Water Softeners Report

Purchase Options

Water Softeners > Purchase Options
  Retail Stores
  Independent Dealers
  Authorized Distributors
  Online Sellers

There are several options available to you once you make the decision to go forward with the acquisition of a water softener for your home. We will review the drawbacks and benefits of each of these options in turn, but our overall recommendation would be to comparison shop across every available alternative to the full extent possible.
A number of major retail outlets which either specialize in home improvement or have extensive home improvement departments all offer water softener products.

This list includes Sears, Home Depot, Lowe's, Wal-mart and Costco. The benefit of shopping for a water softener at a retail store is that you can visually see the product. The drawbacks are that the selection is limited, as most retailers have exclusive deals with just a couple of brand name manufacturers, and that the salesperson may lack expertise with water softener systems in particular.

The second way to purchase a water softener is through an independent dealer who specializes in water systems. These are local businesses which have a more narrow specialization than a large retailer and consequently can often provide better technical knowledge with respect to water softener systems in particular. However, one risk to be wary of when it comes to dealers is that some of them only carry a few brand options. In this case, they may provide biased advice that skews heavily in favor of whatever products they offer and against other options. To minimize the risk of receiving unbalanced information, we would advise you to visit with several local dealers in order to compare both products and prices.

The third alternative for buying a water softener is to go to an authorized distributor for a particular manufacturer. These distributors will generally only carry water softener products from a single brand. This is both a benefit and a drawback. The benefit is that the distributor will know a great deal about the specific products offered by that brand and often be able to provide installation and maintenance services in addition to selling you the product. The drawback is that the distributor will almost never provide you will completely objective advice or recommend anything other than the brand he represents. In general, an authorized distributor may make sense once you have decided to commit to a specific brand manufacturer, but may not be the best option if you are still shopping around and looking for some impartial advice.

Finally, you can shop for a water softener online. There are numerous e-tailers who offer to sell and ship a wide variety of water softener products. The benefit of shopping online is that you can often find a better price than at a retail store or from a dealer. However, the drawback is that you never know for certain what you are really getting until the product arrives on your doorstep. In addition, it may be more difficult to verify the bona fides of a given online seller. We would advise you to really do your homework if you intend to use the online option. Make sure that the product you are buying is exactly what you want and that the online seller you are using is reliable and trustworthy. In addition, be sure that you have the option of returning the product for a full refund if there are any issues.

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