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Home » Water Education & Testing » What Is NSF Certification in Water Treatment

What Is NSF Certification in Water Treatment

By: Craig Smith
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NSF Certification in Water Treatment

Billions of people worldwide continue to suffer due to inadequate access to potable water and sanitation.

This is why filtration has become one of the best options to protect people’s health.

One way to understand the reputability of what a filter does is to look for an NSF certification on the product label.

If you are looking for a water treatment solution for your home, it is best to understand what NSF certification is and its benefits so that you can ensure you are getting a quality product.

What Is NSF International?


Founded in 1944, the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF) is a worldwide non-profit organization aiming to provide health and safety standards to protect public health.

The NSF International team conducts testing and product certification to assure consumers that the products they use meet public health standards.

The NSF International team comprises professionals worldwide, including health experts, microbiologists, chemists, toxicologists, and engineers. The group conducts product testing and issuing of NSF ratings for foodservice equipment and water treatment systems.

Aside from monitoring health and safety standards, the NSF International team also offers training, education, consulting, and risk management. Their standards and certification programs are the gold standard in the market today regarding credibility, acceptance, and technical expertise.

So, what is NSF certification, and why do companies get accredited?

What Is NSF Certification in Water Treatment?


NSF product testing and standards apply to both food and water applications.

If you find NSF-certified products from water filter manufacturers, this indicates that the products have passed NSF testing and meet or exceed NSF standards.

NSF guidelines cannot be amended, and they apply to all products with specific design and intended purpose.

There are no restrictions on who can get their products tested. Any company can send their products and pay for testing and analysis. It is worthy to note that the payment involved is for the testing and not for the certification.

As part of the evaluation, NSF International also conducts unannounced plant inspections, and they evaluate every aspect of the development of the product. They do not certify unworthy products. Thus, if a company receives NSF certification, they use it for product advertising and brand enhancement.

Knowing what NSF certification is can help ensure you make knowledgeable purchase decisions.

You can see our water treatment product certification guide here for more in-depth detail.

NSF Certification Is Not a One-Time Event

Understanding what NSF certification is is essential, and understanding that it is not a one-time event is important.

Once you submit your product to be tested, the process involves regular product re-testing and unannounced on-site inspections of your manufacturing facilities.

This ensures the same high standards are maintained during the certification period and throughout the manufacturing process. If a product fails to meet any of the requirements, the organization protects you and the consumers. This includes recalling products, notifying the public, or voiding the certification status.

Products that meet the NSF standards are marked as “NSF listed” or “NSF certified.” These labels also show an NSF certification mark to indicate that they have been tested by one of the most reliable product testing organizations today.

As a consumer, choosing an NSF-certified product assures that the product is safe and high-quality.

Essential Factors in Meeting NSF Standards

Asking what NSF certification is in water treatment systems is the same as asking what factors need consideration in gaining certification. The following items must be put into consideration when analyzing products to evaluate whether they meet NSF Standards.

Safety Of The Manufacturing Facility


NSF establishes minimum requirements and audit frequency for manufacturing facilities. They perform audits of facilities at least once per calendar year. They will be audited every quarter for three years for facilities with repeated non-compliance issues related to NSF standards.

Additionally, NSF uses Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (TI CPI) as a reference for establishing the audit frequency for facilities.

Quality Of Build


Product testing by an independent third-party organization is the only way to ensure that results are unbiased. NSF assesses the durability and capabilities of products through awareness of the details behind test results.

You cannot simply rely on a recognizable brand to be compliant with NSF standards. You must delve deeper through product testing and analysis to ensure public safety and compliance with imported products.

Bpa And Bps free Approved Plastics


Bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol A (BPA) are chemicals found regularly in plastics such as can linings for food and beverages. Research suggests that exposure to these chemicals leads to reproductive issues, increased cancer risks, fat metabolism, and abnormalities in the development of the brain.

Included among the standards set by NSF International are requirements establishing limitations for any material or product with these chemicals to come into contact with drinking water.

Test Results From Manufacturing


NSF International helps companies of water filtration products expand into global markets. They simplify the process of meeting strict protocols across multiple regions. The team tests and certifies water treatment systems regarding whether the design is appropriate for point-of-use and point-of-entry applications.

Accurate Labels And Marketing Claims


Lying about the product’s quality and producing false marketing claims are pretty easy to do. But as a consumer, how do you truly know that a product filters out a particular contaminant if it is not properly tested?

Seeing an “NSF-certified” mark on the product label indicates that it was tested by an independent expert that has no affiliation with the company.

Reasons Why Manufacturers Choose to Get Accredited

A manufacturing company chooses to get accredited by NSF International because they believe that the strict standards can attest to their product quality.

In addition, there are added benefits to having the NSF logo on a company’s products.

Customer Confidence


If manufacturing companies care about their name and reputation, they can choose to get the trademark NSF logo added to products and product labels. They know that consumers have more purchasing confidence when a specific product is NSF-certified. Seeing the NSF logo on product labels can assure consumers that the product is safe to use.

Competitive Edge


The global water treatment industry is highly competitive, and it consists of several major manufacturers. Additionally, many consumers are exclusively looking for NSF-certified products to ensure health safety. Having an NSF certification ensures manufacturing companies can stay ahead of the competition.

Is It Safe to Buy Water Filters If They Are Not NSF Certified?

The process of getting NSF certification is rigorous and expensive. The testing and certification of just one product can start at $1,500, and the overall process depends on many factors.

Thus, not all companies, including some of the biggest, choose to get accredited. They decide not to have the trademark NSF logo included in their marketing materials and instead rely on customer reviews and credibility over time.

Nothing is wrong with this since it is not a requirement to be NSF certified.

Some manufacturers write stuff like “Tested to NSF Standards” on their product labels to make the average consumer think their product is NSF-certified. They choose to have other companies test their water filter to save cost since the NSF testing is more expensive.

This is still legitimate as long as they can provide evidence in support of such a claim. However, nothing is more legitimate than being tested and certified by a world-renowned independent organization like the NSF.

Why Choose an NSF-Certified Water Filter?

If you are looking for a water treatment system and eventually decide to purchase one, remember to prioritize safety. Billions of people take the security of consumer products for granted daily. However, you don’t have to worry. Three letters, NSF, can give you the confidence you need when making an important purchase decision.

While buying a product with an NSF certification is not absolutely essential, at the very least you will know that if a company went through the hassle of getting their filter certified by NSF their marketing claims are true.

So, “What is NSF certification?” The answer is simple: It is the key to ensuring that products meet strict public safety and health protection standards. The next time you go around looking for a water filter, see if the options are NSF-certified. The health of you and your family will thank you for making such a wise decision.

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Craig Smith
Craig got his start in water working in the swimming pool and spa industry. Water treatment would grow into his main career but he ended up working in the pool industry for over 26 years where much of his time was spent balancing the water in customer's swimming pools and installing water filtration equipment. Craig offers an abundance of water treatment knowledge after helping homeowners get pure water for 26 years.

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