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Question DetailsAsked on 10/29/2012

Do the Pelican NaturSoft Salt free water softeners work better than the other salt type water softeners

would you recommend a salt free water softener

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17 Answers

Voted Best Answer

I actually just replaced my Pelican Natursoft "water softener" with an more-traditional ion exchange model. I used the natursoft for a little over 4 years, and I can say it worked as advertised. When remodeling a while back we decided to get a tankless water heater. All the documentation indicated that hard water with the tankless heater is a no go. We had to do somehting, but since I'm lazy (didn't want to deal with the salt or plumbing in a drain) and my wife didn't like soft water, the salt-free model looked attractive. I too was somewhat skeptical, but the reviews I found looked good, and I know enough about the science of nucleation (I was a material science major in college) to know that what they said made sense, so I bought one.

One thing needs to be made clear - the natursoft system is NOT a water softener! It contains a media which nucleates some disolved metalic salts out of solution. These crystals, once formed, remain in the water, and still react with oils, detergents, etc. in the same manner as the disolved salts. They also continue to form scale wherever water is allowed to evaporate, such as faucet nozels and shower heads. In fact, it's possible that evaporative scaling was even worse than before we installed the system.

Importantly, however, once in crystaline form, these salts do not stick to pipes, or in my case, heat-exchangers. My tankless heater has a sensor to indicate when it needs to be descaled, and the manual indicates that for my water hardness and hot water use I should have had to descale approximately every 6 months. In four years with the natursoft the descaleing indicator has never gone off. For further evidence, when I installed my new softener a few weeks ago, I had to cut sections from the copper pipe on both the inlet and outlet side of the natursoft. Both sections of pipe were installed at the same time as the natursoft, but while the pipe on the inlet side was green and rough on the inside, the outlet pipe looked and felt like new.

As such, if you want or need a salt-free system for some reason (low-sodium diet for blood pressure, don't like the feel of soft water, can't easily plumb a drain into the softener location, or can't carry heavy bags of salt to the softener), then I can unequivocably recommend the natursoft. If, like my wife and I today, you want soft water, that feels soft on your skin, creates less soap scum, rinses cleaner in the dishwasher, etc., then the natursoft probably isn't for you.

Answered 7 years ago by cenfield


I would be leery of Pelican because they're expensive and they aren't sold through major retailers where you can see unfiltered customer reviews. That's just my opinion based on research, however. I haven't used it.

There are a number of saltless water softeners that get high marks from customers. However, it's generally thought that they don't work as well as the conventional systems. Electronic systems are at least cheap, so you can try them out without costing yourself a lot of money.


Answered 7 years ago by Nodack


Evidently we have extremely bad water here in southeast AZ. We installed the combo Pelican salt free system in our house. I have never seen such poor water. My washing machine and dishwasher are full of cloudy white spots which don't clean up well. My toilets have calcium deposits that I can only remove with pumice stone. We moved in our home In March 2014 and this started happening right away. I am extremely disappointed! I don't wash my dishes by hand and let them drip dry or I have cloudy spots all over them.

Answered 6 years ago by DarleneOetgen


I bought pelican combo including a UV, carbon tank and salt free water softener. I used the product for about a year. I still had to clean the faucet screens, coffee makers, cat bowls, etc. Essentially anywhere water sat still exhibited build-up but at a level not as bad as with nothing. After, finding substantial buildup on my UV lamp I called pelican to discuss the results. Long story short, after an expensive water test to prove I had hard water and an offer for $500 dollars off their salt system I decided to remove the system. I ended up getting a salt system from Sears for $500, and the difference was very substantial. No more build up period. My real world testing showed there is a reason salt systems are still around.

Answered 5 years ago by pbrislin


I honestly do not know for sure. I put in a whole house Kinetico water FILTER last March. The water tastes just fine, but I was still getting water spots in the shower, steel sink, etc..

I put in a Pelican NON-electric, Non-salt "'softener/conditioner". Most of the water spotting

is gone. My skin feel normal. I do not get excess sudsing with detergents.

BUT - today the Kinetico man came out to show me how to wash their filter. We talked about the Pelican. He asked if he could test my water. When he was done his vial was deep purple, which he said is NOT soft and actually has 5 GRAINS OF HARDNESS.

From the other Angie's List reviews - which I wish I'd read BEFORE I spent $1400 - it really is not a softener, just a good filter. Since I don't want the slimy feeling, I won't be changing it, but shall complain to Pelican about false advertising, tho it does say "conditioner" on the tank, so they may dispute my assertion.

