Water Softener vs Water Purifier – What Is The Difference?

Whether you need to wash clothes, enjoy a hot cup of tea or clean your utensils, you cannot ignore the need for safe and clean water. However, the supply of clean and safe water is a scarcity.

Most water supplied to our households contains contaminants, microorganisms, and minerals. Moreover, there is an excessive supply of hard water in several places, which leaves tough stains on your clothes and damages the appliances.

We have water purifiers and softeners at our disposal to deal with hard and contaminated water. If you are confused between the two, looking at this article will help ease your confusion. 

 What is a water softener?

A water softener is a water purification system that removes minerals that cause hardness in water. A water softener removes hardness-causing elements such as magnesium and calcium minerals from the water through the process of ion exchange.

Hard water adversely impacts our household machinery, such as geysers, washing machines, and dishwashers. The minerals in hard water result in a scaly build-up, which reduces the lifespan of these machineries.

A water softener is of utmost importance to avert the negative implications of hard water. When water passes through a water softener, the filtration system filters out the hard water elements, thus effectively removing the hardness of the water. 

 What is a water purifier?

A water purifier is a multi-stage water purification system. It comprises several filters which filter suspended particles, microbes, excess salt, etc., from the water. A water purifier involves a two-step purification system, such as primary and secondary processes.

The primary process involves physical filtration, while the secondary process involves chemical filtration. Physical filtration removes physical contaminants such as sand, dirt, etc.

At the same time, the chemical filtration process removes impurities that are invisible to the naked human eye, such as bacteria, viruses, and other chemical impurities such as heavy metals, chlorine, pesticides, and other dissolved solids. 

What is the difference between a water softener and a water purifier?

While both water softeners and water purifiers enhance the water’s favour, they each serve a specific purpose when it comes to differentiation. Even though hard water contains several minerals, it is not bad for health. But the high mineral contents in hard water negatively impact skin, hair, and appliances.

The leading purpose of a water softener is not to remove the contaminants but to deal with the hardiness of water. Water softener aids prevent the mineral scale build-up in the machinery and the plumping system. A water softener facilitates ion exchange, replacing calcium and magnesium with sodium ions. In normal words, as the name suggests, a water softener is only meant to soften hard water. It is not effective in removing water contaminants. 

While on the other hand, a water purifier is built exclusively for purifying water of all its contaminants. Water that gets supplies to our household consists of several minerals, salts, and contaminants that can adversely impact our health.

A water purifier comprises several layers of filtration, which removes salts, contaminants, and chemicals from water, making it safe for consumption. There exist various types of water purifiers, such as RO, UF, and UV, and you can choose one per your requirements. 

When do you need a water softener?

 The primary work of a water softener is to remove excess mineral contents from the water, thus removing its hardiness. The need for water softener arises in the following situations:

  • There is an increased limescale build-up on your bathroom and kitchen taps and faucets. 
  • You wish to make water fit for cleaning utensils, washing clothes, and bathing 
  • You want to avoid damages caused to your appliances such as geyser, dishwasher, and washing machine

In short, a water softener is required to tackle the hardiness of water caused due to an excess accumulation of calcium and magnesium. 

When do you need a water purifier?

 A water purifier is required if the water supplied to your household is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. A water purifier involves several purification stages and various types of membranes and filters. The multi-level filters effectively remove all visible and invisible impurities, thus providing you with clean and purified drinking water. 


 The need for a water purifier or water softener depends upon the nature and kind of problems you face. If you are tired of irritated skin, brittle and dry hair and excessive build-up on taps and appliances, then only a water softener can help ease your work.

A water softener results in ion exchange between calcium and magnesium with sodium ions, which turns hard water into soft.

But if you have concerns regarding the safety of your drinking water, then a water purifier is the best option. Water purifiers consist of multiple levels of filtration system, which completely purifies water of all its impurities, making it fit for consumption. 

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