Best Whole-House Water Filters
Often, the water we receive to our homes is contaminated with impurities — this is the case whether you receive your water from a city supply or from a well. One of the most popular ways to purify the water entering your home is with a whole-house filtration system. Homeowners across the country are investing in these solutions because they are effective, are inexpensive to run, and lead to high-quality results.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Water Purification Systems
- 2 Whole-House Water Filter Reviews
- 3 What Are Whole-House Water Filters?
- 4 Why Use a Home Water Filter?
- 5 A Buyers’ Guide to Water Treatment Systems
- 6 Installing a Whole-House Filtration System
Top 10 Water Purification Systems
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Whole-House Water Filter Reviews
There are a huge number of whole-house water filters on the market. Some models even provide you with additional features, such as in a whole-house water filter and softener combo. We’ve narrowed all the highly-rated water filtration systems down to 10 of the very best, each of which has specific qualities that help it stand out from the crowd.
AquaOx takes the crown for the best whole house water filtration system.
First, AquaOx has the largest capacity out of most of the whole house filters. It has up to 15 gallons per minute flow rate, 2 million-plus gallons guarantee, and can be used for up to 4 bathrooms.
It also contains catalytic carbon media, KDF, coconut shell carbon, garnet, filter AG, automatic backwashing head making it a premium water filter option.
It simply gives you the purest, cleanest water, and filters out all the possible contaminants.
Lastly, it’s an American made product and the company has amazing customer service.
It’s our #1 pick because of the innovative technology, awesome customer service, and overall strength of features and filtering capacity. If you are looking for a whole-house filtering system then this is the best overall system.
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- Once you’ve purchased the unit, you’ll spend very little on its upkeep. It never needs new filters or replacement cartridges due to the backwash mechanism.
- You probably also noticed that, at seven, this model has by far the most stages. This means water is completely free from sediment, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and almost every other impurity you can think of. The resulting water is soft, tastes great, and is good for your health.
- Finally, this model is customizable. You can choose between a regular or extra-large Fleck Digital head. The larger size will give you 37 GPM, which is enough for homes with four bathrooms or more.
- Expensive model
- Only has a 7-year warranty
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2. Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000
Suitable for city and well water, the Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000 uses three stages. The system contains copper-zinc oxidation media and crushed mineral stones to raise the pH of the water to make it more alkaline. This is great for those who want soft water without the use of a liquid softener, but unhelpful for anyone who prefers the feel of hard water.
The pre-filter of the Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000 has a lifespan of 3 to 6 months with city water and 1 to 3 months with well water. It removes impurities to as low as 5 microns.
Its post-filter lasts for 6 to 12 months with city water and 2 to 6 months with well water. As a carbon sub-micron filter, it reduces chlorine and organic impurities in water down to 0.35 microns, which has a huge impact on the taste of the water.
Overall, this system from Aquasana is one of the best whole house filtration systems on the market and we highly recommend that you purchase this product if you have the money. Aquasana is a top brand with excellent customer service and you won’t be disappointed with the water quality and product.
- One of the longest-lasting filters on the list, the main filter in the Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000 has a lifespan of 1 million gallons — which means it lasts about 10 years.
- The unit is also excellent at filtering microscopic particles from rust, sediment, industrial solvents, pesticides, silt, water-soluble metals, and lead and it removes 97 percent chlorine, which exceeds NSF standards. It does all this without the need for electricity, salt, or backflushing.
- Takes care of all your water filtration and softening needs in one whole house system
- The main disadvantage is the low flow rate of just 7 GPM. Plus, although the three stages provide extremely clean water, the regular replacements for the pre- and post-filters can be expensive.
- Finally, this is one of the heaviest units you’ll find. You may need the help of a plumber to change the main filter — at least this will only be every 10 years. You may also need a plumbers help for installation if you don’t get the install kit.
3. Aquasana OPTIMH20
The Aquasana OPTIMH20 is certified to remove 99% of lead and cysts, 98% of PFOA and PFOS, and treats chlorine, chloramines, and more. This water filter is the first of it’s kind to remove more lead more than any other filter on the market. The filter has the option to include a salt-free water conditioner and UV filter if needed.
If you are dealing with lead or some of the other chemicals in your water supply then this model from Aquasana is going to be your best bet for clean healthy water beside the Rhino version. The filter system uses a carbon block filtration and has a 100,000 gallon capacity with an 8 GPM flow rate.
