Best Water Filter for Lead

The 2014 water crisis in Flint, Michigan brought lead and other harmful water contaminants to the forefront of everyone’s mind. While you would hope that the same thing couldn’t happen in your city, if your home was built before 1986 then there’s a real chance you could have lead in your water supply – no matter where you live.

That’s where your water filter comes in.

Not all lead-removing filters are created equal, so we researched and reviewed all of the top models to find the best water filters for lead on the market.

Using criteria like the amounts of lead and other contaminants removed, their flow rates, and the value for their price, we’ve come up with the seven top filters for you to consider.

 

Best Water Filters for Lead Removal Compared

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES  
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#1 Springwell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
  • Flow rate: 8 GPM
  • Removes up to 99.95% of lead, PFOAs, chlorine, chloramines, and cysts
  • 100,000-gallon water capacity
CHECK PRICE
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#2 Aquasana Optimh20 Filtration System
  • Flow rate: 8 GPM
  • Removes up to 99% of chlorine, chloramines, and lead
  • 100,000-gallon water capacity
CHECK PRICE
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#3 Pelican 6-stage Reverse Osmosis System
  • Produces up to 55 gallons of water daily
  • Can remove up to 96.8% of lead from water
  • Has a 30% better flow rate compared to other filters
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#4 iSpring 6-stage Reverse Osmosis System
  • Flow rate: 75 gallons per day
  • This filter can remove up to 99% of harmful chemicals, including 98% of lead
  • Filter lasts for one year
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#5 Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher
  • Holds up to 80 ounces or 10 cups
  • This water filter can remove lead up to 99.5%
  • Filter capacity: 100 gallons or four months
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What to Look for in a Lead Water Filter

These are the main points we used to compare the top water filters on our list, and they’re what you’ll want to look for in each water filter to ensure it will meet your home’s needs:

 

Ability to Remove Lead & Other Contaminants

The best lead water filters are going to remove a high percentage of both kinds of lead: particulate and soluble. In addition, many filters are able to remove or reduce other contaminants as well.

The main types of filters used are reverse osmosis, KDF, activated carbon, gravity filters, and manufacturer-specific proprietary blends of media.

Flow Rate

Flow rate is a way to describe your water pressure, and it’s measured in gallons per minute (GPM).

By putting water through the filtration process you’re automatically going to slow it down some, but how much so depends on the type of filtration used, the size of the inlet plumbing, and other factors.

The best water filters will do a great job of reducing lead and other contaminants while still sparing your flow.

Filter Capacity, Lifespan, & Replacement

The filter capacity is a measure of the filter’s lifespan. For example, a filter with a capacity of 500,000 gallons will last you roughly five years depending on your household size and water usage, while a filter with a 100,000 gallon capacity will only last around a year.

Filters with higher capacities are going to last longer before having to be replaced, which means less maintenance and generally less cost down the line. You’ll also want to look at how easy the filter cartridge/media is to replace – especially if it has to be changed out often.

Certifications

The two main independent testing labs that certify water filtration products are the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and the Water Quality Association (WQA).

There are several quality standards that water filters can be certified for, but the most important one to look for in lead filters is standard 53. Certification for this standard means that the filter is proven to remove or reduce a subset of harmful contaminants – including lead – to safe levels.

See our certification guide for more information.

Price

When comparing the prices of different lead water filters, you want products that are offering the best value for their prices no matter where they fall in the range. You’ll also want to look at the cost of replacement filters and other maintenance requirements.

The Best Water Filters for Lead Reviewed

After reading customer reviews, comparing product specifications, and using the criteria above to evaluate the many filters on the market, these are our choices for the best water filters for lead.

#1 Best Overall: Springwell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System

This is a whole-house filtration system that works great on lead and other contaminants. Its filtration binders feature a design that chemically reacts with soluble lead to create an ionic bond, kinetically removing it from the water. The carbon block 0.5-micron filters also clear particulate lead in addition to several other harmful contaminants.

This water filter also includes an innovative digital notification head, containing a real-time dynamic LED system that monitors water and flow rate and provides visual, color-coded notification of when filter replacement is needed. A bypass valve and one-inch MNPT fittings are included with the install kit.

Clearly Filtered

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed – This system removes 99.62% of lead, 97.9% of PFOA and PFOS, and over 90% of chlorine and chloramine in addition to giardia cysts, crypto cysts, and other harmful contaminants. You can also add on a sediment pre-filter if your water contains large amounts of rust, dirt, and other particulates.

