8 Best Water Filter Pitchers and Dispensers: Reviews 2021

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Thanks to their simplicity, water filter pitchers are the most popular type of home water filter money can buy. They’re easy to use and clean, portable, they don’t require installation, and they fit in any standard fridge. And most importantly: They’re super affordable.

In other words, using a filter pitcher is an easy way to get access to great-tasting drinking water. Granted, in some cases filtered water quality cannot keep up with what a multi-stage water filtration system might provide, however, sometimes bigger just isn’t practical. And if you invest in the right pitcher model you’ll have clean water guaranteed!

How to find the best water filter pitcher for your needs? This guide will help you do exactly that: Protecting you from wasting your hard-earned cash on an inferior product.

On This Page You Will…

No Time to Read? Check Our List of the Best Water Filter Pitchers!

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ModelOur RatingPriceSize (Cups)Filter LifeAnnual CostWarrantyModel
Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher
Best Water Filter Pitcher with Most Contaminants Removed: Clearly Filtered

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$$$10100 gal~$150LifetimeClearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher
Best Water Filter Pitcher with Most Contaminants Removed: Clearly Filtered

Our Rating:
Price: $$$
Size (Cups): 10
Filter Life: 100 gal
Annual Cost: ~$150
Warranty: Lifetime

Read Review

Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher
The Runner-Up: Aquagear

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$$$8150 gal~$100LifetimeAquagear Water Filter Pitcher
The Runner-Up: Aquagear

Our Rating:
Price: $$$
Size (Cups): 8
Filter Life: 150 gal
Annual Cost: ~$100
Warranty: Lifetime

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pH RESTORE Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher
#1 Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher: pH RESTORE

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$$896 gal~$50?pH RESTORE Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher
#1 Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher: pH RESTORE

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Size (Cups): 8
Filter Life: 96 gal
Annual Cost: ~$50
Warranty: ?

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ZeroWater Water Purifier Dispenser
Best Water Filter Dispenser: ZeroWater

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$$$3020 gal~$20090 DaysZeroWater Water Purifier Dispenser
Best Water Filter Dispenser: ZeroWater

Our Rating:
Price: $$$
Size (Cups): 30
Filter Life: 20 gal
Annual Cost: ~$200
Warranty: 90 Days

Read Review

Best Water Filter Pitcher Reviews

1. Our #1 Water Purifier Pitcher: Clearly Filtered (For Tap and Well Water + Removes the Most Contaminants)

In our opinion, the best water filter pitcher in 2021 is the Clearly Filtered. Why? Because it’s tested to remove more contaminants from both tap water and disinfected well water than any other pitcher currently on the market. What’s more, filtered water taste is pristine. Definitely 5 stars!

Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher

Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher

Price:$$$
Size:10-Cup
Filter Life:100 Gallons
Annually:~$150
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • Built in USA!
  • Clearly Filtered pitcher features Affinity Filtration Technology, a combination of granular activated carbon and different proprietary filter media to eliminate more than 230 potential contaminants from water like: Chlorine and chloramine (99.9%), lead (99.5%), chromium-6 (96.9%), arsenic (99.6%), many pharmaceuticals (99.9%), dozens of pesticides and herbicides (most to 99.9%), various chemicals including BPA (99.9%), VOCs and semi-volatile compounds (most to 99.9%), PFAS (99.6%), fluoride (between 96.9% and 98.2%), and bacteria, cysts and microorganisms (99.9%).
  • Independent laboratory testing according to NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, 244, and 401, and protocol P473 substantiate manufacturer claims.
    • Effectiveness of filtration is guaranteed for highest drinking water quality and clean taste.
  • Healthy minerals are retained in water.
  • 10-cup pitcher can hold enough water suited for family use.
  • Removable lid makes refilling a lot easier.
  • Pitcher is made from 100% BPA-free Tritan plastic.
  • Quick assembly.
  • One pitcher filter lasts a full 100 gallons or 4 months – more than twice as long as the average. Annual replacement cost: ~$150.
    • Maintenance is kept at a bare minimum.
    • You can get discounts if you subscribe or buy in bulk.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee for peace of mind. Return and get refund if you’re unhappy.
  • Lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Relatively expensive when compared to other models.
  • Some reviewers complained about filters wearing out prematurely and long waiting times.
    • We cannot attest. Never had issues like these.