- Best filter system for lead
- Tested and certified to reduce 99% lead, cysts, and PFOA/PFOS
- Option to add salt-free conditioner and UV filter
- Contains LED flow meter indicator
- Doesn’t require backflushing (no water wasted)
- Nothing added to water during filtration
- Expensive, but worth the price
- Only 100,000 Gallon capacity
- Not as durable as the Rhino whole house system
4. Pelican Filter with UV
Pelican’s low maintenance carbon series filter with added UV is an awesome whole house water filtration system. This model is easy to install, long-lasting, and filters many chemicals.
This model has a 600,000-1,000,000 gallon capacity and comes with a 5-year performance guarantee. There is no draining required and this model does not wastewater. With its UV filter it destroys 99.9% of harmful microorganisms such as e coli, cryptosporidium, and giardias.
If you’re looking for a top of the line home water filter system that also protects you from bacteria and viruses this system is a really good option alongside Aquasana’s models.
- Low maintenance
- Includes UV filtration for bacteria
- 5-year performance guarantee
- 600,000-1,000,000 gallon capacity
- Top water filter brand and customer service
- Doesn’t contain a water softener or optional add on
- More expensive than basic Pelican filter
5. Pelican PC 600 Filter
Pelican’s standard PC 600 and 1000 whole house water filter is one of the top systems on the market.
This model provides 600,000-1,000,000 gallons capacity over 5 years. The system’s large diameter tank holds a high level of carbon media which increases the filter’s performance and lifespan.
The model is very easy to install and maintain. All you need to do is replace the media and there’s no need to call a plumber since it’s easy enough.
The model is certified to remove 97% of chlorine and other impurities.
- 5-year guarantee
- Easy install and maintenance
- 600,000-1,000,000 gallon capacity
- Doesn’t waste water
- Requires no electricity
- Better than bottled water from every tap in your home
- Not a complete system with softener and UV filtration
- Could filter out more contaminants
6. Springwell Water
Using innovative technology to go the extra mile to bring homeowners clean water, Springwell Water has received some of the best water filter reviews from consumers.
This model from Springwell contains a catalytic coconut shell carbon and certified kdf media to target and remove harmful contaminants like chlorine, chloramine, PFOA, PFAS PFOS, pesticides, herbicides, haloacetic acids and more.
It’s also easy to install and low maintenance and has the option to add a salt-free softening system to it.
- What makes the SpringWell Water unique (and, as a result, more effective) is that water is in contact with the premium coconut carbon and KDF media for longer. Using four stages, the unit is able to remove chlorine, heavy metals like lead, pesticides, haloacetic acids, and VOCs. It also prevents the growth of bacteria.
- Few filters have a longer lifespan than the SpringWell Water. You can expect to see no drop in water pressure until it has filtered 1 million gallons of water.
- When you purchase one of these units, you’ll receive a 6-month satisfaction guarantee, a lifetime warranty on the parts, an installation kit, and a guide for the installation. If you have experience with DIY projects, you may be able to install the system yourself.
- One of the larger filtration systems on the list, the Springwell system is more suited to homes than apartments and condos.
- You should also note that the package lacks a replacement filter.
7. Filtersmart FS1000
The powerful Filtersmart FS1000 is designed for homes with between one and three bedrooms. However, if you have four to six bathrooms, you can always upgrade to a large unit.
This model uses coconut shell activated carbons and has a high flow rate of 12-15 gallons per minute. It also offers a 5 years or 1,000,000 gallon guarantee.
If you’re looking for an alternate brand compared to Aquasana or Pelican then Filtersmart is a good option to look into.
- Another long-lasting system, the main filter of the Filtersmart FS1000 will provide you with 1 million gallons of clean water. You also receive a lifetime warranty for the system as a whole.
- The Filtersmart FS1000 has a high-quality coconut activated carbon filter inside its tank to effectively remove chlorine, herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, and chloramine.
- The unit also softens water, which feels great on your skin in the shower.
- Finally, as it has a pre-filter for removing larger particles, no maintenance is needed.
- Only the main filter has a 1 million gallon lifespan — and the unit has three filters in total. For instance, the pre-filter requires changing after 8 to 10 months.
- None of the filters remove fluoride.
- Another downside is the difficulty of the installation. Although installation is made somewhat easier by the bypass valve, the installation kit lacks some things you may need, such as a plastic wrench and extra fittings.
