Best Whole-House Water Filters

Top 10 Water Purification Systems

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES
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    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 95,000

    Number of Stages: 2
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 20
    Filter Type: Standard Whole-House Filtration
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    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 100,000

    Number of Stages: 1
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 20
    Filter Type: Standard Whole-House Filtration
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    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 1,000,000

    Number of Stages: 4
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 9
    Filter Type: Heavy Duty
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    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 100,000

    Number of Stages: 3
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 15
    Filter Type: Standard Whole-House Filtration
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hd-table__image

    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 100,000

    Number of Stages: 3
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 15
    Filter Type: Standard Whole-House Filtration
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    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 1,000,000

    Number of Stages: 3
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 12
    Filter Type: Heavy Duty
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    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 2,000,000

    Number of Stages: 7
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 37
    Filter Type: Heavy Duty
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hd-table__image

    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 100,000

    Number of Stages: 3
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 15
    Filter Type: Standard Whole-House Filtration
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    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 1,000,000

    Number of Stages: 3
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 7
    Filter Type: Heavy Duty
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    Lifetime Capacity (gallons): 20,000

    Number of Stages: 3
    Maximum Flow Rate (GPM): 15
    Filter Type: Standard Whole-House Filtration
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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.

1. Home Master HMF2SDGC

A two-stage water filter, the Home Master HMF2SDGC is designed for chlorinated city water — not well water nor city water with chloramines. The second stage filter is coconut shell carbon, which removes lead, mercury, and copper and eliminates odors and bad tastes. You can feel confident that the Home Master HMF2SDGC will remove almost everything from your water, except beneficial minerals.

Pros

Thanks to the dual-gradient density filter, you can set the main filter of the Home Master HMF2SDGC to as low as 1 micron but to as high as 20 microns. The system has large ports and filter housing, meaning you maintain a decent water flow of at least 15 GPM and up to as high as 20 GPM. The over-size filters also make it easy to maintain the system.

A unique characteristic of the Home Master HMF2SDGC is that you can use it together with other products, such as a UV sanitizer or water softener. All you need to do is connect the system to the other product.

Cons

The downside of the Home Master HMF2SDGC is that it has a shorter filter lifespan than heavy-duty filtration models. The carbon filter works for a maximum of 95,000 gallons, which equals about 12 months for a family of four. The replacement filters (like the unit itself) are expensive.

Another disadvantage is the weight of the system — it requires wall mounting, and some homeowners may struggle to change the heavy filters without support. You also need to bear in mind that the plastic threads on the inlet and outlet ports are loose. Finally, the unit lacks pressure release and shutoff valves.

 

2. 3M Aqua-Pure

One of the more simple models on the list, the 3M Aqua-Pure may be ideal if you need to remove chlorine, rust, or sediment from your water. The materials in its carbon filter are FDA CRF-21 compliant and filter down to 5 microns. This makes it a good option if you’re looking to improve the taste of your water and remove chlorine odors.

Pros

As a single-stage unit, the 3M Aqua-Pure is able to provide a higher-than-average flow rate of 20 GPM. Plus, although its filter lifespan is on the low end, this is less of an issue because it is easy to replace — it has sanitary quick change design, which means you just twist it off to remove. The same feature makes it easy to install the unit. One more advantage of the 3M Aqua-Pure is the stainless steel head on the filtration system, which comes with a 25-year warranty.

Cons

The 3M Aqua-Pure is only suitable for city water that is already quite clean. The unit is unable to filter small impurities like heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, giardia, and VOCs.

In addition, although the manufacturer claims that the filter will last one year, water with significant sediment will cause the filter to become clogged long before, unless you also install a pre-filter. A clogged filter will also make the water pressure drop. A final disadvantage is that the filter and cartridge are integrated, whereas they are separate in many other models.

3. 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.

Pros

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 filter 1 million gallons of water. Furthermore, 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.

Cons

One of the larger filtration systems on the list, the SpringWell Water is more suited to homes than apartments and condos. You should also note that the package lacks a replacement filter.

4. 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.

Pros

The iSpring WGB22B is able to remove up to 95 percent of sediments, as well as chlorine, herbicides, pesticides, and industrial solvents. (If you want to remove other impurities, you can use the iSpring WGB22B with another reusable sediment filter.) At the same time, it keeps the total dissolved solids consistent, meaning you still have a healthy balance of minerals in your water.

Cons

There are few disadvantages to the iSpring WGB22B. The main downside is that the unit is quite large and will only fit in a house with sufficient space. Then you have the 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.

5. 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.

Pros

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.

Cons

You should bear in mind that the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is unable to remove all iron from your water. However, as it removes more than 90 percent, this should not be a cause for concern. The main disadvantage of this model, though, is that it is difficult to install. In particular, it is important to install plastic on the copper fitting to avoid leaks.

6. 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.

Pros

Another one of the longest-lasting systems, 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.

Cons

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. Also, 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.

7. AquaOx

Although the AquaOx is one of the most expensive models on the list, it is worthwhile considering for its original characteristics.

Pros

The main advantage is that, 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.

Cons

The AquaOx does have a few disadvantages. The main one is its high price. Others are the fact that it only has a 7-year warranty and that the filters do not remove fluoride from your water.

8. Express Water Heavy Metal

The Express Water Heavy Metal is another filtration system offering 15 GPM and a 100,000-gallon lifespan from all its filters. However, it also has some differences from the other models.

Pros

With its sediment, kinetic degradation, and activated carbon filters, the Express Water Heavy Metal is able to remove a wide variety of contaminants, including rust, chloride, herbicides, and total organic compounds (TOCs). This makes it ideal for well water.

The unit is easy to install, has a stainless steel frame that makes filter changes, and is quite durable. Plus, each filter has its own pressure release button.

Cons

The only real disadvantage is that you may experience a drop in water pressure when water is passing through the second stage.

9. 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.

Pros

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 back flushing.

Cons

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 is 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’ll also most likely need a plumber to help you install the system. Although it comes with a pro-grade installation kit (including brass fittings, supports, and shut-off valves), the kit lacks a pex crimper, which you’re unlikely to own.

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.

Pros

The APEX MR-3030 may be the best water filtration 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.

Cons

A disadvantage of the APEX MR-3030 is that its 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:

  • Chlorine
  • Sediment
  • Rust
  • Sand
  • Chloramines
  • Metals, including iron, manganese, lead, mercury, sulfur, and copper

Systems for well water also remove:

  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Parasites
  • Bacteria
  • 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.

Flow Rate

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.

Micron Rating

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.

Stages

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.

Filter Type

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.

Price

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.

Installation

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.

Latest posts by David Trinh

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