It seems like I am getting this question several times a day:

We have had a Pelican™* for 3 + years now. Our water tastes great, but it absolutely does NOT soften our water. Our showers heads clog, we have scale on the facets, etc. We have a hardness of about 15-17. If I could have the perfect solution it would be to have the salt water softener on all my hot water and the Pelican™ on only my drinking water. I think the Pelican™ is misleading when it says it ‘softens’. – Jennifer

The Water Doctor Replied:

By definition (by WQA Soft Water Task Force), soft water is that which contains less than  one grain per gallon (gpg) of hardness ions (< 17.1 ppm as CaCO3). Any water conditioning device that is effective in reducing the  water hardness to less than one gpg is, therefore, a softener. Any water conditioning device that does not reduce the hardness of the feed water to < 1.0 gpg cannot be called a softener, and the water it produces  cannot be called soft water. (“Softening Alternatives) C.F. ‘Chubb’ Michaud, CE, CWS-VI, January 2011 Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine)

In fact, nearly every definition I have read of “soft water” or “water softener” involves a device that “substantially reduces hardness.”  Since Pelican™ does not substantially reduce hardness, I would have to agree with you, Jennifer.  I too believe that Pelican™ is being deliberately misleading when they call their device a “saltless water softener“, instead of a “saltless water conditioner“.

It is my opinion that when marketing a product you should tell the truth.  A company who doesn’t may have a degree of success, but eventually the market will figure it out.  Consumers are not stupid!

I would actually be interested in Pelican’s™ rationale as to why they think it’s OK to call it a saltfree water softener.

* – Pelican™ is a registered trademark of Pelican Water Technologies. US Water Systems has no affiliation with the company.