Is Pelican A Water Softener?

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.

This article has 43 Comments

  1. The big question is how does the Pelican compare with the greenwave product? You see pelican has 2 poducts, a conditioner and a filter… If Jennifer has the filter and the conditioner then I would not expect the scaling to be reduced.

    However I am in the mark3et and will be deciding very soon about which direction to go… I drink a lot of tapwater, but the wife and kids have dry skin.. So I’m searching for a solution…

  2. SteveO,

    You said that “IF Jennifer has the filter and conditioner then I would not expect the scaling to be reduced?” That’s exactly what the conditioner and filter do! The filter itself only removes chlorine and chemicals. The conditioner is what is supposed to prevent scale.

    Pelican vs. Green Wave?

    With Green Wave, you have more selection of systems (to size it specifically to your application), bigger carbon tanks and lower prices. The technology is the same. Dry skin is usually caused by chlorine and hardness in the water. The Pelican and Green Wave can remove the chlorine, but not that hardness. Many dermatologists recommend water softeners for people with sensitive skin for that very reason.

  3. Hey, I am a Water Treatment dealer in South Georgia. We delt with the founder of this product in 2005. The product does not soften water. We installed several units in So. GA and N. FL. None worked, and we had to replace all with conventional water softeners. We absorbed the loss and discontinued our association with these crooks! Marketing is their best feature. We are in the business, and we wanted it soooo bad, even our trained professionals fell for their scam. It just sounds soooo good, that we all wanted it to work. It did not, and it cost our company a lot of money..

  4. I was going to purchase a Pelican and spend $2,000.00 after reading your review refiner.
    I am going with a local dealer there produc,t is Aquarius

  5. I’m looking for a system too, I did some research also and believe calling the salt-free systems softeners is misleading. My kitchen faucet, shower and water heater all show signs of the white residue, our local water company says our water conains 252ppm of hardness. What makes the Green Wave system superior to the Pelican system. I also have a septic system.

  6. Robert,

    I do not believe either is superior – they are the same. The difference is we tell the truth about what it will and won’t do.

  7. John,

    If I want to believe what H2O Concepts says about their product and what their cathode – anode system will do, I will need to set aside some basic rules of chemistry. While I am at it, maybe I should set aside the law of gravity too?

    There is some truth in what they say, but my testing shows that it doesn’t work very well in real life!

  8. After reading these comments I am scratching Pelican off my list BUT what about Fleck, Culligan or Kinetico. There is a difference in price and options. I like what Kinetico offers but, ouch, the price. Any suggestions….I have very hard water.

    The Water Doctor replied:

    Well obviously, I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to our products. We sell direct and eliminate all the commissioned salesmen and expensive dealers.

    Look at this product:

    If you are on city water, you might want to consider this:

    Good luck!

  9. DO NOT BUY WHATEVER CALLED SALT FREE SYSTEM especially Pelican. They’re misleading and lie to consumer. I bought a PSE2000 system in Oct 2011 (Whole House Filter & Salt Free Softener) and disappointed right after installation. Spots are everywhere and scales after couple months. I used to have salt base system and really happy with it. Now, I am switching the whole Pelican system with salt base from Costco. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY with any SALT FREE system.

  10. What about Halo 5 Stage Whole House? And any comments about H20 Harmony? Just had two different respectable plumbers in the area recommend those. Ever heard of these and if they’re worth it? Should I just stick to Kinetico?

    The Water Doctor Replied:

    The Halo 5 has Granular Activated Carbon (good because it removes chlorine and chemicals, tastes and odors), Centaur Carbon (good for removing chloramines), Filter-Ag, which serves no purpose unless it is a full tank and garnet which is in all systems as support media. If you could buy this for $1,100 or $1,200, it would be a good deal. The magnet at the bottom works as well as voodoo!

    H2O Harmony has nothing to support what they do. “Reputable plumbers” aren’t qualified to make a scientific determination as to whether a water treatment product has any validity (and I am being kind).

    Of the two, I would stick to Kinetico! I you are searching for something better, give us a call

  11. I too am researching Pelican. There are any number of units and combination of units for different water including well water (which is my situation) So far it is a very comprehensive product and I’ll let you know after I buy it … how it’s working. First I’m going to get my water tested and go from there.

    The Water Doctor Replied:

    My advice is to be careful. Doesn’t it bother you that they call some of their systems “Salt-Free Water Softeners” when they are IN FACT not?

