Table of Contents
- 1 Which type of water filter are you looking for?
- 2 The Importance of Testing Your Water First
- 3 How to Determine Which Filter is Best For Your Home
- 4 Review of The Common Methods of Filtration & What They Remove
- 5 Review of The Common Location Types of Water Filters
- 6 Criteria We Evaluate Filters On
- 7 Overall Best Water Filters
- 8 Other Water Filter Brands We Reviewed
- 9 Frequently Asked Water Filter Questions
Which type of water filter are you looking for?
The Importance of Testing Your Water First
The bottom line is that picking the correct water filter depends on where you are located, your local water treatment plant or well quality, and your family/home situation.
The first step to take if you haven’t already when selecting a water filter is to run a water test on your home’s water as well as getting information from your local water treatment plant about the levels of impurities in your water and where your water comes from.
Review of The Common Methods of Filtration & What They Remove
Activated carbon filtration mainly works on tastes and odors, chlorine, VOC’s, disinfection byproducts, and other chemical contaminants. It doesn’t work on arsenic, fluoride, microbiological contaminants, and minerals.
Activated carbon can be a great type of water filter for city water that just needs some extra filtration to remove chlorine, tastes and odors, and other chemicals that are still in your water after city treatment.
They are also very efficient water filters that don’t waste a lot of water which is why you see activated carbon style filters used for the point of entry in a whole home situation.
Reverse Osmosis filtration is known for being one of the most effective forms of filtration in terms of overall contaminants removal but it’s not as efficient as activated carbon type filters.
RO removes arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, lead, copper, most microbiological contaminants, minerals, and they usually also contain an activated carbon filter so they cover those contaminants as well.
RO units are usually used under the sink or at the point of use in a home where the water quality data shows that the local water has more severe contaminant levels. They waste more water and are less efficient in filtering so they are not usually used for the whole home.
Ultraviolet (UV) Purifiers
UV Purifiers are used single handedly on bacteria and viruses. They don’t work on any other contaminants but they are very effective for killing microorganisms.
This is why you will see these types of filters added to portable camping filters or standard home water filters to give an added level of microbiological protection.
If you have water quality issues with microbiological contaminant concern then adding a UV purifier to your setup would make sense.
Water softeners work to either remove hardness causing minerals or change the structure of hardness causing minerals in terms of the salt-free types to reduce scale buildup on your home appliances.
A large portion of homeowners in the United States deal with hard water issues and this is where installing a water softener would make sense if your water hardness levels are moderate to high.
Keep in mind that water softeners just work on hardness causing minerals and not other contaminants.
Combination Types of Filtration
For example, there are combination water filter and softener units that contain activated carbon filters as well as salt-free water softeners so that if you are dealing with hard water and contaminants you can purchase one unit that works on everything.
Criteria We Evaluate Filters On
Filter Lifespan & Capacity
How does the water filter affect your home flow rate? Will you be able to get clean water rather quickly or will you be taking a nap each time you need to fill up on water? This will help you determine if the water filter is going to be usable in your home.
Any other specifics that are common for the type of filter
Overall Best Water Filters
Best Water Filter Pitcher- Clearly Filtered
The filters last for around 4+ months before they need to be replaced and this unit has been independently tested for NSF certifications showing it’s reliability.
Another solid feature is that it filters water pretty quickly in about 10-15 minutes as compared to 30 minutes for some water filter pitchers.
Overall, the Clearly Filtered pitcher is on the higher end of the price spectrum in this category but you pay for the best quality in filtration and reliability.
- Only filter independently tested for NSF certifications
- Removes 232+ contaminants
- Filters water in 15 minutes
- Filters last for 4+ months
- Solid brand reliability and quality
- On more expensive end of pitcher spectrum
- Filters are not cheap
Who Water Filter Pitchers Are Best For:
Best Whole House Water Filter- Springwell CF1
It contains coconut shell activated carbon and KDF media to effectively remove contaminants such as chlorine, chloramine, pesticides, herbicides, and other organic chemicals.
The main filter has a 1,000,000 gallon capacity which means it will last for around 10 years and Springwell also offers a solid warranty on this unit. The unit also has a pretty solid flow rate at around 9 GPM which will keep your water flowing normally.
Overall, this is one of our top whole house filters due to the affordable price range compared to other whole home devices as well as the effectiveness of filtration.
- Removes wide range of contaminants
- 10 year filter capacity
- Decent 9 GPM flow rate
- Affordable price range
- Not a small filter
- Not ideal choice for someone with well water
Who Whole House Water Filters Are Best For:
Best Whole House Water Filter for Well Water- Pelican Iron & Manganese
It removes 100% of manganese, up to 10 ppm of iron, microorganisms, and contaminants larger than 5 microns.
This filter has a 10 GPM flow rate so it will keep your water flowing nicely and it lasts for 600,000 gallons or 5 years which is pretty solid.
Overall, it is one of the top filters for well water to consider checking out.
