Renting a Water Softener vs Buying a Water Softener - What's Better?

Renting a Water Softener vs Buying a Water Softener – What’s Better?

Find out about water softener installation costs and how-to on this page.

Hard water can prove problematic to homeowners for a number of reasons.

Not only does hard water decrease the life of washing machine rent vs buy and water heaters it can also have effect on your purse strings with increased energy bills and maintenance often proving costly. The solution to these issues is to obtain a water softener. However, despite their widespread availability, they can often prove to be confusing. As well as the option to buying a water softener, many dealers now have lucrative offers for renting.

So the question is, should you buy or rent?

The easy answer is that there are so many variables to consider that there is no one fits all solution. The only thing for certain is that in the majority of cases where hard water is an issue, a water softener is required. This seems like a no brainer: using a water softener has many benefits, but the decision whether to rent or buy is less simple.

Such factors to take into consideration include: type of property; planned tenure; size and number of occupants.

Why Rent?

Renting is often considered a short-term solution to an individual’s hard water problems. If you are undecided about the length of your tenure in your current property then rental seems like a preferable solution. There is very low commitment associated with rental because the individual can opt out at any point. This also means that if local laws were to change that stopped the ability to have one of these appliances, you would not lose money- instead you could just opt out of your rental agreement.

The biggest factor for people choosing to rent is the financial side. To most people, this one time fee is daunting and without the relevant knowledge of which to buy, many people can pay too much for the system. By breaking the payments down into a monthly pay plan (rental), the one time fee is eradicated. Many companies offer introductory offers of lower payments to entice new customers, so with the relevant research a bargain could be had.

Maintenance costs are calculated on an individual basis, depending on the company. However, many companies charge a fee for installation and some do not offer it at all. This means that a one-time fee is required. This is in addition to the salt that will be needed for the device to work. However, it is possible to find plans where installation is included, although the monthly cost is usually higher with these types of plans.

In terms of other maintenance costs, your rental supplier usually covers these. Effectively, if something happens to the rental it is not your responsibility because it is not your equipment. Within the rental agreement, many companies will include free maintenance and component replacement with call outs available.

Why Buy?

Although the start up fees can prove to put a lot of people off, basic mathematics tells you that it is less expensive over a long period of time. In fact, the longer the appliance is installed the more cost effective it becomes. Effectively this type of appliance pays for itself over time, with the money saved.

The flip side of this is that you own the appliance. This means that if something were to go wrong, it would be your responsibility. This can prove costly in maintenance and replacement costs. However, many companies provide a warranty, which covers the event of break down. With everything, it is vital that the appropriate research is conducted to find out the best supplier and the subsequent benefits. Although buying a cheap water softener may seem tempting, paying slightly extra for more benefits and a system that will stand the test of time is almost always recommended.

Many companies realize that this is a large investment for a homeowner and so provide bundled packages that include such perks as free installation or free salt delivery to your door. Again, these things can prove to save a lot of money over a period of time, but are less attractive if being used as a short-term solution. Financing can also be provided to help cover the cost of the unit.

Unlike renting, because you are buying the appliance, you have a wide array of softeners to choose from. Often when you rent, the equipment is second hand and thus does not include the most advanced technology and requires more frequent repairs. This could cost you money, instead of saving. This is not a problem with buying because you have complete free reigns over what you are buying.

Buying a water softener can also have long-term benefits to your property by adding equity. A home with a water softener, in an area with hard water problems, is a much more attractive package than the buyer having to source their own on top of buying a property. It can provide a selling point as well as increased equity to a property.

There is always the choice to buy a smaller, inexpensive shower head water softener if you're renting or if you don't have the money for a whole house system.

Which is best?

There is no answer to this question. In its most basic form, the answer could lie in whether you are looking for a long term or short-term solution. But many other factors should be considered. To suggest that one is superior to the other would inaccurate.

However, any decision should be based upon extensive research and a professional opinion where possible.

Another question to consider is, do I need a salt-based or salt-free system? which you can read more about here.


If you have decided to buy a water softening system, visit this page for a list of the top performing water softeners and reviews of each.


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