Some critics have called the salt free water softener system a scam, partially because of the many dubious claims made by the manufacturers. Salt free water softener systems aren’t capable of removing minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which is necessary to truly “soften” water. These salt free water softener systems simply try to break down the hardness in the water, with little to no efficient outcome.
Independent studies have shown that a salt-free water softener is not as effective as a traditional salt-based water softener. When both salt-based and salt-free water softener systems were tested in clinical trials, it was found that the salt-free water softener system had very little to no effect on the chemical and physical composition of the water. It was further shown that these salt-free systems were unable to reduce mineral deposits left in water pipes and faucets. Salt-free water softener systems were unable to rid water of any type on iron or manganese that may or may not be in the water as well. Salt-free water softener systems are also referred to as no-salt systems.
The traditional salt-based water softener is still the one to rely on for great overall performance and cost-effectiveness.