Instead of purchasing multiple filters why not just buy one whole house water filtration system that provides you with the purest water to every outlet of your home.
It’s a much smarter investment.
Having said that, it can be hard to tell which whole house water filter systems really work, which ones won’t kill your flow, and which ones are just trying to sell you junk.
We spent countless hours researching, testing, and talking with customers to get you the real scoop on which whole house water filters are best.
We break each one down in our review below, and our buyer’s guide contains the main things you need to know to determine which unit is the best whole house water filter for your home.
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Best Whole House Water Filtration Systems
#1 SpringWell CF1
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#3 SpringWell WS1
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#4 Aquasana Rhino
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#5 Pelican PC
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#6 SoftPro Carbon Filter
Main Criteria to Look For in a Whole House Water Filter
These are the five criteria we used to evaluate each whole home water filtration system, and they’re the main things that will determine if a system is right for your home.
The filter type a whole house system uses is going to determine the contaminants it removes, and these are the most common filters used in whole house water filter systems:
|Filter Type||Contaminants Removed|
|Carbon block filter||Organic chemicals, foul tastes and odors|
|KDF filter||Heavy metals|
|Sediment filter||Silt, suspended particles, rust|
|Air injection oxidizing (AIO) filter||Iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide|
The best whole house water filter is going to be the one that removes the contaminants specific to your water, and you can purchase a water testing kit to find out exactly what contaminants are most prevalent in your supply.
Filter Lifespan & Capacity
Another thing to look at is how long it takes before you need to replace filters in each system.
This is known as the filter life or filter longevity. This can be anywhere from 6 months for pre- and post-filters, to years for the main one.
Similarly, capacity refers to the number of gallons a filter can process over its lifespan. Ease of filter replacement and cost are other things to consider as well.
If you’ve ever tried to take a shower with a very poor flow, you know how frustrating it can be to have to wait on your water.
The water flow, or the water pressure, that comes out of the system is one of the biggest things that affects customer satisfaction with a particular system.
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and the Water Quality Association (WQA) are two independent entities that certify water filters and other products for meeting standards like the reduction of specific contaminants or using parts of a certain quality.
Certification shows that brands put their money where their mouth is when it comes to claims about their products. See our guide to water treatment certifications here.
When looking at the cost of a whole house water filter system, you have to take three factors into consideration:
- The upfront cost of the system
- The installation costs
- The costs down the line from replacement filters and other maintenance
When determining the ideal whole house water filtration system price for your home make sure to factor in the installation costs and the likely replacement filter costs as these are the expenses that most people forget about when purchasing.
Best Whole House Water Filter Reviews
Using the criteria above, we’ve narrowed all the highly-rated whole house water filters down to the 10 very best.
Each has specific qualities that help it stand out from the crowd, and each provides high-quality filtered water for your home.
1. SpringWell Water CF1 – Best Overall Whole Home Water Filtration System for City Water
Springwell’s CF1 model is our pick for the best whole house water filter and it’s also one of the best value whole house water filter choices.
The CF1 has consistently received stellar consumer reviews, and Springwell uses innovative 4-stage filtration technology to go the extra mile to bring clean water to homeowners.
It’s also easy to install and low maintenance, and you can add a salt-free softening system if you would like.
The system filters up to 1,000,000 gallons of water without any loss in water pressure and safely removes harmful contaminants such as PFOA, PFAS, PFOS, among other chemicals that you don’t want in your water.
Everything Springwell makes is made in America and they back their products with an industry-leading 6-month money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty so you have nothing to lose.
Overall Springwell offers a very low cost of ownership and maintenance for a very high-quality whole home water filter system that will give you healthy water for a lifetime.
This combination of cost-effectiveness and high-quality filtration is the main reason we love this filter.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – This model features a four-stage proprietary ActivFlo water filtration system. It contains a catalytic coconut shell carbon filter and certified KDF (Kinetic Degradation Fluxion) filtration media to remove harmful water contaminants like chlorine, chloramine, pesticides, herbicides, and other organic chemicals.
For a more complete list of the contaminants the CF1 filters, click here.
Filter lifespan & capacity – The system comes with a pre-filter that needs to be replaced every 6-9 months, and then the main filter media itself has a 1,000,000 gallon capacity. This means it gives you a 10 year filter life before it needs to be replaced, depending on your household’s water usage.
Flow rate – The operating water pressure is between 25 and 80 PSI, and it has a 9 GPM (gallons of water per minute) flow capability. This is a little lower than some models, but it should still be sufficient for most medium-sized houses.