Filter capacity and lifespan – The main filter cartridge has a 100,000 gallon capacity, or roughly a one-year lifespan.

Flow rate – The flow rate of 8 GPM should be sufficient for most 4-person households.

Certifications – While the system itself has not been NSF or WQA certified, SpringWell has had it independently tested through other labs to ensure that it conforms to NSF standard 53.

Price – The base price of the model is $1674.40, and you have the option of adding a sediment pre-filter for $79.95. The replacement filter is $391.60, which may seem a bit pricey to spend every year but it’s well worth it for the level of filtration you get.

Who It’s Best For:

If you have high levels of lead contamination, this is one of the best filters on the market for clearing lead in both forms. It’s also great if you have a wide range of contaminants in your water thanks to the 0.5-micron and carbon block filters, and it does it all without hurting your flow rate much. If this filter is in your price range, it’s the best you’re going to get for your money.

Pros

  • 99.62% of lead removed in addition to other heavy metals, organic chemicals, microorganism cysts, and chorine/chloramine
  • 8 GPM flow rate
  • Color-coded digital notification head monitoring
  • Leak-proof construction
  • DIY installation kit includes everything you need
  • 6-month money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty on tanks and valves
Cons

  • Pricier than many other systems
  • Even though it comes with a DIY install kit you may be better off having a plumber do it

#2 Aquasana OptimH20 Whole House Filtration System

The OptimH20 is a whole house water filter system that works on lead as well as PFOA, PFOS, chlorine, chloramines, microorganism cysts, and other contaminants using carbon block and 0.5-micron filtration. Unlike the SpringWell model, the sediment pre-filter is included with this product.

This system also includes an innovative LED system that monitors the water and its flow, giving you a color-coded notification for when to replace your filters. A green light means the filter is good, yellow means it needs to be changed soon, and if it’s red, it’s time to change the filter now.

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Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed – The OPTIMH20 is certified to reduce more than 99% of lead and cysts, 98% of PFOA and PFOS, while tackling chlorine, chloramines, and more.

Filter capacity & lifespan – This filter likewise has a 100,000 gallon capacity, which should last around a year. The sediment pre-filter needs to be swapped out every 6 months.

Flow rate – You won’t have to sacrifice flow for clean water with the 8 GPM flow rate.

Certifications – This product is IAPMO certified (another independent testing company) for NSF/ANSI standard 53.

Price – You’ll pay $1,799 for this system initially, and the replacement filters are $499.99. The sediment pre-filter is $35.28, and overall this is likewise one of the pricier models on the list – but it’s worth it.

Who It’s Best For:

If you’re looking for one of the top whole house water filtration systems tested and proven to remove 99% of lead, then this water machine from Aquasana is an excellent product. It also maintains a good flow rate that should suit most households’ needs.

Pros

  • Removes 99% of lead and cysts in addition to several other contaminants
  • 8 GPM flow rate
  • IAPMO certified
  • LED flow meter indicator tells when to change the filter
  • DIY-friendly installation and maintenance
  • Three full-metal faucet choices, including brushed nickel, chrome, and oil-rubbed bronze
  • A 2-year limited warranty and a 90-day satisfaction guarantee
Cons

  • Very pricey

#3 Best Budget Model: Pelican 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

The Pelican 6-stage reverse osmosis system is a point-of-use filter that is WQA, NSF, and ANSI certified to remove up to 96.8% of lead in drinking water. This makes it one of the best budget options for a reverse osmosis (RO) lead removal system.

The filtration process starts in a single cartridge that filters water through four stages: a sediment filter, a carbon filter, and both reverse osmosis filtration stages. After it goes through those four stages, the water moves to a storage tank.

As water pulls from the storage tank, it runs through the last two filtering stages: a second carbon filter, and a remineralization stage that adds calcium and magnesium back into the water. This is one of the more efficient reverse osmosis systems out there since it produces 50% less wastewater than standard systems..

Aquasana RO

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed – This faucet filter removes 96.8% of lead, 99% of arsenic, 98.3% of chromium 6, 99% of chromium 3, 98.8% of barium, 98.3% of cadmium, 98.4% of copper, 98.8% of radium, 97.9% of selenium, 98.7% of turbidity, 99.99% of cysts, 93.8% of fluoride, and 93.10% of TDS (total dissolved solids).

