Water softener prices: Average Water Softener System Installation Cost 2023 – Forbes Home

Average Water Softener System Installation Cost 2023 – Forbes Home

Table of Contents

  • What Is Hard Water?

  • Labor Cost to Install a Water Softener System

  • Factors That Affect Water Softener System Installation Costs

  • Additional Costs Associated With Water Softener System Installation

  • DIY Water Softener System Installation vs. Hiring a Professional

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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The national average for a water softener system installation, including labor and materials, is around $1,500. If you have persistent hard water, opt for a more complex system, like an ion exchange double tank or a reverse osmosis system servicing the whole house. For these pricier systems, costs are between $6,000 and $7,000.

If your water isn’t too hard, opt for a simpler system, which can range between $200 and $500. Several factors influence the total cost of installing a water softener system, including where you live and the capacity of the system. However, the most determining price factor is the type of system needed to fix the root causes of hard water in your home.

Average Cost $1,500
Highest Cost $11,000
Lowest Cost $200

What Is Hard Water?

When white film (calcium) builds up around your faucets and shower heads or your skin feels dry and itchy after showering, you might have hard water. Hardness of water refers to the concentration of dissolved minerals in water. Over time, it can strain appliances by clogging pipes and reducing the water flow. Water softener systems are a simple solution to removing or neutralizing the minerals in hard water.

The cost of installing a water softener system can vary widely depending on the system you choose. This 2023 guide breaks down the different costs associated with installing a water softener system and the average costs you can expect.

Labor Cost to Install a Water Softener System

Labor rates to install a water softener system can be as low as $150 for a simple installation of a basic system. For a whole-home, difficult installation, costs range from $500 to $11,000. Complex installations may include working around hard-to-reach water mains, installing new pipes and maintaining a large water softener system.

Labor costs vary not only based on complexity, but also handy labor rates in your area. It is a good rule of thumb to shop around before hiring a professional to get the job done.


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Factors That Affect Water Softener System Installation Costs

Type of Water Softener

There are several types of water softener systems and each have a slightly different cost.

Ion Exchange Systems

Ion exchange systems are the most common and reliable water softener systems. The ion exchange system flows water through sodium ions in a resin tank, where they undergo an exchange process, swapping in clean sodium ions for the hard ones. These systems are available in single and dual tanks. Overall, they cost between $400 and $3,000. To maintain them, you must refill the salt tank regularly.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Removing all chemicals, minerals and toxins from your water, reverse osmosis systems tackle high mineral build up. They can also work in tandem with additional water softener systems that you might have already installed in your home. A single point of use reverse osmosis system that is attached to your sink can cost as low as $100. But, more comprehensive systems usually cost between $1,000 and $11,000.

Magnetic Systems

Magnetic systems are recently developed technology that uses magnets in piping to neutralize the ions. This system is recommended for less stubborn cases of hard water and it costs between $200 and $600.

Water Distiller Systems

Water distiller systems get rid of heavy metals, bacteria and minerals. However, it does not eliminate all chemicals. These systems work by boiling water and catching the vapor. They are great for DIY-installation and cost around $50 to $4,000 to install. Keep in mind that these are not for heavy-duty, whole-house servicing. They are best for drinking water.

Salt-Free Systems

Salt-free systems work similarly to ion exchange systems, except they use potassium instead of sodium. This type of system costs between $500 and $4,000. They prevent a build up of ions in the water system and are best for people on low-sodium diets.


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The brand of water softener you choose will also affect the price. Most brands offer a range of systems, including larger and higher-end softeners. Smaller, traditional models are more affordable.


Where you live and where you get your water from will affect the kind of system you’ll need and the total cost of installing a water softener system. Some cities and regions have more minerals in the water than others. The United States Geological Survey has a map of harder water regions. Urban and metropolitan areas tend to have higher costs for materials and labor than rural regions.

Home Size

The number of people in your household and how much water each person uses will also affect the kind of water softener you’ll need and, therefore, the total cost. The average person uses about 90 gallons of water per day. This includes drinking, cleaning, showering, etc. Multiply this number by the number of people in your household to get how much water your household uses.

Test your water’s hardness level in grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (PPM) by completing a professional lab test, purchasing a testing kit or contacting your water company. Before purchasing a water softener system, multiply the household water usage with your GPG or PPM to measure the ideal capacity.


Along with household size, the capacity of the water softener system will affect the total cost. Grain capacity of most household systems is about 24,000, which is typical for a four-person household. Systems with this capacity cost between $300 and $600. But, as capacity increases so does the price. Typically, the harder the water and the more capacity you need, the more expensive the water softener system will be.

Additional Costs Associated With Water Softener System Installation


If you’re installing a whole-home system, your city or region may require a permit. As well, some local authorities may require a permit, licensed plumber and inspection before larger installations. It’s always a good idea to confirm with your township to see what is required before installing a system.

