I've used sears brand softners with success but there are others. It really starts with your water and what it needs. I can't tell without an analysis and one that does more than hardness. You need to know about bacteria, iron and other minerals and if you need any filters for anything. I suggest getting a demand type that regenerates based upon usage and not by timer. Also get one plenty big enough. The smaller they are, the more frequent you will need regenerations. City or well water makes a difference. See what others are using in your area and consider consulting a certified water specialist.