Does a Water Filter Remove Lead? Find Out Here!

This page may contain affiliate links. If you buy a product or service through such a link we earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Water filters can help remove many contaminants from water, but there’s a lot more to consider when it comes to eliminating lead.

In this article, you’ll find out if water filters can actually make your water lead-free.

You’ll also get important tips on filtering lead from your home water supply.

Key Takeaways

  • Yes, water filters can remove lead but only if you are using the right type.
  • The types of water filters that remove lead are:
    • Activated carbon
    • KDF
    • Reverse osmosis
    • (Water distillers)
  • Tip: Make sure that the lead water filter you’re using has NSF standard 53 certification or testing.

Do Water Filters Remove Lead?

Yes, water filters do remove lead, but only if you are using the right type.

Simply put, some water filters remove lead, while others don’t.

Types of Water Filters That Remove Lead (and How They Work)

If you want a water filter that can remove lead from your water, here are your options:

Activated Carbon Water Filters

Activated carbon filters are water filters that use activated carbon as a medium to block the passage of water contaminants.

Activated carbon works by “adsorbing” contaminants. That means it attracts lead, for example, on its surface and traps it in while clean, lead-free water passes through.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Reverse osmosis systems are those that use a semipermeable RO membrane to separate contaminants from water. They work by pushing water through the membrane under relatively high pressure.

The membrane blocks the passage of contaminants and allows only clean water to flow through. RO systems effectively remove a wide range of contaminants, including lead.

Under Sink Reverse Osmosis System

KDF Filters

Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF) filters are water filters that use copper-zinc granules to cause an oxidation/reduction process that removes water contaminants.

When water passes through a KDF filter, the filter media exchanges electrons with present contaminants (like lead) so that the latter change their form. Chlorine is transformed to harmless chloride; soluble lead is made insoluble and then trapped.

KDF filters can be used as stand-alone systems or combined with other water filters.

(Water Distillers)

Water distillers are systems that purify water by vaporizing and then condensing it. Here’s how they work for removing lead:

  1. Distillers contain a boiling chamber that boils water at a high temperature until it evaporates.
  2. Lead cannot be vaporized, so it settles within the boiling chamber, where you can wash it off later.
  3. Evaporated water goes into another chamber where it condenses and flows out, completely lead-free.

How to Make Sure You Pick a Water Filtration System That Can Remove Lead

Since not all water filters can remove lead, you must ensure that you pick the right one when shopping. Here’s what can help.

Indispensable: NSF Standard 53

Standard 53 is the NSF’s certification that a water filter can remove health-related contaminants like lead. It is the most important thing to look out for when buying a water filter for lead removal; the filter must have an NSF standard 53 certification (or at least testing).

However, an NSF 53 seal is not all you need to check for. That’s because the standard covers all kinds of health-related impurities like chromium 6 – so not just lead. As such, you must confirm that a filter has been tested for lead reduction specifically.

Whole House Water Filters

PIONEER whole house lead water filter

If you’re buying a filter that works for your entire home, it should ideally have been tested/certified against NSF standard 53 for lead removal.

Unfortunately, however, NSF-certified whole house water filters are very rare.

In fact, the only system with an NSF 53 certification for lead reduction is the PIONEER by ENPRESS.

Good news is, the PIONEER is super powerful with the ability to remove 99.62% lead from water (learn more here)!

Pitcher, Countertop, Under Sink Water Filters

epic pure filter water pitcher

For point-of-use water filters, many brands in the market are NSF approved.

An example is our Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher (more info).

It is confirmed to remove 99.4% lead from water and, aside from standard 53, has been tested against 3 other NSF standards.

Epic Smart Shield Under Sink Water Filter

For under sink filters, there’s our Epic Smart Shield (more info), which removes 99.3% of lead and sells for a more budget-friendly price compared to most of its competitors.

Big Berkey Gravity Water Filter

As for a countertop water filter to remove lead, there’s the Berkey (99.9% lead reduction, learn more here) and the AquaTru (more below).

Shower Filters

Aquasana AQ 4100 Shower Filter

Shower filters are not certified to remove lead, or at least we’ve not seen any with an NSF certification.

The Aquasana AQ-4100 shower filter uses granular activated carbon and KDF-55 and claims to remove lead, but there’s no NSF certification for it. Also, the brand does not specify how much lead their filter removes. Still, this Aquasana filter is one of your closest shots at removing lead from your shower water (read more).

NSF Standard 58 for RO Systems

AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

RO systems require an NSF standard 58 certification for lead removal.

The AquaTru has this and 4 other NSF certifications.

It reduces 99.1% of lead in water and is very easy to use (more info).

Make Sure Your Lead Filter is Properly Installed

For your lead filter to work well, you have to install it properly. Otherwise, some water may escape the filter and flow out and into your glass while still containing lead.

You may also experience water leakage because of bad installation. If you have little or no plumbing skills, you should call a professional to install your lead water filter for you.


Even if you use an NSF-certified water filter, you may still get lead in your water if you do not maintain the filter properly.

Filters do not last a lifetime; you have to replace them. If you keep using a filter that’s old and due for replacement, it becomes clogged, and your water flow rate will reduce. It also becomes easier for unfiltered water to pass through the system.

Your water usage will determine how often you need to replace your lead filter, but usually, cartridges need to be replaced every couple of months.

water filter cartridges and membranes

How to Check Your Lead Levels

To confirm if your home water contains lead, you can:

  • Ask your community water supplier for a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). The CCR is a report of your local water quality and will help you determine if your water contains lead.
  • Test your water sample at a state-certified laboratory. The test results will show whether you have lead in your water and how much lead it contains.
  • Use a DIY lead test kit at home.
  • Contact a water expert in your locale to test your water.
  • Examine your plumbing. If you have lead pipes, chances are high that your water contains lead.

There’s no safe level of lead in water. So if you find out that your water contains lead, even in minute quantities, you should get a lead water filter immediately.

How Does Lead Get into Drinking Water, and What Does It Do to Your Health?

Lead leaches into drinking water when lead pipes, taps, and other plumbing parts corrode. When corrosion occurs, the lead metal in these plumbing materials dissolves into the water they transport.

Lead accumulates in the body, and over time, it can cause serious health effects. For kids, it can harm the brain and nervous system, slow growth, and alter their hearing and speaking ability. Adults can experience heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney issues, and even reproductive issues from exposure to lead in water.

If you have any thoughts about the question, does a water filter remove lead, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Alexandra Uta

Alex is a content writer with an affinity for research and a methodical attention to detail. Since 2020, she has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Alex has been using water filters and similar products for years which has gained her lots of hands-on experience.
Learn more about .


Information provided on BOS is for educational purposes only. The products and services we review may not be right for your individual circumstances.
We adhere to strict editorial guidelines. Rest assured, the opinions expressed have not been provided, reviewed, or otherwise endorsed by our partners – they are unbiased, independent, and the author’s alone. Our licensed experts fact-check all content for accuracy. It is accurate as of the date posted and to the best of our knowledge.

Leave a Comment: