GE vs Whirlpool water softeners? This review will compare control valves, salt indicator light, tank regeneration, salt storage capacity, salt sense technology, and filtering capacity of each of the best water softeners from both brands.
When it comes to valves utilizing high-flow technology and tanks with the best salt-saving technology, Whirlpool water softeners are among the best available.
The Whirlpool Company, headquartered in Michigan, has made the effort to produce different models with varying capacities.
That is also true for GE Appliances, a subsidiary of the Haier Group and a General Electric trademark. They make some of the most popular water softeners you will find on the market.
The Whirlpool 40,000 Grain Water Softener, 30,000 Grain Water Softener, and the 33,000 Grain Water Softener are the three models we found to be the best. As for GE Appliances, we will highlight the 31,100 Grain Water Softener, GE 30,000 Grain Standard Flow Softener, and GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener.
All of these Whirlpool and GE models are small combo units with no need for the separate salt tank that you’d see paired with most water softener designs.
As you digest each product review, watch out for pertinent information concerning the pricing, installation, distinct features, maintenance, and terms of warranty.
Based on these factors, we’ve chosen Whirlpool as the superior water softener maker between the two. Their 30,000 Grain Water Softener, especially, has all of the essential features you should look for in a softener at a very reasonable price.
But remember to go deeper than the surface of our suggestions to get better acquainted with what you’re buying. To help, we’ve included a buying guide that shows you all the important details you need to know when choosing between GE and Whirlpool water softeners and between the different models available.
We talk about what grains are and the role they play in individual water softeners in one of the sections below. We’ll also explain why salt is necessary in the water softening process and a water softener’s effect on water pressure.
We are confident that going through our buying guide will be a rewarding experience that will leave you more prepared to choose the best GE or Whirlpool water softener for your home.
HOW WE DID OUR TEST:
In a Rush? Here are our top products:
Top GE Water Softener
Best for General Use
Top Whirlpool Water Softener
Best for Large Homes
Top Choices on the Market
We encourage you to read through the full reviews we have prepared for the suggested models below, and while you’re at it, consider a number of other softeners that might be suitable for your needs.
And to get the best idea of what you need for your home, read the following buying guide.
How to Pick the Right One for Your Needs?
At the top of the list of factors you should consider when picking a water softener is how hard your water is and the maximum amount of water you use at a stretch during the day and in total throughout the day.
With that information, you can determine how fitting a water softener will be for your needs. Equally important is the decision on whether to invest in a more expensive model in order to save money on salt and water over the life of the softener or instead to buy a less expensive model to meet your present needs.
1. Determine the grain rating
Determining how hard your water is should come first when choosing your grain rating. Thankfully, doing so is a pretty straightforward task with the assistance of a water test kit. When you test your water, you will see the number of grains of minerals that are in each gallon of your water.
These grains are actually pieces of minerals, which have been proven to be a healthy addition to our diet. While that may be the case, neglecting to remove them from your water supply over time results in the obstruction of the flow of water in your pipes or the formation of colored spots on your dishes as they dry.
All softeners that use salt are assigned ratings depending on regeneration cycles and the number of mineral grains that they can filter out of your water between such cycles.
It is imperative that you understand what regeneration cycles are all about. Understanding the way salt-dependent water softeners work will help.
Every salt-using softener has three major components. Those most important parts are the resin tank, brine (or salt) tank, and the control head. The resin tank or tanks are filled with little beads that trapping mineral grains, such as magnesium and calcium, in the resin tank.
Did you know?
The control head monitors the amount of water flowing through the resin tank. They use the amount of water you have used as well as the hardness of your water to calculate when the resin tank has reached its filtering capacity.
Once it reaches capacity, the control head signals for the resin tank to empty as salt water is pumped into it.
Why salt water? Because salt water is needed to remove the mineral grains and carry them down the drain. Following that, fresh water rinses the remaining salt out of the resin tank.
What is a regeneration cycle? Simply put, it is the entire process from when the resin tank is emptied to when the salt is rinsed out. Subsequently, the resin keeps filtering out hard water grains, and the control valve resets its count.
Regeneration cycles are tied to grain capacity. Regeneration cycles are longer if the capacity of the resin tank is higher. Aside from that, it directly affects expenses. If you see fewer regeneration cycles, you are bound to spend less on water and salt.
Picture two families with four members each.
One family gets their water supply from a well while the other gets it from a city water system. Because a person uses 80 gallons on the average, a family of four would typically use 320 gallons per day for all of their needs: watering the lawn, laundry, bathing, dishes, cooking, and drinking.
