Best Water Filter Pitcher
In homes across the country, it is risky to drink water straight from the tap because of the significant number of contaminants in the water. One option is to purchase bottled water, but this is expensive and bad for the environment. Another solution is to purify water either through a reverse osmosis system or whole-house filtration. However, this may be unnecessary — sometimes, all you need is a water filter pitcher.
Water filter pitchers are the most popular way to remove contaminants from water, due to their low cost, low maintenance needs, and simplicity of use. They are also ideal if you rent, rather than own, your house as well as if you otherwise have no option to install a system to the water main. Plus, filter pitchers come in a range of types, meaning it’s easy to find one that meets your needs and suits your budget.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Water Filter Pitcher Comparison
- 2 Water Filter Pitcher Reviews
- 3 A Buyer’s Guide to Water Filter Pitchers
- 4 What Are Water Filter Pitchers?
- 5 How Do Filter Pitchers Work?
- 6 Types of Filters
- 7 What Contaminants Does the Best Filtered Water Pitcher Remove?
- 8 Why Should You Use a Filter Pitcher?
- 9 Benefits of a Filter Pitcher
- 10 Who Needs a Water Filter Pitcher?
- 11 What Factors to Consider When Choosing a Filter Pitcher
- 11.1 Filter Type and Durability
- 11.2 Reminder to Change the Filter Cartridge
- 11.3 Filter Speed
- 11.4 Number of Filters
- 11.5 Material of the Pitcher
- 11.6 Jug Size
- 11.7 Certifications of a Top-Rated Water Filter Pitcher
- 11.8 Ease of Use and Cleaning
- 11.9 Price
- 11.10 What Is the Best Water Filter Pitcher Brand?
- 11.11 Manufacturer Guarantee
- 12 How to Change a Filter Cartridge
Top 10 Water Filter Pitcher Comparison
Size (cups): 8
Capacity (gallons): 96 or 264
Size (cups): 8
Capacity (gallons): 150
Size (cups): 10
Capacity (gallons): 100
Size (cups): 8
Capacity (gallons): 200
Size (cups): 18
Capacity (gallons): 40 or 120
Size (cups): 15
Capacity (gallons): 79
Size (cups): 18
Capacity (gallons): 30 or 40
Size (cups): 15
Capacity (gallons): 79
Size (cups): 15
Capacity (gallons): 60
Size (cups): 10
Capacity (gallons): 80
Water Filter Pitcher Reviews
There are a huge number of filter pitchers on the market. On the surface, they may seem quite similar, but when you examine them individually, you’ll see they have many different qualities. This impacts each model’s suitability for your water and other requirements.
1. pH RESTORE
Arguably the best alkaline water filter pitcher, the pH RESTORE from Invigorated Water has two cartridges, both of which are included in the package. The pitcher will increase the alkalinity of your water by anywhere from 0.5 to 2.0.
The pH RESTORE goes a step further than most other filter pitchers. First, it removes 90 percent of chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, and VOCs as well as some organic and non-organic substances. Next, it adds healthy minerals like calcium and selenium, which increase alkalinity and improve the taste of water.
The cartridges that come with the pitcher are PH001 filters, which have a high capacity of 96 gallons. When they come to the end of their life, you can continue with the same type of cartridges or replace them with PH002 filters. These have a longer lifespan of 264 gallons, or about one year. They also filter more contaminants — in addition to the above, they remove 80 percent of fluoride and 99.9 percent of pathogens like colloids, cysts, protozoa, and parasites.
You also receive some extra features with the pH RESTORE. For instance, you can check when you’ll need to replace a cartridge by looking at the LCD on the lid. Plus, the pitcher has a rubber base to protect surfaces.
The pH RESTORE is on the small end of water filter pitchers, holding just eight cups of water. Plus, although it has one of the most effective types of filters, the cartridges are prone to clogging. To unblock them, you’ll need to remove them from the pitcher, shake them, and tap them against a countertop. Check if they’re unclogged by running water over them.
Another disadvantage is maintenance. It can be challenging to clean the pH RESTORE, as it is difficult to remove the reservoir.
No water filter pitcher removes more contaminants than the Aquagear. It is a good contender for best water filter pitcher 2020.
