Pelican NaturSoft NS3 & NS6 Salt-Free Water Softeners Review

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There are 2 Pelican water conditioners that we wanted to discuss in this review. One is the NaturSoft NS3, the other is the NaturSoft NS6. We decided to cover both at once due to their similarities.

In fact, the only difference between the two is that the Pelican NS3 has a max flow rate of 10 gallons per minute, while the NS6 has a maximum flow rate of 15 gpm, so 50% higher.

This is what makes the NS6 eligible for larger households of up to 7 or 8 people. According to Pelican, it can serve homes with 4 to 6 bathrooms.

As far as the NS3 is concerned, we would recommend it to families of up to 5 or 6.

Also, please note that we are not talking about “real” water softeners here, but water conditioners. In other words, they won’t remove hardness minerals – think calcium – from your water in an ion exchange process.

If you want to learn more, please continue reading.

Pelican NaturSoft NS3 & NS6

Pelican NaturSoft NS3

Price: $$$
Flow Rate: 10-15 gpm
Capacity: Unlimited
# of People: Up to 7
Tech: Template Assisted Crystallization
NSF: 61

Our Rating

Pelican NaturSoft NS3 & NS6 Salt-Free Water Softeners – Key Features

The way the NS3 and NS6 work is they use a special type of catalytic media that attracts and binds excess hardness minerals. Calcium carbonate crystals are formed which are then released back into the water.

These larger crystals have different characteristics than dissolved calcium. One is that they won’t attach to surfaces, says Pelican. Thus scaling is reduced.

Due to the nature of this process, certain requirements must be met for it to work:

  • Your water should not contain hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide can coat the catalytic media and interfere with the softening process.
  • Your water should not contain hydrocarbons, oils and lubricants. They, too, can coat the catalytic media and interfere with the process.
  • Your water should have a maximum phosphate concentration of 1 ppm. Too much phosphate can prevent the calcium crystals from forming.
  • Your water should contain a maximum copper concentration of 1.3 ppm. Too much copper can also prevent the formation of calcium crystals.

Minimum and maximum required working pressure: 25-80 psi.

NS3 & NS6 Pros

Although a salt-based softener is more effective at softening water, the Pelican NS3/NS6 can reduce scaling significantly. After all, it’s certified to be 99.6% effective.

This will protect your plumbing and water-using appliances from deposits increasing their longevity. Above that, your skin and hair are likely to feel more moisturized and look healthier.

Other benefits are:

  • Both the Pelican NS3 and NS6 are suited for people on a low-sodium diet, as they won’t add any additional salt to your water.
  • The systems are WQA certified according to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for material safety and Standard 42 for structural integrity.
  • No gallons are wasted in the softening process.
  • These systems require almost no maintenance. All you have to do is change the pre-filter cartridge once or twice a year.
  • Unlike salt softeners, the conditioners don’t run on electricity. This reduces operating costs to a bare minimum.
Pelican NaturSoft NS3 & NS6

The Pelican NaturSoft NS3 – learn more on

Installation + Startup Instructions

There is no reason why you should not be able to install one of these conditioners yourself. The setup is rather simple, so with the right tools and some practical understanding you should get this done within one afternoon.

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.

Start by assembling the sediment pre-filter unit:

  1. Remove the blue filter housing.
  2. Remove the plastic cover from the filter cartridge.
  3. Insert the cartridge into the filter housing and set aside.

To install the pre-filter, do this:

  1. Close your main water supply valve.
  2. Attach the filter cover to the mounting bracket (included).
  3. Mount the bracket to a wall.
  4. Screw the blue filter housing back on. Use the filter wrench (included) to tighten.

This is how to hook up the conditioner:

  1. Push the bypass valve into the head of the conditioner. The unthreaded ends must be oriented towards the tank. Hand tighten.
  2. Put the tank in place. Make sure that it is level.
  3. Install the fittings into the inlet and outlet ports of the bypass valve (see diagram in manual).
  4. Connect the incoming water supply from the sediment filter to the bypass valve inlet.
  5. Connect the outgoing water supply to the bypass valve outlet.

