Culligan Blog

Water Softener Comparison

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Softener Compare ScreenshotReducing the amount of hard water in a home has benefits that are useful to everyone, including a decrease in scale buildup, cleaner dishes, lower utility costs, and more. But with the stark differences in water quality, accessibility, and budgets from house to house, region to region, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution.


That's why Culligan has a variety of water softeners that can help your family reap the benefits of reduced hard water, no matter what your situation is. If you're a little confused by all the options, though, that's understandable. Here's a quick breakdown showing which Culligan softener may match what you need:



  • For water softening and filtration: HE Municipal Water Conditioner

    A high-performance, dual-function system that gives you softer water that's also filtered to reduce the taste of chlorine.
  • For the highest efficiency and smart technology: HE Water Softener

    A Consumer Digest Best Buy that's 46% more efficient than other softeners, and automatically adjusts to changes in your home's water conditions.
  • For an effective, economical option:  Medallist Series® Home Water Softener

    An affordable design that doesn't sacrifice performance, and seamlessly integrates into your current plumbing with state-of-the-art technology.
  • For a stand-alone solution with no installation: Portable Water Softener Exchange Service

    A great option when you can't or don't need to have a full softener system installed in your home. Fresh, softened water is delivered to your front door when you need it - no installation, no hassle.
  • For water softening and odor/taste reduction:  HE Softener-Cleer Conditioner

    A high-efficiency answer for especially problematic water that not only reduces hardness, but also unpleasant tastes and odors.

Whether you're looking for cleaner laundry, fresher water, or lower electric bills, there's a Culligan water softener for you. Plus, our water systems are third-party certified to perform as promised and are backed by one of the most comprehensive warranties in the industry. So you can have better water with peace of mind - and it's just an appointment away. Contact your local Culligan Man today to find a water softener that's right for your home.

What's Hiding in Your Tap Water

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Water isn't always as simple as it looks. Sometimes there's a lot more lurking in what may look, taste, or even smell like otherwise completely safe drinking water.

In much the same way that many of the processed foods we eat can hide more sugar than we expect, sometimes things get into the water that shouldn't be there. Even some of the chemicals and procedures used to treat water at the municipal level can leave behind some unpleasant byproducts, like bromate, trihalomethanes, and chlorite.

Odorless and Tasteless Contaminants

When we think of odorless and tasteless contaminants, microorganisms are among the more obvious offenders that can go relatively undetected in water and cause pretty major problems. Common microorganisms like cryptosporidium and giardia, and perhaps the less common legionella, can all pass a sniff or taste test, but cause severe stomach upset, and in some cases of legionella's presence, pneumonia.

The most commonly used disinfectant should be relatively familiar to us since chlorine has a variety of uses, both in and outside the world of water treatment. In large, sustained quantities, however, this fairly ubiquitous additive can cause eye and nose irritation as well as chronic stomach upset. Chlorine's chemical neighbor, chlorine dioxide, used to treat and control microbes, has been known to cause anemia in infants as well as certain nervous system effects.

Inorganic Chemicals
Arsenic falls into this category, as well as other offenders like fluoride and asbestos. While none of these are particularly desirable additives to have in drinking water in the first place, arsenic and asbestos can present the potential for immediate health problems and irritations.

Lead, mercury, and nitrates also make the list of hard-to-detect chemicals, since they can generally pass undetected in water - the only way to identify them is a water test.

Know the Risks
In general, regardless of the kind of contaminant(s) that may be present in your water, the most vulnerable populations are the same: young children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised immune response.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from odorless and tasteless chemicals in water is have your water tested. Whether you pick up a home water kit from the store, or have your local Culligan Man test it for you for free, you'll have the information you need about your water to make sure it's safe and delicious for you and your family.

Water Testing Kits Versus Culligan Water Testing

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Out of the Box: The Pros and Cons of Water Testing Kits

Water Test Culligan ManThere are a lot of options when it comes to out-of-the-box water testing kits, and each of them is usually specialized at detecting a few select contaminants in your home's water. You might have seen LABTECH H20 or Watersafe water analysis test kits in stores, and while they range in price based on what they test for and the amount of impurities they'll identify, you can expect to pay anywhere from about $10 to $40 for them.

So what do they do? In most cases, these off-the-shelf kits will pick up impurities like:

  • Chlorine
  • Nitrates
  • pH
  • Alkalinity
  • Heavy metals like iron
  • Bacteria
  • Some pesticides

Be sure to read carefully what the specific test identifies, as results will vary based on the make and model of the kit you're looking at. Test results usually come back instantly, or within seconds, and you may have to spend some time deciphering the results.