- Removes up to 10 ppm of iron and 100% manganese
- 10 GPM flow rate
- 5 year warranty
- NSF Certified for standards 42 and 61
- Expensive end of price spectrum
- The pump can generate some noise
Who Whole House Well Water Filters Are Best For:
Best Gravity Filter for The Countertop- Big Berkey Filter
This water filter is a 2.25 gallon high quality stainless steel gravity filter that fits easily on your countertop, in an RV, or in a tiny home.
It comes with Berkey Black filters which have been proven to remove over 200 contaminants including viruses, bacteria, chloramine, trihalomethanes, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and heavy metals.
Overall, it’s a great home water filter for the family or even to have in emergency situations.
- 200+ contaminants removed
- 2.25 gallon capacity
- Attractive stainless steel
- Tons of great reviews
- Compact and easy to store on countertop
- Some possible staining
- Not cheap
Who Countertop Gravity Filters Are Best For:
Best Under Sink Water Filter- Waterdrop G3
It’s powerful with the ability to filter 400 gallons per day which is way higher than most other comparable under sink filters and it removes 99% of total dissolved solids as well as many other contaminants.
It also has a waste water ratio of 1:1 which is very good for a reverse osmosis style filter and it fits very nicely under your sink with minimal maintenance and installation required.
Overall, it’s a great unit to consider if you’re looking for an under sink specific filter.
- Uses reverse osmosis
- Removes 99% of TDS and contaminants
- 400 GPD flow rate
- Stylish and fits nicely under sink
- Not cheap
Who Under Sink Filters Are Best For:
Best Faucet Water Filter- PUR FM-3700
It reduces 99% of lead, 96 % of mercury, and 92% of pesticides as well as 70+ other contaminants with its activated carbon style filter.
It has also been certified for both NSF and WQA standards and you can trust PUR to be a reputable brand since they have been in the filtration business for a long time.
Overall, it’s one the top faucet filters that also looks great in your kitchen.
- Activated carbon filter that removes a lot of contaminants
- Nice looking chrome finish
- Has a filter change indicator light
- NSF certified
- 100 gallon filter life
- Replacement filters are pricey
Who Faucet Water Filters Are Best For:
Best Shower Head Filter- Berkey Shower Filter
Their showerhead filter removes up to 95% of chlorine in addition to lead, iron, hydrogen sulfide, scale-causing minerals, dirt and odors with a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute.
The filter has a 20,000 gallon lifespan or around 12 months before it needs to be replaced and it is made of white BPA free plastic which looks pretty good in the shower.
Overall, the quality of filtration that this shower head filter provides makes it one of the best units around to place in your shower.
- Removes chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, heavy metals, and microorganisms
- 2.5 GPM flow rate
- 12 month filter lifespan
- Tons of positive reviews
- Good looking design
- Higher price range
- Only comes in white
Who Shower Head Filters Are Best For:
Best Reverse Osmosis Water Filter- Home Master TMAFC
This is because it removes over 1000 different contaminants, has a 75 gallon per day capacity, and wastes ⅓ the amount of water compared to a lot of other RO systems.
It also contains a permeate pump and offers remineralization giving your water a boost of healthy minerals after reverse osmosis removes them.
Not to mention this unit is very affordable while getting the job done really well to provide you with a very comprehensive level of filtration.
- Removes 1000+ different contaminants
- 75 GPD capacity
- Contains permeate pump and remineralization
- NSF certified
- Takes up good amount of space
- Make some noise when working
- Not the sexiest looking unit
Who Reverse Osmosis Filters Are Best For:
They are best used at the point of use under the sink or on the countertop to give you clean drinking water where it’s needed. Most units are point of use filters since they are less efficient than activated carbon and installing a whole house RO system is less efficient and costs a lot of money.
Best Water Softener for Hard Water- Fleck 5600 SXT
It’s a 48000 grain capacity softener which will be effective for most size homes and it contains high quality technology in its digital control head which allows you to monitor the system.
It also offers automatic regeneration and at the price it sells for it’s one of the best bang for the buck purchases you can find.
- 48000 grain capacity
- Digital control valve
- Automatic regeneration
- Very affordable
- Low maintenance
- Lacks drainage tubing
- Doesn’t look great
Who Water Softeners Are Best For:
Best Portable Water Filter- Sawyer Mini
This portable filter is also super easy to use, it works instantly, and it’s only 2 oz fitting in the palm of your hand or in your emergency kit.
Overall, it’s a really solid portable filter for your backpacking trips, emergency preparedness, or wilderness adventures.
- 2 oz
- 100,000 gallon capacity
- Removes all bacteria and protozoa
- Works instantly
- Plenty of great reviews online
- Doesn’t filter viruses
- No warranty specified
Who Portable Water Filters Are Best For:
If you’re someone who loves camping, hiking, wilderness adventures, or wants to prepare for emergency situations then purchasing a portable water filter is a great option. Look for these filters to remove bacteria, protozoa, and viruses since the main issue you are dealing with in natural water sources is microbiological contamination. Also, if you already know that you want a water bottle specifically for camping or for regular on-the-go use be sure to check out our best filtered water bottle review as well as the portable filters review.
