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6 Water Softener Salt Types (Which One To Use In 2024?)

Water Softener Salt Types

Here are 6 common types of water softener salt:

  • Sodium Chloride (pellets or crystals): The classic choice, affordable and effective.
  • Potassium Chloride: Ideal for those on sodium-restricted diets, but more expensive and less effective.
  • Solar Salt: Eco-friendly but may contain impurities and require more frequent refilling.
  • Evaporated Salt: Highly refined but less readily available and potentially pricier.
  • Rock Salt: Cost-effective, but larger crystals can bridge and clog systems.
  • Magnesium Chloride: Boosts efficiency in colder climates but can be corrosive.

Continue reading for a detailed guide on different types of water softener salt to know which is best. 

🎯What Are The Different Water Softener Salt Types? 

🍵Evaporated Salt For Water Softeners

Evaporated Salt

It is the purest form of sodium-based salts. It is an ideal choice for most softener systems, especially those requiring high performance, like single-tank systems or homes with more than 10 GPG water hardness.

Its efficiency and purity level ensure optimal softening and regeneration cycles, leading to longer resin life and less maintenance of the resin tank.


  • Highly refined
  • Dissolves efficiently
  • Doesn’t clump and form salt bridges
  • Maximizes softener efficiency and ensures its longer lifespan


  • Slightly more expensive than other options (but worth it)

☀️Solar Salt For Water Softeners

An excellent choice for environmentally conscious homeowners with less than 10 GPG water hardness. Its natural production by sunlight makes it a sustainable option, and its high purity ensures proper softening.


  • High purity
  • Budget and eco-friendly


  • It may dissolve slower than evaporated salt (so there are more chances of salt bridging or mushing)
  • It’s not ideal for more than 10 GPG water hardness, high-demand situations, or both

🪨Rock Salt For Water Softeners

Rock Salt

Extracted from underground salt sources, it is the perfect salt form for homes with high water usage thanks to its affordability and large granules that resist clumping.

However, this type of salt can require more frequent refilling due to its size.


  • Large granules resist clumping
  • Inexpensive option
  • Ideal for high water usage


  • Requires more frequent cleanings and refilling due to size
  • It may dissolve slower

Also Read: Can You Use Rock Salt To Melt Ice?

🅱️Block Salt For Water Softeners

Busy homeowners and those with low-maintenance systems often opt for block salt’s long-lasting convenience. This type of salt is slow-dissolving and requires less frequent refilling. Its size may not fit all softeners.


  • Slow-dissolving
  • Requires less frequent refilling
  • Convenient for low-maintenance systems


  • It can be messy to handle
  • Larger sizes may not fit all softeners

🧪Potassium Chloride For Water Softeners

Potassium Chloride Salt

A sodium-free alternative for those on dietary restrictions or sensitive and dry skin to reduce their sodium intake. It’s just as effective in softening water but gentler on the body. However, its cost and slower dissolving rate may be factors to consider.



  • More expensive type than sodium chloride
  • It may dissolve more slowly (so you have to increase the water softener hardness level by 25%)
  • It is not ideal for highly humid areas

🪛Rust Defense Water Softener Salt 

If your well water supply causes pesky iron rust stains, this specially formulated salt contains additives like citric acid to chelate iron and prevent rust on the water softener brine tank.

💡Pro Tip:

Water softener salt also comes in two forms: pellets and crystals. The pellet form is generally larger and dissolves slower, while the salt crystal form is smaller and dissolves faster. Choose pellet types of salt for high water usage for optimum water softening process.

🤔How Do I Know What Softener Salt to Use?

Consider these 4 factors in mind:

💪Water Hardness

Water Hardness
  • Opt for evaporated salt pellets if your water hardness exceeds 10 grains per gallon (gpg). They boast 99.9% purity, ensuring efficient softening and proper regeneration process.
  • For average hardness levels, solar sea salt is a cost-effective/cheap option and an eco-friendly choice.

👉Water Usage

  • For large households with high water usage, choose larger pellets or block salt. Their slow-dissolving nature reduces the frequency of refilling.
  • Homes with up to 4 family members can benefit from the quick-dissolving convenience of crystals.

💦Water Softener Type

  • Follow salt recommendations in your water softener system’s manual for optimum water softening systems. It will ensure there are no overflowing or other maintenance issues. 

⚙️Water Softener Maintenance

Water Softener Maintenance
  • Evaporated salt pellets are ideal for minimizing residue and bridge formation, ensuring smooth system operation.
  • Rock salt’s large granules resist clumping, and block salt offers convenience with slow dissolving, but be mindful of potential messiness.
  • Avoid using pool or table salt, as their impurities and mineral buildup can damage the softener and lead to costly repairs.

💡Water Softener Salt: FAQs 

What is better, salt pellets or crystals?

Water softener salt pellets are best because they have larger granules that dissolve slowly, require less frequent refilling than crystals, and are ideal for high water usage or single-tank systems.

Which is better, potassium chloride or sodium chloride, for a water softener?

Sodium chloride (NaCl) is best for water softener as it dissolves correctly and ensures effective water softening.

Potassium chloride salt dissolves faster, is more expensive than NaCl, and its softening is less effective.

What’s the difference between blue and yellow water softener salt?

Crystal salts are kept in a blue bag (hence blue water softener salt), and pellet salt is kept in a yellow bag (hence yellow water softener salt).

Choose yellow water softener salt for best results.

How do you know when to add salt to a water softener?

You will know when to add salt to the water softener when:

1. The salt level is below 25% in the brine tank.
2. Water softener alarm goes on (or you get app alerts)

Is it OK to run a water softener without salt?

No, running a water softener without salt is not OK, as salt is essential in the ion exchange process that softens the water.

If you run a water softener without salt, the water softener resin beads will eventually become saturated with hard minerals and lose effectiveness.

This can result in hard water flowing into your plumbing and affecting the life of appliances, leading to the problems you were trying to avoid by using a water softener in the first place.

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