Fleck 5600SXT – The Ultimate Review
• Effective at treating medium to hard water
• Offers high grain capacity (48,000)
• Good value for the money
• Contains internal power backup
• Durable, high-quality control valve from a leading brand
• Electronic control head with intuitive LCD screen and push-buttons
• Meter-based regeneration cycles for precision, efficiency, and low maintenance
• Large and heavy, not ideal for small spaces
• Installation can be tricky for some
• Not perfect for smaller households (less than three people)
• Sodium that replaces minerals in hard water not ideal for individuals who need to cut down on salt
• Durability of a few smaller plastic parts is questionable
Looking at reviews online, there’s is a lot of talk going around about the Fleck 5600 SXT. This water softener system pops up everywhere and is recommended by a lot of people. Since it can serve a typical family and has a high grain capacity, we decided to try it out for ourselves.
This is a salt based water softening unit with an electronic control head which you can set and forget, most of the time. It requires some maintenance, but for the money and time you invest, it offers a lot. To find out why we consider it best water softener system, read our ultimate review.
- CAPACITY: 48,000 grains
- REGENERATION: Meter-based, down-flow or up-flow
- RESIN TYPE AND SIZE: High-capacity, 1.5 cubic feet, comes pre-charged
- GOOD FOR: 3-6 people, medium to very hard water
- VALVE TYPE: On demand, digital metered, programmable with LCD
- FLOW RATE OF WATER: Up to 12 gallons per minute, continuous
- WATER CONSUMPTION: up to 2.7 gallons per minute
- MAX. PRESSURE: 100 pounds per square inch (PSI)
- COLOR: Black (default) or almond
- VOLTAGE: 24 volts
- MATERIAL: Polyglass 100%
- SHIPPING WEIGHT: 130 pounds
- WARRANTY: Ten years for resin and brine tank, five years for Fleck valve
- INCLUDES: Digital control head, bypass valve with 1” threaded adapter, 10”x54″ resin tank, 15″x34″ Brine tank with safety float system and salt grid
It is important to note that all Fleck water softener systems ship out assembled. The only thing you have to do is attach the unit to your plumbing and add the resin that comes with your water softener system. For an easier application of resin, a funnel is included. Fleck also offers a lifetime of technical support to all their customers.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Water Softener
One of the most important factors to consider when buying a water softener is the capacity it offers. Capacity is the amount of water hardness a system can remove between regeneration cycles. To find out what capacity you need, you should know your water’s grains per gallon (GPG) hardness and iron levels. When you have the necessary information, you can use a simple formula to calculate your requirements.
First, you should multiply the number of people in your household with 75 – the average daily consumption in gallons per person. Then take that result and multiply it with the sum of your water’s GPG hardness and GPG of iron. What you end up with is the grains per day that you need to remove. For a weekly regeneration cycle, multiply grains per day by seven. That way you will know what capacity water softener system you need.
Another important aspect to consider is the effectiveness of a water softener. By knowing this, you can know how much salt you are going to be using and how much water each regeneration cycle will need. Since a water softener can work for years, choosing an efficient unit can bring down costs significantly. There are two values for regeneration efficiency – water efficiency and brine efficiency.
Water efficiency measures how much water your softening system needs to use to complete a full regeneration cycle. This value is most often shown as gallons per regeneration. It can also be calculated as the amount of water for regeneration per 1000 grains of water hardness that is removed.
Brine efficiency measures how much salt a water softener system uses to remove water hardness. A system’s brine efficiency is shown as the capacity for hardness removal in grains per pound of salt for system regeneration.
Salt-based Water softener systems need a refill periodically. It’s best to use softening salt that works with your system and which has a high purity level to reduce the chance of build-up. Sodium chloride is a favorite for many because it’s cheap and readily available. It can come in a few different forms:
• Evaporated salt pellets have the highest purity, but are usually the most expensive.
• Solar salt pellets are made by evaporating sea water. These pellets aren’t as good as evaporated salt for high hardness levels but dissolve faster than rock salt.
• Rock salt is affordable but doesn’t have a high purity which can lead to maintenance issues.
• Block salt should only be used if it can work with your system.
Potassium chloride is expensive but almost free of sodium which is better for your health and the environment. It comes in the form of pellets.
