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Descaler VS Water Softener: Which Is Better In 2024?

Descaler VS Water Softener

Water softeners are a permanent solution to all hard water problems:

  • Scales on pipes and fixtures
  • Soaps not lathering
  • Bitter water taste

Descalers promise to remove scales in water with less than 10 GPG hardness. Studies suggest water conditioners do a better job than descalers.

Continue reading for a detailed comparison between water descalers and water softeners to know which is best for your hard water problems.

🤔Is Descaler As Good As A Water Softener?

BasisElectronic Water DescalerWater Softener
How It WorksElectromagnetic descalingIon exchange
How it treats hard waterAlters the adhesive abilities
of hard water minerals to
prevent hard water scales
Exchanges calcium and
magnesium (hard water mineral)
ions into sodium ions
Ease Of Installation
And Maintenance
Requires less space to install,
needs electricity to run,
doesn’t require salt top-up
Comparatively, it requires
more installation space,
electricity, and salt top-up.
Average cost$200-300$1.5-2K
Which is better?It’s not effective in tackling
hard water scales as
compared to water
conditioners, which work
on TAC and don’t solve all
hard water problems
like water softeners.
It’s the permanent solution to
all hard water problems: scales,
soaps not lathering, hard water
stains, and other aesthetic issues.

How They Work

How they work

Electronic Water Descaler 

The descaler comes with coils that wrap around the incoming water pipe. It produces a magnetic field, a low-voltage current charging the mineral particles. 

The positive charge ensures less hard water scales are deposited on the surfaces. It changes the adhesive properties of hard water minerals, although the water isn’t softened.

Water Softener 

Water softeners contain resin beads that convert hard water ions (calcium and magnesium) into sodium ions.

This process softens water entirely, solving all hard water problems. You can input water hardness settings based on local water hardness and usage for best results.

How They Treat Hard Water

how they treat hard water

Electronic Water Descaler 

A descaler works on two essential components: a high-frequency modulated electromagnetic field and a signal cable coiled around the pipe.

Water is treated in descalers using electric impulses generated in the electronic unit. The bands in descalers perform in pairs and create a frequency field.

Water Softener 

Through the ion exchange, water softener removes calcium and magnesium from water. The hard water enters the mineral tank and flows in a bed of spherical resin beads.

These are plastic beads that perform the ion exchange process. 

When hard water comes in contact with resin, the beads get hold of it and remove excess calcium and magnesium, causing all the nuisance

Ease Of Installation And Maintenance

Ease of Installation and maintenance

Electronic Water Descalers 

The best part about descalers is that they require minimum maintenance. TAC Conditioners (better alternative than descalers) have a sediment pre-filter that needs to be charged. 

Water Softener 

There are quite a few maintenance requirements here:

Average Cost

Average cost

Electronic Water Descalers 

An electronic water descaler should cost you about $300-$600 on average.

But if you go for a TAC water descaler, the price will be around $1,200-$2,500. The factors that decide the price are the manufacturer, the size of the conditioner, etc. 

Water Softener 

You can find a water softener for as low as $800 and as high as $2200. They are still less costly than TAC water descalers. 

Descaler vs Water Softener: Pros And Cons



  • No salt top-up is needed.
  • It doesn’t remove healthy minerals
  • No maintenance cost


  • Doesn’t soften water.
  • Descalers generally leave a residue on their countertops and dishes.

Water Softener


  • Actually softens water using ion exchange and is best for more than 10 GPG water hardness
  • Solves all hard water problems, including soaps not lathering, and white spots on your dishes.
  • It is good for your hair and skin.


  • Need to do regular salt top-ups every 5-6 weeks (but it is worth it)
  • You need professional installation

What Is Better: Descaler or Water Softener?

What is better-Descaler or Water Softener

If you have less than 10 GPG hardness and your only problem is scales, water descalers may work, but water conditioners using TAC technology are better. 

But if you have more than 10 GPG water hardness and suffer from all hard water problems (soaps not lathering, hard water stains, bitter water taste and other aesthetic problems), then water softener is a long-term effective choice.

It’s better not to opt for a cheap water treatment device as it is not good for your family’s needs.

Water Softener VS Water Descaler: FAQs

Can you use a water descaler and softener together?

No, it’s better not to use a water descaler and softener together.

Use a descaler/conditioner with less than 10 gpg hardness to remove scales and a water softener when hardness is more than 10 gpg when facing all hard water problems.

Is it safe to drink descaled water?

Yes, descaled water is safe to drink. It preserves healthy trace minerals in water that are good for your pets and plants.

It’s better than softened water for your aquarium and pool because it doesn’t have a slippery feel, and there’s no extra sodium added.

What goes first, water softener or water filter?

Water filter comes first if you’ve sediment, chlorine or iron in your supply water, as high sediment and chlorine levels can damage resin beads, and high iron levels can damage your brine tank.

But if you have only high water hardness and your water softener comes with a sediment pre-filter add-on, you don’t need a water filter separately

Can I use vinegar instead of a descaling solution?

No, vinegar is ineffective to descale as it can be too aggressive on the device.

And you can get a strange taste if applied on appliances like coffee machines.

You can use store-bought descalers like this for best results.

Is a salt-free water conditioner better than a descaler?

Yes, scientific studies have proven that water conditioners using TAC technology reduced scales by more than 88% compared to electromagnetic descalers that reduced scales by only 50%.

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