Filter capacity & lifespan – While the capacity in gallons has not been published for each filter, Pelican rates the 4-stage membrane for 18 months and the 2-stage post-filter for 6 months lifespan.

Flow rate – The flow rate in gallons per minute has not been published either, but this system produces 17.9 gallons per day and all of the customer reviews report good flow coming from their faucet. The water pressure itself is rated at 50 PSI.

Certifications – This product has been WQA certified for NSF/ANSI standard 58, which is a specific quality standard for RO systems.

Price – The true highlight of this filter is its price. At just 286.65 for the base unit and then $167 and $34 for the 4-stage and 2-stage filters respectively, you won’t find a better filter for a cheaper price.

Who It’s Best For:

Overall, we would recommend this water filtering system if you’re looking for a budget-friendly point-of-use option to reduce lead and other contaminants.

Pros

  • Can remove up to 96.8% of lead in your water in addition to arsenic, chromium 3 and 6, barium, cadmium, radium, copper, selenium, and TDS
  • Fantastic price
  • WQA certified
  • Pelican boasts this product has a 30% better flow rate compared to other filters
  • Easy to install, maintain and change filters
  • There’s 50% less water waste compared to other reverse osmosis filters
  • 90-day satisfaction guarantee and one year limited warranty
  • Three faucet finish options
Cons

  • Point-of-use system only – will not service your whole house, just one faucet
  • Some consumers state that the faucet leaks

#4 iSpring 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System

When you want the best water filter for lead removal, the iSpring 6-stage reverse osmosis drink water system is another budget-friendly RO filter that ranks high on the list.

This water filter not only works on lead, but over 1,000 other pollutants using a sediment filter, three kinds of carbon filters, a reverse osmosis membrane, and a remineralization stage. The pre-pressurized storage tank holds four gallons of water,

pelican undersink

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed – This system removes 98% of lead and 99% of other contaminants like asbestos, chlorine, arsenic, fluoride, lead, calcium, sodium, and over 1,000 total. The RO membrane filters down to 0.0001 microns.

Filter capacity & lifespan – The capacity of the filter in gallons is not published, but the RO membrane itself is rated to last 2-3 years while the other filter stages are rated for 6-12 months each. The main downside is that each stage must be replaced individually – there are no combined-stage cartridges.

Flow rate – The flow rate in GPM is likewise not published for this system, but it produces an impressive 75 gallons per day.

Certifications – This product has been NSF certified for standard 58.

Price – At only $199, you certainly won’t break the bank with your initial purchase for this model, and a one-year supply of all the replacement cartridges is $86.55.

Who It’s Best For:

If you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind a bit more maintenance for your RO system, this is a great option to consider. It’s especially good for those who have a large and varied number of pollutants in their water supply.

Pros

  • Removes 98% of lead and 99% of 1,000 other contaminants
  • 75 gallons per day production
  • Very low price
  • The remineralization filter improves taste and raises pH
  • 30-day money-back guarantee and one year limited warranty
  • 3:1 wastewater ratio – better than most others

Cons

  • Point-of-use system only
  • More maintenance than other brands

#5 Best Pitcher: Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher

Next on our list for recommended lead water filters is the Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher. Unlike the Brita, this BPA-free pitcher is tested to multiple NSF standards for removing lead and many other contaminants.

This pitcher has several stand-out features. Part of what sets it apart from its competitors is its Affinity Filtration Technology that utilizes over seven proprietary filtration materials. Those materials create three stages of filtration that include mechanical filtration as well as activated carbon.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed – This pitcher can remove 99.5% of lead, 98.2% of fluoride, 99.9% of microplastics, and 99.9% of PFAS and PFOA with over 232 contaminants removed in total.

Filter capacity & lifespan – With a 100 gallon capacity, this filter will last around 4 months before needing to be replaced.

Certifications – This product has been certified for five NSF standards: 42, 53, 244, 401, and 473. Standard 42 refers to the aesthetic improvement of water, 53 is for lead and other harmful contaminant reduction, 244 is for microbial reduction, 401 is for emerging contaminants with health concerns, and 473 is for PFOA and PFOS reduction.

Price – This pitcher filter is only $75, and the replacement cartridges are $140 for a 3-pack or a 1-year supply.

