Frozen water stream from a tap

Pelican Water Softener System Reviews (NaturSoft Salt-Free)

Salt-free water softeners are a much more hassle-free choice than regular salt-based water softeners. They require much less maintenance, produce less wastewater, are more environmentally friendly, and are all around a great option for your home. They take care of your water hardness problem, a type of water that can harm your pipes and your water-based appliances (dishwashers, washing machines, or showerheads) through hard water scale. Scale buildup can cause your water lines to be blocked and more easily corroded. A softening system prevents this.

Hard water can also harm your skin and hair. It can make your skin drier and more irritable and it can make your hair greasy faster and less shiny. Finally, hard water can also interfere with your dishwashing – it might cause your soap to not lather on properly, and make it so there are white spots left on your glassware after you are done washing them.

If you’re considering a Pelican Water Softener System for your home, this guide is for you. 

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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Overview
Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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What Are The Benefits Of The Pelican NaturSoft Water Softener Systems?

There are two products we will be listing in this review due to their similarities. They are the Pelican NaturSoft NS3 and the NaturSoft NS6. Really, the only difference between these two products is their water flow rate, which makes it so that one is more recommended for larger homes with lots of peoples and lots of faucets.

The Pelican NaturSoft NS3 is the smaller version that has a maximum water flow rate of 10 gallons per minute. This is recommended for families of up to 5 or 6 people. The Pelican NaturSoft NS6 has a maximum water flow rate of 15 gallons per minute (GPM), so it has a 50 percent increase over the NS3. This salt-free water softener is recommended to households of up to 7 or 8 people.

In fact, according to the manufacturer, this product can serve homes that have 4 to 6 bathrooms. This means that depending on the size of your home, you will choose one or the other. If you have a smaller home that even the NS3 is too much for, then you might want to look for smaller, more budget-friendly options that will fit the size of your home properly. Both these products are available on Amazon.

Since saltless water softeners go through a different process in order to soften water, it is important to note that your home water must meet certain requirements that will make sure the product is able to complete the process smoothly. They are:

  • Your water should not contain hydrogen sulfide, since hydrogen sulfide can coat the catalytic media and interfere with the softening process
  • Your water should not contain hydrocarbons, oils, and lubricants since they also coat the catalytic media and interfere with the softening process
  • Your water should have a maximum phosphate concentration of 1 ppm since too much phosphate can stop the calcium crystals from forming
  • Your water should contain a maximum copper concentration of 1.3 ppm since too much copper can also stop the formation of calcium crystals
  • The minimum required working pressure is 25 psi
  • The maximum required working pressure is 80 psi

Now onto the benefits of both these systems and the actual product review:

They Are Extremely Effective

Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener

Both these products are certified to be 99.6 percent effective. Salt-free water softeners can sometimes get a bad rep for being less effective than salt-based softeners, but these Pelican products have been proven to significantly lower scaling.

They Are Suitable For a Low Sodium Diet

Unlike salt-based softeners, these products require no salt in order to work. This means that no salt is added to your drinking water, so if you are looking to cut down on salt in your diet to prevent stomach cancer and high blood pressure-related issues, then these products would be a great choice.

They Are WQA Certified

Both these Pelican water softeners are WQA certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for material safety and Standard 42 for structural integrity. The Water Quality Association (WQA) is a trade association representing the residential, commercial, industrial, and small community water treatment industry in the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering, and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products in the United States.

They Produce No Wastewater

Salt-based water softeners often produce a significant amount of wastewater. Both these saltless water softener products produce absolutely none, saving you time since you will not have to dump it out and clean the reservoir.

They Require Little Maintenance

With either the NaturSoft NS3 or the NaturSoft NS6, you will not have to worry about maintenance. Without the need to constantly refill the product with salt in order to make it work all you really need to do is change the sediment pre-filter every 6 to 9 months. There is a full explanation of how to do this below.

They Are Very Easy To Install

Both these water softeners are extremely easy to install and do not require a professional plumber to do it. This will also save you money. There is a full explanation of how the installation process works in the next section of this article.

