Investing In a Culligan Water Softener

Culligan Water Softener Review – Read Before Buying!

A water softener and water filter can be an important part of homeownership, and it is imperative to find the right ones to suit your needs, whether you’re concerned about drinking water or doing your laundry.

There are so many things to consider, such as the price of the unit, how big your house is, how many people are living in the house, what type of water you have, how handy you are, and how much you would like to spend. Here, we’ve broken down the details about one of the most well-known waters softening and filtering brands today: Culligan.

See Culligan Water Softeners here.

culligan water softener in house

What is a Culligan Water Softener

A Culligan water softener system uses salt-based softening technology and operates without the need for electricity. What makes it stand apart in the industry is its high-tech add-ons, such as “dial-a-softness,” and off-site monitored water usage, which ensures its clients’ water softness levels stay consistent.

Hard water systems tend to be quite expensive, on the upper end of the water softening system price range, as they have the reputation of being one of “the best.” Throughout the course of this Culligan water softener review, we’ll take a look at whether or not that’s really the case.

The Breakdown

Children Drinking Water

Here are a few of the features of the Culligan water softener:

  • It’s a salt-based water softening system to rectify hard water
  • There are many water filter system options to choose from, including various capacities and add-ons
  • There are high-tech options like “dial-a-softness” and monitoring by Culligan
  • There is optional scheduled salt delivery for your water filter
  • It’s at a higher price point than many softening systems

Culligan is a very well-known brand, in part by virtue of their “Culligan Man” commercials. They do water delivery service for bottled water to commercial and residential locations, and some customers have found this method of obtaining drinking water more cost-effective and hassle-free than purchasing a water softening system.

This may in fact be a solution if all you are looking for is drinking water. Despite this, and the apparent popularity of their brand, customer complaints surrounding pricing and reliability are high, and more often than not, satisfaction ratings are low.

Below are three of the most popular Culligan water softener systems.

Culligan HE High-Efficiency Water Softener

This is Culligan’s most advanced water softening system which comes with all the bells and whistles. It offers the consumer various choices, between up-flow or down-flow renewal and tank sizes.

Their goal with this water filter system is to cut operating costs down to the bare minimum through reduction of energy costs and salt and water usage. Tank size is dependent on house size, as well as how much water you generally go through and how many people are living in the house. The main features are as follows:

  • Four different tank sizes are offered, making this choice available for a variety of homes
  • Can handle 75-99 gpg hardness levels
  • Total ferrous iron capacity is 5ppm
  • 9 to 10.6 gpm rated service flow rate
  • 30,000 to 90,000 grains softening capacity
  • Salt storage capacity is between 250 to 600lbs
  • Has wireless remote to monitor status
  • Allows scheduled salt delivery
  • Has the “dial-a-softness” feature
  • Demand-initiated regeneration
  • Covered by warranty

Culligan Gold Series

This is their mid-range hard water system, and, as is to be expected, comes with certain features but not others. Below is the breakdown. This series can accept .75 to 1.25-inch pipes.

  • Four different tank sizes are offered, making this choice possible for a variety of homes
  • ACCUSOFT technology allows it to run even during power outages
  • Guest Cycle function delivers super-soft water at the touch of a button
  • Automatic models adapt to water condition changes without monitoring
  • Can handle 75 to 99 gpg hardness levels
  • Total ferrous iron capacity is 5ppm
  • 9 to 10.6 rated service flow rate
  • 30,000 to 90,000 grains softening capacity
  • 250lbs to 600lbs salt storage capacity
  • Applies salt and water saving technology
  • Covered by warranty

Culligan Medallist

This model of Culligan water softener is more affordable because it doesn’t come with all of the extras otherwise included. Some of the hard water filtration options are available at an additional cost. A warranty is not included in the cost of the system and has to be purchased separately. Four different tank sizes are offered, but it can only fit up to .75 inch pipes, so it may not be a viable choice for larger homes.

  • Four different tank sizes are offered, making this choice available for a variety of homes
  • ACCUSOFT technology allows it to run even during power outages
  • Dual-Safe brine refill valve limits the amount of water delivered to the storage tank during brine refill
  • Guest Cycle function delivers super-soft water at the touch of a button
  • Can handle 75 to 99 gpg hardness levels
  • Total ferrous iron capacity is 5ppm
  • 9 to 10.2 rated service flow rate
  • 25,000 to 60,000 grains softening capacity
  • 250 to 375 lbs of salt storage capacity
  • Can handle small amounts of clear water iron

There are many other series that Culligan offers for hard water:

