Water from small water softener being poured into cup

Best Small Water Softeners and Their Reviews

Water softeners do exactly that – they soften the hardness of your water.

Hard water includes minerals like calcium and magnesium, and these can cause a lot of damage in your home. Due to hard water, the lifespan of appliances can be shortened, and surfaces can look dingy, no matter how much you clean them.

Additionally, your skin and hair can be damaged by using hard water. This is just the beginning, but there are ways to get around it – and that includes using a water softener.

Through a process of ion exchange, water softeners filter the harmful properties out of your water so that you won’t get the harmful buildup.

A softener typically has three components: a control valve, a mineral tank, and a brine tank. Because of this, you may think that water softeners have to be bulky, but they don’t.

There are many options available for small water softeners, but not all are created equal. Some use salt, while others use additional methods to purify the water.

Overall, you will want to take care of magnesium, calcium, and iron in your water supply to help provide both short- and long-term benefits.

The Best and Smallest Water Softeners Reviewed

Let’s explore some of the best small water softeners on the market today. And, if you don’t want to read everything, here are the highlights.

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Any of these choices will be a great option as a small-sized water softener, it just depends on you and how you plan to use it. Small water softeners can still be incredibly powerful because of their design, compact features, and more.

These are competitively priced, and each has different features that lend to a similar experience – after all, your water will be softened afterward, but each is slightly different.

Let’s explore each in more detail below.

1. Watts Water Softener – Best Overall

Watts Water Softener
The Watts Water Softener is among the highest-rated and smallest water softeners available on Amazon. It helps remove calcium, magnesium, and trace amounts of iron from water and can be used on most water supplies for immediate results. It is compact, competitively priced, and overall among the best for all your water softening needs.

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The Watts Water Softener is Amazon’s Choice for the small water softeners. But that doesn’t mean it is weak. Though it is compact, that doesn’t impact the performance of the water softener – it is still very strong for its size.

It helps remove calcium, magnesium, and trace amounts of iron from water, which will help you use water no matter where you are with peace of mind that you are protected.

The Watts Water Softener has a built-in drain line flow restrictor that helps increase the capacity of this water softener by 55% while still providing more effective regeneration. It has a full cradle base to help improve stability, and the custom-designed flow valves help you to regenerate the system without needing to connect and disconnect.

The Watts Water Softener has high flow rates of up to 4 GPM with a low-pressure drop and uses common table salt to soften the water.

They even include hardness strips so you can test the water before you use it. This is great for RVs and will last about a month before you need to recharge it.

The Watts Water Softener is competitively priced and it only weighs 9 pounds, so you’ll be able to move it with ease. It is easy to install, all you need to hook it up with the water supply.

It is good to soften the water supply for use on all elements, including shower and appliance water.

Hundreds of happy customers stand behind the great experience they have had with the Watts Water Softener.

2. On The Go Portable Water Softener – Best Portable Water Softener

On The Go Portable Water Softener
The small but mighty On the Go Portable Water Softener works great for people looking to soften their water when they are on the move. With one box of salt, it can be good for up to 20 days depending on usage. You’ll be able to drink the water after using it, as well as use it for cleaning and other appliances.

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The On the Go Portable Water Softener is not only one of the smallest water softeners on the market today, but it is also very portable. You can use this 8,000-grain unit anywhere, and it will provide great results because it has high flow rates and low-pressure drop.

You will get drinking quality water when you use this water softener, so no matter where you go, you will always be able to stay safely hydrated. There are even hardness test strips included, which will help you test water before you use it for softness and quality.

It has a large opening for when you’d like to add salt to the softener. One box of table salt will provide soft water for 20 days, and it takes less than 15 minutes for the salt to dissolve.

You can easily connect any inlet hose with its 360-degree swivel inlet high-flow and shut-off control valve. This valve is important because it impacts how the water quality will be improved. It offers a very slow rinse.

In addition, there is a back-flush adapter included which will help you quickly reverse the connection if needed.

The On the Go Portable Water Softener weighs just 18 pounds, and it can be used indoors and outdoors with ease.

Many customers reported that it is very easy to set up, and it works great with RVs.

More than 85% of reviewers gave it 5 stars, and with so many happy customers, this is one of the best small water softeners out there.

3. Whirlpool Water Softener – Strongest Small Water Softener

Whirlpool Water Softener
While one of the smallest water softeners, the Whirlpool Water Softener is also very powerful. The compact design will help support an entire 1-to-4-person household, helping to conserve water and salt. It can remove harmful iron, magnesium, and calcium from your water supply. While it is more expensive, it is a great value for its strength, and you will be happy with the results immediately.

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The Whirlpool Water Softener is a little bit bigger than others on this list, but it is still on the small side for a water softener. While it is compact, it can also help soften water for a 1 to 4 person household, which makes it very strong as well.

It can remove up to 8ppm of clear water iron, and it is NSF certified to reduce hard water, including calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Unlike others on this list, the Whirlpool Water Softener can automatically calculate how much salt and water will be required to regenerate and only uses what is necessary. This helps you be less wasteful, saving salt and water as you soften water for your home. And, when it’s time to add more salt, there is a low salt indicator so you can clearly see your system status.

The Whirlpool Water Softener comes with a one-year warranty and a trusted brand name with more than a hundred years of experience behind it. You can get up to a two-year warranty when you use their water softener cleaner products.

This water softener is a bit bigger, and because of that, it is more costly than others on this list, though it is still one of the smaller water softeners you can buy.

Customers report that it is a great value for its price. It is easy to install and easy to clean, and you will start seeing results immediately when you start using this water softener.

Overall, it is a strong, compact water softener for your household.

