Culligan Water Softeners Review

Currently, Culligan offers a wide selection of water softeners which gives you the opportunity to pick the perfect solution based on your specific problem. 

Culligan Water Softeners Review

Culligan is a veteran in the water treatment industry and no doubt one of the top brands that provide the most reliable water solutions for residential and commercial use as well as industrial applications. 

This why in this review we decided to give you a brief overview of each of the five series of Culligan water softeners which includes:

These are the most sought after softeners from Culligan and we’re going to highlight the good and the bad about these systems to help your make a more informed decision if you are thinking of getting a Culligan water softener. 

Culligan High Efficiency (HE) Series Water Softeners 

The High Efficiency series covers Culligan’s entry-level dual-tank water softeners for home use and although they are considered as entry-level, the models in this series are some of the most advanced water softeners in the market today. 

As the name suggests, these models offer the highest efficiency compared to all the other Culligan softeners when it comes to salt and water usage. They are specifically tailored to cut the running costs down to a bare minimum. 

The water softeners within this series are divided into two categories, the HE 1-inch systems, and the HE 1.25-inch systems. They are very identical systems but differentiated by the size of the control valve they come with.

Softening Capability and Capacity

The Culligan HE 1-inch Water Softeners

The HE 1-inch is the baseline category and it consists of four sizes ranging from 9 to 14 inches in terms of media tank diameter.  These models come in different configurations but they are all equipped with Culligan’s 1-inch reinforced thermoplastic control valve and work with normal 1-inch pipes hence the name.

With regards to softening ability, they can remove water hardness levels from a range of 75 to 99 GPG using the effective Culligan’s CULLEX ion exchange resin.  

This high hardness removal rating means they can reliably deal with medium and high levels of water hardness. The 9-inch model is the most basic unit offering a maximum water hardness removal level of 75 GPG. 

These models have also the capacity to remove up to 5 ppm of ferrous iron and can deliver 9 to 10.6 GPM flow rate at 15 psi which is a fairly high range that can ensure a steady flow on all water outlets in the house. 

Their total softening capacity ranges from approximately 30,000 to 90,000 grains with the 9-inch model having the lowest capacity at, 31,736 grains while the 14-inch model holds the largest capacity at 88,549 grains. Therefore, depending on your particular needs, these models can work well for small to large homes.

The Culligan HE 1.25-inch Water Softeners

The HE 1.25-inch water softeners are only one step above Culligan’s standard HE 1-inch models as they feature a 1.25-inch reinforced thermoplastic control valve and can accept pipes of up to 1.25-inches in diameter (hence the name). 

This category equally consists of four different sizes ranging from 10 to 16-inches in terms of media tank diameter. All four models can handle hardness levels of up to 99 GPG and are also able to clear ferrous iron from the water to a maximum level of 5 ppm. So, they can effectively deal with water that has higher hardness levels and medium iron content.  

As for the water flow, the HE 1.25-inch water softeners are amongst the few models in the market that offer the fastest water flow rate. They can deliver 14 to 22 gallons of water per minute at 15 psi making them perfect for use in larger households that have high water demands. 

Besides the fast flow rate, these HE 1.25-inch softeners provide a pretty large exchange capacity ranging from 45,000 to 128, 000 grains. The lowest is the 10-inch model with 45,831-grain capacity and the highest is the 16-inch version with a maximum of 128,106 grains. With this range, the HE 1.25-inch models are more ideal for medium to larger households.

Regeneration Technology and Control System

The models in both the HE 1-inch and HE 1.25-inch series utilize the same regeneration technology and have a similar control system that comes packed with most of Culligan’s advanced features (modes of operation) that ensure smooth operation and the high efficiency associated with these HE water softeners.

They utilize an effective meter-based downflow regeneration process where the controller monitors the quantity of water flowing through the system upon which it determines and sets the point of regeneration based on the water hardness level and the capacity of the resin bed. 

This operation is initiated by selecting a water meter mode on the control panel and regeneration is triggered immediately the setpoint is reached.  

All the HE series water softeners are as well equipped with Culligan’s patented Aqua-Sensor technology inbuilt within the control system. 

This smart technology utilizes a conductivity probe that senses when the hardness minerals pass through the resin bed and automatically adjusts the system if there are any changes in your home’s water conditions.

This way, the system is able to only regenerate when needed. It’s a great feature that provides the most efficient mode of regeneration and very useful in conditions where there’s high variation in the influent water hardness throughout the year.

Furthermore, it can determine if the brine solution has been rinsed from the resin bed especially during the Slow Rinse cycle and trigger the control to switch to fast rinse. 

As such, this Culligan’s patented technology can equally help minimize water usage as it optimizes the amount of water needed to totally rinse out the resin bed. 