→ Full Clearly Filtered review here

2. The Runner-Up: Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher

Our second favorite water filter pitcher in 2021 is the Aquagear. Its makers said they were unsatisfied with the “mass market filters removing surprisingly few tap water contaminants”, so they decided to create their own product.

The Aquagear uses activated carbon combined with ion exchange resin to remove/reduce a little less than 100 of the most common and most harmful tap water contaminants. 4.5 stars!

Aquagear Pitcher Filter

Aquagear Pitcher Filter

Price:$$$
Size:8 Cups
Filter Life:150 Gallons
Annually:$100
Warranty:Life

Our Rating

Pros

  • Made in USA!
  • Produces great-tasting water.
  • Aquagear filter pitcher has been tested to EPA and SM protocols. It has shown to remove lead (99.9%) and many other heavy metals, chlorine and chloramines (99.9%), nitrite (92.0%) + nitrate (97.6%), TTHMs which are water disinfection byproducts (99.0%), fluoride (~90.5%), and around 70 volatile organic compounds (most above 98% removal).
    • NSF/ANSI certification standards 42 and 53 are met.
  • Calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals are not removed from your drinking water.
  • 8-cup water storage capacity.
  • 150 gallons filtration capacity (6 months) per filter cartridge is unheard of. Annual cost: $100.
    • Saves you from frequent replacements.
    • Subscribe to get 20% off.
    • Aquagear recycle program allows you to send back your used filters, which are 100 percent recyclable, for free.
  • Whole pitcher is made from 100% FDA food-grade, BPA & BPS-free materials.
  • Lifetime guarantee: Aquagear replaces broken pitcher free of charge.
  • Students can receive discount.
  • Military personnel can receive 10% military discount.

Cons

  • Quite pricey at purchase.
  • Thorough filtration takes longer – and a lot longer in some cases. That’s something you have to accept when you opt for the Aquagear water filtration pitcher. It’s probably best to fill it right before you go to bed. This way you can enjoy some refreshing water first thing in the morning.
  • To be used with tap water only.

3. Epic Pure & Epic Nano Water Filter Pitchers

The Epic Water Filters pitcher comes in two versions:

  1. Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher designed for city tap water filtration – It focuses on removing fluoride and heavy metals. Choose between white and navy blue pitcher design.
  2. Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher perfect for well water and use in the great outdoors – Focus: Bacteria, viruses, and cysts. Design: Navy blue.

That said, the filters are interchangeable so that you can always switch versions later on if need be.

Apart from fluoride and heavy metals respectively microorganisms, Epic filter pitchers target more than 200 different contaminants that might be lurking in your water which is why we consider them one of the best of their kind.

Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher

Epic Pure Water Filtration Pitcher

Price:$$$
Size:14 Cups
Filter Life:150 Gallons
Annually:$90
Warranty:Life

Our Rating

Pros

  • Vast majority of people are highly satisfied, loving the taste of their filtered water.
  • Tested and verified in multiple EPA accredited laboratories against NSF/ANSI standard 42, 53, 401, P473 to remove 200+ pollutants:
    • Chlorine, fluoride, nitrate, chloramine, sulfate, arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury.
    • A bunch of volatile organic compounds.
    • Pharmaceuticals and so-called emerging contaminants.
    • Haloacetic acids, trihalomethanes.
    • Lots of pesticides.
    • Semi volatiles.
    • PFOA + PFOS.
    • Microplastics.
    • Radiological elements.
  • Epic Pure pitcher is even more effective at removing fluoride and heavy metals.
  • Epic Nano pitcher applies sub-micron filtration to additionally remove up to 99.999% bacteria (e coli, legionella pneumophila, hepatitis A, salmonella), viruses, cysts (giardia & cryptosporidium. According to NSF protocol P231.
    • Nano filter is also more resistant to clogging caused by hard water.
  • Filtration process is based on coconut shell carbon block.
  • Calcium, magnesium, potassium and other minerals are left untouched adding to your daily recommended intake.
  • Bottom reservoir holds 8 cups of water.
  • You can pour while there’s still unfiltered water left in the upper reservoir.
  • Designed to fit into most refrigerators.
  • Material is BPA-free Tritan plastic.
  • Long-lasting filter cartridges: 150 gallon or 2-6 months depending on your water conditions and usage.
    • Filters are Made in USA.
    • Each filter is 100% recyclable.
    • Recycling program: Collect four filters and send them back to receive one free replacement filter.
    • Built in filter life countdown timer reminds you when to replace.
    • Price seems fair. More affordable than Clearly Filtered and Aquagear. You can save an additional 20% when subscribing for replacement filters (Clean Water Club). No obligations. Cancel anytime.
  • Epic has discounts for military personnel, first responders, medical staff, teachers, students, seniors, and owners and employees of non-profit organizations.
  • Backed by lifetime warranty and hassle-free return policy.

Cons

  • It usually takes between 5-10 minutes to filter one refill. However, some people complained about extremely slow filtration after a few weeks. More frequent replacements really add to the cost.
  • The top may come off when pouring.
  • Flip lid may get stuck.

4. #1 Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher: pH RESTORE by Invigorated Water

With the pH RESTORE alkaline water filter pitcher sold by Invigorated Water, the pH value of your water will increase by .5 to 2.0+ points. However, at this time there seems to be no solid scientific evidence supporting the claim that alkaline water is better for our health than regular drinking water.

Thus, we leave it up to you to decide about the health benefits of alkaline water. One thing is for certain: The pH RESTORE isn’t perfect but it’s still our number one alkaline water filter pitcher in 2021.

pH Restore Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher

pH Restore

Price:$$
Size:8 Cups
Filter Life:96 Gallons
Annually:$50
Warranty:?

Our Rating

Pros

  • Filters contain mineral stones which add healthy minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc to water for higher alkalinity.
  • Improves taste and smell of drinking water.
  • Standard PH001 filter cartridge uses coconut activated carbon, ion-exchange resin, and zeolite to reduce sediments, chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, heavy metals including lead, some organic and non-organic matter, microplastics, and even a little bit of fluoride.
    • Upgrade with optional PH002 ultrafiltration cartridges (0.01 micron) for more effective fluoride filtration (close to 80% reduction).
    • PH002 filters also take care of 99.9% waterborne pathogens including colloids, parasites, cysts and protozoa.
  • Holds 8 cups of water (half a gallon).
  • BPA-free plastic.
  • Lid comes with LCD display to count water usage for easy cartridge replacement.
  • Rubber base avoids surface scraping.
  • PH001 filters last 96 gallons. Price seems reasonable.
  • PH002 filters last a full 264 gallons. Really affordable.
  • 60-day return policy: Full refund + pays return shipping cost.

Cons

  • Most importantly, we miss NSF certifications with specific contaminant reduction rates. Filtration with the PH001 alone isn’t very thorough. Water runs through pretty fast.
  • Optional PH002 filters slow down filtration considerably and tend to clog. In order to fix this you have to take them out and do some shaking and tapping. If the first attempt didn’t work you have to try again – inconvenient.
  • A few quality and design issues. For one, the plastic doesn’t feel very durable.

5. Best Water Filter Dispenser: ZeroWater 30-Cup

In our opinion, the best water filter dispenser in 2021 is the ZeroWater 30-Cup – although we don’t consider total dissolved solids (TDS) an ideal measure to determine drinking water quality.

Why the ZeroWater 30-Cup? Because its five-stage filtration process is tested AND NSF/ANSI certified against Standard 42 for reduction of chlorine taste and smell (97.5%), and against Standard 53 for the reduction of lead (95.9-99.7%), hexavalent chromium (99.6%), mercury (96.0-96.7%), and PFOA/PFOS (94.9%).

