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Drinking water filters come in all shapes and sizes. There’re water filter pitchers, countertop and under sink reverse osmosis systems, whole house water filters, faucet filters – you name it.
Each type has its pros and cons, and your ideal product depends on your personal circumstances and preferences.
This guide shall provide you with the best drinking water filter system in each category. We’ll also answer a few common questions people have about how to filter water for drinking at home. Let’s go!
On This Page You Will…
|Model||Our Rating||Price||Type||NSF||Annual Cost||Warranty|
Our #1 Drinking Water Filter Pitcher: Clearly Filtered
|$||Pitcher||42, 53, 244, 401, P473||$150||Lifetime|
Our Favorite RO Drinking Water System: Aquatru
|$$||Countertop RO||42, 53, 58, 401, P473||~$100-120||1 Year|
|Use our discount code BOSAquaTru at checkout and get 5% OFF!|
Reverse Osmosis System for Well Water: Crystal Quest
|$$||Under Sink RO||-||$100-155||1 Year|
Best Regular (Non-RO) Under Sink Water Filter: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage
|$$||Under Sink Filter||42, 53, 401||$400||Lifetime|
Whole House System Best for Tap Drinking Water: SpringWell CF4
Whole House System Best for Well Drinking Water: SpringWell WS4
|We recommend pairing the SpringWell WS4 with the CF4 (row above) for a more complete treatment.|
Water filter pitchers are small enough to be carried around and stored in the refrigerator for cooling, they’re handy, and they’re affordable. What’s more, they’re installation-free and can be assembled in a matter of minutes. All this makes water filter pitchers the most popular type of home drinking water filters money can buy.
In our opinion, the best drinking water filter as far as pitchers are concerned is the Clearly Filtered. It removes more water contaminants than any other model on the market and it’s suited for both tap water and disinfected well water. Filtered water taste? One word: Superb.
Bottom line: The Clearly Filtered is our go-to water filter pitcher. 5 stars!
Clearly Filtered Pitcher
|NSF:||42, 53, 244, 401, P473|
We wanted to provide you with one water filter pitcher alternative in case you don’t like the Clearly Filtered for whatever reason.
Our number two is the Aquagear. It hasn’t been tested nowhere near as thoroughly as the Clearly Filtered, however, it’s still one of the best units out there removing fluoride (98.6%), volatile organic compounds, lead (99.9%) and other heavy metals, nitrate (97.6%), TTHMs (99.0%), and more. NSF testing standards 42 + 53 are met.
Another feature to point out is the long-lasting replacement filters. 150 gallons of water should last you up to 6 months. And they, too, are made in the USA. The pitcher itself is warranted for lifetime.
Disadvantages? Not exactly cheap compared to some of the most popular water filter pitchers. Also, filtration can be slow.
Reverse osmosis filtration removes almost all water impurities. Plus, RO systems provide enough water for an entire family and they’re cost effective.
When it comes to reverse osmosis drinking water systems in 2020 the AquaTru is our first choice. That’s because it has earned NSF certifications for the removal of more than 80 different contaminants commonly found in our water supplies. That’s better than any other RO system we know of, and guarantees healthy, safe, and great tasting drinking water for you and your family.
But what we love most about the AquaTru is the fact that it’s a countertop unit which doesn’t require installation. The plug ‘n’ play functionality allows you to set up and use the system right away without any drilling, drain line connection, etc. – perfect for renters and to save money. 4.5 stars.
Make sure to use our discount code BOSAquaTru at checkout and get 5% OFF!
|NSF:||42, 53, 58, 401, P473|
In case you prefer under sink over countertop you should check out the Aquasana OptimH2O reverse osmosis drinking water filtration system.
Just like the AquaTru, it has earned several NSF certifications for the removal of 80+ water contaminants like chlorine, chloramine, lead, VOCs, arsenic 5, chromium 6, BPA, PFOA & PFOS – you name it. In other words, highly effective filtration is guaranteed for pure drinking water.
However, that’s not all. The Aquasana OptimH2O also remineralizes your water with calcium, magnesium, and potassium. This improves taste and balances pH. 4.5 stars!
|Type:||Under Sink RO|
|NSF:||42, 53, 58, 401, P473|
If you like reverse osmosis but you’re on well water and have no pre-treatment in place expect for disinfection, your best choice is the Crystal Quest 1000C or the 1000CP (the 1000CP comes with a pressure pump).
Both systems will take care of the vast majority of contaminants found in well water and make it ready for drinking. By the way, you can add a UV light stage for 99.99% reduction of microorganisms.
Please note: According to Crystal Quest, up to 15 grains per gallon water hardness can be handled. Iron shouldn’t exceed 2 ppm. Higher levels may lead to clogging.
Crystal Quest 1000C
|Type:||Under Sink RO|
Non-RO under sink water filters, too, can be highly effective at removing a wide range of contaminants providing large volumes of crystal clean and delicious drinking water. And they do so saving precious space on your kitchen counter. You just have to find the right system, one that’s affordable, easy to install, easy to use, and easy to maintain!
Our top choice: The Clearly Filtered under sink drinking water filter system. As the Clearly Filtered pitcher, this system has been tested to remove 230+ different and potentially harmful water pollutants. People couldn’t be any happier with their purchase, especially with the fast and easy installation. All in all, it’s our favorite under sink water filter. 5 stars!