The HE series water softeners also provide a predict mode which is another advanced feature that helps enhance their efficiency. In this mode, the control compares your average daily usage with the remaining reserve capacity and then effectively determines the optimum regeneration point to facilitate smooth operation.

Customization is possible too with these Culligan’s softeners. They have a Dial-A-Softness feature which is a manual adjustment that’s built into their control valves. This feature allows you to adjust the water softness to your preference including completely bypassing the softener.

To simplify the maintenance of their softeners, Culligan has incorporated a smart brine tank probe in each model of the HE series. 

This device monitors the conditions inside the brine tank and can tell you the duration your softening salt will last so that you know exactly when to add more to the brine tank. It can as well tell you when the brine tank is overfilling. 

Some of the other features that stand out in these Culligan High Efficiency water softeners are the pre-rinse mode for pre-rinsing the resin bed and the Culligan ConnectTM interface which is a mobile app that allows you to monitor and even control the softener using your phone.

You can get low salt alerts, initiate regeneration or put the system in bypass mode from anywhere just through the app which is pretty convenient. 

Above all, one amazing thing you are going to like about these models is that you can completely install them outdoors. They employ high-impact Quadra-Hull tanks which can withstand corrosion, rust and even UV rays. As long as you provide good shade to protect the electrical part, they are completely safe outdoors. 

Overall, for the highest efficiency as well as smart technology, this HE series takes the upper hand. The HE 1-inch models are a perfect fit if you want a much efficient but affordable Culligan water softener while the HE 1.25-inch models are ideal for those who want the same efficiency but a faster flow rate and softening capacity. 


  • Can remove water hardness of up to 99 GPG 
  • Fast flow rate ranging from 9 to 22 GPM
  • Large grain capacity ranging from 30,000 to 128,000 grains
  • Can remove up to 5 ppm of ferrous iron
  • Culligan’s most efficient and advanced softener series
  • Applies water and salt-saving technology 
  • Offers different operating modes and customization options
  • Indicates the duration the softening salt will last
  • Compatible with Culligan’s mobile app


  • Will not remove iron content above 5 ppm

The HE Twin and Progressive Flow Series 

The HE Twin and Progressive Flow series is a family of Culligan’s twin-tank water softeners which consist of the HE Twin tank coupled up with the HE Progressive Flow water conditioner to form a single dual-tank system. 

They are essentially two Culligan’s High Efficiency systems combined together, a design that makes them super effective softeners that can deal with any water hardness.

Softening Capability and Capacity

Like the HE series, the HE Twin and Progressive Flow series consist of four different versions differentiated by the size of the media tanks which range from 9 to 14 inches. 

These models have the ability to remove water hardness from 75 GPG to levels as high as 99 GPG. They can remove iron too from the water but up to only 5 ppm. They basically have the same capabilities as the HE 1-inch models.

However, the fact that they are twin-tank systems makes them even much more effective because each tank alternates when generating soft water and as such, there’s no downtime.

They perform the work of two ion-exchange tanks which means they can reliably handle extreme water hardness levels, unlike the HE series models.

The HE Twin and Progressive Flow series softeners offer a capacity range of around 31,736 to 88,549 grains. The 10-inch model has the lowest capacity which stands at 31, 736 grains. 

Again, this is the capacity of each tank, so if you consider the dual-tank design, then you get double the capacity. This combination allows the softeners to maintain a constant supply of soft water to an entire house or small business. 

They are perfect for big families, large homes or commercial establishment and the flow rates are also quite commendable as they range from 10.8 GPM to a maximum of 12.8 GPM (16-inch model) at 15 psi.

Regeneration and Control System

When it comes to the regeneration technology and the control system including the advanced features, there’s no change. The HE Twin and Progressive Flow series use the same regeneration process and controller (mode of operations) we saw in both HE 1-inch and HE 1.25-inch softeners. 

You get the same meter-based regeneration process (water meter mode) which monitors the flow of water into the system and triggers regeneration based on your water usage, the influent water hardness and capacity of the resin bed. 

You also get the benefits of Culligan’s Aqua-Sensor technology and predict mode functionality which facilitates a more efficient and effective regeneration.

You can as well customize the regeneration process to your liking with these HE Twin and Progressive Flow softeners either through the control head on the units, the Culligan mobile app or via the wireless remote control. The other very handy features you will benefit from including the smart brine tank probe and the pre-rinse mode.

Finally, similar to the HE series, the twin water softeners use Quadra-Hull tanks hence they can be installed outside and will withstand the elements without any problems. 

If we are to give a verdict, we would say the HE Twin and Progressive Flow series provides a suitable alternative choice for those who have larger families or homes. It’s tailored to handle a heavy workload which it does so very efficiently.