  12. I’ve had a PC 600 system for 5 years now and will NOT replace it. (Bypassed it 6 months ago) Chalk up one 40 gal water heater installed at the same time I installed the Pelican system. Sediment was so bad that it actually buried the thermocouple for the heater causing water temperature of 205 degrees set on lowest possible setting of the heater. (Even replaced heat sensor module under manufacturers warranty) LOTS of calcium deposits at ALL faucets and water spotting of dishes like you wouldn’t believe!! If anything, just use the big carbon filter. IT’S A WATER DECONDITIONER.

  13. Save yourselves some time and headache. Buy General Ionics water equipment. It works and you only have to see the service guys once a year for routine maintenance. I have their equipment and never a problem. I’ve had it for almost 20 years now and still works like its new. It is solid stainless steel, NOT some low-line stainless steel sleeve hiding the plastic or fiberglass tank underneath. Ionics has a silver impregnated activated carbon which inhibits the growth of bacteria within the system, removes chlorine, dissolved oil & gas etc…. It’s absolutely the best investment I’ve ever made for our house considering it protects plumbing, appliances, faucets, not to mention no hard water build up on showers or dishes. It shocks me everytime I see people invest in a $250-$750,000 home and not spend a little bit of money to protect their plumbing and expensive appliances from the HARD water. But most of all I have peace of mind knowing it protects my families health as well. Do what you want but I’m extremely satisfied with my General Ionics equipment. Good luck to each of you!

  14. I totally agree with Jennifer. We installed a Pelican filter and softener a little over a year ago, in a new home, with new copper plumbing. We now have scale on all faucets, and we must use a vast amount of laundry soap. So called Pelican soft water systems DO NOT WORK. Each time I contacted them, they say the same BS, claiming this is normal.
    D. George Black.

  15. Ditto! I agree with Jennifer as well. We installed a Pelican whole house water softener and under counter water filter with minerals added to our new house and it was a disaster as the softener malfunctioned and shot the softener media throughout the house’s entire plumbing. We spent days flushing out the stuff and had to replace shower valves, and toilet parts as they got clogged and damaged. And…. the product had never previously worked. The water never was softened as they claimed and we had minerals clogging up our house humidifiers (We had to replace 3 of those). The water felt terrible on skin and hair.. We got rid of the Pelican and installed a salt water conditioner and all is going well now with the new system. But we kept the under the counter Pelican water filter which has always had an awful smell under the counter and a never stopping gas sound from the faucet as it continuously recharges… So now we are looking for a new under the counter water filter. Thinking of one from Pure Effect (another small company) so I am a little skeptical. Any one heard of Pure Effect or have any recommendations?

  16. What do you think about Dime Water whole house filtration system? I think its called Aquafer Plus that claims reducing Flouride by 80-90 percent. I also like Pelican Flouride Water Filter System, they use BoneChar carbon. From what I heard its the best stuffs to reduce Flouride in water. Is that true doc? What is your oppinion on things i mentioned above? Thx

  17. Kevin,

    Dime Water Aquafer Plus – They really don’t tell you how it works. They just use cryptic phrases and when I read “Softener and Filter in One”, my BS meter goes off. There is no such thing as a water softener that doesn’t use salt. End of story.

    The Pelican Bone Char System does remove Fluoride but they do not tell you what the tank size is or how much bone char is in the tank. You have to decide if you just want a bone char filter or do you want to remove fluoride? We also sell Bone Char filters, but our 15 GPM Model is 14″ x 65″ tank with 3 cu/ft of Bone Char which is why ours costs a little more. Their tank is smaller… probably a lot smaller.

    Removing fluoride with bone char requires prolonged contact with the bone char and if you have too little bone char, it will not remove the fluoride at higher flow rates. If you are OK with that, buy theirs. If not, buy ours:

  18. The Pelican does exactly what it says it will do. It is template assisted Crystallization (TAC) and it does remove limescale from plumbing without removing the minerals from water and replacing them with sodium. It does take a month or so to actually look and feel like it should because it actually does remove some of the build up from inside water heaters and pipes. If you don’t prepare your customer for some strange things due to this, you will only have complaints. If you can get them to keep it a month, they will fall in love with it.
    Also, They call it a softener because Nov 12,2012 Sarah Zrout of the WQA sent a letter to Pelicans Robert Prentice approving the use of the term “salt free softener” in conjunction with the WQA Gold Seal.
    That doesn’t make it a softener but that is why they can call it a softener. We tell our customers that it is a conditioner nonetheless.