The Aquagear has some of the longest-lasting filters you can find: they have a capacity of 150 gallons. This means they last anywhere from seven to seven and a half months — more than four times some of the lower-capacity filters.
The quality of filters is equally high — they meet the NSF Standard 42 and Standard 53. Aquagear reports that the pitcher can remove 90 percent of fluoride, almost 99 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 99.8 percent of arsenic, 97.6 percent of nitrates, and 99 percent of trihalomethanes (TTHMs). The filters can also remove lead and copper to undetectable levels. In total, this pitcher will rid your water of more than 89 percent of its total contaminants, many of which are difficult to remove.
As the filters are made in the U.S., you can send them back to the company for recycling. You can even request a prepaid shipping label by email.
Finally, with the Aquagear, you’ll receive a lifetime guarantee. This means that if your pitcher ever breaks or suffers from any damage (like a chip or another defect), the company will send you a new one.
Despite everything this model can remove, it is still only suitable for city water. It is unable to rid your water of bacteria and viruses that may be present in well water. Plus, its capability to remove all the above contaminants does mean that the cartridges filter much more slowly than those of many other models. The price of both the pitcher and replacement filters is also quite high.
A final disadvantage is that there is no reminder to change the filter. As the cartridges have a long lifespan, you’ll need to make a note on your calendar to avoid forgetting.
3. Clearly Filtered
A high-quality model, the Clearly Filtered pitcher fits comfortably in most refrigerators. It is excellent at removing contaminants and particles that most other filters don’t target.
As well as filtering more than 98 percent of fluoride, the Clearly Filtered pitcher removes microplastics, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) — these are some of the contaminants that are most difficult to remove from water. To list all the other contaminants the pitcher removes would require two pages.
The large number of contaminants the pitcher removes does mean that the filter works slowly. If your water is relatively pure and you’re more concerned about having clean water fast, you should look for a different option. Another downside to the Clearly Filtered pitcher is that there’s no reminder when to change the filter — you’ll need to calculate that yourself.
4. Seychelle Pitcher
The Seychelle Pitcher stands out from most other models for having two filter cartridges rather than one. This speeds up how fast the pitcher is able to filter water. To keep the cartridges fast and to avoid changing them prematurely, Seychelle recommends rinsing the cartridges every three to four weeks.
The cartridges in the Seychelle Pitcher are not just fast — they’re efficient, too. They remove up to 99.99 percent of standard contaminants, including 97.5 percent of lead, 95 percent of nitrites, and 90 percent of fluoride, along with trace metals, pesticides, and VOCs. Plus, there is no risk of the filters adding their own contaminants to the water, as they’re made from food-grade materials.
The main downside is that the Seychelle Pitcher is expensive and, as it has two filters, the cartridge replacements are also more expensive. In addition, the pitcher is not suited to hard water, as the minerals can clog the cartridges and slow down filter speed significantly. For the same reason, you should avoid using the pitcher for salty water.
5. Brita UltraMax
One of the best known brands for pitcher filters is Brita. The models tend to be budget choices and as they use the same filters, the pitchers provide a consistent quality of water across models. With the Brita UltraMax, you can actually choose between two types of filters: Brita Longlast and Brita Standard.
The Brita UltraMax is one of the larger Brita pitchers, holding up to 18 cups of water. This is useful for large households that require plenty of clean drinking water. You’ll only need to refill the pitcher once or twice a day — using the convenient flip-top lid. Even though it is large, the shape of the pitcher means it usually fits comfortably on a countertop or in a refrigerator. Kids will find it easy to use due to the spigot for water dispensing.
Certified with NSF Standard 42, Brita Longlast filters remove 99 percent of lead from water (whereas many pitchers remove no lead at all) and at least 97 percent of chlorine. The cartridges also remove nine other contaminants, including cadmium and asbestos. As their name suggests, you’ll only need to replace Longlast filters infrequently — after 120 gallons, or every five to six months.
The Brita UltraMax is another model with no filter replacement reminder, although it does come with stickers that you can use to write down the last replacement date. Unfortunately, some customers report that Brita Longlast filters become clogged long before they even reach that date. The company says that this is just a problem with aerated tap water.