Pros

  • Removes 99.5% of lead in addition to 232+ other contaminants
  • 100 gallon or 4-month filter lifespan
  • NSF certified for five different standards
  • Reasonable price
  • Holds up to 80 ounces or 10 cups of clean water
  • The removable lid makes refilling the water reservoir and the filter replacement easy
  • 100% BPA free
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Limited lifetime warranty
Cons

  • More expensive than competing brands, like Brita
  • Some reviewers noted that the filter didn’t last as long as the company advertises

#6 Home Master Ultra Under Sink System

The Home Master Ultra Under Sink System features six advanced stages of filtration and purification including KDF, catalytic carbon, and reverse osmosis that works on lead, heavy metals, and other contaminants.

This Home Master filter system is an ideal option for homes using well water. The main reason is that this system contains an iron pre-filter that protects the unit’s RO membrane. It also comes with a UV filter to destroy microorganisms and a permeate pump to maximize the limited pressure typically associated with well water supply systems.

This system features a modular “all-in-one” design. That means the filter incorporates into the water supply without a bulky housing compartment. Not only does this feature make annual filter changes quick and easy, but it helps reduce biofilm and microorganism buildup. An all-in-one housing design also helps prevent leaks.

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Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed – This filter removes up to 99% of lead, iron and other organic chemicals, chlorine, fluoride, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, and over 1,000 other contaminants. The UV filter also removes 99.99% of microorganisms.

Filter capacity & lifespan – The capacity in gallons is not published by the manufacturer, but Home Master recommends changing both the UV lamp and the three filter cartridges every year. Changing the filter doesn’t involve using wrenches and is quick and painless.

Flow rate – The flow rate for this system into the storage tank is one gallon per minute, but the built-in pump ensures strong flow at the faucet where you need it.

Certifications – This product has not been NSF or WQA certified.

Price – The base price is $489.50, and the replacement filters including the UV lamp is $103.14. This makes this one of the more reasonable filter systems on our list.

Who It’s Best For:

If you have a household with a high water usage, the permeate pump built into this system will boost your filtered water production while cutting down on waste water. It’s also great for those who are on well water thanks to the iron filter and those who are concerned about microbial contamination.

Pros

  • Removes 99% of lead and over 1,000 other contaminants
  • UV light sterilizes 99.99% of microorganisms
  • Non-electric permeate pump reduces water waste by nearly 80% and increases water production by approximately 50%
  • The water waste ratio is four to one
  • Five-year limited warranty
  • The filter cartridges are very easy to replace
Cons

  • Point-of-use system only
  • The UV light doesn’t have an off switch when it’s not in use
  • Some customers have not liked the design and how it fits under their sink

#7 iSpring WGB32B

The iSpring WGB32B is a three-stage whole house water filtration system featuring a sediment filter, a carbon block filter, and a proprietary lead-reducing filter. This filtration system is specifically designed to remove lead from water, and features a capacity of 15,000 ppm for lead removal. While requiring minimal maintenance, this water filter also has minimal impact on the water flow rate.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed – If your water has under 15,000ppb (parts per billion) of lead, this system will reduce it to 15ppb which is the EPA standard. It also works on sediment, rust, pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, industrial solvents, and multiple other contaminants.

Filter capacity & lifespan – If your lead levels are less than 100ppb, the lead filter has a 150,000 gallon capacity, or about 18 months. The sediment filter will need to be replaced every 12 months, and so will the carbon block filter.

Flow rate – This system has a great flow rate of 15 GPM, which will support even the largest households.

Certifications – This product has been NSF certified for standard 61, which means it is made with quality parts.

Price – The $509.99 price is middle-of-the-road, and the replacement cartridges are reasonable as well. The sediment filter is $22.02, the carbon block filter is $37.28, and the lead reducing filter is $134.62.

Who It’s Best For:

This system is great for anyone – by design. iSpring makes several different filters from iron and manganese filters to different-sized micron filters, and many of them are interchangeable with this system. This allows you to customize the filtration to your home’s needs no matter where your water supply comes from or what’s in it.