  19. I am one of many people that have been misled, tricked, or just plain lied to by a company called
    Pelican Water Technologies, Inc. I contacted this company after searching on the web for water
    softening systems. Over and over Pelican’s so called Salt free system kept coming up, stating how
    great this system is and best of all, you never have to use salt or electricity for this system. This is
    where the scam begins and I, as well as many others just like me, have had the so called wool pulled over our eyes.

    I had a local plumber test my water for verification on the hardness of my well water. He informed me
    that the water hardness level was 11 and that my PH levels came back normal. After many hours on
    the internet trying to find information on what my options were for well water, Pelican’s NatureSoft water softening systems kept coming up. After looking at their web page and reading all the information that they give you about the system, I was hooked. I contacted one of the sales representatives to ask a few question about the system. He told me that “Yes” it was a water softening system and then proceeded to talk me into the whole home carbon filtration system as well. He swore that it would give me and my family spa like water with zero maintenance. That was so misleading and so far from the truth.

    I installed the following:
    • 50 micron screen spin down sediment filter
    • 5 micron “Big Blue” sediment filter
    • Pelican’s PSE 1800 Premium Whole House Water Filter and Salt Free Water Softener

    So, after the new system was installed, myself and my wife started noticing a white film on all of the
    water fixtures. I was told that it was limescale or calcium carbonate. This calcium carbonate sediment
    and build up was so bad that it looked like someone shook an opened loaf of bread over my glass of water. The ice was so cloudy that it looked like a smoker decided to fill each ice cube with fresh smoke
    before it was frozen. One of the worst things was that my Honeywell furnace humidifier/dehumidifier
    was a permanent limestone block. I still have not been able to clean the coil from all of the scale build up. Honestly, I think I am going to have to replace the coil. All of this happened after only a couple of
    months of the system being installed. NOT the results that we were promised!

    I contacted Pelican and spoke with numerous representatives, who all used (in my opinion) stalling
    tactics to mislead and or give mis-information that is intended to calm you down and keep
    them (Pelican) from having to admit that their system that they are selling customers is bogus as far as
    a water softening system goes. I had only one representative tell me that this was a conditioning
    system not a water softener. This was only after numerous phone calls to the company. However, that
    being said, they still would NOT take responsibility for their false advertisement. After all of the may
    phone calls and arguments with these so called representatives/specialists, I finally gave up and cut
    my losses so that I could keep what little sanity I had left.

    In my opinion Pelican is one of the worst companies that I have ever had to deal with for the simple
    fact that they sell not only false fact about their systems to draw customers in, but they also sell
    warranties and guarantees that aren’t worth my time or effort that it would take to wipe my ____ with.

  20. The salt-free water softener is a scam, and we fell for it. Our house is new construction, and our water heater was brand new. Yet, despite after only using it for 8 months, the heating element failed. When a plumber came out to look into the problem, he found the bottom heating element literally coated with minerals. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” he said. We bought a real water softener, which was installed 10 days after the water heater was fixed, then called Pelican to inquire about returning the useless salt-free water softener. “We need visual proof that it doesn’t work,” the representative said. This requires draining our 80 gallon water heater (the complete opposite of “environmentally friendly”, especially with water shortages happening everywhere) and hoping that ten days of element build-up will be enough “proof” for them to return this quack device. I’m guessing it won’t be. An affidavit from the plumber wasn’t enough, and we had already tossed the broken, mineral-coated heating element days before, so we can’t use that.

    Frankly, I am appalled at Pelican’s customer service, in addition to being appalled at their product. I’m guessing this review won’t be posted by the corporation, but I’ll cross-post it across as many sites as I can find to prevent other people from making the same thousand+ dollar mistake we did.

    I also notice I cannot post how many stars I give this product, yet when I look on the product’s page, every single review posted has five stars? How did they get those stars? Something smells fishy, Pelican.

  21. The town in which I live has banned the use of Salt Based water softeners. The water is pretty bad and I need a filter as well as a way to remove/reduce the hardness. I had a LifeSource quote, but $5000 is a lot to pay, and that’s for the smallest size, especially if it doesn’t do the job.

