Choosing The Best Water Filter System For Home- Comprehensive Guide 2018
You’re tired of spending money on plastic water bottles that are also bad for the environment. But you love the taste of filtered water.
You may be wondering, what is the best water filter on the market? This post helps you choose the best water filter system for your home. I share reviews of the top water filtration systems, including water filter pitchers, under sink water filter systems, and reverse osmosis systems. I share reviews of brands such as Aquagear, Woder 10K-Gen II and Zero Water, and I share information on the different types of filters available.
Is your drinking water really safe and can a water filter remove contaminants?
Every household should have the best water filter system. Your drinking water, and the water you bathe in, contains chlorine, fluoride and other contaminants such as metals and lead, that could impact your overall health. Plus these things can leave your water tasting a bit funky.
But don’t go reaching for a can of soda just yet!
The good news is that there are so many water filter options for the home and beyond. And the even better news is that you don’t have to spend hours researching and finding the best option for you. That’s because we have done all the hard work for you! Read on for the best water filtration system reviews.
Comprehensive guide to choosing the best water filter systems for 2017
Best water filter pitcher / jug reviews
One of the most inexpensive and easy ways to drink purified water is through a water filter pitcher (or jug as it is known in most parts of the world). These are common and inexpensive to purchase, which is why it was my first choice when I bought our household a water filter.
They typically filter out chlorine, zinc, copper, mercury and cadmium, leaving your water tasting better and less metallic.
The pitchers are large enough for your family to use but can be easily stored in the fridge to keep the water cool. Replacement filter cartridges are easily available but as they need to be changed often, it can make this option costly in the long run.
Pros: Inexpensive start-up cost; A simple filtration option; well-loved brands such as Aquagear and Brita.
Cons: Replacement filter cartridges make this option expensive over the long-term. Only filters drinking water (ie. if you need to use water for other purposes, you are still using unfiltered tap water).
To help you choose the best water purification pitcher, please read our best water filter pitcher reviews for 2016:
MOST WELL-KNOWN WATER FILTER PITCHER BRAND
If you’re looking for the best Brita pitcher, then the 10-cup pitcher is a great option for families. Brita is the best-known water filter brand. It’s a great choice if you’re wanting to drink filtered water but not spend hundreds of dollars on a filtration system. The pitcher is made from BPA-free plastic and has an easy-fill lid and comfortable handle. Brita claims that one Brita filter cartridge can replace up to 300 standard-sized plastic water bottles.
The pitcher also includes an indicator to let you know when to change the cartridge. It is recommended that you change the cartridge after every 40 gallons (151 litres) of water, which is approximately after 2 months.
When you buy the Brita water pitcher, it comes with the pitcher and one filter cartridge.
Pros: Home Health Living likes that Brita is such a well-known and reliable brand. We like how easy it is for families to purchase a water filter pitcher. There is a noticeable difference to the taste of water.
Cons: There is no guarantee that all the contaminants that may be found in tap water is actually filtered out. It is also costly to replace the filter cartridges. There is limited information on Brita’s website about the reliability of its filters.
Here is more information about contaminants that Brita’s water filter can remove.
PATENTED ION EXCHANGE FILTER
The Zero Water 10 cup pitcher uses the only filter that is certified to reduce lead, chromium and mercury in your tap water. The filter is a patented Ion Exchange filter. It has been certified by NSF International, an independent organisation that develops and sets standards and tests and certifies products and systems relating to public health.
The Zero Water filtration system uses five types of technology to remove the different contaminants that could be found in your drinking water. Although its final stage involves a membrane, it isn’t a reverse osmosis membrane, so unfortunately it will not remove fluoride.
The first layer of filtration uses activated carbon and oxidation reduction alloy to reduce the chlorine taste that makes you hate drinking water. The second filter stage removes typical dissolved solids in your water such as aluminium, lead, zinc and nitrate. The final three stages work to remove any other impurities in your tap water.
The design of the pitcher makes it easy to store in your fridge. To pour the water, just press the spigot.
