Finding the best water filter for your needs can be a daunting task given the sheer number of options available. There are many different types of water filters, each with its own set of features. To make this process easier, I’ll provide an overview of the various types of water filters. From pitchers to reverse osmosis systems and discuss the pros and cons of each, so that you can make an informed decision.
Overview of the Types of Water Purifiers
Water filters are essential for ensuring clean and healthy drinking water. There are different types of water purification systems available, with each system offering a unique set of features that make it suitable for different needs.
Pitcher water purifiers are an easy and convenient way to provide your family with clean, safe drinking water. These pitchers use activated carbon filter cartridges that help to remove contaminants from tap water for better-tasting and smelling drinks.
Countertop water filters are a convenient and affordable way to purify tap water. They provide many of the same benefits as an under-sink filtration system, without the need for an installation process. Countertop units are relatively small and easy to install, often requiring no more than 30 minutes of your time.
Under-sink water filters are relatively easy to install; with a few basic tools, anyone can hook up one of these devices in no time flat. Furthermore, many come with long-lasting filters that don’t need frequent replacement making them both economical and convenient. You’ll also find that most units include a dedicated faucet for filtered water so you won’t have to sacrifice counter space for access to clean water.
Reverse Osmosis Water Purifiers
Reverse osmosis purification systems use high-pressure pumps to force water through semi-permeable membranes which filter out dissolved salts, organic molecules, and other impurities from the source water. This process ensures that any contaminants left in the source water are filtered out before it reaches your glass or appliances.
The primary benefit of reverse osmosis systems is that they can remove up to 99% of all contaminants from your drinking water. This includes bacteria, heavy metals, and chemicals like chlorine and fluoride naturally found in some sources of tap water.
Whole House Filter Systems
Whole house water filter systems are an excellent way to ensure that you have access to clean and safe drinking water in your home. These multi-stage filtration systems use a variety of methods to remove contaminants from the water supply, including sediment, chlorine, lead, and other chemicals. With a whole house filter system installed in your home, you can enjoy cleaner, clearer water right out of the faucet.
Installation includes fitting the filtration unit into your main line after the pressure tank or well pump. The tubing runs from this unit to each outlet in your home where it filters out dirt particles and other impurities before delivering clean drinking water.
7 Best Water Filters of 2023 – Reviews
#1. Best Reverse Osmosis: APEC 5-Stage ROES-50 Water System
- Supreme quality - designed, engineered, and assembled in USA to guarantee water safety & your health. WQA certified to provide unlimited clean, refreshing crisp tasting water superior to bottled water. Tank Dimensions-11 x 11 x 15 inches
- Premium long-lasting filters remove up to 99% of impurities such as chlorine, taste, odor, VOCs, as well as harmful fluoride, arsenic, lead, nitrates, heavy metals and 1000+ impurities. Max Total Dissolved Solids - 2000 ppm. Feed Water Pressure 40-85 psi
- America's No.1 rated water filter brand with 20 years of success guaranteeing trouble free, noise-free system for long lasting, dependable, pure drinking water. 2 year extended manufacturer warranty is available upon registration
- System comes with 100% lead-free designer faucet, plus certified JG food grade tubing and parts to provide safe, impurity-free pure water. Pipe Size: 1/4 inches.
- High quality leak-free quick connect fittings require no extra lock clips to seal leak - not relying on water leak detector to protect your home like other brands. Comes with all parts and industry's best instructions and videos for an easy DIY experience.
- Filtration Method: Reverse Osmosis
- Contaminants Removed: 1000+
- Tank Capacity: 4 Gallons
- Dimensions: 16 x 5.25 x 17.5 inches
This 5-stage water system is certified to the highest standards of quality, as indicated by its WQA Gold Seal certification. It uses reverse osmosis filtering technology, which is considered to be one of the most efficient and reliable methods for purifying drinking water.
APEC guarantees to remove up to 99% of contaminants from water sources. Max Total Dissolved Solids go down as low as 2000 parts per million (ppm), providing you with the cleanest and healthiest drinking water available.
The unit provides superior quality drinking water from the included 100% lead-free elegant designer faucet, accommodating feed water pressure as low as 40 psi or as high as 85 psi, perfect for most incoming city/water utility pressures.
The system is made stress free knowing your purchase includes a full two-year extended manufacturer warranty. By having both the parts and necessary instructions included, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with properly completing the installation yourself.
