The 5 Best Water Softener Resin in 2021 – Tested & Reviewed

When it comes to water, do you know everything you need to know? We use water every day for a wide variety of purposes, but that doesn’t mean that we are aware of everything that is in our water, or what to do about it. In modern society, there is a common problem called “hard water. ”While this seems like a bit of an oxymoron, it just means that there are more minerals in your water than there should be.

Part of the reason is how the water gets into our homes. For the most part, hard water just has extra calcium and magnesium. These elements are common in nature, and they happen to love mixing with water. As our water goes through various stages to reach our tap, it can absorb quite a bit of these mineral, which is what makes the water hard.

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Is it Bad?

Technically speaking, hard water is not necessarily harmful to you (unless there are other elements in it, like lead), but it’s certainly not great.

The most common side effects of hard water are spots on dishes, less clean clothes (if you wash them at home) and a less effective shower. Since calcium and magnesium cling to soap, it means that your bar of soap is less useful, as is your dish and laundry detergent.

The Solution

To help reduce the hardness of your water, you want to use a water softener. When I first got mine, I was floored by the difference it made in my life. I never knew how important water softeners were to, well, everything.

A water softener system is installed into your home through the pipes, and it works by separating the calcium and magnesium, usually by replacing it with sodium.

5 Best Water Softener Resins – Comparison

PictureProduct NameCrosslinkWeightPrice
ABCwaters-SOFRES1ABCwaters SOFRES18%50 pounds
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LiquagencubicLiquaGen1.5 Cubic 10%75 pounds
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ResinTech-High-CapacityResinTech High Capacity8%82 pounds
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AmanziCATION-50BOXAmanziCATION-50-BOX8%23 pounds
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AmanziCation-100-BoxAmanziCation-100-Box8%54 pounds
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How Does it Work?

The entire process is a little complicated (unless you have a masters in chemistry), but typically the way it works is that the water seeps into a resin, which sucks out the minerals. Then the water goes into a brine solution, and then into your home.

Most water softeners are self-regenerating, meaning that when the resin gets saturated, the system can flush it out. However, if you have a water softener, chances are that resin has been through a lot.

You need to replace your water softener resin sometime. You can replace your water softener resin relatively easily, thanks to the easy process of replacing the resin. I’ve had my system for several years now, and I can say that once I replaced the resin, it worked as if it was brand new.

It’s important to change out the resin every so often so that you can get the most out of your water softener. For your convenience, I’ve found the top five water softener resins out there so you can upgrade your current system and get the most out of your water.

Best Water Softener Resin – Review

1. Water Softening Resin Replacement Softener Resin

Water Softening Resin Replacement Softener Resin

When it comes to measuring resins, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. The Replacement resin by AFW Filters is what you would call a “standard issue. ”The reason I say that is that the crosslink is only 8%. Most water softener resins that you come across are only going be within the 8% range, but if you want high-performance, then you would opt for 10%. Unfortunately, however, those are a bit pricier.

What I like about this particular brand is that you get plenty of resin to replace your system. It’s easy to forget just how much abuse your water softening system takes, especially the resin. If you live in an area that treats the water with chlorine, for example, it can severely impact the effectiveness of your treatment, thus reducing the life of the resin. In this case, you get one cubic foot, which works out to about forty-five pounds. That seems like a lot, but trust me, you’ll go through it. The other thing I like about this resin is that it has a working life of around twelve years.

Again, if you have water with chlorine (or iron), then you may get about eight to ten years. Overall, however, that’s a good deal.

Highlighted Features:

  • High capacity resin
  • One cubic foot (45 pounds)
  • 8% crosslink (standard)
  • Life expectancy of 12-15 years
  • Works with all water softeners
  • Rated by the USDA and FDA
  • Easy to use packaging

2. Water Softening Ion Exchange


As I mentioned, if you want a standard load of resin, that will do you just fine. As long as you regenerate your system every few days, the most resin will last you for years. However, if you want the best, then you need to get high-end resin, which means that you need a material with a 10% crosslink. For that, I give you the Water Softening Ion Exchange Resin from LiquaGen Water. This brand makes all kinds of high-quality water treatment materials, and this resin is some of the best I’ve seen.