There is a TDS meter which measures the Total Dissolved Solids in your water. The FDA requires that bottled water measures a TDS reading of 000-010 ppm. Zero Water’s filter is the only filter of its class to be able to achieve a TDS level within this range.
Pros: The pitcher is lighter than other pitchers on the market. We like that the filter is certified to reduce lead, chromium and mercury. While the Zero Water is not the best water pitcher filter, it ranks in our top 3. We also like that there is a TDS meter which indicates the level of solids in the water- this gives peace of mind that the filter is doing its job. We also like that there is a spigot button, making it easy to fill your glass.
Cons: Although its filter is certified to reduce lead, mercury and chromium, there is no guarantee that these elements are completely removed. Zero Water’s website states that its filter is not certified to remove fluoride, uranium, arsenic, chloramine, phenols, cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants and dissolved oxygen.
Although we are impressed that Zero Water has disclosed such information on its website, Home Health Living recommends further research into this product before use by those who have compromised immune systems.
Please read further information about which contaminants can be reduced by ZeroWater compared with Brita.
The price of the Zero Water is higher than other pitchers.
Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher – Removes Fluoride & Lead – 150 Gallon Filter Aqua Gear Filter – Clear
Aquagear’s filter pitcher is made from BPA-free materials and with FDA approved food grade materials. The filter is made in the U.S.A. and is recyclable and 100% vegan.
Aquagear is Home Health Living’s “top pick” for best water filter pitcher, and is the best rated water filter pitcher on Amazon.
It has a 150 gallon capacity which is suitable for family use.
Aquagear claims that its filters last 3 times longer than other pitcher filters on the market. Its filter has been tested and certified by EPA/ANSI and meets and exceeds standards set by NSF International.
The Aquagear filter has a 5 stage filtration process, which includes a stage for the removal of lead and fluoride.
Home Health Living likes that the filter has been certified to remove lead and fluoride: it removes 90% of fluoride and 97.50% of lead. If you are looking for the best water purifier pitcher on the market, then this one is it.
Pros: We are impressed that the Aquagear pitcher removes most fluoride and lead in your drinking water, and removes more contaminants than any other pitcher brand including Brita. Aquagear is Home Health Living’s choice for best filtered water pitcher.
Aquagear’s website is comprehensive and informative, and the company has provided links to laboratory test results. It includes a comprehensive table listing all of the contaminants that Aquagears filters remove or reduce. Compared with other filter pitcher companies, Aquagear has certainly designed a filter that does what it claims to do, and is also environmentally friendly. This is why we have rated this as the best pitcher water filter.
Cons: The pitcher takes a lot longer to set up to use than other filtered pitchers. The filter itself needs to be attached to a faucet and run for 2 minutes before it is installed in the pitcher. To install the filter inside the pitcher, a filter wrench is required (which is provided). Some users have trouble doing this, resulting in water that leaks or is not filtered properly.
Please read more information about the contaminants removed by Aquagear water filters.
Best countertop water filter reviews
A countertop water filter system sits on your countertop or bench, as opposed to an under the sink filtration system.
There are different types of countertop water filters- there are those that are attached to your faucet and are small and compact. These are known as a faucet water filter.
There are those known as gravity-fed drip filters, which are your typical “water cooler” products that you would find in an office environment. These types of water filters do come in smaller sizes that are suitable for home use.
If you are looking for countertop water filters that remove fluoride, then you need to choose a filter that uses reverse osmosis technology. A countertop reverse osmosis water filter contains 3 separate filters the remove additional contaminants such as fluoride.
What we like about countertop water filter systems is that they do not take up much space in the kitchen, and they are ideal for people who travel or who rent their homes. They are compact and handy to take with you. However, they are not as effective at purifying water as the gravity-fed drip filters are.
Gravity-fed drip filters use a slower purification method- a slower method means that the filtration is more effective.
Here are Home Health Living’s best countertop water filter reviews:
FILTER REMOVES FLUORIDE
The filter is made up of 3 components: activated alumina, which removes the fluoride and arsenic; coconut shell carbon, which removes chlorine, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals; and 5 micron compression disks, which filters out sediments and prevents channeling.
