In this article, we compiled information about popular water softener brands and some of their products that compare to Culligan Water Softener.
Since 1936, Culligan has been a household name, filtering and softening water for generations of homes and businesses. The founder, Emmett Culligan, was a pioneer in the industry.
After 82 years of products and services, the company is still considered the best of its trade. However, as with most commodities, the best comes with a higher price.
Today, we will review a Culligan water softener that we love: the Culligan HE Softener-Cleer® Water Conditioner.
We will also discuss additional services and products the company provides, general information about water softeners and hard water, and competitor comparison information.
What Are Water Softeners?
There are four different types of water softener systems: magnetic, ion exchange (e.g., salt-based), salt-free and reverse osmosis.
No matter what company you purchase a system from, all types of water softeners have the same goal: to soften the water in your home or business.
The purpose of water softening is to remove the ions that cause hard water. Example ions (minerals) include magnesium, calcium and iron.
One way you know if your water is hard is if you see chalky white spots crusted on your sink or other areas where water has dripped. This substance is called “limescale.”
Salt-based Water Softener
A salt-based water softener system (ion exchange) is the most effective. As water flows through the tank, salt (sodium) takes the place of the hard water minerals.
However, due to the sodium content, some people have concerns about drinking the water. While the amount of sodium in the water should be fine for a healthy adult, if you need to control your sodium intake, you can install a water purification system.
Ask the water softener company about what works best with the water softener you choose. Culligan has drinking water systems they can install for your household (for an additional cost, of course).
Hard Water Concerns
Hard water can cause damage to your pipes and make some of your appliances work less efficiently. Other problems with hard water include:
Culligan HE Softener-Cleer® Water Conditioner/Culligan Water Softener
The HE Softener-Cleer® Water Conditioner is not only a water softener but also a water filter. It has all the benefits of softening your water with Culligan smart technology and makes your water taste better by reducing a variety of bacteria and other contaminants.
This system is recommended for homes that are problematic; ones that are challenging such as if you have especially hard water, bacteria laden water or frequent changes in water quality. It uses smart technology to stay ahead of these concerns. Benefits of this system include:
Culligan’s HE water softener products are by far the most popular choice and have received recognition by Good Housekeeping and Consumer Digest.
Its HE water softener systems come with great features, especially due to their smart technology. They have a wireless control pad used for monitoring important information such as salt and water usage and an electronic sensor implanted in the resin bed for monitoring when regeneration is needed.
You can also adjust the softness or hardness of your water and receive alerts if the system malfunctions. Additionally, you can choose optional features, such as having the system know automatically when changes in the water necessitate regeneration and pinpointing only the sections of the resin bed that need bringing, saving you money by reducing the amount of salt used.
Most of the company's HE tanks can also be installed outdoors; however, the HE Softener-Cleer® Water Conditioner cannot.
If you like the smart technology features offered by Culligan but aren’t sure about the HE Softener-Cleer® Water Conditioner, it has several other HE models, including ones for large homes and commercial and municipal properties, which soften and filter water by absorbing chlorine (great for those concerned about sodium).
They also have the Gold Series (dependable) and the Medalist Series (economical).
This water softener has a storage capacity range of 275 – 600 pounds.
The number of gallons of water conditioned per minute at optimal pressure (psi) is 9 to 10.6 gpm at 11psi. The amount of hardness removed before regeneration is required ranges greatly, from 17,854gr to 88,549gr.
Moreover, the average water consumption per regeneration range is 54 – 155 gallons and the average regeneration time ranges from 62 to 78 minutes. It is available in four different models: 9-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, and 14-inch.
Culligan is very quiet about its prices. It is hard to find an actual cost online unless you see one in a customer review. The product installed, and features included are customized based on your home needs; therefore, pricing is going to vary from customer to customer.
Anyone interested in purchasing a Culligan water softener is required to contact a Culligan dealer. A representative will schedule a visit to your home, provide a free water test, and review and discuss with you what your home needs.
After the assessment and discussion, they talk with you about the cost of their products and services, and which system works best for your home. While discussing costs, keep in mind, Culligan offers a limited lifetime warranty for their products, unlike many other water softener companies.
While compiling the information for this review, the pricing information we found included one customer who said her system cost $3,300.
However, Culligan offers optional services and features, and the customer provided no details about which system it was or if she purchased anything in addition to the system. Other comments indicated you should expect to spend at least $2,000 initially.
