Review: Aquios AQFS220, AQFS220L & AQFS220C Water Softeners and Filters

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In this 3-in-1 review, we are going to check out the Aquios AQFS220 salt-free water conditioner & whole house filter and the Aquios AQFS220L and AQFS220C, two slightly altered versions of the AQFS220.

Aquios AQFS220

Aquios AQFS220

Flow Rate:12-15 gpm
Capacity:40,000 gal
Tech:Polyphosphate Water Conditioning

Our Rating

Aquios AQFS220, AQFS220L & AQFS220C Salt-Free Water Softeners – Key Features

The only distinctions between Aquios AQFS220, AQFS220L, and AQFS220C are that

  • the AQFS220L uses a 1-micron carbon block filter instead of the standard 5-micron filter that the AQFS220 uses.
  • the AQFS220C comes with a clear rather than a white filter housing which allows you to determine the current state of the filter cartridge at a glance.

What difference does the stronger filtration medium of the Aquios AQFS220L make?

Simply put, while the standard 5-micron carbon filter eliminates sediment, dirt and chlorine among a handful of other impurities to mainly improve water taste, the 1-micron version also reduces potentially harmful VOCs, chloroform, rust (prevents iron staining) and eliminates up to 99% chloramine.

Bottom line: Your water will be of higher purity and therefore healthier to drink.

You should keep in mind, however, that the AQFS220L is not recommended for well water applications unless you install an additional pre-filter.

Otherwise, the cartridge life will be shortened significantly and you are likely to see a huge drop in water pressure and flow.

By the way, the Aquios AQFS220 filter cartridge is rated at 40,000 gallons. The conditioners can provide between 12 and 15 gallons per minute, so enough for larger families.


Now, the Aquios AQFS220, AQFS220L and AQFS220C can handle water with a maximum hardness level of 22 (30) grains per gallon.

They use a non-salt, food-grade and FDA approved additive (polyphosphate) that conditions hard water without replacing any beneficial minerals with sodium or potassium.

The additive triggers an anti-scaling effect which keeps calcium and magnesium suspended and, according to Aquios, also dissolves hard water deposits that may have already accumulated in your plumbing system and household appliances.

What are the benefits of using a salt-free conditioner vs. a salt-based softener?

No salt means no regeneration and no brine. In other words:

  • No more lifting of heavy salt bags to refill the brine tank. This also saves you time and money.
  • You will never run out of conditioned water and no water is wasted for backflush.
  • You won’t get the typical slimy feel on your skin that “properly” softened water often leaves.
  • Salt-free is more eco-friendly. No sodium or potassium are discharged into our supply systems and eventually the environment. Aquios conditioners also don’t require electricity to run.
  • Water without added salt is the healthier choice for you and your family to drink.

And lastly, Aquios systems are NSF Standard 42 tested and certified for effective chlorine reduction and covered by a limited warranty that lasts 20 years.

Aquios AQFS220

The Aquios AQFS220 – learn more on

Installation Instructions

Obviously, Aquios recommends you to have their conditioners installed by a plumbing professional.

However, taking into account that we have a very compact design, you should be able to set them up yourself without any issues if you are handy around the house. The process itself isn’t overly complication.

The manufacturer says that the average DIY installation takes about two hours.

This is what you need to do:

If a softener is not equipped with a bypass valve, we recommend you provide for one for ease of maintenance. Also, make sure to comply with local plumbing codes.

  1. In order to find the best location, keep in mind that a whole house conditioner/filter should be installed close to where the main water line enters your home. All three systems must be installed vertically.
  2. Starting by shutting off the main water supply.
  3. Attach the U-bracket (included) to the wall studs with the provided screws. Ensure that the bracket is a minimum of 36″ above ground level.
  4. Remove the housing head by detaching the blue collar. Use the wrench (included) if need be.
  5. Attach a threaded nipple to both the inlet and outlet ports on each side of the valve-in-head. Use Teflon tape to seal.
  6. Attach the valve-in-head to the wall by inserting the nipples in the housing head through the sides of the U-bracket.
  7. Connect the conditioner to the main water supply line.
  8. Place the cartridge (included) into the sump. Align the cartridge O-ring with the sump housing adaptor at the bottom.
  9. Check that the rubber O-ring is properly seated in the sump channel.
  10. Attach the sump to the housing body and secure with the blue collar. Use the wrench to tighten, but do not overtighten!
  11. Turn on the main water supply and check for leaks.

Installation Video

The Package (Parts)

  • All-in-one softening & filtration system (23.4″ x 5.4″)
    • Housing head with built in bypass/shut off valve
    • Housing collar
    • O-ring
    • Sump
  • Cartridge
  • 3/4″ stainless steel u-bracket
  • 3x screws
  • 3x 1/4″ anchors
  • Collar wrench
  • Installation instructions
  • Cartridge specification sheet


Maintaining an Aquios conditioner is a breeze. All you have to do is replace the softening/filtering cartridge once it has reached its capacity.


Here is a link to the manual: Manual


Our biggest concern is that we could not find any lab reports or certifications to verify the claimed anti-scaling effects. One thing is for certain, the polyphosphate additive is most effective at a pH-range between 8 to 10. This might explain why some users do not seem to get any softening benefits.

Another major issue is that too many customers saw a huge drop in water pressure and flow rate for our liking. The reason here is that the filters tend to clog up quickly. While the supply is reasonable for a new cartridge, after one month of use it’s totally unacceptable in some cases.

As a result, cartridges have to be replaced much more frequently which is not only a hassle, it also skyrockets the cost.

And lastly, a handful of customers had problems with leaking systems and were disappointed by an unresponsive customer service.

Aquios AQFS220, AQFS220L & AQFS220C Review: Our Verdict

All in all, the Aquios AQFS220, AQFS220L and AQFS220C salt-free water conditioners & whole house filters do their jobs for the price, IF all water conditions and requirements are met.

Then you will not only get great tasting drinking water, your hair and skin will also feel better, your clothes will look noticeably more colorful, your soaps and detergents will lather more easily and you will see less deposits on faucets and other fixtures and surfaces.

Still, these conditioners are not as effective as a good old salt-based softener – just remember that.

Our rating: 3.5 stars.

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This completes our Aquios AQFS220/L/C review. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald has been with BOS since the very beginning. She is head of content creation and has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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