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So you’ve decided that you have had enough of the chlorine smell and hard water stains and want to invest in cleaner, safer, and healthier water for your family. Great! Now you’re Googling and trying to make sense of all of the jargon and choices that come with the territory of good, clean water. Oof. Overwhelming, right? Today, we are talking all about whole-house water filtration systems vs. water softeners so you can better understand what each provides for your home. After reading this, we hope you will feel more educated and be better equipped to make the best decision for you and your family! Let’s get started on the basics: the benefits of any water filtration system.

Benefits of a Water Filtration System

There are great benefits to investing in and installing a water filtration system, no matter which one you choose. With both a whole-house water filtration system and a water softener, you will find that your appliances last longer! In fact, appliances that use soft water will last longer and run better. Why? Because water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers using hard water can wear out 30% faster. These benefits don’t just stop in the kitchen! From the bathroom to your skin, there are incredible benefits that you will enjoy when you install a system in your home.

Whole-House Water Filtration Systems and Water Softeners

Two of the most popular systems that are used residentially are whole-house water filtration systems and water softeners. Both have features that will help you enjoy better water, so ultimately the choice is up to you on which you find will fit your home best! Let’s start with water softeners.

Water Softeners

A water softener is a type of water filtration system that works primarily to remove the minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron) that cause hard water stains. These systems use salt to change the water’s properties to no longer contain the minerals that leave those nasty stains all over your dishes and sinks. Unlike whole-house water filtration systems, water softeners do not remove any of the harmful chemicals found in untreated water. 

How Does It Work?

Water softeners, specifically our AO Smith Water Softeners, can also remove unpleasant tastes and smells often found in your home’s water. With air-injected iron and sulfur filters, these systems are able to eliminate the rotten-egg smell and other foul odors from your water. This helps improve the overall taste of your water as well! 

AO Smith Air-Injected Iron Filter, Air-Injected Sulfur Filter

Water softeners are often a more economical option for those looking to just get rid of hard water stains. However, water softener systems must have salt to complete the process of removing the minerals found in water. You will need to remember that salt replenishment will be an ongoing cost that you will need to maintain for the lifespan of your system.


  • Removes the minerals that cause hard water stains
  • More economical option
  • Removes foul odors from your water
  • Improves the overall taste of your water
  • Environmentally safe – no chemicals used in the filtration process

Things to Consider

  • Ongoing cost of salt for the system
  • Does not remove other harmful chemicals found in water

Whole-House Water Filtration Systems

A whole-house water filtration system takes your municipal water and puts it through a series of processes to remove the harmful contaminants and provide you with clean, safe water. These systems remove chemicals such as nitrate, pesticides, lead, chloroforms, chlorine, arsenic, and copper! In addition to these chemicals, whole-house water filtration systems also remove the same minerals that water softeners do, so you don’t have to worry about hard water any longer!

More Benefits Than You May Realize…

In addition to the elimination of hard water stains, you can enjoy even more benefits with a whole-house water filtration system. With these systems, you will find that you reduce your energy and soap use by up to 50%! Just as with water softeners, your appliances will last longer and as a bonus, they will be kept looking cleaner and newer than ever before. Your dishes and glassware will shine like a diamond, and your coffee will probably start tasting better, too!

It doesn’t stop there! A whole-house water filtration system brings benefits to your beauty routine and laundry loads, too. You will enjoy shiner, softer hair and more hydrated, clearer skin! Your clothes will be cleaner, whiter, brighter, and last longer. Using soft water and pure soap products increases the life of clothing, towels, and linens up to 33%.

How Does It Work?

Our water filtration systems use a series of processes to filter out all the harmful contaminants found in unfiltered water. As you can see in our graphic below, your water goes through a series of rigorous steps so you can be sure that the water in your home is clean, healthy, and safe.

Whole-House Water Filtration System Filtration Process Infographic


  • Removes harmful chemicals and contaminants from your water
  • Removes minerals that cause hard water stains and build-up
  • Allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of a water softener and more
  • Reduces energy and soap use by 50%
  • Keeps appliance looking and performing better for longer
  • Provides better, healthier hydration to skin and hair
  • Improves the taste, smell, and quality of water
  • Saltless water tank

Things to Consider

  • Requires more of an investment commitment than a water softener
  • Maintenance is required for the health and performance of the system

What is the best water filtration system?

When it comes to whole-house water filtration systems vs. water softeners, the best system is the one that you find best for you and your family. Whether you are ready to invest in a whole-house filtration system or are going with a water softener, you are making a great decision for yourself, your family, and your home! We are here to help you when you’re ready to dive in!

If you aren’t quite convinced that you might need a water filtration system, we are happy to offer you a free in-home water test. One of our experts will come to your home and perform a free water test that will show you what chemicals and other contaminants are in your water right now. No pressure, no commitment, no strings attached. It’s our way to serve our community and educate on the water quality and components in Middle Tennessee. Click the button below to schedule yours now!


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