    What are my options? Or at least, which companies should I be looking at to make comparisons. Not only for initial costs, but long term maintenance and life of the unit.


  22. I was looking at pelican but could not understand how it could remove hardness and never need cleaning. then I read their description of how it works. They describe it as pulling the calcium out of solution and forming crystals. Then the crystals break off and flow through the water system. I can’t imagine how that is a solution. To send preformed crystals into shower heads and faucet filters. They do not say what keeps the crystals from returning to solution (dissolving) and from what I read here it must be doing just that.

    Thanks for the heads up.


  23. I am also disappointed with Pelican. I wish I had seen this before I bought it. They call it salt less water softener but really it is a filtration system. I never had scale buildup and dull looking sink because for 30 years I had water softener that used salt. We have drought in California so I thought it would be good to buy this but I am very very upset about my decision. And yes, once you inquire about it, they hound you until you buy. Once you buy, they don’t respond to emails. I wish we could do more to discourage people from getting ripped off. Perhaps a class action?

  24. I’m sorry you had to go through that. We have been telling consumers for years that Pelican starts their deception by calling their system a softener when in fact it does not soften it.

    There are a lot of consumers like you who feel “ripped off.”

    A class action starts with a single outraged person who relentlessly seeks justice for themselves and others. I can do nothing to help, except wish you Good Luck. By the Way, our Green Wave System works exceptionally well and you can utilize it with your Pelican.

  25. Having read the above comments, I am at a loss as to how mine works so well. I had a lot of calcium build up, especially in my dishwasher and always white stuff on shower doors etc. About 2 month of using this, the calcium in the dishwasher completely disappeared. Never got a spot on my shower doors. Truth be told, I didn’t even change the filters as often as recommended. I’ve had my system for 2 years. For me it was certainly worth the investment,

  26. Doc, would you be able to comment further on Mr. Pont’s entry? I would like to know why this technology works for his water, but not for the majority of the other people. Is it something about his water (ie. low hardness, low levels of minerals, etc.)? I have to install a new softener and I currently have a tankless water heater, which was installed in 2009 and still working great. I like the idea that this technology removes calcium deposits. I haven’t looked at your Green Wave System, but I will.

  27. Patrick,

    Mr. Pont said: I had a lot of calcium build up, especially in my dishwasher and always white stuff on shower doors etc. About 2 month of using this, the calcium in the dishwasher completely disappeared. Never got a spot on my shower doors.

    There are three explanations: (1) He works for Pelican (we have had several companies who have done this – they call it “experience marketing”); (2) For some reason he is lying; or (3) Cognitive dissonance (look it up if you are not familiar). The fact is: Using that technology, if he truly had “a lot of calcium buildup and white stuff on the shower doors” it is impossible to go to “has completely disappeared and never a spot.

    Here’s the deal: The fact that it does not softener water is unquestioned, although they continue to lie about it. It does not take out the hardness minerals – they admit that (which absolutely proves it does not soften). If it doesn’t do those things then there HAS to be some spotting… at the minimum. Maybe people report seeing UFO’s as well, but to date – it is not documented.

    We no longer use the Green Wave (which is the same technology Pelican used). It has been replaced with this: It does not soften the water, but it does an incredible job of preventing scale. You will see some spots on the shower however. Just being truthful.

  28. wow! the best information ever. In researching water systems, we “thought” Pelican was our #1 choice. Now, it’s not even a contender! thank you sooooo much!

  29. I just bought a house and I’m in the market for a water softener system. Since there are so many out there, do you have any recommendations? Also, I had previously just used the reverse osmosis system for my cooking and drinking water. Do I need one of those systems in addition to a water softener system?

  30. This is the best water softener we have ever found:

    It uses up to 65 to 75% less salt and water and has the best warranty in the business with 10 years on the valve and electronics and lifetime on the tanks and resin. It is simple to install and we have the best tech support after the sale in the industry.

    I always recommend a RO system as it removes the largest spectrum of contaminants of any water treatment process. It even takes out the small amount of sodium added by a softener. Here’s our most popular one:

  31. HELLO


  32. What about the Enviro Water Filtration System? We are building a house in Tucson, AZ, and are investigating a proper water system for hard water and excessive chlorine. As an aside, Pelican was recommended as a viable system, but after reading all of the emails, we are moving on. Still not sure about the Enviro System…

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