Under Sink Water Filters vs Water Filter Pitchers – What’s Better?

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Filtering the water in your home can be done in several ways. The two main options to choose between are whether you want to automatically filter your water before it reaches the faucet, or manually run it through a filter pitcher afterwards.

Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. As such, it’s important to understand the implications of your own situation before making a decision.

Here are some of the ups and downs of using a water filter pitcher as opposed to an under sink water filter.

Key Takeaways

  • It is always advisable to have your water tested to fully understand your filtration needs.
  • For heavier contaminated water, under sink water filters are the better choice in most cases.
  • Under sink water filters need proper installation, but water filter pitchers require more frequent filter replacements.
  • Generally speaking, filter pitchers are more affordable upfront and long-term when compared to under-the-sink systems.

Water Filter Pitchers


Easy to Use

Water filter pitchers are designed to be as easy as possible to use. You just fill water into the pitcher, wait for it to run through the filter, pour it out into a glass, and you’re done!

Everyone in your family can take advantage of a water filter pitcher without any difficulties. As long as you don’t pick a model that’s too large (and therefore heavy when it’s full), even children and elderly can serve themselves without issues.

No Installation Required

A water filter pitcher requires no installation. You just have to take it out of the box, optionally assemble some of its components, put in a filter cartridge, and that’s it. This can all be done in a few minutes and doesn’t require any specialized skills.


You can bring your water filter pitcher with you wherever you go. You don’t have to worry about specifically drinking water out of the one faucet in your home that has an under sink filter attached.

You can even take your pitcher with you when you’re traveling. This can be of huge benefit when you’re taking a trip to a remote location where you don’t have guaranteed access to fresh, clean water.

Low Cost

Water filter pitchers are relatively cheap. As long as you account for the long-term cost of replacing the filter, you will generally have to spend very little money to keep using a pitcher for many years. Some models are more expensive upfront, but compensate for that with a lower replacement cartridge price.

woman with water filter pitcher


Often Not as Powerful as Many Under Sink Models

Most water filter pitchers do a fine job at removing basic contaminants from water, but if you want more thorough filtration you should look into under sink water filters.

The filtration capabilities of filter pitchers are still not to be underestimated, but you might have to spend more money on a model that covers the full range of contaminants you’re interested in removing.

Slow Filtration

When using a water filter pitcher, you always have to wait a few minutes after filling the pitcher before you can drink your first glass of water. Most under sink models don’t have this problem and provide you with a consistent, always available supply of fresh drinking water.

Limited Capacity

You’re also limited by the capacity of the pitcher. Smaller pitchers are more portable and more convenient for not-so-strong users, but they must also be refilled more frequently. This can get annoying in a large household where everyone is constantly using the pitcher.

Harder to Clean

It’s important to keep your filter pitcher clean to avoid any unpleasant build-ups. This can be tricky with some models that require additional disassembly before they can be washed properly.

Under Sink Water Filters


Thorough Filtration

If filtration quality is your main concern, you should consider opting for an under sink water filtration system. These filters are designed to capture and remove many different types of contaminants and can effectively keep your drinking water supply clean.

While you can achieve similar results with a pitcher model, it will cost more money, especially in the long run once you factor in filter replacement costs.

Unobtrusive Design

An under sink water filter is conveniently tucked away under the sink where it doesn’t get in your way. You won’t even see the filter most of the time. This can be useful in smaller households with limited countertop space.

Low Maintenance

You don’t need to do as much maintenance on an under sink filter compared to a pitcher model. While you’ll still have to replace filters on a regular basis, most under sink models can last longer on a single cartridge. They also don’t need to be cleaned like pitchers.

Improved Water Taste and Smell

The better filtration capabilities of under sink water filters mean that they can also improve qualities like the smell and taste of your water. This can be accomplished with some pitcher filters too, but they tend to cost a lot more money and may still not be as effective as an under-the-sink unit.

Under Sink Water Filter


Doesn’t Cover the Whole Household

Under sink filters are limited in operation to the area where they’re installed. It’s possible to cover more than one faucet with a single filter, but you’re still locked in once you’ve installed the filter.

Requires Installation

Unlike a water filter pitcher, an under sink filter must be properly installed before it can be used. This sometimes requires professional services, especially when it involves modifications to your existing plumbing. It may be possible to do this yourself, but it may be somewhat tricky and prone to errors.

If portability is an important concern for you, under sink models may not be the ideal choice either. This is especially true if you travel a lot.

What Are the Similarities and Differences Between Pitcher and Under Sink Water Filters?

The main similarity between a pitcher and under sink water filter is that they remove contaminants from your water supply. They both accomplish that by running water through a filter (or series of filters) designed to capture and/or eliminate different types of contaminants.

You’ll also have to perform some basic maintenance in both cases. Replacing the filters is the most notable example here. Under sink filter systems require less maintenance overall, but they still need your attention from time to time to ensure that they work properly.

While pitcher models are designed to be more compact and portable, under sink filters are meant to be permanently installed and only used in one location. This can be convenient for smaller households with just one or two faucets that need to be covered. The lack of portability can be an important factor for people who are constantly on the go.

Our Verdict: Which Should You Choose?

Under sink water filters vs water filter pitchers – there’s no single answer that suits everyone. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. It’s a good idea to perform some testing on your water supply before deciding on either option. If you discover more serious contamination, you might want to invest in a more advanced under sink model.

On the other hand, if you travel a lot and want to enjoy the benefits of clean, fresh water wherever you go, investing in a water filter pitcher may be the right choice.

If you have any questions about under sink water filters versus water filter pitchers please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Rob Dodge

Rob Dodge works for Epic Water Filters as a Water Quality Specialist and Logistics Specialist. He has an extensive background studying water quality, water contaminants, and the types of filtration media used to purify drinking water. With two years of experience at Epic Water Filters, Rob has conducted many tests and studies to better understand the effectiveness of different at home water filters. His knowledge of the chemistry involved in water purification and contaminant removal has also allowed for a well rounded understanding of the qualities to look for in a water filter.
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