Maintenance Fees

Maintaining a water softener system is an additional regular fee that you’ll have to consider before purchasing and installing a system. Annual maintenance contract fees range from $100 to $900 per year, and include flushing, inspection and salt refills. Salt or potassium refills cost $5 to $10 per 40 lb. bag and $50 to $70 per 40 lb. bag, respectively. Clean the tank every three to four months to prevent resin build up.

Renting a water softener. Instead of purchasing a water softener system, you may have the option to rent. This involves paying an installation fee and a monthly usage fee. While this is less expensive up front, you may end up paying more in the long run.


THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT EDITORIAL CONTENT. Please note that we do receive compensation for any products you buy or sign up to via this advertisement, and that compensation impacts the ranking and placement of any offers listed herein. We do not present information about every offer available. The information and savings numbers depicted above are for demonstration purposes only, and your results may vary.

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DIY Water Softener System Installation vs. Hiring a Professional

Not all water softener systems impact your entire home’s plumbing. If you only have moderately hard water, you can DIY install a smaller water softener directly under the sink. These smaller systems often come with step-by-step instructions. However, for any other system that requires larger installation, you should (and may be required by law to) hire a professional to complete the installation. To make sure the system is running smoothly and that hardness levels have adjusted, you may also want to have a pro check your work and perform routine maintenance.

To arrive at the average costs in this article, editorial team members surveyed a range of six cost databases on national and local levels. All averaged figures were correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I install a water softener myself?

If you’re just installing a small unit underneath the sink, you can DIY the installation. However, larger, whole-home systems should be left to the professionals to prevent any plumbing damage. Also, some townships legally require a professional plumber to do the installation. Check with local regulatory authorities before making any major modifications to your water systems.

How much does labor cost to install a water softener?

Labor costs to install a water softener depend on the complexity of the installation. Expect to pay between $150 and $1,000 on labor costs to install a water softener in your home.

Is it worth installing a water softener?

If you have really hard water in your region, it may be worth installing a water softener system to ensure the integrity of your appliances and plumbing, as well to prevent dry and irritated skin after showering or washing your hands. You can test the hardness of your water by purchasing a testing kit or contacting the water company. Thes typically cost around $10 per kit.

What is the downside of a water softener?

Water softeners generally improve the water quality in your home. However, if you opt for an ion exchange water softener that adds sodium to your water, this can pose problems for those monitoring their sodium intake. There are many other water softener alternatives.

Does a water softener ruin a water heater?

A water softener can actually shorten the life of your water heater, which typically lasts eight to 12 years. Most water heaters have an anode rod that is designed to eliminate corrosive elements and protect the lining of the water heater. Soft water – or sodium water softeners – can actually corrode the water heater anode faster and cause corrosive elements to move into the water heater. To avoid this, have the anode rod regularly inspected and replaced when necessary. Neglecting the heater can eventually lead to replacing the system entirely.

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How Much Does a Water Softener Cost and Which Do I Buy?

In this blog, you’ll learn:
• “Professional” companies sell the best water softeners at anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000.
• “Sticker” companies sell the most common water softeners at anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000.
• “Big Box” companies sell the cheapest, least effective water softeners at around $800.
• Cheap water softeners almost always cost more in the long run because they likely won’t work and will require a better replacement.

Angel Water, Inc.

Mar 23

If you’re getting serious about purchasing a water softener, you’ve probably wondered whether water softeners are really necessary. After all, what’s so bad about a little hard water?

Hard water ruins clothing, dries skin, damages hair, breaks appliances, leaves stains on dishes and simply tastes funny. To purchase a water softener for a few thousand dollars is to address these problems immediately and effectively.

More surprisingly, some sediment in water from the deepest aquifers can contain Radium-226 and -228, carcinogenic isotopes that can wreak long-term havoc upon ingestion. So, water softeners can even protect you from cancer.

You get what you pay for. Though high-quality water softeners require a significant initial investment, they provide greater benefits in the long run. As a water softener is practically a medical device that keeps your family healthy, don’t skimp out with low-budget water softeners.

Here, we’ll talk about how much effective water softeners should cost as well as which ones to buy.

What’s the Average Price Range of Water Softeners?

There are many different types of water softeners. The primary difference across all of them is that less effective options tend to be cheaper and more effective options tend to be more expensive. Most water softeners fall in either of two categories, both of which we’ll go into in more detail.

Four major brands build water softeners, but most companies purchase three primary parts and, working out of a garage or warehouse, assemble those parts into what one would consider a water softener. Culligan, Kinetico, Rainsoft and EcoWater are the four major brands we call “professional” companies, while companies that focus on assembly exclusively, like Pelican, Aquasana, Fleck and Autotrol, are “sticker” companies.

Professional Companies

If you’d like to know how much a good water softener costs, water softeners from professional companies can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000. Instead of outsourcing parts, professional companies build water softeners in-house from head to toe. Also, these water softeners are made in America, so you won’t have to worry about shoddy parts.

