Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Home Water Softeners Water Softener Reviews Culligan Water Softener Review: Here Is Why People HATE Culligan So Much

Culligan Water Softener Review: Here Is Why People HATE Culligan So Much

Culligan Water Softener Review

Culligan Water Softener Review

Culligan Water Softener Review. The Culligan brand is one of the best known water softening brands today. Their line of softening products have been around since the 30’s.

Are you thinking about buying a Culligan water softener system? Then this Culligan water softener review has some surprises for you.

It is worth taking your time to read about all the problems and complaints.

It is only after doing so that you will discover whether or not this water softener brand is right for you. This Culligan water softener review is a must read if you’re thinking about buying this brand.

The Culligan Brand

The Culligan brand can be traced back to 1936 when it was founded by Emmet Culligan.“Culligan Zeolite Company” was set up in partnership his two brothers in Northbrook, Illinois. The company was set up with s small amount of seed capital put together by the brothers.

Their first effective water softener device was created after Emmet punctured holes into a coffee can and filled it up with greensand, which turned it into a manual filtering device. Believe it or not, this creation became a smash hit and allowed him to open 2 franchise stores in both Illinois and Maryland in 2 years.

Culligan came from those humble beginnings to be named as the #1 franchise in the softening industry in 2004 by Entrepreneur Magazine.

Trivia – The Culligan brand is most recognized for their classic “Hey Culligan Man!” advert. It was a very popular slogan which often featured in their early radio and TV ads. See video below.

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Why Get A Culligan Water Softener System?

The next part of this Culligan water softener review is to point you towards 3 solid reasons why you could get a Culligan device:

  1. They provide some of the most reliable water softeners that you can use today.
  2. Culligan products use ion exchange technology, which is one of the best ways to soften hard water.
  3. The ion exchange is also a primary factor behind the brand’s longevity.

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Top 3 Culligan Water Softener Models

 

Before talking about why the brand is so hated, I think it’s only fair that this culligan water softener review looks at good things about this brand.

  1. Culligan High-Efficiency (HE) Water Softener System.
  2. Culligan High Efficiency (HE) Twin Tank And High Efficiency (HE) Progressive Flow Water Conditioner.
  3. Culligan Gold Series Water Softener.

In the spirit of fairness, I’m going to take a closer look at 3 different Culligan water softeners.

At the time of writing this, Culligan have 8 water softener models to choose from. However, do bear in mind that although salt based water softener systems are the company’s main product, there are other products. They have a long line of other products including water filters and water conditioners.

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1. Culligan High-Efficiency (HE) Water Softener System

Culligan High-Efficiency (HE) Water Softener SystemThis Culligan HE (High-Efficiency) water softener system has a unique patented smart technology. It allows you to save on the salt, water, and electricity that you use. Hence, the name “high-efficiency”.

On average, it is 46% more efficient than similar devices.

That covers the basics, now let’s look at specific benefits that you get with the HE water softener technology:
  • It gives you total control of the soft water that your home gets.
  • The device will tell you how long your softening salt will last.
  • You will use significantly less salt, water, and consume less electricity – thereby also saving you money.
  • The HE softener has customization options that will let you adjust the level of hardness in water.
  • Your Culligan man will automatically receive reports sent directly from the machine. This means you won’t have to worry about scheduling the next appointment.
  • The HE Culligan machine is also certified by the Consumer Digest (Best Buy Seal).
  • This certification is a seal of approval and a trusted mark in the consumer industry.
  • The tank size is 1.0-3.0 ft3

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2. Culligan High Efficiency (HE) Twin Tank And High Efficiency (HE) Progressive Flow Water Conditioner

Culligan High Efficiency (HE) Twin Tank And High Efficiency (HE) This is Culligan’s response to the popularity and trend towards twin tank systems. The “High efficiency twin tank and high efficiency progressive flow water conditioner” is essentially the HE system times two. The twin tank system means that it has a higher capacity. This means it is perfect for large homes, big families and commercial establishments.

