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Do Water Softeners Remove Lead from Drinking Water?

Scott Winfield
Written by Scott Winfield
Last Updated on

Water softeners do not remove lead from drinking water because they aren’t built for this purpose. They can only remove hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium.

The best way to remove lead from water is to either completely replace all old pipes that contain lead corrosion or install a lead-certified water filtration system.

Lead is a metal that is found in air, soil, and in common household appliances. It is in everything from cell phones, batteries, and circuit boards to PVC products.

This implies that it’s also relatively easy for it to get into your water supply. Water can get contaminated by lead from leaded gasoline, industrial facilities, and lead-based paints, among other sources.

Lead in Drinking Water
Lead in Drinking Water

Lead is Undetectable by Human Senses

The problem with lead is that it’s undetectable by the human senses, so it’s usually difficult to know if you’re drinking lead-contaminated water. However, one possible way to tell the presence of lead in water is if the water tastes like metal. Although less significant, lead is one of the possible reasons for metallic taste in water.

Should you suspect the presence of lead in your water, send samples of your water to a lab for testing. Water testing is the only way to determine if the lead in your water exceeds the allowable limit. Only 15 pbb (parts per billion) of lead in water is considered safe to drink.

Water Filters Can Remove Lead From Drinking Water

Since water softeners don’t remove lead, what then can you use to filter lead in drinking water? A lead water filter.

Water filters can effectively remove lead and other contaminants from drinking water. However, this is only possible if you get a water filter with NSF certification for lead removal.

There are 2 types of water filters that can remove lead; point-of-use (POU) filters and point-of-entry (POE) filters.

POU lead filters remove lead from water at the point of use. They’re usually portable and you’ll often see them as under-sink, Countertop, or faucet filters. The AquaTRU RO System is an example of Point-of-use (POU) water filter for lead.

POE filters, on the other hand, are filtration systems that treat lead before it gets into the water pipes. POE filters have to be installed on your main water line. An example of Point-of-entry lead water filter is the Springwell whole house system.

Combining Lead Filters with Water Softeners

It’s possible to use both a lead water filter and water softener, but the big question is; do you really need both?

If you’re dealing with hard water and lead contamination, then you should install both a water filter and softener since they address different problems. You can either purchase them separately or get a 2-in-1 water softener and filtration system like the SpringWell Lead & Cyst Removal System. This type of system is very beneficial if you’re also looking to remove contaminants like cyst.

The SpringWell Lead & Cyst Removal Filtration System operates with a 0.5-micron nominal filter and eliminates both particle and soluble lead. The system is capable of removing up to 99.95% of lead and also takes care of hard water minerals to some degree.


In conclusion, water softeners are ineffective against lead in water, just as they also don’t remove iron from water. As a matter of fact, they don’t filter your water at all.

Water softeners only remove hard water minerals. For anything else, you’ll need a dedicated water filtration system. As we said, there are multiple water filter types you can choose from, but if you’re dealing with both hard water and lead, your best bet would be the SpringWell Lead & Cyst Removal Filtration system.

Finally, regularly test your water to be sure it’s safe from lead and other common water contaminants.

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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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