Furthermore, test results show that ZeroWater filters are capable of removing most arsenic 3 and 5, chromium 6, copper, manganese, fluoride, nitrate/nitrite, and several other contaminants in water.

All in all, we would describe the performance as pretty solid, and thus 4 stars.

A Word on Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Even if a TDS meter reads “0”, it doesn’t mean your water is 100% safe. It only means that it’s free from most dissolved solids, primarily minerals like calcium, salts like sodium and nitrates, and organic compounds (e.g. sulfides). In addition, TDS isn’t associated with health effects. Rather, it is a good indicator of aesthetic drinking water characteristics: Taste, odor, color, turbidity, etc.

ZeroWater Water Filter Dispenser

ZeroWater Filter Dispenser

Price:$$$
Size:23 + 7 Cups
Filter Life:20 Gallons
Annually:~$200
Warranty:90 Days

Our Rating

Pros

  • 5 filter stages produce delicious water:
    • First, a filter screen rejects sediment and fine particles.
    • At stage 2, a foam distributor disperses water evenly across filter width for longevity and improved filtration.
    • Next come carbon filter layer + oxidation alloy to remove organics, heavy metals, and chlorine.
    • Ion exchange resin.
    • Another filter screen + membrane layer trap ultra-fine particles.
  • Dispenser holds 30 cups which is plenty of water for family use. Small version can store up to 20.
    • ZeroWater pitchers use same filters and come in various sizes.
  • Water quality meter for measuring total dissolved solids is part of the package.
    • No need to memorize the date of the last replacement. Simply check the purified water from time to time. Whenever the meter reads “006” or more it’s time to install a new filter.
  • You can easily dispense water from spigot while the reservoir continues to filter – no long waiting times.
  • One filter cartridge is rated at 20 gallons service life.
    • Cost: Between $10 and$15 each, depending on how many you order.
  • 90-day warranty on pitcher, 30 days on filters.

Cons

  • For tap water only.
  • Filtration is slow.
  • Issues with filters lasting no more than 10 gallons. At such low capacity, operating cost start to add up quickly.

6. Brita Everyday Pitcher and UltraMax Dispenser Review

Classic, Slim, Monterey, UltraMax. Brita offers a whole arsenal of water filter pitchers and dispensers.

One of the manufacturer’s most popular pitcher models is the Brita Everyday – a basic unit that’s simple to use and widely available. As for water filter dispensers, the Brita UltraMax is the way to go.

Although, which specific pitcher/dispenser model you choose isn’t that important; they’re all compatible with the same Brita filters (Standard and Longlast), which is why you can expect identical results in water quality.

Can they compete with the cream of the crop? Not really. Combined with a Longlast filter, Brita filter pitchers and dispensers are a quick fix for tasty drinking water at a price that’s hard to beat. Affordability paired with functionality is also probably the reason why there’s so much positive customer feedback on Amazon.

Still, in our opinion, there’re better choices out there (see above). For mild levels of water contamination, this might be just what you’re looking for.

Brita Everyday Water Filter Pitcher

Brita Everyday Water Filter Pitcher

Price:$
Size:10-Cup
Filter Capacity:40/120 Gallons
Annually:~$50
Warranty:90 Days

Our Rating

Pros

  • One word: Affordable.
  • BPA-free materials only.
  • Choose between:
    • Brita Standard filter – Rated at 40 gallons and removes bits of mercury, cadmium, copper, zinc, and most importantly chlorine taste and smell.
    • Brita Longlast filter – 120-gallon filtration capacity. Can handle a wider range of contaminants including lead (99%), benzene (93%), and asbestos (99%). NSF certified against standard 42. Testifies at least 98% chlorine removal for a huge improvement in water taste. Compatible with Brita Amalfi, Capri, Marina, Metro, Monterey, Slim, Ultramax, Everyday…
    • We recommend Brita Longlast! Almost same price tag when you take into account filter capacity.