  • Two effective water softeners in one
  • Can eliminate up to 99 GPG of water hardness
  • Decent iron removal ability of up to 5 ppm
  • Higher capacity suitable for larger households
  • Fast water flow ranging from 10 to 12 GPM
  • Comes with all of Culligan’s HE advanced features


  • Bulky twin-tank design takes a bit more space

The HE Softener-Cleer®

Based on the HE 1-inch series of water softeners, the HE Softener-Cleer is once again packed with Culligan’s advanced water softening technology except that unlike the HE series, the models in this series do more than just softening.

They are a combination of a water softener and a filtration system, thereby they not only eliminate hardness but also several other contaminants present in water. 

Softening Capability and Capacity

The HE Softener-Cleer series is equally made up of four different sizes; 9” model, 10” model, 12” model and 14” model. 

The 9” model is capable of clearing out water hardness to a maximum of 50 GPG while the other three versions are capable of removing up to 75 GPG. As for dissolved iron, all of them are able to remove a maximum of 10 ppm of iron content from the water.

With these fairly high ratings, it’s safe to say that these HE Softener-Cleer models are more suitable for treating water with medium to high levels of iron and hardness minerals. 

Apart from softening water and removing dissolved iron, the HE Softener-Cleer series has an additional filtration stage that utilizes the Culligan Chlorine Generator. 

This is Culligan’s patented smart filtration technology that has been integrated into their HE Softener-Cleer series softeners. It automatically detects unusual levels of unwanted particles or bacteria in the water and then releases trace amounts of chlorine which helps clear out bacteria and to reduce sulfur.

Therefore, if your hard water often has that unpleasant rotten-egg smell and taste which are usually caused by sulfate and hydrogen sulfide, then all these will be removed during the softening process. 

The capacity of the HE Softener-Cleer series ranges from 31,736 to 88,549 grains with the 9” model having the lowest capacity at 31,736 grains and the 14” model having the highest at 88,549 grains. Therefore, they can meet the needs of most medium to large families. 

Like the HE Twin and Progressive Flow series, the flow rate of these HE Softener-Cleer models can sustain the pressure of all water points when used simultaneously. It ranges from 10.8 to 12.8 GPM at 15 psi.

Regeneration and Control System

There’s no change in the regeneration process compared to the other series above. It’s the same meter-based regeneration and you can also initiate manual regeneration through the softener control valve, the wireless remote display or via Culligan ConnectTM mobile app.

The only slight change is in the advanced mode operations as these HE Softener-Cleer models don’t feature the Aqua-Sensor technology. 

However, it does have all the other advanced features such as the predict mode functionality that tells you the duration the salt in the brine tank will last and the salt economizer which helps determine salt usage based on your water hardness, usage and the number of people in the household. It’s a useful additional feature that can help minimize salt consumption. 

Same as the rest of Culligan’s water softeners, this series uses a motorized-piston valve that does not corrode easily and it’s more reliable compared to the much cheaper rotary valves. The only downside is that you can’t install any of the units within outdoors. 

If your hard water usually has an unpleasant smell and taste then the HE Softener-Cleer series would be the ideal choice for you because it will eliminate the hardness as well as the bad tastes and odors. 


  • Removes up to 75GPG of water hardness
  • Can clear out a maximum of 10 ppm of iron content
  • Removes unpleasant odors and tastes
  • Fairly large capacity of up to 88,549 grains
  • Fast flow rate ranging from 10.08 to 12.8 GPM
  • Allows you to customize the regeneration cycle
  • Equipped with several of Culligan’s advanced features


  • Cannot be installed outdoors
  • Aqua-Sensor technology not included

The Medalist Series®

The Medalist series is one of Culligan’s most economic types of water softeners and the reason for this is because it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles which the HE series and the other advanced models come with. It consists of a more basic design but even so, the performance is still outstanding. 

Softening Capability and Capacity

There are 4 different sizes within the Medalist series that can handle maximum hardness levels of between 75 to 99 GPG. They can also clear out small amounts of ferrous iron present in water up to about 5 ppm. Therefore, they should be able to effectively deal with medium to high water hardness.

Their softening capacity ranges from 25,000 to 60,000 grains while the flow rate ranges from around 5.9 to 10.2 GPM. 

While these capacities are quite decent, you should note that the Medalist series can only fit ¾-inch pipes which don’t actually make them suitable for larger households. They will do well for small to medium homes. 

Regeneration and Control System

Although it lacks in large fittings and employs a more basic design, some of the features that the Culligan Medalist series comes with are quite pleasing.  

The first notable feature is the Dubl-Safe brine refill valve which is an advanced functionality that removes all the worry when it comes to refilling the units. 

In addition to that, there’s also a Guest Cycle function which is one of our favorite features as it allows the system to generate an extra amount of soft water immediately with just a push of a button. 

