It is important to have a whole-house water softener.

But what happens you are out exploring, and you need soft water? Do you need to bring enough soft water from home? You do not have to carry soft water from home, and neither do you have to let hard water destroy your RV parts – you can install an on-the-go water softener in your RV.

Soft water has many benefits at home and on your RV. These include:

  • Reduce the buildup of scale
  • Reduced formation of rust stains
  • Reduced water spots
  • Makes your skin supple and reduces dryness
  • Lathers fast with soap
  • Lengthens the life of appliances
  • Eliminates bad odor and improves the taste of drinking water

With all the above benefits, you save money. You will not need to buy bottled water, you will use just enough soap, and you will not spend a lot of money replacing appliances – this is how you save money while out camping in your RV.

Portable water softeners come in all sizes and a wide range of features. Some water softeners are handheld and only soften a small amount of water at a time – these do not work well in your RV. The best water softeners for your RV work almost the same as the water softeners in your home in terms of capacity and functionality. Some of the features you will enjoy in these water softeners include:

  • Fast regeneration
  • Compact, easy to install and use
  • Standard unit with up to 8,000-grain capacity (some have a higher capacity to meet all needs)
  • Space-saving design for use even in small RVs
  • High flow rates with little or no pressure drop
  • Inlet flow control
  • Comes with high-grade premium capacity resin
  • Large-mouth opening
  • Cap and plug for storage

Water softening means removing calcium and magnesium (among other cations) from hard water and replacing that with sodium from salt. However, some units are salt-less and will not replace the cations with sodium.

What Makes Water Hard?

The calcium and magnesium in water make it hard – these two are the hardness minerals. Rainwater is free from these hardness minerals, but once it falls on the ground and finds its way to rivers and streams, it collects these minerals. The minerals are not harmful to your health – the body needs these two minerals, albeit in trace amounts. Nevertheless, they alter the properties of water and its effectiveness in cleaning.

Water hardness measures the concentration of calcium and magnesium. However, other minerals such as iron, manganese, and aluminum might be present in hard water. With a water softener in your RV when you are exploring, you will enjoy soft water with no need to bring gallons of soft water from home.

The hardness of water is measured in grains per gallon (GPG) or parts per million (PPM). Soft waterfalls between 0 and 3 GPG; moderately hard water at 3 to 7 GPG; hard water at 7 to 11 GPG; and tough water at 11 or higher GPG.

More than 85 percent of Americans have hard water in their homes [1]. As such, when you are exploring, you will need an RV with a water softener already installed. This will make it easy for you to clean, you will get clean and tasteful drinking water, and you will protect appliances in your RV (especially water heaters).

Selecting a Portable Water Softener for Your RV

Before you set out for camp, you need to install a quality water softener in your RV – this will make exploration much enjoyable. There are many factors to consider, as outlined below:

  • Capacity and Size: A standard water softener for RV has a capacity of 8,000 grains and weighs about 18 pounds. A larger softener has a capacity of 16,000 grains and weighs about 30 pounds.
  • Exchange Resin: Only go for water softeners with high-grade premium resin – note that color does not indicate the quality of the resin.
  • Easy access regeneration: For a water softener to work, you need to keep adding salt – this is called regeneration. A large-mouth opening makes it easy for you to refill the salt.
  • Accessories: A good portable water softener needs a carrying handle, inlet flow control, storage/transportation adapters to limit water spillage, and a sturdy base.

As an explorer, a portable water softener in your RV will help you avoid rust buildup, prevent soap scum, keep your skin moist, and reduce water spots on surfaces in your RV. You can help the water softener by adding a water filter to make your water safer for drinking. However, a water filter is only ideal for small volumes of water. With a water softener, the pipes and appliances in your RV will never clog or develop stains – this translates to less maintenance and repairs.


There are many benefits of soft water at home and on-the-road. Even if you have bottled water for drinking, you will still need soft water for cleaning and to protect surfaces in your RV.