Certifications – This product has not been NSF or WQA certified, but SpringWell is a trusted brand in water filtration.
Price – At $811.63 for the system, you’re getting superior performance for a relatively low price. The pre-filters are $40 for a 2-pack, and the main filter media replacement is $334. If you’re handy with plumbing, you can DIY the install to avoid having to pay for a plumber.
Who It’s Best For:
The Springwell whole house water filter system is optimal for those looking for a great filter to remove harmful contaminants from their city tap water that also comes at a very fair price.
For more in-depth information, also see our complete SpringWell Water Review.
- Four-stage filter uses activated carbon filter and KDF filtration media to remove foul tastes and odors as well as organic chemicals
- 1,000,000 gallon filter capacity and 10 year lifespan
- Maintains a good flow at 9 GPM (doesn’t negatively affect water pressure)
- 6-month money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty on the parts
- DIY-friendly to install
- Reasonable price point for the quality
- Can add on a softener system as well
- One of the larger filters on the list
- Will not work great for most well water
2. AquaOx – Most Effective Whole House Water Filtration System
AquaOx takes the silver medal for being the most effective whole house water filtration system with the largest capacity.
It works for both municipal water and well water and removes the most contaminants of the filters on our list.
What makes Aquaox one of the leading whole-home filters on the market is the robust 7-stage filtration process it features which includes pre-sediment, KDF, Garnet, Catalytic Carbon, and activated carbon filters as well as the overall lifespan and capacity of this unit at 2,000,000 gallons or 20+ years.
This filter is made in the USA, features a 10-year no-hassle warranty, and it’s pretty easy to install. Not to mention the awesome customer service Aquaox offers everyone who does business with them.
Overall, if you’re looking for the most effective premium whole-house system with the largest capacity and aren’t worried about price then the Aquaox is your ideal choice.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – The AquaOx features a filtration system with 7 stages: the pre-sediment filter, KDF 55, KDF-85, garnet, centaur catalytic adsorptive carbon, activated coconut shell carbon filter, and filter-AG stages. This allows it to remove foul tastes and odors, heavy metals like lead, iron, mercury, organic chemicals, and microorganisms.
You can see the full list of contaminants the AquaOx works on here.
Filter lifespan & capacity – With a 2,000,000 gallon capacity, you won’t find a filter media that lasts longer. This offers a filter life of least 20 years, and works for up to four bathrooms.
The system is maintenance-free, meaning you don’t have to clean or replace any filters aside from the main 7-stage filter at the end of its lifespan. You can also DIY install this model.
Flow rate – There’s no compromise on flow capability at 15 GPM. You can rest assured you’ll have plenty of water pressure for all of your home’s needs.
Certifications – The AquaOx has been certified by both NSF and WQA for NSF/ANSI standards 42 – meaning it removes aesthetic contaminants, 53 – meaning it removes contaminants with known health effects, and 61 – meaning it uses certified components.
Price – You get it all with this system – and you also pay for it. Going for $2,999, you’ll save some money by not having to do filter replacements down the line but it won’t offset the initial cost.
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Who It’s Best For:
It’s best for those looking for the most powerful whole house water filter system – and the highest water quality possible.
Just keep in mind that you pay the price for this premium whole house filtration system.
You can see our full Aquaox Review here.
- 7-stage filter removes a wide variety of contaminants and works for both well and municipal water
- 2,000,000 gallon capacity and 20 year lifespan
- Maintenance-free operation
- Exceptional 15 GPM flow
- NSF and WQA certified
- 12-month money-back guarantee and 10-year warranty
- Very expensive
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3. SpringWell Water WS1- For Private Wells
Springwell’s WS1 Filter System is our top solution for private wells.
If you’re someone who has determined you have iron, manganese, or hydrogen sulfide in your well water supply this is one of the top models on the market for you.
This unit features a 4-step air injection oxidizing filter system which works by oxidizing iron, manganese, and sulfur from your water and then filtering it out in subsequent stages of the process.
It removes up to 8 PPM of Hydrogen Sulfide, up to 7 PPM Iron, and 1 PPM Manganese from your water.
The unit also requires no maintenance and causes no drop in water pressure keeping the flow around 12-20 GPM while competing water filters are usually in the range of 6-7 GPM.
Add on the fact that Springwell is a trusted American made brand that offers a 6-month money-back guarantee for a top-of-the-line well filter at a very reasonable cost and you can see why this model is one of the best whole house filters on the market.