They Will Save You Money on Electricity

Because these salt-free systems do not run on electricity as salt-based water softeners do, they will save you money on your electric bill. At the same time, they will also help the environment.

They Have a Limited Lifetime Warranty

You can expect the manufacturer to help you out for the entirety of the product’s lifetime with their limited lifetime warranty offer.

Overview
Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Overview
Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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How Do You Install These Water Softener Systems?

Both the Pelican NaturSoft Salt-Free Water Softener NS3 and the Pelican NaturSoft Salt-Free Water SofteneR NS6 are very easy to install. Even if you do not have the proper plumbing skills, you should still be able to install a NaturSoft water softener alternative yourself. The instructions are very easy to follow, so you should be able to get through the installation process in one afternoon.

If you are really not confident in your skills, then you can get a professional to do it for you. Regardless, we have included this section to help you get them up and running in your home if you choose to purchase either one of these systems. You should also check your local plumbing codes so you can make sure you are in compliance with your local laws.

You will need to be familiar with the product parts for a successful installation process. You should also note that the Pelican single-tank installation kit is not actually included and has to be purchased separately and at an extra cost. Here is what you will receive when you purchase either the NaturSoft NS3 or the NaturSoft NS6:

  • A sediment pre-filter housing (blue housing)
  • The mounting kit
  • A 5-micron poly-spun sediment pre-filter cartridge
  • A sediment filter wrench
  • A bypass valve
  • The salt-free water conditioner
  • A 1″ plastic male NPT assembly

When installing either of these water softener systems, you should start by assembling the sediment pre-filter unit. Here is how you do it:

  • Remove the blue filter housing
  • Remove the plastic cover from the filter cartridge
  • Insert the cartridge into the filter housing and set it aside

Next, you will want to install the pre-filter. This is how you do this:

  • Close your main water supply valve
  • Attach the filter cover to the mounting bracket which is included in your package
  • Mount this bracket to a wall
  • Screw the blue filter housing back on – you can use the filter wrench to tighten it, which is included in your package also

Next, it is time to hook up the conditioner. This is how you would do this part:

  • Push the bypass valve into the head of the conditioner and hand tighten it
  • You must make sure that the unthreaded ends must be oriented towards the tank
  • Put the tank in place
  • You need to make sure that it is level otherwise it might malfunction
  • Install the fittings into the inlet and outlet ports of the bypass valve (the instructions manual should have a diagram for this part)
  • Connect the incoming water supply from the sediment filter to the bypass valve inlet
  • Connect the outgoing water supply to the bypass valve outlet

After you have hooked up the conditioner, you can pre-soak the catalytic media like this:

  • Open a cold soft water outlet
  • Open the main water supply valve
  • Let the system fill with water
  • You should note that all remaining air will be released
  • You should also check for leaks
  • Set the system into bypass mode
  • Let the media soak for at least one hour
  • Close the bypass valve

Now you will have to flush the system, so you will need to open multiple water outlets for at least 5 minutes. You should make sure you have a flow rate of at least 5 gallons per minute. Only then can you close all outlets but one and rinse the system for another 60 minutes. After all of these steps are done, you are finished with the installation process.

A water heater being repaired with a wrench.

Proper installation and routine maintenance of your water softener can increase its lifespan.

How Do You Do Maintenance On These Water Softener System?

Doing proper and consistent maintenance on your water treatment products is very important and can really expand the lifespan of not only your water softener but any other type of water-based product you might have (water filter, water heater). With either the NaturSoft NS3 and the NaturSoft NS6, the maintenance process mainly consists of changing the sediment pre-filter every 6 to 9 months, obviously depending on the amount of sediment present in your water supply.

You can find that out by calling your local water authorities or having it tested by a professional if you would like. You should also be able to tell that it is time for a replacement when you notice a dip in your water pressure. In order to replace your sediment pre-filter, you will have to follow these steps.