Another wonderful feature is the ACCUSOFT microprocessor incorporated in every unit in the Medalist series. These microprocessors serve the purpose of keeping the softeners running even in the event of a power outage. 

Other than that, the rest is the same general features you will find on other Culligan products. The regeneration is a demand-initiated process and there are several different modes of operation to choose from. 

With regards to durability, the Culligan Medalits series water softeners are built to last. They have a solid tank design consisting of a non-permeable inner tank shell and a durable, filament-wound exterior. 

As such, they will be able to withstand great punishment plus Culligan offers a weather-resistant enclosure which facilitates outdoor installation. 

Generally, while it may not have the most advanced features with regards to efficiency such as the Aqua-Sensor technology and predict mode, the Culligan Medalist series will significantly consume less salt and water than a lot of other similar water softeners from other brands.

If you are looking for an effective yet economical Culligan water softener, we would suggest checking out the models within this Medalist series. They are a perfect option especially for small to medium households with moderate water hardness and iron content. 


  • Can handle hardness levels of 75 to 99 GPG
  • Removes ferrous iron up to 5 ppm
  • Provides up to 60, 000 grains capacity
  • Decent flow rate ranging from 5.9 to 10.2 GPM
  • Suitable for small to medium houses
  • Fairly efficient regeneration process
  • Comes with several advanced features
  • Can still operate without power
  • 4 different sizes to choose from


  • Not ideal for large homes

The Gold Series

Lastly, we have the Culligan’s Gold series. This is another Culligan’s series that present standard types of water softeners. However, these models offer a bit more versatility in terms of features which is one of the factors that set them apart from the water softeners in the Medalist series.

Softening Capability and Capacity 

The Gold series like the other Culligan’s series gives you the option of selecting different tank sizes. There are four different models in the series ranging from 9 to 14-inches and each unit offers a different configuration.

The softening capability of these Gold models is really good as they can handle water hardness levels ranging from 75 GPG up to 99 GPG. The 9-inch model is the only one with the lowest rating at 75 GPG while the other three are all rated at 99 GPG.

Thereby, for medium to high water hardness, these units will do an effective job. They are as well capable of removing a maximum of 5 ppm of ferrous iron which means they are suitable too for water with low to medium iron content.

With a total softening capacity of 30,000 to 90,000 grains, the Gold series is much suited for small to large households or families. 

The units are compatible with ¾ to 1¼-inch pipes and can deliver service flow rates of between 9 to 10.6 GPM. So, they can deliver enough soft water to your entire home with little to no drop in pressure in any of the outlets. 

Regeneration and Control System

As we mentioned earlier, the Gold series is one of Culligan’s basic line of water softeners but it does come equipped with a bit more advanced functionalities compared to the Medalist series. 

Just like all of Culligan’s series, this series utilizes demand-initiated regeneration that only triggers when needed. In other words, you can expect salt use and wastewater production to be low which will help cut down on maintenance cost

Some of the advanced features incorporated in the Gold series models include the patented Aqua-Sensor technology which can monitor the system performance and automatically adjust it to adapt to water condition changes. It’s an additional feature that equally helps boost the efficiency of these softeners.

Culligan has also included an efficiency mode in their Gold series which is a new operating mode that presents a new set of regeneration times tailored towards minimizing salt and water usage. 

It’s another feature that will help ensure effective regeneration, especially when the hardness level of your water is less than 20 GPG and the iron content is zero.

Predict mode is also part of the functionality provided by these models to enable them to determine the optimum regeneration point and facilitate efficient use of salt and water.

The other features are similar to that of the Medalist series. There’s the Guest Cycle recharge option for an additional supply of water whenever you need it the most and the ACCUSOFT microprocessor which allows the softeners to continue working, even when there’s no power.

In essence, although the Gold series models are considered as basic types of water softeners, they actually do more than what typical basic water softeners can do. 

With that in mind, for those who prefer convenience and ease of use, this series provides a better alternative to the Medalist series. Plus, you can install the units outside and even initiate manual regeneration. 


  • Removes water hardness as high as 99 GPG
  • Can get rid of iron to a maximum of 5 ppm
  • Offers capacity of 30,000 to 90,000 grains
  • Designed for small to large families
  • Delivers water flow rates of up to 10.8 GPM
  • Comes with several salt and water-saving technologies
  • Can be installed outdoors


  • Not recommended for water with high iron content

Final Word

Looking at all the Culligan Water Softeners in each of the five series, there’s no doubt that Culligan has some of the most efficient and reliable water softeners in the industry. Furthermore, their units are backed by very comprehensive warranties which is another factor that makes them even more attractive.

If you are planning to invest in any Culligan system, you will definitely not be disappointed. One thing you should note though is that all Culligan water softeners are sold specifically by Culligan’s dealers. Therefore, you will have to contact your local dealers for the best solution that will meet your exact needs.

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