It’s recommended that the filter be changed every 3 months.
The Home Master’s compact design makes it suitable for use in a rental home, small apartment or other temporary living spaces.
Pros: We like the compact design and that it is very quick and easy to install. This makes ita great countertop water filterfor people who prefer something that is portable. Its design also means that you can move the unit around the sink, so that it never gets in the way. Other counter top filters cannot be moved, and so might be in the way when you are trying to use your sink to wash dishes etc…We recommend this filter for people concerned with fluoride, as it removes up to 93% of fluoride.
Cons: If you are concerned with aesthetics, then a countertop water filter may not be the best option. We also note that Home Master’s water filter is not certified.
FILTER HAS LONG LIFE OF 1 YEAR
The WaterChef countertop water filter has a large 1000 gallon capacity, which means you only need to change your filter cartridge once a year. It filters out most of the main contaminants such as chlorine, chloramine, lead and cysts.
It measures your actual usage before indicating that the filter needs to be changed, rather than basing it on the time you have had the cartridge for. This eliminates the need for you to guess whether you need a new filter, and prevents you throwing out a filter that is still suitable for use.
The filter has been independently tested and certified by the NSF, is BPA-free and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Pros: The design of the WaterChef countertop water filter makes this a better choice for those concerned with aesthetics. We are impressed that only one cartridge is required per year, making this a much cheaper long-term water purification option.
Cons: The initial purchase cost is more than other countertop water filters. The filter does not claim to remove any fluoride.
FILTERS REMOVE FLUORIDE
The system removes pathogens, viruses, cysts and parasites. It also extracts chemicals such as pesticide, herbicides, organic solvents, radon and trihalomethanes. The Big Berkey also reduces the amount of heavy metals such as lead and mercury, as well as nitrites and nitrates.
Its filters are cleanable and are self-sterilizing, and you can choose how many purification elements you want to include in the system. If you are using 2 purification elements, the Big Berkey countertop water filter systemcan purify up to 3.5 gallons per hour. If you are using 4 purification elements, the Big Berkey system can purify up to 7 gallons per hour.
For removing fluoride, you can use up to 2 fluoride and arsenic filters.
The unit is made of polished stainless steel and is made in the U.S.A.
Pros: We like the capacity of the Big Berkey countertop water filter and its ability to filter large amounts of water. You can choose where you want to place your Big Berkey, as it does not need to be near a faucet. Berkey water filters are a popular choice and have received many positive reviews on Amazon.
Cons: The cost, both of the unit and of the different filter cartridges required. The unit must be cleaned monthly, and if your water contains a fair bit of calcium then you may find some build up in the unit. This can be cleaned off, but it just means you need to put more effort into cleaning your unit.
Best under sink water filter reviews
Unlike countertop water filters which take up space on your counter top (and are also visible to everyone), an under sink water filter system (also known as an under counter water filter) is hidden away from view and does not clutter your kitchen countertop.
When choosing the best under sink water filter, you will need to consider the amount of cupboard space you have available. The amount of space that is needed depends on the system. There are compact models available if you don’t have much space, such as the Woder 10K-GenII. But there are also complex systems that are large and take up lots of room.
What we like about under sink water filters is that they are out of sight. They don’t take up valuable counter space. And as we know, many water filters aren’t attractive enough that you’d want to show them off!
But sometimes, out of sight means out of mind. People can forget about their under sink water filters, and forget to clean the system or change the cartridges! Fortunately, there are models now available that have an indicator light on your tap so that you know when its time to change your filter.
Here are our pick of the best under sink water filters for 2016:
REQUIRES MINIMAL SPACE
The Brondell under counter water filter system is a new 2016 model which is compact and very easy to install and use. The filter used is a carbon block with a single stage, which is why the Brondell is so compact and doesn’t require much cupboard space. It’s a great option for smaller homes.
Included in the pack is a designer chrome faucet with an included LED light indicator to let you know when it is time to change the filter. This indicator is measured both using time and gallons of water used. The filter lasts 6 months or 300 gallons.