Some professional water softeners have NSF 44 certification, which means that the National Sanitation Foundation has forced them through vigorous testing to guarantee effectiveness.

Warranties are excellent, most of which last for at least 10 years in total.  Often, warranties are 5-plus-5 warranties wherein the manufacturer and vendor offer five years, each. Some manufacturers provide 10 years of warranty in the first place, supplementing the vendor’s five years even further.

Sticker Companies

With a range from $1,500 to $5,000, sticker companies present a substantially cheaper option, but there’s much to forfeit. Because sticker companies purchase parts to assemble, you have to trust the dealer with your device and your health.

Many parts are made in China, which means they’re more likely to be ineffective, and the manufacturer won’t have to take responsibility if your water softener breaks. Accordingly, the majority of “sticker” water softeners don’t have NSF 44 certification, and the companies themselves usually don’t have plumbing licenses, bonds or insurance. All companies with exclusively online access are essentially sticker companies.

Big Box Companies

A third option is to buy a water softener from a “big box” company at Home Depot or Lowe’s. A “big box” water softener can cost as few as $800, but you’ll need to install it yourself, and as with “sticker” water softeners, it’ll be nothing more than a profound expense years down the line. Examples of companies whose water softeners you might find in large department stores include WaterBoss and Kenmore.

In the long run, “sticker” and “big box” water softeners are almost always more expensive than “professional” water softeners because of complications caused by shoddy craftsmanship.

The water softeners sold by big box companies often aren’t of the highest quality.

What’s a Fair Price for a Water Softener?

In general, the fairest prices are the ones we’ve outlined above. “Professional” water softeners should cost between $4,000 and $7,000, while “sticker” water softeners should cost between $1,500 and $5,000. Big box water softeners should never exceed $800.

What to Keep in Mind When You Look at the Price

Mind the pricing differences among “big box,” “professional,” and “sticker” companies to make sure that the price corresponds to the right category. You can immediately dismiss $2,000 “big box” water softeners. Here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • NSF 44 certification is paramount because it’s a guarantee that your ultimate water softener will be worth all that money.
  • If a water softener is made in America, it’s made from better parts that aren’t prone to breaking.
  • The best water softeners come with at least a decade of warranty from the manufacturer and enjoy statewide licensing.

The bottom line is that a water softener is a medical device with which to prolong your family’s life and protect them from carcinogens, so don’t leave this water softener business up to anybody.

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off

Not all vendors are scammers, but do your research before purchase. Take a look at reviews. Search for a brick-and-mortar location and visit their facility. Make sure you’re buying from a real company that doesn’t have to depend on suspicious discounts.

We also suggest you note the difference between salt-free and salt-based water softeners. Salt-based water softeners are so effective as to use ion exchange, a chemical process that requires salt, to separate sediment from water on a molecular level. Keeping a genuinely salt-based water softener stocked with salt is a small price to pay for its greater effectiveness.

Salt-free water softeners don’t actually soften water. Rather, they condition water to keep it from sticking to pipes. The water is still going to be hard. This means a salt free system will still cause white film on dishes, showers and bathrooms and will not help your laundry.

How Much Does It Cost to Install and Maintain a Water Softener?

In isolation, installation, initial programming and testing cost about $1,000. Allowing a licensed professional to install a water softener is a lot less risky than doing it yourself. If something goes wrong because you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re tampering with your water supply. We can help you come up with a solution to a problem that’s too risky to get wrong.

Peripheral costs include annual maintenance, which might be necessary for your water softener to remain under warranty. We recommend annual maintenance either way.

When Should I Replace a Water Softener?

Most effective water softeners last for 10 years, while “big box” water softeners last for three years at most. Otherwise, here are some telltale signs that your water softener needs a replacement:

  • A significant drop in water pressure
  • Stains on dishes
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle Hair
  • Faded clothes
  • Broken dishwashers

The symptoms your water softener has worked so hard to alleviate will have returned. When a water softener stops doing its job, be sure to find a suitable replacement.

If your water softener’s on its last legs, you might have symptoms like this.

Buy the Best Water Softeners from Angel Water

Keeping families healthy and homes well-maintained, effective water softeners have more than earned their hefty price tags. Still, shady business practices can make the right water softener difficult if not impossible to find. Maybe you already know you need one, but you haven’t figured out how to get one. You’re still unclear on which option is best for your home.

Angel Water can help you find an effective water softener that’s a perfect fit for your family. We conduct professional water tests as well as smooth installation and even ongoing maintenance. If you’re ready to move forward with this big decision, we know we can help you install a water softener of your own.

Polyphosphate water softeners Baxi. Prices, reviews, descriptions > Equipment catalog > St. Petersburg

Baxi polyphosphate water softeners. Prices, reviews, description > Equipment catalog > St. Petersburg