Here are the specific benefits that come with the Culligan high efficiency twin tank and high efficiency progressive flow water conditioner:

  • This twin tank device has a smart sensor that responds accordingly. For instance, it will auto adjust if the quality of soft water changes.
  • Its twin tank system means that each tank alternates when producing soft water and therefore has no downtime. This is similar to Kinetico twin water softeners and it just means there is always a standby tank on back up.
  • It also comes with a “Dial-a-Softness”. A feature that lets you configure the softening settings at your own convenience.
  • Another very handy feature is that it will let you know how long your softening salt will last.
  • Gives you complete control of soft water coming into your home
  • It is a HE (high efficiency) model meaning that it works on significantly less salt, water and electricity.
  • It also has third-party certification from Consumer Digest.
  • Your Culligan man will automatically receive reports sent directly from the machine. This means you won’t have to worry about scheduling the next appointment.
  • The tank size is 1.0-3.0 ft3 (this applies to each tank).

 

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3. Culligan Gold Series Water Softener

This is one of Culligan’s basic types of water softeners in spite of its name. In essence, the Culligan gold series water softener is designed to give you reliable soft water every time you need it. And this is all without worrying about maintenance because this is something that Culligan will take care of for you.

Here are some of the gold series water softening benefits:

  • The gold series comes with a very big capacity. This means it can supply your home with enough soft water for laundry, shower and other home water related needs.
  • You can also expect to get an advance control valve which will regulate the water pressure supplied to your home.
  • It includes a smart sensor. This sensor monitors the systems performance in order to minimize energy and water costs.
  • This device has received third-party certification from Consumer Digest.
  • The tank size is 1.0-3.0 ft3

 

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Culligan High-Efficiency Water Softener System
Culligan High-Efficiency (HE) Water Softener System
Key Benefit: It is 46% more efficient than other softeners.

Key Feature: Patented Smart Technology.

Cost? It’s hard to say, Culligan don’t provide costs upfront.

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Culligan High Efficiency Twin Tank Water Softener.
Culligan High Efficiency (HE) Twin Tank And High Efficiency (HE)
Key Benefit: Comes with a smart sensor and “Dial-a-Softness”.
Key Feature: Twin Tank Combo.

Cost? It’s hard to say, Culligan don’t provide costs upfront.

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Culligan Gold Series Water Softener For Generating Soft Water.

Key Benefit: It has advanced control valves that regulate the water pressure.

Key Feature: Basic technology with advanced control valves.
Cost? It’s hard to say, Culligan don’t provide costs upfront.

best alternatives button

Hey Culligan Man

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Red CrossWhy Do People HATE Culigan So Much??

 

Culligan Water Price is Too High And So Are Its Operating Costs.

 

Culligan water softeners are among the most advanced in the world and this comes at a cost.

Their machines are so expensive they don’t put a price on their website.

There is NO such thing as a Culligan water softener price list.

  • If you want to buy a Culligan water softener expect to pay upwards of $2000 – $3000.
  • Bear in mind that they have services starting at just $9.95 per month for their water cooler services and bottled water delivery service.
  • Culigan rentals start at $23/month which include maintenance.

cost symbolBut you will soon discover, getting a Culligan water softener is not for the faint hearted when it comes to spending money. Apart from the expensive unit, you can expect regular visits from your Culligan service man which also come at a cost. It is hard to skimp on this because their machines are not designed to be DIY friendly. Also, a maintenance issue might not be something that your local plumber can deal with because s/he doesn’t have specialist knowledge. Especially as a lot of Culligan machines are made with proprietary technologies.

Let me break down the type of costs you can expect:

  • Actual machine, $2000-3000+ (bear in mind that you need to speak to a company representative who is inclined to up-sell you to their top line of units).
  • Replacement parts if the system breaks down.
  • Frequent visits from service personnel to maintain the machine.
  • Possible extra costs on things like water softening salt.

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 Poor Customer Service.

Very Bad Culligan Water Softener Reviews Consumer Reports

A quick Google search online will reveal lots of people that have written their own Culligan water softener review.

And most of them have nothing but bad things to say 🙁

Online reviews should always be taken with a pinch of salt because they are not representative. It is usually the most aggrieved and unhappy customers that will take the time to write up a whole essay on their experience.

While happy clients are not so passionate about sharing their views.