If you have well water and want to see our specific review for this issue, check out our best whole house water filters for well water guide.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – Using AIO filtration, this model removes nearly 100% of iron up to 7ppm, hydrogen sulfide up to 8ppm, and manganese up to 1ppm – which are the three most common well water contaminants. The built-in sediment filter also removes suspended particles and debris.
Filter lifespan & capacity – The media in the WS1 should last for 20+ years filter life, which translates to a roughly 2,000,000 gallon capacity even though SpringWell doesn’t publish that specification.
Flow rate – With a 12 GPM flow capability, this system does a great job of making sure there’s no drop in flow for quality water.
Certifications – This SpringWell product has not been NSF or WQA certified but Springwell is a trusted brand in the filtration space.
Price – The $2,000 price tag is a bit steep, but it’s well worth it for the high flow rate and near-complete clearance of common well water contaminants. Like the AquaOx, due to the maintenance-free design there’s no ongoing costs from filter replacements.
Who It’s Best For:
If you have a home with a private well and have iron, manganese, sulfur, or a combination of these common well water contaminants, then this Springwell whole house water filter is a great choice.
- 4-stage filter removes up to 8 ppm of Hydrogen Sulfide, up to 7 ppm Iron, and 1 ppm Manganese
- Maintenance-free design
- 20+ year lifespan
- High flow rating at 12 GPM
- 6-month money-back guarantee & lifetime warranty on parts
- Bluetooth interface for remote monitoring through an app
- Can add a water softener system
- More expensive unit
- May need a plumber to help install
4. Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000 – Best Whole House Water Filtration & Softener System
Suitable for both municipal water supply contaminants and hard water minerals, the Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000 is a 3-stage whole house water filter system combined with a salt free softener.
The Rhino has been one of the most popular whole-home filtration systems for a while now because of Aquasana’s high-quality water filter technology and the ability to customize the models to your exact specification.
The Rhino comes in a 600,000 gallon and 1,000,000 gallon capacity model with a decent flow rating of 7 GPM.
One of the best features of this filter is that Aquasana has gone through independent testing to certify that it removes 97% of chlorine as well as reducing lead, mercury, herbicides, pesticides, and VOCs.
With a price tag of around $1700, the ability to add a water softener and UV light filter, and a highly trusted brand with quality customer service you can see why the Rhino is one of the best picks.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – Using a combination of KDF-55 media and an activated carbon post-filter, this system reduces herbicides, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds (VOC)s in addition to nitrates, 97% of chlorine, and heavy metals like iron, lead, and hydrogen sulfide.
It also prevents the growth of bacteria and algae, and the sediment pre-filter works on suspended particles. You can see the whole list of contaminants removed here.
Filter lifespan & capacity – This model has a 1,000,000 gallon capacity, which is a filter life of about 10 years depending on your water usage.
The pre- and post-filter will need to be replaced regularly, however. The pre-filter lasts up to six months with city water, while the post-filter lasts up to 12 months on city water.
Flow rate – The water flow is a bit lower than the others at 7 GPM, which may still be enough for a 4-person household with low usage.
Certificates – NSF has certified this product for standard 42, which means it improves the aesthetic quality of water.
Price – The Aquasana Rhino combo system goes for $1,552, which is less expensive than some of the other models and you get the added benefit of the water softener. The pre-filters come in a 4-pack for $29.95, while the post-filters are sold individually for $29.95 as well.
Who It’s Best For:
The Aquasana whole house water filter is an excellent option for consumers looking for a three-stage water filter system that also works as a whole house water softener.
It’s an optimal choice for those concerned about chlorine, heavy metals, and other contaminant levels in their water who want the ability to customize their own solution.
For more information, you can also see our complete Aquasana EQ-1000 Review.
- Takes care of all your water filtration and softening needs in one whole house system
- Works on both municipal water and well water
- Filters microscopic particles from rust, sediment, industrial solvents, pesticides, silt, water-soluble metals, lead, and 97% of chlorine
- Long-lasting, the KDF media has a 10 year or 1-million gallon lifespan
- NSF certified
- No backflushing which means no waste water generated
- A low flow capacity of just 7 GPM
- Filter replacement for the pre- and post-filters can be expensive
- Pre- and post-filters need to be replaced at least every six months
- One of the heaviest units
- You may need a plumber for filter changes or installation if you don’t get the install kit
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5. Pelican PC 600- A Trusted Water Filter Brand
Pelican’s PC 600 or 1000 whole house water filter is one of the market’s top systems for municipal water thanks to its combination of a catalytic granular activated carbon filter and KDF-55 media.
The PC 600 works in homes with up to three bathrooms, and the PC 1000 system will work in homes with 4-6 bathrooms.
