Last updated - January 12th, 2022
If you are looking for the best water softener salt options, it means you deal with hard water. Having spotty dishes and white crusts or films on your dishwasher because of hard water can be endlessly annoying. Some households with hard water have even had to completely replace their dishwasher!
However, there’s no need to despair for much longer! A water softener can completely change the quality of your water to eliminate these problems. Of course, that brings us to the topic at hand, salt.
- Water Softener Salt Uses
- Common Types of Salts
- Read Our Comparisons
- Top 10 Products Reviewed
- 10. Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Pellets
- 9. CARGILL Salt
- 8. Diamond Crystals Solar Salt
- 7. Morton Pure and Natural Water Softening Crystals
- 6. Morton Salt Morton F124700000g Pellets
- 5. Sprite Mediterranean Blue De-Chlorinating Bath Salts
- 4. Impresa Dishwasher Salt/Water Softener Salt
- 3. Diamond Crystal 50 lb. Water Softener Salt
- 2. Finish Dishwasher Salt
- 1. Miele Care Collection Dishwasher Reactivation Salt
- Salt for Water Softeners – Buyer’s Guide
- What Amount of Salt do You Need?
- Do Water Softeners Require Salt?
- Best Brands
- How To Add Salt
- Additional Tips
- Bottom Line
Water Softener Salt Uses
Water softeners, dishwashers, and shower filters all use salt to remove hardness. To maintain your water softener, periodic salt replacement is necessary.
There are a number of different replacement salts available. Our team searched all over the market, and we came up with a list of ten of the best.
Keep in mind that there are many different brands and types of salt. While some customers swear one option is the absolute best, others may proclaim their favorite is far superior, so it comes down to a matter of opinion. We’ve ranked the salts below based on the number of positive reviews they received, in order to provide a loose idea of what may work best for you. Keep reading to find out more!
Common Types of Salts
Here are the 3 types of salts that fit our options.
#1. Sea Salt
Sometimes referred to as “solar salt”, sea salt is, obviously, gathered from the sea. The gathering process involves exposing seawater to direct sunlight and wind. It then forms into a solid block of crystals.
The main advantage of sea salt is that it’s usually cheap and clean. However, quality can vary from product to product.
#2. Rock Salt
Rock salt is gathered from underground deposits that have built up over thousands of years. You can easily find it, and it’s usually cheap. Also, some manufacturers will deliver rock salt directly to your home.
However, it’s the least pure of all salt types. In most cases, it contains minerals that can cause clogs over time.
#3. Potassium Chloride
Although it’s considered a “non-salt” option, potassium chloride is actually a type of salt by definition. Some people even use it instead of table salt, if they have certain health conditions that require a specific sodium intake.
However, during filtration, potassium chloride functions more like a water conditioner than a softener. It also costs more, so you would be paying more for less performance.
Let’s see the best salts for water softeners and dishwashers you can get this year!
Read Our Comparisons
Before we begin, let’s see our first three champions!
Top 10 Products Reviewed
10. Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Pellets
With this product, you get high-quality salt for a reasonable price. It’s proven to directly extend the lifespan of water softeners, pipes, and fixtures and has up to 99.8% of pure salt!
Additionally, the pellets are specially formulated to prevent bridging, which is a very common problem for water softener owners. The 40 lbs are packaged in a two-handled bag, which makes it effortless to lift and carry.
9. CARGILL Salt
This great choice is ideal for any softener system and it is NSF-certified, making it super safe. The manufacturer also gives an 8% discount on orders of certain quantities of this popular product.
Unlike most salts on the market, this one doesn’t cause bridging either. Its purity level makes it extremely safe and healthy to use as part of your water conditioning efforts, and it comes in a convenient two-handled bag to make handling a cinch.
8. Diamond Crystals Solar Salt
Coming in at eighth place on the list is the Diamond Crystals Solar Salt. It’s an all-natural that contains over 96 percent pure salt. That’s right – no fillers. Since these crystals are so natural and pure, they are the perfect solution for brine tanks, and you can even use this product for meat processing, curing olives, and pickling!
The best thing about this one is the price. You get an entire 40-pound bag of salt for an insanely low price tag through some retailers. That makes this one the best salts if you’re on a budget. It’s cheap, and it works well. What more can you ask for?
7. Morton Pure and Natural Water Softening Crystals
Morton is well known in American households for its table salt products. You’ll always recognize Morton salt when you see its familiar icon of a girl in a yellow rain jacket carrying an umbrella. In fact, this 40 lb. bag of water softening salt has that same exact logo, letting you know that it’s an authentic Morton product.
As a leader in these products, you can trust this is pure salt harvested naturally from saltwater. It’s the real deal, and best of all, it works in all water softeners.
