Written by: Gene Fitzgerald // Last Updated:
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Finding the best water filter dispenser for your family’s needs is about striking a good balance between filtration strength, capacity, and long-term cost.
Most water filter dispensers are relatively inexpensive compared to more advanced water purification systems, but they require regular filter replacements. This cost can add up over time, making it important to pay attention to how long the filter cartridges last and their pricing.
And there are more factors to consider such as filtering speed and ease of use.
So, how do you find the best water filter dispenser? You came to the right place. This guide will help you find your ideal system and not waste your money.
On This Page You Will…
Best Water Filter Dispenser: Epic Pure
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Size: 2.2 Gallons
NFS/ANSI: 42, 53, 401, P473
Filter Capacity: 150 Gallons
Read Review: Click
Alexa’s Video Review: Click
Best Dispenser Using Reverse Osmosis: AquaTru
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Type: Countertop RO
NFS/ANSI: 42, 53, 58, 401, P473
Filter Capacity: 600-1,200 Gallons
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Alexa’s Video Review: Click
Largest Capacity: Big Berkey
Size: 2.25 Gallons
NFS/ANSI: 42, 53
Filter Capacity: 3,000 Gallons
Read Review: Click
In our opinion, the best water filter dispenser in 2023 is the Epic Pure/Nano.
Which one you want to choose depends on your water supply:
That said, the filter cartridges are interchangeable, meaning you can use both versions in the Epic Pure/Nano. Thus, you can always switch later on if need be.
Aside from fluoride and pathogens, Epic water filter dispensers are NSF-tested to remove more than 200 different contaminants, including lead, chlorine, chloramine, arsenic, chromium 6, pesticides & herbicides, and microplastics. 5 stars!
|NSF:||42, 53, 401, P473|
|Filter Life:||150 Gallons|
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These two dispensers by Epic Water Filters are best for people who seek affordable and yet highly effective tap and well water filtration.
The AquaTru is a little different. It’s a water filter dispenser in form of a countertop reverse osmosis system.
The reason why we like it is purely based on filtration performance which is downright excellent (5 different NSF certifications and more than 80 contaminants removed). In other words, it gives you access to great-tasting and safe drinking water.
|NSF:||42, 53, 58, 401, P473|
|Filter Life:||600-1,200 Gallons|
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The AquaTru is best for people who want a reverse osmosis filter dispenser that’s compact, installation-free, easy to use, highly effective, and super fast.
→ Read Our Full AquaTru Review Here
In case you prefer a glass water filter dispenser, we recommend the pH Recharge by Invigorated Water.
By the way, it’s also an alkaline water filter, meaning it increases pH levels of the filtered water by 0.5 to 2.0+ points for added health benefits. We know that alkaline drinking water advocates swear by this concept.
Invigorated Water pH Recharge
|Filter Life:||96 Gallons|
The pH Recharge is best for people who want a water filter dispenser providing alkaline drinking water.
The Big Berkey is a gravity-based water filtering dispenser – the best one in our opinion.
Supreme contaminant removal meets affordable price. On top of that, initial assembly is super easy, and so is maintenance.
|Filter Life:||3,000 Gallons|
The Big Berkey is best for people who want a highly effective and easy-to-use gravity filter dispenser for regular home use or emergency preparedness.
Up next is our review of the Waterdrop Water Filter Dispenser.
This is more of a basic model. In other words, the unit doesn’t target a whole lot of water contaminants. On the upside, it’s budget-friendly!
|Filter Life:||200 Gallons|
The Waterdrop is best for people who want a combination of basic filtration, long filter life, and affordability.
As the name suggests, ZeroWater filters reduce water TDS to “0” or close by. This also applies to company’s 20-cup filter dispenser.
But is TDS really a good measure to determine drinking water quality?
ZeroWater 20 Cup
|Filter Life:||20 Gallons|
The ZeroWater is best for people who want their drinking water to be free from TDS.
In our next water filter dispenser review, we take a deep look at the PUR PLUS.
|NSF:||42, 53, 401|
|Filter Life:||40 Gallons|
The PUR PLUS is ideal if you’re looking for NSF-certified water treatment, low price, and easy setup and use.
If the Brita UltraMax dispenser is one thing, it’s affordable. And this also goes for replacement filters. This is probably the main reason why it’s so popular.
However, Brita water filtration leaves a lot to be desired in our opinion. The Longlast filter offers a quick fix for removing bad taste and odor, but that’s about it.
Bottom line: When it comes to water filter dispensers, there are better options out there.
|Filter Life:||120 Gallons|
The Brita UltraMax dispenser is best for people on a really tight budget.
