If your tap water leaves something to be desired, and you're tired of spending money on bottled water, your option may be a throwback of sorts. The "Culligan Man" was a fixture beginning in the 1940s and beyond, delivering fresh water to homes. Unlike many nostalgic fixtures, Culligan is still alive and well. They now specialize in providing water softeners, water filters and bottled water to homes and offices across the United States. If you're looking for a solution to your water doldrums, give a Culligan water cooler a try. Below is our review of two water cooler options and their customer service.
What Is Culligan?
Culligan is an 80-year old company that is driven by customer service and convenience. The company is based around a premise that every person deserves clean drinking water for less. It aims to reduce waste by selling and renting water filtration systems, softeners and coolers that allow people to cut back on buying plastic bottles that aren't good for the environment or, in some instances, for the health of the people drinking it.
Culligan brings an interesting touch of customer service that is unmatched in recent times. Too often in this tech-driven world, people become isolated and opt to purchase just about anything sight-unseen from the internet, where there is not much of a face to put with a name. At Culligan, they pride themselves on supporting the mentality of neighbors helping neighbors. This premise is one of the reasons why there is still a Culligan man or woman who is called upon to help you. This representative lives within a certain radius of your home and is, therefore, better able to understand the current state of the water offered in your neighborhood. The Culligan rep will travel to your home, speak to you about options and let you choose which route you want to take. Whether it is a whole-home softening system or a water cooler, the Culligan rep will walk you through the steps personally to ensure you are satisfied with the process and the product. This personal touch sets Culligan apart and makes the brand a success to this day.
What Is a Water Cooler?
A water cooler used to be exclusively for the office. It is a dispensing system that allows individuals to get glasses of filtered water through a dispenser system that utilizes a five-gallon bottle of water. Historically, the five-gallon bottle was affixed to the top, tipped over precariously and left upside down until it was gone. These days, there have been some improvements in the system. You can still get the traditional bottle-down cooler, or you can opt for one that slides into a bottom cabinet, right side up. No need for lifting and tipping. The water cooler has expanded and become part of many homes, offering a cheaper alternative to cleaner water than whole-home filtration and softening systems.
What Are Some of the Products and Services Offered by Culligan?
Culligan offers many different types of whole-home water softeners and filtration systems. They also offer smaller-scale water filtration in the form of their five-gallon water cooler and bottle-less water cooler.
Culligan does not sell its own water; it distributes other retailers' water. While you don't have a choice as to what supplier you get the Culligan water from, you do get to choose what type of water you prefer. You have the option of selecting the kind of bottled water you prefer between demineralized, spring, filtered, distilled or filtered by reverse osmosis.
How Does the Culligan Service Work?
First off, you meet with a representative who will do in-home testing of your water quality. If you are not interested in obtaining a water softener or whole-home filtration system, you can either indicate that to them at the time of the appointment or before setting the appointment. If you know you want water cooler service only, then you may be able to bypass the testing sequence.
Next, once you've established the type of product you want to get, the rep will show you the options Culligan has available. We were able to find information on the standard bottled water cooler and the bottle-free option. Our summary is below in the next section.
Once you choose your product, you select a service level and frequency. Culligan has packages that start at $9.99 a month which gives you a serviced water cooler rental and a preset number of five-gallon bottles of water. The water will be delivered monthly and swapped out for the empty containers at each interval. Once every quarter, the rep will pay you an in-home visit and service your cooler to make sure it is clean and functioning correctly. You can then discuss alternatives if this product isn't working for you, or if you need to change the amount of water you receive per month.
What Are the Features of the Culligan Water Cooler?
The five-gallon watercooler is space saving and convenient. It allows you to choose from three different water temperatures. Water is filtered through several coil elements which helps heat or cool it to the temperature you want. The cooler is low maintenance and very easy to use. With a pretty nice variety of choices, you will be able to find something that matches your style and décor throughout your home.
What Is a Bottle-Free Water Cooler?
One of the products Culligan offers as an alternative to the five-gallon water dispensing cooler is the bottle-free water cooler. This product is hooked directly to a water source, typically the kitchen faucet, and filters water on demand. In this respect, it always allows you to have clean and fresh drinking water without running out. There are no large bottles to fumble around with and no service calls to restock your water bottles. The unit is unobtrusive, and you have the choice between a countertop model and a freestanding one. The type of unit you choose will depend, in large part, on your kitchen setup and space along with your usage. Your Culligan representative will be able to help you choose which bottle-less water dispenser will work best for you, and the rep will still visit your home to clean the unit and ensure the filtration system is clean and in good working order. The frequency with which the representative comes depends, in part, on the amount of water the cooler processes.
What Are Customers Saying About Culligan?
When looking for testimonials, we were able to find nothing but praise for the company and its level of service and products. People who had the water cooler service said that technicians were punctual, willing to go out of their way to accommodate changing schedules and needs and always ready to help recommend more products. We found one review which recounted a bad experience which resulted in the customer discontinuing the service. However, we gave no weight to this since it was the only one of the many we reviewed.
16 gallons of cold water processed per hour
Freestanding or countertop designs available
Size of Unit:
Varies between countertop and freestanding
Self-diagnostic system alerts when something is wrong
Hot Water Dispenser:
Filtration System: A three-pronged process starts with reducing sediment, followed by filtration through a carbon filter to remove chlorine and foul tastes and smells and finally your choice of a reverse osmosis filter for reducing microscopic impurities, or total defense, which reduces chemicals such as lead.
We were unable to find exact specifications for the five-gallon water cooler as Culligan does not publish that information. You can always ask your local representative to give you a rundown of your options and the details about the water cooler.
The price of a Culligan water cooler may vary based on the style you choose to get and the monthly service plan that best suits your needs. We were unable to get actual prices and details beyond this. You can only get Culligan products through the company.
How the Culligan Water Cooler Compares to Others
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Pros and Cons of the Culligan Water Cooler
Personal service and routine maintenance is the best feature of any Culligan water product. You don't need to worry about filling up your own five-gallon jugs or when you're supposed to call to get the system flushed and the filters changed. Culligan handles all of that for you. Of course, a major flaw in the system is you don't own either the five-gallon water cooler or the bottle-less dispenser. If you decide to end your contract with Culligan, the money you've been paying will not net you anything. You then have to start over with another service or purchase your own unit, such as one of the options above. They are all well-made products that offer you the benefit of clean drinking water.
In a time where customer service has fallen by the wayside, Culligan stays true to its company roots and puts the customer first. Their level of one-on-one personal attention is unsurpassed. However, some customers may not like to deal with a face-to-face consultation as they may feel like they're being pushed into getting a product they do not want. The bottle delivery and quarterly check up to maintain and service the Culligan water cooler are benefits to purchasing the service. It would be preferred if Culligan allowed you to have your own water cooler and didn't force you to rent or buy one of theirs. We could not get exact pricing because, again, there is not a lot of transparency when it comes to the company's business dealings. For these reasons, we cannot entirely get behind the company and their services. We instead recommend purchasing your unit, such as the Whirlpool or Honeywell models above and contact another vendor to deliver your water.