Water softeners don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you shop around, you can find a cheap water softener for $500 or less – sometimes much less. Of course, there’s a reason these systems are cheap. They may act up more than expensive units, and ultimately kick the bucket sooner. But if premium water softener prices are beyond your reach, it’s nice to at least have options.
Cheap Water Softeners at Menards and Other Large Retailers
You can often find water softeners at Menards, Sears, and other giant nationwide stores for less than $500. Obviously, you still have to pay for installation, which you can typically arrange through the store (they usually contract with local service businesses to do the installation). The best part for many people is that these chains often have low- or no-interest deals you can take advantage of. Some people may also feel more comfortable dealing with a familiar retailer like this when making a large purchase.
Buying online is another option. Not only do the above-mentioned stores have large online stores, but so do many smaller companies throughout the country (and world). You can find just about any model of water softener online, including many cheap ones. Of course, you may have to pay for shipping, which could eat up some of your cost savings.
Buying a Used Water Softener
Another option is to buy a used water softener at an online store or local shop. However, used water softeners can be hard to find. As with most other home appliances, water softeners usually stay in one place until their service life is over.
The other problem with buying used is that you won’t know whether or how well the system works until after installation, which is an involved process (and an expensive one if you don’t have the technical skill to do it yourself). The best you can do is make sure the tank and other parts are in good shape.
Magnetic Water Conditioners
As far as new softeners go, you won’t find anything cheaper than a magnetic water conditioner. Granted, these devices may not technically be softeners due to the fact that they don’t remove hard water minerals, but they are designed to treat your water so that it behaves like soft water. In addition to costing $150 or less, they typically don’t require professional installation – saving even more money. They don’t use water softener salt either, so even your maintenance costs are lower.
So what’s the catch? Magnetic water conditioners are somewhat controversial in the water industry, with some people claiming the technology is nothing but pseudoscience. A lot of people obviously disagree, as evidenced by the popularity of these systems. But if you do decide to buy a magnetic conditioner, take extra care to research the brand and model to make sure it’s on the up-and-up.
Besides magnetic systems, you can find other salt free water softener systems that may be cheaper than conventional systems. For the most part, the same issues apply.
The Cost of a Cheap Water Softener
In some ways, a water softener is a water softener. For the most part, all salt water softeners do an equally good job of removing calcium and magnesium from your water – at least at first. In the long run, you may find that a higher quality system actually saves you money even if the initial price tag is higher. That’s not to say that higher prices always mean higher quality, though. It just means you should take a long view when evaluating different water softener systems if you want to find the one that’s best overall.