How do the best water filter dispensers perform when directly compared?
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|Model||Price||Type||Size||NSF||Filter Capacity||Additional Info|
|Epic Pure & Epic Nano||$||Standard||2.2 gal||42, 53, 401, P473||150 gal||–|
|AquaTru||$$$||Countertop RO||–||42, 53, 58, 401, P473||600-1,200 gal||–|
|pH Recharge||$||Alkaline Gravity||2.25 gal||–||96 gal||–|
|Big Berkey||$$$||Gravity||2.25 gal||42, 53||3,000 gal||–|
|Waterdrop||$||Standard||20 Cups||42||200 gal||–|
|ZeroWater||$||Standard||20 Cups||42, 53||20 gal||–|
|PUR PLUS||$||Standard||30 Cups||42, 53, 401||40 gal||–|
|Brita UltraMax||$||Standard||18 Cups||42||120 gal||–|
The following are things worth considering before you go out and buy a water filter dispenser for your home. These are also the very same criteria we focused on when picking our top products for this guide.
Different water filter dispensers use different water filtration methods. Depending on the quality of your water supply, you might want to consider a higher-end model that works more thoroughly.
Standard water filter dispensers will still get rid of various basic contaminants, but they might not remove everything from the water, including particles that could potentially be harmful to your health.
It’s important to have a good understanding of your current situation before committing to a purchase like this. If possible, order a test to verify exactly how serious your water supply’s contamination issues are, and base your decision on those results. You can also consult a specialist who can advise you based on the conditions in your specific region.
Various official tests and certifications serve as indicators of the overall filtration performance of a water dispenser. If you’re interested in removing chlorine, Standard 42 will be of particular interest to you, while Standard 53 is related to general contaminants which could potentially be harmful to your health.
Some of the standards are relatively new and not a lot of testing has been carried out on them yet, so you might find that information on them is a bit limited.
It’s also important to remember that these certifications are always granted for a specific percentage of successful filtration, but that number is pretty much never 100%. This means that even a filter with a variety of certifications will still let a small number of contaminants through.
Filtration capacity can have a significant impact on the long-term cost of using a water dispenser. Some cheaper models can end up more expensive in the long run due to needing more frequent filter replacements.
It’s always important to consider how much the cost will add up over one or two years. Especially since some models need their filters changed every couple of weeks, while others can last for much longer.
The larger storage volume compared to pitchers is one of the main benefits of a water filter dispenser for many users.
Since dispensers are easy to refill and pour water from by design, there is no real downside to going with a larger model, other than space considerations in your home.
As long as the dispenser provides adequate filtration, there’s no issue with letting larger amounts of water sit in the tank for several hours.
Some water dispensers utilize pumps to increase their filtering speed. Others just let water run through the filter on its own, which usually takes more time, especially with more complex filtration systems that include multiple steps.
Filtering speed is often offset by the increased storage capacity of most dispensers, making it somewhat irrelevant in all but the largest households.
If you live with a large family and expect that your dispenser will have to be refilled more frequently, you might want to pay closer attention to this factor.
Water filter dispensers are typically very easy to use and require minimal maintenance from the user.
Cleaning the dispenser and replacing the filters on a regular basis is the most you normally would have to do. We value models that don’t introduce any complicated gimmicks and focus on the bare essentials – dispensing clean, fresh drinking water. Some of the best models on the market are ideal for families with children due to the simplicity of their operation.
With warranty varying so much across the board, it’s an important factor to pay attention to. Some models are only covered for a few months, while other manufacturers provide a lifetime warranty for their products.
Longer warranty is an indication of confidence on the part of the manufacturer and is a good sign that they expect their product to last a longer time.
Filter replacements are obviously not included in this – it’s part of the ongoing maintenance costs of your dispenser and you’re expected to cover that on your own.
Using BPA-free materials is crucial for any product used to hold or dispense water. Research on the effects of the compound on human health is still ongoing, but many organizations have been pushing for stricter regulation of it on the consumer market.
BPA can leave deposits in the water over time, which then end up in your system. Exposure to BPA has been linked with health complications in the brain and prostate glands of children and infants and has even been shown to have a negative effect on their mood and behavior.
More on Water Filter Dispensers
Many of us are familiar with water filter pitchers, as many households own at least one. Water filter dispensers build on top of the same idea, providing more storage space and an easier method for dispensing water, at the expense of making the device slightly less portable.
Typically, water filter dispensers use a regular spout, allowing users to dispense water without having to lift the whole unit.
