The Best Salt For Water Softeners - Top Reviews & Buying Guide To Prevent Mineral Build-Up

bags of water softener salt

There are a lot of water softening salt types available which makes choosing one confusing at first. Some are much cheaper than others but they will leave a messy build-up in your brine tank.

More on this in a bit…

As with most products, it’s better to spend a bit more on softeners and to choose quality over price alone.

A good quality softener salt will save you time and money in the long run so it’s wiser to choose the best one for you from the start.

In our review, we are first going to look at the different types of softener salts around and what they can do for you. Then we'll give you our selection of the best water softening salts you should consider.

Product Details
1. MORTON SALT Clean & Protect 50 lbs.

Most Endorsed by Top Brands of Softeners

  • Phosphate-free
  • Helps prevent Mineral build-up
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2. Solar Naturals Water Softening Salt, 50 lbs.

Household & Commercial Use

  • In filtered Brine form
  • Moisture protected package
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3. Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter Pellets Bag, 40 lbs.

Great for High Iron Content Water

  • Helps fight rust
  • Water smells better
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4. Cargill Salt 40# Potassium Chloride Pellets 7376

Low Sodium but Pricey

  • Alternative for Sodium pellets
  • Suitable for all water softeners
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Top 4 Salt Pellets & Crystals

Let’s take a look at the 4 Best Water Softening Salts...

1. MORTON SALT Clean & Protect Pellets

MORTON SALT Clean & Protect Pellets

Our Verdict: Editor's Choice

The patented Clean & Protect Pellets from Morton is the improved version of the regular evaporated salt and is endorsed by many reputed brands of softeners.

They are the best water softener pellets from Morton, and will keep your water softeners running longer and cleaner by eliminating most of the buildup. They also eliminate more iron and are phosphate-free.

In the long run, you will reduce the amount of salt needed and this will reduce the overall cost and the cleaning of your tank will be easier.

It’s NSF certified, is well-packaged, and also comes in 40 lbs. bags...

2. Solar Naturals Water Softening Salt

Solar Naturals Water Softening Salt, 50 lbs.

Our Verdict: Lasts Longer

Solar Naturals Salt Crystals by Diamond Crystal has a purity of 99.6%. They have been evaporated by the sun and the wind and are naturally white and opaque.

They have a fairly low insoluble content for softener salt crystals and will minimize the tank residue and bridging.

It’s been certified by the NSF. One bag can last up to 3 months and is suitable for water that is not too hard or a small to medium household.

3. Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter Pellets Bag

Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter Pellets Bag, 40 lbs.

Our Verdict: Most Soluble

Iron Fighter Evaporated Salt Pellets from Diamond Crystal has been specially designed for water with a high iron content. A good indication of a high iron content in your water is rust stains on laundry, fixtures, sinks, and tubs. This is a common problem in cities and private wells.

They are more expensive but are well worth the price to help fight rust on your appliances and fixtures. It contains an FDA approved additive. You will find that your water smells better and your skin becomes softer.

They are virtually 100% water soluble and will leave your tank clean and free of bridging much longer. They are suitable for most types of softeners. Their patented two handles bag makes it easier to carry.

4. Cargill Salt 40# Potassium Chloride Pellets 7376

Cargill Salt 40# Potassium Chloride Pellets 7376

Our Verdict: Best for Low-Sodium Diet

This Potassium Chloride Pellets from Cargill are the best alternative to softener sodium pellets.

If you need a low-sodium diet, this is a must for you.

They have a purity level of 99.1% which means that it has a low insoluble content.

The buildup in your tank will be minimized and your health preserved. These are suitable for all kind of water softeners.

How to Choose The Right Salt Type

First of all, there are two different kinds of softener salt; sodium chloride, and potassium chloride.

Sodium chloride is what is used for table salt. For your water softener, you need to buy salt specifically designed for water softeners. Regular table salt will not do.

Potassium chloride is 99.9% sodium-free and is ideal if you require a low-sodium diet. It’s more expensive and more difficult to find.

To know the quality of the salt, you need to look at its purity level. Salt always contains some impurities and trace minerals.

These impurities will create a mushy build up in your tank that needs to be cleaned up regularly. They can also create a salt bridge when salt creates a hard crust over the water, and this means your softener will not regenerate properly.

There Are Three Water Softening Salt Types:

Rock Salt

Rock salt a naturally occurring mineral obtained from underground salt deposit by mining methods. Its purity level vary from 98% to 99% with a water insoluble level of 0.5 to 1.5%.

It is not recommended for your water softener. The insoluble particles will create a buildup in the tank which will have to be cleaned several times a year.

Solar Salt

Solar salt is a natural product created by evaporation of seawater or inland brine. It has a purity level of 99.5% or higher and a water insoluble level less than 0.03%.

It usually comes in the form of crystals but can also be in the form of pellets or blocks. If you have a big household or very hard water, this will not be your best choice. This type of salt is more likely to create a buildup or a salt bridge.

Evaporated Salt Pellets - What You Really Want

Evaporated salt is manufactured by dissolving underground deposits to brine and evaporating the moisture. It has a purity level between 99.6% to 99.99% along with a water insoluble level of less than O.O1%.

It comes in the form of pellets and is the overall highest quality. When faced with a choice of solar salt vs pellets,  you will want to go with pellets.

Diamond Crystal vs Morton - Which Brand is Better?

As with any type of product, there are usually a few brands that stand out among the rest. Since I am not a fan of spoiler alerts, I won't persuade you either way right now.

Just know that one brand is a better choice for most household than the other. Which one is it you ask? With what you have read above, I'm sure you'll come up with your best judgment. :)

To Conclude

To recap what we have seen in our certified water softening salt reviews, the best salt is one with a high purity level and a low insoluble content level. Solar salt and evaporated salt are both suitable if your water is not too hard. If your water is very hard, we would recommend using evaporated softener salt, which contains less insoluble content.

Finally, if your water has a high iron content, we would urge you to use the Iron Fighter, which will save you a lot of maintenance on your appliances in the long run.

And ultimately, remember that you usually get what you pay for. What you save on your softener salt, you will pay in maintenance later on. Make sure to keep your best water softener in great working shape with the right accessories.

Grab only the REAL DEAL using our links, and stay away from knock-off products!


I'm Patricia Baker, a kindergarten teacher turned stay at home mom. I enjoy researching and writing product reviews as a way to help other consumers (like myself) make informed decisions. signature

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