Note: If you are reading this water softener article about Culligan® and Rain Soft® water treatment system comparisons and are expecting us to bash either one as we compare here, you will be disappointed. Otherwise lean back, kick your feet up and enjoy the ride.
This is a place for giving credit where it is due and simply comparing our feedback from customers and prospective customers about their experiences with these two top in home premium brands over the years. And in all fairness, if you are willing to spend more for the convenience of having someone do it all so to speak; there is nothing wrong with that at all. That is not our business here at Budget Water®. Our business is helping the do-it-your self-homeowner (DIY) custom design a high tech system you can easily install yourself, or have a handy friend, local plumber or handyman install quite simply for you. We can even refer you to an installer in your area if you want us to.
It is our opinion that if you are a smart shopper and be sure these companies put in a good system, which both Premium Brands such as Culligan® and Rain Soft® are normally more than capable of, especially in regards to local chlorinated municipal water supplies, then that is just fine. It does not really matter which one you choose equipment wise. Just get the best deal you can. Just remember that the product is as only as good as the dealer. If the sales person does not offer the proper solution, then the equipment quality means little. With such a high turn-over of sales people in the residential water treatment industry, you want to be sure your sales person knows what they are doing. Remember you can always call and ask what we think of the application. Just remember that we have no intention of bashing that company. If the equipment is proper we will tell you. If you want to know what we would charge for a comparable system, we can help you with advice on that as well. And also keep in mind we are not allowed to ask you to buy anything. We just give great advice with no pressure to buy AT ALL, EVER.
Be particularly careful when buying well water filtration equipment from people who visit in your home, or from little known online companies, without a second opinion. We find that solutions vary from dealer to dealer. It is somewhat mind boggling how many different people from different companies can offer such a wide range of solutions. It seems like everyone thinks he is an expert but many have no idea at all. Well water treatment is such a simple and easy to understand business if you talk to the right person. You don't start at the equipment and work backwards towards the water quality. You start at the water quality and move forward to the equipment. You test the water in a certain way. You determine the flow rate in a certain way. You check a few cursory things around the home if possible in a certain way. You (or we) diagnose the solution. It should be as ABC as that. If you call any of our techs for advice they should tell you the same thing as any of our other techs. Even if you never buy a thing from us (and we will never ask you to), we can at least tell you what you should do. Then if you do it, great; if you do something else, fine; if you do nothing at all, that is your decision.
Who's the best of the in home water softener sales companies? It used to be easy to decide - it was Culligan®. They were the biggest. Had name recognition and were quite successful. We have had them ranked as the best in-home brand overall for several years now. The other company we see with a strong equipment line, a great company structure and a certain degree of name brand recognition is RainSoft®. They certainly have the strongest sales staff and recognition program for their sales people without question. Recently it seems to us they have made some great strides to correct a few things in our opinion that have now made them a much better brand. One of the knocks in the past on both RainSoft® and Culligan® in our eyes is that for years we would see a number of people willing to sell these brands and tell people it was good purified water to drink. Of course through most of water softening history people have been drinking sodium content in their water, even on excessively hard water, with the understanding that it was all good so to speak. They did not know any better. They only knew what they were trained. Our very strong position is simply that it is not good overall for a number of obvious reasons.
However when companies use reverse osmosis or distillation to filter this sodium water; the sodium is greatly reduced or removed altogether. Many companies years ago added reverse osmosis to their product line. The only problem was the sales people that were used to the old way of selling could not bring themselves to change, or simply did not care. Thus the problem was not solved. The main reason we are changing our best in-home sales company rating to a tie between RainSoft® and Culligan® is because a far larger proportion of RainSoft® dealers and their sales force seem to be advocating the use of reverse osmosis. Whether the people they sold to chose to buy it or not, the majority of RainSoft® sales people are at least offering. Now it would be great if they do not sell reverse osmosis to that customer they have offered it to, that they tell those people it would be best to drink bottled water instead of softened water. It seems far more Culligan® feedback we get these days indicates they are still doing things the old way, often letting people drink sodium content water, and not offering reverse osmosis or advising the customer to drink bottled water as often. Over all it seems more and more Culligan® sales people are coming around to the new way of purifying drinking water as well as softening, though RainSoft® seems to be at a far higher proportion.
For all of those Culligan® sales people who are in fact offering reverse osmosis as an option, we say good job. Also RainSoft® claims to be able to exchange hardness in such a way that there is less sodium in the water, though sodium is still present, seems on the surface to potentially have some merit. However in the past RainSoft® dealers have had a number of different levels of softener resin to include in their water softener units. Even if it is somewhat lower, it is hard for us to have any idea how many RainSoft® units are capable of this potential reduction. The bottom line is that we still feel you should not drink water after ANY softener that adds sodium to the water. Even with these units we believe you should either drink bottled water or invest in Reverse Osmosis for cooking and drinking. It is our belief that RainSoft® for the most part is offering Reverse Osmosis for their softeners, as they should. And it is a good thing that they are always striving to improve their products. We do that too.
Some people wonder why we don't spend more time proving who has the best technical data and specifications. In all fairness that simply isn't the most important thing in this industry. Sure if you are going to buy some cheap shelf model from Home Depot or Sears; or if you are going to buy from some fly by night guy selling out of his apartment online and calling his company of 1 person experts; then those things are a HUGE issue. But with most true Premium Electronic Brands things are relatively similar for the most part function wise. In fact most Premium Brands including RainSoft® and Culligan®, as well as other quality Premium Brands such as Ionics and Eco, have high quality equipment. The issue to us is to make sure that the consumer buys the proper water conditioning system that is beneficial and corrects the problem it is supposed to in a premium quality way, with the least amount of ongoing aggravation. In other words if you want to spend twice or even three times what we would charge for Premium Quality equipment, that is OK. In home companies have higher expenses overall which can include sales people, trainers, installers and telemarketers. They are full service type companies.
Of course when some dealers or sales people get crazy and start charging upwards of $7000 or more for normal residential applications we find that a bit of a stretch. There is something to be said for Buyers Beware but we find it mind boggling anyone could be persuaded to spend that sort of money on a conventional residential water softener system. Our finding is most Rain Soft® dealers don't get that carried away and a far higher percentage of Culligan® sales people don't sell at those extreme higher prices. Again, how much they sell those for is not the issue in our opinion as much as it is getting the water treatment system application right. And finally let us say for the most part when we see either of these companies put in the proper equipment for the application; that, other than price (and sometimes even with the high price), makes these customers seem reasonably happy and some are extremely happy with the purchase. We see old RainSoft® and Culligan® systems that are 20 to 30 years old that are still doing the job; nothing wrong with that.
We hope this article has been helpful to you. Please feel free to provide feedback.