- 5-stage premium filtration
- WQA Certified
- Easy installation & maintenance
- RO filters also remove essential healthy minerals from your water during the filtration process
#2. Best Gravity-Fed Water Purifier: Big Berkey Water Filter
- ENJOY GREAT-TASTING TAP WATER EVERY DAY AT HOME- The Big Berkey System can be used on a countertop in your kitchen or office to transform bad-tasting tap water into delicious drinking water that's also ideal for making your favorite beverages or cooking. Equipped with Black Berkey Elements, the Big Berkey System addresses over 200+ typical contaminants that could be present in tap water.
- POTABLE WATER IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS- Black Berkey Elements remove or dramatically reduce over 200+ typical contaminants that could be present in lakes, rivers, ponds, streams and other freshwater sources—no electricity, tools, or plumbing are required. The Big Berkey Water Filter System provides clean, refreshing potable water while camping, fishing, RVing, off-grid living and in emergencies, disaster preparedness and recovery scenarios.
- ECONOMICAL, LONG-LASTING- Black Berkey Elements provide filtered water for just pennies per gallon. Each pair of Black Berkey Elements lasts for up to 6,000 gallons before replacement is recommended. Elements may require replacement sooner based upon the quality of influent water. Each additional pair of Black Berkey Elements (sold separately) adds an additional 6,000 gallons of contaminant reduction.
- INDEPENDENT TESTING- Black Berkey Elements have been tested by accredited third-party labs that have reported that the elements remove or reduce over 200+ typical contaminants found in tap water and other freshwater sources.
- 2.25 GALLON CAPACITY- The portable Big Berkey System effortlessly filters water for about 1-4 people each day. Add additional Black Berkey Elements, sold in sets of 2, to increase the flow rate (the Big Berkey System can hold a maximum of 4 Black Berkey Elements). The system is just 19.25” tall and 8.5” in diameter.
- Filtration Method: Carbon + Ion Exchange
- Filter Capacity: 6,000 Gallons
- Contaminants Removed: 200+
- Tank Capacity: 8.5 Liters
- Dimensions: 8.5″L x 8.5″W x 19.25″H
This gravity-fed purifier removes over 200 typical tap water contaminants. Instead of hiring an expensive plumber or electrician, this water filter offers zero installation effort – no plumbing, tools, or electricity are required to get it up and running.
Big Berkey water filter is the perfect solution for campers, RVers, and off-grid adventurers. It’s a lightweight filter that installs quickly in any environment with minimal effort. Simply fill up the container and experience on-demand access to clean, reliable drinking water wherever you are.
The system is equipped with two Black Berkey Elements that are capable of filtering up to 6,000 gallons! That’s a whole lot of clean drinking water for your family and more! What’s more incredible is that you don’t have to worry about changing the filtration elements frequently since they can last quite a while.
- Portable design
- Easy to use and maintain
- No electricity or plumbing required
- You’ll need to buy an additional filter for fluoride removal
#3. Best Whole House Filter: iSpring Water Filter System
- Whole house water filter that protect your family and household appliance from iron, manganese and more: Our 3rd stage iron water filter (FM25B) is specially designed for iron and manganese removal, reducing iron (MAX 3.0 ppm) and manganese (MAX 1.0 ppm). The water filter lasts up to 3 times longer than greensand due to the catalytic media not being consumed in the process. This whole house water filter system also removes sediment, chlorine, rust, herbicides, industrial solvents, and more.
- DIY installation and maintenance - refer to our manual and our helpful YouTube videos for easy DIY installation. With 1 in. NPT inlet / outlet and 20 in. x 4.5 in. water filter cartridges, WGB32BM whole home water filter system has minimum impact on water flow (up to 15 GPM) and requires minimum maintenance.
- Top-notch quality - the first stage high capacity polypropylene sediment filter achieves filtration down to 5 microns. The second stage carbon block filter is made of high quality coconut shell carbon for maximum filtration efficiency and filter life. Both water filters are tested by an independent third-party to meet NSF/ANSI standards. Both water filters have a capacity of 100,000 Gal. of water, enough to supply a family of four with clean water for a full year.
- Peace of mind customer service - register online to activate your 1-year manufacturer warranty and life-time free tech support from U.S. local support team. We stand behind our products and if you encounter any problems with any of our products please reach out to us immediately. We are happy to help!
- Please note - this whole house water filter is installed at the main water supply line in order to treat all the water in your home; unlike an RO system, this whole house water filtration system will NOT reduce Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and instead keeps healthy minerals in your water; if you are interested in a filter that removes TDS consider our iSpring Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems. The cartridges are individually wrapped to ensure freshness. Please unwrap the cartridges before use.
