The 10 Best Water Softener Resin Reviews in 2021

Are you here for the best water softener resin? Well, we’re glad you’re reading this.

You see, the resin bed is what actually removes the hard water minerals of calcium and magnesium. It does so by replacing them with sodium ions through an ion exchange process. Hence, once it depletes, you’ll need to swap it to avoid a drop in performance from your water softener.

Simply put, the resin bead provides the benefits of soft water without investing in a whole new appliance. The only thing that you need to do is change out the resin bed every few years or so.

There are many brands out there, but not all of them are of good quality. So, which one should you get?

In this article, we’ll review the top 10 best resins for water softeners, so you know which one to buy. They’re great quality resins at economical prices. Hence, there’s no need to worry about overspending!

Best Water Softener Resin Reviews

1. Purolite C100E Cationic Water Softener Resin

Purolite C100E water softener resin provides you with consistent performance and efficient regeneration for years to come.

This resin bead features durable polymer fibers that last longer than traditional resins. Hence, there’s no need to replace it as often as other brands.

In addition, it uses sodium-based strong acid cations that remove more ions than any other resin on the market. It’s so effective that you’ll see a reduction in salt usage of up to 45%. Not to mention it limits wastewater by up to 50%.

This cationic resin is also highly effective for homes with high levels of iron. Therefore, it not only softens water but also removes rust stains and the bad metallic taste of iron. For this reason, it’s one of the best resin beads for better-tasting drinking water.

For an 8% crosslink resin, one would think that this resin bead is only ideal for residential use. However, that’s not the case. The manufacturer also recommends it for industrial water softeners, which is its principal application.

This resin is NSF certified for potable water, meaning it’s safe to drink. In addition, it’s FDA-approved for food treatment and human consumption.

Purolite C100E water softening resin makes it easy to order a size that’s suitable for your needs. There are multiple sizes to choose from, with the most popular being one cubic foot or 50 pounds. Moreover, it comes with a spout for loading the resin.

If you want the best ion exchange water softener resin with a high capacity for hardness removal, Purolite C100E will suffice.

Pros

✅ Reduces salt consumption significantly

✅ Shorter diffusion path for faster water softening process

✅ Eliminates the metallic taste of iron

✅ Approved and certified

✅ Compatible with all water softener systems

Cons

✖️ Large systems might require more than one bag

2. AFWFilters SOFRES1 High Capacity Water Softener Resin

AFW Filters SOFRES1 is a high-quality water resin that dramatically improves the taste and appearance of your water.

This 8% crosslink resin bead comprises a strong acid sodium cation blend. For this reason, it reduces calcium and magnesium levels by up to 99%.

In addition, SOFRES1 resin has adsorption properties that will cling to any particulate matter it comes into contact with. As a result, it helps remove sediment, iron, manganese, and dirt from your water piping system. Hence, it ensures safe drinking water that’s free of undesired tastes and odors.

SOFRES1Water Softener Resin is solely for residential use. However, its long-term efficiency makes it an all-time favorite.

With a long lifespan of 15 years, it’s designed for large homes or areas with hard water. In fact, this resin bead is proven to work for over 40,000 gallons before needing replacement!

It’s safe, too, since it’s certified by NSF standards. Thus, you can rest assured it will provide safe potable water.

This resin bead comes in one cubic foot packaging. Still, you can also get it in smaller packages totaling one cubic foot. Such small packages are great for smaller applications, such as camping or hiking.

Pros

✅ Long-lasting efficiency

✅ Perfect for large families

✅ Removes manganese and iron

✅ Also removes sediments

✅ NSF approved

Cons

✖️ Tends to give the water a plastic taste

3. Resintech MBD-30 Nuclear Grade Mixed Bed DI Resin

The Resintech MBD-30 Nuclear Grade DI Resin is the de facto standard for drinking water purification. This resin bed treats water to the highest purity possible.

This mixed bed resin relies on a combination of anion and cation exchangers. Hence, unlike cationic resin beads, it removes both metal ions and salts for demineralized water quality.

Also, it means you can get clean, fresh, and safe water for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and drinking. This is because it removes a wide range of contaminants from raw water.

In addition, the mixed bed resin comes in handy for other applications, such as desalination and seawater pretreatment. In addition, it’s perfect where a spotless finish is required, especially in car washes.

Another benefit is that it filters total dissolved solids down to zero. Hence, it provides crystal, odorless water with “zero” taste.

