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6 Best RV Water Softeners for Your Camper (And Do You Even Need One?)

6 Best RV Water Softeners for Your Camper (And Do You Even Need One?)

An RV water softener can protect your pipes and your skin. Hard water filled with minerals like lime can wreak havoc on your RV pipes. And it can dry out your skin. A portable water softener is a great solution when hooking up to campground water sources.

Keep reading to learn why a water softener for your camper is beneficial. And learn which are the best models on the market.

What Does an RV Water Softener Do? 

An RV water softener makes hard water soft through regeneration. In other words, it flushes out calcium, magnesium, lime, and iron from your water supply and replaces them with sodium ions. This helps eliminate buildup in your RV’s pipes and water heater.

Ultimately, these devices can protect your RV’s water systems and increase its longevity.

RV Water Softeners - Are They Worth It?

Do You Need a Water Softener for Your RV? 

Determining whether you need an RV water softener can depend on your water source. If you’re stationary and your water isn’t hard, you may not need one. But if you’re traveling with your RV, you won’t know ahead of time what kind of water you’ll have access to.

The hardness of available water varies greatly from place to place. There are a few places notorious for having hard water, though, including the desert southwest.

If you find yourself spending a lot of time in areas with hard water, we’d recommend getting one of these devices to ensure you’re protecting your RV and your skin. Too much build-up of minerals, also known as calcification, can damage pipes, faucets, and appliances like your RV water heater.

Pro Tip: If you’re new to RVing, or just want to brush up on the ins and outs of your RV, this is How an RV Water System Works.

Internal appliances like your RV water heater can be damaged if there is too much calcification of minerals from your water. An RV water softener can prevent this.

6 Best RV Water Softeners for Your Camper

We recommend the following five RV water softeners. Each is portable and lightweight for easy transportation. 

1. Watts RV PRO-1000 10,000 Grains Portable Water Softener

The Watts RV PRO-1000 is a 10,000 grains portable water softener with a high flow rate of up to four GPM (gallons per minute) and low-pressure drop.

It has a built-in drain line flow restrictor that provides effective regeneration, which increases capacity by up to 55%. There’s a complete cradle base that keeps the tank secure. It uses regular table salt.

FLOW/PURWATT Watts RV PRO-1000 OR M7002 10000...
  • Built-in drain line flow restrictor provides a more effective...
  • Custom designed flow valves allow regeneration without having to...
  • Full cradle base keeps tank more secure than cometing open base...

2. On The Go Portable 16,000 Grain RV Water Softener

On The Go’s portable 16,000 grain RV water softener and conditioner provide soft water up to 1,600 gallons or for 40 days. It regenerates with two boxes of common table salt in less than 30 minutes.

The water softener allows high flow rates with very low-pressure drops. It has a carrying handle and largemouth opening to add salt. The case is high-grade premium resin. It uses a standard garden hose connection between the water spigot and your RV.

On The Go OTG4-DBLSOFT-Portable 16,000 Grain RV...
  • The Double Standard Softener & Conditioner produces twice the...
  • Built for the owner of any RV/Marine model, this 16,000 grain...
  • Its compact, space-saver design allows it to be installed in the...
On the Go product image.
Portable and lightweight, an RV water softener is the way to go for quality water in your RV.

3. Pro+Aqua Portable RV Water Softener Premium Grade

The Pro+Aqua 16,000-grain portable RV water softener has high flow ports for minimal pressure drop and a five GPM flow. It can provide up to 40 days or 2,000 gallons of softened water.

The base is 10-⅜ inches to increase stability on uneven surfaces. A standard ¾-inch garden hose comes with a water softener for connecting the water spigot and your RV. It comes fully assembled and ready to use with no tools required.

PRO+AQUA 16,000 Grain Portable Water Softener for...
  • 【 HIGHLY EFFICIENT 】Hard water is notorious for smelling like...
  • 【 READY TO USE IN 5 MINUTES 】This PRO+AQUA Portable Water...
  • 【 MULTI-PURPOSE & EFFECTIVE】Innovatively designed in the...

4. H2oEliteLabs EWC-Max I Electronic Water Conditioner

H2oEliteLabs EWC-Max is an electric water conditioner. It’s a compact and chemical- and salt-free water softener alternative.

The eco-friendly and maintenance-free technology eliminates hard water buildup. It’s for indoor only use in spaces up to 5,000 square feet. The water conditioner can handle up to 35 grains per gallon.