- Filtration Method: Mechanical filtration, Chemical Absorption, Ion Exchange
- Filter Capacity: 100,000 Gallons
- Iron Removal: Up to 3.0 ppm
- Water Flow: Up to 15 GPM
- Dimensions: 24.25″L x 7.75″W x 27.75″H
This whole house water filter utilizes a 3-stage iron filter to reduce up to 3.0 parts per million of iron and manganese up to 1.0 ppm in the source drinking water, guaranteeing delectable and pure hydro right at home!
With its longer-lasting filter, it can remove chlorine, sediment, herbicides, rust, and more for up to three times as long as greensand filters — offering you more value for your money in the long run.
With helpful how-to videos available, installing this filter system is hassle-free even for anyone with minimal plumbing experience. And with up to 15 GPM water flow rate, you no longer have to worry about the speed of your home’s water filtering performance.
- Easy to install and maintain
- Keeps healthy minerals in your water
- Reduce stains on appliances
- Minimum impact on water flow
- You need to separately purchase the pressure gauge
#4. Best Water Filter & Softener Combo: Whirlpool WHESFC Pro Series
- Save Money With A 2-in-1 System: Remove hard water minerals and harmful contaminants for families of 1-to-5 with one single-tank system instead of buying 2 separate systems.
- Superior Hardness Removal: This hybrid water softener/filter has a 31, 000 grain capacity, an above average hardness removal rating of 120 grains per gallon, and an iron removal rating of 3 ppm which helps reduce reddish-brown stains on drains and water using appliances.
- Water Contaminant Reduction: This whole home filtration system reduces sediment, chlorine taste, and odor from the water used throughout your entire home.
- Efficiently Use Salt: The WHESFC is a smart water softener, meaning it uses demand-initiated regeneration technology to produce soft water as your home needs it, reducing salt costs over the life of the system.
- Designed, engineered and assembled in the USA. Questions Call the Whirlpool helpline
- Filtration Method: Sedimentation
- Grain Capacity: 31,000
- Iron Removal: Up to 3.0 ppm
- Hardness Removal: Up to 120 grains per gallon
- Dimensions: 19 x 18 x 48 inches
The Whirlpool WHESFC Pro is designed to provide the best water filtration and softening solutions for households with 1-5 people. With a capacity of 31,000 grains and the ability to remove up to 3 ppm of iron and 120 GPG water hardness, this model provides exceptional strength when it comes to softening and purifying hard water.
Equipped with demand-initiated regeneration, this product efficiently reduces sediment, chlorine taste, and odor leaving your drinking water safe and positively tasty. Plus, this filter/softener combo is smart enough to clean itself as needed so you don’t have to worry about scheduling maintenance visits or changing filters frequently.
It helps you cut down on your salt consumption with its superior technology. The unit has been designed, engineered, and assembled in the USA.
- 2-in-1 Hybrid System
- Prevent scale buildup
- Uses 25% less salt than the previous model
● The unit requires frequent refilling in order to work properly
#5. Best Under Sink Water Purifier: Aquasana 3-Stage Water Filter
- Instantly Transform Ordinary Tap Water Into Clean, Extraordinary Water - Removes up to 99% of 77 contaminants while leaving healthy minerals so you can drink with confidence. This system will NOT reduce Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).
- High Flow Rate - This system powers through a half-gallon of water every minute. No need to wait for clean water compared to traditional drip filters.
- Cost Efficient & Long Lasting - The most economical filter on the market at less than 10 cents per gallon filtered. Lasts for 6 months or 800 gallons before a replacement filter is needed.
- Easiest Filter Replacement - Replacements are engineered for ease. No need to disconnect hoses or water lines. Eco-friendly housing easily twists off for snappy replacement.
- Top-Grade Components - Includes first set of filter and all parts required for typical Installation - No plumber required. Please review owner's manual before setting up. Bluetooth logo may appear on the box or product if included in the hardware, but no compatible software is provided or supported.
- Filtration Method: Sedimentation
- Filter Capacity: 800 Gallons
- Chlorine Removal: 99%
- Contaminants Removed: 77
- Dimensions: 12″L x 4.25″W x 12.88″H
With its three-stage filter, this under-sink water purifier removes up to 99% of 77 contaminants that can be found in water, ensuring that you’re drinking pure and clean water straight from the tap.
It has a flow rate of half-gallon per minute, this will save you time and keep your water supply continuously flowing. Unlike other filtration systems which remove TDS through a reverse osmosis process, this filter allows you to retain essential minerals while still producing an incredibly pure and delicious drinking experience.
