I am a plumber, not a water guy. Don't want to be a water guy and hate messing with all that stuff. However, my own house would seem to be in need of some sort of filter as the measured hardness is 465 ppm. Any recommendations? or should I buy what my supply house sells. ?
Unless you went with nanofiltration, or RO, there is no filter to solve the problem, only a softener will remove hardness.
I say the control valve is the most important component of a softener. I also say you should decide if you are going to want to be a DIYer and fix a problem with your control valve or if you want to be dependent on the usually one and only local national brand dealer. If you want o go with a national brand dealer, you're locked into whatever they sell.
If you want to be an independent DIYer, buy a softener with a Clack WS-1 control valve. It was designed to be the easiest to program and repair. I have sold going on 1300 of them over 5.5 yrs and have had only 24 problems. So IMO it is also high quality, and it has the most successful design of all valves, the Fleck invented piston, seals and spacers design, but with huge improvements and many features that only a couple Fleck valves have.
What does the plumbing supply house sell? Over the years I have found more than a few that didn't know what brand of control valve they were selling.