When looking into whether you should go with one company versus another for getting a water softener installed, you will hit roadblocks if you want answers for water softener installation costs.

water softener installation cost

You will need to reach out and get quotes from different companies based on what type of water softener you want to be installed, and the estimates can vary a lot based on where you live and who you go through.

What Determines Water Softener Prices?

Whole-house systems depend on the size of the house, the type of water softener, the brand, and the cost for water softener installation. Higher-end, higher-quality water softener systems will cost more than lower-end softeners.

How hard your water is can also determine the price.

Water Softener Price Comparison

Softener TypeAverage PriceAverage Install Cost
Ion Exchangers (Salt & Brine)$300 – $1,000$400 – $2,500
Water Distiller$50 – $1,500$40 – $2,500
Salt Free$500 – $3,000$650 – $3,500
Reverse Osmosis$100 – $1,800$1,000 – $2,500
Magnetic$200 – $400$200 – $550

The harder your water is, the larger the system you will need to convert that water into soft water.

You can measure the hardness of your water by either using a device called a test meter, which you can buy from your local hardware store, or by using test strips that change colors when dipped in water and then are compared to a chart that will tell you the GPG (grains per gallon) of minerals in the water.


How Long Does It Take to Install A Water Softener?

Installing water softeners and how much time they take will have a couple of factors.

Professional vs. DIY

The time taken for a professional who installs them all the time will take less time than doing it yourself.


A simple system install may be closer to similar times, but the more complex a system gets, the bigger time gaps get between a DIY to make sure it is installed properly vs a professional doing it with no issues.

The complexity of the System

Regardless of if you are doing it yourself or if a professional is doing the install, the complexity of the system be a factor. The more complex the system, the longer it will take to install

Regulations and Current Systems

The regulations for your location and where water softeners can release discharge will factor into how long an install will take. This is because if the quick, simple installs are not optional and you have to install additional equipment or systems too, then install times can increase greatly.

Due to all these different factors in regards to installation, you can expect for the majority of water softeners with no additional systems needing to be installed to take an hour or two for a professional, and maybe a Saturday for a DIYer just to make sure that everything is right and running smoothly.

A professional could do it for a complex system between 4-8 hours and up to a weekend. Installing it yourself will probably be at least a weekend and cost you feeding a buddy or family member to help you out with the install as well.

For installing new systems due to regulations (if this applies to you), then you could be looking at multiple days or weekends from a professional. If done yourself, it may take you all your weekends and free time for a couple of weeks and up to a month, depending on what needs to be done.

What Are Water Softener Installation Cost from Lowes And Home Depot?

You will need to go to your local Lowes or Home Depot, and they will send your information to local verified companies that do installs and typically get responses within 24 hours. So, you should have at least one if not three or more bids from locals in your area who install water softeners.

The average costs for installing water softener systems will run from $150-$600. It depends on the complexity of the system and how much labor is going to be done with regard to it. If the labor and complexity of the system are great, it can be more than $600 as well.

The costs for each type will range within the following for minimum and maximum estimates. The $150-$600 is going to be the running average for 4-person household systems and does not include all factors involved.

Ion-Exchange: Install costs can range from $500-$2000
Salt-free: Install costs can range from $800-$4000
Reverse Osmosis: Install costs can range from $1000-2800
Magnetic: Install costs can range from $200-600

Home Depot

Be aware of the fine print for all the costs associated with the installation. Some reviews from customers were not aware that Home Depot charges for finding the installers for you. And the installer will have an additional cost.

This may not be all Home Depots, but it happened at a couple of different Home Depots throughout the country. The cheapest install from reviews online is $150, and the most expensive through reviews was close to $1000. It depends on the installers, location in the country, and the complexity of the system.


Again, they will have potential added costs for finding the installer for you, along with the installer or installers giving you quotes on your system. This is the procedure for any sort of install to make sure they get a percentage of the install sale.

This is also a way to try to sell you more services by making the process a one-stop-shop and getting your information in their systems. People who have their information in a home improvement system are more likely to spend more money and time at that store.

How Much Does A Water Softener Installation Cost from Culligan?

On average, you can look at the cost of buying a water softener from Culligan to be anywhere from $1000-$3000 for the water softener itself. Then you are looking at water softener install costs and maintenance costs since they design them to not be DIY friendly.