Introducing the Fleck 5600SXT
One of the most popular water softener systems available right now is the Fleck 5600 SXT. This model is a best seller on Amazon and comes praised by verified users. It is a product that offers impressive performance considering its price-tag. This is a salt-based unit with a 48,000 grains capacity and a maximum of 12 GPM water flow that can treat water that’s medium to high on the hardness scale. It is capable of serving a household that has up to six people with softened water.
For the most efficient regeneration process, it uses a meter-based system. This way the unit regenerates the resin beads only after a certain amount of water has been used. The electronic control head has push buttons and an LCD screen for easy programming. That way you can spend less time making sure everything’s working and more time enjoying the benefits of this water softener unit.
This water softener system is made from quality parts and can offer many years of service with regular maintenance. This unit has an excellent 10-year warranty for tanks and a 5-year warranty for the head unit, including all electronics. This is a versatile product with a few drawbacks but covers a lot of ground.
About the manufacturer
Fleck has a long history that spans more than fifty years which makes it one of the oldest brands on the market today. They also lead the way when it comes to the development of valve-related technology. Fleck is a part of Pentair, a multinational industrial company. In 1995, Pentair bought Fleck Control and the General Signal Pump Group with the aim of expanding its water product business.
Fleck produces a variety of water softener control valves for residential and commercial use. They also make control valves for backwashing filters. Finally, they have a whole range of high-quality systems for water filtration and water softening which are popular on the market. Over the years, new advances from Fleck had lots of influence when it came to improving the technology of water softener systems. For that reason, they are thought of as one of the most trusted companies around today.
Fleck units come recommended by many industry professionals, but customers think highly of their products as well. User ratings and water softener reviews on big name retail websites back that up. Reviews paint a picture of a reliable brand whose units and systems offer excellent performance.
For those of you that want to have the best water softener, a Fleck unit will always be among the top systems. Fleck systems for water softening offer a range of options when it comes to products that are salt-based. The valves used in these systems provide unmatched service life and quality. Fleck systems as whole remove harmful minerals from water and solve all sorts of problems. If you’re looking for the peace of mind that comes along with a world-class water softener system, then Fleck should be your first choice, you don’t need to further.
How it works
The Fleck 5600 SXT is a state of the art product that replaces hard water minerals with salt through a process known as an ion exchange. This fleck water softener system uses two tanks for this process. One tank houses tiny polystyrene beads, which are also known as zeolite or resin beads. The second container stores salt and a brine solution intended for bead regeneration.
The polystyrene beads are negatively charged while water has positively charged molecules. When water flows through the resin tank, various minerals found in water bind to these beads while sodium ions are taken on. What you end up with is water that has salt instead of minerals. This is beneficial for many different reasons. Salt softened water doesn’t leave scale deposits which can damage and appliances. Furthermore, water treated with a softening system is better for you skin and your clothes.
As a single tank system, the beads in the Fleck 5600 SXT need to go through a regeneration process after treating a certain amount of water. During this process, water runs through a bypass. You can program your unit so that it does this at times of low usage, for instance during the night.
The Fleck 5600 SXT comes in an all-black color by default, which can make it fit into any space. There is also an almond color available if you have to place this water softener system in a visible area or want to match it better to its surroundings.
The Fleck 5600 SXT is ideal for people who have water which is medium to high on the water hardness scale. It can serve up to six people with a continuous water flow and is a great option for those that want to set and forget their water softener systems.
Not so good for
The Fleck 5600 SXT is not ideal for small households that have less than three people. There are cheaper systems available if that’s the case. Since this unit is bulky, it’s also not so good for installation in houses that offer limited space next to their water main.
Benefits of Using a Fleck Water Softener
Fleck water softener systems come in a range of prices and configurations. That way you can find the product that suits your needs and more importantly a product that fits your budget.
Simple To USe
Each Fleck water softener unit comes with an electric powerhead. Most of the critical processes are automated, and users can program with push buttons through a display. Aside from that, service notifications will alert you to any important issues.
Every Fleck system is made from high-quality materials which help bring down power consumption. Moreover, these units use less salt that most other water softeners so they help preserve the environment.
