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Water Softener Rental vs Buying

By: David Trinh
Last Updated:
water softener rentals

For many people, purchasing a water softener is one of their most significant investments.

These systems are necessary for testing and the treatment of hard water in your area.

However, if homeowners need one and don’t have the funds, then a water softener rental might be the best solution. That way, there isn’t any upfront cost when you want to reap the benefits of this system.

That leads many to wonder if renting is the best option for them.

For those who are still on the fence regarding buying or renting a water softener, we can help you decide if this is the best choice.

What to Consider About Buying vs Renting

Before deciding if a water softener rental is the best option, consider the following regarding renting vs buying:

  • How much are you able to afford to spend on a water softening system? Money is a critical factor when you’re choosing between renting or buying a water softener. Ultimately, you’re determining if you can afford to purchase this system outright.
  • Are you currently a homeowner or a tenant? If you’re currently a renter, your landlord might not allow you to install a water softening unit. Getting the system up and running requires cutting into the main water line. Discuss your hard water concerns with your landlord before you go any further.
  • Do you need the water softener for long term use or a short period of time? How long you’re going to stay at your current residence plays a significant role in deciding if you should get a rental or buy a new system. For example, if you know you’re going to relocate in a year, renting might be the best option.
  • Is there enough space available for this water treatment system in your home? In addition to being easily accessible to the home’s main water line, there must be an easy way to eliminate wastewater. If you don’t have space, then purchasing isn’t advisable.

Water Softener Monthly Rental Cost

Water Softeners

When researching the price of renting a water softener, the first thing you’re going to notice is that rental rates vary from company to company. These prices also vary depending on the model you select. So, be sure to spend a little bit more time looking at which models are available to rent and which might be a good option for a rent to own plan.

However, it’s still possible to get a ballpark figure. For example, if you decide to choose a system from Culligan, their rentals start at $25 per month. You can also find water softener rentals from Water Doctor Plus starting at $9.95 per month for the first 90 days (it’s $29.95 after that).

Rent-to-own plans give potential buyers the option to “try it before you buy it” for a water softening system. You can find plans like these through companies like Culligan and Passaic Bergen Water Softening.

Benefits of Renting

Renting a water softener has many benefits, especially if you have hard water and want to prevent it from damaging your appliances. Renting is also advisable for those who aren’t sure they’re ready to make this kind of financial commitment.

If it isn’t a good time financially for you to purchase a new system, consider the following benefits of rental water softeners:

  • If you’re moving within a short period of time
  • If a water softener is too expensive for your current budget
  • If there are new water regulations in your local area
  • If you need a system where maintenance, service, and repairs are covered
  • Before committing, you can decide if this is the kind of system you want to keep
  • If you can no longer afford to use or maintain the unit, you can return it to the company

Downsides of Renting

Just like there are many benefits to rent a water softener, there are also some downsides. Even though it might seem like a better option because you’re paying a low monthly fee, there are drawbacks to this option. Consider the following rental water softener downsides before making your decision:

  • It’s more cost-effective to buy a system than when you rent water softener in the long run.
  • A water softener rental still requires coverage for some maintenance and repair costs
  • When you rent, that could lead to issues if you receive a used unit
  • There’s a limited choice of water softeners
  • If the unit breaks down, the company might find you responsible and require you to pay the associated costs
  • Even though you don’t own this system, you might still be responsible for installation costs

Water Softener Purchase Cost

Just like when deciding if it’s best to rent a system, there are also varying costs regarding buying a new water softener. For example, an ion-exchanger that uses salt to solve hard water issues range between $400 and $1,000 for a basic system. Installing this system ranges between $100 and $500 depending on the equipment used and if new water piping is needed.

If you live in a larger home, those units range can cost up to $2,500, including installation. However, depending on the options you choose, these systems can also cost up to $10,000. If you want a less expensive model, then you’ll have to work on recharging the brine periodically.

Benefits of Buying

Over a short period of time, it’s more cost-effective to purchase a water softener. While you can opt for a long term rental to solve your hard water issues, you might not save as much money. Here are some benefits to buying a water softener:

  • Once you pay off the unit during the initial purchase, you own the softener
  • You can spend time picking out the right model
  • In addition to benefiting your health, water softeners add value to your home
  • A purchase includes guarantees and warranties when submitting your name email and other contact information
  • You can also opt to buy a less expensive model
  • Some companies offer free installation, next day delivery, and free salt delivery

Downsides of Buying

Even though solving your hard water issues is a priority, there are still some downsides to buying compared to renting. For example, a rental features low monthly payments, and a purchase requires a lump sum. Here are a few drawbacks that you should consider before making a buying decision:

  • If you’re living in your house for less than six months, then you may benefit from a rental
  • Keeping your home free of hard water comes with maintenance and repair costs
  • If anything goes wrong, it isn’t easy to uninstall the system for a refund or exchange
  • You’re making a long term commitment to this system so, if you don’t like something about it, you don’t have a lot of other options

What is Rent to Own?

People use a rent to own plans for a variety of reasons. For those who don’t want to or don’t have enough money to buy a water softener, this type of plan is an ideal solution. Rent to own means you’re using a water softener without paying a significant amount of money upfront.

Renting to own requires you to sign a contract with your name email and other contact information stating that you don’t own the system until it’s paid off completely. If you miss payments, that agreement stipulates that the company can pick up the unit and charge you a late fee. Owning the system requires on-time payments for the duration of the plan.

Remember that, if you’re considering choosing this type of plan, it might come at a higher cost. However, some rental companies have special programs whereby they reimburse customers for rental fees if a purchasing decision is made. Your best option is to make a phone call to the dealer to see if this is an option. 

Our Final Verdict

Before making a buying decision, spend some time looking at the unit’s quality and lifespan. Please take into consideration how often you’re using water for washing dishes and clothes, as well as during showers. In addition to ensuring the unit is going to provide years of filtration for your family, it also needs to last.

Factors that you should consider when researching if you should get a rental or buy one outright include costs, if you’re living in an apartment, if you plan to move, have enough space, and plan to use the system. Often, purchasing these systems means you submit your name, email address, zip code, and other contact information on a form available on a dealer website to receive guarantees and warranties.

If you can afford it, buying is better than renting. You’ll find this reality is especially true if you’re living in an apartment or home for longer than six months time.

 See our best water softeners for iron removal & hardness-causing minerals here.

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AUTHOR
David Trinh
David is an expert in all things plumbing, heating, cooling, and water treatment. He got his start in the plumbing business working on fixing all types of home improvement issues including water leaks, broken toilets, appliance installation, and more. Over time, he learned a ton about installing and choosing the correct water treatment products for homeowners. He nows spends part of his time servicing local clients and part of his time educating consumers about water treatment and other household appliances.