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Culligan Water Softener Reviews

Culligan Water
Culligan Water

For years, the Culligan Water Softening System has helped families, and homeowners supply their homes with a softer, cleaner, and more economical water supply. But, is it worth your time and money to invest in one? Find out by reading our expert Culligan Water Softener review.

Although many of us can tell the difference between hard and soft water when we taste it, few understand what makes hard water “hard” and, more importantly, how they can soften it. Luckily, the experts at Culligan have been working hard—no pun intended—to make home water softening solutions available in a convenient and affordable treatment system.

Culligan is the home of America’s “Water Experts” who perform home water testing and softener installations on an on-call basis. Ranked the #1 water softening franchise in the world by Entrepreneur Magazine, Culligan is a popular company devoted to treating, filtering, and softening household drinking water.

Since the 1930s, long before the tradition of water softening became popular, Culligan was pioneering the practice and developing the equipment necessary for the job. Without the work by Culligan, it is likely that water softening would never have caught on in America.

There is perhaps no brand more popular in the world of water softening than Culligan. However, are their services worth your money? In this article, our experts go in-depth and analyze other Culligan water softener reviews to determine whether Culligan is a waste of money or if it is the real deal.

What is the Culligan Water Softener and How Does It Work?

Culligan logo

There are three main types of Culligan Water Softener, although each of them functions similarly. For your convenience, we have listed them below:

  • Culligan Gold Series Water Softener
  • Culligan High-Efficiency (HE) Water Softener System
  • Culligan High-Efficiency (HE) Twin Tank and HE Progressive Flow Water Conditioner

Although the list above is not exhaustive (indeed, Culligan has five other less-popular variants of the models above), these three are the bestselling systems that are found in most Culligan-equipped homes in America.

HE Water Softener System

Water Softener

The original high-efficiency water softener system by Culligan is a “smart” addition to your drinking water because it reduces the amount of water, salt, and electricity your home uses. The brine tank is installed underneath your sink and measures between one and three cubic feet.

Since the tank is connected to the internet, it provides real-time reports to a Culligan Water Experts informing them of the mineral and salt concentrations in the water. Consequently, you never have to worry about booking an appointment with Culligan if you have this model because they will already know when to show up at your door.

HE Twin Tank and Conditioner

HE system

The natural upgrade from the regular HE system, the HE twins tank and conditioner have twice the capacity to de-mineralize your water as its predecessor. This makes it the smart choice for larger buildings, big families, and institutional or commercial drinking water taps.

This system contains all the features of the original system, but with more added on top. For example, this system never has to undergo downtime. Instead, if one tank is at maximum capacity, the secondary tank will kick in to pick up the slack.

Gold Series Water Softener

Gold Series Water Softener

If we were to recommend an all-in-one household water softener system, it would be the Gold Series. This is because the Gold Series does it all, from treating your drinking water to making sure your laundry water and shower are also adequately de-mineralized. Plus, the Gold Series tank has a higher work capacity than both of its predecessor systems.

Depending on the variety of tank you install, you will need up to three cubic feet of space under your sink or elsewhere in your home if you want to purchase this system. And, like the models that came before it, it is equipped with smart sensors to notify Culligan staff of real-time updates and defects before they become a serious issue.

What is the Culligan Water Softener and How Does It Work?


Most of us know, intuitively, what hard water is. This is because we have tasted hard water countless times. However, the most obvious distinguishing feature of hard water is the white calcium residue that builds up on top of metal surfaces if hard water is left on it. Although it washes off easily, it can be an eyesore if left untreated.

Hard water is any water that has a grain per gallon (GPG) reading of seven or higher. This metric measures the concentration of dissolved minerals in the water and, more specifically, calcium and magnesium carbonate. Although these chemicals belong in drinking water and are safe to consume, having too much of them can irritate the skin and cause a bad taste.

