We all want our faucets to deliver clean and fresh water but sadly that is not always the case. There are odors and tastes that we can detect and there are many trace elements such as heavy metals that we cannot detect. Some of these can damage health. You can make your water taste great and remove most of the harmful chemicals by passing it through a water purifier before you drink it.
Some water purifiers are inserted into your water supply under your sink and some fit onto a faucet. Other water filters are simply pitchers or dispensers that fit into your refrigerator. To help you decide on the best home water filter for you, here is a comprehensive guide.
The Best Water Filter
A high capacity water filter system that works by reverse osmosis. It will fit under your sink and will soften your water as well as 99 percent of common contaminants. This means that your drinking water will be almost completely free from potentially harmful compounds including lead, fluoride, hormones and asbestos as well as bacteria, Giardia and viruses. You will be assured of water that tastes clean and fresh and makes better hot beverages and ice cubes. You can be confident about using it in baby formula and it is a lot cheaper than bottled water.
It uses several stages to remove pollutants including passing the water through an RO membrane which makes the water slightly acidic water. Then there is an additional stage which restores beneficial minerals to the water and raises the pH back up again so that it tastes more natural. The unit requires little maintenance and the see-through housing gives you a clear view of the water filter system. You can install this yourself in just a couple of hours under a standard kitchen sink. All of the required parts and full instructions are included. No threading of pipes is required.
Removes 99 percent or harmful compounds and pathogens
Water tastes clean and fresh
Produces pH neutral water
- Weight20 pounds
Instructions are easy to understand
Very easy to fit
Water tastes great
Some owners preferred to change the order of the filters
Takes two hours to fill
With this under under sink water filter you don’t have the inconvenience of a third faucet. It will connect into the cold-water supply to your kitchen sink and you can install it in minutes using only an adjustable wrench. Full instructions are provided.
The filter uses a three stage process which includes a micro sediment membrane, a standard KDF-55 membrane and a coconut shell carbon filter. You get purified water that retains beneficial minerals, it does not soften the water. It will act as a bacteriostatic filter and it does not support bacterial or mold growth.
Fits under the counter
Three stage filtration
Does not remove beneficial minerals
- Weight8 pounds
Greatly improves taste
Removes chlorine and white residue
Does not remove calcium
Can be tricky to fit to non-standard plumbing
This product is a pitcher made out of clear plastic but is completely BPA-free. It will hold plenty of water and is cleverly designed so that it will fit into narrow spaces. The pitcher is less than five inches wide and weighs only 1.39 pounds when it is empty.
With this filter you get water that does not taste of chlorine and has no odor. The filter can remove trace metals such as copper, mercury and cadmium. There is an electronic indicator that will let you know when the filter needs to be replaced. Each filter will work for the equivalent of 300 standard 16.9 ounce water bottles so think of the money and plastic that you will save! For an average household, it will last for around two months.
Pitcher is less than five inches wide
Removes taste of chlorine and odors
Electronic filter replacement indicator
- Weight3.45 pounds
Attractive enough to put on the table
Short enough to fit under a sink tap
Available in different colors
Does not reduce the total dissolved solids concentration
Locking lid can be tricky
This is a very useful drinking water filter that attaches to your existing sink faucet. You get immediate, great-tasting water. There is an LED display which indicates when the filter needs replacing. It will remove more than 70 common contaminants (including chlorine) and your water will be 99 percent free of lead. Typically, a normal household would only have to change the filter every two or three months.
The filters use activated carbon with an ion exchange system to produce crystal clear water that tastes great.
Removes 70 common contaminants
Water produced is 99 percent lead free
Carbon and ion exchange filters
- Weight1.15 pounds
Ready to use and attaches quickly to faucet
Available in different colors
Choice of aerators
Some have been known to spurt water
Some have cracked with use
Here we have a countertop water filter system that is translucent and available in a number of different shades. It will remove many common contaminants including chlorine, mercury, pesticides and radon and it will remove sediment. It can also remove pathogens including Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
It will sit neatly on a kitchen counter and is easy to install to most standard kitchen faucets. With the kit you get everything you need to fit it yourself. It will save you having to buy bottled water and you don’t have to move jugs around. It’s the environmentally friendly choice. The product complies with the water filter safety standards issued by the National Safety Foundation.
Removes contaminants like chlorine
Will remove sediment
Fits on the countertop
- Weight5 pounds
Water is less cloudy
Owners like the clear housing
Maintains pH of water
Some owners have found it fiddly to fit
Filter may be hard to change
This is a 2.25 gallon tank that delivers purified water for up to four people a day. It delivers water that is both purified and filtered. It will even remove more than 99.999 per cent of viruses and bacteria and reduces the number of protozoa.
