Water Filters vs. Water Softeners: What’s the Difference?

Not sure if you need a water filter or a water softener for your home? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Many homeowners struggle to decide which one is right for their needs. To make an informed decision, it helps to understand how each system works and what sets them apart from each other. So let’s take a look at the differences between water filters and water softeners and help you figure out which one you need.

What Does a Water Filter Do?

If you’re looking to get your drinking water squeaky clean, then a good water filter is the way to go. From whole home systems that provide purified water throughout your house or filters designed specifically for refrigerators, there’s something out there no matter what you need. Carbon filtration uses chemical absorption which traps unwanted objects and toxins; reverse osmosis removes sediment and particulates through pressure while UV purifiers use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria in an eco-friendly fashion keeping those nasty impurities locked away! Water filters typically have replaceable cartridges that should be changed regularly.

What Does a Water Softener Do?

A water softener is designed to reduce the levels of calcium and magnesium in your water supply. These two minerals are responsible for what’s known as “hard” water that can leave behind mineral deposits after use. A typical softening system will use ion exchange to remove these minerals before they reach any of the fixtures in your home, leaving behind softer, cleaner-feeling water throughout your house. Softening systems work by using salt or potassium chloride to replace these hard minerals with sodium ions that are easier to wash away after use. Salt or potassium chloride must be added periodically for the system to work properly.


Depending on what kind of issues you’re having with your drinking water, either a filter or a softener can help improve its quality but they both serve different purposes. Make sure to get your water properly tested so that you know exactly what kind of system you need before investing in one. Understanding the differences between a filter and a softener will ensure that you get the best possible results out of whichever system you choose for improving your home’s drinking water quality. Contact JIG Plumbing if you have any questions. We are always here to help!

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