Aquasure vs A.O. Smith Water Softeners [Choosing the Best System for Your Home]

Hard water can wreak havoc in homes, damaging plumbing and appliances and leaving behind soap scum, mineral deposits, and scale buildup. Water softening systems remove the minerals that cause hardness, transforming hard water into soft, clean water. With so many water softener brands on the market, choosing the right one for your home can be challenging.

Aquasure and A.O. Smith are two of the most popular water softener brands. But which is better? In this guide, we’ll compare Aquasure and A.O. Smith water softeners to help you determine which is the right choice for your needs.

Here is an in-depth comparison table between Aquasure and A.O. Smith water softeners:

FeatureAquasureA.O. Smith
Company History35+ years experience, USA-based80+ years experience, USA-based
Manufacturing LocationAssembled in USAAssembled in USA
Types of ModelsManual, timed, metered, DIRSame options plus Wi-Fi enabled and Silver Series
Tank ConstructionQuadra-Hull composite tanksPermaGlass coated tanks
Control ValvesClack and Fleck valvesSame plus ProFlo Extreme valve
Efficiency FeaturesDIR modelsDIR and hybrid DIR models
Smart CapabilitiesNot availableOptional AquaGard Wi-Fi
Warranty Length5-10 years on parts10 years on tanks and valves
Professional Install RequiredNo, DIY possibleYes
Price Check The Best OneCheck The Best One
Ease of MaintenanceEasy DIY serviceRequires technician
Water Hardness RemovalExcellentExcellent
Softening CapacityUp to 200k grainsSame maximum capacity
Regeneration ProcessStandard with quality valvesMore advanced programming
Installation DifficultyEasy with basics skillsModerate, pros advised
Control and ProgrammingSimple manual and digitalAdvanced touchscreens
Reliability and DurabilityVery goodExcellent
Value for MoneyExcellentVery good
Customer ReviewsVery positiveExtremely positive

Brief Background on Water Softeners

Water softeners work by removing calcium and magnesium ions that cause water hardness. They use a process called ion exchange. Hard water passes through a tank filled with small resin beads, which are covered with sodium ions. The resin beads attract and grab ahold of the calcium and magnesium ions. They release the sodium ions in exchange, replacing the hard minerals with soft sodium.

Over time, the resin beads become saturated with calcium and magnesium and can’t exchange any more. That’s when regeneration occurs. The resin beads are flushed with a brine solution (a very salty water mixture). This resets the beads and recharges them with sodium so they can continue softening water.

By removing hardness minerals, water softeners prevent scale buildup and provide cleaner, softer water throughout your home. They improve the lathering of soaps and shampoos, enhance the feel of water on skin and hair, protect plumbing and appliances, and more.

Overview of Aquasure and A.O. Smith

Aquasure is a company that manufactures a variety of water filtration and softening systems for residential and commercial use. Their water softeners range from basic manual models to advanced metered or demand-initiated regeneration (DIR) systems.

A.O. Smith is one of the biggest water heater brands but also manufactures water treatment systems. They offer both standard water softeners and high-efficiency models with advanced control valves. Their products are designed for long-lasting performance and reliability.

This article will compare the key factors you should consider when choosing between these two reputable brands. Read on to determine if an Aquasure or A.O. Smith system is the better choice for softening the water in your home.

Aquasure Water Softeners

Aquasure may not be as well known as A.O. Smith, but it’s still one of the leading water softener brands on the market today. Here’s an overview of the company and the types of models they offer:

Company Overview

Aquasure is the water treatment division of Aquion, Inc., a company with over 35 years of experience in manufacturing water filtration, softening, and conditioning systems. They sell their products through wholesale plumbing and water treatment suppliers instead of direct-to-consumer.

Aquasure designs, engineers, and assembles their systems at their facility in Illinois. Their water softeners are made in the USA. The company states their mission is to provide quality, affordable systems to efficiently treat problem water.

Types of Models

Aquasure has a diverse product line of water softeners spanning from basic manual models to metered softeners to high-efficiency DIR systems.