The Resintech MBD-30 Nuclear Grade DI resin comes in a 5-pound packaging. So pound for pound, it’s more expensive than standard water softener resin beads. But where it lacks in quantity, this mixed bed deionizer resin makes up for in quality.

Moreover, you’ll rest assured that it meets the stringent quality control standards for nuclear-grade resins.

Pros

✅ Produces purest demineralized water

✅ Removes a wide range of contaminants

✅ Guarantees zero taste and zero TDS (total dissolved solids)

✅ Good chemical resistance

✅ Tested for purity and quality

Cons

✖️ A bit expensive than other water softener resin beads

4. Aquatrol Water Softening Resin Softener Media

Aquatrol water softening resin is the most popular in the industry. Why?

The Aquatrol Company has been manufacturing softening resin for over 100 years. For this reason, they have perfected their products so that you can get the best deal for your buck.

One of these products is Aquatrol softener media. It’s designed for residential use and offers you the perfect balance of hardness-removing capability with low salt content.

This 8% crosslink resin bead is infused with a high-efficiency scale inhibitor that removes 99% of hardness minerals.

In addition to functioning as a water softening resin, Aquatrol also works as a filter. It removes sulfur, iron, and other unpleasant minerals from your home’s water supply. Also, it helps with odors and tastes that come from hard water.

Aquatrol resin bead is renowned for its resilience. It has excellent chemical, physical, and thermal stability. Hence, it’s less likely to alter in makeup, regardless of the temperature or alkalinity.

Moreover, it displays good hydraulic characteristics. For this reason, it ensures peak flow rates, including backwash flow rates.

This softener media comes in one cubic foot packaging, enough for a 9 x 48-inch sized resin tank. Plus, it includes a pour spot for easy loading.

It’s NSF certified too. Therefore, you can feel confident knowing you’re taking better care of yourself and your family.

From its high-efficiency design to its ability to significantly reduce limescale buildup, it’s no wonder that this resin bed is one of our most popular!

Pros

✅ Excellent chemical, thermal, and physical stability

✅ Good hydraulic characteristics for peak flow rates

✅ Includes a pour spot

✅ NSF certified

Cons

✖️ Only for residential water softener systems

5. iFilters Water Softener Resin Media Replacement

You may not be willing to spend more, especially when you have a small water softener for 1-2 people. Well, you can cut the budget and still get clean, soft water with this resin bead from iFilters.

This 0.25 cubic feet replacement resin is for 8,000-grain water softeners. Such a capacity makes it ideal for small households or RV water softener systems.

This resin works by exchanging sodium ions and calcium and magnesium ions for each other. As a result, it reduces the hardness of the water, making it softer on your skin and clothes.

Like Aquatrol softener media, this resin bead also had good hydraulic qualities. Hence, you can be sure of a peak flow rate, including backwash.

In addition, this resin bead is 100% compatible with most water softener systems! Therefore, you can replace it confidently, knowing that you won’t have any problems with your system.

While it comes in 0.25 cubic foot packaging, you can still purchase it as a 2-pack and make it 0.5 cubic feet. Also, NSF certification means that the resin is approved for use in potable drinking water applications.

If you have low soft water needs or want to buy smaller quantities for portable systems, this replacement resin is your best bet.

Pros

✅ Good hydraulic characteristics

✅ Budget-friendly

✅ 100% compatible with any water softener system

✅ NSF certified

Cons

✖️ Not ideal for large households

6. LiquaGen 1.5 Cubic Feet Ion Exchange Resin Cation

Have you been battling high-level hard water problems? Then, LiquaGen Ion Exchange Resin Cation is the answer.

It’s the highest crosslink water softener resin. That means more bonds, long-life durability, and excellent chemical resistance.

Although it has a higher cost per pound, this 10% crosslink water softener resin has a longer life span. It lasts 20 years, almost twice the lifespan of 8% crosslink resin beads.

Plus, LiquaGen resin beads are porous to create a larger surface area. And with the 10% crosslink, it’s able to hold on to more hardness minerals.

Hence, it provides softer water than you get in standard resin beads. Not to mention it’s perfect for water with high iron levels.

LiquaGen Ion Exchange Resin Cation also lasts longer in chlorinated water supplies. Again, this is because of the harder, chemical-resistant shell.

For such a strong bond, this water softener resin is also thermotolerant. In addition, it has excellent chemical and physical stability in both residential and commercial water softening applications.

This resin bead is 1.5 cubic feet. Moreover, it includes a funnel to load the resin to the brine tank.

