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Sterling Water Softener Reviews & Price Guide

Scott Winfield
Last Updated on
by Scott Winfield

Sterling is a pretty old and reputable name in the water purification field since the brand has been producing water softeners for nearly a century now.

The sheer size of the Sterling catalog is one of the most notable aspects of this water softener brand. You can easily find something ideal for your household among the dozens of different series and models.

But before the sheer size of their catalog gives you decision anxiety, we’ll review all of the different series they have – from the portable to the double tank models, and we’ll share everything you need to know to make a smart decision for your home.

Sterling Water Softener
Sterling Water Softener

Who Makes Sterling Water Softeners?

The water softeners are made by Sterling Water Treatment, founded in 1934 by Charles Sidell and a single employee, Emmitt Culligan. Unlike most water purification companies today that started in a different field before going into the water purification business, Sterling has been manufacturing manual water softeners from the get-go.

This means that they have nearly nine decades of experience in the field, and their mission of producing the best water softeners on the market has never changed.

The company is primarily based in Indiana, but there are thousands of licensed contractors in North America that sell Sterling products.

List of Sterling Water Softener Systems

We’ve got a lot of models to get through, so we won’t go into too much detail on each one. Instead, we’ll focus on the most distinguished features of each Sterling water softener system. We’ll also outline the flow rate, grain capacity, and salt capacity of each Sterline series in the chart below so that it’s easier for you to compare models from different series.

The FS Series is known for being user-friendly. Everything from the regeneration time to the frequency of these softeners can easily be adjusted on the display screen.

Models from the FES Series have an internal battery that ensures the system will continue to work even in the event of a blackout.

The FEST Series models are similar to the FES series models, though several of these models come with a larger grain capacity and salt storage, which makes them capable of softening water with a higher mineral concentration.

Models from the FSN Series specialize in nitrate removal. These softeners are able to successfully remove nitrate thanks to the nitrate-specific resin that’s found in their tanks.

The HEX Series is known for having a higher kinetic ion exchange resin that results in quicker mineral removal from the water, which means that the water gets softened more quickly.

The INT2 model is known for its minimal salt consumption. Most models can be set to use as little as 4 lbs of salt per regeneration cycle, which saves you some money on upkeep costs

The INTX Series model uses a fine mess ion exchange resin, which results in better iron drawing and water softening capabilities than a lot of other models on this list.

The IMX Series systems use a measurement regeneration system that only starts once a certain amount of water has been softened. Also, the push button programming allows you to initiate the process whenever you want or need to.

The models from the N Series, on the other hand, use a timer that starts the regeneration process at the same time every day, and they’re considered to be the most standard and reliable series in the Sterling catalog.

The NES Series water softeners are the upgraded version of the N Series, and while they might cost a bit more, their overall grain capacity is higher than the N series.

The NESCC Series offers the most compact water softeners on the list, which makes them ideal for apartments or households where there isn’t a lot of space in general.

The PDIMX Series has water softeners with two tanks that initiate the regeneration process independently, which means that your water is softened around the clock without any delay.

The XNT Series model is a portable water softener, and it differs from the NESCC Series by the higher overall flow rate that it has.

The XTS Series models come with an easy-to-use injector cleaner that only requires you to press a button if you want to keep the injector free of iron and debris.

The XTS-HE Series softeners come with an internal diagnostic system that calculates when and how much sodium should be used on the highly kinetic resin in order to save as much salt as possible.

The ZX Series models feature a chlorine generator that uses a small amount of the brine solution and converts it into chlorine in order to disinfect the entire system during each regeneration.

Comparison Table

Trying to compare so many different water softener models can be pretty difficult simply because there’s too much information to squeeze into one table.

 For the sake of simplicity and so that your eyes don’t just glaze over when you see all of these numbers, we’ve only added the most vital stats that you need to know before picking a water softener series.

SeriesGrain CapacityFlow RateSalt Capacity
FS22.5k – 75k6 – 18 GPM125 – 300lbs
FES18k – 90k6 – 17 GPM200 – 600lbs
FEST24k – 29k8 – 16 GPMNot specified
FSNNot specified5 – 16 GPM160 – 220lbs
HEX22.5k – 77.5k8 – 25 GPM120 – 220lbs
INT224k – 30k8 – 14 GPM150 lbs
INTX24k – 30k8 – 18 GPMNot specified
IMX18k – 75k6 – 21 GPM120 – 220lbs
N18k – 75k6 – 15 GPM120 – 220lbs
NES21k – 75k6 – 15 GPM150 – 200lbs
NESCC24k – 40k3 – 12 GPMNot specified
PDIMX18k – 210k6 – 29 GPMNot specified
XNT24k – 30k8 – 18 GPMNot specified
XTS18k – 75k6 – 21 GPM125 – 300lbs
XTS-HE16.5k – 77.5k6 – 21 GPM300lbs
ZX12k – 30k16 – 21 GPMNot specified

Sterling Water Softener Prices

The difficulty in gauging the prices of so many devices is that we can’t feasibly include the value for every model in every series. However, what we can say is that most of the Sterling water softener models will set you back between $800 and $2,500.

This is standard pricing for whole-house water softener models, so you’re not getting ripped off, but you’re also not getting a bargain either.

In our opinion, this pricing is very reasonable. If you have a limited budget, you can always get a portable model that’s a bit cheaper. If not, you can go all out on a two-tank model. It really all depends on what the GPG in your water is and what sort of power you’ll need to soften it.

Regardless of your preferences, with Sterling, chances are that you’ll easily find a good model for your household needs and at a reasonable price.

Pros & Cons of Sterling Softeners

Different Sterling series have their individual advantages and disadvantages, but here we’re interested in the brand overall. Here’s what we like and dislike about it.

Pros
  • 5-year and 10-year warranty options; All of the models that we mentioned come with 5-year warranty plans for the control valve and the brine tank, while the mineral tank itself gets a 10-year warranty. The tank warranty is pretty standard since most whole-house systems have an expected lifetime of around 10 years. The control valve and brine tank warranties are even better than the industry standard since a lot of models on the market only have a 3-year warranty for those same parts.
  • Many Models to Choose From: Sterling has a lot of different series, and a lot of models in each series, so it’s ridiculously easy to find something that would be a good fit for your home regardless of your requirements. While it might actually be a bit tough to sort through all of the options that you have at your disposal, it’ll only take an hour or so.
Cons
  • 1-year Water Conditioner Warranty – While the warranties for the conditioner parts are good, the one-year warranty for your entire water conditioner is pretty short. This essentially means that you’ll need to pay out of pocket if you have an issue with anything other than the control valve and the tanks after the first year, which isn’t ideal.

Is Sterling a Good Water Softener?

Most of the water softeners in the many Sterling series differ from one another in a number of ways. That said, they’re all high-quality products, and while none of them has any outstanding extra features, they’re still reliable devices that will likely serve you well for a decade, more or less.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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