Salt Pellets Vs Crystals For A Water Softener

Typically, we think that the water from our taps is made of oxygen and hydrogen. Yet for a lot of us, our water also contains a lot of minerals and impurities.

Over time, these impurities dry out your skin and damage your home appliances

Salt Pellets Vs Crystals For A Water Softener

The best way to get rid of these impurities is by using a water softening system. A water softener will use either salt pellets or crystals, as the sodium in the salt removes the impurities to give you clean and soft water.

We will discuss, in this article, more about salt crystals and pellets that are used in water softener systems. 

Should You Use Salt Crystals Or Pellets In Your System?

There are various methods to turn your hard water into soft water. However, the most popular method is an ion-enhanced resin method.

This is where the ions present in salt activate the resin beads, and they absorb the minerals like calcium and magnesium commonly found in hard water. 

Salt pellets and crystals are each effective in softening your water. Salt pellets are known to cause fewer problems over time.

This is because salt crystals will begin to build up, causing bridging in the brine tank. This bridging will stop the salt from regenerating the resin beads and softening the water. 

As salt pellets are larger than salt crystals, you won’t need to worry about bridging. If you have a two-part water softening system, then crystals are a great choice for this kind of model.

As the salt crystals have time to dissolve properly throughout the system. Yet, for all in one unit, you should stick to only using salt pellets, because they won’t cause any bridging and are far more effective with this unit.. 

Why Are Salt Pellets And Crystals Used To Soften Water?

Salt is used in water softening systems to recharge the resin beads that have become consumed with impurities from the water.

This keeps the resin beads constantly working. You can either use salt pellets or crystals to recharge the resin beads in your water softening system. 

The type of salt that you add to the brine tank will affect the effectiveness of your water softening system. 

Rock Salt

Rock salt is a common type of salt crystal to find in local stores and is considered quite cheap. However, if you use rock salt in your unit, then you will need to maintain your system more frequently.

This is due to rock salt containing other minerals that can leave a residue in your brine tank.

Solar Salt

Solar salt is another form of salt crystal. It is created by the evaporation of seawater. When the water evaporates, the salt crystals are formed. Solar salt is considered 99.5% pure and much more soluble than rock salt.

As a result, using solar salt is a better option to keep your system healthy as it does not contain other minerals which could result in a residue being left behind.

Evaporated Salt Pellets

Evaporated salt pellets are the most expensive salt we have mentioned so far because they are a very pure form of salt.

This type of salt is created by the raw salt crystals being reduced to sodium chloride. Then a heater is used to remove any more moisture the salt may contain. 

This salt is sold as a pellet and is considered the most effective way of treating hard water. 

How Do You Use A Salt Pellet?

If you decide to use salt pellets in your brine tank, then simply add the recommended amount of pellets to the tank.

The pellets will begin to dissolve, and the solution will get flushed into the mineral tank to remove the hard ions and recharge the resin beads.

With salt crystals, you need to open the brine tank and add the required amount of salt until the brine tank is ⅓ full. Then the lid can be placed back on to allow the salt crystals to dissolve and then  flushed into the mineral tank. 

How Do Water Softener Systems Work?

How Do Water Softener Systems Work

For the ion resin method, plastic beads and salts turn hard water into soft and clear water. The unit will usually be made up of 3 parts, including a brine tank, a mineral tank, and a control valve. 

The mineral tank is where the hard water is changed into soft water. The tank holds resin beads that have a negative charge.

The sodium ions from the salt are attached to the resins due to their light charge. Hard water is known to contain ions that have a positive charge, which is higher than sodium ions. 

When the hard water goes through the resin beads, the sodium ions detach and the hard water ions are attracted to the resin beads. This is where the resin beads consume all the hardness and the water that is produced is soft and clean.

The control valve on these tanks will limit how much water is going in and out of the mineral tank. Once the resin beads are full, they will no longer work.

This is where the brine tank comes in, as it’s important to keep the resin beads charged. The brine is released by the control valve into the mineral tank.

This will recharge the resin beads, so they are ready to start turning hard water soft again.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Hard Water?

Hard water contains impurities such as calcium and magnesium. Drinking this water does not pose a health risk to humans, but it does pose a risk to your home appliances and your skin.

The major impact hard water has is reducing the lifespan of your appliances due to sediment build-up. This happens in pipes and faucets, and you will notice appliances not working properly.

Hard water also makes cleaning more difficult, so you end up using more soap and detergent. When you use hard water while bathing, it causes your hair and skin to dry out.

This can be an issue for someone who suffers from eczema or acne.   

Different Water Softening Methods

Various methods can turn hard water soft

  • Ions And Resin Exchange – Sodium ions replace the hardness ions.
  • Lime Softening – Lime water/calcium hydroxide is added.
  • Chelating Agents – Making the water more soluble by the addition of natural or synthetic chelators.
  • Washing soda – Add washing soda, which reacts with the minerals.
  • Distillation – Distilling the water will separate the minerals from the water.
  • Reverse osmosis – A membrane is used to separate the hardness ions from the water. This is a chemical-free method.


As we have discussed, hard water has negative impacts on your skin and appliances. Therefore, use a softening method to make everything better. 

Your water softener needs the right amount of salt to work well. The type of salt you choose will depend on the type of system that you’ve got.

We hope this article helps you make an informed decision about salt you use in your water softener.

Mandy Anderson
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