Pelican has certified this filter by NSF to remove 97% of chlorine and other contaminants and it’s also very easy to maintain plus install.
It also offers an 8-12 GPM flow rating which is average.
Compared to our other whole-home filter top picks this unit offers very similar filtration capabilities and value.
One of the benefits of the PC is that when you purchase from Pelican you are buying with a company that has been one of the leaders in water treatment for quite some time, so the trust is there.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – The sediment pre-filter removes all particles larger than five microns, including sand, silt, sediment, and other debris. The granulated activated carbon filter works on chlorine, chloramines, and VOCs, while the KDF-55 media reduces water-soluble heavy metals.
You can see the full list of contaminants removed here.
Filter lifespan & capacity – The PC600 has a 600,000 gallon capacity which is guaranteed by Pelican to last at least five years. The sediment pre-filter, on the other hand, will last for 6-9 months. The upgraded system for 4-6 bathrooms, the PC1000, has a 1,000,000 gallon capacity.
Flow rate – The operating water pressure ranges between 20 and 80 PSI, and the water flow is 8 GPM for the PC600 and 12 GPM for the PC1000.
Certifications – This model has been NSF certified for standard 42, which means it reduces chlorine and bad tastes/odors in water.
Price – If you’re looking for high-quality water on a budget, you’ll like the $759.20 price tag. The sediment pre-filters are likewise reasonably priced at $88 for a 4-pack.
Who It’s Best For:
The Pelican whole house water filtration system is an excellent choice for consumers with municipal water who are looking for a filter that doesn’t require electricity or produce gallons of water wasted. It’s also great for those who don’t want to break the bank on their whole house filter.
You can see our complete Pelican water review here.
- Activated carbon and KDF-55 media reduce many chemicals found in city tap water supplies
- Can get a higher-capacity system for larger houses
- 5-year guarantee and limited lifetime warranty
- Easy install and maintenance
- NSF certified
- Doesn’t use wastewater
- Requires no electricity – unless you add a UV light filter upgrade
- Great price
- Doesn’t work as well on well water
- Lower flow rate
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6. SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter
The SoftPro Carbon Filter is another good whole home water filtration system that competes with our top picks.
The main filter in this system is a catalytic back-washing activated carbon filter. Catalytic carbon is a type of processed activated carbon that removes 99% of chloramines, chlorine, VOCs, and other chemicals.
Besides the catalytic carbon filter, it also has a KDF sponge made from copper and zinc which helps remove heavy metals as well as a 5 micron sediment pre-filter to help remove sand and sediment before going through the main filtration process.
Another benefit of this system is that it includes an automatic backwashing system that operates without using chemicals or salt.
The filter has a capacity of 600,000 or 1,000,000 gallon options and usually lasts for around 5 years.
Overall, it’s a decent whole-home filtration system for someone looking for a lower-cost option to remove chlorine and chloramines.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – This model removes 99% of chloramines, chlorine, VOCs, and other chemicals as well as a high % of pesticides, herbicides, petroleum, lead copper zinc, and sulfur.
Filter lifespan & capacity – It has a long filter capacity of 600,000 to 1,000,000 gallons or approximately 5 years before needing filter replacement.
Flow rate – Has an average flow rate of around 7-10 GPM
Certifications – This model has not been NSF certified.
Price – The price of this filter is $1400 and it often goes on sale for around $960. They also offer financing and overall it is in the normal price range for a whole house filter.
Who It’s Best For:
The SoftPro Carbon whole house water filter system is a good choice for someone on municipal water who is looking to save some money and remove chlorine and chloramines as well as other impurities.
- Long filter life
- Auto backwashing function
- Chemical-free purification
- Good for well water
- Not easy to install
- No NSF certification
- Not a lot of details on manufacturer site
7. Filtersmart FS1000
The powerful Filtersmart FS1000 is ideal for homes with 1-3 bathrooms, delivering great flow while using activated coconut shell carbon media to remove a wide range of contaminants.
However, if you have four to six bathrooms, they have a larger upgrade option as well.
Filtersmart is a newer company in the water filtration space and this FS1000 model is well designed and very reasonably priced although it doesn’t offer anything special compared to similar units we reviewed.
It has a similar flow rating at 12 GPM, comparable filtration capacity, and lacks certification.
Overall, it’s a good filter at a low cost and it comes down to brand preference.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – The activated carbon block filter removes chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, herbicides, pesticides, THMs, and industry solvents as well as other contaminants. For the full list of contaminants removed, click here.