Pros

  • Removes 99.9% of lead under 15,000ppb as well as many other contaminants
  • 15 GPM flow rate
  • NSF certified parts
  • Reasonable price
  • Can work with municipal or well water
  • Customizable design with different filter options
  • One-year manufacturers warranty
Cons

  • Some customers have reported leaks

 Top 7 Lead Water Filters Features Comparison

ProductLead RemovedFilter LifespanFlow Rate/ Gallons Per Day (GPD)CertificationsPrice
SpringWell Whole-House Lead & Cyst99.62%12 months8 GPMN/A$$$
Aquasana OptimH2099%12 months8 GPMNSF/ANSI 53$$$
Pelican 6-stage RO96.8%18 months17.9 GPDNSF/ANSI 58$
iSpring 6-stage RO98%2-3 years75 GPDNSF/ANSI 58$
Clearly Filtered water pitche99.5%4 monthsN/ANSF/ANSI 42, 53, 244, 401, 473$
Home Master Ultra Under Sink99%12 months1 GPM to Storage TankN/A$$
iSpring WGB32B99.9% (under 15,000ppb)12 months15 GPMNSF 61$$

Water Filters for Lead Buyer’s Guide

Now that you know the top lead water filters, this is the other information you’ll want to know to make the best purchase for your home.

What is Lead?

The information available from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines lead as a toxic element that naturally occurs in small amounts, approximately 0.0013%, within the Earth’s crust. Despite making up a small amount of the land mass, lead isn’t rare to encounter and is easily extractable.

The chemical symbol for this element is Pb, which comes from the Latin word plumbum. Plumbum means “waterworks,” which refers to when lead was widely used in water pipe construction.

While there are benefits to this element, it’s toxic to animals and humans if it’s ingested and can cause severe health issues. Despite this, it’s used in many products including batteries, ceramics, gasoline, paint, plumbing, pipes, and various cosmetics.

Because this element causes such a health concern, in 1986 the government also placed restrictions on its content in a home’s faucet, piping, solders, and other similar building materials and products.

How Does Lead Affect the Human Body?

We learn from the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that when the human body has exposure to high levels of lead, that can lead to several health conditions. Those conditions include anemia, brain disorders, issues with blood cells, kidney damage, nervous system disorders, and weakness. If someone has an exceptionally high level of lead exposure, that could even be fatal.

Even short-term exposure to this element in drinking water could cause health issues, including lead poisoning. If you believe you or someone that you know is suffering from poisoning from high levels of lead, look for the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Memory issues
  • Pain or tingling in extremities
  • Weakness

How Does Lead Get Into Water?

The EPA describes how this element gets into our drinking water when our home or business’s pipes that contain lead begin corroding. That process is exacerbated by low mineral content or high acidity. Faucets, fixtures, and pipes are the most common sources of lead in our drinking water, and typically this occurs in water mains underneath the streets, between treatment plants and homes.

Though many steps have been taken to reduce the level of lead in drinking water, contaminations are still happening. Look at the Flint water crisis, for example. The Safe Drinking Water Act and the Lead and Copper Rule are two guidelines that have been put in place to prevent or reduce lead contamination in water more recently.

The amount of lead that enters water relates to:

  • The water’s alkalinity and acidity
  • How much and which types of minerals are present in the water
  • How much lead that water supplies come into contact with in pipes and plumbing
  • The temperature of the water
  • How much wear is present on the plumbing system
  • The amount of time water is staying in piping systems
  • If the water pipes are coated or have protective scales

Water Testing for Lead and Other contaminants

In order to find out if lead is leaching into your water supply, you can get a water testing kit that will tell you exactly how much lead and other key contaminants are in your water.

There are multiple benefits to having your water tested. Firstly, you can see how much lead you’re dealing with and pick out a filter that will be able to handle it. Also, if your water comes back with a bunch of other contaminants, you can look for multi-stage systems that will be able to address those at the same time.

To see our review of the best water testing kits, click here.

How to Prevent Lead Contamination

According to the CDC, the first step for eliminating the level of lead from water is to identify its source and then remove lead-containing element such as pipes or fixtures. Removing these building materials within a home is an excellent first-line defense against lead-contaminated water. However, it would be best to keep in mind that municipal water pipes could also be the culprit.

Those who have private water wells must also check the pump to ensure it isn’t a potential source for lead contamination. For example, if the well pump is more than 20 years old, the “packer” element, which helps create a seal above the well’s screen, might contain lead. It also isn’t uncommon for older versions of submersible pumps to contain brass components containing lead.

If you know there’s lead in your water supply, boiling it out isn’t the answer and may inadvertently cause other problems. Because some evaporation occurs when boiling water, you could be causing higher lead levels in the remaining water by concentrating it.