6. Morton Salt Morton F124700000g Pellets
Specifically designed for use with high iron water, this Morton salt delivers a better-tasting drink experience, as well as fewer rust stains in your bathroom and kitchen over time. In fact, Morton boasts that it removes 15 times more iron from water than other salts. It is the ultimate way to fight rust and extend the life of your appliances.
According to the manufacturer, you should carefully check the level when using this product, keeping the tank at least 1/2 full. Also, fill your softener with two bags of this salt every two months.
5. Sprite Mediterranean Blue De-Chlorinating Bath Salts
One popular feature of this Sprite product is that it doesn’t contain any artificial dyes, colors, or fragrances. This makes it an ideal product for people with allergies or sensitive skin, as well as used for pets.
This bath salt is specifically used to dechlorinate bathwater and is not as versatile as the other versions of salts. However, if you just want to have a more relaxing bath or soak, it’s a great choice.
4. Impresa Dishwasher Salt/Water Softener Salt
|Type:||General Dishwasher/Softener Salt|
Residue and limescale are no match for Impresa Dishwasher salt. Keep in mind though, that you can only use it in dishwashers with a specific salt compartment, made by Miele, Bosch, or Whirlpool. Outside of these options, Impresa can’t guarantee the product will function as intended.
However, this option is still an awe-inspiring product. The salt is a very coarse grain, which is more effective than fine, and it’s also one of the purest on the market. Many reviewers have said that it’s a pro at leaving dishes residue-, watermark-, and spot-free.
3. Diamond Crystal 50 lb. Water Softener Salt
These Diamond Crystal sodium chloride pellets remove hard minerals from water and is suitable for use with most units. The innovative 2-handle bag eases lifting and transportation.
This product has a highly concentrated purity level, which means you need to use less salt in your softener, compared to other brands. This USA-manufactured product comes from a solution mine in Michigan.
2. Finish Dishwasher Salt
We’ve made it to the second-best. The finish is a company that makes some of the best dishwasher pods and tablets in the industry. When you consider the quality of their dishwasher pods and tablets, it’s no surprise that they rank in the top two of this list.
Finish dishwasher salt is the perfect size and coarseness to treat your dishwasher water and is compatible with all Bosch 800 Plus and ADA (SGE) dishwashers. It dissolves quickly and delivers unmatched performance against water spots and limescale buildup. It may cost a few extra bucks than other choices, but it’s worth it.
1. Miele Care Collection Dishwasher Reactivation Salt
We’ve made it to the best overall salt on the list; the Miele Care Collection. It’s an exciting product, but we have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. We absolutely love that this salt works unbelievably well, however…we hate that it’s only intended for use with Miele dishwashers. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t necessarily use it in a different type of dishwasher!
The Miele Care Collection Salt may be most effective when used in a Miele washing system, but reviewers say that for many of them, it has worked just fine in any dishwasher machine with a water softener compartment. Furthermore, the quality of this salt is fantastic! While it’s a little pricey, the cost is justified by the truly high value of the product.
Salt for Water Softeners – Buyer’s Guide
✓ Your Budget
When buying a water softener, you should first consider the hardness of your water. If it has a high amount of calcium and magnesium, you will need more salt, which directly affects your monthly maintenance costs. As well, if you have a large family, or use significant amounts of water, you may find yourself considering the cost of buying it.
However, you can offset these costs by buying in bulk or buying pure salt which is far more potent and long-lasting. As well, if you buy salt directly from the manufacturer, oftentimes they offer various discounts.
✓ Type of Water Softener
If you buy high-quality salt, you can use it in any type of unit. Types include evaporated, solar, rock, and even block. There are also softeners that use TAC media instead of salt, which works by changing the composition of certain minerals and therefore making the water soft.
✓ Saltier Water Taste
Water softeners do release sodium chloride into the water in small quantities, leading to a faint salty taste. It’s usually not noticeable, but if you don’t like the taste, consider buying Potassium Chloride instead. It softens water without affecting the taste, however, it costs around three times more than a normal slat.
You should regularly check and top off your softener to keep the device efficient. Some types may cause “bridges” in your tank; which require manual removal by breaking the bridge and letting the water absorb the pieces.
What Amount of Salt do You Need?
This mainly depends mainly on two factors: the amount of water you use daily and how hard the water is. A four-person family with hard water of 8-10 GPG would use around 8 to 10 lbs each week, or a 40-lb bag each month. This is just an estimation, and if your water is harder, or has a significant iron content, you may need more every month.
If you are concerned about being environmentally friendly, we suggest using potassium-based salts to avoid passing excessive sodium into your wastewater. Also, plants need potassium, and so run-off from water treated with potassium-based salts is far more beneficial for them, compared to sodium-based.
