Sick of dealing with hard water problems? Then you, my friend, need a water softener. But wait, what does that mean?

Certain minerals in your water make it “hard” – calcium and magnesium being the usual suspects. Groundwater dissolves metals like iron or rock like limestone, the remnants of which travel with the water into your home.

Hard water can wreak havoc in your home, affecting everything from your plumbing to your home’s upkeep and even your hair and skin. Water softeners remove these hard chemicals from water. This makes it easier for you to clean your home. They also protect your plumbing and appliances from chemical damage.

There are two types of water softeners – potassium and salt water Softeners.

Wondering which one you should choose?

Let me help you make the right choice…

What Are The Main Differences Between Salt And Potassium Water Softeners?

Doing your homework and researching the latest brands/types of water softeners can help you prevent scale buildup in a more cost (and waste) effective manner.

Here are some of the key differences between a salt water softener and a potassium water softener:

Amount of water softener needed

Both salt and potassium softeners are equally good at softening your home’s water effectively. But you need to use much more potassium chloride than salt chloride for the same amount of water.

This also means that you’ll have to replenish your water softener tank more frequently if you use a potassium softener (which can be a hassle).


Salt softeners are up to three times more cost-effective than potassium softeners. This is because of both the cost of potassium solution itself, and the fact that they’re consumed at a much higher rate.

So, if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly option, go with salt water softeners.

Health concerns

Potassium softeners take the cake here. That’s because potassium is an essential nutrient that can be beneficial for your health.

On the other hand, using a salt water softener adds a tiny amount of sodium to your tap water. Although this added sodium has no significant health effects for most, it’s not recommended for those who need to lower their sodium levels.


If you’re all about saving the planet (which we all should be at this point), you should consider getting a potassium water softener.

Why? Because plants can absorb the disposed of potassium as it helps them grow. We can’t say the same for sodium chloride as it is practically of no use (to the plants or to humans) after it is disposed of.

Sodium Chloride vs. Potassium Chloride Water Softener: How Do You Choose?

So we’ve established that both sodium chloride and potassium chloride can effectively soften your home water supply.

But the question remains: which one is worth your money?

When it comes to value for money, sodium chloride is a more feasible option. You can get 5 bags of sodium chloride at the price of 1 potassium chloride bag.

Also, when using sodium chloride, the unit won’t regenerate as often, which means that less salt will be consumed. Overall, a salt water softener is much more efficient and cost-effective as compared to a potassium one.

Potassium chloride is a bit pricier than salt. And the unit will regenerate more frequently as it’s less efficient than salt.

However, potassium is a healthy nutrient whereas sodium can be harmful to health for some. Potassium is also more eco-friendly as it can be absorbed by plants when disposed of. Sodium, on the other hand, just adds to land waste.

Ultimately, the right choice also depends on your personal preference and priorities.

If you want a healthier option, then you should opt for a potassium water softener. If price is a dealbreaker, go for salt water softeners.

How Water Softeners Work

At the core of every water softener is an ion-exchange resin that helps turn hard water into soft water. Water softeners work by removing the magnesium, calcium, and other harmful chemical elements present in your home’s water supply through ion exchange.

A water softener system includes a tank housing thousands of resin beads. When freshly regenerated, the beads are filled with sodium ions or potassium ions, depending on the type of water softener you use.

As hard water passes through this water softener system, the resin beads attract the calcium and magnesium ions in the water. The sodium or potassium ions then replace hard water ions, giving you soft water for use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you’re buying a water softener for the first time or planning to switch to another product, you’ll find these FAQs pretty helpful:

Why is potassium water softener so expensive?

It’s more costly to extract potassium from the Earth as compared to mining sodium chloride. That’s why a potassium water softener is more expensive than a salt water softener.

Can you mix salt and potassium in a water softener system?

Yes! You can add potassium chloride in a water softener system that already has sodium chloride and vice versa. There’s no compatibility issue between the two.

Are any changes in settings needed when you switch from sodium chloride to potassium chloride?

The water softener system does not know if there is salt or potassium in the tank. However, since both of them offer varying efficiency per cubic foot of water, you’ll need to adjust your system settings according to the water softener you use.

Is softened water safe for pets?

Yes, softened water is good for pets. Just make sure it doesn’t contain too much sodium or potassium chloride. It can be dangerous for both you and your furry friend.

Can I water my plants using softened water?

No problem if you use a potassium water softener as potassium is a plant nutrient. Just remember it’s best to keep switching between hard and soft water so your plants get a balance of nutrients.


I hope this article helped you figure out if a salt or potassium water softener is what you need.

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Thanks for reading, and have a great day!