What is the difference between a water softener and a water filter?

A water softener is designed to remove water hardness (calcium and magnesium irons) from the water supply. However it removes little else from the water as opposed to a water filter that is designed to remove sediment and other chemicals from the water but does little in removing the hardness from the water. In most applications one or the other is required, however in some instances both maybe required.

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