MBK, Lady Lake, FL

Answered 5 years ago by MBK


I have had the system for a couple of years. I am leaving it in place as a very expensive filter and installing a water softener at the discharge of the system. The reason: can not clean surfaces enough to keep the stains off any surface the water touches. The science behind the technology is suspect at best. The filtering system is very good and very expensive if that is all that may be really expected from this system. I did look but could not find any real scientific independent research to support the manufacturer's claims concerning particle charging and realignment. Well i spent the money based on their great marketting even though i somehow knew the claims were too good to be true. Regarding their service...can not tell if they are good or bad. If you call they will return your call promptly. When I told the rep that called that I was very unhappy with the scaling I have had since replacing my water softener with their unit, he said that scaling was expected...I did not expect It. I hope this is of some help to someone trying to learn from someone else's experience.

Source: unhappy user in tampa fl

Answered 5 years ago by espcusa


NO, the natursoft salt free water softeneras do NOT work well at all! I too got a Pelican - and I'm seeing more scaling on faucets - right now we are hand washing everything because our kitchen is being remodeled - and the glasses look worse than they did before! I am so unhappy and angry about this.... we got the PSE2000 whole house filter - and salt free softener. stay away

Answered 5 years ago by Guest_9448615


The water is not soft Feeling and I was told my water would not have a slippery feel. I wanted a whole house filter but also liked the idea of descaling without having waste water product associated with conventional salt systems. 3 years later, even though I asked the question when I purchased it, I find that Pelican products are not BPA free. This is particularly concerning with the post water heater filter as hot water is going through the plastic and entering my dishwasher thus coating all my dishes with BPA. I also remodeled my house at the same time as the purchase in 2012. I used a Corian counter top that is a very uniform gray. I was blaming the Corian product for its horrible ability to show water stains. Now I realize it is the "soft" water produced by Pelican that is leaving the white scale on my counter and coffee maker. My faucets also have gotten clogged and have had to be cleaned out or replaced since the Pelican installation in 2012. I will now look for BPA free alternatives. The company did state they are working on BPA free products.

Answered 5 years ago by Freagle


We finished building our new home last year. We bought the salt free system with two tanks...over $3000.00 from a local plumber. Never did we imagine that the Pelican NO SALT system would NOT work with our water. My toilet has black streaks which do not wash off; my washing machine is cloudy unless I use extra powder for softening and my clothes are rough and dingy; my dishwasher is super cloudy unless I put a cup of vinegar with the dishes and use the heavy duty button. All my stainless steel faucets are always cloudy. My wood floors do not clean well. This sytem is a complete joke. The plumbing co. is out of business and Pelican will not listen to us since we did not buy it direct from them. We are getting our water tested (should have before hand) and getting a new salt system. Please don't do our mistakes.

Answered 5 years ago by DarleneOetgen


I installed my own Natursoft model NS3 about 10 years ago to treat our local hard water, which has a hardness of about 242. I have never seen the need to maintain it at all. It seems to work as advertised for me. I do still need to decalcify the shower heads and faucet aerators about once a year, but not nearly as often as before. Water spots do seem to wipe off rather than having to be dissolved off. We do include a tablespoon of citric acid (which we buy in bulk) with each dishwasher load, and our glasses sparkle. We might need to buy the citric acid from Amazon every other year at a cost of about $35 each time. All other appliances seem to work without problem. We are in a water short area, and cannot bring ourselves to waste the amount of water required by ion exchange systems, or to place salt in our water for downstream users to deal with. Nor do I like the slimy feel of salted water. All in all, I am very happy with the system.

Answered 5 years ago by sbstewart


Do not buy this expensive system if you are expecting results as good as a salt based, true softener. Pelican advertises it as a softener/conditioner. While it may condition, it does not soften! I bought a water hardness tester and my water still tested hard. I talked to Pelican several times about this and every time they explained their way around it, saying to ignore the hardness test I was seeing.

Pasted below is the comment I just made on their website. I will bet dollars to donuts that they will not publish it. All I saw on their website were glowing reviews.

My review:

We purchased our system three years ago and had great expectations. After the first 6 or 8 months I had called back at least three times to have explained to me why we were getting terrible spotting from the dishwasher, spots in the shower and in the sinks. I understand how it removes certain elements from the water to prevent scaling, but apparently it was not removing other hard elements. As time went by, I replaced two toilet flush valves (all new plumbing was installed before we moved in), and cleaned faucet aerators countless times.

