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Culligan provides water treatment systems – mainly softeners & filters – and water solutions for homes and offices as well as commercial and industrial applications. This includes the company’s delivery service where you can order filtered bottled water on a monthly basis.
Culligan was established in Northbrook, IL in 1936 and offered nothing but water softening solutions for residential use back then. Today, the headquarter is based in Rosemont, IL and the product range is much wider.
Since the beginning, Culligan has focused on building a network of franchises with local experts that act as company representatives. These experts help potential new customers to have their water tested and come up with the supposedly best treatment solution. Their service also always includes system installation & setup, and maintenance and repairs as needed.
In this guide, we are going to cover the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s start with the good. What are the reason to opt for a Culligan water softener?
Culligan offers way too many different water softener models for us to check them all out. There is:
This is why we decided to give you an overview of the High Efficiency Series, the Medallist, and the Gold Series which are the most sought after Culligan softeners as far as we can tell.
But first, the following video presentation by Culligan quickly covers each of the models (except for the Gold Series).
As the name suggests, the High Efficiency Series offers you the highest efficiency of all Culligan softeners in terms of salt and water usage. The goal: Reduce running costs to a bare minimum. Therefore, you have the option to choose between different tank sizes as well as regular downflow or upflow regeneration.
Stats (Downflow Regeneration Systems Only)
The Culligan HE water softener series is best for people living in small to large homes who want an efficient salt-based water softener and don’t mind paying a premium price for it.
Compared to the HE Series, the Culligan Medallist is more affordable since it does not feature all the bells and whistles that the former comes with. For example, the remote display + modem are optional. Also, warranties are available separately.
Culligan Medallist water softeners are best for people who want a system more affordable than a Culligan HE but one that’s still NSF-certified for effectiveness.
And lastly, Culligan’s Gold Series. There is not much new to be said here, to be honest. The manufacturer advertises the system as “customizable” which we think refers to the option of choosing different tank sizes. Just like the HE Series, the Gold Series makes use of demand-initiated regeneration which only triggers when necessary to minimize salt use and wastewater production which in turn saves you money.
The Culligan Gold Series is best for people looking for an NSF-certified water softener that’s customizable and suited for small to large homes.
In the past, we would not have invested our money in a Culligan water softener, the main reason being the sheer amount of negative customer feedback that the company had received over the years and the low overall satisfaction rating on consumeraffairs.com.
Culligan’s overall rating was a startling 2.2 stars back in 2020. This was based on 273 individual ratings. The vast majority of them were 1-star ratings. Then there were a handful of 2, 3, and 4-star ratings. And only about 35 reviewers rated the company with 5 stars.
Most customers were very disappointed with the products & services Culligan had provided and said they wouldn’t purchase from the company in future nor recommend anyone to do so either.
Sure, online ratings should always be taken with a grain of salt. Naturally, only those customers most passionate about their opinion tend to share their thoughts. And in this case, these were mostly very unhappy customers. At the same time, such a high percentage of negative feedback is hard to come by – even in the world wide web. Only about 20 to 25 percent of the ratings were positive.
That said, things seem to have changed recently. As of June 2022, Culligan’s ConsumerAffairs rating is 3.8 stars (average of 314 ratings). We are very much hoping that this has to do with improved customer service (feel free to let us know in the comments below in case you have hands-on experience).
Culligan refuses to provide any prices for their softening systems upfront. What we mean by that is a local Culligan water expert has to visit your place first to assess your individual water situation and then you will be given a cost estimate.
This is why on the Culligan website it says: “Because your specific water goals will depend largely on your home’s water, actual pricing can vary. And it’s really hard to say what solution will suit your water best without starting with an in-home evaluation from your local Culligan Man.”
Interestingly enough, most other softener companies and brands that we have dealt with up to this point have a different price policy. They simply provide you with a fixed price on a per model basis.
With that in mind, back in 2020 we digested some pricing information from Culligan’s ConsumerAffairs page:
As you can see, comparatively high purchase prices and installation cost are another reason why Culligan may not be the ideal water softener company for many homeowners.
For more pricing information, check our Culligan water softener pricing guide.
We also read many reports about costly maintenance works and repairs as well as expensive fees charged for “free” inspections among other things.
Again, poor customer service is hopefully something that has changed in recent years. Because according to raters on ConsumerAffairs, Culligan’s support left a lot to be desired up till 2020. For example, some company representatives reportedly refused to resolve issues with malfunctioning systems that they had caused themselves. Others wanted to charge for work they’ve never performed.
We also read comments from customers that tried to get in touch with the company or one of its divisions, but never heard back. Or they were put on hold on the phone for so long that they gave up.
Okay, so we are not 100 percent sure about this one. What we do know is that Culligan prefers to install their softeners themselves – fair enough. This does not mean, however, that you couldn’t service or repair a Culligan softener yourself. At least replacement parts are available online.
If we don’t 100 percent recommend Culligan, which other water softener brands or models would we recommend instead?
Our favorite water softener is the SS by SpringWell. It will eliminate any scaling in your plumbing system and home appliances for increased efficiency and lifespan, lower maintenance, and fewer repairs.
Our #1 Water Softener: SpringWell SS
You’re thinking about going salt-free? In this case make sure to check out the FutureSoft! It’s by far the best system you can get.
Side note: FutureSoft water conditioners apply TAC (Template Assisted Crystallization), a process based on catalytic bead media that crystallizes hard water minerals. Once crystallized, the hardness minerals remain suspended in the water and will leave your plumbing without causing any damage.
Nothing will be added or removed from your water; all healthy minerals will be retained. No salt use is also the most environmentally-friendly “softening” solution. Plus not having to buy salt bags saves you time and money. On top of that, no wastewater will go down the drain.
Our #1 Salt-Free Alternative: FutureSoft
If you have any questions about Culligan softeners, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
And remember to revisit from time to time, as we are going to add new information to this page occasionally.