5 Best Water Softener Resin | Highly Recommended in 2019

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 5 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.

Our Top Picks - Best Water Softener Resin Comparison

Purolite C-100E Cationic Resin.   1. Cubic Feet

Purolite C100E C-100E Cationic Resin Replacement for Water Softener 1 CuFt Bag Media

Crosslink 8%
Weight: 49.9 pounds
Highlights: The best combination of quality and performance

1.5 Cubic Feet,  LiquaGen Water Softening Ion Exchange Resin

Best Water Softener Resin for the Money

Crosslink 10%
Weight: 75 pounds
Highlights: The high-end Water Softener Resin to remove water hardness without the high-end price

ABCwaters SOFRES1 - 1 cu. ft.

AFWFilters SOFRES1 Water Resin

Crosslink 8%
Weight: 50.6 pounds
Highlights: High capacity that offers long-lasting efficiency

HydroTec Ion-exchange Resin - 1 C Ft.

HydroTec Systems Water Softener Ion-Exchange Resin

Crosslink 8%
Weight: 50 pounds
Highlights: The longevity once in the water system is really impressive

Aquatrol Water Softener Resin - 1 CuFt Bag

Aquatrol Water Softener Resin

Crosslink 8%
Weight: 50 pounds
Highlights: Soften the water without significantly reducing the lifespan of resin bed

5 Best Water Softener Resin Reviews 2019


Purolite C-100E Cationic Resin

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.


2) Best  Water Softener Resin for the Money : 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.

Three Sizes to Choose From
The LiquaGen line of Resin for water softeners consists of 3 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.


Next, we have this excellent high capacity resin from ABCwaters.

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.


HydroTec Systems Water Softener Ion-Exchange Resin

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.


5) Best for Residential Water : Aquatrol Water Softener Resin

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.

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 - Which Water Softener Resin Is Best for You?

Two main types of water softener resins are available-

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.

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:

  • 8% Crosslink
  • 10% Crosslink

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 Basic Differences between These Percent Crosslinks

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

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.

  • 10% crosslink

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?

Relax!

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 Vs. 10% Crosslink

8% Crosslink

  • Most commonly used
  • Lasts 10 to 15 years
  • Best for municipal water
  • Cheaper

10% crosslink

  • Used in Some specialty resin
  • Last longer than 8% crosslink resin
  • Best for well water
  • More costly compared to 8% crosslink

How to Replace Resin In Water Softener

How to replace Resin In Water Softener

The basic procedure to replace resin in most water softeners is the same.

  1. Turn off the water supply
  2. Pull the unit away from plumbing
  3. Unscrew and remove the fasteners that hold the control head
  4. Lay softener tank on the side, or over the trash can
  5. Pour the water, gravel and resin into a self-draining tub or bucket
  6. Insert garden hose
  7. Allow water to rinse all the remaining resin out
  8. Save old gravel
  9. Stand tank upright
  10. Tape off the riser tube
  11. Position the funnel over the opening in the product tub
  12. Pour to refill the gravel and shake the tank so that it settles
  13. Pour the new resin into the funnel
  14. Remove the tape from the product tube
  15. RE-attach the control head
  16. Re-connect the plumbing
  17. Turn the water supply back on
  18. put the unit in manual regeneration mode

Done!

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?

Simple!

Diagnose your resin bed problem.

Notice that-

Your water softener unit no more put out soft water

Or

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.

How Much Resin to Use

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.

Conclusion

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 5 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!

Brien N. Gidlow
 

Chief Engineer and co-founder of a company specializing in contract operations of water and wastewater facilities. 15 Years experienced as a consulting engineer specializing in water, wastewater and water reuse treatment and much more. His primary area of expertise is water treatment & sanitation.