Culligan Water Softener Reviews Consumer Reports

However, lots of bad reviews from places like Consumer Affairs and Yelp are hard to ignore. It seems the units do not always work as they should. And customer service is poor.

bad-culligan-water-softener-review

These poor consumer reviews mean that I personally can not recommend Culligan softening machines. Even though this is a Culligan water softener review, I think other brands have a better reputation and customer feedback. Prime examples are APEC and FLECK water softening machines, which also come at cheaper prices too.

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Culligan Water Softener Problems

Culligan Water Softeners Are Very Complex Devices

According to the many reports and feedback I have gathered, most complaints are about how complex the device is. Of course this is to be expected as Culligan water softeners are some of the most advanced softening systems in the world. However, the very features intended to make the product helpful also seem to cause the most problems for its users.

Culligan Water Softeners Are Very Expensive.

Understandably, many people are annoyed about the high prices. Culigan addresses this by offering flexible payment terms. Word also has it that the company are considering making more affordable and budget-friendly products in the future. 

Culligan Water Softeners Are NOT DIY-friendly.

One of the important issues that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention in this Culligan water softener review is that they’re not DIY-friendly. This is important because many customers wish to save money by installing water softening systems themselves. There are some water softeners that are designed so that they can easily be installed by the average person. They arrive IKEA style, with the most important parts already being assembled for instance, BRITA’s tap water filter.

If you’re looking for something you can easily install yourself Culligan is not for you. However, if you’re a hands-off type of person and already know some very good local plumbers then you shouldn’t have an issue.

You Can’t Repair Your Own Culligan Device.

Following on from the points made earlier, Culligan is not very user friendly on almost all counts. It doesn’t help that they tend to keep all their technical information as exclusive as possible. This means there is not a lot of options available to you if you’re a DIY enthusiast.

This is not to say that you can’t find parts online, because some parts are indeed very easy to find.

Just do a quick Google search for the name of the exact replacement part(s) you need. And a dozen or so online retailers not tied to the company should appear.

However, the more intricate the part (e.g. their signature drive motors and control valve head), the harder it is to find. In most cases you will only be able to purchase it directly from the company itself.

Aquasana Whole House Features

Culligan Water Softeners Are Hard To Maintain.

Culligan prefer that their expert engineer and service people deal with any maintenance issues with their machines. Customers find it very difficult to maintain their devices because they have complicated systems. The fact that you need a qualified service personnel to maintain your system means that Culligan have a slightly higher operating cost when compared to other water softener brands.

Therefore, I highly recommend that you comprehensively study their products and units so that you make the right choice. And are fully aware of what the likely operating costs are.

For more information, it is best to contact Culligan directly via their contact page or call heir customer service on 877 386 0823

Culligan Water Softeners (And Therefore Their Parts) Are Not Easy To Find…

It seems odd but you can’t easily find a Culligan water softener on places like Amazon. You either have to go to your local Sears or order directly from the company website. This means that if you need a spare part you will need to look for it in your local Sears or buy directly from Culligans own website.

 

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Culligan Water Softener Troubleshooting

Have you already bought a Culligan water softener? If you have this machine and want a replacement or troubleshooting manual then use the “Culligan Product Manual Library” to find your product. Once found download its corresponding manual in .pdf format. These manuals will also help you if you need to find the right Culligan water softener settings.

> Culligan Product Manual Library <

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Where Can I Buy Culligan Water Softeners?

To my knowledge there are 3 places you can buy Culligan water softeners.

  1. Your local Sears store.
  2. Direct from Culligan themselves or,
  3. Try somewhere like eBay.

 

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Where Can I Purchase Culligan Water Softener products?

Here are a few examples of Culligan water softener products that you can buy if you are not ready to commit to a whole house water softener.

I have only selected products with good to excellent reviews.

ProductBest FeaturesCustomer Rating 
Culligan FM-25 Faucet Mount Filter

- Simple design allows for easy, no-tools-needed installation.
- Reduces bad taste, odor and lead and other contaminants.
4/5 Stars
Culligan US-3UF Ultra Filtration Under Sink Drinking Water System
- Premium water without reverse osmosis - No tank, No waste, No wait!
- Leak sensor with alarm and built-in filter life indicator included.
4/5 Stars
Culligan US-EZ-4 EZ-Change Level-4 Under-Sink Drinking Water System

- Reduces bad taste and odor.
- Twist on, twist off mechanism.
- Quick connect fittings.
4/5 Stars

 

BEST Culligan Water Softener / Filter ALTERNATIVES

If you are looking for the best Culligan Water Softener alternatives check out my selection below. This is based on the best selling water softeners that have good customer reviews and great features.