They offer standard manual and time-clock softeners which regenerate on a preset schedule. These basic systems are affordable options for light to moderate hardness conditions.

For variable demand, Aquasure has metered softeners that regenerate based on actual water usage. They also have DIR models that initiate regeneration only when needed, saving more water and salt.

Their systems are available in a wide range of tank sizes and flow rates to accommodate small homes up to very large households. You can get a single tank or twin alternating system depending on your water hardness level.

Features and Technologies

Key features of Aquasure water softeners include:

  • Patented Quadra-HullTM resin tanks for durability
  • FDA-approved resin materials
  • Plug-and-play brine tanks with safety floats
  • Corrosion-resistant control valves
  • Optional stainless steel bypass valves
  • User-friendly digital or electronic metered valves
  • DIR system calculates days between regeneration based on water use

The simple manual models utilize reliable time-tested control valves. The metered and DIR systems feature more advanced Clack and Fleck digital meter valves.

Aquasure softeners are WQA certified, meeting strict standards for structural integrity and contaminant reduction. Their systems are designed for easy installation, use, and maintenance.

Pros of Aquasure Water Softeners

There are many advantages to choosing an Aquasure water softener:

Proven Quality Construction: Aquasure softeners are made with thick quad-hull resin tanks featuring an inner poly liner and external ABS shell. This provides superior structural stability and durability compared to single-wall tanks. The quad design virtually eliminates cracking or leaking.

Advanced Control Valves: The metered and DIR models utilize Clack and Fleck control valves known for their precision, reliability, and user-friendly programmability.

High Efficiency Options: Aquasure offers high-capacity DIR systems that precisely regenerate based on your actual daily water use. This saves salt and water compared to timed models.

Simple Maintenance: The systems have easy access to the control valve, resistors, and brine tank. The lids provide wide openings to make resin inspections and changes fast and simple.

Warranty: Parts and tanks are covered by 5-10 year warranties. The valves have 5-7 year warranties.

Made in USA: Assembled in the USA provides better quality control and customer service.

Price: Aquasure systems are very competitively priced, offering excellent value. Their affordability makes water softening attainable for more homeowners.

Cons of Aquasure Water Softeners

The downsides to consider with Aquasure include:

Less Brand Recognition: Aquasure isn’t as mainstream a brand as A.O. Smith or other big names. This may influence customer perception. But their systems are equal in quality and performance.

No Smart Home Integration: Aquasure systems don’t offer Wi-Fi connectivity or integration with smart home platforms like Alexa. For high-tech monitoring and voice control, you’ll need to upgrade to a more premium water softener brand.

Lower Capacity Options: While Aquasure has high capacity models, their lineup also includes smaller 48,000 grain systems. These may wear faster with heavy water use.

Shorter Warranties: The warranties are decent but not industry-leading. Other brands offer 10 or lifetime warranties on tanks and valves.

Limited Dealer Network: Aquasure sells through wholesalers rather than direct online or in retail stores. This can limit your buying options.

While Aquasure systems don’t have all the bells and whistles of premium “smart” water softeners, they provide outstanding performance and value. Before paying more for brand name or high-tech features, consider whether a quality Aquasure system can meet your needs.

A.O. Smith Water Softeners

Now let’s look at the key facts on A.O Smith water softeners:

Company Overview

A.O. Smith has over 80 years of experience in water heater manufacturing. They entered the water treatment market in 1995 and have since become a respected brand for water softeners and filters.

Their water softening systems are designed, built, and tested in the USA at their facility in Wisconsin. A.O. Smith emphasizes rigorous quality control and durability testing to ensure their softeners deliver long-term performance.

Types of Models

The A.O. Smith lineup includes:

  • Standard softeners with time clock or metered control valves
  • High-efficiency hybrid DIR models
  • Twin alternating systems
  • Cabinet, column, and wall-mount designs from compact up to extra-large capacity
  • Systems utilizing Clack and Fleck advanced digital valves
  • Unique Silver Series models with Silver Shield antimicrobial resin

A.O. Smith offers a model for virtually any home’s water hardness conditions and capacity requirements. Their softeners are WQA certified and feature NSF-certified parts.