Thankfully, there are ways to extract these unwanted minerals from the water. With the help of water softening systems, such as those by Culligan, Pentair, and Kinetico, a physical process is known as “ion exchange” can occur in which calcium and magnesium are exchanged for other minerals.

When this exchange process occurs, sodium ions take the place of calcium and magnesium. Without making the water taste salty, it restores the water to its natural state and makes it more hospitable to your skin, your appliances, and your faucet and plumbing.

Is Hard Water Unsafe?

play water

Despite wives’ tales and hearsay, hard water does not pose any serious health risks that have been backed by science. However, there has been at least one report by the National Institute of Health that has implied that water hardness may affect heart health. Regardless, no research to date has confirmed whether water hardness adversely affects health.

What Makes Culligan Water Softener Unique


Our favorite aspect of having our water treated by Culligan is that the process is easy and stress-free. Whereas other vendors install the components and then leave never to be seen again, our Culligan Water Expert routinely shows up at our door to check up on the system and exchange various parts as required.

Another under-appreciated aspect of Culligan is that their services are backed by a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, meaning you can get your money back if you are not satisfied. Plus, Culligan’s Water Experts will remove the product from your home with no questions asked within 30 days of your purchase.

With Culligan, you can sleep soundly knowing that your purchase has helped make the world a better place. Why? Because Culligan is the only water treatment company that hosts a charitable organization, the Culligan Cares Foundation, which provides clean water to impoverished communities and those devastated by natural disasters in the United States.

Professionalism is another major selling point with Culligan. Unlike most of their competitors, they have a Customer Care Center that can be contacted seven days a week to answer questions or concerns you may have about their product. The Care Center can also help with the following services or areas of concern:

  • Billing Information
  • Maintenance and Support
  • Service Scheduling
  • Delivery Scheduling
  • Product Instructions
  • Contacting a Local Dealer



One of the unfortunate aspects of Culligan is that there are no set prices. Ultimately, the cost of installing and maintaining a Culligan water softener system will depend on where you live and how adamantly you are willing to talk down the sales rep. Nowhere on the Culligan website or elsewhere online can you find a price list like you would with Pentair.

However, if you want to buy a Culligan water softener, you should expect to pay between $2,500 and $3,000 US. This figure is inclusive of taxes and installation fees. Our readers should also note that it is possible to rent a Culligan water system instead for between $20 and $30 monthly.

If you want to save money on your Culligan water softener, we recommend not giving in to the sales representative when they try to up-sell you to a more expensive system (trust us, they will probably try to do this). As always, hold your ground and remain firm on your original price. If the call ends, feel free to call back to a different sales rep and start the negotiation over.

Coupons and Deals

There are no deals, coupons, or product codes for Culligan equipment or services. However, we recommend checking in with their website from time to time to see if there are any seasonal deals you can take advantage of before you make a purchase or contact their sales representative team.

Public Perception (Other Culligan Water Softener Reviews)


We were a bit surprised to find that Culligan has a relatively negative reputation among some of the top consumer watchdog websites. Although there is a healthy mix of Culligan water softener reviews that praise the company and their services, the standout reviews all mention some unfortunate aspect of the company.

For example, ConsumerAffairs does not list Culligan as an accredited brand. To make matters worse, Culligan has an overall satisfaction rating of only 1.5 stars out of five based on 142 user reviews. To provide one specific example, Shari of Lexington, Kentucky, alleges that Culligan employees stole items from her home and that head office did not respond to her complaints.

Another customer, by the name of Vicci, from Denham Springs, Louisiana reports that his under-the-sink unit installed by Culligan burst and flooded his kitchen and bathroom. Worse yet, Wendy of Saltspring, Florida, says that she was on the hook for more than $10,000 after her Culligan-installed equipment malfunctioned during Hurricane Irma.

We find it interesting that most of the glowing reviews of Culligan online are found on the official Culligan website. On the Culligan Water Softener Reviews page of the website, they have re-posted reviews from Consumer’s Digest, ConsumerDemocracy, and Yelp. However, they have neglected to provide a link to any of these original reviews (does this sound fishy to you?).

