Scalewatcher Small Wonder Hard Water Treatment Unit Review

Scalewatcher Small Wonder Hard Water Treatment Unit

Water softeners come in all shapes, sizes and types for your home and your RV. With this particular home water softener, a new technology which is still in the maturation stage is used that involves using a water softener that plugs into a wall outlet and wrapping some wire coils around a pipe.

This new technology can be used without the aid of salt, and therefore there is also no regeneration to worry about. The lack of having to buy bags of salt is one thing, but not having to deal with complicated regeneration guidelines really puts it over the edge in terms of customer satisfaction.

Since it is a newer technology, they are constantly improving it, but the Scalewatcher Small Wonder hard water treatment unit is a very legit water softener alternative that is easy to use, and at a low cost.

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Scalewatcher Small Wonder Hard Water Treatment Unit Review

Brand Notoriety

Marketed as the original, patented electronic water conditioner, Scalewatcher is a company that has actually been in operation more than 25 years ago. The technology was patented in the Netherlands, and soon after popularity with the product grew it into a worldwide business for water softener alternatives.

With hardly any added energy costs at all, their unit can treat hard water without chemical additives or opening the pipe. Products by the company are manufactured in Thailand, Vietnam, Europe and USA. The website even has a downloadable brochure which goes into detail describing how the electronic process works and how it is different from using a traditional salt water softener.

It shows the benefits and also lists how environmentally friendly the Scalewatcher is compared to other products. There is no chat or email option for regular customer support, but there are numbers listed for potential buyers to call for information. This is a solid company that has many reviews both personal and professional to back their claims up, but there are no noticeable comparisons like some other water softeners offer.

Customer support is pretty helpful, but there is a bit of a long wait even when calling about general inquiries.

Best Features

If living in a rather large house, not having to carry a bag of salt down to the water softener is a big plus. The lack of a regeneration cycle means there is no downtime to worry about with this environmentally friendly product, and there is also considerably less work in getting it working for the first time. The install can be done in as little as 20 minutes, with full results happening in less than 24 hours with your current water.

It is a point blank easy installation that only involves wrapping coils around your main pipe and plugging in the unit for first time use. After screwing it in in a place where it can easily be reached you can walk away and go about your day. It is less than ¼ the price of competing water softeners, with no filters to change and no worries about back flushing and other issues that plague salt based water softeners.

Device is effective up to 20 grains per gallon with a pipe size up to 1 inch, and it only weighs 6 ounces total. It is effective on pipes types of steel, brass, copper, galvanized, PEX, C PVC or PVC.

Worst Features

As newer technology customers will have to really reach the full limit of the 120 day trial period, as results may differ from what they expected when they had a traditional salt based water softener. Even though the unit is very effective, it still does not get as much particles as a traditional water softener would. The setup requires it be plugged into an outlet, so if the customer wants to install it outside this can be a bit of a problem if there isn’t an outlet at least 6 inches from the control panel.

What starts out as an easy installation becomes a find the best situation installation. And if installing outside, the coil has to be wrapped to protect it from damage, which can be anything from a bad rain to a rodent chewing on the wire. Technically this device shouldn’t be classified as a water softener, since the hardness level of the water will remain pretty much the same, but the buildup in the pipes vanishing is where the benefit is.

Best Comparison

A fellow electric water softener by the name of the Eddy Electronic Water Descaler would be the main enemy of the Scalewatcher. They both use similar technologies, and they both are the same price. Adding to the eeriness of the similarities is that the Eddy uses a coil design from the control panel and hooks up to a pipe. The Eddy weights more and has a sturdier construction, and has more standing in the community than the Scalewatcher does. This may mean a lot to some people, and when comparing the two a lot of people setting for the Eddy.

Personal Opinion

Electronic water softeners are an interesting bunch, because they are marketed as water softeners when in fact it is more of an emulation of the actual system. They gather harmful particles and extend the life of pipes and other applications, but when comparing the actual hard water to that from a salt based solution, the difference is night and day. Consumers will still get great drinking water, and lime and spotting will eventually disappear as the system does its work to break up the particles. But electric water softeners have a long way to go if they want to be on the same level as salt based solutions. This is still more than idea if a buyer lives in an apartment or in an area where a bigger water softener would be an issue, and especially in situations where messing with plumbing isn’t even an option. Electric based water softeners will always have a place in the industry, because there are just situations where dealing with a full sized solution just isn’t possible.

Price Changes Since Release

There has been no change in the price because of the way these units are sold to the general public. They will continue to be the same price, which isn’t an issue since it is already on the low end as it is. Stock is strong and it is always available from a distributer, even during heavy periods like the holidays. If newer models are released as they perfect the technology, look for the price of this model to drop dramatically in order to push sales of the newer device.

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Summary

This is innovation at its best, since sometimes the water softening community can forget that not everyone can have a full sized solution in their housing. This is the perfect choice for these types of people, and it gives them a hassle free installation that won’t disrupt whatever agreements they have with their landlord. Keep in mind that these are water softener alternatives, and that they only emulate the soft water experience. You’ll still get the other benefits of having soft water, but the heavy lifting in that department is for the big boys of the salt based solutions. Give an electric water softener a try, and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.