Water Softener vs. RO System: Which is Best for Home?

Water Softener vs. RO System: Which is Best for Home?

Water Softener vs. RO System: Which is Best for Home?

When it comes to water filtration, there are two main types of systems,  water softeners, and RO systems. While Water Softener softens water by removing dissolved minerals and other impurities, RO reduces water’s hardness by using reverse osmosis.  

However, since both have pros and cons, it’s essential to know which is best for your home. Don’t freak out, as we are here to assist. Here’s a comprehensive guide comparing the two systems and outlining their fundamental differences. So whether you’re looking to soften your water or remove contaminants, read on to learn more about these two popular water filtration systems. 

What are Water Softeners and RO Systems?

Before we go deep into the differences, let’s find out the basic idea of water softeners and RO systems to understand things better. We have explained both water filtration systems individually to ease the reader. 

Water Softeners

Water softeners are a type of filter that remove hardness and other minerals from water. They are most commonly found in homes but can also be found in commercial or industrial settings. 

The water softener mainly uses cation resin that contains sodium ions. As the water flows through the system, sodium ions are kicked off and exchanged for calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese cations. These ions remain stuck to the resin and are captured by the brine solution, which then sends them to waste, along with chlorides. 

Benefits of Water Softeners

  • Saves money on monthly costs
  • Brighter laundry
  • Extends the life of the water equipment

RO Systems

RO, alternatively known as Reverse Osmosis, is an artificial process in which water is made to pass from the area of high solute concentration to the area of low solute concentration. RO systems are gaining popularity for their many benefits. These systems provide great water quality and ease of maintenance. 

This system produces water by breaking down organic matter and contaminants, resulting in clearer, fresher water that is safe to drink. Additionally, RO systems are often more cost-effective than other watering solutions, as they are easy to maintain and require no additional equipment to carry out the process. 

RO is referred to as the best purification process for removing harmful organic and inorganic components. 


  • Reduces 99% of impurities
  • Removes pesticides
  • Offers a continuous flow of safe water
  • Good taste
  • Easy to maintain

The 4 Major Differences Between Water Softener Vs. RO System

There are many choices to make regarding the choice of water filtration systems, and which one is the best for your home depends on a few things. Here’s a quick rundown of the significant differences between a water softener and an RO system so you can make an informed choice. 

  • Water Quality

There’s no denying that Reverse Osmosis offers the best water quality compared to the water softening system. While water softeners can eliminate calcium and magnesium from water, several other harmful pollutants are still present which makes the water unsafe for drinking. 

It also affects the Total Dissolved Solids, containing Carbonate, Sodium, Magnesium, Iron, etc. On the other hand, RO is known to remove 95 to 99% of impurities, making it one of the safest water filtration systems to opt for. 

  • Taste

The taste of water is generally affected by the chemicals present in it. Since RO removes the most chemicals and odors associated with them, it produces the best quality water. While on the other hand, water softeners also remove magnesium and chemicals, thus making water ideal for daily usage. However, it might not be the best for drinking since this water filtration system cannot remove the TDS, which will affect the water’s odor and taste. 

  • Cost-Saving

There are pros and cons to the water softener and RO system regarding cost savings. RO systems are generally more expensive to install than water softeners, but they can save you money in the long run because they require less maintenance while eliminating the need for bottled water. 

On the contrary, water softeners save energy and house appliance lifespan, thus serving as a budget-friendly approach for users.

  • Repair and Maintenance

The next factor that should be considered while comparing water softeners and RO systems is their repair and maintenance. RO systems require periodic filter changes, which are easy to carry out. 

However, water softeners require regular pre-filter changes and salt additions, making them a bit tough to handle. 

Suggested Read: What Are The Benefits Of A Stainless Steel Water Tank?

Which is the Best – Water Softener or RO?

Now that you are aware of the basics and major differences between these water filtration systems, it’s time to make a final choice. While a water softener is affordable and ideal for various purposes, it is still unable to produce good quality water which is safe for drinking. RO, on the other hand, is expensive to install, but it comes with easy maintenance and removes 99% of water impurities. 

So, the best option depends on your requirement and budget, but whatever choice you make, be sure it fulfills your purpose well. 

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