Pros

✅ Extended lifespan

✅ Higher crosslink resin

✅ Excellent thermal, chemical, and physical stability

✅ Holds onto more hard water minerals

✅ Can remove iron

✅ Includes bonus funnel

Cons

✖️ The resin bead and the funnel ship separately

7. Watts A4004033B RV Pro 10000 Water Softener Resin

Watts Pro 10000 water Softener Resin is designed specifically for use with recreational vehicles. That makes it ideal among RV owners who want to enjoy the benefits of softened water in their rig.

This resin bead protects against scale buildup and corrosion within your appliances. Also, it provides plenty of soft water on the go.

Well, this resin bead is available in 1/3 cubic feet packaging. As the manufacturer recommends, the amount is enough for a 10,000-grain RV water softener.

However, it’s not just for RV applications. This resin bead also comes in handy for small households with low soft water needs.

As well as helping you to live a better lifestyle, this resin bead will also save you money. It’s relatively affordable, making it ideal for budget-conscious folks.

However, it’s not just about putting less strain on your budget. This resin bead, too, provides one of the best results.  In fact, the change in the quality and taste of your water is almost immediate.

Pros

✅ Budget-friendly

✅ Superb quality with consistent output

✅ Provides quick water transformation

Cons

✖️ Not for large households

8. Oceanic Upgraded 10% Crosslink Ion Exchange Softener Resin

Oceanic 10% Crosslink Resin is a revolutionary upgrade to the traditional ion exchange resin. It’s designed to offer a higher level of performance over 8 crosslink resin beads.

This ion-exchange softener resin has two times the capacity to remove hardness ions. For this reason, it’s ideal for well water sources with high-level hardness.

It not only removes calcium and magnesium ions. It also soaks up iron and manganese that can cause stains.

The resin also has the advantage of a long lifetime. So, while it has a high initial cost than standard ion exchange resin, it will cost less money in the long run.

Oceanic ion exchange resin also has a greater surface area to volume ratio. As a result, it clings to more hardness minerals.

In addition, the strong bond provides a harder shell. Hence, it’s safe for tap water that contains chlorine.

This ion exchange resin is also DIY-friendly. After all, there are many videos online for this softener resin. Thus, the replacement process shouldn’t be an issue.

Moreover, it’s FDA and NSE approved. Hence, you can rest assured it won’t compromise your health and those of your loved ones.

This resin bead comes in 0.5 cubic feet packaging.

Pros

✅ Powerful 10% crosslink resin

✅ Extended lifespan

✅ Soaks up more hardness minerals

✅ Excellent chemical, physical, and thermal stability

✅ Safe for use with high chlorine water

✅ NSE and FDA approved

Cons

✖️ A bit expensive

9. Indion One Cubic Foot Water Softener Ion-exchange Resin

The Indion resin bead provides full-scale water softening in an economical and compact package.

It’s a high-quality virgin resin charged with sodium ions that remove hardness from water. But it does more than soak up the hardness minerals of calcium and magnesium. It also removes iron and dissolved calcium found in your water supply.

Also, this resin bead has excellent chemical and physical stability. As a result, it’s pretty resistant to cracking and hydraulic shocks.

This 8% crosslink resin bead also showcases excellent compatibility. It works with any residential water softener, even the very old softening system.

This ion exchange resin comes in one cubic feet quantity. Well, that’s pretty enough for most units.

You might face some storage issues once you open this resin bead. However, with the right storage arrangement and an airtight seal, you’ll be able to get its amazing benefits.

The lifespan of this resin bead isn’t the best out there. Still, for an ion exchange resin that lasts 10 years before replacement, it has impressive longevity.

Indion resin bead is easy to install, affordable and offers value for money. Plus, it’s an NSE/FDA-certified product, which means you can use it for food treatment or consumption.

Pros

✅ Removes iron and calcium

✅ Compatible with most residential water softener systems

✅ DIY-friendly installation

✅ NSE and FDA approved

Cons

✖️ Storage issue

10. American Water Solutions 10% Strong Acid Water Softening Resin

Do you live in an area with high levels of chlorine in your water? Well, you can still enjoy soft clean water that tastes good with the American Solution 10% crosslink resin.

This 10% strong acid water softening resin is perfect for high chlorine water. The resin’s molecular structure combines to form a strong ionic bond with the chlorine and other minerals found in your water. This helps to remove harsh odors and leave your water feeling softer and cleaner.