Features and Technologies

Standout features of A.O. Smith softeners include:

  • Patented PermaGlass resin tanks protect against corrosion and leaks
  • ProFlo Extreme valve has user-friendly LCD touchscreen
  • DIR technology calculates regeneration needs for high efficiency
  • Optional AquaGard® Wi-Fi for remote monitoring and control
  • Silver Series options with Siliphos antimicrobial resin inhibits bacterial growth

A.O. Smith softeners utilize the most advanced control valves from Fleck and Clack. Their systems are designed for easy installation, reduced maintenance, and simplified programming.

You get sophisticated water treatment without the headache. A.O. Smith is known for making high-performance, durable softeners accessible for homeowners.

Pros of A.O. Smith Water Softeners

The benefits of choosing an A.O. Smith water softener include:

Premium Brand Reputation: A.O. Smith is a recognized and trusted water treatment brand used by millions worldwide. You can be confident in their quality and performance.

innovative Features: Options like the AquaGard® Wi-Fi, ProFlo Extreme valve, and Silver Shield antimicrobial resin set A.O. Smith apart.

High Efficiency Systems: A.O. Smith’s hybrid DIR models maximize efficiency, saving you salt and water.

Durable Tanks: The patented one-piece PermaGlass tanks prevent leaks and corrosion.

Excellent Warranties: Tanks and valves are covered for 10 years. Brine tanks have 5-year warranties. This shows the company’s faith in the longevity of their products.

ADA Compliance: Select models meet the Americans with Disabilities Act specifications for accessibility.

Made in USA: Assembled in the USA results in strict quality control and reduced defects.

Consumer Reviews: A.O. Smith softeners are highly rated by homeowners for value, ease of use, and reliability.

A.O. Smith offers advanced water softening technology backed by their long history of outstanding customer service and support. Investing in one of their systems brings peace of mind.

Cons of A.O. Smith Water Softeners

The potential drawbacks of A.O. Smith water softeners include:

Higher Upfront Cost: Their systems can be pricier than less premium brands like Aquasure. Advanced tech features increase the costs.

Complex Programming: While A.O. Smith aims for user-friendly softeners, they have more settings and options that can intimidate non-tech-savvy users.

No Self-Installation: A.O. Smith requires professional installation to maintain the warranty. This adds to the investment.

Requires Electricity: Their electronic metered and DIR models need electricity to power the electronics. Basic timers don’t need power.

Limited Inventory: A.O. Smith softeners may sell out quickly due to popularity. Having to wait weeks or months can be inconvenient.

Heavy Systems: The largest units with big resin tanks weigh hundreds of pounds. Proper installation is crucial on upper floors.

A.O. Smith softeners may cost more but provide value through advanced automation, efficiency, and durability. For many homeowners, the higher upfront price gets recouped over years of outstanding performance with minimal maintenance needed.

Key Factors for Comparison

Now that we’ve provided an overview of Aquasure and A.O. Smith, let’s directly compare the brands across the most important factors for choosing a water softener.


Water softeners are judged on how well and efficiently they remove hardness minerals and prevent scale buildup. Key criteria are:

Water Hardness Removal: Both Aquasure and A.O. Smith are highly effective at eliminating calcium and magnesium for softened water throughout your home. Either brand provides complete protection.

Softening Capacity: The size of the resin tank determines total softening capacity. Both brands offer tanks from compact 24,000-grain up to extra-large 180,000+ grain capacity.

Regeneration Process: They both use advanced Clack and Fleck valves for precise, reliable regeneration initiation and brining cycles. A.O. Smith offers the most customizable programming options.

For overall softening effectiveness, Aquasure and A.O. Smith are comparable. Both transform hard water into softened, scale-free water. The higher tech A.O. Smith valves give them an advantage in fine-tuning capacity and efficiency.


Ease of installation, use, and maintenance are crucial for a hassle-free experience. Here’s how the brands compare:

Ease of Installation: A.O. Smith systems require professional installation. Aquasure systems can be self-installed if you’re experienced with plumbing.

