?

When purchasing any product at all, it is vital to know just how long-lasting a product is, and it’s no different when it comes to a portable water softener. This device can convert hard water that is difficult to wash, clean and bathe with too soft water that is much more convenient and easier to use for cleaning. The good news about this device is that it is a long-lasting one and can easily last a good couple of years if proper cleaning and maintenance are practiced on a regular basis.

More encouraging is the fact that water softeners do not even require complicated or expensive means of maintenance, which is a lot more convenient for you. With some softeners, systems can simply maintain by filling them with salt periodically. Note that water softeners are not designed to last forever, however, you can easily find some softener brands that can last you up to ten years and options that can even last up to 20 years while still functioning properly through the years.

How do I set up a portable water softener?

The process of setting up a portable water dispenser is incredibly easy, which is a good thing for those who get overwhelmed by complicated processes. The setting up only entails six simple and easy to follow steps that you can master. To begin with, turn off the water feeder located at the point of application. The next thing you should do is to simply connect the source of the water to the softener’s inlet.  Here’s a handy tip, thread tape can prove to be very helpful with water connections. Next, ensure that the water softener unit is standing upright so that it can function properly.

Then turn on the water and proceed to flush out the system into a drain. Do this for approximately two to three minutes for a standard model, four to six minutes for a double model and seven to nine minutes for a larger model. This flushing simply gets rid of any dust in the resin. Finally, connect the outlet of the softener to the point of application, and just like that, your portable water softener unit is completely set up and ready for use.

How do I clean a water softener?

Cleaning a water softener typically entails cleaning out the softener’s resin. This is because the process of softening hard water takes place in the resin which removes the hard water minerals. So, it is important for the resin to be cleaned and for proper maintenance as well as to elongate the life of the water softener.

While cleaning the resin, be aware that there are some minerals it might not be able to completely remove such as iron and metal particles. What’s more, the buildup of these minerals results in the inefficiency of the system.

To clean the resin, first of all, know the type of contaminants that are accumulated in the resin. Next, select a resin cleaner designed to get rid of that particular contaminant. Then simply feed the resin cleaner into the system to clean out the coated resin beads. Set the water softener system on regeneration mode which will regenerate your system. After that, return the system to the normal water softening process, remove the resin cleaner from the system and finally, close the control panel and run the tap for about 10 to 15 minutes to flush out the resin cleaner.

How frequently should I clean a portable softener?

Thoroughly cleaning out a softener unit is vital. This is one solid way to prevent damage. And as you obviously want your unit to last you as long as possible, cleaning and maintenance is a key step that cannot be missed. It’s not simply about cleaning out the resin of the water softener, you also need to occasionally clean out the brine tank of your unit. This is because the brine solution is made out of water softener salt. And since salt is not 100 percent pure, the solution might come with impurities that can clog up your tank.

Cleaning out the brine tank typically involves taking apart the unit cleaning each part separately with soap and water. Once clean, you can then rinse out the parts and sanitize the tank using household bleach or vinegar. Proceed to rinse out the bleach, connect the parts back together and refill with salt and water.

The brine tank is recommended to be cleaned about once a year while the resin should be cleaned about once in four months for proper functioning.

Can a water softener help cure acne problems?

If you struggle with acne, it’s best to change skin products or even switch up your diet and exercise, but have you ever considered that the water you are using is actually making your acne worse? Hard water contains some mineral buildup that forms after the water has passed through the earth, and while you might not always be able to see it, you can certainly experience its effect.

When washing your face, the goal is to remove any unclean bits and particles that have built up over a period of time. However, when using hard water to wash your face, you actually end up achieving the exact opposite, which is a breakout. Making use of a water softener is a great way to deal with your acne, as the unit removes these mineral particles, allowing you to actually achieve your goal of cleaning your face when you wash it. This will definitely have a positive effect to slowly clear the acne.

Final Verdict

The importance of a water softener has been established in detail. When you stay in areas where the only source of water you have dispenses hard water, a water softener can make your life a whole lot easier. Water produced by a water softener is easier on your skin and hair and cleans your clothes and dishes better, and The On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT- Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener is one of the best portable water softeners you can purchase on the market.

This RV complaint water softener not only softens but also conditions your water, getting rid of the hard water minerals that make your water hard to work with. It equally supplies 40 percent more soft water than any other unit on the market and is easy to carry around with its carry handle on top.