I would highly recommend this particular treatment if a) you want your resin to last even longer, or b) you live in an area with high iron content in the water. Why does iron content matter? Because, unlike calcium or magnesium, iron can damage your resin substantially. The iron molecules are larger and stick to the resin-like glue, meaning that it takes a lot more sodium to regenerate the system.

Most 8% crosslinks can only handle so much iron, meaning that it can damage the resin and reduce its life expectancy. With a 10% crosslink, that means you can process more iron in the water without damaging the particles too much, meaning that this resin can easily last you up to twenty years, provided that you still regenerate regularly.

With this resin, you still get a cubic foot (48 pounds), and you even get a funnel to help you get the resin where it needs to go. Also, LiquaGen Water has treated the resin so as to optimize performance, meaning you will get the most out of your water.

Highlighted Features:

  • One cubic foot of resin
  • Specially formulated for high-performance
  • 10% crosslink for better results
  • Longer life expectancy (up to 20 years)
  • Funnel included
  • Ideal for 9” x 48” tanks

3. ResinTech High Capacity Water Softener Resin

ResinTech High Capacity Water Softener Resin

Next, we have the high-capacity resin from ResinTech. I have done some research on this company, and it seems like they are excellent about making top-quality resins for water softeners. To that end, the High-Capacity Resin featured today is one of the best. Comparing this to some of the other resins we’ve seen so far, it doesn’t necessarily have anything outrageous, but if you want a reliable, robust resin for your system, this is a good choice.

When talking about the crosslink, this resin comes with a standard 8%. While I have touted the benefits of a 10% version, the truth is that most people will do just fine with 8%. Again, unless you deal with a higher level of chlorine or iron than usual, this stuff should soften your water exceptionally well.

Like the other units on this list, you get a full cubic foot of ResinTech, meaning that you can completely flush out your current system and replace it will all new resin. Overall, this stuff works wonders, and I would definitely recommend it.

Highlighted Features:

  • One cubic foot of resin
  • Easy to use High-capacity treatment
  • 8% crosslink
  • Optimized for better performance
  • Ideal for most residential applications

4. Cation 50-Box Water Softening Resin

Cation 50-Box Water Softening Resin

When talking about water softening resin, most of the ones that are available are cation (pronounced Cat-eye-on). The other is fine mesh. As the name would suggest, this particular resin is Cation, which means that it comes with a standard 8% crosslink, which makes it as good as most of the other resins out there. What you have probably wondered, however, is what the 50 box means. That number refers to the size of the resin itself. Most standard cation resins are measured by the mesh number, and the average is 50.

When you get into the fine mesh, that is when you see numbers like 100 and above. For the most part, cation resins are perfect for residences and work beautifully with any water softening system. I’ll explain more about fine mesh resins in our next entry. Overall, this resin made by Amanzi is pretty much standard grade. You get as much as you would with anything else and you get the same level of performance as the other resins on this list.

What I like about this particular brand, however, is that they have a long history of making high-quality resins.

Highlighted Features:

  • One cubic foot
  • 8% crosslink
  • Standard cation resin
  • Optimized for performance
  • The life expectancy of 10+ years
  • Easy to use

5. Cation 100-Box Water Softening Resin

Cation 100-Box Water Softening Resin

Finally, we get to the second resin by Amanzi. You’ll notice that this version is 100 boxes, which means that it could be classified as “fine mesh. ” Obviously, it still says cation resin on the bag, but the beads are much smaller, so it could technically be considered “fine. ”So why would you want fine mesh? If you live in an area with high levels of chlorine (relatively speaking), then fine mesh resin is better.

Also, this material can filter out iron a lot better than most standard resins. If you have high iron and/or chlorine content in your water, this is the resin to get.

Highlighted Features:

  • Technically fine mesh
  • 8% crosslink
  • Ideal for chlorine or iron
  • Life expectancy of 10-15 years
  • Easy to use
  • Optimized for better performance

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