Reverse Osmosis Vs Water Softener: Difference, Do You Need Both?

For those of you who like to stay in trend with household technologies, terms like reverse osmosis and water softener must have been on your radar! These two are very popular methods or devices which can make water safer for you to use. But does that mean it is safer to shower with or drink? Which one to go for?

Let’s look for the answer together in our head-to-head comparison of reverse osmosis vs water softener!

What is Reverse Osmosis?

Reverse osmosis is one of the many water purification processes available to us. It basically uses a porous membrane to separate the contaminants from a solvent like water. The clean water gets to pass across the membrane while leaving harmful molecules, ions and similar undesirable substances on the other side.

Advantages of Reverse Osmosis

Purifies Water

This process removes many contaminants from the default water supplied by the municipality. More often than not, this water has microbes and chemical pollutants crawling in it. A water purifier or filter equipped with reverse osmosis mechanism can put an end to them by making water safer for you!

Sweet Taste

By removing harmful substances, reverse osmosis can also make the water more palatable for you. The clean water tastes sweeter, appear clearer and have a better smell than its original form. As a result, you and your loved ones will feel more encouraged to drink water every day!


Devices using reverse osmosis as their preferred purification method are available at a much lower price point than other similar solutions. Each gallon of water purified by reverse osmosis only costs pennies which is remarkably economical for the majority.

Disadvantages of Reverse Osmosis


This process relies on a partially permeable membrane to filter out the impurities. The membrane contains small pores which are easily clogged. As a result, the whole system may come to a standstill if the pores start to get blocked. That is why you must arrange for regular maintenance and change filters routinely.

Slow Output

Since the water has to pass the membrane every time it goes through the process, you may observe a receding speed in its output. The flow rate from each water outlet will decrease in the initial stages of reverse osmosis. So remember to wait for a while to get clean water once you have installed the system in place.

What is Water Softener?

A water softener simply helps to transform the original hard water into soft water by eradicating the associated contents from it. Such elements causing hardness in water usually include magnesium, calcium and some metal cations. The most common ingredients used in these devices are lime, resin and washing soda.

Advantages of Water Softener

Better Skin And Hair

Hard water is especially hard on skin and hair. Even though its effects on our appearance often goes unnoticed, minerals of hard water can actually make the outer membranes rougher than usual. By switching to soft water, you will feel more beautiful every day with brighter skin and silkier hair!

Longer Appliance Lifespan

Believe it or not, soft water can actually extend the lifespan of your appliances! Usually, when hard water leaves mineral deposits inside the pipes of appliances like refrigerators, coffee makers and washing machines. Such buildups can reduce their longevity. Being devoid of minerals, soft water can keep them functional.

Requires Less Energy

Along with providing you the appliance services for a longer time, soft water can also save you some money from the utility fees! It uses 30% less energy than hard water and can save over $200 per month! So in a year, you can see a huge boost in your financial reserves by investing in a water softener.

Disadvantages of Water Softener

Less Nutrition

One of the many reasons we don’t recommend soft water for drinking is its absence of minerals. In the process of removing hardness, this water also loses most of its useful nutrients like calcium. As a result, your teeth, bone and other body parts may suffer from ingesting soft water every day.

Excess Sodium

Even though soft water does not have most minerals like calcium and magnesium, it does retain huge amounts of sodium. This kind of water can have 10-50 parts per million (ppm) of sodium or, more specifically – 12.5 mg per 8 oz. of water which is well beyond our daily limit. Thus, drinking it regularly poses high health risks.

Comparing Water Softener Vs Reverse Osmosis


The process of reverse osmosis enhances the taste, appearance and smell of water. As a result, it becomes much more pleasant to drink and inspires people to stay more hydrated throughout the day.

On the other hand, water softener makes the municipality water better suited for household routine tasks like cleaning dishes, washing clothes and showers. The soft water lathes easily with soap which makes cleaning jobs easier.

Health Risks

It is a common misconception that water softeners can also purify the water. The truth is, they can only remove the hardness by eliminating most minerals and metals. For truly clean water without any contaminants like microbes or chemical toxins, purification systems like reverse osmosis are much more reliable.

Beauty Upgrade

Taking shower with soft water every day will make your skin and hair much more attractive. Using a water softener for your bath can improve the texture of your hair follicles by making it softer and shinier. Your skin will also feel velvety with regular use. The same cannot be guaranteed by reverse osmosis purifiers.


Reverse osmosis devices are more prone to clogging because of their pores. So you may need to seek professional help more frequently. Water softeners, on the other hand, save energy and ensure a longer lifespan for your household appliances. As a result, they require less maintenance than reverse osmosis.

Bottom Line – Which One is For You?

Ultimately, the best idea we have come up with after observing the qualities of reverse osmosis vs water softeners is to use them both for different purposes!

Surely, it might increase your initial cost. But the health and long term financial benefits cannot be overlooked.

Water softeners should be used in our household tasks like showers, laundry and dishwashing since they lathe well with soap. They also increase the longevity of your appliances and cutleries.

For drinking, we prefer reverse osmosis because it removes the contaminants and improves the taste of water. So get the best of both worlds every day by installing them together!

Here are three of the best selling RO systems on Amazon:

Here are three of the best selling water softeners on Amazon:

Last update on 2024-06-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. WaterFilterly is user-supported. We might receive a commission on any purchase you make through clicking links on this page.

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  1. I personally find reverse osmosis and water softeners to be incredibly useful and important household technologies. Reverse osmosis systems are great for purifying water and removing impurities, ensuring that the water we consume is clean and safe. On the other hand, water softeners are fantastic for reducing the hardness of water, preventing the buildup of minerals and extending the lifespan of appliances and plumbing fixtures. Investing in these technologies not only improves the quality of our daily lives but also contributes to the overall health and

  2. I personally find reverse osmosis and water softeners to be incredibly useful household technologies. Reverse osmosis systems are great for ensuring that the water we consume is free from impurities and contaminants. It provides peace of mind knowing that the water we drink and use for cooking is clean and safe.

    On the other hand, water softeners are a game-changer for those living in areas with hard water. They help to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium, which can cause limescale buildup in

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