The Difference Between Filtering and Softening

Water Filter

Householders can experience many problems with their water’s purity and safety. The two systems of filtering and softening are different and designed to address issues with water. It can be hard to distinguish which system is best for you. Understanding the differences is key to choosing what water treatment suits your home. You should also understand what’s in your water and what you want to address for your home or business.


How do Water Filters work?

Water filters use water purification techniques to treat contamination and remove impurities through filtering. These impurities include pesticides, bacteria and viruses, chlorine, hard metals and lead. Some methods include activated carbon, reverse osmosis water filtering and sediment filtration. Systems are normally fitted under the kitchen sink and purify the water from your kitchen tap.  Water filter covers many products, including removal filters, sediment filters, carbon filters and fluoride absorption filters. Carbon filtrated water provides safer drinking water by filtering; however this might not improve taste.


Whole House Filter


How do Water Softeners work? Limescale treatment for whole house!

Water softeners use ion exchange to remove magnesium and calcium from hard water, this helps prevent limescale damage. They remove minerals from water that causes hardness and scale. The softener connects to the point where water enters your home, under your kitchen sink. Once the water is softened, it can go throughout your home providing you with limescale-free water. Water softening does not remove contaminants, they transform hardness causing minerals into sodium, improving energy efficiency in water. The sodium coating forces magnesium and calcium ions to be replace by sodium ions.

Water Softener


Are there different types of Water Softeners?

There are salt water softeners and non-saltwater (salt-free) softeners that do not add anything to your water; they only prevent lime-scale without softening water. Salt-free water softeners are alternatives for those who don’t want added salt or chemicals in their water. They use ceramic media to attract and neutralise hard water scaling, without using electricity. These are also more eco-friendly and easier to maintain, more natural and healthy water. Salt free water conditioners are also called descalers. Calcium and magnesium can only be removed from water through ion exchange. These systems change molecular structures of water to prevent build-up in pipes and fixtures.

The Pureau range, such as the combined saltless waters softeners and filters filtration unit help with hard mineral reduced water. They help with softening and filtering water, suited for those with eczema. These combined systems maintain a high level of filtration without adding salt.

Softener and Filtering


Which do I need?

If your home suffers from limescale then a water softener is the best solution. It ensures that your kitchen and bathroom are free from build-ups and allows
your appliances and boiler to work efficiently.

What is the best way to filter hard water? If you want softer and non-scaling water and have problems with hard water, then water softeners are better for you.

If chlorine is affecting your water or you’re concerned about contaminants such as lead, then a water filter is best. You can learn how to spot dangerous contaminants, changes in taste and colour in your water in our previous blog. Chlorine is a typical contaminant that causes health problems, especially in high levels.  The presence of bacteria and viruses also exposes you to water-borne diseases.

Both systems can be used for water treatment. One targets chemicals and contaminants, whereas the other softens to prevent limescale and problems caused by hard water. Both contaminated and hard water use different purification and softening processes. In areas with hard water you could require both systems or use a hybrid solution. The chemical contamination in your area can cause bad tastes and smells. This is common in rural areas with high levels of iron and sulphur.  Sometimes both contamination and water hardness can affect your water. Check the chemistry of your water for the size of your filtering or softening system. Sometimes soft water can require filtration; therefore, a combined water filter or softener is useful. You could install both systems to address water quality or use all in one systems for water quality problems.


Which system is better?

The technology for each system is different and both have different maintenance needs. A whole house system can provide filtered soft water to your home, helping your family. Water softeners are ideal if you suffer from dry and irritated skin, also help your hair. They prevent residue that is left behind after washing. This stops stains and deposits on household appliances, pipes, glasses and shower doors. They also prevent scaling build-upon plumbing fixtures.

Water softener drinking water does taste better, however unlike filters, it does not make cleaner or safer drinking water. There are a lot of benefits to salt-based softeners, however they can be harmful to the environment and waste water. They are also more expensive than salt-free systems and require regular maintenance with restocking salt. Therefore, salt-free systems waste less water and do not add additional salt into your environment. They also have the dual benefits of scale control and filtration. Salt-based systems are ideal if you prefer a slippery feel to your water.


Tap Water


Water Filters and Scale Inhibitors

A middle ground solution are water filters with scale inhibiting filter cartridges, like Osmio Whole House Water Filter systems. Unlike softeners, scale inhibitors do not soften water, they prevent hardness. They cause minerals from precipitating, preventing build up on surfaces. You can find a whole house filter system that provides great tasting water through filtering. These also remove contaminants and prevent scale deposits.

You can also install point-of-use solutions, undersink or countertop filters to have clean drinking water. Also consider installing a separate scale inhibitor to the inlet to protect from scale deposits.



There are a lot of benefits to both filters and softeners, and it’s important to understand the different between them. You should consider the water hardness in your area and what you want to address in your home. Our systems are high-quality and affordable, such as our whole house filters, are designed to help you and your family. Our industry-leading filters and softeners, such as our whole house filters are environmentally friendly. They also protect your home from hard water damage. You can view our water filter and softener systems online here. You can also see check out our Facebook Page for more updates, sales and information.

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