8. iSpring WGBB32B
Not to be confused with the two-stage iSpring WGB22B, the iSpring WGBB32B is a three-stage unit. The first stage of filtration removes sediment down to 5 microns. This protects the following stages, which use coconut shell and CTO carbon filters to remove the rest of the impurities in the water. The 1-inch input and output ports provide a flow rate of about 15 GPM and the filters have a lifespan of 100,000 gallons.
- Able to remove up to 95 percent of sediments, as well as chlorine, herbicides, pesticides, and industrial solvents.
- At the same time, it keeps the total dissolved solids consistent, meaning you still have a healthy balance of minerals in your water.
- The main downside is that the unit is quite large and will only fit in a house with sufficient space.
- Has a short lifespan of just 100,000 gallons (or about 12 months), which is on the low end.
- Lastly, you will need to remember to use Teflon tape at the connections, or you may experience leaks.
9. Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is another system offering a flow rate of up to 15 GPM and a lifespan of 100,000 on its main filter. The unit uses three stages: the first removes large particles down to 1 micron, the second removes metals, and the third cleans water of chlorine and chemicals.
- The second filter of the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is excellent at removing iron and other metals (like sulfur and manganese), making it, arguably, the best iron filter for well water
- Its other filters are also high quality, resulting in the removal of 95 percent of contaminants
- The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC provides all of this at a good price
- Unable to remove all iron from your water. However, as it removes more than 90 percent, this should not be a cause for concern.
- It is difficult to install. In particular, it is important to install plastic on the copper fitting to avoid leaks.
10. APEX MR-3030
If you’re looking for a well water filtration system, the APEX MR-3030 is a good contender. Equally, it’s suitable for most types of city water. The system has three filters (all in one filter body) and offers 15 GPM.
- A good system for well water
- It removes all kinds of sediment (in addition to chlorine) and gets rid of bad odors and tastes
- Each of its filters ranges from 5 microns down to 1 micron, meaning it is very effective
- Filters only have a lifespan of 20,000 gallons, meaning you’ll be changing filters regularly. Still, as all the filters are in the same unit, replacements do work out cheaper than with some other models.
What Are Whole-House Water Filters?
As the name suggests, whole-house filters clean all the water that enters your home. The filter removes any contaminants in the water supply to ensure that water is purified before it reaches you.
How Does a Water Conditioner or Filter Work?
Although every filter system is different, all whole-house systems work in much the same way.
The water filtration system is attached to your main water line. This causes the water to pass through a filter or a set of filters before it reaches any appliances or faucets. In some systems, the water passes through just a single activated carbon filter. In others, it passes through any number of sediment pre-filters and copper-zinc or mineral post-filters.
What Does the Best Water Filter Remove?
Every whole-house water filter removes different impurities. The best filters remove a wide variety of contaminants, whereas more budget options just remove certain substances.
Filtration systems for city water may remove:
- Metals, including iron, manganese, lead, mercury, sulfur, and copper
Systems for well water also remove:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Industrial solvents
Why Use a Home Water Filter?
There are actually a number of reasons why you should install a home water filter.
Protect Your Health
The main reason homeowners decide to purchase a whole-house water filter is to keep their family members safe from illnesses. The contaminants in water can be damaging to your health in various ways. Removing them keeps you safe and makes water taste better.
Extend the Lifespan of Your Appliances
Cleaner water is also good for appliances. Less sediment means less damage to the parts of your washing machine, water heater, and blender.
Maintain the Color of Your Clothing
Do you ever notice that your clothes come out of the washing machine looking less clean than they started? White clothes are particularly susceptible to stains due to dirty water.
Receive Better Results
You could fit a filter just on your kitchen faucet, but this would only provide you with clean drinking water — you’ll still be showering and washing dishes with contaminated water. Adding individual filters to all your appliances and faucets could be an alternative, but this would be much more expensive.
A Buyers’ Guide to Water Treatment Systems
There are major differences between different water filter systems. To choose the right one for you, it’s necessary to think about your priorities and requirements. For instance, it would be pointless to choose the best whole-house water filter for well water if your home receives city water. Similarly, if you have a small house, there’s no need to invest in a filter with a high water flow.
What to Look For in Your Water Filtration System
When comparing water filters, there are several characteristics to consider. Understanding what each means and how it impacts the water filtration system will help you figure out what you’re looking for.
The flow rate of a filtration system is specified in gallons per minute (GPM). The rate needs to be high enough to meet the household’s water needs — for the average home, this will be about 15 GPM. When flow rate is too low, water pressure to faucets and appliances drops.