H2OEliteLabs EWC-Max I Electronic Water...
  • PROTECTS ENTIRE PLUMBING SYSTEM: This compact device helps...
  • SIMPLE DESCALING PROCESS: Our whole house water descaler system...
  • CHEMICAL FREE, SALT FREE: Our eco-friendly and maintenance-free...
H20 elite product image
Portable water filters condition your water.

5. Pro+Aqua Premium Water Softener Regeneration Kit and Filter

Pro+Aqua’s Premium Water Softener Regeneration Kit and Filter reduces bad odor, strange taste, sediment, and chlorine. It uses a PA-DC replaceable two-stage filter with a clear view of the filter’s condition, so you know when to change it.

You’ll need one to two pounds of table salt, but no electricity or special tools. It simply takes a ¾-inch garden hose to connect the water spigot to your RV.

PRO+AQUA RV Water Filter and Portable Water...
  • Easy to use: No electricity or special tools required. 3/4”...
  • Double Filtration: The WS-P-REG-KIT is a Dual Stage water filter...
  • Universal Regen Kit: The WS-P-REG-KIT is the first of its kind...

6. Essential RV Water Softener Portable 16,000 Grain with Custom Hose

The Essential RV Water Softener comes with a no-kink water hose and three-quarter-inch high flow lead-free brass ports. It can be set up in as little as five minutes. Once connected, this softener will last for 60-days or 2,000-gallons before needing to be recharged.

This unit uses NSF 16,000 grain resin to remove calcium, magnesium, iron, lead, radium, and more. The Essential RV Water Softener can also be connected with other filtration systems from the RV Water Filter Store.

Essential RV Water Softener Portable 16,000 Grain...
  • EASY 5 MINUTE SETUP - Ready to use right out of the box with the...
hard water scaling
In places with hard water, mineral scaling can build up if you don’t use an RV water softener.

How Long Do Portable Water Softeners Last?

A portable water softener can last between seven and 10 years. Some even last 15 years. But, of course, it depends on the quality of the water you’re running through it and the frequency of its regeneration. For example, with On The Go’s products, you can replace the resin after seven years with new resin that will last another seven to nine years.

Pro Tip: Before you pour yourself a cool glass of water, read up on Is It Dangerous to Drink from Your RV Fresh Water Tank?

How Do I Recharge My RV Water Softener?

You typically back-flush a standard RV water softener every three months for two to five minutes. Specific instructions should come with whichever water softener you purchase, or you can find them online. For example, On The Go has a step-by-step guide for their product.

Hand holding RV shower head
Protect your skin by using an RV water softener while on the go.

How Do I Decalicfy My RV Without a Water Softener?

What if you already have calcification build-up? What if you decide to risk it and RV without a softener?

You can descale appliances like your RV water heater by using high-pressure water sprayed into the tank. Some appliances even have a special de-scaling process, like the Truma AquaGo Water Heater. This makes use of special chemicals that remove the scale.

How to Clean and Decalcify the Truma AquaGo On-Demand RV Water Heater

A similar procedure can be used to descale other appliances with specialty chemicals, like CLR. Typically you don’t run this through your pipes, but can be used in coffee makers, RV dishwashers, RV washing machines, and ice makers. Always follow instructions for proper use.

CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover, Blasts Calcium,...
  • Industrial Strength: CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover is a...
  • Fast Acting: Quickly removes calcium, lime and hard water...
  • Multi-Purpose: Versatile cleaner for home or office surfaces. Use...

Is an RV Water Softener Worth It? 

If you’re frequently traveling or know that you’re using hard water, an RV water softener is worth it. People who suffer from dry skin can particularly notice the difference when using a water softener. And keeping the overall health of your RV pipes and appliances good is a massive bonus.

Finally, dealing with calcification down the road is a massive headache, one that is easily prevented with an RV water softener.

Have you ever had trouble with hard water? What’s your go-to water softener? Drop a comment below!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
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Samantha Nichols

Friday 25th of February 2022

On The Go softener could be a bit bigger than you think that however operating well for the U.S. in our RV. This has doubly the capacity of the smaller version but isn't rated at twice the gallons. For a tiny low diameter increase, I'm happy I went with the larger unit. If you camp for extended periods this is often the one to get. If you're a lot of per week or weekend warrior, the smaller unit is better because it recharges faster (shorter flush times). terribly pleased with this purchase. I will truly drink the faucet water currently and not a lot of white deposits on all the pots/pans/glasses.