I have previously reviewed these water softeners. For instance, a full review of Fleck and other whole house water softener systems.

ProductBest FeaturesPrice Range 
Fleck 5600 SXT
- Best selling water softener.
- Comes with digital metered, on demand valve.
$$
PSE2000 Whole House Filter-Softener with UV
Pelican Offer Water Filter
- Water softener AND filter.
- Comes with full 90 day guarantee.
- Destroys 99.9% of Harmful Microorganisms.
- LIFETIME warranty on tanks and parts.

$$$Check Price Button
Aquasana's Whole House Water Systems

- Aquasana Rhino exceeds NSF standards.
- Removes 97% of chlorine.
- Includes pre-filter, copper-zinc and carbon filtration stages with standard fittings.
mrwatergeek winner badge
$$$

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Next Post Icon Read: Is The Whirlpool Water Softener WORTH The Money?

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Next Post Icon Read: Best Water Softener: Secrets Only A Handful Of People Know

Next Post Icon Read: Fleck Water Softener Reviews: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.

Next Post Icon Read: Culligan Water Softener Review: Why Do People Hate Culligan So Much?

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18 COMMENTS

  1. All water softeners are different. Not sure where you got the price for a Culligan water softener but there are some that start a lot lower than the price you have listed. Also working on a Culligan is not as complicated as you make it sound. There are Youtube videos on how to do just about everything on a Culligan.

    • If you let me know the prices and any facts I got wrong (with evidence of how your information is more accurate), I’d be more than happy to update the post with this information 🙂

  2. We have just moved to Pleasanton and we have spent a lot of money to have a softner and an RO put in our house. It has been less than two months and we have had 4 problems. In each case, Culligan does not want to have anything with our issues. So, we have to deal with these “guys”. Their appointments could be 1 to 2 weeks out even if you do not have drinkable water.

    Issues so far:
    1. Technician performed half of the job. He told me that he had to go to another appointment. We had to wait for one week. In the meanwhile our existing filtration was offline.
    2. System should an error instructing us to call this “outfit” again. Another week went by…no filtered water. Technician cancelled the appointment. A guy called us and told us that everything was OK….?!?
    3. RO stopped working all together. The suggested appointment was for two weeks out. Again, there were no filtered water.
    4. System now shows another message….I hate these guys! But I have to call them!

    Culligan Corporate is useless so there is nobody to escalate the issue to.

    • Hi Mark
      So sorry to hear about your Culligan issues, sadly this is not the first time I’m hearing about something like this 🙁 Thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us and I truly hope it gets resolved soon.
      Keep us posted!
      Luke
      Mr Water Geek

  3. Have a culligan water softener. Our hot water has a strong smell like rotten eggs. We took the ionizing rod out of the water heater as we heard that would help- somewhat. The hot water is orange and stains the stainless and composite sinks. Is there a solution? Is it in the plumbing? Should we get a new water heater? It might have an orange coating on the inside of it or is it the softener itself?
    Help!!!

    • Hi Joe

      Sorry to hear you’re having problems with your Culligan Water Softener. It sounds like it could be a number of different things and it would be hard for me to diagnose without being there.

      My best advice would be to get a professional plumber take a look at it so they can assess and give you all the options – – http://amzn.to/2hjYt7a

      Hope this helps, if not let me know what else I can do.
      Best wishes,
      Luke
      Mr Water Geek

  4. Hey Luke,

    We have a commercial Culligan softener. Model Hi Flo 2 PV-45. Any idea where we can get a user manual for it? I have searched & searched online and have not had any luck.

    Thank You, Renee

    • Hi Renee

      Your best bet is to contact Culligan directly through the customer care centre – 1-877-386-0823

      Hope this helps, if not let me know what else I can do.
      Best wishes,
      Luke
      Mr Water Geek

  5. I purchased a home that had a Culligan Gold water softener installed. It was the highest maintenance appliance in the house. I’m sure some of the problems (like salt bridging and no brine flow) were a direct result of the use of rock salt instead of salt pellets.

