Even though most people tend to assume that water softeners and descalers are essentially the same thing, especially because they both seem to address issues related to hard water, a closer look into the subject should quickly reveal that the two are actually quite different. Although they are both supposed to be used on hard water, they do so in different ways and, in order to shed better light on this subject and make everything clear, below is a short discussion of both covering what they do, how they work as well as some of their strengths and weaknesses.
Descalers, as the name suggests, work through a process referred to as descaling. When hard water passes through restricted spaces such as pipes, there comes a time when the minerals present in the water precipitate out of it and clump up together in what is referred to as a scale. Actually it is these scales that usually lead to the clogging and blockage of water pipes caused by hard water. The descaling process is the process by which these scales are broken down and the clogs removed. This means that descalers do not actually remove any of the mineral components that make the water hard but rather deal with the problems that are caused by the said hardness.
Whether you are using chemical softeners or you are using physical ones, the work of the softeners is to get rid of all the extra minerals such as magnesium carbonate that are present in the hard water. Unlike the descalers, the softeners do not just eliminate the problems caused by the hard water once and for all, they also make that water soft and more useable.
Which is the best alternative?
As should be evident from the discussions above, it is clear that using water softeners is a much more effective way of dealing with hard water than using descalers. You can visit http://www.watersoftenersnow.org/ to find reviews of the best water softeners available on the market.