Filter lifespan & capacity – This filter is rated for 1,000,000 gallons and comes with a five-year guarantee. The sediment filter should be replaced every 6-8 months.
Flow rate – The maximum water flow is 12 GPM, which should be more than plenty for a 3-bathroom house and will ensure you don’t experience any drop in pressure.
Certifications – This product has not been certified by NSF or WQA.
Price – This filter is easy on the wallet at $710.50, and a 4-pack of the sediment pre-filters is $78.
Who It’s Best For:
This Filtersmart product is a great option to consider if you want a filter that produces quality results without impacting flow.
You can also see our full Filtersmart review here.
- Carbon block filter removes many organic contaminants as well as chlorine and chloramine
- 12 GPM flow rating
- 1,000,000 gallon capacity and rated for at least 5 years
- No electricity required
- Great price
- Lifetime warranty
- Likely needs a plumber to install
- Not recommended for well water – does not remove iron, hydrogen sulfide, or manganese
- No independent certifications
8. iSpring WGB32B 3 Stage Whole Home Filter
The iSpring WGB32B is a 3 stage filtration system that is good for any water supply. The base system uses a polypropylene sediment filter in addition to two carbon block filters to remove a large number of contaminants while maintaining flow.
It removes agricultural and industrial solvents, chemicals and VOCs, and its carbon block technology effectively reduces the taste of chlorine.
One of the best things about this system is that you can customize it to your water’s needs and filter changes are easy.
If you’re on a municipal water supply and chlorine is your biggest concern, you can stick with the 2 CTO filters. If you’re concerned about lead, you can replace one of the CTO filters with an ion-exchange lead reduction filter.
Similarly, if you’re on well water you can swap one of the CTO filters for a catalytic carbon filter media that reduces both iron and manganese.
This unit is a good budget option to consider because it offers customization at a low cost and uses multiple filters to get good results.
Overall, if you are looking for a cheaper filter this is a model to take a look at.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – The CTO carbon block filters remove up to 99% of chlorine and up to 95% of herbicides, industrial solvents, pesticides, and more. A high-capacity polypropylene reduces particles down to 5 microns.
Filter lifespan & capacity – These CTO carbon filters are rated for 100,000 gallons, or one year. The sediment filter, on the other hand is only rated for 10,000 gallons but some customers report it lasting for up to six months depending on the amount of sediment in your water. Swapping out the filters is very easy, and you do not need a plumber for installation and maintenance processes.
Flow rate – With one of the top flow ratings on the market at 15 GPM, you can be confident that this filter won’t put a dent in your water pressure.
Certifications – This product has not been NSF or WQA certified for contaminant removal, but the parts have been NSF certified for standard 61.
Price – The initial price of this model is $398, which is the second-lowest on our list. Having said that, the CTO replacement cartridges are $36.20 each, while the sediment filter is $22.06.
If you wanted to upgrade to the iron and manganese filter, that cartridge is $79.82, while the KDF combination filter is $95.99. The cost over time is going to depend on which combination of cartridges you use, and as always your household’s water usage.
Who It’s Best For:
This 3-stage filter is ideal for homeowners who want to clean up their home’s water supply on a budget – no matter which set of contaminants it has. Choosing this iSpring whole house water filter means consumers can access a system with easy installation and a lower cost compared to most other models.
See our iSpring water systems review for more information about the company.
- Carbon block filters remove up to 95 percent of sediments and chlorine, herbicides, pesticides, and industrial solvents
- The customizable nature of the system means you can target your water’s specific contaminants
- The 15 GPM flow rating is exceptional
- Able to be DIY installed
- The parts have been NSF certified
- The price can’t be beat for the quality
- The unit is quite large and will only fit in a house with sufficient space
- The cartridges have a short lifespan of just 100,000 gallons of filtered water (or about 12 months), which is low
- If you forget to use Teflon tape at the connections, you may experience leaks
9. Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC whole house filter is another system offering a flow capacity of up to 15 GPM.
This system works on both the top well contaminants and organic impurities.
Specifically, it removes up to 95% of iron, manganese, sediment, and chemicals.
At the low price tag of $500 and the ability to be a pretty effective well water filter, the Home Master is a good option to consider if you’re dealing with non-chlorinated well water.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – This Home Master system combines a sediment filter with granular activated carbon and an iron reduction filter. Together they remove iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide for up to 3ppm combined, in addition to sediment and turbidity, pesticides and herbicides, chlorine, and other organic chemicals down to 1 micron in size.
Filter lifespan & capacity – The capacity is based on the carbon filter, which is slightly lower than the other models at 95,000 gallons. It can still last you a full year in a 4-person household if you only have moderate usage, however.