Each Fleck unit gets shipped with the parts assembled. To plumb these systems in, you can follow the manual or instructional videos. If you don’t have the right tools or know-how, you can hire a professional to do it for you.
Great Customer Service
Fleck has been on the market for more than fifty years. Their success isn’t just due to excellent products, but also excellent customer service. They are always ready to offer help and resolve issues.
The Parts Are Easy To Find
Fleck offers major replacement parts through their official website. You can also use online retailers like Amazon or buy interchangeable parts from different companiest.
The Fleck 5600 SXT that we tested has proven to be an effective way to treat hard water. The installation is made easier because most of the parts come assembled out of the box. Some sellers even put in the resin beads for you. This unit has a large brine tank that can hold up 250 pounds of softening salt. Depending on your regeneration settings, you can use anywhere from 8 to 25 lbs. of softening salt per weekly cycle. This means that a full brine tank of salt can last for months and months.
The electronic control head is programmable through a back-lit LCD screen. You can program four different modes for meter-based regeneration. This way the amount of water passing through this system is measured for an optimal regeneration process. The modes available include delayed meter regeneration, immediate regeneration, a day of the week setting, and a delayed time clock regeneration. This option covers a lot of bases and makes using this unit much easier. This Fleck system also has a safety float which prevents overfilling of the brine tank. There’s also an overflow drain which is a further backup to avoid flooding.
Despite many great features and advantages, the Fleck 5600 SXT has some drawbacks as well. The first one you will encounter is the lack of a detailed manual. To install our system, we had to resort to Google searches and YouTube videos. For people with no plumbing experience, getting this system working can be difficult.
Another thing that you will notice when during installation is that a few parts are missing to complete the setup. For the system to work, you will need to buy two more plastic lines. During installation, you might also notice that there are a few smaller plastic parts. Considering the material of choice and quality, you might experience minor leaks.
Finally, this system is heavy and big. The weight isn’t much of an issue when you put it in its place. In contrast, the size can make fitting it into small spaces challenging. That’s why you need to make sure you have enough room for this unit.
Shipping and Package
We bought the Fleck 5600 SXT for this test by ordering it online through Amazon. The seller shipped this unit within a short amount of time, almost immediately. Not long after that, in fact, just a few days after ordering it, this softener was at our doorstep.
The expected shipping time is 3-5 business days, so we received this Fleck within that period. We are happy with how long we waited, but shipping time may vary depending on where you live and where the unit is shipped from. When it comes to costs, we paid about 50$ for the package, even though many online retailers advertise free shipping. The shipping isn’t free because sellers make up for it with a markup of the price.
The package we received was well wrapped, and everything was sitting securely in the shipping box once we took a look. Inside the box, we found resin beads, an assembled unit which consists of two tanks, an electronic control head, and other necessary parts. Thanks to careful packaging, there were no signs of damage whatsoever.
The entire box is quite heavy since it includes the resin beads and stainless steel parts. That’s why we decided to take one part out at a time and move the system to its final destination. Since the shipping weight is over 100 lbs., we recommend that you get someone to help you out or to move the parts one by one like we did.
Even though this water softener system comes assembled, you still need to install it and adjust some parts. Installation can take up to an hour or two depending on your knowledge and experience.
The manual that comes with this unit could be more detailed. Luckily for everyone that buys the 5600 SXT, there are a lot of video tutorials on the internet. Before you install this unit, you should know that mistakes during installation can cause significant damages. If you’re not sure how to set this product up, you should call a plumber.
One more thing to note is room requirements. Because of the bypass valve and connections leading up to water mains, this unit can take up to a foot of room behind the control head. When you add the tanks to this, you need to make sure the whole system can fit into its designated space.
You should also take care when installing the beads. The funnel in the package can be pushed out of the resin tank from the weight of the beads which will send them flying all over the floor. Finally, the package includes only one plastic line, but for the system to work you need three.
Once your water softener system is installed, you will have to program it. You can use two approaches for this. One is to program for efficiency and the other for capacity. The amount of softening salt used for one regeneration cycle affects the grain capacity. Programming for max capacity will give you the rated 48,000 grains but will require a significant amount of salt. Programming for salt efficiency gives the best results but lowers the capacity. This is a drawback with every model because most sellers don’t use precise rating systems.