The grain count conveyed by a city water system when evaluated using GPG is an average hardness of 15 grains per gallon. For people who get their water from a well, that figure is generally higher at approximately 40 grains per gallon. That is the national average with higher grain counts occurring in the western part of the country.
If both families used a Whirlpool model with a capacity of 44,000 grains, the family with well water would trigger a regeneration cycle every 3.44 days. The family with city water would see a longer cycle: every 9.17 days.
If it were a GE model with a capacity of 40,000 grains, the family with well water would trigger a regeneration cycle every 3.125 days. The family with city water would trigger a cycle every 8.3 days.
A higher grain rating can dramatically reduce regeneration cycles, conserving salt and water used for regeneration.
2. Pick the flow rate
Also, watch out for the flow rate of both GE and Whirlpool softeners - how many gallons of water it can supply per minute.
This is the measurement of how water flowing through your supply line slows down when it enters the softener to allow the softener to filter it. The softener effectively becomes a smaller section of pipe that the water needs to feeds through.
Without determining the maximum amount of water you normally use at a stretch daily, you won’t know if a softener’s flow rate will meet your needs.
Returning to the family of four, let’s assume that a husband, wife, and two teenagers all need to use the water in the morning. If done efficiently, 2 people might be taking a shower (2 gallons per minute each) while one begins doing the laundry (1.5 gallons per minute) and the fourth starts breakfast at the kitchen sink (1 gallon per minute). The family would need a minimum flow rate during that time of 7 gallons per minute.
Anything below 7 gallons per minute would cause a reduction in water pressure, and each person would notice a lower flow rate and lower pressure coming out of their faucet or fixture.
As a general rule, you should look for a water softener that can provide at least 2 gallons of water for each member of your family. A household of four should have a flow rate of approximately 8 gallons per minute, while a family of 5 should have 10 gallons per minute.
Of course, if you run a hot tub or pool or water your lawn with softened water, you’ll need to up your flow rate requirements to compensate for the extra use.
3. Take time to understand your level of hard water severity
A water softener will certainly go a long way in taking care of your hard water problems, but it might not solve all of your water issues. For instance, if you have city water, the water conditioned in most water softeners will still cause dryness of the hair and skin.
If you notice that being the case, you’ll want to buy a water filtering system that removes chlorine and minerals. It is true that chlorine and chloramines are needed for water treatment, but to get rid of the dryness, you will have to do away with them before they hit your shower.
Our family of four whose water comes from a well might start seeing orange or black stains from iron and manganese. They might notice a smell like rotten eggs from too much sulfur in their water. The solution would be for them to get a water softener or filter specially designed to remove these elements.
The need for a separate filter would also be unavoidable if, after testing your water, you see an abundance of pollutants, such as herbicides, pesticides, nitrates, viruses, or bacteria. All of these contaminants can travel through the groundwater into your well.
The bulk of water softeners on the market only filter mineral grains, removing calcium and magnesium. That means you are going to have to do something extra to handle the problems outlined above.
Extra filters would have to either be included in the tank or attached separately before or after it in the supply line. Chlorine, for instance, negatively affects the resin in a water softener’s tank and so installing a chlorine filter before the resin tank would remove the chlorine while preserving your resin.
6 Best Whirlpool vs GE Water Softener Reviews
Out of all the Whirlpool and GE water softeners you can buy, we’ve found these to be the best. We’re presenting them here in order of our favorites.
They’re all combo units, so you’ll notice many similarities. But be sure to read about each one to find out why we chose it and to get an idea of which one will work best for your home.
1. Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener
Good for up to 4 people, 1 yr parts and labor warranty
Whirlpool offers dual brine and resin tanks in water softeners like the Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener. Two to three people in homes, offices, and shops with relatively moderate needs could use this with no problems. Its control valve monitors the amount of water you use and regenerates the resin tank as necessary to conserve salt while always being able to provide soft water.
When the salt (brine) compartment is depleted, the low-salt indicator light will let you know it is time to refill it. Businesses or homes with a city water supply will love this low-grain capacity water softener.
It’s easy to install and won’t give you any maintenance problems.
You’ll enjoy a 3-year warranty on the controls and a 10-year warranty on the tank. It’s the smallest Whirlpool on our list and also our most highly recommended model due to its high performance and value.
2. GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener
Good for up to 4 people, with resin and salt tank
Second on the list is the GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener. For a small family of two to four people, this is a great choice. Its tank features both a resin and a salt tank.
This 2-in-1 tank is accompanied by an on-demand feed for salt during regeneration. An electronic control head measures your home’s water usage and then feeds salt from the brine compartment into the resin tank to regenerate it when it reaches filtering capacity.