If it isn’t possible to replace water faucets, fixtures, or plumbing that might contain lead, you can try flushing the system before use. If water sits in pipes for six hours or longer, there’s a higher chance of lead contamination occurring. So, flushing is the recommendation. For example, turning on a faucet for one or two minutes flushes the water before use. Instead of wasting water that you flush lead out of, you can use it to water plants or wash dishes.

Using a filtration system is another option for removing lead from water. Typically, these water filters remove lead at the point of use or point of entry to the home, and many can remove lead up to 99%.

So, in summary, lead is removed from water by:

  1. Replacing all pipes inside the home and leading to it containing lead
  2. Installing a whole house water filter for lead, point of use reverse osmosis system, or ion exchange water softener.

Following either one of those steps can result in the elimination of lead from faucet water.

What Are Lead Water Filters and Who Needs One?

Lead water filters take many forms, but they all share the main feature of being able to remove both particulate and soluble lead from your water supply. If you have tested your water and it came back showing lead contamination or if you have concerns that your plumbing may incorporate lead, then it’s a good idea to use a filter that will take it out of the water.

How Do Lead Water Filters Work?

There are several different filtration types that will work on lead, and the six most common ones include gravity filters, whole house water filters, RO systems, pitchers, faucet filters, and distillers. Even within each style there are different filtration mechanisms, and we’ll break them down below.

Whole House Water Filters

A whole house filter system installs directly into the main water line where it enters the home. Because installation occurs at the home’s entry point, every appliance, faucet, fixture, and shower receives filtered water.

It isn’t uncommon for consumers to believe they need one of these systems installed at each of their water heaters – however, this isn’t the case. No matter how many water heaters are in the home, there’s only a need for one whole-house system.

Some of the main filtration methods employed by whole house systems include activated carbon, KDF, ion exchange, and reverse osmosis. RO filtration has its own dedicated section below that will go into more detail, since they’re not commonly used as whole-house filters.

RO systems are great for lead and many other contaminants when used as point-of-use filtration, but they tend to be extremely inefficient and waste a lot more water when used at the point of entry.

Activated carbon filters use adsorption, where compounds in the water bind to the surface of the granulated carbon or carbon block. It’s not the most efficient filtration method at reducing lead, however, so for homes with higher ppb counts you’ll want to use something stronger.

KDF media is better-suited to removing high levels of soluble lead. It uses copper-zinc granules to exchange electrons with lead particles in what’s called a redox reaction. This exchange makes the lead particles no longer water soluble, and they become suspended particulates that can be more easily removed with a sediment filter.

Ion-exchange filters are also capable of removing lead, as long as the water is at an acidic pH (or under 7). The negative lead particles will bind to the filter resin and displace a positively charged particle like sodium into the water in its place.

Many manufacturers also use a proprietary blend of media that they formulated specifically for lead, but it doesn’t fall neatly into any of the categories above. This doesn’t mean they’re less effective, and in some cases those filter media blends can even work better.

Reverse osmosis systems

Reverse osmosis systems remove pollutants and other impurities from feed water or unfiltered water. The filtration occurs when pressure forces the water through a semi-permeable membrane.

The use of the semi-permeable membrane allows small pores to block pollutants while simultaneously allowing water to flow. During the RO process, pressure is applied to saltwater, leaving the salt behind and allowing clean water to pass.

This provides clean drinking water to homes by moving water from the concentrated side of the RO membrane to the side with less concentration. This freshwater a reverse osmosis system creates is referred to as the permeate. The concentrated water, or wastewater, it leaves behind, is referred to as the brine.

A cost-effective way for lead removal in drinking water is through the use of RO. Along with lead, these filters also remove various other contaminants like bacteria and harmful chemicals. They work best when you install them into your existing plumbing underneath your sink because they tend to waste less water and work better all around.

Pitcher filters

Pitcher filters are fully-functioning, self-contained water filtration systems. Depending on the model, these portable systems can hold various water volumes and eliminate the need to purchase bottled water.

Not only is a filter pitcher easy to use, but these filters eliminate lead and other contaminants from a home’s sink water and well water supply primarily by using activated carbon filters. There are quite a few of these filtering systems available, including PUR, Brita tap water filter, and Clearly Filtered water units.

Gravity filters

A gravity filter is a countertop unit that helps users filter pollutants from their home’s water supply using gravity. These models work by using water’s weight to force it from the upper chamber down through the filtration system. You’ll find the purified water stored in a tank underneath the filter.