How It Compares

A quick Google search led us to the impression that Culligan has a poor track record of customer service compared to some of their rivals like Ecowater or Pentair. The first page of the Google search query results for Culligan water softener reviews indicates that there are hundreds of scathing reviews for this company.

Although we had success using this company to install a water softener in our home, you cannot trust our judgment alone. Instead, peruse some of the other customer reports online that discuss how they were left with a multi-thousand-dollar bill and a flooded basement due to equipment malfunction or a piping leak.

In the past, we have owned a Pentair water softener solution that included hardware from GE and Fleck. Whenever things went awry with the system (and they inevitably will), we were able to hunker down with a wrench and fix it. However, with Culligan, this is simply unachievable since they use proprietary hardware that is not DIY-friendly.

Maintenance vs. Pentair

In our two years of owning a Culligan water softener device, we have had a Water Expert at our door four or five times to adjust or repair a component that has caused a system failure. While we do not consider this to be a deal-breaker, it does not help that our Pentair system in our bathroom has only had to be serviced once in an equal span of time.

What We Think

Overall, we are satisfied with our Culligan water softener system. Although there are countless Culligan water softener reviews available online that will tell you to stay far away from this brand, based on our experience we are willing to suggest that it is a company worth considering for your water softening needs.

However, we cannot fully recommend Culligan due to their high prices and sub-par customer service. In our view, this company should be contacted only if there are no other reliable options in your area (i.e., Pentair or Ecowater are not available). While our experience with Culligan was fine, there are too many customer horror stories to justify them as a first choice.

Pentair Water Softener Reviews

Pentair Water
Pentair Water

Pentair is one of America’s leading water filtration and softening companies. Their patented  under-sink and whole-house water systems claim to clean, soften, and improve the quality of a household’s water supply. Our experts decided to put it to the test. Find out more by reading our
Pentair water softener reviews.

Pentair Water Softener Reviews

For over 40 years, Pentair has been one of America’s go-to sources for clean, crisp, and pure household water. This is because Pentair specializes in in-home filtration systems that can be installed directly to a household’s water supply or underneath individual sinks. If you are unsatisfied with your local water but don’t want a large and conspicuous water filter in your house, Pentair offers discrete solutions for purifying and softening your water. But, what is the catch? In this article, our experts tested various Pentair systems to determine whether it
lives up to the hype and if you should consider buying one.

What is the Pentair Water Softener and How Does It Work?

rain drop

Before getting into the nitty-gritty details, it is important that we first explain what a Pentair water softener is and how it works. To answer is not so simple. This is because there are several kinds of Pentair systems available that vary in function and mechanics. When water is in the ground, it collects particles and other chemicals that naturally get added to it. While these adulterants are usually safe, they can make the water taste unpleasant or feel abrasive on our skin. Two of the most popular chemicals are magnesium and calcium, which turn water “hard” if they are heavily concentrated.

The Pentair water softener system is a mechanical appliance that is part of a home’s plumbing Regardless of the system that Pentair installs, all of them do the same thing—swap out the calcium and magnesium for sodium through a process known as “ion exchange.” Whether it is located underneath your sink or on top of it, a Pentair water softener uses a tank of brine solution and sodium ions and infuses it into your water supply. The positive ions from the sodium mix with the lesser-charged minerals in the water and repel the unwanted minerals intoa separate holding tank. Automatically, the system flushes the used brine and regenerates itself.

Hard Water 101

waterdrop plain

Water softeners take “hard” water (i.e., water having more than 7 GPG or grains per gallon of dissolved minerals in it) and removes some of the excess calcium, manganese, or magnesium carbonate chemicals. Typically, water hardness is measured in parts per million (PPM) or grains per gallon (GPG), with harder water having a high ratio.