Each test kit should come with instructions to test for various contaminants separately, along with the materials you'll need to perform that specific test. Regardless of the test you're starting with, you should let water run from the faucet for 10-20 seconds before collecting it to use for your tests.

How Culligan Water Testing is Different

Choosing a Culligan water test is a great alternative to paying for a home water test. Among many other advantages, a local Culligan Man will test your tap water for free. You'll also have greater confidence in your test, knowing a certified professional has conducted it.

Home water test kits come with some limitations, like the amount of contaminants they are able to identify. A Culligan test will identify a wider range of impurities, and includes the option to send out water to our lab for more advanced testing if initial water results indicate it's necessary to solving your water problem.

In addition to the added convenience and peace of mind, you'll be one step ahead if your water test comes back with something awry, since you'll have a professional water treatment expert already on hand to talk about the results with you, and provide some recommendations to address any issues that may have come up.

Water Solutions for Renters

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Culligan Man - Large ImageNot owning a home is no reason to go without the benefits of soft, filtered water wherever you live. While most people associate water softeners and water filtration systems with homeownership, the fact is, it's easy and straightforward to rent a softening or filtering unit, too.

Renting a water treatment unit gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility when it comes to how you treat your water, and where. With the full line of Culligan softeners, filters, and drinking water systems available, you can find the right solution to fit almost any space.

Benefits of Renting

Flexible - Rentals can be set up on a month-to-month basis, so if you're really not the type to commit, you have options. If you do know you'll be using the system for a longer period of time, you can choose a long-term agreement to meet your needs and potentially reduce your monthly expense. In the event you change your mind and want to purchase your unit, you have equity options as well, so your investment essentially turns into "try-before-you-buy." Check with your local dealer for details about equity arrangements in your area.

Affordable - Renting means you don't have to deal with any maintenance or repair costs, since everything is included in your low monthly payment.

Easy - Water solutions for renters are delivered, installed, and fully operational within three business days.

Guaranteed - Every product we provide for rental comes with a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee, as well as 24-hour emergency service.

Perfect for the early adopter, renting water treatment systems also allows you to easily upgrade to new water softening and treatment technology as it becomes available. Along with ease, affordability, and flexibility, renting Culligan water treatment systems means you'll enjoy the peace of mind of working with licensed professionals backing products unmatched for their performance and durability. No matter which solution you choose, whether you rent or buy, you can be sure your water softener or drinking water system will work for you and with you, regardless of where you live or for how long. Contact your local Culligan Man to see what water solutions will work for you.

Culligan Filters for Drinking Water Systems

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Aqua Clear 120Drinking the recommended amount of water every day can present a challenge, especially if you have concerns about the quality of water in your home. We're advocates for getting all the information about your water quality so you can make the best choices about how to address anything that may be wrong with it, whether it's a slightly weird odor or a less-than-perfect taste.

Taking back the tap has never been easier.

Depending on where you live, there are usually a few common water problems, so whether you're in the same boat as your neighbor dealing with hard water, or there's a lingering chlorine smell, we'll help you find the right drinking water system so you can enjoy better-tasting water right from the faucet.

Choosing a drinking water filtration system

Each of our Culligan drinking water systems uses customized filtration technology to target problem water issues specific to your area, and your home. Your Culligan Man can help you select the right filtration to get the best possible drinking water, no matter the source.

Aqua-Cleer® Advanced Drinking Water System

Our flagship filtration system, the Aqua-Cleer® technology includes five stages of targeted drinking water filtration to improve taste and reduce impurities.* A fully integrated under-sink system, it mounts inside your kitchen cabinetry and comes with a sleek designer faucet to easily provide access to fresher water where you use it the most.

AC-30 Good Water Machine®

Using similar technology to the Aqua-Cleer®, the AC-30 also features a compact design that puts better-tasting water at your fingertips. Third-party certified for peak performance, this drinking water system effectively limits impurities like barium and selenium* while enhancing the taste of everything you use water for in your kitchen, from soups and stir-fries to coffee and tea.

Preferred Series Drinking Water Systems

Equipped with three filtration sizes for complete home customization, the Preferred Series is a more compact option to incorporate better-tasting drinking water into homes or kitchens that may be more size-constrained. Fully tailored to your home's water quality, your Culligan Man can recommend the right combination of filtration for your water's needs, and install the system for you.