With a filter lifespan of up to 6 months (or 800 gallons), each gallon is filtered for less than 10 cents – a great option if you’re looking for an affordable and long-lasting filter solution.
- NSF-certified claryum technology
- Retain healthy minerals in your water
- Faster flow rate
- Easy installation and filter replacement
- Some users reported leaks after the change of filters
#6. Best Pitcher: AmazonBasics 10-Cup Water Pitcher
- LARGE CAPACITY: 10 cup water filter pitcher with one replacement water filter. Enough capacity to fill three 24 ounce reusable water bottles.
- FEATURES: Secure Lid Technology prevents gaps and leaks. Electronic MEMO makes filter reminders effortless. Efficient space design fits perfectly on refrigerator shelves. Height: 10.16”, Width: 5.63”, Length/Depth: 9.65”, Weight: 1.52 pounds.
- WQA CERTIFIED: Gold seal certified by the Water Quality Association against NSF/ANSI Standards 42 and 53. Certified to reduce chlorine taste and odor, copper, mercury and benzene. BPA free.
- TASTE: The enclosed water filter features multi stage filtration technology which delivers consistently fresh, great tasting water. One filter lasts for 40 gallons or about 2 months for the average household.
- ORIGIN: Designed and Made in Europe.
- Filtration Method: Activated carbon & ion exchange resin
- Filter Capacity: 40 Gallons
- Pitcher Capacity: 2.3 Liters
- Dimensions: 5.7″D x 9.84″W x 10.04″H
The AmazonBasics 10-Cup Water Pitcher offers a safe and easy way to hydrate on the go. This pitcher is capable of filling up to three 24-ounce water bottles with filtered water. Plus, it’s compatible with most Brita filters for added convenience.
Pitcher’s secure lid design eliminates any potential gaps or leaks. An electronic MEMO filter reminder feature ensures that you are drinking clean water every time as it is designed to remind users when the pitcher needs a new filter.
The pitcher fits perfectly on refrigerator shelves for easy storage and use. Not to mention the peace of mind that comes with knowing it’s WQA certified, ensuring excellence in material safety and performance.
This water pitcher is designed and manufactured in Europe. The included filter lasts up to 40 gallons.
- NSF certified
- Efficient space design
- Filter reminder light
- Not top-friendly (Requires removing the entire lid to refill)
#7. Best Countertop Filter: PUR PLUS Filtered Water Dispenser
- LARGE CAPACITY WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM – Enjoy refreshing, filtered water with the PUR PLUS 30-Cup Water Dispenser. This large water dispenser is dishwasher safe so you can prevent grime build up.
- LEAD REDUCING FILTER – PUR PLUS water filtration pitcher filters are WQA certified to reduce lead and other harmful contaminants that could be in your water. Filter is certified to reduce 3x more contaminants than Brita’s leading pitcher filter.
- EASY TO USE – This water filter pitcher features a slim, space-saving design that easily fits in the fridge. It has a pull down spout for easy use & a carrying handle for easy transport. Plus, a filter change light indicates when the filter needs changed.
- COMPATIBLE DOES NOT MEAN COMPARABLE – Genuine PUR pitcher filters are certified to reduce 20 plus contaminants from you water. Genuine PUR filters are the only filters certified for use in PUR systems.
- A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Contaminants can enter your water system daily, so filtering your water is important. PUR has been developing innovative technologies for superior water filtration for over 30 years.
- Filtration Method: Activated carbon & ion exchange
- Filter Capacity: 40 Gallons
- Dispenser Capacity: 7 Liters
- Dimensions: 15.8″L x 5.6″W x 10.3″H
This filtered water dispenser holds up to 30 cups of water. Plus, it has an easy-to-use countertop design and unmatched convenience: just fill it up and get ready for that great-tasting filtered tap water!
With a single filter lasting up to 40 gallons before needing a change, you can feel confident in the quality of your drinking water. In addition, an LED light conveniently lets you know when it’s time for a new filter – so you always know exactly how fresh your PUR PLUS is!
Featuring a carrying handle, it’s lightweight and easy to move around. Plus, the water dispenser is completely dishwasher safe.
- 3-in-1 powerful filtration
- Compact design
- Filter change indicator
- Dishwasher safe
- The filtration process is a bit slow
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Water Filter
Your Filtration Requirements
The type of filtration system you need depends on the quality of your water source, the amount of filtering needed, and other factors such as whether or not you want to add essential minerals back into the water.