Repair work is a cost to be considered. Per customer reports, it costs over $100 each time the Culligan man enters your home, not including any actual repair expenses. Other additional costs are for your convenience, such as its salt delivery service.
While Culligan may be higher-priced than many people are comfortable with, it does offer payment plans. You can also opt to rent their equipment and see how you like its products.
Whatever way you decide, ensure that you purchase your system and products from a reputable dealer. Many customer complaints are primarily about the lack of information and response from a representative, which has nothing to do with the actual Culligan equipment.
Unfortunately, the company’s name gets tarnished by unskilled representatives and dealers with poor organization and customer service.
Installation and Repair
If you are a “do it yourself” person, then Culligan might not be at the top of your list. Customers complain that the patented technology and hard-to-find parts make repairs difficult. Culligan’s recommendation is to get a professional to install and repair their equipment.
You should consider professional installation costs and the cost of repairs when you are deliberating on buying a Culligan water softener system. If you speak with a representative, clarify labor costs and any associated fees before making your purchase so you can figure it into your budget.
How Do Competitors Compare to Culligan?
To give you some perspective on what to expect when shopping for water softeners, we compiled information about popular water softener brands and some of their products that compare to Culligan.
Culligan Water Softener
Kinetico was established in 1970 and is known globally, providing its products and services to over 100 countries. The company works in the same way Culligan does.
If you are interested in its products, you contact the nearest Kinetico dealer, and they will schedule an “expert” to assess your water and your home. It also provides a free water test. Kinetico offers a 10-year warranty on parts and tanks. Like Culligan, it is not “do it yourself” friendly and doing so would compromise the warranty.
You may appreciate that its water softeners do not increase the electric bill because they are non-electric.
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When shopping for water softeners, you cannot miss the name Fleck.
It is a popular brand, has been around for over 40 years, and is known for pioneering the regulation of water softening regeneration. Many of its water softeners have a 5-year warranty. Most of its systems are generally lower-priced than Culligan’s.
However, unlike Culligan, they do not come with professional assistance if something goes wrong with the system; at least, they will not be in your home assisting you.
Nevertheless, they are available over the phone 24/7 and through messaging online via the customer service portal.
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General Electric is a familiar brand that every homeowner knows by heart and probably has owned some appliance produced by the well-established conglomerate.
GE offers a variety of water softeners, including ones with filters and smart technology. Some of its models include a setup service to assist you with installing its products.
If it does not include one, then you would need to use the GE hotline to call for a water softener installer.
It offers a limited 1-year labor and parts warranty on the water softener system, a limited 10-year parts warranty for the brine/resin tank and a limited 3-year parts warranty for the electronic monitor.
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Pros and Cons Culligan Water Softener
When it comes to quality and service, you get what you pay for, and Culligan is at the top of the list. It has a customer service focus and a customizable model that stands out from the other brands. As with anything, when you have more in-depth service, technology and options, you can expect to pay more.
The Culligan HE Softener-Cleer® Water Conditioner we are reviewing today has many pros to consider. First, it is both a water softener and filter. While other softeners claim to save you money, salt, water and electricity consumption, most of them do not claim a savings of up to 46% like Culligan does. However, Kinetico softeners can compete a little better, since they are non-electric.
Many companies offer smart technology options and panels for easy use. Culligan takes its smart technology further by offering optional features, such as the remote that allows auto adjustment in response to changes in the water.
The pros outweigh the cons; however, the cons are big enough concerns not to be ignored. The upfront costs of Culligan can make anyone hesitate, especially when there is no concrete price.
While some brands offer multifunctional products, you may not find one that softens and filters water as thoroughly as Culligan. Many brands focus on a few specific minerals or bacteria, whereas Culligan filters it all. “Do it yourself” individuals may have a hard time owning a Culligan. However, having professionals on hand who will assist you as needed and having a lifetime warranty are good reasons to consider a Culligan.
After reviewing the efficiency, quality and functionality of the Culligan HE Softener-Cleer® Water Conditioner, we give it an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. We considered customers who complained about Culligan representatives and some product issues, but the primary complaints are not about Culligan water softeners.
Culligan may or may not be right for you, but ensuring you have good, clean water is always important. You can at least take advantage of the free water test and see what the company has to offer. Be careful about making impulse decisions and the trappings of upselling. A good company will give you time to think about important choices.