When purchasing a new filter, Brondell includes a new set of batteries for the LED light.
To change the filter requires a “twist and seal” operation, making this very easy for people who are not technical or handy around the home! There are no issues with leaking which usually occurs when people incorrectly install a water filter.
The Brondell water filter system filters out contaminants including chlorine, chloramine, particulate class I, cysts, mercury, lead, turbidity and asbestos. It has WQA (Water Quality Association) gold seal certification for NSA/ANSI standards.
Pros: Ease of installation and change of cartridge. The LED light indicator helps remind you when to change the filter.
Cons: It does not filter fluoride. Even though the unit is very compact and requires minimal space, it might be a deterrent for some people who do not have cupboard space to include the filter.
FILTER DOES NOT REMOVE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
The Aquasana under counter water filter system is an NSF certified filtration system that removes 61 contaminants- 97% of chlorine and chloramines, and greatly reduces heavy metals. It also filters chlorine-resistant cysts such as giardia and cryptosporidium.
Unlike other filters that also remove beneficial minerals, the Aquasana retains minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. This is possible due to the Claryum filtration technology which has three stages, including activated carbon, sub-micron filtration and ion exchange. This also removes odours from the water, leaving you with a refreshingly clean tasting water.
The Aquasana filters need to be changed every six months, and the filter system also includes a stylish faucet.
Pros: The patented Claryum filtration technology removes a large number of contaminants, and it is NSF approved.
Cons: Its filters must be changed every six months however, as they are extremely effective, many would find this a minor issue.
Woder® 10K-GenII Ultra High Capacity Direct Connect Water Filtration System – Under Sink Filter Premium Class I
LONGER LASTING FILTER
It removes up to 99.99% of contaminants, including mercury, chlorine, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and other toxics.
The Woder 10K-GenII is very easy to install and can be done without plumbing required, with installation taking under 5 minutes. Its compact design makes it a great choice for those with limited cupboard space.
Pros: It is easy to install, and Woder’s website features installation videos to help you. The longer lasting filters means the Woder 10K-GenII is a better budget option, and its purchase price is also very reasonable when compared with other under the sink filters.
Cons: This model does not filter out fluoride, however Woder have been working on designing a new filter which can eliminate fluoride.
Best reverse osmosis water filters reviews
A reverse osmosis water filtration system is when a household’s water pressure pushes the water through a semi-permeable membrane. This membrane allows only certain types of particles to move through it. Those that cannot move through the membrane are flushed down the drain. In a reverse osmosis system, the water passes through the membrane but not the contaminants.
The performance of a reverse osmosis water filter depends on the water pressure, the water’s temperature and the quality of the filters and membranes used. Generally, a reverse osmosis water filter is one of the most effective water filter systems. If you need a fluoride water filter to remove fluoride, then a reverse osmosis system will provide this.
Contaminants that are removed include typical contaminants such as chlorine, mercury, lead and cyanide, but most fluoride can also be filtered out. There are not many water filters that remove fluoride except for those that have a membrane filter.
A reverse osmosis water filter system includes a pre-filter and a post-filter, a reverse osmosis membrane, a flow restrictor, a number of different valves to control the emptying and flow of water, a storage tank and its own faucet.
After filtration, the filtered water is sent to a storage tank ready for use. There are higher flow reverse osmosis membranes which do not affect the quality of the water, but allows you to increase the gallon per day capacity. Other types of filtration systems do not allow this.
How long the filters last is not something that can be easily determined, unless you decide to purchase a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter. Using this meter every six months or so will give you an idea of whether the filters are still doing their job.
Home Health Living recommends the following three reverse osmosis water filters:
iSpring RCC7AK – Built in USA, WQA Certified Reverse Osmosis 6 Stages 75GPD Under Sink Water Filter w/ Alkaline stage, Clear Housing, Designer Faucet
FILTER ADDS BACK TRACE NUTRIENTS
Although the purchase price is high, it is far more superior in performance than other standard under the sink filtration systems. It can remove over 1000 contaminants including fluoride, chlorine, lead, arsenic, pesticides, fertilizers and drugs. It also adds back calcium and magnesium into the water during the final filtration stage.