4. YARNA Capacitive Water Descaler System – Salt-Free Water Softener

YARNA Capacitive Water Descaler System
If you’re looking for a salt-free water softener, the Yarna descaler is a great option. Unlike others, it will leave calcium and magnesium in your water, but it will still reduce your water’s hardness to provide better performance and brighter, more vibrant physical benefits as well.

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If you’re looking for a salt-free water softener, check out the YARNA Capacitive Water Descaler System. This will help reduce the effects of limescale and rust while increasing the performance of your appliances, cleaning supplies, and more.

Unlike others, this descaler doesn’t take out calcium and magnesium from your water, nor does it use salt.

Instead, the YARNA Capacitive Water Descaler System treats water through electric impulses, which are generated by the unit and controlled by a computerized microchip as the bands grip the water pipe. That means it won’t waste water. It still reduces the harmful effects of hard water, but it just takes a different approach to doing so – softening your water more naturally.

While this water descaler is a little bit more complex to install, it’s still easy for anyone to install, no matter their level of expertise. You’ll need to have at least 10 inches of free pipe space with a maximum diameter of 2 inches. It doesn’t matter what type of pipe, the YARNA water softener works on anything- whether iron, copper, stainless steel, plastic, PVC, PEX, and more.

The YARNA Capacitive Water Descaler System comes with a one-year warranty, so if you’re not happy, you can always return it.

This is one of the smallest water softeners out there, and while it descales, it performs just as well as a traditional softener.

5. AquaBliss Shower Filter – Best Shower Head Water Softener

AquaBliss Shower Filter
The AquaBliss Shower Filter is among the smallest water softeners, made specifically for your shower. The multi-stage water filter will not only help remove harmful elements but infuse positive minerals and vitamins to help your hair, skin, and nails shine. This filter is easy to install and fits most showers. You will notice an immediate difference in the look and feel of your appearance with this mighty water softener.

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If you’re not looking for a full water softener for your complete water supply, but instead one specific for your shower, the AquaBliss Shower filter is the water softener for you.

It is a best seller on Amazon, with more than 17,800 reviews, and it works really well to improve the condition of your skin, hair, and nails, filtering the water in the moment to provide great results.

The water filtration within the AquaBliss is super powerful, offering 75% filtration and 25% rejuvenation. The internal cartridge has premium filtration, in addition to beneficial vitamins and minerals. All of which help to reduce harmful chemicals while promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails.

The best part is that there are no added chemicals that will mask poor quality rather than softening it. It is very compact and one of the smallest water softeners out there for the shower.

The Aquabliss shower filter offers multi-stage filtration to reduce chlorine, pesticides, dirt, and odor while helping to control and reduce scale build-up.

It is very easy to install, and it works with all shower types – it is truly one size fits all. This will not make the water drinkable, but it will help soften it to give you health benefits. The filter lasts for about six months of regular usage but may vary based on how long or often you take showers, among other factors.

With its many positive reviews, you’ll be able to see just how good it is when you try it for yourself.

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Small Water Softener for You

When you’re looking to purchase a small water softener, there are some factors and features you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the best of the best. Let’s explore some of them below. It will help you make an informed decision.


Even the smallest water softeners vary by size, and that likely impacts the capacity. Consider the function you want to use it for and pick the size and capacity from there.


Do you want to soften water for your household? Or are you just looking to get softer water in your shower? The function of your water softener will impact which one you should buy.


There are water softeners that use salt and others that use alternative methods (electronic descalers). Consider what you’d like to remove from your water when deciding if you want to use salt or not. Descalers don’t use salt, and because of that they also leave magnesium and calcium in the water.


Are you looking for one that’s portable so you can use it on the go no matter where you are? Or are you using it on a more stationary water supply? The design may impact your choice as while all of these are among the smallest water softeners, some are smaller than others.


How long do you want to go between recharging? How long do the filters last? These are important factors to consider as it will impact the long-term cost associated with your water softener.

These are just a few of the features to consider when you’re looking to buy a little water softener. Ultimately, you need to identify what you want to use it for and choose a water softener from there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Not everyone knows what a water softener is and how it may help your household. Let’s explore some of the most frequently asked questions to help determine if you need a water softener, and what they can do for you.

Here’s a good video that explains how water softeners work and answers some common questions:

What does a water softener remove from water?

Water softeners remove calcium, magnesium, and iron from water. These substances can cause damage to household appliances and normal operations over time, as well as make cleaning more difficult and laundry look dingy over time.

What damage will hard water do to my appliances?

Hard water can reduce the lifespan of your appliances because of the buildup of the harmful minerals. It can destroy hot water appliances over time, so to save money and prolong the lifespan of your products, you’ll want to soften your water.

Should I use a water softener that uses salt?

That depends on your preference. Salt is very common in water softeners as it is very effective in removing harmful minerals. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to add salt every couple months or so, which can get expensive over time.

If you prefer not to use salt, there are salt-free and natural alternatives on the market. Keep in mind that if you are using the salt-softened water to drink, it may increase your salt intake.

What if I don’t want a full water softener?

There are water softeners that can be used for specific functions or appliances. For instance, some can be used for the shower specifically. That water coming out of the shower head is softened and filtered, while the remainder of the house water is untouched.

There are point-of-use water softeners that can be hooked up to a single sink or appliance as well.

Is softened water safe to drink?

Generally speaking, yes. It depends on the water softener; however, it should be safe to drink after it has been filtered and softened.


There are several mini water softeners available on the market, but in our opinion the best is the Watts softener. It’s very compact, but gets fantastic ratings – and even uses table salt!

We hope this comparison of the smallest water softeners helped you narrow down your search and find the softener that will work best for your needs.


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