Brita Everyday Pitcher Features

  • 10-cup capacity is ideal for families.
  • Compact, functional design won’t take up much space in your fridge.
  • The lift-off lid allows for easy filling and access to the upper water reservoir.

Brita UltraMax Dispenser Features

  • Holds up to 18 cups of water, or exactly 1.13 gallons. You probably won’t have to refill it more than two times per day, depending on the size of your family, which makes it ideal for any larger home.
  • Thanks to the sleek design, the dispenser can sit on your kitchen countertop without taking up too much space. Alternatively, you can keep it on a shelf in your fridge if you prefer to enjoy cold drinking water.
  • The construction is good. Polycarbonate plastic is great to keep everything nice and clean while not leaching anything into your water.
  • Spigot for easy water dispensing (even for kids).
  • Flip-top lid makes refilling a breeze.

Cons

Brita Everyday Pitcher Only

  • Despite seamless surfaces, the upper reservoir turns out to be quite difficult to remove which is inconvenient for cleaning.
  • It can be hard to make a Longlast filter sit tight. Unfiltered water will leak into the lower container if you do not get the filter in the right place.
  • Pitcher is not very comfortable to hold.

Brita UltraMax Dispenser Only

  • Some refrigerators are too small to accommodate the large purifier dispenser due to its height.
  • Upper reservoir (black piece) can be hard to take out.
    • Without removing it, it’s impossible to rinse the whole unit to prevent bacteria and mold from accumulating in the bottom tank.

7. Santevia Alkaline Water Filter Pitchers

In our opinion, Santevia alkaline water filter pitchers are good for removing chlorine taste and odor and enriching water with healthy minerals. But they’re not meant for filtering water containing harmful PFAS, toxic heavy metals, chloramine, or whatever else that might be lurking in our water supplies these days due to a lack of thorough NSF/ANSI testing.

Considering the comparatively high price, it’s 3 stars from us!

Santevia Classic Water Filter Pitcher

Santevia Classic

Price:$$
Size:9 Cups
Filter Capacity:80 Gallons
Annually:$110-120
Warranty:90 Days

Our Rating

Pros

  • Santevia offers the Classic Pitcher and the MINA Pitcher. Both produce alkaline water with an increased pH (about 1.5-2.0 units) and enriched with healthy minerals.
    • Choose from different color design options.
    • Hold the standard 9 cups.
  • Both pitcher filters use coconut shell granular activated carbon mixed with ion exchange resin.
    • MINA water filter pitcher NSF certified against standards 42 + 53 for reducing chlorine (up to 99%) and lead (up to 93.5%). It further removes cadmium, copper, mercury, and manganese.
  • Alkalinization/mineralization stage uses ceramic balls to add mineralize water for a more rounded taste and higher pH.
  • Filtration is fast. A full pitcher barely takes 2 minutes to process so you don’t have to wait too long when you’re thirsty.
  • Santevia products are 100% BPA-free.
  • One water pitcher filter lasts 80 gallons of water or 2 months, whichever comes first – not too bad. Cost: $18-20 or a little less if you buy in bulk. More than we would’ve expected.
    • Countdown clock on Santevia Classic conveniently tells you when 60 days have passed. MINA uses helpful filter indicator light.
    • Santevia’s Filter Ease service sends you an email or text to remind you when filter replacement is due.
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee allows you to return the pitcher for a full refund.
  • 90-day warranty is a bit short but better than nothing.

Cons

  • Very fast flow is usually an indicator for incomplete filtration. Contact time between water and filter media is too short.
  • The filters tend to leak carbon granules.

Other Issues with the Santevia Classic:

  • Santevia Classic is only certified for chlorine removal (up to 90%, NSF 42). Lead reduction is insufficient.
  • Overall, the plastic parts seem of lower quality.
  • It’s difficult to pour water without splashing and the filter falls out while pouring when water is low.
  • The front flap on the pour spout falls off easily.
  • The auto-close flap on the fill port doesn’t open or close properly.
  • The countdown clock stops working after a while.