You’ll get water that is free from trihalomethanes and inorganic minerals. The filter will also remove arsenic, lead and mercury and other heavy metals. It is effective at filtering out some of the compounds from pharmaceutical drugs including Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen. There are several different filtration elements which are sold separately and they last for at least 6,000 gallons of water. Independent laboratories have been used to test the effectiveness of the filters. The water is gravity fed and requires no installment, power supply or plumbing.
2.25 gallon tank for water
Removes heavy metals
Filters out pharmaceutical drugs
- Weight7.4 pounds
Steel container is sturdy
Not made of plastic
Water tastes great
Slight rubber smell to begin with
Set up instructions could be clearer
A water filter that is designed and made in Europe, this product offers high quality filtration and produces water that is palatable to drink. It is very easy to install and requires no drilling or plumbing.
The water goes directly into the unit from the faucet and it comes with two faucet adapters, a seal, a ring and a plastic wrench so you get easy installation with no leaks. It contains a coconut based activated carbon filter which is highly effective at removing chlorine, lead and sediment. It also removes traces of odor and taste. A single cartridge will last for around six months – so that’s a lot of plastic water bottles that you’ll save!
High quality filtration
Coconut based activated carbon filter
- Weight3.5 pounds
Easy to set up
Attaches to faucet
Can move it to another house
Will not soften all water
May not remove all compounds
If you are looking for a completely portable water filter for hiking or camping in the wilderness or for international travel and emergency situations, this would be the best product for you. The filter is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and is just two ounces in weight.
It comes as part of a pack that contains everything you’d need if you are not near clean water including a drinking pouch, some disposable water bottles and a hydration packs. It contains a 0.1 micron filter which can remove the majority of harmful bacteria including salmonella and E. coli. It is also highly effective at removing protozoa including giardia and microplastics. The filter will carry on being effective for up to 100,000 gallons of water.
Perfect for emergency situations
Drinking pouch included
Removes most bacteria and protozoa
- BrandSawyer Products
- Weight3.52 ounces
Exceptional filtration for such a small unit
Easy to use
The O ring can break
Not compatible with water bottles
A strong and durable water bottle that gives you filtered water on the go. This product is just right for the office, day trips or when doing sports. The bottle itself is made from BPA-free plastic and has a useful carrying loop as well as a flip-open straw.
The water will have none of the unpleasant tastes and odors that are often associated with plain water straight out of the faucet. Just one filter in this bottle will replace 300 standard water bottles which cuts down on plastic and saves you money. The filter needs to be renewed around every two months. This bottle can be washed on the top rack of your dishwasher.
BPA-free plastic bottle
Removes odors and tastes
- Weight4.8 ounces
Water tastes great
You don’t have to suck too hard on the straw
Replacement filters are cheap
These bottles can leak
The cap can break
This is a filter for use in the home. It fits onto a regular faucet and there is a diverter tab that allows you to swap back and for between filtered water and regular water. It can deliver water at a rate of 0.5 gpm with a flow rate of 60 psi. It comes with an adapter that will fit all standard faucets but will not fit on a drop-down faucet. You can use it with domestic water supply pressures of anything between 30 and 100 psi.
It comes with one carbon filter cartridge included which will filter 200 gallons of water – enough to last most households for around two months. Changing the filter is easy and requires no tools at all. It is effective at removing many compounds that are commonly found in water including atrazine, chlorine and lead as well as tastes and odors. It complies with NSF and ANSI Standards 42 and 53.
Fits onto a regular faucet
Works with water supplies between 30 and 100 psi
No tools required to change the filter
- Weight14.4 ounces
More compact than many other filters
Very useful auto-off function
Metal fittings for a better quality
Filters can be tricky to replace
Seams have been known to leak
Made right here in the US, this pitcher water filter is made with no BPA materials and is constructed solely from FDA-approved food grade materials. It has been manufactured in compliance with NSF Standards 42 and 53.
It filters water in five stages. One of the filters has 2 micron pores whilst another removes lead and fluoride. However, beneficial trace elements such as calcium and magnesium are not removed. The filters will last for 150 gallons and will remove fluoride, chromium and mercury as well as chlorine.
Made with no BPA materials
Meets NSF standards
Does not remove calcium or magnesium
- Weight3.02 pounds
Water tastes great
Quick and easy to set up
Water comes out quite slowly
May not remove all fluorine
This filtration system features a two-stage filtration process to deliver clean, fresh water. It is capable of delivering 15 gallons every minute and has one-inch diameter input and output ports.