Do Water Softeners Require Salt?
To keep a water softener working properly, it will need frequent salt refills. The size of the tank and the hardness of your water directly determine how often it will need to be refilled.
No matter what type of unit you use, it’s advised to regularly check for the following three things.
1. Salt Levels are Visibly Low
This is the most obvious sign that your water softener needs more salt. You just need to remove the lid and take a look inside. If the tank is less than half full, you should add more. If your levels fall beneath 25%, the device begins to lose efficiency.
2. Device Age
The fact is that the age of your softener plays a role in how much salt is needed. Older devices use more, whereas newer models are much more efficient, and use less salt to soften the same amount of water. These updated units can run up to 8 weeks on a full tank, while older models need more regular fill-ups.
3. Tank Bridges
If it seems your water softener is losing efficiency, but there is plenty in the tank, it could be that the salt has dissolved and clumped together in the tank, and created hard formations called “bridges”. This is a common issue when using cheap and low-quality salt. If you keep the device in a low-humidity area and use high-quality salt, bridges should be avoidable. Otherwise, bridges need to be removed and manually broken up into smaller pieces, before being mixed back into the tank.
There are a few great brands that make high-quality salt. Be sure to check them out when buying a new unit.
Morton is one of the most popular salt brands because they offer many products, including potassium chloride. Also, on sites such as Home Depot, Morton has excellent ratings and is known for providing excellent value for the price you pay.
✓ Diamond Crystal
Besides Morton, Diamond Crystal is another very popular manufacturer of salts. Their high-quality, efficient products match the high reputation they’ve gained. Also, they recently patented a dual-handled bag design, so you can pour with no problems.
✓ Nature’s Own
Nature’s Own is a great solution for people who prefer potassium chloride, but as we mentioned, it is a bit pricier than other options.
✓ Windsor Salt
If you want to shop on a budget, you should check out Windsor Salt. They sell at a decent price.
How To Add Salt
Water softeners revitalize automatically, but if you need more salt, you’ll have to add it manually. So, let’s see how to do it.
First, remove the lid and take note of any buildup on the walls. Remove the buildup completely, using a wet cloth. Then, it’s time to add the salt.
Although this step depends on the tank size, you usually need to add two 40-lb bags, which will fill the tank to half full.
Once done, manually regenerate the device. This process can differ between models. There should be a regenerate button somewhere on the control panel, which you can press and hold until the regeneration cycle starts.
- If the water contains iron, it might damage the resin bed. In that case, you should buy an Iron-Out material to clean the system.
- The tank needs to be cleaned regularly, once a year.
- Don’t forget that the outlet pipe should always be above the grate. Otherwise, it could completely destroy the system and void the warranty.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Type of Salt to Use for a Water Softener?
We recommend you use high-purity salts and pellets for water softeners. The Diamond Crystal Bright & Soft water softener pellets or the Morton F124700000g Clean & Protect water softener salt are very good options. Make sure you read your softener’s manual and follow the instructions.
Does It Matter What Brand of Salt You Use In a Water Softener?
Yes, because many generic brands sold at home improvement stores or supermarkets contain high levels of water-insoluble elements or impurities.
Are Salt Pellets or Crystals for Water Softeners Better?
It all depends on the water softener/dishwasher you use, however, salt pellets can help with the reduction of bridging. They work well with all-in-one softener systems tanks and are efficient for most homes.
How Long Does a Water Softener Last?
This depends upon several factors. For example, new, high-efficiency devices usually last longer than ones with standard old technology. Also, the quality of your water can directly affect lifespan. With moderately hard water and regular maintenance, a good, high-quality device can last up to 20 years.
Can You Put Any Salt in the Softener?
People often wonder if it’s fine to use table salt for the water softener, but this is something you should never do. Table salt has much smaller crystals, which can cause troubles inside the brine tank.
Does Softening Salt Contain Chemicals?
Some may contain additives that prevent hardening. Fortunately, even if it does contain additives or impurities, but it doesn’t affect the water quality.
Can You Mix Different Salts Together?
It won’t damage the softener, but you probably shouldn’t. Not everyone is good for every type of water, so when you find the best product for your needs, it may not be ideal to mix it with other salts.
How Often to Add Salt to the Softener?
You should refill the tank at least once per month as part of a routine tank check. Also, refill any time you notice a drop in your device’s performance due to an empty tank.
We’ve presented the 10 best softener salts above, with the Miele Care salt being the best. All of these salts are amazing, even the ones in the last places on the list. Choosing one is a just matter of personal preference. However, one thing is for sure – having some type of water softener is far better than having none at all. Good luck in choosing the one that’s best for you.