February 16, 2024

What Is The Difference Between A Water Softener And A Descaler?

Hard water is a common problem in American homes. There solutions for hard water problems like water softeners and water descalers. Here are all the differences between a water softener system and a water descaler so that you know exactly what you need for getting rid of hard water.

Water Softener Vs Water Descaler


Hard water is a common problem in a lot of households and you need to treat the water before using it, otherwise you’re just putting your clothes, dishes, and overall health in jeopardy. Hard water consists of excess ions of calcium and magnesium and these salts are what make the water hard this water can also stain clothes and dishes.

Water Softener

Hard water can be treated by a water softener that exchanges the hard ions for neutral or salt ions through a process known as ion exchange. This process occurs in a resin bed and it can soften the water as you go. This is a great way of treating water that has excess hardness causing ions.

Water Descaler

A water descaler is a device that doesn’t necessarily get rid of the hardness-causing ions or minerals, but it does prevent the minerals from precipitating into scales and depositing on the walls of the pipes and surrounding the tap.

Scale is the whitish-yellow hard substance that can solidify on the walls of the sink, taps, and even the pipes. A water descaler dissolves the minerals and in this way, the scale won’t be a problem, because this is a huge issue and this can cause clogging in pipes, drains, and even in water softeners.


The assembly is also an important thing to go over because you need to know about the components of each piece of equipment and how they work in symphony.

Water Softener

A water softener has a handful of parts. The first one is the salt or brine tank. This is an essential part of any salt-based water softener because you need salt for the regeneration of the exchanged ions. The next thing is the inlet and outlet valve which are pretty self-explanatory.

Lastly, there is a resin bed. Here, the actual ion exchange process takes place. This bed is cleaned by the brine tank and it flushes the trapped minerals to get the exchange bed ready for the next cycle of water softening.

Water Descaler

As far as a water descaler is concerned, it is way smaller than a water softener. It is more of a mechanical device that either uses crystals or low-voltage magnets to get rid of the scales in the water.

The water goes inside the body of the descaler and the suspended scales get trapped by these agents. This is essentially what prevents the water from getting that slimy white residue on the surface, which, ultimately, can find its way onto the walls of the pipes and even around the circumference of the sink.

What Does It Remove?

You might have an idea what a water softener removes, but there is a lot that goes into the things that can be removed by this water treatment system.

Water Softener

Usually, a water softener will get rid of the hardness-causing ions like calcium and magnesium and you might think that that’s pretty much it, but there’s more that a water softener is capable of removing. It can also remove minerals from the water that aid calcium and magnesium in the production of scale.

However, a water softener cannot remove sediments and microorganisms from the water. That’s the job of a water filtration system Warren. A water softener will reduce the GPG (grain per gallon) levels in the water.

Water Descaler

A water descaler, on the flip side, doesn’t remove anything from the water. It is not a water softener so it won’t get rid of calcium and magnesium, rather it is used to get rid of minerals that can produce a lot of scale. Usually, incoming treated water from a water softener can be passed through a descaler and it can get rid of the scale to achieve pure and soft water.

A descaler is something that can be used with a water softener. There will be no change in the GPG levels of the water after using a descaler.

Space Needed For Equipment

Water Softener

A water softener is a big device. It’s not something handheld or compact. You need a lot of space for it. Usually, water softeners are placed near the primary supply pipes of the house, so they’re usually found in garages or basements. If you have a small house or do not need a lot of water to be softened, then you might not even need a water softener.

This is why analyzing the water and the hardness is important because you need to come to a solid conclusion of whether you need a softener or not.

Water Descaler

A water descaler is almost a fraction of the size, if not even less, of a water softener. It can be a tube or cylinder connected to an electric supply. It is very compact and can fit in even the smallest of places.

This is perfect if you need something to deal with the scale regularly and prevent clogging of your pipes and other water treatment systems. A water descaler is a great option if you don’t want to waste a lot of water, because let’s be real, a water softener uses up water like there is no tomorrow.


The maintenance of a water treatment system is just as important as anything else.

Water Softener

A water softener is a maintenance-heavy device. It needs a lot of looking after and there are just a lot of parts that might need your attention. You need to regenerate the salt brine tank by adding bags upon bags of salt. You also might need to change up the resin bed, once its shelf life reaches the end.

Also, the pipes and valves need regular checks and cleaning, in case there are clogs. A water softener also uses a lot of electricity, so be prepared for the insanely high bills.

Water Descaler

A water descaler, on the other hand, doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, as compared to a water softener. A water descaler has virtually zero parts that need a lot of attention and you can set it and forget it, literally. The only thing that you need to keep in mind is the fact that the crystals or magnets can degenerate over time and that part needs to be changed.


Water Softener

A water softener is a much more expensive option. It is a sizable investment and it takes up a lot of space, so you need to test your water to ensure whether you even need a water softener in the first place or not.

Water Descaler

A water descaler is a bit more reasonable and can be used in combination with water filters and other purification equipment. A water descaler is a wonderful alternative to a water softener if the scale is the primary issue.


A water softener and water descaler may sound the same, but they are two completely different filtration systems. Now you can decide if you need a water descaler or should you go ahead with a water softener installation Erie.

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