As the end of the third year approached, my wife and I were so frustrated, we finally threw our hands up in the air and called our plumber to yank it and get us a standard salt softener. After it was installed, I looked again at the faucet aerators. I couldn't believe that after soaking them in vinegar to remove the deposits from the metal, that much of the finish was actually eaten off. The drain seat in the bath tub actually had to be replaced because of excessive corrosion.

I have read many glowing reviews here (Pelican website), and I am happy for those that it has worked well for them. All I can say is that our water supply in South Bend, IN must be extremely high in mineral content. We our now very happy with our salt system. All of the above mentioned problems have gone away. I am now sorry that I threw away well over a thousand dollars on the Pelican System I bought.

(End of Pelican review)

Do not waste your money on this system. It does NOT work as promised.

Answered 5 years ago by Guest_93389506


First of All,

Pelican and ANY other system that is "Salt Free" is NOT a Water Softener.

The ONLY way to get soft Water is to regenerate the media with Salt (Sodium or Potassium)

If anyone is buying this be acuse they don't like the "Slimey" feeling a water softener has, then you don't understand the use of a Water Softener. The Water Softener is to protect your water using appliances and should NOT be based on the feeling you get in the shower. The added bonus is the smooth skin you are feeling is because the minerals that stick to the soap and your skin are not on your skin anymore. The smooth feeling you are actually feeling your skin for the first time. SALT Free conditioners do NOT work on ALL water. The other aspect of these systems being built today are that they are not properly manufactured to the specifications of the Media. The media in the Pelican and any other Salt Free conditioner are a limited treatment life. If a manufacturer claims "Lifetime" you are likely getting sold on Marketing and NOT truth to the media. The first Claim you should RUN from is "SALT FREE WATER SOFTENER" if it is advertised as that, they are lying and misleading the public. The second misleading concept is the money you will save money is absurd as replacement of the media is costly and way more than the cost of adding salt. An Average home will spend about $60 annually for Sodium, and the material cost for the Salt free conditioner is approximately $400 every 2-3 years for Carbon and if you need to replace the Natursoft is over $1000 every 5-6 years. Do the math.

I have been in the Water Treatment Industry since 1984, I have seen what works and what doesn't, there is no possible "One sytem to treat all water"

The concept of people using this practice of water treatment just to NOT add salt is lacking common sense and understanding of the products these Manufactures are selling against.

Answered 5 years ago by PhilE


I have the PSE2000 combo system offering activated carbon and natursoft.

I didnt see anyone on the comments mention actual facts so perhaps a little fact check here now might be valuable to some. We checked the DVGW certification of Natursoft. It is certified from a 3rd party engineering and testing laboratory to do exactly what they say it will do and that is to prevent 99.6% of scale formation. I didnt see any electrical system or similar media systems to pelican get certified.

Natursoft does not replace healthy minerals like calclium and magnesium for bad ones such as salt. A water softener replaces good minerals for bad so when you test the water they will be gone indicating soft water. A Natursoft system leaves the minerals in the water but makes them behave differently so every test will show hard water elements remain (good thing)but the calcium carbonate (scale) wont be present(good thing). A water test does not test for soft water. A water tests looks for presence of calium and magnesium. Of course a test of pelican system would show the water to still be hard. This minerals remain present which to us is a good healthy thing.

Remember rain water is soft. When you leave rain water to sit on a car it spots. Water should not be left to stand. Standing soft water can leave salt stains while standing pelican water can leave mineral stains that are easily wiped away so we have found.

As to cost, convenience and safety we love the pelican. A softener means salt for life, plus maintenance plus they waste over 30% of their water in regeneration. If you want to reduce your maintenance and water bill by over 30% a Pelican is the way to go. I also saw a pricing reference here which was very misleading. The natursoft media NEVER needs to be replaced and our carbon system lasts over 5 years. With the added savings in water use we are quite happy with the economics of it. No service, no wasted water, no salt, no drain, no electricity, no hassle and nothing to break down. There's not a single water softener built that can compare favourably against those benefits.

Our water authority, like most, advises not to drink soft water as its bad for health. That being the case a softener should only go on the hot water side leaving the cold water lines to calcify. That makes softeners a very expensive system that only does half the house pipes plus it wastes water, energy and you cant drink it.

My family doesn't like the slippery shower floor or skin feeling from softeners but thats just a preference. My parents find a typical softener shower floor too dangerous for slip and falls. Not the case with Pelican.

When you consider the value, evidence, certification, savings and convenience plus the results of 99.6% scale prevention I don't know of a single option that faired as well.