Whereas you do have an alternative with Brita Standard filters, these last a much shorter amount of time than Longlast filters — just 40 gallons, or no more than two months. These filters are also less effective, filtering only cadmium, chlorine, copper, zinc, and mercury.
Furthermore, if you don’t have high water needs, it may not be worthwhile purchasing such a large pitcher. This is especially true if you have a small kitchen with limited countertop space and a compact refrigerator.
There is also an issue with the upper reservoir, which is difficult to remove. If you are unable to remove this piece, you will struggle to clean the pitcher and bacteria could start to grow inside the pitcher.
6. Ehm Ultra Premium
The Ehm Ultra Premium is an alkaline water filter pitcher, meaning it changes the pH of your water. As the cartridges contain carbon, it is important to soak filters before use to avoid a black residue ending up in your drinking water. The Ehm Ultra Premium works both at room temperature and chilled in the refrigerator.
With the Ehm Ultra Premium, you’ll gain softer, better-tasting water. It is simple to use out of the box and to maintain — you’ll have no difficulty putting the parts together nor dismantling the pitcher to clean it.
The Ehm Ultra Premium mainly just removes chlorine and fluoride, making it unsuitable for water with many contaminants. It is most useful for families that want to improve the flavor of their water or get rid of odors. In addition, although it is supposedly a premium model, it has no replacement reminder for the filter. Plus, the plastic lid is unstable and may come loose from the top of the pitcher.
7. PUR Ultimate
Another one of the largest pitchers available, the PUR Ultimate provides you with 18 cups of water. It works with two types of filters: PUR Basic and PUR Lead-Reducing.
The large size of the PUR Ultimate means you have no need to refill the pitcher more than twice a day. At the same time, its sleek design avoids taking up too much space in your kitchen. In fact, the design as a whole is excellent: it is easy to carry and you’ll have no problem cleaning it thoroughly.
PUR Basic cartridges almost completely rid your water of chlorine and some of its byproducts, like TTHMs, which improves the taste of water and removes bad odors. These filters are also certified to remove 99.9 percent of microbiological cysts, 96 percent of mercury, and more than 96 percent of trace level pharmaceuticals of various types. They also reduce the levels of lead in your water.
PUR Lead-Reducing cartridges are designed to significantly filter lead — they remove around 99 percent from water. The cartridges also filter chlorine, mercury, and some pesticides.
Whereas they may be effective at filtering, PUR Basic cartridges have a capacity of just 40 gallons. PUR Lead-Reducing cartridges have an even smaller capacity of just 30 gallons. In addition, both types of cartridges are prone to clogging before they come to the end of their life. Some customers report fixing the problem by shaking and tapping the cartridges, but this is less than ideal.
8. Reshape Water
Another alkaline pitcher filter, the Reshape Water pitcher is another model with two cartridges. Each cartridge lasts between three to four months, which is around average.
In less than 15 minutes, the Reshape Water Pitcher will provide you with a full 15 cups of water, which is excellent when you consider that it is both filtering and alkalizing your water. The added minerals to the water improve taste and increase nutritional value of your water.
In fact, the large size and fast filtering along with the commercial-grade materials of the pitcher mean that this model is ideal for commercial applications. The jug is made from thick ABS plastic, which increases its lifespan.
The cartridges required for the Reshape Water pitcher can be difficult to change. As the filtering rate slows as the cartridges age, you will want to change them on schedule.
9. DRAGONN Alkaline
The DRAGONN Alkaline is different from all the other pitchers on this list for the technology it uses to filter water. After removing contaminants, it treats water with infrared light and raises the pH of the water to soften it.
One of the larger pitchers, the DRAGONN Alkaline has a jug that can hold 15 cups, which is enough for at least half a day. It is also effective at both filtering and alkalizing water, which it does by adding minerals to the water.
The cartridges for the DRAGONN Alkaline only have a capacity of 60 gallons (or about three months), which is on the low end. They also tend to become clogged more often than those from many other manufacturers. To unblock the cartridges, you’ll need to remove them from the filter and rinse them until water begins to flow through the cartridge again.
