Which Salt is Best for Water Softeners?

If you’ve recently purchased a water softener or want to optimize the one you have, choosing the right kind of salt for your water softener is essential. Unfortunately, it can be hard to determine which type of salt you should use with the various options available.

Keeping salt in your salt-based water softener is a key component in the water softening process. Water softener systems use a brine solution when removing the hard minerals and regenerating the resin beads, which are sodium-charged. This leaves your water clean, fresh, and free of hard minerals.

If you’re using the wrong kind of salt, you may notice that your brine take needs additional cleaning, or you may see an increase in salt bridges. Of course, no one needs extra work, so before you head out to purchase your next bag of salt, we will explain to you the different types of salt options and the pros and cons of each.

Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride, better known as salt, is the go-to for most people because it is effective yet affordable. Here are some of the different options available for sodium chloride softener salt.

Rock Salt

Rock salt is mined from underground deposits that have built up over thousands of years. And while this is good news from a supply standpoint, it does lead to one of the disadvantages of using rock salt.


You can easily find rock salt in stores, and some water softener companies will deliver it to your home. It is also typically affordable.


Unless the rock salt comes from a pure mine, it is the least pure option for salt pellets. You will find that rock salt will contain other minerals that can clog your brine tank and form salt bridges.

Solar Salt

Solar salt is salt mined from the sea and then put through a manufacturing process. A pond is filled with seawater and exposed to sun and wind during the process. This causes the pond to become concentrated with salt, forming a solid block of salt crystals.


Sea salt is less expensive and is easier to find than other types of salt. In addition, its purity level is higher than rock salt, which can reduce the buildup of salt bridges.


Sea salt isn’t the cleanest choice available. Quality and purity vary, so finding the perfect sea salt for your softener can be challenging.

Potassium Chloride

Although potassium chloride pellets are also known as a “no-salt” alternative, they are, technically speaking, a type of salt. Potassium chloride is often used by food manufacturers as a sodium substitute since it tastes close to table salt.


People often turn to potassium chloride because they are worried that the sodium in sodium chloride pellets will affect their health. And while potassium chloride can be a good choice if you have a health condition that requires a strict reduction in sodium intake, the amount of sodium that your softener salt adds to your water is very minimal.


Technically, potassium chloride is more of a water conditioner instead of an actual water softener. Instead of removing the minerals from your water, it simply crystallizes it. It still prevents hard water scale from forming in your pipes, but it’s considered less effective than softening the water, which involves an ion swap.

It also costs more than other salt options. That means you are paying more for a less effective product.

Evaporated Salt Pellets

Evaporated salt pellets are approximately 99.9% pure salt. During this process, water is forced into underground salt deposits. After it is pumped back up, it is treated with heat and vacuum equipment.


Since it is so pure, it makes brine tank maintenance much more manageable. There is no mushy salt, and it’s not as likely to form salt bridges. As a result, your water softener will run more efficiently.


Due to its high purity level, evaporated salt can be much more costly than the other varieties. However, since it will help your water softener run smoother and more efficiently, you may find that the increased cost is worth it in the long run.

Need Help Choosing Softener Salt? We Can Help!

As you can see, you have plenty of options to choose from when refilling your brine tank. The more pure the salt is, the less likely you will experience grime buildup and salt bridges in your tank. If you still aren’t sure which salt to use, we can help!

At Independent Water Service, Inc., we’ll review your needs, the type of system you have, and other factors determining which kind of salt is best for you. We are an EcoWater dealer specializing in water softening, purification, filtration, and drinking water. 
Contact us today for a FREE water analysis!