There are many important factors when rating the quality, performance, and cost of a system. Below is how we rated each system on a 5 star scale based on those factors.
Purchase Price: Worth 1 star for purchase prices under, $2,000.
According to a 2001 American Express Retail Index report on everyday spending the average consumer will spend over $9,000 on discretionary items including fast food, gifts, and health/beauty products. Of that, $396 will be spent on health products. Also according to this report, average household expenses are expected to rise. That makes the purchase price even more important to your budget, as does the next factor, yearly running cost. (About.com: Retail Industry, http://retailindustry.about.com/library/bl/bl_amex0320.htm)
Yearly Maintenance: Worth .5 star for units that do not require yearly maintenance to operate.
Not only do you save yourself money in electric costs, you save yourself water waste from our next factor.
Backwashing: Worth .5 star for units that do not waste water through backwashing.
Performance Guarantee: Worth 1 star for units that offer the customer a guarantee on performance
Where you can buy : Worth 1 star for units that do not require you to have someone come to your home in order to even view or purchase a softener.
Grains Capacity: 1 star for units that offer the highest level of capacity, above 60 grains of hardness.
Max Rating: 5 Stars out of 5