Removing sediment, zinc, mercury, copper, and chlorine, your water will be cleaner and smell better with the AquaBliss. The cartridges for the filter pitcher have an around average lifespan of 80 gallons, meaning they last about four months.
One of the fastest pitchers available, the AquaBliss finishes filtering a full jug of water in just 1 or 2 minutes. It is also one of the few pitchers with a digital countdown telling you when you need to change the filter cartridge.
You need to be careful how much water you put in the filter, as, if you add too much, the unfiltered water may spill out when you pour the pitcher. Another design flaw is that the rubber gasket that is supposed to prevent the pitcher from sliding often falls off.
A Buyer’s Guide to Water Filter Pitchers
There are various types of water filtration products on the market. Some of these purify all your water (like whole-house filtration units that attach to your water main), whereas others only filter drinking water (like reverse osmosis systems that sit under your sink or on a countertop).
Water filter pitchers are simpler than both the above, meaning they cost far less. However, they are also less thorough at removing contaminants from water. To decide if a water filter pitcher is a suitable choice for you, it’s necessary to know what they a filter pitcher does, how it works, and what kind of water it is suitable for.
What Are Water Filter Pitchers?
Filter pitchers mainly remove chlorine, improving the taste and smell of water. Most also remove other contaminants to an extent, some even to a high level. Several filter pitchers also remineralize water to further enhance flavor and to provide you with beneficial minerals.
Water filter pitchers come in different jug sizes, ranging from around 8 cups to as many as 15 cups. Although most have a single filter cartridge, some have a pair of cartridges. All cartridges last a certain amount of time, measured in gallons. The smallest filters about 40 gallons, which is enough for one or two months of water. The largest filters as much as 264 gallons, which means you only need to change the cartridge once a year.
How Do Filter Pitchers Work?
Water filter pitchers have two sections that are separated by the filter. You pour tap water into the top reservoir and then the water passes through the cartridge (or cartridges) to the storage tank below. Once the water is filtered, you can pour it out though the spout of the pitcher. The water will flow freely through the bypass system, avoiding the need for it to pass through the cartridge again.
Types of Filters
Filter pitchers come with various types of cartridges. Most of the time, you’ll be unable to choose the cartridge you want, as only one type of cartridge will fit your pitcher. The exception is when you choose a brand that offers a choice of two types of cartridges. In these cases, each has its share of benefits.
For instance, one type of cartridge may have a longer lifespan than the other, but it will also be more expensive. In other cases, one cartridge may filter standard contaminants, whereas the other may specialize in removing a particular contaminant.
The majority of cartridges use carbon, which is especially effective at filtering chlorine and its byproducts, like TTHMs. Such cartridges contain either a solid carbon block or granular activated carbon (also called activated charcoal). In both cases, the carbon is usually derived from coconut shells, but it can be made from coal, lignite, wood, or petroleum pitch. The carbon may be physically or chemically activated.
There are two ways to physically activate carbon. One involves heating the material that will be carbonized in an inert atmosphere to between 450 to 900 degrees Celsius. Usually, there is nitrogen or argon present. Alternatively, the manufacturer may use oxidation, which usually involves heating the material up to as much as 1,200 degrees Celsius and exposing it to oxygen.
Chemical activation involves infusing the material with various chemicals (acids, bases, and sometimes salts). The most common chemicals include hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, zinc chloride, and calcium chloride. These chemicals make it easier to activate the carbon, meaning the process takes less time (and is therefore cheaper). However, it is still necessary to heat the material to between 450 to 900 degrees Celsius.
As water passes through a cartridge filter, the carbon absorbs any impurities in liquid and gas form. Due to the highly-porous surface and the physical form of activated carbon, a single gram has an absorptive surface of 32,000 square feet. All the same, it will become saturated with impurities and, once this happens, you need to replace the cartridge.
What Contaminants Does the Best Filtered Water Pitcher Remove?
Almost all pitcher filters remove chlorine, but some are also effective at removing other contaminants. For instance, pitchers that use cartridges containing ion exchange resin are also able to remove heavy metals. This resin comes in the for of minuscule beads filled with sodium. They work by exchanging their sodium ions for the magnesium and calcium ions in your tap water.