The iron reduction filter will last anywhere from six months to a year depending on how much iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide is in your water, and the sediment filter will also last from 6-12 months before needing to be replaced.
Filter changes are also pretty easy to take care of.
Flow rate – The maximum water pressure is 90 PSI, and as mentioned this system also delivers a 15 GPM water flow.
Certifications – The Home Master has not been certified by the NSF or WQA.
Price – The initial price of the system is $503.85, which is lower than many of the other models. Having said that, the carbon filter replacement cartridge costs $83.35, while the iron filter replacement costs $117.37 and the sediment replacement filter costs $34.49.
Who It’s Best For:
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC whole house water filter is an excellent choice for homes running on well water. However, if you’re looking for a whole house water filter for your city tap water, the HMF2SMGCC filters are worth considering as well.
See our Home Master review for more information about the company, including the HMF3SDGFEC model.
- Removes iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide up to 3ppm combined and also removes other organic chemicals
- Excellent flow rating at 15 GPM
- Very reasonable price
- Two year limited warranty on the filter housing
- Easy to maintain
- Lower capacity than the other models means more maintenance
- It is difficult to install DIY
10. 3M Aqua Pure Whole House Water Filter
For homeowners who want a low-cost and hassle-free filter to improve their tap water, the 3M Aqua-Pure whole house water filter system is another unit to consider.
The 20 GPM water flow is suitable for households of any size, and the filter is certified to improve the aesthetic quality of your water.
It also features a scale inhibition system that protects pipes and appliances and its carbon filter captures sediment down to five microns reducing the taste of chlorine.
It has a 100,000-gallon capacity (which is very small) and it doesn’t remove heavy metal or chemical contaminants, but if you don’t need that capability, it’s a good value filter.
Main Features & Benefits
Contaminants removed – This system removes particulates larger than 5 microns in addition to chlorine and other bad tastes and odors. The Aqua-Pure filter is also marketed to reduce scale formation, but if water hardness is a top concern you would be better off going with a true water softener system.
Filter lifespan & capacity – This filter lasts for 100,000 gallons, or roughly a year. There’s no pre- or post-filters, so you don’t have to worry about extra maintenance with them.
Flow rate – You won’t find a filter that preserves flow better at 20 GPM.
Certifications – NSF has certified this system for standard 42, meaning it improves the aesthetic quality of your water.
Price – The price of the initial system is $291.15, while the replacement cartridges are $191.14. This makes this system the cheapest to start off, but the cost does add up with the yearly replacements.
Who It’s Best For:
If you have a city water supply that does a good job of removing harmful contaminants and you just want to clean up the odor and improve your water taste, then this is a great filter for just improving aesthetics.
If you have heavy metals, organic chemicals, or other impurities that need to be removed, however, you would be better off going with one of the other models.
- Removes high levels of chlorine, particles larger than 5 microns, and helps to reduce scale buildup
- The 20 GPM water flow is exceptional
- Easy installation and filter replacement
- NSF certified
- Low up-front cost
- Mainly improves taste and odor of water, doesn’t work on other harmful contaminants
- Only a 100,000 gallon capacity
- Costs can add up over time
Whole House Water Filter Feature Comparison Table
|Product||Filter Type||Filter Capacity||Flow Rate||Certifications||Price|
|SpringWell CF1||Catalytic Carbon, KDF-55||1,000,000||9 GPM||N/A||$$|
|AquaOx||Catalytic and Activated Carbon, KDF-55 and -85||2,000,000||15 GPM||NSF & WQA||$$$$|
|Springwell WS1||AIO||2,000,000||12 GPM||N/A||$$$|
|Aquasana Rhino EQ-1000||Activated Carbon, KDF-55||1,000,000||7 GPM||NSF||$$$|
|Pelican PC600||Activated Carbon, KDF-55||600,000||8 GPM||NSF||$$|
Whole House Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
Learn everything you need to know about whole-home filters below to make your best decision.
What is a Whole House Water Filter?
The filter removes contaminants in the main water supply to ensure that it is purified before it reaches your pipes.
How Does a Whole House Water Filter Work?
A whole house water filter system attaches to your main water line’s point of entry. That causes the water to pass through a filter or a set of filters before reaching appliances, faucets, and other water-using fixtures throughout your home.
For a more detailed explanation check out our how do whole house water filters work page.
Whole House Filters vs Reverse Osmosis Systems
While most whole house filters efficiently provide filtered water to your whole home, reverse osmosis filters are very inefficient and generate a lot of wastewater when used to filter a whole home.
