Are you looking for the best water softener resin for your water softening system?
Then, you’ve come to the right place.
In fact, when it comes to buying water softener resin, actually there is an endless amount of choices. With hundreds of brands to choose from and an ever growing product range, it’s not an easy task to find the right resin for your water softening system.
For you, we’ve done the hard part.
In this review, we’re going to present the most trusted 6 best resin for water softeners available.
Read along to pick the best one!
In a hurry? This overview will help you to pick the right one shortly.
Table of Contents
- Our Top Picks – Best Water Softener Resin
- Best Water Softener Resin in 2021 Review
- 1. Best Overall: Purolite C-100E Cationic Resin
- 2. AFWFilters SOFRES1 Water Resin 1 cu. ft
- 3. Oceanic Water Systems Water Softening Resin
- 4. Best for DIY: HydroTec Systems HTS8S-1.0
- 5. LiquaGen Water Softening Ion Exchange Resin
- 6. 1 CuFt Bag by Aquatrol
- What Is Water Softening Resin?
- Types of Water Softener Resin
- The Basic Differences between These Percent Crosslinks
- So, Which Water Softener Resin Is Best for You?
- 8% Crosslink Vs. 10% crosslink
- How to replace Resin in Water Softener
- How Often to Change Resin in Water Softener
Our Top Picks – Best Water Softener Resin
- 8% Crosslink Purolite C-100E Cationic Resin Replacement for Water Softener 1 Cubic Foot , Weight-49.9 pounds
1.5 CuFt Bag Size also available
- Oceanic Water Systems- 10% Cross Linked, 0.5 Cubic Ft, 100% Ion Exchange High Capacity Replacement Softener Resin , Weight-20 pounds, Color-Gold, Material -Strong Acid Cation Resin
- AFWFilters SOFRES1- 8% cross link high capacity Cation, single bag, 1 CuFt, 51.4 pounds
- LiquaGen- 10% Cross-Linked (1/2 CU FT, 26 pounds and 2 Cubic Ft Size Available
- HydroTec Systems -One (1) Cubic Foot, single bag, Ion-exchange Resin 8% Crosslinked
Best Water Softener Resin in 2021 Review
1. Best Overall: Purolite C-100E Cationic Resin
also available size of 1.5 CuFt Bag
To begin with, we have this premium, industrial grade resin by DuraWater. It’s one of the top-rated water softener resins for iron removal in the market.
Purolite C-100E Cationic Resin is a great choice for all water softeners. This resin counteracts the hard water elements and creates better quality water. It’ll not only extend the life of your appliances but also help you and your home feel and look better.
Firstly, this product is a polystyrene strong acid cation exchange resin. It comes in the sodium form which is perfect to use in domestic and industrial purposes.
In fact, it’s one of the best water softener resins for well water. One of the advantages of this resin is it can handle the harshest water conditions. Even it’s capable of softening the high iron content of private well for your daily water supply.
So, no more fear of mineral stains! Wash clothes, prepare food and clean dishes with the softened water by this high-quality resin.
Additionally, this resin replacement leaves you with quality cooking and drinking water. In fact, removing the aftertaste is possibly the main selling point of this resin.
Finally, this Purolite C-100E water softener resin is proudly made in the USA. Overall, it’s the best resin for water softeners that offers the combination of quality and performance.
- Ideal for any water softener system
- Premium and industrial grade
- Premium grade, high bead integrity
- Exceed the relevant EEC requirements
- Excellent chemical and physical stability
- Made in the United States
Few customers complained about the defective packaging
2. AFWFilters SOFRES1 Water Resin 1 cu. ft
Next, we have this excellent high capacity resin from AFWFilters.
SOFRES1 is a conventional cation exchange resin which comes in bead-form. It’s perfect for use in household or industrial water conditioning system.
Its spec says that this resin structure is 8% cross-linked with Divinylbenzene. That means, it’ll work effectively for water that is non-chlorinated and without iron.
This product is ideal to use all standard water softeners. Thanks to its hardness ions removal capability. This resin eliminates the magnesium and calcium of hard water and replaces them with sodium ions.
Of course, this also means that this resin removes dissolved iron and suspended particles by the filtering feature of the bed. It’s rated to last between 12 and 15 years.
Finally, SOFRES1 is NSF, USDA, FDA approved. And it also meets federal guidelines for potable water use. And the company may ship the resin in two bags of two half cu.ft instead of one full cu.ft bag).
All in all, this Water Softener Resin is a good value for the money.
- Works for household or industrial water conditioning equipment
- Perfect for all standard water softeners
- Bead-form and high capacity
- Removes hardness minerals, e. g. calcium and magnesium
- Easy to replace
- 12-15 year life expectancy
- USDA, NSF, FDA approved
- Instead of one full cu. Ft. bag, it comes to your door in two half cu.ft bags.
3. Oceanic Water Systems Water Softening Resin
This Water Softening Resin from Oceanic Water Systems is a high-purity, premium cation resin. It’s an upgraded 100% Ion Exchange.