The iSpring RCC7AK features a 6 stage filtration kit: a sediment filter; a filter to remove strange odours and metallic tastes and fluoride; a carbon filter to remove residual colours, tastes and smells as well as extending the membrane’s life; the membrane (which many call a fluoride water filter) which can filter up to 75 litres per day; and an inline carbon filter that removes any residual tastes and odours from the storage tank. It also contains a final filter that adds back small traces of calcium and magnesium.
The European-designed faucet that comes with the system is made of high quality brushed nickel and is lead-free (chrome is also available). It can swivel 360 degrees.
Although the system may look like it is complicated, it is easy to set up. It has 4 different coloured food-grade tubes to ensure easy installation. An automatic shut off valve and check valve work to shut off the system once the tank is full.
Pros: The unit is made in the U.S.A. and is certified by the WQA and is made from high quality materials. The membrane is of excellent quality, being made by 3M. We like that the system removes fluoride and contaminants. This really is the most effective of all the water filtration systems.
Cons: The water tank is bulky which might be a problem for those with limited cupboard space. The cost is quite high, however the effectiveness outweighs the cost factor. There are 5 filters that need to be replaced- there is no indication as to how often you should replace the filter cartridges. This would depend on use and the quality of water being filtered. The harder the system must work, the more often you would need to replace the cartridges.
APEC Water Systems ROES-PH75 Top Tier, Built in USA ,Ultra Safe, pH Alkaline Calcium Mineral Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System
FILTER IMPROVES ALKALINITY
The different filters within each stage are: high-capacity polypropylene sediment filter to remove particles such as dust and rust; a carbon block to remove chlorine, unpleasant odors and tastes and other chemicals; a coconut shell carbon filter to remove any residual particles or unpleasant odour resulting from the water being in the storage tank, and a calcite acidic water neutralizer to add calcium carbonate back into the water.
The calcium carbonate added back into the water is high quality, U.S.-made. This increases the alkalinity and improves the taste of the filtered water.
APEC has 17 years experiences designing and manufacturing reverse osmosis filtration systems.
Pros: Most other filters remove the important minerals that we need for good health. What we like about the APEC ROES-PH75 is that it adds back high quality calcium carbonate into the water to improve its alkalinity and taste. APEC is also a very experienced company which offers lifetime support to customers.
Cons: The system is more expensive than other reverse osmosis filtration systems, most likely due to the additional calcite acidic water neutralizer which is not available with other systems. When you purchase replacement filters, you may need to purchase a replacement water neutralizer.
How to choose the best water filter?
Before deciding on the best water filter for your home, it is recommended that you test your water’s level of purity. This can be done with a TDS meter, which tests the amount of dissolved solids in your water sample. It cannot pinpoint for you which solids are in your water, however it gives you a very accurate indication of the purity of your water. You can purchase a TDS meter from Amazon via THIS LINK.
Consider other factors:
The use of a water filter attached to a tap results in a reduction in water pressure.
Water filters will only filter cold water, not hot.
Water quality differs from city to city, town to town. Sometimes filters will not be able to remove every contaminant in your water.
Your choice of filter depends on what contaminants you want removed. Many standard filters do not remove fluoride.
When it comes to costs, you need to consider the upfront purchase cost as well as the ongoing cost of replacing filters. Some water filtration systems contain more than one filter cartridge. Some water filters require a new cartridge every 6 months, while others can last up to 3 years.
If you find it difficult to follow installation instructions, you may need to hire a plumber to install your water filter system.
You need to consider where you want to put your water filter. You need to consider whether you have enough space in your home- countertop space or under sink space.
For those concerned with design, you’ll need to consider which water filter best suits your décor and home. Water filters are designed for functional purposes only. For this reason, many people prefer under counter filter systems.
Home Health Living’s Comprehensive Guide To Water Filters is intended to be used as a guide only. Water quality and purity levels differ from location to location. If you have any health concerns or questions, please see your health professional. We hope that our water purifier reviews and water filter information help make your buying decision easier.
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