The first filter is a sediment filter that does not clog or cause the pressure to drop. The second is a carbon block filter which uses coconut shells and fabrication to remove 95 percent of VOCs, and chlorine so you get rid of all unpleasant tastes and odors.
The filters are effective for 50,000 gallons so they will last for about a year in a household of four people. When you buy the system, it will arrive pre-assembled and is very easy for you to fit yourself. When you change the filters, a pressure release valve will safely release any built-up pressure.
Delivers 15 gallons a minute
Coconut shell filter
- Weight15 pounds
Very good at removing sediment
Eliminates chlorine smell
Stops aerators from clogging
Housing can crack
Chlorine smell has been known to return
A great tap water filter that will deliver crisp, fresh water with no unpleasant odors. It mounts horizontally to a faucet and comes in an attractive chrome color. It is very easy to install with just one click.
It uses a three stage filtration process. The first is a sediment wrap that will remove sand, rust and turbidity. The second is an activated carbon filter that removes chlorine, heavy metals, asbestos and benzene. The third is a natural mineral filter which freshens the taste.
There is an LED indicator that lets you know when the filter needs to be replaced which is around every three months. When you want to revert to unfiltered water you just have to flip a switch. It is fully compatible with pull-out and hand-held faucets too.
Three stage filtration process
Attractive chrome color
Also delivers unfiltered water
- Weight1 pounds
Comes with four faucet connectors
Very quick to hook up
Lets you know when to change filter
Can be tricky to fit to some faucets
Doesn’t soften hard water
You can protect all of your household appliances that depend on clean water with this filter so your water heater, refrigerators and ice-maker will love it! When you need to change the filter, it has a handy bypass valve to make it an easy process. It has stainless steel inserts to make it easy to install so all you’ll need is some basic plumbing skills.
It has a 50 micron sediment filter and can only operate at temperatures between 100 degrees and 40 degrees F. Because it is clear, you can easily see when a filter change is necessary.
Delivers clean water to appliances
By-pass valve for filter changes
50 micron sediment filter
- BrandWatts Premier
- Weight4.1 pounds
You can install several in sequence if required
Easy to change filters
Does not cause pressure to drop
Some filter housings have cracked
Will cause a flood if it breaks
This handy water dispenser will fit neatly in your fridge and can be filled up with 18 cups of water. Then, is has a small faucet which delivers clean drinking water that has none of the unpleasant taste or odor of tap water.
As the water is dispensed, it passes through activated carbon and ion exchange filters which take out at least 22 common contaminants including chlorine and can even reduce mercury levels by 96 percent. The taste and odor will be vastly improved. The filters will typically last for one or two months depending on your water consumption.
Fits neatly in the refrigerator
Holds 18 cups of water
Activated carbon filter
- Weight5 pounds
Does not leak
You cut down on plastic
Filters can stop working
You have to fill it up
Best Water Filter Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Look for in a Water Filter
Making the decision to drink filtered water is a wise one but there are several water filters that you could choose from. Here are a few things that you should look out for.
Will the filter supply the quantity of water that you need it to? Pitcher filters will only supply small quantities but faucet filters will produce a limitless amount.
- Where it can be fitted.
Will the filter fit where you want it to go? Will it fit on your faucet? Make sure that it is compatible with your requirements.
- Type of filtration.
There are several different types of filters that do different jobs. Some will remove sediment and others will remove lead. Choose the filter that removes the contaminant that you are worried about.
- Difficulty to fit.
If you are very good at plumbing and have plenty of tools, you will have no problems installing an under-sink water filter. If you have no skills at all, you may prefer a pitcher filter.
- Frequency of filter changing.
It’s a good idea to check out how often you need to change the filters and to investigate how much they cost. Usually this is given as gallons of water that can pass through the filters before they have to be changed. Some filters have an indicator such as an LED light that will let you know that they need changing.
Why You Should Use a Water Filter
There are several advantages to using a water filter in your home. Here are the main reasons why you should filter your water.
- Removes taste and odor. No one wants to drink water that has a strong taste or odor. A filter will remove the compounds that cause the problem. Chlorine is the main culprit. It is added to water to kill harmful pathogens that could make the water unsafe to drink. Unfortunately, it is still there when it gets to the end of the faucet.
- Removes lead. Sadly, lead is found in many water supplies but is harmful to health. It is a toxic substance and can cause health issues especially in children. Many filters will remove lead completely or at least reduce it to safe levels.
- Removes particulates. If you have water that could be contaminated with rust or other particles, then a filter is the obvious way to get rid of them and make your water clear again.