Instead, RO systems are most often used at individual faucets or fixtures for clean drinking water.
The reason RO systems are popular is because of their effectiveness. They remove the most amount of contaminants from water including healthy minerals, bacteria, chemicals, and most of the impurities whole house systems remove but the downside is they create a lot of waste and are very inefficient.
A good option to consider for the most complete water treatment solution in a home with very poor water quality is using a whole house filter on the point of entry and a RO filter under your sink for drinking water.
Just make sure to pick an RO system that adds back in healthy minerals if you want that benefit.
Whole House Filters vs Water Softener Systems
Most regular filters don’t remove TDS or minerals, while most softener systems don’t remove heavy metals, chlorine, and other contaminants.
Many people install both a water softener and a whole-home filter in one unit to take care of both contaminants and hard water minerals if their water quality is poor and some people decide to purchase one or the other or even both individual units.
If you’re someone who is interested in purchasing both devices make sure to check out our guide on installing a whole house water filter before or after a water softener.
What Do the Best Water Filters Remove?
There are many different types of whole house water filters and they each remove different contaminants. The best whole house water filter removes a wide variety of contaminants, whereas more budget options just improve the water taste and odor.
The main contaminants found in city water supplies:
The main contaminants found in well water:
- Hydrogen Sulfide- produces the notorious rotten egg smell
Other potential contaminants in both (but more likely found in well water):
- Herbicides and pesticides
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Parasites, viruses, bacteria
- Industrial solvents
In order to find out what contaminants are in your water specifically, you should purchase a water testing kit that will break down the types and amounts of each contaminant. Then you can target your whole-house filter purchase to the one that will best meet your needs.
Most of our top models above will filter out a wide range of water contaminants for both city and well water supply.
Still, if you know that you just need to remove one or two contaminants, you can find filters that are tailored to those specific needs.
For example, if you are concerned about fluoride, iron, lead, or have a private well make sure to check out our specific guides for these contaminants below.
- Best fluoride water filters
- Best iron filters for well water
- Best water filters for lead removal
- Best filters for well water
Why Use a Home Water Filter?
There are several reasons to invest in a whole house water filtration system, from health benefits to improving the lifespan of your appliances.
Protect Your Health
The main reason homeowners decide to purchase whole house water filters is to keep their family members safe from illnesses associated with different contaminants like lead, pesticides, industry solvents, bacteria, and more.
It’s not uncommon to find reports of excessive amounts of harmful chemicals in a city water supply.
Extend the Lifespan of Your Appliances
Cleaner water is also essential for your appliances. If the system has a filter that removes sediment, less sediment means less damage to the parts of your washing machine, water heater, dishwasher, etc.
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 garments 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 more expensive than installing one universal system.
In order to remove harmful chemicals from your whole house, it’s best to install a whole house filtration system for the best results.
More Sustainable & Eco-Friendly
By installing a whole home water filter instead of using bottled water you are also helping the environment since the use of plastic plays a role in harming our oceans and ecosystems. Not to mention it’s also a hassle to constantly purchase and store bottled water containers.
See a full list of whole house water filter benefits here.
What to Look For in Your Water Filtration System
There are significant differences between different whole house water filters, and when choosing the right one for you it’s necessary to think about your priorities and requirements.
Find a Filter That Matches Your Type of Water & Home
For instance, it would be pointless to choose the best whole house carbon water filter if your home water supply contains iron and you need a filter that’s specific for iron removal.
Similarly, if you have a small house, you don’t need to look at whole house water filtration systems featuring a super high flow capability.
Make Sure the Specifics Match Your Needs
We looked at the contaminants removed, the filter lifespan and capacity, the flow rate, amount of maintenance required, whether the system is certified, and the cost of the system as our main points of comparison.
Depending on your home setup you may also need to look at factors like the dimensions of the system, the ease of installation and filter replacement, and the size of the inlet piping.
Make sure the specs match your home size and water issue and find the best price that fits those needs.
Look at What Micron Rating is Ideal for Your Water
One additional consideration that may change how you want to set up your home’s filtration is the micron rating.
The micron rating tells you what size particles are filtered out of the water.
For instance, a portable water filter for hiking and camping has low micron ratings – down to as small as 0.1 microns. That’s because they need to remove tiny particles that could be dangerous to your health like microbial cysts.
In contrast, whole-house systems may only need a 5-micron filter. The exception is when the particles in your water are tiny, in which case you may need as low as 1 micron instead of 5 microns.
However, if you choose anything lower than this, your water flow pressure will drop considerably.