The instructions that came with our unit weren’t clear enough for us, so we resorted to using online videos. We would have liked if this product came with more detailed instructions. With the right information, using the touch push-buttons of the control head was not difficult. All in all, it took us a good 30 minutes to program this unit, but we later adjusted some options further. The good thing about the electronic control head is that you can set the regeneration cycle time in advance. You can program the 5600 SXT to regenerate the beads during periods of low usage, or during the night. This way you don’t have to use untreated water.
Thanks to the electronic control head on this water softener unit, most of the processes involved are automated. This results in less maintenance. The resin tank goes through regeneration according to programming. The brine tank only requires that you check salt levels from time to time and add more if necessary.
Depending on the type of salt you use, you might need to clean the brine tank more or less often. Salt high in impurities is cheaper but can cause significant build-up. The brine tank can hold a lot of softening salts, up to 250 pounds, and the system doesn’t use that much in comparison for regeneration.
Something that might cause maintenance issues are some of the plastic parts that come with this water softener system. We didn’t have any problems but weren’t impressed with the quality. Some users recommend buying a stainless steel shut off valve, instead of the plastic one that comes with this system.
One of the best things about choosing a respected and reliable brand like Fleck is the warranty they offer. The Fleck 5600 SXT water softener system has a 10-year warranty for both the resin and the brine tank. When it comes to the electronic control head, Fleck has a 5-year warranty in place. Such a warranty is a great way to give peace of mind to customers. If you happen to need anything, they are easy to contact and promise a lifetime of technical support to all clients. Depending on the conditions, they offer replacements and repairs.
Performance and Durability
When it comes to performance, we can safely say that the Fleck 5600 SXT is working as intended. Even though installation and programming took a while, we are more than happy with the results. This water softener system does everything it advertises. It stopped plaque build-up in appliances, as well as on tiles and glass. Our bathroom, for instance, has never looked better. As for the taste, it is subjective, but we like it much better after treatment. This might be because our water was high on the water hardness scale.
As far as durability, there are no problems yet, which coincides with most of the reviews out there. We’ve been running the system for about two months without pause. But, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have any concerns. Many of the parts are plastic, and some can cause problems if they break down. A minority of verified Amazon reviewers had issues with leaks. Some were just drips, while other’s required immediate attention. Since the Fleck 5600 SXT offers such good value for its price, you might want to consider buying a few stainless steel replacement parts. You can install them right away or like us, opt to use them if the original ones break down.
WHY FLECK 5600SXT IS THE BEST WATER SOFTENER ON THE MARKET
We have tried out and reviewed many different softener systems. We have talked to plumbers that install and service water softener systems for a living, but also looked online for answers. In the end, the name most mentioned was the Fleck 5600 SXT, in a positive light, of course. It is a worthwhile purchase for many different reasons.
This product has a control head fitted with modern electronics and an LCD screen that minimizes maintenance. The programming offers everything a household could need. This unit can serve up to 6 people with ease continuously, not counting regeneration cycles which can be set to low usage hours. The included brine tank can hold enough salt so that you’ll need to refill it every few months or even less often. When it comes to quality, the most important parts are stainless steel, and tanks are 100% poly glass. For peace of mind, Fleck offers an excellent warranty on both tanks and the control head.
Considering what this system offers, you’ll need little else for water softening. All units come with their pros and cons, but none offer what the Fleck 5600 SXT offers. That’s why it is the best water softener system on the market.
The bottom line
Hard water and unwanted mineral build-up is something that no one wants in their house. It can happen to anyone in many different areas. In fact, you might hard water and not even realize it. If you have concerns about the quality of water, it is always good to run tests and consult local officials.
Hard water can cause significant damage to your water installation over time. It can cause more maintenance issues with appliances like washing machines, boilers, and dishwashers. Furthermore, hard water lowers the effectiveness of all cleaning products. This then raises costs because you have to use more detergent to wash clothes for example. Finally, the biggest concern for you and your family should be health. Consuming hard water can affect your skin and hair, among other things.
Luckily for everyone facing these problems, there are many water softener systems available. The product that stands out for its performance, durability and price is the Fleck 5600 SXT. It is ideal for a household of up six people, a large family. This unit will save you money with through its efficiency and through the softened water it provides.