Hard water can make soap and laundry detergent ineffective, make our skin itchy and uncomfortable, and even erode the iron in our pipes and faucets. That is why water softener systems are being championed by companies like Pentair and Culligan. Although there are no direct health risks associated with drinking hard water, it is still a good idea to soften your water if your water tests at 7 GPG or above. This is because there is some preliminary research from the National Institute of Health (NIH) that indicates that water hardness may contribute to cardiovascular mortality. Plus, softer water simply tastes better.

What Makes Pentair Water Softener Unique

water drop

While there are many Pentair water softener reviews available online, none seem to articulate what makes Pentair unique. In other words, they fail to explain why Pentair is a better choice than its competitors, such as Culligan, Ecowater, or Kinetico. Luckily for you, we provide our rationale below.

For one, Pentair is a family-owned company that has been in business for over four decades. The water softening industry in America has only caught the eye of the public, for the most part, in the last twenty years. This implies that Pentair was among the first companies to pioneer and perfect the water softening procedure long before other companies followed suit. Pentair also relies on trusted brands and product lines when installing water treatment systems in homes. For example, they use GE, Fleck, Everpure, Wellmate, and Autotrol to operate their systems, which makes them even more reliable since each of these brands is well-respected within the industry.

There are more than a few shady characters in the world of water filtration. Even some of the big-name brands in the industry lack basic certification and safety inspection papers. That is why we trust Pentair because their products are certified by the Water Quality Association (WQA) and NSF International standards, which are some of the most stringent in the world.

A Global Enterprise


Currently, Pentair is the only water softening company that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Pentair PLC trades under the symbol PNR and has seen consistent year-over-year growth as of late. This makes us a bit more confident in the longevity and financial security of the company.



Although prices are subject to change, and ultimately vary by location and geographical region,
we have listed their basic Freshpoint Filtration System prices below:

No products found.

  • 1 Stage Chlorine (No. 158837): $81
  • 1 Stage Cyst and Lead (No. 158838): $85
  • 2 Stage VOC (No. 158839): $160
  • 2 Stage VOC Monitored (No. 158853): $175
  • 3 Stage SED, VOC (No. 158840): $195
  • 3 Stage SED, VOC, Monitored (No. 158854): $220

If you are interested in Pentair’s Freshpoint Reverse Osmosis Systems instead of a basic filtration system, you should expect to pay a bit more. We have listed the prices for their osmosis system below:

  • 3 Stage DF, 50 GPD, GAC (No. 161110): $327.50
  • 4 Stage DF, CMR, 75 GPD, GAC (No. 161111): $437.50
  • 5 Stage DF, VOC, 75 GPD, GAC (No. 161112): $525.00
  • 4 Stage DF, CMR, 75 GPD, GAC, Monitored (No. 161151): $475.00
  • 5 Stage DF, VOC, 75 GPD, GAC, Monitored (No. 161152): $587.50

Lastly, you might want to opt for an inline water filter system. These systems are beneficial because they attach under the sink and effectively become part of your house’s plumbing. We listed the prices for their household inline systems below:

  • Bacteriostatic Carbon B-14” FPT 2” x 6”: $18.46
  • Bacteriostatic Carbon B-14” FPT 2.5” x 11”: $31.38
  • Bacteriostatic Carbon G-14” John Guest 2.5” x 11”: $35.22
  • Bituminous Granular Carbon 2” x 10”: $10.39
  • Chlorine Taste and Odor H-⅜” John Guest 2” x 10”: $24.74
  • Traditional Inline Filter No Fittings: $11.06
  • Lime Scale B-¼” FPT 2” x 10”: $30.56

Our readers should note that the prices above to do include taxes, nor do they include installation fees. Rather, the prices reflected in the lists above are for the Pentair equipment only. For an exhaustive list of Pentair water filter and softener prices, see the official Pentair Filtration & Industrial 2018 Price List.