They do offer a monthly rental that starts at $23 a month. However, this may seem like the way to go; expect frequent maintenance visits that are required that you will end up paying for to where it will not be as cheap as it would seem to be monthly.

Water softeners vary in cost based on location in the country for them, so click here to go to their website and enter information for a quote from a local dealer near you.

Install ByInstallation Cost Range*
Home Depot$150-$1000
Lowes$300 – 2500 *
Culligan$100 – 500

Type of Water Softener Systems and Maintenance

Salt-Based Softeners

Salt-based ion exchange water systems are the most common and have weekly and monthly maintenance on them, which creates added costs during its lifespan to keep it working properly. When maintained frequently, this maintenance takes minimal amounts of time and is worth getting still.

This includes salt substitutes if you use potassium-based pellets instead of salt-based pellets. The maintenance will still make these systems cost less than reverse osmosis over time but will be the most maintenance of any water softener system.

Salt-free water softeners

Salt-free water softeners need little to no upkeep but are fancy water filters and do not remove the minerals from the hard water. This means that the maintenance is minimal and will only need to have the filter changed or cleaned every 3 to 6 months.

Reverse osmosis water softeners

Reverse osmosis water softeners need very little maintenance with changing out filters every so often. If the filters are not changed when needed on these systems, then service costs for having someone come do potential repair costs will most likely occur.

These systems are expensive, so it is going to be a trade-off with upfront costs vs. long-term costs when maintained properly, and the filter is checked every month or so.

Magnetic Water Softeners

Lastly are magnetic water softeners. They require little to no maintenance. The only thing that needs to be checked occasionally is to make sure the power source has not had any issues. If the power source is still good. The maintenance for these is 5 minutes a week to make sure that everything is running smoothly.

Water Softener Installation Cost – FAQ

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Can You Install a Water Softener Outside?

It is possible to install a water softener outdoors. Most tanks are made of fiberglass, which can prevent anything from getting inside.

However, the downside to having a water softener tank outside is that it does not protect the contents from freezing. The water inside the tank will not take very long to freeze compared to surface water, either. You can use some electric heat wrap tape to keep the water from reaching freezing levels.

Mechanical parts also need to be protected from UV ray exposure, wind, and precipitation to prevent function failure.

Burying a water softener a few feet underground can go a long way to preventing damage from cold or other weather. Be sure to not bury it anywhere near trees or bushes, as the roots could wrap around the tank, making it difficult to replace or provide maintenance.

Who Can Install a Water Softener?

Professionals who specialize in drinking water systems. They offer installation services for water softener systems. Plumbers or other handyman professionals will be able to do this task for you as well.

Depending on how your rules and regulations are, you will be able to install a system yourself with no need to hire anyone.

Can you Install A Water Softener Yourself?

Yes, you can install a water softener yourself in most places in the country (Illinois is the exception where you cannot install yourself).

You do not need a licensed professional to install it. Keep in mind that if it is not up to code and it gets checked, there can be issues with fines depending on your local laws.

This also includes that if you go to sell your house. So if it is installed improperly according to local laws and regulations, you will not be allowed to sell your home.

Do you need a Permit to Install A Water Softener?

You do not need a permit to install a water softener in your home unless you live in Illinois. Keep in mind that there may still be regulation from Homeowner Associations or by local authorities on water softeners.

Local authorities may limit what drains you are able to install a water softener in, and Homeowner Associations may bar them completely. It is best to check and verify before spending the money and then having to remove it because it does not apply to current regulations.

Does Installing a Water Softener Reduce Water Pressure?

When a water softener is installed with the correct sizing for your water needs along with the correct installation, it should not affect your water pressure at all. If it does affect it at all, it should barely be noticeable.

If the water softener was installed correctly and the system was the correct size for your water usage, then you may be one of the lucky few winners that end up having a defective water softener. If that is the case, then you will have reduced water pressure.


When looking to get a water softener installed, there are too many variables to be considered to have a true estimate without getting direct quotes from installers if you want it installed by someone else.

If you want to install it yourself, you will be able to know the material costs, but the time costs are unknown based on what system you want to put in.


  1. https://www.lowes.com/l/water-softener-installation.html
  2. https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/kitchens/water-softener-installation-costs/
  3. https://www.whirlpoolwatersolutions.com/owner-center/how-to-install-a-water-softener/
  4. https://americanhomewater.com/installing-a-water-softener-your-ultimate-guide/

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