We have two types of water, the hard water which contains mainly calcium and magnesium, some bicarbonates and sulfates, and the soft water which has little or none of the mentioned mineral contents. For us to transform hard water into soft water, we let it undergo a system with the use of water softener where there is a reduction of the minerals of the hard water thereby making it into soft water.
By testing your present water supply, you will know the level of its hardness and thus can determine if its needs softening. If you have hard water, you will notice that your washed clothes are a little harsh, while clothes washed with soft water, you will have a softer and cleaner clothing, less use of shampoos and household cleaning detergents and longer appliance use life.
It is important to know which water softener is better fit to your household needs, and to do this, compare the output of the equipment you are reviewing to that of the daily needs in your household. You then have to make a choice if you want an equipment that is manually operated, semi-automatic, or fully automatic, where in manual, you will do the opening and closing of the valves yourself while in automatic, the machine will conduct its own initiation to recharge the cycle. Thus, where the water is salt-based, a fully automatic equipment will be set manually by the operator of its timer and then add the salt, and the machine will function by itself.
A review of some matters is also important, from whether the water needs pretreatment to remove iron and manganese, to the review of the full cost of installation, the review of your needs to fit to the features of the manufacturer, and to see if the equipment is rated by some reputable organization. Other considerations would be the location on where the water softener should be installed, and how often you need to change the salts and other maintenance routine.
Be aware that in the operation and maintenance of your water softener equipment, you will have to be involved with it. For example, even if your water softener equipment is fully automatic, it will still be necessary for you to restock the salt supply for the brine solution. Note that there is also a need to clean the brine tank on a periodic basis, and note that the frequency of your cleaning the tank will depend on the amount of salt you put in and how pure it is.
The fact that there are numerous brands sold in the market today, you will have then to make your own research, like going through online sites, and read each of their reviews, their prices, their performance ratings, and the method each will be installed.