    I purchased a valve rebuild kit from Culligan. It was pricey at $150 and I think all that was really required was new o-rings.

    I purchased the part from the Culligan store and I had a great experience with the staff answering my questions. He explained the easiest way to disassemble and it became obvious that the procedure suggested on Youtube was not optimum. He also explained how long the resin bed would last and symptoms of end of life, They also went thru the the programmable parameters with me and verified that they were set correctly.

    • Hi Lynn
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Culligan! Honestly, I was a little worried about being too hard on this brand but I can only report on the evidence in front of me. But it’s so great to have your perspective because it provides a much needed balance to this post.
      Thanks again for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment 🙂
      Regards,
      Luke George
      Mr Water Geek.

  6. COMPLAINT
    I have had the Culligan Medallist Series system on my home since 8/2012 at a cost of $2,850.00.
    Every year I have been paying $219.00 for salt delivery and repair of minor issues at no charge. However, I have been experiencing low water pressure in my home since last year. I cannot run the washing machine without the water pressure going down to a trickle in the other faucets in my home. I cannot run the outside hose without having all the water faucets go completely to a trickle. I cannot run two showers at one time without the pressure going down.
    I had service for this problem last year. The technician came and took the overflow line out of the ground and let it run free. The line was clogged with dirt. This was a temporary fix because the problem has become progressively worse.
    I even called our City Water Department to see if there was an issue with the water supply to my home and there is no issue with my water pressure. I was told that the Water Softening system is causing this problem.

    This Culligan unit is breaking down and the service is not being performed as promised and noted in your service manual. There has NEVER been a periodic clean-out of the Salt Storage Tank. The service manual indicates that this should be done every two years. I asked that the tank be cleaned out and I was told that it doesn’t need to be cleaned. So why is this noted in the service manual.

    I complained to “Corporate” but they are less than useless. Was told “well just wait for the repair technician, He’ll fix it, if not call me back.

    • Hi Frances
      Sorry to hear that you’re having problems with Culligan but I really appreciate you sharing this story with us.
      Please please please keep us updated with this story as I would like to follow up.
      In the mean time let me know if I can help in any way.
      Best wishes,
      Luke
      Mr Water Geek

    • COMPLAINT:
      I live in Cazenovia, NY. I moved into a house that already had a Culligan water softening system installed. I called Culligan from Endicott, NY to service it. The guy came and said it was all good to go. He also sold me $63 of salt and charged a total of $279. After he left, the water pressure was much lower. I was confused initially but then when I did the bypass to get water directly, the water pressure became fine. I called Culligan back to help fix the problem. They are neither fixing the problem nor refunding any of the money I paid them. And I am stuck having paid $279 for zero benefit. I am just writing this review so that other people do not waste their money like me.

      • Hi Aatif
        Sorry to hear about your poor experience with Culligan.
        Many thanks for sharing your opinion and feel free to keep us posted on your progress!
        Best wishes,
        Luke

  7. Purchased a culligan water softener and have had to pour more than 3 cup full of laundry detergent into the washing machine and still can see no soap suds in the washer. Had culligan come out and check it out and they said as long as the salt is going down it is working. Disagree strongly! We should not have to use that much laundry detergent. The technician checked and said the laundry room is not being bi-passed so why then so much soap needed. Not happy.

    • Hi Mary
      Sorry to hear that you’re having problems with Culligan but I really appreciate you sharing this story with us.
      Please please please keep us updated with this story as I would like to follow up.
      In the mean time let me know if I can help in any way.
      Best wishes,
      Luke
      Mr Water Geek

  8. Thanks for making informative review about Best Culligan Water Softener Products and their Alternatives. I think PSE2000 Whole House Filter-Softener with UV is best among other because it is comes with full 90 day guarantee and
    lifetime warranty on tanks and parts.

    Can you let me know is there any other product come with lifetime warranty?

    • Hey,
      I’m not sure if there are any water softeners that provide full lifetime warranty. However, the softener products that are the highest rated and last the longest in my opinion are from Fleck and Pelican.
      Let me know if I can help in any other way.
      Luke

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