Other Issues with the Santevia MINA:

  • The filter falls out and the lid falls off when pouring water.
  • The electronic filter indicator stops working after a couple of months use.

→ Read Our Full Santevia Alkaline Pitchers Review Here

8. PUR Ultimate, Classic & Basic Filter Water Pitchers

In our opinion, any PUR water filter pitcher is suited for providing drinking water, if combined with the lead reduction pitcher filter.

The setup tackles several of the most common contaminants found in our water supplies these days, but not necessarily the most harmful.

Also, people have reported issues like filters clogging ahead of time. Then again, the price is hard to beat and most people are more than happy with their purchase. Bottom line: 3.5 stars.

PUR Ultimate Pitcher Water Filter

PUR Ultimate 11-Cup Pitcher Version

Price:$$
Size:11-Cup
Filter Capacity:40 Gallons
Annually:~$60
Warranty:90 Days

Our Rating

Pros

  • PUR offers 4 different water pitcher models:
    • Ultimate 11-cup version – Most expensive. Comes with PUR lead reduction filter.
    • Small Ultimate 7-cup version – Also comes the lead reduction filter.
    • Classic – Pitcher can hold up to 11 cups. Uses PUR Faster Basic pitcher replacement filters.
    • Basic – 7 cups. Shipped with Faster Basic pitcher filter.
    • All are free from BPA.
  • PUR offers three different filters for their pitchers. They’re interchangeable so you can switch anytime. All use granular activated carbon + MAXION resin and have earned NSF standard 42, 53, and 401 certifications. Price difference is negligible so always go with the lead reduction filter.
    • Faster Basic – As the name suggests, basic filtration only. Certified to remove no more than 14 contaminants from water. Less effectively than the other two filters. Certifications for: Chlorine taste and smell, cadmium, mercury, and a few other contaminants.
    • Basic – Can remove 24 contaminants in total. Certifications cover chlorine (97.5%), emerging contaminants like BPA (94.2%), cyst (>99.99%), benzene (96.4%)…
    • lead reduction – Our favorite! Same contaminants as the Basic with pretty much the same effectiveness expect for lead (98.5-99.3%).
  • Each filter is rated at 40 gallons or two months, whichever comes first. Cost: $10 and even less if you buy in bulk which is really affordable.
    • PUR Ultimate and Classic feature a convenient CleanSensor filter life monitor that tracks how long a filter has been in use and remind you when to replace.
  • Partnership with RecycleNation allows you to drop off your used PUR products at hundreds of locations.
  • 90-day manufacturer warranty.

Cons

  • Main issue is clogging. In some cases, filtration slows down only a couple of days after installing a new filter. Another few days later, no more water can pass through.
    • Company suggests shaking, flushing, and soaking the filters, and running water through them backwards, but doesn’t always solve the problem.
  • Due to bad design the pitchers may spill or leak when you pour water.
  • Some filter life indicators didn’t work right away. Also, battery isn’t replaceable.

→ Read Our Full PUR Water Pitchers Review Here

Water Filter Pitcher Comparison List

(Hint: Swipe to Scroll)

ModelPriceAdditional Info
Clearly Filtered 10-Cup Water Pitcher$$$Removes Lead, Mercury, Copper, and More (See Test Results), Easily Achieves Bottled Water Quality, 10 Cups Water Capacity
AquaGear Water Pitcher$$$8-Cup Capacity, Use the Pitcher with Tap Water Only, Produces Great-Tasting Water, Long Filter Life
Epic Pure & Epic Nano Pitcher Filters$$$Tap Water Only
Invigorated Water pH RESTORE Water Pitcher$$8-Cup Capacity, Alkaline Water at Home
ZeroWater Filter Dispenser$$$Five-Stage Filter, Tap Water Only, Great-Tasting Water
Brita Everyday 10-Cup Pitcher$For Tap Water, Ergonomic Handle
Brita UltraMax Filtration System$$Tap Water Only, Large Capacity
Santevia Classic Water Pitcher$$2-Stage Filter, 9-Cup Pitcher
Santevia MINA Water Pitcher$$2-Stage Filter Designed for Tap Water Filtration
PUR Ultimate 11-Cup Pitcher$$$Filters 40 Gallons of Water
PUR Classic 11-Cup Pitcher$$40 Gallons of Tap Water
PUR Basic$$7-Cup Water Pitcher

Buying Guide: What to Consider When Buying a Water Filter Pitcher

What do you need to consider when buying a water filter pitcher for your home?