It’s a top recommendation for individuals who get water from the city or municipalities. It’ll provide you pure and high-quality water. The 10% crosslink is ideal for water with chlorine but without iron.
It’s designed for treatments of beverages, foods, and water for food processing. It’s also ideal for potable water.
This highest quality replacement or add-on resin media is perfect for Whole House Water Softeners. You can use it as Filter Media.
What we like about this particular product is that it comes included with a funnel perfect for easy DIY loading.
Overall, it’s an excellent option for water softener
- 100% Ion Exchange
- High-capacity & Good selectivity
- Simple to replace
- Removes water hardness
- Impressive thermo-tolerant characteristic
- Excellent physical and chemical stability
- Simple to replace but replacing is hard for one person alone
4. Best for DIY: HydroTec Systems HTS8S-1.0
Our next pick is this Water Softener Ion-exchange Resin made by HydroTec.
If there is a lot of iron in your domestic supply water or your softener is more than five years old, then this resin will work fine.
This food-grade ion exchange resin comes in the form of sodium (NA+). And it is certified by the NSF / ANSI 61 standards for the treatment of drinking water for human consumption.
For those who are skeptical about the resin originated outside of the USA- this product is produced after a formula created by a USA company. Though the company is no longer exist, their formula is still used in producing this resin.
One of the downsides of this single bag resin is it won’t offer you a long shelf-life, and you have to use it in one go. It’s not perfect for storing once the bag is opened.
However, the longevity of this pure soft water softener resin once in the water system is really impressive.
To sum up, it’s an excellent product for DIY that you can install without paying the heavy prices.
- Regenerated into Sodium (Na+) Form
- Removes soluble iron and calcium
- Comes ready for use and very stable
- Easy DIY replacement
- 20 years or more life expectancy
- Made in China
- Certified under NSF / ANSI 61 standards
- Nothing found
5. LiquaGen Water Softening Ion Exchange Resin
If you’re looking for the high-end resin to soften hard water without the high-end price, LiquaGen is this. It’s an ideal resin designed for softening hard water and preparing high purity water for any potable and food processing.
This particular formula contains bead form, premium grade strong acid cation. It is great resin at dealing with high iron content in household or industrial water conditioning equipment. What’s more, this resin is world class lab tested to ensure the quality.
The LiquaGen line of Resin for water softeners consists of 2 Sizes:
When it comes to performance, this resin efficiently eliminates hardness ions of water and replaces them with sodium ions. Additionally, when the resin bed is exhausted, the capacity is restored by regenerating with common salt.
Not to mention, replacing the resin is actually cheaper and easier.
One of the nice features of this product is it comes with a funnel for the purpose of easy DIY softener change. It’ll definitely help you to direct the formula in all the right places and thus save a bit on the resin too.
On the whole, LiquaGen Water Softening Resin is the right product at the right price.
- Premium Grade, high-purity
- Removes hardness ions, e.g., magnesium and calcium
- Easy DIY resin replacement
- Impressive chemical and physical stability
- Excellent life expectancy (about 20 years)
- Reasonably priced
- Nothing to mention
6. 1 CuFt Bag by Aquatrol
Our final pick for any residential water is this water softener resin from Aquatrol. This aquatrol resin works fine with 32,000-grain residential water softeners.
It comes with 8% crosslinked beads that form fine mesh resin. It catches excess hard water ions without significantly reducing the lifespan of the resin bed.
This product will also offer you an excellent longevity rating. Although, the water softener resin life for this product is rated for 10 years, if your water isn’t severely hard, then this product will last over 20 years.
Replacing the resin in the water system is also an easy task. It includes a funnel for making changing the resin yourself easy rather than paying a professional hundred bucks to do it.
Review wise, this Resin scores an excellent rating of 4.8 out of 5.0, based on just under 50 reviews at the time of writing.
- Work with any type home water softener
- High exchange and mechanical strength
- NFC Certified for human consumption
- Perfect for 9″ X 48″ sized tanks
- Impressive thermos-tolerant characteristic and selectivity
- Excellent chemical and physical stability
- Made in China
- Only recommended for residential water softening systems.
Are you confused on the water softener resin price? Actually, you’ll find a wide range of pricing for water softener resins. This is because different companies charge different prices for their brands.
What Is Water Softening Resin?
Simply to say, water softener resin is a media that is used to eliminate the hardness of the water.
Water softener resin is an ion exchange media that saturate the hard water and remove the high concentration of heavy metals of hard water making your water soft.
Water conditioner only descales but doesn’t eliminate the hardness in water. For salt-based water softener, the resin is an essential product to produce soft water. In most of the residential and commercial area, water softening resin is a must-have product in water treatment.
Types of Water Softener Resin
Two main types of water softener resins are available-
1. Fine Mesh Resin
It features small sized beads and can remove dissolved iron up to 10 P.P.M. It is also used in combination with activated carbon to improve the taste, smell and feel of drinking water.
Since these are smaller in size, fine mesh resin needs a gravel bed or an individual riser screen with small slots to avoid resin migration during regeneration.