The number “40,000” refers to its filtering capacity between each regeneration cycle, which is relatively low, compared to other salt-using water softeners, but on the high side for single-tank units.
It is also equipped with a built-in filter to remove sediment in homes that have well water. The low-salt warning alert beeps when the brine compartment is empty, so you’ll never miss a refill.
With a flow rate of 9.5 gallons per minute, the GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener easily meets the needs of families with up to 5 people. It’s easy to install and comes with all the fittings you’ll need to tie it into your home’s plumbing system.
GE backs this model with a warranty of 3 years on the control head and 10 years on the combo tank.
3. GE 30,000 Grain Standard Flow
Least expensive; resin and salt tank design
We think the GE 30,000 Grain Standard Flow Softener is a good option as well. It’s the least expensive GE model you can buy. The dual resin and salt tank design is also a feature of this model.
Another similarity is the top compartment that automatically deposits salt into the lower resin tank regeneration. This water softener also possesses a control head capable of monitoring your water usage so that it only deposits the salt and starts the regeneration cycle when the resin tank requires it.
The product’s name clearly indicates that you will be getting a water softener with a low filtering capacity of 30,000 grains between the regeneration cycles. When the brine compartment gets depleted, a beeper alerts you to the need for a refill.
The GE 30,000 Grain Water Softener has a regeneration interval cycle that is much shorter than the 40,000 model, but considering the price, it might be a better buy for smaller homes or families.
It comes backed by a limited 1-year warranty for the control head and a warranty of 10 years on the brine and resin tank.
4. Whirlpool 40,000 Grain
Medium to large-sized homes with up to 5 people
The dual resin and salt tank is similarly featured on the Whirlpool 40,000 Grain Water Softener. Again, as far as capacity goes, one to four people in offices and shops with relatively moderate needs could benefit from this option. This softener likewise has demand-initiated regeneration. It allows the equipment to use 25% less salt than previous models. This enhances its capability to provide soft water.
This softener also features the stellar salt saving 6th-sense technology, which assists you in minimizing both the amount of salt and the amount of water you use automatically to a quite significant extent. It does this by calculating the salt requirement for cleaning its media bed and using only what is necessary.
It features a full coverage warranty.
5. WHESFC Pro Series
Good for 1 to 5 Persons
The resin and brine tank combination is also featured in the Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series Water Softener. One to four people in offices and shops with relatively moderate needs could very well consider this option. Demand-initiated regeneration is one of many impressive features.
Equally impressive is the softener’s salt-saving 6th-sense technology, which helps it to save salt and the amount of water it uses automatically to a quite significant extent. It achieves this by determining the salt requirement for cleaning its media bed and using only what is necessary.
Whirlpool guarantees it with a full coverage warranty.
6. GE 31,100 Grain and Filter
With Filter, brine and resin tank
In contrast to the 30,000 grain unit, the GE 31,100 Grain Water Softener and Filter costs more money than the previously reviewed softeners. It’s pricy because the model is equipped with its very own filter, which is a nice addition to the brine and resin tank. The dual tank is similar to the ones we’ve described above: on-demand salt-feed for regeneration and the automatic control head.
For homes with water supply from a well, there is also a great self-cleaning sediment filter, which does a good job of protecting your plumbing installations. Other notable features include the 230 pound- salt storage capacity and the flow rate of 22.2 gallons per minute.
As for warranty, it has a limited 1-year entire appliance warranty, a limited 10-year resin and salt tank warranty, and a limited 3-year electronic monitor warranty.
Every single one of the models we reviewed will benefit you immensely. Some of them featured automatic control heads while others featured high-flow valves. Some featured salt-saving technology while others didn’t. We also saw low salt lights and low salt beepers.
At the end of the day, the decision you are faced with is choosing the best water softener for your particular needs, so we hope this guide simplifies your decision. The GE 40,000 Grain Water Softener and the Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener are our favorites on the list.
Out of the two, we’re recommending the Whirlpool 30,000 Grain Water Softener as the best deal. Here’s why:
- Best value for the grain capacity
- High flow rate for larger families
- Features demand-initiated regeneration technology
- Full coverage warranties
- Single tank, space-saving design
- Salt-saving 6th-sense technology
- Salt storage capacity of 200 pounds
- Long lifespan, 25+ years
- No maintenance needed for the life of the softener
You should also read our comparison of Fleck and GE.
About the Author
George Simms is a Salt Lake City based plumber and contractor, with a focus on aiding homes and businesses (particularly farm) solve problems with hard and contaminated water. Walter is here to share his wealth of job experience and a knowledge of both modern and antique plumbing.
Last Updated on May 6, 2021