Water filter dispensers are usually categorized according to their filtration process. Different filters can remove different contaminants from the water supply.
Many models on the market use a combination of the above methods and don’t rely on a single mode of filtration or purification exclusively. This increases the overall quality of the water they dispense, and helps treat a variety of problems, including unhealthy contaminants and foul smell or taste.
Depending on the quality of your water supply, you might want to prioritize specific filter types in your search.
Water filter dispensers are useful for households with contamination problems in their water supply.
Filtration isn’t the only benefit of using a water filter dispenser though. It can also add a lot of convenience to your daily life, providing you with fresh, clean drinking water without having to refill a smaller pitcher.
Filter dispenser are also particularly useful for larger households, as they address some of the common frustrations associated with using a smaller water filter. Namely, a large dispenser doesn’t have to be refilled as often and can be used without having to lift the whole thing up.
Combined with how easy to use most models are, water filtering dispensers are great for families with children and elderly people who can serve themselves without issues.
There are many benefits to using a filtered water dispenser. Even if the quality of your household’s water supply isn’t that bad, a water dispenser can still be a worthwhile investment that can improve your life in different ways.
Purification is the main benefit of using a water filtration dispenser, and it’s the primary reason to invest in one for many people. Even if you haven’t noticed any specific issues with the cleanliness of your water supply, a filter dispenser can still be a sensible purchase as it will remove contaminants you might not even be aware of.
If you’re not sure whether your water supply requires filtration, ordering a test can shed some light on the situation.
The filters used in most domestic dispensers can effectively get rid of unpleasant taste or smell by removing the substances that cause those issues.
This might require purchasing a unit that utilizes a specific filtration process, and it’s a good idea to consult an expert familiar with the water supply issues in your local region. They can advise you on the kinds of contaminants that need to be removed.
Even the best water dispenser filters tend to cost less than more advanced whole house purification systems. This makes it an attractive option for users who are on a tight budget, as well as those who are not sure how much they want to invest in the purification of their household water supply yet.
The affordability of water dispensers makes them a good stepping stone towards more advanced purification systems.
Most filtered water dispensers are very easy to use. From filling the unit with water to dispensing it, everything follows simple steps that can be carried out by most people. Even replacing the filter is often not complicated and doesn’t require any professional assistance.
Assembling filter dispensers is also within the capabilities of most users, as these units don’t need to be hooked up to the plumbing.
For users on the go, or those with small households who frequently find themselves rearranging things, the portability of a water purifier dispenser can make it a very convenient option for water filtration.
Most models are small enough to fit on your countertop and can be moved easily when they’re empty. Some smaller models even remain light enough to move around when they’re completely full. These can work great for camping trips and other situations where portability is one of the most important factors.
Replacing the filter in your water dispenser is the only serious form of maintenance most models require in the long term. This is often simple and can be done by any user without specialized training. In many models, the whole process is as simple as removing the old cartridge and putting the new one in.
Typically, access to the filter is enabled through a dedicated access point or hatch, and you don’t need to unscrew anything or perform other complex operations. Some models are an exception to this, but even in them, the amount of work required is minimal.
How often you should change your water dispenser’s filter depends on the model. In some units, you might have to do it as frequently as once every two or three months. In others, you can go up to two years without replacing anything. Keep in mind that filter change frequency is rated in two ways – duration of time and water volume.
Some models, for example, are rated for 1,200 gallons, which are estimated by the manufacturer to around two years of use for the average household. This might not be the case for your family though. If your model comes with a filter change indicator, this is your best bet for figuring out when maintenance is required.
Always pay attention to the instructions for priming your new filter! Once a new filter has been inserted, it often needs some time to activate properly. In most models, this is done by running a certain volume of water through the filter before using it for the first time.
Cleaning a water filter dispenser is easy and doesn’t require any special equipment:
Avoid scratching your dispenser when cleaning it. Many models are made of plastic, and scratches can result in microscopic deposits of it making their way into your water supply. This can be particularly problematic if the damage is in a location past the filter, as those particles will then directly end up in your drinking water.
Therefore, you should only use a soft sponge to clean your dispenser, and never any hard brushes or even worse, steel wire.
If water in your area is particularly hard, you might notice some scale building up on the inside of your dispenser. You will need to clean the dispenser more regularly in that case, otherwise you risk having some of that build-up becoming permanent.
I hope this list of the best water filter dispensers was helpful. Questions? Ask away!
And keep in mind: We’ll add a new water filter dispenser review occasionally. So come back for more!