Ease of Maintenance: Again, Aquasure systems allow for DIY repairs and service. A.O. Smith’s warranty requires technician service. Either brand is designed for quick resin tank refills and overall simple care.

User-Friendliness: A.O. Smith offers Wi-Fi monitoring and the most intuitive touchscreen controls. But Aquasure also has straightforward digital settings.

For convenience and ease of use, Aquasure systems win for DIY-friendly installation and maintenance. A.O. Smith offers a higher tech user experience once installed.


The longevity and durability of parts are important for a system that should run smoothly for decades. Here’s how to compare the brands:

Durability of Parts: Both use corrosion-proof tanks and valves proven to withstand years of use. A.O. Smith’s PermaGlass tanks have a slight edge.

Warranty Coverage: A.O. Smith provides exceptional 10-year warranties on tanks and valves. Aquasure offers 5-10 years, with the lower times on basic models.

Customer Reviews: Both brands have very satisfied customers. Slightly more positive feedback exists for A.O. Smith, but Aquasure also draws rave reviews.

For reliability and durability, you can trust either brand to deliver many years of service. A.O. Smith provides exceptional warranties demonstrating their confidence. But both are built to last.


Budget is often the deciding factor for which water softener brand homeowners choose. Here are the key cost considerations:

Upfront Costs: Aquasure systems are 25-50% lower in purchase price than comparable A.O. Smith models. You’ll save hundreds of dollars upfront.

Operating Costs: The efficiency differences mainly impact salt and water use. A.O. Smith’s DIR systems have an edge but Aquasure timers work fine for many homes.

Value for Money: Aquasure provides outstanding performance for the price. A.O. Smith offers premium features and tech to justify the higher investment.

If price is your main concern, Aquasure delivers amazing value. A.O. Smith systems cost more but provide advanced features and long warranties that can pay off over time. You get what you pay for with either brand.


What is the main difference between Aquasure and A.O. Smith water softeners?

The main difference is the price and technology level. Aquasure systems are more affordable with basic components that still deliver excellent water softening. A.O. Smith softeners utilize more advanced technology like Wi-Fi controls and high-efficiency valves but cost more.

Which brand of water softeners is more reliable?

Both Aquasure and A.O. Smith make durable and reliable water softeners backed by warranties. A.O. Smith offers longer 10-year warranties on tanks and valves showing confidence in longevity, but real-world lifespan is comparable for both brands with proper maintenance.

Is professional installation required for Aquasure or A.O. Smith?

A.O. Smith requires professional installation to maintain the warranty. Aquasure systems allow for DIY installs if you are experienced with plumbing. Professional install is recommended to ensure optimal setup.

Can I add smart features to a basic Aquasure water softener?

Most Aquasure models don’t support wireless connectivity or voice control add-ons. But you can upgrade to a digital metered valve to gain more advanced programmability and efficiency.

Which brand is better for well water or high water hardness?

Both brands make systems capable of handling any hardness level. Opt for the largest possible size and resin capacity and a quality valve like Fleck or Clack. Size up your softener to match the water hardness.

What kind of warranty do Aquasure and A.O. Smith offer?

Aquasure provides 5-10 year warranties on tanks, valves, and parts. A.O. Smith offers exceptional 10-year warranties on tanks and valves along with 5 years on brine tanks.


In summary, for a quality system at the most affordable price point, Aquasure is likely the best choice. Their systems deliver excellent softening using proven components, without expensive bells and whistles hiking up costs.

For those who want top-of-the-line tech and premium features like Wi-Fi or a designer cabinet, and don’t mind paying more for the highest-tier system, A.O. Smith is an outstanding option. Their cutting-edge innovations do come at a price.

With either brand, you can feel confident in the performance, reliability, and effectiveness of the system. Ultimately it comes down to your budget and which features matter most for you. Carefully weigh the pros and cons outlined here to decide if Aquasure or A.O. Smith is the right water softener for your home and family.

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