Clearly Filtered 3-Stage
|Type:||Under Sink Filter|
|NSF:||42, 53, 401|
Whole house water filters have the benefit of processing all the incoming water before it’s distributed throughout your home. Thus you have filtered water at every outlet. However, they’re seldom sophisticated enough to be capable of removing a wide range of contaminants.
That said, your best option when on tap water is certainly the SpringWell CF4. Making use of catalytic carbon mixed with KDF as well as a small pre-filter, the system removes sediments, chlorine + chloramine, any disinfection byproducts, VOCs, pesticides, and several heavy metals. In addition, microorganisms have no chance of accumulating in the large tank, leaching into your water.
All in all, your drinking water will be much safe(r) for consumption and, of course, its taste and smell will improve greatly, too. 5 stars!
In our opinion, the most promising whole home drinking water filter system for well water in 2020 is the SpringWell WS4, combined with the SpringWell CF4 as reviewed above if need be.
As far as the WS4 is concerned, it’s the perfect solution for well water high in iron, manganese, and/or hydrogen sulfide. The CF4 would take care of chlorine, chloramine, chemicals, organics, heavy metals, and taste/odor issues. 5 stars!
Please note: You can learn all about the SpringWell CF4 above. This review features lists all pros and cons of the WS4.
Gravity filters require neither electricity nor external pressure to operate. This makes them ideal in emergency situations. But we also find the best ceramic filters among them which is why they’re great for everyday home use.
Berkey is one of the, if not the most popular gravity water filter brand – and rightly so! Easy to set up and use, simple to maintain, and yet highly effective at providing water that easily meets drinking standards. 4.5 stars!
Lastly, faucet water filters. They give you access to filtered drinking water right at your kitchen sink or bathroom tap. Their greatest benefits are affordability and simplicity of use without the need of a proper installation.
Our recommendation: The Brita Complete FF-100. It’s by far the best in terms of contaminant removal rates. 4 stars.
Brita Complete FF-100
|NSF:||42, 53, 401|
When it comes to home drinking water filtration, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. With literally hundreds of different contaminants that you could be facing, you need to have your water thoroughly tested if you want to be 100 percent sure to not miss anything. Once you have a list of contaminants present in your water supply you can choose the best treatment method accordingly.
Of course we understand that doing one’s own testing is just not feasible in all cases, for example if you don’t have the budget. In this case, we recommend you take a look at your annual water quality report which your utility has to provide for free. Testing for the report might not show the full picture, but it’s still better than a shot in the dark. You can browse for your report here.
If that isn’t possible either, your best bet is to get a water filter (system) that removes a broad range of pollutants: Heavy metals, VOCs, disinfectants and their byproducts, perfluorinated chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, semi-volatile compounds, radiological elements, and microorganisms (not really necessary when you’re on municipal water). Personally, we would opt for either the Clearly Filtered pitcher or the under sink filter, or the AquaTru countertop RO system. All 3 have been tested for the removal of dozens upon dozens of contaminants with solid results.
The following is a list of common tap/well water contaminants and what you can do about them (no claim for completeness):
Manufacturers can make contamination reduction claims about their products all day long. But only NSF or EPA standardized testing and certification provide proof. Thus when you’re shopping for a drinking water filtration system look out for performance data sheets or other lab testing data.
Most important are the following NSF standards: 42, 53, 244, 401, P473, and 58 (RO systems only).
Depending on the size of your family, a smaller filter might not be able to meet your drinking water demand. The result: Long waiting times. If you want to avoid such a scenario double-check that the product you’re eying filters water fast enough or comes with an adequately-sized storage tank.
Some drinking water filter systems seem surprisingly affordable at first. But they turn out all the more expensive in the long run – think replacement filter cost. Replacement filter capacity and cost is definitely something you should consider.
All filter systems on this page are quite easy to maintain. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about their installation. For example: While filter pitchers can be assembled in a matter of minutes, whole house units require proper inlet and outlet connections which may involve plumbing. So if you’re not exactly handy around the house and you’re unwilling to pay a plumber to do the work for you, a whole house water filter might not be ideal.
More on Drinking Water Filters
As mentioned earlier, if you want to know if the water in your home is clean enough for drinking and other purposes you need to have it tested or check the most recent water quality report if accessible.
Both options have their ups and downs:
Ideally, a drinking water filter is any type of water filtration equipment that’s suited to make tap or well water potable. Truth is, most drinking water filters currently on the market are far away from this goal. Or rather: Tap and well water in western countries is usually already safe enough for human consumption so that it doesn’t really make a difference if a so-called drinking water filter only reduces unpleasant taste and odor and a few chemicals like chlorine.
Personally, we believe that drinking water filters should be as effective as possible at removing a wide range of contaminants from water. This is why we’ve only included the most effective model of each filter type in the above list.
Certainly the most popular type of drinking water filter are filter pitchers. They’re small, easy to handle, and don’t require installation.
Personally, we also like countertop and under sink reverse osmosis systems due to their unmatched performance. Countertop units in general are compact and can be assembled within a few minutes. The same goes for faucet and gravity water filters. Under sink filter systems are somewhat larger and require permanent installation.
Then there are whole house water filtration systems that, as the name suggests, provide filtered water for an entire home. They’re by far the largest in size and not everyone has the necessary skills to hook them up – plumbing required.
We hope this list of the best drinking water filtration systems was helpful. Questions? Ask away!
And keep in mind: We’ll add a new drinking water filter review occasionally. So come back for more!
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