Other contaminants filters can remove include:
- TTHMs — When the chlorine that your city or municipality adds to the water as a disinfectant interacts with organic matter, it creates TTHMs as a byproduct. Although local governments must regulate the amount the amount TTHMs in water to keep levels safe, it is better for you to consume none at all.
- VOCs — Herbicides and pesticides used in agriculture run off the land and end up in your water supply. These VOCs can be harmful to some people, particularly children and the elderly.
- Cryptosporidium — A protozoan parasite, cryptosporidium causes cryptosporidiosis. The illness impacts the distal small intestine and respiratory tract, causing diarrhea and coughing. It is extremely dangerous for people with a compromised immune system.
- Giardia — Another protozoan parasite, giardia can cause an illness called giardiasis, which has symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting, and fever. The parasite is present in water in the form of cysts that can survive for as long as 3 months.
It’s a good idea to test your water to find out what contaminants it contains to make sure you choose the best water purifier pitcher for your water.
Why Should You Use a Filter Pitcher?
No matter where your water comes from, it does contain some contaminants. This is because tap water must travel to you through a long network of pipes. The water may be completely free of contaminants when it leaves the treatment facility, but it likely picks up all kinds of nasty things before it enters your home. If some of the pipes are old, they may contaminate water with heavy metals, bacteria, and fungi.
By drinking filtered water, you avoid both short-term and long-term health problems. Having a filtration system is especially important if you have children at home, as contaminants in the tap water could impact their development.
Benefits of a Filter Pitcher
There are also several benefits to having a filter pitcher:
- You can stop wasting money on bottled water. If you want to have purified water when you leave home, just refill a bottle with water from your filter pitcher.
- You won’t consume dangerous contaminants from plastic bottles. Some plastics used for bottling water can actually contaminate water. For this reason, filtered water from a pitcher made of high-quality materials is a much healthier choice.
- It will encourage you to drink more water. As you’ll want to make good use of your filter pitcher, you’ll be more likely to drink the water. Plus, the smell and taste will be better, making it more appealing.
- Some filter pitchers even provide added benefits. For instance, those that change the pH of water add healthy minerals.
Who Needs a Water Filter Pitcher?
Anyone will benefit from a water filter pitcher, as no one should be drinking tap water. All the same, filter pitchers are best suited to certain types of households:
- Where the incoming water only has low levels of contaminants. If your water has a large quantity of contaminants (such as if you receive your water from a well), you should consider a solution that offers more thorough filtration.
- You have limited space in your home. There are filter pitchers that are compact enough to fit in even the smallest home — it will even take up less space than a supply of bottled water. This is not the case for all other filtration solutions.
What Factors to Consider When Choosing a Filter Pitcher
It is important not to just pick any filter pitcher — you need to find the best home water filter pitcher for your family. There are several factors to consider that will help you arrive at the right choice.
Filter Type and Durability
The type of filters and their durability will impact how much you spend on your pitcher — even more than the upfront cost of the pitcher. You can figure out durability by looking at the capacity of the filter. The smallest capacity is around 30 gallons (which lasts around 1.5 months), whereas the largest filters can have a capacity of more than 200 gallons (meaning they last at least 10 months).
Therefore, if you purchase a budget pitcher with a small filter capacity, you’ll end up spending more in the long term than you would for an average-priced pitcher with large-capacity filters.
Reminder to Change the Filter Cartridge
If you’re a well-organized person, you may manage to remember when to change your filter without a reminder. It may be just a matter of adding a date to the calendar and making sure you always have at least one spare cartridge on hand.
However, many people find this to be an added inconvenience and they risk forgetting to change the filter. This is a problem because it will seem as if the pitcher is still working well. Actually, it will no longer be filtering your water and you will be drinking contaminated water. For this reason, if you think you may forget sometimes, it is best to choose a model that does have a reminder.
The time it takes a pitcher to filter water varies greatly between models. It is logical that you want a pitcher that filters fast, but slower filtration usually means the pitcher is removing more contaminants. You can always avoid the need to wait by refilling the pitcher right after use, rather than waiting until the pitcher is empty.