Because these units operate using gravity, there’s no need for hardwiring or using electricity. Some feel that they take up too much countertop space, and this can be especially true for renters where counter space is at a premium.

Faucet filters

These systems install directly onto your home’s water faucet. As soon as you turn on your kitchen’s tap, filtered water comes out of the unit. Many find these systems more convenient than using a refillable water pitcher. Plus, these systems don’t take up as much space because they install directly onto the tap. Most of these filters feature a modest and easy to install design.

When considering a faucet filter, you should look for several features including a filter change sensor, filter longevity, and 360-degree swivel. Not all of them will work on the same contaminants, so make sure you get one the manufacturer has rated for it, or – better yet – is independently certified.

Distillers

A water distiller works by converting water into vapor or steam before condensing it back to its liquid state. This water treatment method removes many impurities, including lead, arsenic, bacteria, and heavy metals during the evaporation process. This removal occurs because those pollutants cannot turn into steam, so they remain in the boiling chamber as water transitions from liquid to vapor.

Water distillation is similar to the Earth’s way of naturally purifying and redistributing water. For example, the sun’s heat evaporates water in the ocean or other surface water source and turns it into vapor. As that vapor cools when rising, clouds are created. Then, the evaporated water returns to the Earth as precipitation like rain or snow.

While these aren’t traditional water filters, a distiller can effectively purify water and remove lead contaminants. Because distillers work slowly, it might be a good idea to check out other NSF certified options if you need a lot of water.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using a Lead Water Filter

The most obvious benefit of using a lead water filter is going to be ensuring the safety of your water against a contaminant with notorious health effects. It can also be a good solution if you would rather not try to redo all of the plumbing in your home at the time being.

The main drawbacks to lead water filters are that they can have a negative impact on your water’s flow rate, and they are often specialty filters – meaning the heavy-duty lead filters are made for that purpose and may not remove as many other contaminants. Having said that, this can generally be fixed by getting a filtration system with multiple stages of other filters.

Ease of Installation

How easy different water filters are to install is going to depend on what kind of filter it is, how much plumbing experience you have, and the general variation from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Some will come with DIY install kits that attempt to make your life easier when doing the install, while others will actually void the manufacturer’s warranty if anyone other than a plumber sets it up. Checking into the installation ahead of time will help you avoid a surprise bill from having to call a plumber unexpectedly.

NSF/ANSI Standard 53 Certification

The definition of standard 53 is broad – stating that “filers are certified to reduce a contaminant with a health effect”, but lead is one of the contaminants that is specifically tested under this standard.

Manufacturers can make a variety of claims about how their water filters work based on how they were tested in-house, but having certification for standard 53 is an extra assurance that these filters do what their manufacturers claim they can when it comes to lead removal.

Lead Filter FAQs

Q: What are the most trusted lead water filter brands?

A: There are few if any companies that specialize in lead filtration specifically, but some of the top water filtration companies that also produce lead-reducing filters are SpringWell, Pelican, Aquasana, iSpring, Home Master, Brita, and Berkey.

Q: Can you remove lead from water naturally?

A: While it would be extremely difficult to remove lead without the proper filtration media, filter types like reverse osmosis and sediment filters are completely chemical-free.

Q: Can a Brita filter remove lead?

A: The Brita Longlast and the Brita faucet systems both work to remove lead, but not all of their models do.

Q: Does boiling water remove lead?

A: Unfortunately, simply boiling water will not reduce the amount of lead it has. The particles need to be filtered out by a specific media like activated carbon, RO, KDF, or ion-exchange.

Conclusion

Our top pick removes a host of contaminants, like lead, from every water outlet in your home, including in showers. We chose the SpringWell whole house lead and cyst removal system for its bypass valve, color-coded notifications, shower filter capabilities, and excellent whole-home water filtration system capacity.

We chose the Aquasana Optimh20 Whole House Filtration System as our 2nd best for its LED flow meter, ultra-dense carbon block, and flow rate.

Lastly, the Pelican RO system is the best budget option, and the Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher is a great pitcher option for its portability and convenience. Check out the SpringWell system here or the Pelican RO system here.

No matter if you’re buying a 3-stage whole house water system or a sink RO water filter, make sure it removes the amounts of lead you require by getting your water tested ahead of time.

Also, keep your eye out for filters that have been certified for NSF/ANSI standard 53, and make sure you take factors like the flow rate and filter lifespan into consideration to ensure you get the best lead water filter for your home.

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