2. Standard ion exchange resin
Ion exchange resin removes dissolved iron between 3 to 5P.P.M. It regenerates using either common salt (Sodium Chloride) or Potassium Chloride.
Note that, ion exchange resin also plays a vital role in water purification. They also remove various organic contaminants, heavy metals such as lead, copper etc.
Cation resins are available in two sizes:
So, what is percent crosslink in water softener resin?
The cross-link is the connection between the core of the resin beads. In water softener resin, cross-linked DVB (Divinylbenzene) is used to tighten the beads.
Depending on tightness of this bonding, the resins come with different crosslink values, for example, as mentioned earlier 8% cross-link and 10% cross-link. In fact, higher crosslink will be more expensive.
The lower percentage of DVB means the resin beads are larger and tends to swell up more than the smaller resin beads. Less percentage of resin is vulnerable to some factors such as oxidation, attrition, etc.
But resin featuring lower crosslink can hold more water. So, technically, this type of resin is more efficient at softening water.
8% crosslink is the most commonly used resin. If hard water has 3 to 5 ppm dissolved iron, it works great to soften water. 8% crosslink resin lasts up to 10 to 15 years depending on the water quality. It is best for well water that means non-chlorinated water or water without iron.
Some specialty resins have 10% or higher crosslink. 10% crosslink features a little better strength. 10% crosslink resin works great for municipal water that is chlorinated water without iron. This type of resin lasts longer than 8% resin.
One of the downsides of using 10% crosslink resin is it’ll result in higher pressure drops than the standard 8% crosslink resin.
So, Which Water Softener Resin Is Best for You?
Are you confused about choosing the right resin for your water softener?
If your water features around 5 ppm of chlorine, you need resin with 8% crosslink. 8% crosslink resin is good enough to soften city water.
If your water has a higher ppm of chlorine (higher than 5 ppm), as you’ll need higher protection from oxidation. If you use well water or water with a higher concentration of irons for your household, opt for 10% crosslink resin or fine mesh.
|8% Crosslink||10% crosslink|
|Most commonly used||Used in Some specialty resin|
|Lasts 10 to 15years||Last longer than 8% crosslink resin|
|Best for municipal water||Best for well water|
|Cheaper||More costly compared to 8% crosslink|
How to replace Resin in Water Softener
The basic procedure to replace resin in most water softeners is the same.
- Turn off the water supply
- Pull the unit away from plumbing
- Unscrew and remove the fasteners that hold the control head
- Lay softener tank on the side, or over the trash can
- Pour the water, gravel and resin into a self-draining tub or bucket
- Insert garden hose
- Allow water to rinse all the remaining resin out
- Save old gravel
- Stand tank upright
- Tape off the riser tube
- Position the funnel over the opening in the product tub
- Pour to refill the gravel and shake the tank so that it settles
- Pour the new resin into the funnel
- Remove the tape from the product tube
- RE-attach the control head
- Re-connect the plumbing
- Turn the water supply back on
- put the unit in manual regeneration mode
Don’t forget to check the taste of the soft water.
How Often to Change Resin in Water Softener
How long does the water softener resin last?
Water softener resin does not last forever. They need to be replaced.
But how often?
Most manufacturers recommend a lifetime to be 10 to 15 years. But depending on the condition of water you use and the frequency of regeneration, water softener resin life span can vary.
Remember that, two factors affect the resin life- (1) iron of water (2) resin’s own organic coating.
That means, excessive amounts of chlorine in city water or iron in well water can “kill” a resin bed.
But, how you can realize that it’s time to replace the resin?
Diagnose your resin bed problem.
Your water softener unit no more put out soft water
It regenerates but runs out of soft water quickly (in just a day or so)
If you observe these signs, you probably have a damaged “resin bed.”
And it’s time to replace the resin.
Check the salt consumption rate on your water softener. If your water softener is using up salt at the recommended rate, but you don’t get soft water, possibly the resin bed has been damaged by chlorine or become saturated with iron deposits.
How Water Softener Resin Works
Hard water enters from control head and it passes through the beads of the resin bed. It exchanges or replaces hardness ions or heavy mineral contents for sodium or potassium ions. The resin bed then uses these ions to soften the hard water again.
Figure: water softener working diagram
How Much Resin to Use?
How much resin do you need to use in the tank depends on the size of your resin tank.
Some tank may have size sticker. In general, the sticker shows the measurement in four digits. For example: 1031. The first two digits (10) indicates tank circumference and the last two (31) refers tank height.
If the tank doesn’t have any size sticker, you have to take the measurement yourself.
For this, measure the diameter and height of the tank.
Then, refer this to the chart below to find out how much resin you’ll need.
You shouldn’t fill the tank to the top level as some resins need space for expansion when backwashing and it may restrict water flow.
Resin quality and safety is a stronger priority for any water softener resin. By using the cheap resin, you’ll obviously not achieve true soft water.
However, this review of the 6 best water softener resins will definitely help you to choose the right one.
Hope, you’re no more frustrated which and where to buy water softener resin.
Pick the best one according to your need from our list.
Improve taste of drinking water and the overall quality also!