- Saves the environment. Bottled water may be a natural product but the way that it is packaged is not. Single-use plastic is causing huge environmental problems especially in our oceans. A water filter helps to cut down on plastic pollution.
- Saves on cost. You will spend a lot more on bottled water than you will on replacement filters so a water filter is always going to be the most cost-effective solution.
- Protects your health. There can be a lot of substances in water that are potentially harmful to health. Some drug residues such as ibuprofen or hormones can be found in drinking water. Also, pathogens such as Giardia and E.coli can contaminate the water. Many filters will remove these.
Types of Water Filters
You can install water filters in several different points in your home depending on where you want the filtration. Here are the main options for the best home water filter for you.
- Pitcher water filter
This is the lowest cost and most easily installed type of filtration. It is also highly portable. It is essentially a regular pitcher with a filter fitted into it. Usually, it is an activated carbon filter. The water passes through the filter before it is available for you to drink. Obviously, they will only hold a limited amount of water and have to be topped up. They are useful for drinking water and can be taken with you if you are camping.
Similar small water filters are available for when you are hiking or in emergency situations. They are designed for small quantities of water only.
Larger versions are also available and these are more like a water dispenser with a small tap at the bottom which releases the filtered water. These also have to be manually filled up and are therefore quite labor-intensive.
- Faucet water filter
These are devices that are installed at the end of a faucet so you need to get one that will fit the faucet that you have in your kitchen. Sometimes you have a switch that allows you to swap back and for between filtered and unfiltered water.
They may need a certain water pressure to work correctly but are usually quite easy to fit and relatively inexpensive.
- Countertop water filters
This is similar to a faucet water filter but it is more likely to have its own faucet. It will purify the water when you turn on the tap. They are quite small and will not take up too much room so they suit kitchens that have narrow countertops.
- Under sink water filters
These are the largest and most expensive filters. They can deal with large amounts of water and have impressive filtration capabilities. However, you may need some basic plumbing skills and tools to fit them. They can be used as a whole house water filter.
Best Water Filter FAQ:
Q: What's the difference between soft and hard water?
A: Soft water does not contain any dissolved minerals except for sodium. Natural rainwater is soft but it lands on the ground and as it passes through rocks and earth, minerals like calcium and magnesium become dissolved in it. This makes it ‘hard water’ which essentially means water that has a lot of minerals in it.
Hard water can taste better as the minerals enhance the flavor and they are good for your health. Soft water tends to taste salty and may not be at all suitable for drinking. However, hard water makes clothes that have been washed in it look drab, it leaves a white residue on dishes and sinks and bath tubs are covered in soap scum. Soap cannot lather and is not so rich. Hair washed in hard water looks dull and household appliances need more energy.
Q: Do all water filters remove lead?
A: Not all water filters can remove lead so if this is important for you, it is vital that you read the specifications carefully. The type of filter is important. A lead water filter for home use will typically use reverse osmosis. If your filter uses this then it is very likely to remove most of the lead. Then there are activated carbon filters which are capable of removing lead but which get full and will lose their lead-removing capacity over time. Distillation will produce totally pure water but is not practical in the domestic setting.
Also, look out for certification by the NSF which is a not-for-profit organization. A filter that complies with International Standard 53 will be able to remove lead as well as mercury and cadmium. To get certification, the filter must be able to reduce the concentration of lead in the water to below 15 ppb. This is the legal safety limit in the US.
Q: How often should I change my water filter?
A: Different filters have different lifespans and these will be specified by the manufacturer. Some are made with indicators (which could be an LED light) which lets you know when the filter needs changing. Others have a see-through casing so you can see when the filter is dirty.
Others specify a number of gallons that can pass through them until they will need to be replaced and this equates to a certain number of months of average use. Most need to be replaced around every couple of months.
Q: What’s the best kind of water for making coffee?
A: Believe it or not, The Specialty Coffee Association of America has published some criteria for the best type of water for brewing coffee. The water must be clean (clear of sediment) and have no odors. It should have a neutral pH and only around 150 mg/L of dissolved minerals. This means that it can have up to four grains of hardness and 10 mg/L of sodium.
Therefore, most filtered water is a good option and is less likely to damage your coffee-making appliances.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick of the best water filtration system is a high capacity unit that uses reverse osmosis. It fits under a sink and softens water as well as removing 99 percent of common contaminants. You will be assured of water that tastes clean and fresh.
This best water purifier uses several stages to remove pollutants including an RO membrane and then restores beneficial minerals and raises the pH back up again. It requires little maintenance and you can install this yourself. All parts are included.