Number of Filters
Most filter pitchers have just a single cartridge, but a few on the list have two. With two cartridges, your water will be purified twice as fast. This is great if you want to have water almost immediately and you’d rather not wait. However, it does have the downside that you’ll pay twice as much for cartridges. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to decide if this is a worthwhile feature for you.
Material of the Pitcher
The material of the pitcher will impact how long the pitcher lasts. Top materials to look out for include ABS plastic and food-grade materials.
It is important that all the components of the filter pitcher are free from BPA — the jug itself as well as the cartridges. BPA (or Bisphenol A) is a common compound in plastics that gradually leaches into water. As there are no regulations against BPA, it can be in any products. This is despite the fact that the compound is linked to cancer and may impact the development of babies.
It may seem like a minor detail, but jug size can make a big difference to how convenient it is to have a filter pitcher. If you have a small household or a compact kitchen, it is best to choose a small jug to save space. However, if you have a large family and high water needs, you should pick a large jug — otherwise, you’ll constantly be waiting when you want a drink.
Certifications of a Top-Rated Water Filter Pitcher
The top filter pitchers have certifications to back up their claims that they will filter a particular contaminant to a significant extent. Some certifications to look out for include:
- NSF Standard 42 — This tells you that the filter pitcher effectively removes the taste and smell of chlorine from water.
- NSF Standard 43 — Filter pitchers with this standard remove contaminants that could have an adverse impact on your health. Such contaminants include heavy metals and inorganic compounds like nitrates, nitrites, fluoride, and VOCs.
- The new NSF Standard 401 — This standard assesses how well filter pitchers are able to remove trace medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), herbicides, pesticides, and other chemical compounds. As it is a new standard, only a few filter pitchers have been tested for this requirement.
Ease of Use and Cleaning
If your household is just adults without physical disabilities, ease of use is less of an issue. However, if children will need to be able to use the filter pitcher to pour themselves a glass of water or if some adults may struggle with a heavy pitcher, consider opting for a small jug size.
Also consider if there are other features that could make one filter pitcher easier to use than another. For instance, an ergonomic handle lowers the risk of spills.
It is equally important to choose a pitcher that is easy to clean. Some models are difficult to dismantle, which makes washing the storage tank more challenging. However, if the pitcher has a lid over the lip, you may even be able to clean it less often.
How much you decide to spend on your water filter pitcher comes down to how much you can afford. There is no need to feel like it’s important to purchase the most expensive filter pitcher if you’re on a tight budget. However, if you can afford it, buying a higher-priced model may be worthwhile for the better filtration and additional features you’ll receive.
What Is the Best Water Filter Pitcher Brand?
Another factor to consider is brand. When you purchase from a trusted brand, you can believe the manufacturer’s claims about the extent the pitcher filters contaminants. You’ll also know that you’re receiving a pitcher with a long lifespan. Finally, the brand you choose will influence how much the cartridges cost and how often you need to replace them.
A few top brands in filter pitchers include the following:
|Brand||BPA Free||Replacement Filter Price||Maximum Time to Replace Filter (months)|
|Invigorated Water||√||$$||5 or 13|
|Brita||√||$||2 or 6|
|PUR||√||$||1.5 or 2|
You will want to receive at least some period of guarantee from your filter pitcher, especially if you choose a model from a lesser-known brand. It is best of all if your pitcher comes with a lifetime guarantee, as you’ll never need to worry about it failing.
How to Change a Filter Cartridge
You can find the instructions for changing cartridges with the filter. The process usually involves the following steps:
- Place the new filter in a bowl of water, making sure it is fully submerged.
- Leave the cartridge to soak for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove the old cartridge from the pitcher.
- Fill the top reservoir of the pitcher and wait for the water to pass into the storage tank.
- Drain the pitcher of the water and repeat the process two more times.
- After the third time, the carbon will activate in the cartridge and your pitcher will be ready to filter water.
All the above water filter pitchers are best suited for city water. The best water filter for well water will depend on what is in the water, but if your water contains microorganisms that could cause you to become sick, you are better off finding a solution other than a pitcher filter. For instance, reverse osmosis with UV light will kill bacteria and keep your safe from infections.