Best Iron Filter for Well Water- Springwell Whole House Iron Filter
The air injection oxidizing filter system removes up to 8 PPM of Hydrogen Sulfide, up to 7 PPM Iron and 1 PPM Manganese and it automatically runs a daily backwash to clean the filter media.
Springwell has been in the water business for a long time and is a reputable supplier of high quality water filters at affordable prices so you can count on them to deliver.
Overall, at the price point this unit is sold for and the level of filtration technology it contains it’s a great option to consider if you are having iron or other well water issues.
- Removes iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide
- High 12 GPM flow rate
- Automatic backwash
- Lifetime warranty
- Electronic setup can be complicated
- No sediment filter included
Who Iron Filters Are Best For:
Best Filter for Lead Removal- Aquasana OptimH20
It has been tested and certified to reduce lead, cysts, PFOA/PFOS, and it removes chlorine/chloramines.
The unit is a whole house system and it contains a sediment pre filter to remove dirt and debris, a ultra high dense carbon block filter, and the ability to filter out contaminants down to 0.5 microns. It also had an LED flow meter which alerts you when your filter needs to be changed.
- Removes 99% of lead and cysts
- 8 GPM flow rate
- IAPMO Certified
- Not cheap
Who Lead Filters Are Best For:
Best Fluoride Water Filter- Clearly Filtered Under Sink System
The unit is super easy to install and maintain, it has a 12 month filter lifespan, and has been certified by NSF to remove the contaminants it claims.
Overall, you can count on this Clearly Filtered under sink system to remove your fluoride issue and provide some of the cleanest water around.
- Removes 99% of fluoride
- Lifetime warranty
- NSF certified
- 2000 gallon filter capacity or 12 months
- Water flow reduced 25%
- Replacement filters are expensive
Who Fluoride Filters Are Best For:
Best UV Water Purifier- Springwell UV5 Purifier
It maintains an impressive 15 GPM flow rate and the UV filter lasts around 12 months before needing to be replaced.
Overall, it’s a good UV filter that will remove all your microorganisms and do it whilel maintaining your water flow rate and offering state of the art technology.
- Kills 99% bugs
- 15 GPM flow rate
- 1 year lamp lifespan
- Lifetime warranty
- Higher priced
- Installation instructions may be complicated
Who UV Filters Are Best For:
A lot of whole home units made by Aquasana, Springwell, and Pelican allow the option of adding on a UV purifier for an extra level of purification so be sure to check those out.
Best Water Distiller- Megahome Countertop
Megahome has also specialized in manufacturing only water distillers for over 20 years and this unit will offer your the best distillation technology around.
- Fast Distillation
- UL certified
- High level of safety
- Sleek design
- Higher price range
- Power cord is short
Who A Water Distiller is Best For:
Since distillers are not as efficient as home water filters we don’t recommend them for your household drinking water but they have their application in certain niches.
Best Water Ionizer or Alkaline Water Machine- Tyent ACE-13
Not only does it provide you with high quality alkaline water with high levels of molecular hydrogen but it also acts as a water filter with a .01 micron filter included. This means it removes more than 200 contaminants as well as providing alkaline water.
- High level of filtration
- Provides alkalized water
- Sleek design
- Doesn’t prove contaminant removal
- Very expensive
Who Are Alkaline Water Ionizers Best For:
Alkaline water has shown some benefit in scientific studies but there are also a lot of studies that don’t prove additional benefit so it comes down to personal preference and your opinion on the impact of alkaline water on the body.
Other Water Filter Brands We Reviewed
Clearly Filtered is a relatively new brand on the market but they are quickly making a name as one of the highest quality producers of both pitcher filters and under sink filters.
They apply a rigorous level of testing to their water filters to ensure they are the best at removing contaminants they claim and they also have an awesome design and customer service.
Aquagear is known for producing one of the top pitcher filters on the market and they specialize in only water filter pitchers. They are a solid brand worth considering if you’re in the market for a pitcher filter.
Seychelle focuses on pitchers, bottles, canteens, and other portable water filtration devices and they do a great job with their products. If you’re an outdoorsman or in the pitcher market they are worth checking out.
Berkey is known for their countertop gravity water filters but they also produce shower head filters and other water filtration devices.
If you’re in the market for a countertop gravity filter that’s great for your home drinking water or emergency use then Berkey is a top brand to consider.
Alexapure is another top brand of countertop gravity water filters alongside Berkey. While their top seller is their countertop system they also sell portable filters, bottles, and pitchers.
Springwell water is one of the leading sellers of whole home filtration systems and water softeners. They are an american made company based in Florida and have been in the water filter market for quite some time offering quality products at an affordable price.
Aquaox focuses on high-end whole home filtration systems as they offer one of the most durable and effective whole home filters on the market.
If you’re considering a whole home unit Aquaox is a brand you need to at least consider.
Pelican water has been a leading seller of whole home filters and softeners for a while. They are one of the most reputable brands around always getting their products tested and certified to ensure they meet their marketing claims.
Aquasana is one of the most well known brands of whole home filtration systems on the market as they offer top design and technology with the ability to customize whole home units to your home’s specifications.