Best Water Softener Resin – Review & Buying Guide 2020

Last updated on May 29th, 2020 at 07:41 pm

First of all, do you own a salt-based water softener? If yes! Then you surely need a best water softener resin. 
Not to mention that selecting a good resin for your water softener is quite a difficult task given the number of products available in the market.
However, not every resin suits your system. Important to realize that, in a salt-based water softener, the resin is a major component that helps you to remove the hardness from water using an ion-exchange method.
On the other hand, not all the resin beads last the same, some stop working early although some resin beads last longer than usual.
However, the hard water is not contagious to health unless it has lead or iron present in it. Nevertheless, it is also not that good for health without removing hardness.
On the negative side, it makes your skin dry, and itchy also makes your hair look dull. So, for these purposes, you should think about removing the hardness from water. Nonetheless, hard water also decreases the performance of soap and other detergents as well.
Fortunately, we have done the hard work for you while selecting the best water softener resin by selecting top products for you and also providing you a buying guide for it. Moreover, you can find salts in best salt for water softener.

Also, visit Water softener ideas for more water softeners.

List of Best Water Softener Resin:

ResinRatingCheck price
LiquaGen 1.5 Cubic Feet Resin⭐⭐⭐⭐
AFWFilters SOFRES1 Water⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Purolite Resin C-100E Cationic⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
R1-20 CR Spotless Resin⭐⭐⭐⭐
Resintech Nuclear Grade Resin⭐⭐⭐⭐
Water Softener Resin 0.25 CuFt⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

1: LiquaGen 1.5 Cubic Feet Resin

Not to mention that, if you are tired of replacing the resin bead again and again. Also, you especially need to go to the market to buy a resin because your previous resin did not last enough. So, LiquaGen 1.5 cu ft is the best water softener resin for you.

Top feature:

  1. DIY softener changer
  2. Thermotolerant characteristic
  3. Tested on international standards.
  4. Strong acid cation exchange.


  • 1.5 cu ft packing.
  • High-end product.
  • Premium grade softening.
  • Good for cooking and drinking purposes.
  • Poor packaging.

Important to realize that unlike other resin beads it comes with 1.5 cu ft packing. So, given that point, your resin will last longer than the other 1.0 cu ft packings.
However, the price of this resin also comes according to the 1.5 cu ft. But overall, it makes a huge difference. Nevertheless, it cost a little bit comparing it with other branded resin beads this resin seems to be the cheapest one.
Another key point is that it is being tested on international standards to make sure of a high-end product but not the high-end price.

Technical features:

Model number0672713465447
Weight75 pounds
Dimensions8 x 18 x 10 inches
Packing1.5 cu ft



2: AFWFilters SOFRES1 Water

First of all, AFWfilters SOFRES1 resin bead provides you with a high capacity resin. In addition, it comes in 1 Cu. Ft packing. Moreover, you can have it in two half packing instead of 1 single pack.

Top feature:

  1. Good for skin and hair.
  2. Polymer structure.
  3. consumption according to tank size.
  4. Generic 1.0 cu ft packing.



  • 8% crosslink.
  • Long life.
  • Ideal for domestic as well as industrial water.
  • —-

Not to mention that it has a life of 12 to 15 years. So, if you want to buy in a bulk amount you can easily store it for many years without any tension of expiring.
However, its consumption depends on the size of the tank given below
9″ x 48″ – 1.0 cu ft.
10″ x 54″ – 1.5 cu ft.
12″ x 48″ – 2.0 cu ft.
13″ x 54″ – 2.5 cu ft.
14″ x 65″ – 3.0 cu ft.

On the positive side, it comes with a polymer structure that provides you an 8 percent crosslink using divinylbenzene. Moreover, similar to other resin beads it also uses an ion-exchange method from the removal of hardness from water.
Furthermore, it is an ideal choice for domestic water as well as industrial water.

Technical features:

Model numberSOFRES1
Weight44.6 pounds
Dimensions16 x 8 x 12 inches
Packing1.0 cu ft



3: Purolite Resin C-100E Cationic

In the first place, it is an industrial-grade sodium-based resin. It uses sodium in it hence providing you a strong cation exchange. Additionally, it is a premium quality bead in the form of a gel.

Top feature:

  1. Cation exchange.
  2. Sodium based resin.
  3. 40 pounds packing.


  • Industrial grade.
  • Premium gel.
  • Good for cooking and drinking purposes.
  • Poor packing.

Furthermore, due to the presence of premium sodium cation exchange gel, it provides you the best hardness removal from water. Not to mention that it is specially designed for cooking, drinking, and using as portable water.
Important to realize that it has cation exchange beads that help you to remove the positively charged metal ions from water. In addition, calcium and magnesium that are generally known as limescale are positively charged ions and are easily removed by it. Keeping in mind these features, polite is the best water softener resin.

Technical features:

Model numberC100E
Weight49.9 pounds
Dimensions18 x 14 x 8 inches
Packing1.0 cu ft



4: R1-20 CR Spotless Resin

In the first place, it is the best water softener resin. Because it is the quickest among all as well as performs extraordinarily than others. Not to mention that it is very customer friendly and the consumer reports are awesome.