Suppose you require a tiny micron rating due to the incoming water’s low quality, but you’d rather not sacrifice your flow capacity.
In that case, a solution could be to purchase a standard whole house water filter and install an additional point-of-use filter where water needs to be extra clean – such as a kitchen faucet filter or under sink filter.
That will keep flow high enough to meet your needs on appliances like the washing machine and shower while still providing the cleanest water where you need it most.
Figure Out The Right Type or Combination of Filters Needed
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 choose a filter system that removes iron.
If you have hard water as well as contaminants, you may need the best whole house water filter and softener combo in one unit like Aquasana’s Rhino with Softening.
If your water contains bacteria or viruses, opt to include a UV light filtration attachment with your purchase.
Size It Correctly
Finally, you need to determine the right size for the filtration system. Large systems tend to offer a greater water flow, which is always beneficial for large houses. However, small homes and condos rarely require the same high flow – and it’s usually challenging to find space to fit a larger filtration system.
If you need more help choosing your filter we created a step-by-step guide to choosing a whole home filter.
Installing a Whole House Water Filtering 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.
You can also check out our more detailed guide to whole-home filter installation here.
Below are the basic steps:
1. To start, turn off your main water supply. Do this by finding the shut-off valve and turning it until it’s completely closed.
2. Next, you need to drain as much water out of the system as possible. That involves turning on a faucet and waiting until the water runs dry.
3. 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 unit 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.
4. Once you have a spot, measure where you will position the shut-off valves and pressure gauges. Mark these places. With a bucket available for any water that remains in the pipes, use a pipe cutter to cut the water line. A reamer is excellent for removing any burrs.
5. The instruction manual for your whole house filter system may say that shut-off valves are optional, but they are handy for changing filters. Add them to both ends of the pipe. After this, you can mount the unit itself – either on plywood or with mounting brackets.
6. Then, install the sediment filter, followed by the main system and any other filters (the correct order is typically available in the manual).
7. Finally, follow the instructions for your specific filtration system to install the compression nut and ensure you face the input and output fittings the right way. Once this is complete, turn the filter’s 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, the task is complete.
Whole House Filter FAQs
When other homeowners are looking for the best whole house water filter, these are the main questions that they’ve been asking:
Q: Do I need a whole house filter? When are they not needed?
A: If you get your water from a well, then you definitely need a whole house filtration system. While your city’s municipal water supplies should meet set standards for health and purity, you may want to remove some particles like fluoride or chlorine that remain, even though they’re at safe levels.
If you get your water tested and you find that there are no contaminants over recommended levels, or if you are already satisfied with how your water tastes, then you may not need a whole house filter.
Likewise, if you’re only interested in increasing the quality of your drinking and cooking water, you can use a point-of-use filter at your kitchen faucet.
See our guide on determining if you need a whole house water filter for more information.
Q: Are whole house filters really worth it?
A: Yes, we believe they are. What’s the price tag for peace of mind? What’s the value of your family’s health? More tangibly, you’ll see real dollar savings since your appliances will have extended lifespans.
If you’re someone who thinks they want to create a DIY whole house water filter to save a few dollars then make sure you are ready to deal with the hassles that come with that process.
Q: Can I drink the water filtered by the whole house filter?
A: Yes! Better quality drinking water is one of the main benefits of whole house filtration systems.
Q: Do You Need to Replace Filter Cartridges in a Whole Home System?
A: Yes, you will likely need to replace your filters after a certain period of time depending on the brand of filter your purchase. Usually, whole home filters last a long amount of time (years) before needing to replace the filter cartridges. It’s best to read the manufacturer details for this.
You can see our best whole house water filter cartridge page here for replacements when needed.
Q: Do Whole House Filters Need a Lot of Maintenance?
A: As long as you purchase a high-quality filter they usually don’t require too much maintenance. If the filter has any malfunctions we usually hear people reporting about issues like leaking problems, the filter getting stuck, backwashing problems or a pressure drop that needs to be fixed.
So, Which Whole House Water Filter Do We Recommend?
After reviewing all the best whole house water filters on the market, there are a number of great options that we listed in our review table at the top of the article.
If you want the best whole house filter system for city tap water at an affordable price, go with the SpringWell CF1 model.
If you are looking for the highest quality and largest capacity and aren’t concerned with price, go with AquaOx.
Lastly, keep in mind that a whole house filter is an investment in quality filtered water that can last you for a long time and keep your family safe, healthy, and clean. So we recommend weighing the pros cons before choosing one of our top picks and not skimping out on this purchase.