Moreover, it reduces the effects of hard water that cause scale buildup and clogs in pipes. Also, it holds onto more hardness minerals than standard ion exchange resin. For this reason, it leaves your water softer.

This resin has a long lifespan too. Hence, you’re sure to get more bang for your buck!

You don’t have to worry about compatibility. After all, this resin bead works with most residential water softeners with one cubic feet brine tank.

Pros

✅ 10% crosslink resin for aggressive operating condition

✅ Long lifespan

✅ Thermotolerant characteristic

✅ Can be used for high chlorine water

✅ Works with most residential water softener units

Cons

✖️ Limited product information

How to Choose the Best Water Softener Resin

Choosing the best resin for your household can be tricky. But it doesn’t have to be if you know what to look for! Here’s a list of the factors to consider before buying your resins:

Resin Type

The two most popular types are ion exchange resins and fine mesh.

Ion Exchange

Ion exchange or cation resin is better at filtering out small particles than fine mesh. Consider it when removing hard water minerals between 3-5 ppm. Ion exchange resin is the most popular for standard home water softeners.

Fine Mesh Resin

Fine mesh resin is more effective at filtering out larger particles than ion exchange resin. It’s often used where the water supply contains a lot of iron. Usually, it removes water hardness up to 10 ppm.

A common concern with fine mesh resin is that it reduces water pressure due to smaller beads. Also, the beads might slip through into your water supply unless you install a specialized bottom basket.

Crosslink Percentage

Resin bead crosslink percentage is how much resin beads are bonded together. It can be an indicator of the hardness and durability of the resin bead.

Crosslink percentage range from 4-10%. However, the two most popular are 8% crosslink and 10% crosslink.

10% Crosslink

The 10% crosslink resin is more durable and often found in high-end salt-based water softeners. It comes in handy in situations where additional chlorine resistance is necessary. A 10% crosslink resin can easily last 20-25 years. One drawback, however, is that it causes pressure drops due to smaller bead sizes.

8% Crosslink

The 8% crosslink ion exchange resin is the most popular. It tends to hold more water due to large resin beads. With a 10-15 years lifespan, it’s quite durable but not as durable as the 10% crosslink resin.

This crosslink resin is ideal for tough to medium water, such as well water. Also, it removes hardness minerals between 3-5 ppm.

Quantity

Find out how much resin is required for your particular water softener model before ordering any replacement resin. How much you need depends on the size of your resin tank.

Usually, the resin tank has a sticker containing four digits. The first two digits indicate the tank’s diameter in inches. On the other hand, the last two digits indicate the tank’s height in inches.

For example, let’s say the sticker reads 1054. This means the tank has a 10-inch diameter and a 54-inch height.

However, if you find no sticker, you can still measure the tank’s height and diameter.

This chart shows how much resin you need for different resin tank sizes.

Tank Diameter (Inches)Tank Height (Inches)Resin Capacity (Cubic Feet)
8440.75
9481.0
10481.25
10541.5
12481.75
12522
13522.5
14653.0

Materials

So, what are the best materials for resin replacement media?

For best results and long-life performance, choose DVB and polystyrene resin beads. Most often, they’re referred to as polystyrene or gel resin.

Ease of Use

Filling up the resin tank can be quite troublesome. But it’s less likely you’re willing to spend more on professional help. Hence, choose resin beads that are easy to install.

For this reason, you might want to consider resin beads with built-in spouts. Or better still, those that come with a filling funnel.

Water Softeners Resin FAQs

How much resin bead does a water softener need?

The right quantity depends on the size of the resin tank. The bigger the resin tank, the more resin it can hold. Refer to our sizing chart to find out how much you need.

When should I put a new water softener resin?

Replace the resin bead if you notice the water isn’t as soft as it usually is. It’s a telltale sign that your resin bed has gone bad.

How long does a water softener resin last?

Resin beads have a lifespan of 10-15 years. However, they might not last as long where the water has high hardness, chlorine, and iron levels.

What causes the water softener resin to degrade more quickly?

Things that will make your water resin less effective include high chlorine levels, high iron levels, water hammering, and osmotic shock.

Conclusion

I hope we’ve gathered up all the information you need on the best water softener resin. Now you can have clean, softer water without the hassle or high cost of a reverse osmosis system.

These units are simple to install and cost-effective. Also, we recommend you use our buying guide to make an informed decision about what will work best for your needs.

Don’t let hard water take over your life. Instead, start small by purchasing one of these products today!

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