Before settling on one particular filter, research what types of contaminants may be present in your water source and determine how much filtering is necessary. There are several different types of filters available ranging from basic activated carbon filters designed to remove chlorine and sediment all the way up to reverse osmosis systems which remove almost all contaminants from drinking water.
Test Your Water Quality
Water testing kits are readily available online and at local hardware stores, offering an inexpensive way to quickly analyze the quality of your drinking water. Testing kits usually contain reagent tablets that provide instant results, making it easy and convenient to get accurate readings of pH balance, presence of heavy metals, chlorine levels, and other potentially harmful compounds. Some tests even include a chart or guide that can help identify potential sources of contamination.
Once the results are known, the next step is finding a suitable filter system to remove any unwanted particles from your drinking water.
Water filtration systems are ranging from simple pitchers to large whole house systems. Depending on your needs and budget, one option may be better than another.
The two main types of water filters are point-of-use and point-of-entry systems. A point-of-use (POU) system is installed directly at the tap or faucet where you access your drinking water while a point-of-entry (POE) system filters all the water that enters the home before it reaches all taps and faucets.
Capacity & Filter Replacement
Capacity refers to how much water the filter can purify at any one time, while filter replacement is the frequency with which you need to replace your existing filters. Both of these factors are essential in finding the right water filter for your home or office needs.
There are several certifications to look out for when shopping for a filter, such as NSF International certification. This certification ensures that the manufacturer has proven its product meets strict standards of public health protection and safety. The Water Quality Association (WQA) also offers certification that tests products on their ability to reduce contaminants in drinking water. This includes things like lead and chlorine, which can be hazardous and cause health risks if ingested over long periods of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do water purifiers also remove bacteria?
Yes, water purifiers can remove bacteria from water. Water filters use physical, chemical, and/or biological methods to remove bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other contaminants from water. Depending on the type of purification system, some are more effective at removing bacteria than others. For instance, reverse osmosis filters can remove up to 99% of bacteria, while ultraviolet light disinfection systems can eliminate up to 99.99% of bacteria.
What Water filtration system is most effective?
Reverse osmosis systems are considered to be the most effective for removing impurities, contaminants, and sediment from drinking water. Activated carbon filtration systems are also very effective for removing volatile organic compounds, chlorine, and odors. Additionally, ultraviolet filtration systems can remove bacteria, viruses, and cysts from water.
What is the difference between RO and carbon filters?
The main difference between RO and Carbon Filters is the way they filter water. An RO (Reverse Osmosis) filter uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants from the water. It removes both dissolved solids and contaminants, leaving only clean drinking water. A carbon filter, on the other hand, only removes certain contaminants such as chlorine and heavy metals, while allowing other dissolved solids to pass through. The RO filter will provide a more thorough filtration while the carbon filter is more effective in removing certain contaminants.
Is RO water good for health?
RO (reverse osmosis) water is beneficial for short-term consumption due to its lack of contaminants. However, the process of reverse osmosis also strips out beneficial minerals which are essential for long-term health. As such, while the removal of contaminants may confer some immediate benefit, the lack of beneficial minerals inhibits its suitability for long-term use.
RO water is especially beneficial for those who have weak immune systems or sensitive stomachs. Additionally, it can be used to treat water-related illnesses, such as cholera and typhoid, that may be present in certain regions.
What is the cheapest way to purify water at home?
The most cost-effective way to purify water at home is through the process of boiling. Boiling is a thermodynamic method of purification that utilizes the evaporation of impurities due to increased temperature. When water is boiled, it reaches its boiling point which is typically 100°C (212°F). As the water reaches this temperature, any organic contaminants are vaporized and removed from the liquid solution.
Is a carbon filter good for drinking water?
Yes, a carbon filter is an effective means of purifying drinking water, as it is capable of absorbing a variety of chemical and biological contaminants. Carbon filters utilize activated carbon in order to remove impurities such as chlorine, bacteria, parasites, odors, and flavor-altering compounds from the water. This process is known as adsorption, wherein molecules are attracted to the surface of the activated carbon particles and become trapped.
How can I filter water naturally?
There are several natural methods for filtering water:
- Boiling: Boiling water for at least one minute will kill most bacteria and parasites.
- Strain: Put the water through a cloth or filter to remove sediment and other particles.
- Sand Filtration: Pour the water through a bed of sand and gravel to remove particles.
- Sunlight: Leave a container of water in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours to kill bacteria and other microorganisms.
- Distillation: Boil the water and collect the steam – the steam will be pure and free of impurities.