The micron rating tells you the extent of the filtration. For instance, portable water filters for hiking and camping have extremely low micron ratings — down to as much as 0.1 microns. This is because they need to be able to remove tiny particles that could be dangerous to your health.
In contrast, whole-house systems may only need to filter to around 5 microns. The exception is when particles in your water are particularly small, in which case you may need as low as 1 micron. However, if you choose anything lower than this, your water flow rate will drop considerably.
If you require an extremely low micron rating due to the low quality of the incoming water but you’d rather not sacrifice flow rate, a solution could be to purchase a standard whole-house water filter and install an additional filter where water needs to be extra clean — such as on the kitchen faucet. This will keep water flow high enough to meet your needs on appliances like the washing machine and shower.
As well as the micron rating, you can determine how well the system will filter water by looking at the number of stages. As the water passes through each stage, it becomes progressively cleaner. As a general rule, the more stages the filtration system has, the more purified the water will be.
However, the number of stages alone only gives you part of the picture. The micron rating for each stage and what kinds of impurities each stage removes also matter.
That brings us to the next characteristic: filter type. There are two main types.
The first is heavy-duty filtration. Filters have a lifespan of between 5 and 10 years (or between 500,000 and 1 million gallons) and maintenance is minimal. Systems typically have a carbon tank — as such, they are often called carbon tank models.
The second is standard whole-house filtration. Systems require a whole-house filter cartridge replacement at least every one or two years (or after up to 200,000 gallons), but the advantage is you can choose the filter you use to clean water of specific contaminants.
Finally, there’s the cost of the water filtration system. In terms of upfront costs, standard whole-house filtration systems are less expensive than heavy-duty filtration units. However, there are several additional expenses to think about. For instance, the filters of different models have different prices — and the more filters the system has, the higher the cost to make replacements.
If you have some experience with DIY projects, you may be able to install a simple water filtration system yourself. If you plan to call a plumber for the job, complexity is less of an issue, as the plumber should be able to install whatever system you choose.
Finding the Best Whole-House Water Filter for Your Needs
Now you know what qualities to look for in your filtration system, you need to assess your personal needs. A good place to start is by testing your water. This will tell you what impurities are present in your water — and to what extent.
Next, think about what kind of whole-house water filter would suit your needs. For instance, if your water source is well water that contains high quantities of iron, you’ll need to look for a whole-house iron filter. If you have hard water, you may want the best whole-house water filtration softener system. If your water contains bacteria, opt for a UV filter.
Finally, you need to determine the right size of filtration system. Large systems tend to offer a greater water flow, which is always beneficial for large houses. However, small homes and condos rarely requires the same high flow — and it’s usually difficult to find space to fit a larger filtration system.
Installing a Whole-House Filtration System
If you have no experience with DIY projects, you’re better off relying on a plumber to install your water filtration system. However, if you do have some basic knowledge, you may not find the task too difficult.
To start, turn off your main water supply. Do this by finding the shut-off valve and turning it until it’s completely closed. Next, you need to drain as much water out of the system as possible. This involves turning on a faucet and waiting until the water runs dry.
Now you’re ready to install the filtration system. Choose the location on your water source carefully, as you’ll need plenty of space to access the system whenever it comes time to replace a filter. It’s also best to keep the system out of reach of any children in your household.
Once you have a spot, measure where you will position the shut-off valves and pressure gauges. Mark these places. With a bucket at the ready for any water that remains in the pipes, use a pipe cutter to cut the pipes. A reamer is great for removing any burrs.
The instruction manual for your whole-house filtration system may say that shut-off valves are optional, but they are actually extremely useful for changing filters. Add them to both ends of the pipe. After this, you can mount the unit itself — you can mount it on plywood or mounting brackets. Then, install the pre-filter, followed by the other filters (the correct order is likely specified in the manual).
Finally, follow the instructions for your specific filtration system to install the compression nut and to ensure you face the input and output fittings the right way. Once this is done, turn the inlet valve off and turn on your water supply to check for leaks. If everything looks good, turn the inlet valve on and check one more time for leaks. If there are still no leaks, you’re done!
To ensure your unit does remove all the impurities and contaminants in your water, make sure you pick the best whole-house water filtration system for your needs. With the sheer number of options on the market, each with their own selling points and disadvantages, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. By using this guide, you can figure out exactly what you need and find the best system for you.