Water conditioners are an alternative to water softeners without the need to use ion exchange. They use either zinc liberation, magnets, catalytic reactions, or seed creation.
This method prematurely precipitates the hardness salts out of solutions reducing the potential for them to adhere to the pipe walls or heat exchanger surfaces as limescale build-up.
The hardness salts stay in solution until discharge though water outlets e.g. taps and shower heads.
Water conditioners are usually installed inline on the cold-water services- this means that they require less plant room space.