A commercial plumber told me last week that salt-softened water pits copper pipes over time causing them to leak then need replacement. Just a thought.

A standard softener may help if your water is high in iron and thats what your staining is caused by. Hope this review helps some.

A Happy Customer

Answered 4 years ago by sandiwestone


There is a lot of mis-information in this thread. I would say everybody has a different goal in filtering their water, so you need to be sure the results are what you intend.

In our house we would like to prevent the scaling in our water heater, since just 2 years after installing a new, 6 year warranty, high-quality, heater, it is poping and clunking with debris that I can't flush out.

I've decided to go with the Pelican system, which has a debris trap, then a first tank with carbon filtering, and a second tank with the non-salt water softner that everybody is arguing about.

There is plenty of data about how this works and prevents scaling on their web site (also from 3rd parties)

look under the Performance, Studies and How it works tabs to get the details, which are somemtimes quite technical.

I don't like the slippery feel of a salt based water softner and because of dietary constraints don't want this in our drinking water.

We also have a slight algae taste to the water during the summer months, which the carbon filter should absorb.

Be careful, there are a lot of claims out there from cheaper systems, some of them are quite questionable.


Answered 4 years ago by Guest_949687538


No, it did not work for me.

I purchased and installed Pelican's NaturSoft Salt free (along with their whole house carbon filter) in June 2013. I am getting rid of it this weekend Jan 2016 with a traditional salt exchanger system (decided to go with Kinetico).

I have a 1" water pipe coming into the house, and my town's hardness is rated at 14 gpg. I purchased the larger "estate" model because I needed the higher throughput for shower systems with body sprays, etc..., rated at 13 gpm; so if used while other fixtures in the house, 4 adults, 2 children on average use the house.

In the 2.5 years, my faucet and shower fixtures have lots of scale buildup, and not only do we clean on an "as-you-go" basis, we have a cleaning person come every two weeks to clean the house that includes trying to scrub off the scale in fixtures....still no good.

My last straw came last weekend when one of my electronic thermostatic valves in one of the bathrooms, gave out. 3 months ago, the instahot died. One of my toilet washlets also died 6 months ago. The constant spotting in dishes and glass even after a dishwasher run and the scale buildup in the dishwasher are sure signs of the hard water problem.

Pelican NaturSoft FAILED for me. I do not recommend. I called Customer Service, but what are they really going to do for me after 2 and half years? Nothing at all. They did offer me a 30% discount on one of the Salt-based systems they do sell. But I will spend my money elsewhere, as there is absolutely no warranty applicable here anymore.

I learned from my mistake, so at least I paid my dues in learning this lesson. For hard water, I would go with a salt-based solution. If clean or low sodium water is a concern, then I will put is RO unit after the softner to pull the salt out of the water to get absolute clean water.

Answered 4 years ago by Guest_9485092


No! We spent a lot of money on this system believing all the hype on their website. Shortly after installing our water became much worse with dirt and grease-like substances in water. Pelican's answer was the gunk was from our pipes. We should have sent it back immediately. Water has very high mineral content which leaves water marks on everything and corrodes water heaters, humidifers, and anything that has a water tank. We also suffer from a greasy build up which must be cleaned from our Bosch dishwasher daily. Pelican says it is a chamical reaction to certain types of dishwashers. I wish we would never have seen the company!

Source: personal experience

Answered 4 years ago by zoemartin02


Ha I my been in the business for 40 years I could write a doctoral dissertation on the subject, but I'll be brief. Since the beginning of water softening someone has been trying to build a better mouse trap. Fact is true softening can only be accomplished with the ion exchange process. There have been many molecule alignment systems designed, from magnets to citrus to whatever pican uses, they don't soften water. These smoke

and mirrors systems have minimal effect at best at reducing visible scale. Scale which is caused by calcium and magnesium coming out

of solution form. Conventional softener=salt in your water, NOPE. Do you eat canned vegetable? More sodium in a can than 1gallon of softened water. Same with store bought sliced bread. The sodium is no longer combined with chloride since the chloride combined with calcium and magnesium and went down the drain. Slippery skin=soap curd gone, where's the problem. The point is if you want soft water talk to a reputable dealer and buy a quality ion exchange water softener anything else will not give you soft water.

Answered 3 years ago by 1plumr1


dont buy no filters from these guys. its hard to install takes hours the instructions are gery vague and hard to hnderstand and the water leaks out the bottom of the filter so you either have to buy a special seal for it or just keep cleaning up th water every time you need water . just buy a filter from somewhere else and save your time and money

Answered 2 years ago by gemini1234567

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