  • Turn off your water supply
  • Relieve the pressure by opening a cold water faucet
  • Unscrew the blue filter housing
  • Remove the filter cartridge
  • Check the O-ring, so you can make sure the seal is still on properly and that the element is lubricated
  • If it is not lubricated you can lubricate it with silicone grease
  • Insert a new sediment filter cartridge into the housing
  • Screw the housing back on
  • You should make sure to carefully tighten with the filter wrench
  • Turn the water supply back
  • You should also check for leaks
Overview
Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Overview
Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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What Are Salt-Free Water Softeners?

Salt-free water softeners take care of your hard water in a different way to regular salt-based water softeners. As the name suggests, they do not use salt in this process, and instead, use a crystalization method that prevents the hard minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) from sticking to your pipes and flushes them out.

This means that you still get these minerals in your water, they just cannot harm you or your appliances. This is a good thing since there is evidence that both calcium and magnesium in drinking water can protect you against gastric, colon, rectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Moreover, they seem to have a protective role against atherosclerosis in children and teens.

Also, magnesium may help protect you against esophageal and ovarian cancer. This article on Better You perfectly illustrates why these minerals are good for your health if you would like to read more on the subject. Regardless, we will leave you with a detailed list of all of the health benefits both these minerals bring you outside of protecting you against several different types of cancer:

Calcium:

  • Aids in normal energy-yielding metabolism
  • Aids in normal muscle function
  • Promotes electrolyte balance
  • Aids in the normal functioning of the nervous system
  • Aids in normal protein synthesis

Magnesium:

  • Helps muscle function
  • Prevents blood clotting
  • Promotes neurotransmission (nerve cells passing signals to each other)
  • Aids in digestive enzyme function

In case you choose to go with a different type of water softener instead and decide you would like to install a water treatment system (such as a water filtration system for harmful water contaminants), we will also leave you with a list of different food sources so you can still get these minerals in your diet:

Calcium:

  • Milk (including soy milk)
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Nuts (such as pistachio, almonds, hazelnuts)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach and kale
  • Turnips
  • Tofu
  • Many fortified breakfast cereals

Magnesium:

  • Brown rice
  • Seafood
  • Dark green vegetables (such as spinach)
  • Legumes (such as lentils, split peas, tofu)
  • Beans (such as black, kidney, edamame)
  • Nuts (such as almonds, cashews, brazil nuts)
  • Seeds (such as sunflower, sesame, pumpkin)
  • Buckwheat
  • Wholegrain cereals
No salt written in salt with a black background.

Instead of removing the minerals from hard water, salt-free water softeners transform them chemically.

How Do Salt-Free Water Softeners Work?

Salt-free water softeners work very differently from salt-based water softeners. They work so differently, in fact, that they cannot really be called water softeners, as they most closely resemble water conditioners. Regular salt-based water softeners use a process called an ion exchange process that fully removes calcium and magnesium.

They use a polymer resin bed that attracts these hard water minerals and replaces them with sodium ions, meaning that you can no longer find these minerals in your water by the time the process is done. This is the true meaning of water softening when the hard water minerals are completely removed from your water.

The way a salt-free water softener works is that instead of softening water, they condition it by using a special type of catalytic media that attracts and binds with calcium and magnesium, turning them into calcium carbonate crystals. These have different characteristics to that of regular calcium and magnesium, so they are unable to attach to your pipes.

This reduces scaling and helps our pipes and water-based appliances last longer. These minerals are then released back into your water, so you can still get their health benefits in your drinking water. You can also read about scaling and how it happens.

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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Pelican Salt-Free Water Softener Alternative & Conditioner (1-3 Bathrooms)
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Joshua Perkins

Joshua spent ten years as a water systems technician in California before settling down with his wife and two young children in Nashville in 2018. Through all of his experience, he learned the benefits and shortfalls of so many different types of water filtration systems, from pitchers to whole-house installations. He started Water Filter Authority in 2019 to empower other families to make the right decision for their long-term health and wellness.