  • HE 1.25 series are designed specifically for homes with pipes up to 1.25 inches, as the standard, HE series can only accept pipes up to 1 inch.
  • HE Municipal Water Conditioner can also accept up to 1.25 inches pipe opening and is designed specifically for municipal soft water challenges. It filters the water first, removing chlorine and sediment, and then sends it for ion exchange which softens it.
  • HE Softener-Clear Water Conditioner is very similar to the above HE Municipal model in that it filters water before sending it for ion exchange. The differences are that instead of removing chlorine, this model adds trace amounts of chlorine that specifically targets hydrogen-sulfide causing bacteria, which is exactly what you want if you have a rotten egg smell in your water. This model only accepts up to 1-inch pipes and can only deal with challenging water in small-to-medium-sized households. There is an option to add in a remote display to monitor this system.
  • HE Twin and HE Progressive Flow Water Softener is an extremely expensive model designed for water so hard that it can’t be softened by anything else. It comes with daily monitoring and automatic adjustment and can connect to pipes up to 1.25 inches. This softener can be installed outside, as can many other Culligan hard water softeners.

Culligan water softener system reviews have been mixed because they are given high ratings in some areas but very low ratings in others. Customer service complaints are commonplace, with concerns about money being charged for work that hasn’t been done as well as refunds promised that were never issued. Additionally, there have been issues with frequent visits from maintenance personnel to repair the system, as well as additional costs for salt.

culligan water softener

Negative Culligan Water Softener Reviews

The Culligan water softener system is quite expensive, with some consumers reporting costs of more than $5000, as well as water softener parts maintenance in the hundreds of dollars. There are no prices published on the Culligan site.

There are instances of families renting units from Culligan for amounts that would have been paid off in a couple of years. There seem to be no overarching quality and price control guidelines. Here are some ConsumerAffairs Culligan Water Softener reviews:

  • A family entered into a 3-year contract with Culligan to rent their basic softener and reverse osmosis filtration system. Their contract included service, but didn’t cover filters, salt and salt delivery. Their total cost at the end was $5,770.
  • A California woman who purchased a whole-home softener was told she would be able to maintain the hard water system herself, but this was seemingly inaccurate. She has to pay for the canisters to be removed, cleaned, and refilled, which she says is a costly and inefficient process. Secondly, she said she was told she would receive a free water analysis, and when she contacted the company, was told that there was no record of that conversation and that the company did not offer that service.
  • One reviewer in Tampa paid $2100 for their water filter system, and 30 days later, a family member got the same system from the same company for $1599. The company was contacted and the customer was told he would be called back but received no call.
  • An Ohio reviewer said that Culligan salt costs more than twice as much as other brands of salt, and when he contacted the company, the receptionist told him that she was aware of it and had been asking her superiors for years to change the price.
  • A three-star review was given by a Florida customer who purchased whole-house soft water and under-sink reverse osmosis unit. They reported that almost every month there were salt maintenance issues that had to be dealt with and that their system eventually broke and spilled saltwater onto their lawn. The company repaired the water filtration unit but refused to do anything about the lawn, and the customer never received a call back regarding the issue.

Positive Culligan Water Softener Reviews

On the other hand, there seems to be a minority of customers who are quite content with the soft water brand. Here are some positive Culligan Water Softener reviews:

  • One customer from Naples, Florida states that he rarely posts reviews but is going out of his way to do so for Culligan because he is so happy with their product and service. He states that they are prompt and polite, and he appreciates their service reminders.
  • Another customer from Florida had a water softener from Culligan that needed replacing after 10 years and decided to go with another Culligan system. She is very satisfied with the service and the system.
  • A Rhode Island customer reported only one billing problem in 25 years of service, which was corrected immediately.
  • A Wisconsin customer is happy with her soft water service because she doesn’t need to check her system, as it is monitored by Culligan, and they let her know when they will be servicing her system and that the water delivery system calls her when they are en route.
  • A Washington customer reports excellent service, saying they never run out of water and any components that break are fixed or replaced promptly.

It seems that most customer issues revolve around pricing and communication. Consistency across sales and service affiliates seems to be taking away from their reputation. Based on over 200 Culligan Water Softener Reviews on the Consumer Reviews page, Culligan’s soft water products get a disappointing average of just 2.2 stars.

Water Testing

In order to be considered for a quote, you have to go to the Culligan site, find your local Culligan representative, and then book an appointment to have your hard water tested in your home. There, they’ll test the water directly from your faucet and give you a result within approximately ten minutes.

If you would like, they can do further testing to see if there are any other issues with your water, but those tests may not be free. This aspect is more than likely dependent on your local Culligan affiliate, and there is no set time that the results will be available.


Culligan has many different options for many types of households and water filter needs. If you have had a wonderful experience with Culligan and are a fan of the brand, with the budget needed to purchase, rent or finance a soft water Culligan system, then go ahead. However, there may be more affordable options.

Amanda Perkins

Amanda began her career as a technical writer for a healthcare group in 2008. Years after getting married and starting a family, she joined her husband Joshua on the Water Filter Authority journey to educate other families and households about safe, affordable, and effective water filtration systems.