Are Water Filter Pitchers Safe to Use?

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Homeowners are increasingly turning to water filters to treat their home water.

Whole house water filtration systems are a bit expensive and need to be plumbed in. However, filter pitchers offer a convenient solution to get clean drinking water.

All you need to do is pour water into one, wait for a few minutes, and BOOM – access purified water right away.

Though water filter pitchers offer clean water almost immediately, a few homeowners question their safety.

That’s precisely what we will discuss in the guide below.

Key Takeaways

  • Water filter pitchers are safe to use.
  • However, a low-quality unit may give you a false sense of security. Only opting for a high-quality water filter pitcher will greatly lessen your exposure to the different types of potential contaminants in your drinking water.
  • Tip: Check for NSF testing/certifications to know which impurities a certain pitcher filter can reduce.

Are Water Filter Pitchers Safe to Use?

So, are water filter pitchers safe to use? Yes, they are.

If you purchase a high-quality water filter pitcher, it will usually remove several types of water contaminants. As a result, your family won’t be exposed to dirt-laden water anymore, and you’ll remain protected.

The question about filter pitcher safety arises when you go for a cheap, low-quality unit. You assume that it works – just as good as a premium model would – but in reality it doesn’t do much to purify your drinking water eliminating harmful contaminants. At best, all it might do is solve aesthetic water issues.

So if you think buying a poorly designed water filter pitcher will give you clean drinking water, you’re probably mistaken and putting your health at risk.

Do Water Filter Pitchers Really Work?

In terms of popularity, water filter pitchers are second only to water filters installed into refrigerators.

Perhaps this is proof that they do work. Otherwise, homeowners wouldn’t prefer buying them.

Nonetheless, note that performance varies from model to model, and understanding this difference is essential when purchasing.

woman with water filter pitcher

Testing for Water Contaminants

If you think your water is clean just because it looks clean, think again!

Most water contaminants aren’t visible to the naked eye, but that doesn’t indicate they don’t exist in your water supply.

Thus, the most reliable way to find out what exactly resides in your water is to conduct a test. You can use DIY test strips or send your water sample to a professional lab.

Additionally, you can also get a water quality report from your water provider. However, you cannot access one if you’re on well water. What’s more, the report might not highlight contaminants that leach into your water through the distribution network or your very own plumbing system.

Ideally, it’s best to send a direct sample to an independent lab where a professional tests it and provides a precise report.

Buying the Right Pitcher

As stated earlier, water filter pitcher models come in different designs, and each is built for a specific purpose.

Many use activated carbon filter media that mainly improves how good your water tastes and smells.

On the contrary, some high-quality units feature a mix of filter media to target all the different contaminants groups out there, like lead and PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Ion exchange filters are popular in this category.

So when wanting to buy the right water filter pitcher, make sure you look for NSF certifications to know which impurities your system can reduce.

Note that no filter model is perfect enough to eliminate all water contaminants. Therefore, if you found very high levels of dangerous pollutants in your water, you might need a more extensive treatment system.

Don’t Skip Maintenance

Not maintaining a water filter can promote bacteria, mold, and mildew growth. As such, the filter may contribute to harmful substances in your water rather than the water itself.

Simply put, maintaining a filter pitcher is a must to ensure clean drinking water.

Also, exceed its filtration capacity and it won’t eliminate any more contaminants. Thus, timely replacements are required in order to keep a pitcher up and running.

Depending on the model, filter cartridge replacements will cost you anywhere between $5 and $50. The price differs from brand to brand.

How Often to Change the Filter Cartridge in Your Pitcher

How often you need to change filter cartridges depends on the model of the pitcher, and your water usage and conditions. A few cartridges last quite long while others don’t.

For instance, Clearly Filtered, Epic Pure + Epic Nano, Aquagear, Seychelle and a few other pitcher filters last up to 100 gallons of filtered water and more.

In contrast, Zero Water, PUR Basic, and PUR Lead-Reducing filters will last a mere 20 to 40 gallons or around 1-2 months. Here is an overview:

Filters Gallon Capacity Max Lifetime
Clearly Filtered 100 gal 6 mos
Epic Pure + Epic Nano 150 gal 6 mos
Aquagear 120 gal 5-6 mos
Invigorated Living PH001 96 gal 4-5 mos
Invigorated Living PH002 264 gal 12 mos
ZeroWater Filter 20 gal 1 mos
Brita Filter – Standard 40 gal 2 mos
Brita Filter – Longlast 120 gal 5-6 mos
Santevia Classic 80 gal 2 mos
Santevia MINA 80 gal 2 mos
PUR Faster Basic 40 gal 2 mos
PUR Basic 40 gal 2 mos
PUR Lead-Reducing 40 gal 2 mos
Nakii 150 gal 4 mos
Seychelle 100 gal 4-5 mos

How Often to Clean a Water Filter Pitcher

As stated earlier, cleaning a pitcher is an essential part of its maintenance. Doing otherwise won’t only exhaust the filter element but also contribute to more water contaminants.

Make sure you rinse your water filter pitcher every day, and washing with soap weekly will do.

Around once or twice a month, clean more thoroughly using a brush or sponge.

Also, do not forget to wash your pitcher before using it right after the purchase.

What About the Plastic Jug?

The question is, is it safe to keep filtered water in a plastic container?

The answer seems rather straightforward, right? Yes, it is.

You might think that it shouldn’t be a problem for BPA and BPS-free filter pitchers to store water. However, the story of BPA-free plastic is two-fold.

BPA (Bisphenol A) is a common building block of several plastic types. But after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey highlighted high levels of BPA in the urine of participants under study, companies felt pressured.

Manufacturers started producing BPA-free products using BPA variations like BPF, BPS, BPAF, BPP, BHPF, BPZ, and more.

But the fact most have BP in their names speaks volumes that they share a chemical structure similar to BPA. This is similar to exchanging a yellow Lego brick with a pink one.

This means that consumers might not be 100 percent safe even when purchasing BPA-free plastic.

What Research Says About BPA

Studies indicate that BPA and its alternatives can decrease eggs in females and reduce sperm count in males.

Even worse, these changes are passed down generations. Though researchers haven’t fully understood the different BPA alternatives, they think they look a lot like BPA and will behave similarly.

Therefore, even BPA-free plastic alternatives can be unsafe, and companies should move away from them.

If you have any thoughts about the question, are water filter pitchers safe, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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