Water Softener Pricing,
Can It Be Explained?
While shopping for a water softener you may find that water softener pricing is hard to understand. Don't feel bad, I've been doing this a long time and I have a hard time understanding some of the prices I've seen too.
There is at least a little logic to the pricing in our industry, I'll do the best I can to explain it.
Comparing water softener prices isn't as simple as comparing car prices. No one would be surprised to find that a German-engineered luxury sports car would cost maybe 10 times as much as a Korean economy car. It's easy for the average person to see the difference in the two. Unless you know a lot about softeners it's not easy to see what makes one worth 3 or 4 times as much as another.
There are a few brands of water softeners built mainly for low price; these softeners are usually found in retail stores. It's ironic that people buy these low-priced systems from a store that doesn't even employ a water softener repair person. They end up with a system that requires far more maintenance and repairs but they don't have anyone to help them. While people that buy from a water treatment dealership will get a better, more maintenance-free product AND service after the sale.
The few dollars difference from the retail store to the water treatment company should (in most cases) guarantee you better service and a significant improvement in the quality of the product. At least you'll be dealing with someone who works in the industry as opposed to someone who works half their time in the paint department.
If you've made the decision to shop with a water treatment company you may realize that some companies are affiliated with a brand name product while some are independent. The leading manufacturers in the water treatment industry are: Culligan©, Ecowater©, Kinetico©, Rainsoft©, and Hague©. These companies compete with each other in providing the best products in our industry. By best I mean, highest efficiency ratings, longer warranty periods, and fewer repairs.
You'll usually pay a little more for a system with a brand name on it. You SHOULD receive the best products and service from these companies, but there are many exceptions. Before you get hung up on a brand name you better make sure that you're comfortable with the local dealer; that's who you'll be dealing with for the life of the equipment.
The big manufacturers will usually assign one dealer to a territory. If you buy a product from that dealer and then find out you don't like the way they do business, you may be out of luck. Only that dealer has access to the parts you may need in the future, you can't get them from his competitors. That's one of the advantages of the independent products; there are no exclusive rights, so almost any company can carry the parts that you may need. In fact, many of those parts are available online.
Unfortunately, any time you purchase a water treatment system there is a little gambling involved; there is no One Sure Thing. With the information provided on this site you'll be able to tip the odds in your favor and save yourself a lot of money and aggravation in the buying process.
What method will you use to pick the right system for your home?
If you do enough shopping you'll find residential water softeners priced from around $500.00 to nearly $5000.00. You'll find that the best systems will usually be over the $2000.00 point, but in my opinion, once the prices start going over $3000.00 you should be a little suspicious. Some are valid prices for quality products but others are just over-priced. If a $3000.00 water softener doesn't have one of the five brand names I mentioned above, then it is probably one of the lower quality systems being sold by an unscrupulous company.
I realize that water softener prices will vary somewhat from one market to the next and I've taken that into consideration when mentioning what a water softener should cost.
When comparing systems and considering prices, think about what you really need. Do you need a 10 year warranty or will you likely move to another home in the next five years? Can you get the quality you need and pay cash for it, or will you sign a finance contract with high interest rates? Whatever you do, take some time and think it over. Don't be pushed into signing a contract on a deal that is only good while the salesman is in your home.
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