Top feature:

  1. Ion-exchange.
  2. Fastest resin.
  3. This bag fills a 20” tank.
  4. Good for the car wash.


  • Multipurpose.
  • Consumer-friendly.
  • Durable.
  • It does not satisfy the price.

Nevertheless, it acts very fast on the hard water so you do not have to wait for the removal of hardness. But also, it does a pretty good job of removing hardness. However, it is also multipurpose. So, the regenerated water can be used for drinking, cooking purposes as well as taking showers along with cleaning cars and much more.
On the positive side, it also uses an ion-exchange method that is the most efficient method currently running in major countries especially in the US. Moreover, using an ion-exchange method this resin bead removes the maximum amount of hardness from water.

Technical features:

Model numberR1-20
Weight7.2 pounds
Dimensions9 x 9 x 5 inches



5: Resintech Nuclear Grade Resin

Important to remember that, it comes in 5 pounds packing. Although it is a new brand in the market, it is still very effective in hard water. Also, its origin is in the US.

Top feature:

  1. ion-exchange.
  2. Nuclear grade.
  3. Anion resin.
  4. Color indication of resin.



  • Made in the US.
  • 5 pounds pack.
  • Can fill Four 10” tanks.
  • Requires two cartridges in series.

In the first place, this 5-pound package is enough to refill four tanks of 10” each. However, this is a huge amount of resin to be used and will last longer. So, you do not have to visit the market, especially for resin.
On the positive side, this resin has a capacity of changing the color when the resin exhausts. Such as if you are using the resin for the first time it will be in blue color. But as it gets used by the water softener then it will change its color gradually from blue to transparent.
Not to mention, that this is an indication for the consumer to replace the resin with a new one. In addition, it also uses Anion exchange resin.

Technical features:

Model numberDI-NGRSN-5
Weight5.2 pounds
Dimensions15.2 x 9.9 x 1.4 inches
Packing5 pounds pack



6: Water Softener Resin 0.25 CuFt

Not to mention that, if you are a traveler and you already have a portable water softener. More importantly, you cannot carry too much weight with you so it comes with a 0.25 cu ft packing. Hence, making it the best water softener resin especially if you are using a portable water softener.

Top feature:

  1. Food grade.
  2. 8000 grains.
  3. USFDA Certified.
  4. 0.25 cu ft packing.


  • Increase the life of appliances.
  • Ideal for cooking and drinking purposes.
  • Best for portable water softener.
  • —-

Not to mention that it provides you a high grain capacity of 8000 grain providing you the best replacement resin. Another key point is that it is NFC certified hence it is food grade and suitable for drinking as well as cooking purposes.
However, different water softeners require different amounts of grains capacity depending on the quality of systems. Nevertheless, good water softeners use less resin vise versa. On the positive side, it is USFDA certified and makes it edible for humans.

Technical features:

Model numberFBA-MED-CAT-025
Weight12.25 pounds
Dimensions12 x 12 x 6 inches
Packing0.25 cu ft



Best Water Softener Resin Comparison chart

ResinModel numberWeightDimensionsPacking
LiquaGen 1.5 Cubic Feet Resin067271346544775 pounds8 x 18 x 10 inches1.5 cu ft
AFWFilters SOFRES1 WaterSOFRES144.6 pounds16 x 8 x 12 inches1.0 cu ft
Purolite Resin C-100E CationicC100E49.9 pounds18 x 14 x 8 inches1.0 cu ft
R1-20 CR Spotless ResinR1-207.2 pounds9 x 9 x 5 inches-----
Resintech Nuclear Grade ResinDI-NGRSN-55.2 pounds15.2 x 9.9 x 1.4 inches5 pounds packing
Water Softener Resin 0.25 CuFtFBA-MED-CAT-02512.25 pounds12 x 12 x 6 inches0.25 cu ft

Best Water Softener Resin Buyer’s guide 2020

What is a water softener resin?

In the first place, we need to learn what actually is a water softener resin. No to mention that it is a component that plays a major role in removing the limescale from water hence removing the hardness and making the water soft.
In general, most of the water softener uses an ion-exchange method to remove the hardness from water. Although, in this process, the negatively charged ions in the resin attract the positively charged ions from water. However, these positively charged ions are calcium and magnesium commonly known as limescale, that is the major reason for hardness.
Not to mention that these resins come in different packing sizes as well as a different color. Additionally, some of these resins have the tendency to change the color as they get used. But generally, there are two types of resin.

Types of resin bead

  • Fine mesh
  • Standard Ion-exchange

Fine mesh:
First of all, this resin bead is specially used for iron removal as it helps the water softener to removes the iron up-to 10 Parts Per Million.
However, it is made up of small resin beads so it gets more effective on the iron particles in water.
In addition, this resin beads also have a specific amount of carbon in them so that the taste of water gets increased. Moreover, the regenerated water will get tastier as never before as well as you will feel it healthy and fresh.