Cooler Options

Another option for homeowners to access purer drinking water is our variety of water coolers. If space or other restrictions make it prohibitive to include an under-sink filtration system, a water cooler may be a good alternative. Available in both bottled and bottle-free designs, incorporating them into your kitchen or office is an easy way to use a better drinking water solution. Including Culligan Man installation and servicing, these are both convenient drinking water systems.

Whether you're looking into a high-powered under-sink water system, or a more compact solution to address a specific water problem, your Culligan Man is the best resource to answer your questions and make a recommendation that will work for your needs.

Renting Vs Buying a Water Softener

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HE filter front smallA water softener can be a major investment in your home, adding value and convenience long after installation. The reality is, not everyone's living situation is conducive to purchasing a water softening system. Maybe you'd like to enjoy soft water in your home, but buying an entire unit is just not a practical choice. That's why Culligan provides the option to rent many of our most-loved products, from water softeners to filtration systems.

Benefits of Renting

Renting a water softener can be an easy, relatively low-overhead way to bring quality Culligan water into your home or apartment without actually purchasing a unit. Renting allows you to see exactly how having a water softener can impact your home, and experience the benefits that come along with it, without having to make any long-term commitments. Why else might you like to rent?

  • Provide a vacation property with soft water
  • Great solution for condo or apartment living
  • If you're not ready to buy a home yet, but have invested in major appliances like a washing machine or dishwasher

Benefits of Buying

By some estimates, adding a water softener to your home can increase its equity anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Like any upgrade you make to your house, the value usually comes from the investment itself, so if you put in the money and time to get an efficient, effective softener, chances are you'll see those benefits come back in the form of increased equity (not to mention lower utility costs and reduced wear and tear on your home).

There are many ways installing a water softener will help, not only immediately with the quality of life in your home, but with the resale process should your circumstances change and a move becomes necessary or desirable.

If you do decide to sell or move later on, having had a water softener installed will often save you many headaches when it comes to replacing fixtures, repairing pipes, installing a new water heater, or replacing other worn-out, big-ticket appliances like the dishwasher or washing machine - not things anyone wants to be spending money on while listing their house and preparing to move!

If you're considering either choice to start enjoying the benefits of better water at home, contact your Culligan Man today to learn more about your options.

Filtered Water Pitcher vs Drinking Water Systems - Ditch the Pitcher

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Aqua Clear 240Culligan provides a variety of solutions to improve the taste and quality of tap water. Whether it's something as simple as our pitcher filters or an integrated under sink drinking water system, there's a Culligan way to introduce better tasting water to your home.

The Starter Model for Water Filtration

If you're looking for an easy way to help improve the taste of your home's water, you might have looked into getting a pitcher filter. With no set up or installation, and a generally affordable price tag, pitchers often seem like the simplest way to get started with water filtration.

Pitcher Pros and Considerations

Pitchers can provide some great benefits, from better tasting water to the convenience of filtered water, fresh and cold from your refrigerator. Pitchers are ideal for homes that already have fairly high quality water, since most pitchers are not equipped to handle water problems beyond slight taste or quality issues.

There are also some additional considerations, including:

  • Filter cartridges
  • Capacity
  • Long term benefits

If your home drinks large quantities of water regularly, the pitcher filter may not be the most efficient or economical solution. It's also worth considering the amount of refrigerator real estate you may or may not have to dedicate to a water pitcher.

Benefits of Drinking Water Systems

Rather than a pitcher, you might consider an under sink system to give you access to fresher tasting drinking water right from the tap (or very near your tap). In the long run, drinking water systems are a much more effective way to provide cleaner, better tasting water for your entire household. For both the ease of use and the quality of the filtration, many homeowners find that drinking water systems work better for them.

Drinking Water Systems Pitcher Filters
Long term solution Quick filtration fix
High capacity Capacity limited to cartridge requirements
Pre-scheduled maintenance Requires regular replacement
Powerful, sophisticated filtration Handles very basic water filtration
Includes professional servicing Minimal upkeep
Larger investment; longer life Low cost

The level of filtration engineered in these systems is much more sophisticated at removing impurities and contaminants that may be in your water that a pitcher filter would not be able to. Especially if you rely on well water, or live in an area where the municipal water supply has challenges, you'll want a filtration system that's up to handling more complex water problems.

Maintenance is also minimal, and you can schedule your Culligan Man to arrive with replacement filters plus conduct routine servicing exactly when your system needs it, right on your schedule.

Products like our Aqua-Cleer® Drinking Water System or our AC-30 Good Water Machine® fit directly and discreetly out of the way under your kitchen sink, and both include stylish faucet attachments to match any kitchen fixture or finishing. Custom installed by your Culligan Man, you'll get the results you want from the experts in drinking water systems.