Coupons and Deals

reading news paper

At the time of writing, there are no coupons or deals for Pentair water softener products or installation services. However, we recommend checking in with the official Pentair website to see if any seasonal deals are in effect before making any purchases.

Should You Treat Your Water?


Hard water is a very common problem in the United States. If you are part of the 85% of the country whose public water supply qualifies as hard (i.e., >7 GPG), then you can benefit from softening your water. We recommend treating your water if your water scores 5 GPG or higher. This is because you will notice an immediate improvement in the taste of your drinking water, and your skin will feel smoother and softer after you get out of the shower.

Although these may seem like superficial reasons to invest in water softening, we think that the investment pays dividends if you consider how inexpensive most inline Pentair water softeners are. If you drink a lot of water, and like your water clean, pure, and great-tasting, we think softening your water is a good idea (especially if your water reaches 8 GPG or higher).

How to Tell if You Have Hard Water


The most accurate way to test your water hardness is to purchase a clear plastic bottle that can hold at least an ounce of liquid. Fill the container with the tap water in your home. Once the bottle is near capacity, add in 12 droplets of liquid soap and shake the bottle (with the cap on). If the water produces lots of suds, chances are the water is soft. However, if there are not very many bubbles, add in more soap. If your bottle requires 20 droplets of liquid soap (i.e., Dawn, Palmolive), then it is likely somewhat hard, and if it needs 40 droplets, then you can guarantee that the water is hard. Sometimes water needs over 50 droplets over soap to produce suds, which indicates very hard water. If you are in doubt about whether your water is hard and do not have the equipment to test it, see if white calcium stains appear on your faucet if left out for several days. If a layer of white build-up appears on the metal, then you can almost guarantee that your water is too hard. If you drink water from a private well, your water is most likely not harder than 7 GPG.

Public Perception (Other Pentair Water Softener Reviews)

public speaking

There is a healthy amount of negative and positive Pentair water softener reviews available online. To provide a summary of both the drawbacks and upside that others are talking about, we wrote a quick rundown below:

The Upside

On the one hand, many customers have praised Pentair for their speedy installation, straightforward billing (with no hidden fees!) and the longevity of their systems. Plus, Pentaircurrently enjoys an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and they only have two
registered complaints against them, which makes them even more trustworthy. Pentair has enjoyed a great deal of praise thanks to their salt-based water softener systems, which double as a filtration system. However, not everyone enjoys the taste of added salt in their water (the difference is negligible, in our opinion), so this must be considered before investing in a salt-based system. We read multiple Pentair water softener reviews online that went on about how great the Pentair is regarding user-friendliness. For example, their latest systems involve an LCD digital display and touchscreen which display water hardness levels and other status updates on a mini screen under your sink—cool, huh?

The Downside

Unfortunately, not everyone feels like they have made a noticeable impact on their water quality after they invest in a Pentair water softener. Rather, we read at least one account where the customer disliked the taste of their new water because it had a “chlorine-like” taste to it.

Another downside to investing in a Pentair water softener system is that the difference between harder and softer water is, for the most part, superficial. This is because there are no scientifically-backed health risks associated with drinking hard water (however, we have heard stories about Pentair salespeople implying that there are some veiled risks).

What We Think

Overall, we think that investing in a Pentair water softener is a good decision if you value the taste of your water and water to ensure that your drinking water is clean and pristine. While there is usually nothing wrong with regular municipal tap water, it is usually a far better option to treat the water to correct any impurities or mineral over-concentrations. To determine whether a Pentair system is right for you, you need first to test if you have hard or soft water. If you find that your water tests above 7 GPG, then we think that investing in a water softener will be a worthwhile choice. However, there is no need to buy a water softener if your water already qualifies as soft.

In summary, Pentair water softeners are some of the world’s most trusted. However, there is no guarantee that your purchase will be worth the money, no matter how inexpensive Pentair equipment might seem. Ultimately, the value one receives from their Pentair inline water system will hinge on how hard their tap water is.

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