Standard Ion-exchange:
On the other hand, there are commonly used cation and anion exchange resin beads. Although they are generally used in most of the water softeners still they are capable of removing iron from 3-5 parts per million.
In general, if you are having well water that also has a large amount of iron in it, then you clearly cannot use this resin.
On the positive side, they are quite capable of removing a large amount of hardness from water except for heavy iron. However, if we speak about heavy metal particles or heavy limescale particles then it is the best water softener resin you can have.
Not to mention that they are either made up of sodium chloride (table salt) or potassium chloride. So, these sodium and potassium ions are capable enough to replace the limescale particles hence removing hardness from water.

Working of resin bead

However, as for the working of resin beads is concerned, so its working is very simple.
First, the resin beads are filled in the brine tank of the salt-based water softener. Second, when the hard water passes through the brine tank, the resin removes the heavy metals particles from water that are dissolved in the form of limescale. Generally, these metal particles are calcium and magnesium ions.
Furthermore, the resin beads replace the heavy metal ions with light metal ions that are sodium or potassium ions. Hence the hardness from the water gets removed.
After all, the heavy metal residue went to the brine tank for getting flushed. However, some of the water softeners have the automatic flushing system but if your system does not have this feature then you need to clean the brine tank on a scheduled basis.
In the end, you need to add more resin beads either fine mesh or standard ion-exchange beads, so that the water softener can eliminate further hardness from water which is coming from the supply line.

What is Crosslink 

Crosslink is basically the percentage of divinylbenzene that is present in the resin bead you are using. Not to mention that the higher the percentage the better the resin mesh. However, this percentage also affects the price as well. So, generally, the higher percentage of resin beads have a greater price as compared to a low percentage.
In general, there are two types of crosslinks given below:

  1. 8% cross-links
  2. 10% cross-links

8% cross-links:

In the first place, it is the most commonly used cross-link. However, it is able to remove 3-5 PPM of iron present in water.
Moreover, it is famous among the well water so if you are using well water which does not have a large amount of iron in it then this is the best water softener resin bead for you. On the negative side, it will not perform that good for domestic water as it will work for the well water.
In addition, they also have a life span of 10 to 15 years. Not to mention that the life of resin beads totally depends on the quality of hard water you are receiving. So, if you are having a high level of hardness then the resin beads will las lesser than usual. Not to mention that it is price friendly.

10% cross-links:

Furthermore, when it comes to quality then you do know that it comes with a price. However, it costs a little bit when you see the outcome of this product then it will not hurt.
Not to mention that the domestic water does have some amount of chlorine present in it. So, it will help you to get rid of the chlorine particles from water. In addition, it will remove more hardness and more iron as compared to the 8% cross-link.
Moreover, for well water with a high level of chlorine and iron present in it the 10% cross-link is the best water softener resin that you can have. In addition, the 10% cross-link resin beads have a longer life span than the usual 8% cross-link resin beads. So, you do not need to worry about replacing the resin beads as compared to the 8% cross-link resin.
However, the 8% will cost you less but when it comes to the features the 10% cross-link is totally worth it.

Frequently asked questions

When should I replace my water softener resin?

In the first place, if you find that the water you are using started getting harder day by day. In addition, the fixtures start feeling dull and after doing the dishes the water leaves spots on them.
On the other hand, there is some resin that changes their color when the resin exhausts. However, there are some hard water testing tools that are easily available in the market.

What kind of resin is used in water softeners?

Important to realize that, the kind of water resin used in your water softener depends on the brand you are using. In general, most of the brands use divinylbenzene cation exchange gel resin.
Not to mention that it can vary from brand to brand. Although, there are some companies that use anion exchange hence they will be using a different kind of resin bead.

How much resin does a water softener need?

However, the amount of resin used in a water softener depends on the size of the tank. In addition, if you find the perfect amount of resin for the tank then you will never have to worry about the hard water problem.
Furthermore, a rough estimate is given below:
9″ x 48″ – 1.0 cu ft.
10″ x 54″ – 1.5 cu ft.
12″ x 48″ – 2.0 cu ft.
13″ x 54″ – 2.5 cu ft.
14″ x 65″ – 3.0 cu ft.

How do I know if my water softener resin is bad?

Important to realize that, the hard water problem is not a minor one. So, you cannot ignore the fact that besides applying a water softener you still are having hard water. Moreover, for that problem, you need to feel that if your water is making less foam from soap or detergents than usual.
Furthermore, your skin gets dry and hairs get dull after taking a shower. Additionally, the water starts tasting differently.
You need to see either your water softener resin is still working or the date you were supposed to change the resin is passed and you still haven’t done it yet.



Ultimately, there is now a lot of data to read and judge that either you need to buy a new water softener resin or you need to update the resin changing process. However, you can easily choose the best water softener resin by simply checking your need depending on the packing size, effect on hard water, and quality of resin also considering the resin beads great prices and all that.
Not to mention that the resin bead is the major component that is responsible for the removal of hardness from water in a salt-based water softener. So, if you have a large system then you should be buying a 1.5 cu ft resin while on the other hand if you are planning on using a portable water softener that you should go for the small packings.

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