Now it’s time to pre-soak the catalytic media:

  1. Open a cold soft water outlet.
  2. Open the main water supply valve.
  3. Let the system fill with water. Meanwhile, all remaining air will be released.
  4. Check for leaks.
  5. Set the system into bypass mode.
  6. Let the media soak for at least 60 minutes.
  7. Close the bypass valve.
  8. In order to flush the system, open multiple water outlets for 5 minutes. You want a flow rate of at least 5 gallons per minute.
  9. Close all outlets but one and rinse the system for another 60 minutes. 0.5 gpm is enough for this.

The Package (Parts)

  • Sediment pre-filter housing (blue) + mounting kit
  • 5-micron poly-spun sediment pre-filter cartridge
  • Sediment filter wrench
  • Bypass valve
  • Salt-free water conditioner (NS3/NS6)
  • 1″ plastic male NPT assembly

The Pelican single-tank installation kit is NOT included and has to be purchased at extra cost.

Programming, Settings & Maintenance

We already mentioned that all you have to do in terms of maintenance is change the sediment pre-filter every 6-9 months depending on the amount of sediment present in your water supply.

One indicator that it’s time for a replacement is when your water pressure is slowing. Check the filter and replace it if necessary. Here’s how:

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Relieve the pressure by opening a cold water faucet.
  3. Unscrew the blue filter housing.
  4. Remove the filter cartridge.
  5. Inspect the O-ring. Make sure that it maintains a proper seal and is lubricated. Lubricate with silicon grease if need be.
  6. Insert a new sediment filter cartridge into the housing.
  7. Screw the housing back on. Carefully tighten with the filter wrench (included).
  8. Turn the water supply back on and check for leaks.


Pelican Water Systems has uploaded a short video that outlines the replacement process:


You can access the Pelican NS3/NS6 manual if you click here.

NS3 & NS6 Cons

How about drawbacks?

Well, some users reportedly saw no reduction in hardness at all – even after a couple of months use.

Also, the pressure release button on the pre-filter tends to leak and flushing the large conditioning tank can be a real pain.

Pelican NaturSoft Review: Our Verdict + Best for

Performance-wise the Pelican NS3 and the Pelican NS6 are solid. They are some of the most effective salt-free water conditioners. Especially the NS6 provides sufficient flow for large homes. Taking into account the price tag, our rating is 4 stars each!

This completes our Pelican NS3 and NS6 review. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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Information provided on BOS is for educational purposes only. The products and services we review may not be right for your individual circumstances.
We adhere to strict editorial guidelines. Rest assured, the opinions expressed have not been provided, reviewed, or otherwise endorsed by our partners – they are unbiased, independent, and the author’s alone. Our licensed experts fact-check all content for accuracy. It is accurate as of the date posted and to the best of our knowledge.

Leave a Comment:

Warren says January 15, 2022

I bought this system for several thousand dollars it does not work at all I have contacted pelican and they have blown me off the only thing they have said is I can spend more money and put a third addition to what I already have and it might help with my hard water this is a crock of crap this thing does not work at all

    Anatoly says January 29, 2023

    Agree 100% with Warren. Bot Pelican “water softener system” back in around 2005. What is warking is water filter, but they stopped making a good solid plastic foam core and replaced it with plastic rope wropped around the core. The original was much better in my opinion.

David Johnson says April 25, 2024

I am told I will never have to replace the media in my Salt free fresh water softener and conditioner Model NS3 is this true mine is probly 15 years old ,and no problems yet I have replaced my carbon media. in my Model PC600-R

    Gene says May 14, 2024

    In theory, yes, the system is maintenance-free. However, to my knowledge, iron, manganese, copper, and chlorine can damage the filter media and/or affect its performance. So depending on your water quality, you may need to replace the media eventually.

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