Contaminant Reduction

Most water filter pitchers use some sort of activated charcoal/carbon to trap impurities, mainly chlorine, with the goal to improve water taste and odor. So, if all you want is enjoy a refreshing glass of drinking water and you’re not really concerned about removing certain contaminants for health reasons, a basic filter pitcher makes a great choice.

Some brands like Clearly Filtered, however, will take care of at least some of the nasty things that might be lurking in your water supply, such as lead, chromium 6, and VOCs. So the question really is: What is it that you want to accomplish?

You should also think about having your water tested before making a purchase.

NSF/ANSI Testing & Certifications

Pay special attention to tests and certifications for NSF/ANSI standards 42 and 53. Standard 42 measures the reduction of chlorine taste and smell from water. Standard 53 is for contaminants with health effects. These include heavy metals, organics, and all kinds of chemicals.

In addition, NSF/ANSI Standard 401 – which is fairly new – addresses the removal of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemical compounds that can also affect our health. Not many water filter systems have been tested against this standard yet.

NSF/ANSI 244 is “the American National Standard that sets benchmark criteria for drinking water filters designed to protect against intermittent incursions or accidental microbiological contamination of public or private drinking water”.

Lastly, NSF/ANSI protocol P473. It outlines performance requirements for drinking water treatment units removing PFOA and PFOS.

On a side note: NSF/ANSI certifications do not guarantee that a particular water filter will remove a certain contaminant entirely, but to a significant extent.

Water Storage Volume (Jug Size)

For pitchers, water storage volume is measured in cups. You will find models with volumes between 7 and 11 cups on this page. This equals 0.44 to 0.69 gallons.

Obviously, a lower volume requires more frequent refills. This is why a pitcher might not be an ideal filter for a large home and people with very high water demand. Keep in mind that after each refill you’ll have to wait for the water to run through the filter.

Water filter dispensers are often the better alternative here. The two dispensers we reviewed above have a capacity of 30 and 18 cups of water (1.86 respectively 1.13 gallons). Both should last for a whole day in a 2-person home. A family of 4 probably needs one additional refill.

Also, bear in mind that while dispensers come with a spout, pitchers have to be lifted for pouring. And a full 10-cup pitcher is quite heavy. This is not a deal breaker. You might find it inconvenient, though.

woman with water filter pitcher

Filtration Speed

Just like under sink water filters, all water filter pitchers are not created equal. Some are faster and some slower. And while fast filtration seems preferable to quench your thirst, remember that thorough filtration takes time.

Water Filtering Capacity

For us, a pitcher’s initial price tag is secondary. What matters are running cost determined by the price and lifespan of replacement filters:

  • A cartridge’s lifespan depends on its water filtering capacity. This determines how often you need to replace it.
  • Capacities range from 30 or 40 gallons of filtered water (lasts about one or two months) to 200 gallons (enough for up to six months).

So when you estimate costs, filtering capacity is definitely something you should take into account. For example: An expensive filter may provide 150 gallons of clean, safe water, whereas a cheap one dies at the 40-gallon mark.

By the way, we are not really into filter life indicators. Why? Because they’re inaccurate and usually measure time instead of water usage. We recommend you simply write down the date of the last filter replacement and estimate your daily water consumption.

BPA-Free Materials

You want to make sure that all materials are 100% BPA-free, especially the container. Bisphenol A is commonly found in plastics and can leech into water over time. While at this point the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that BPA doesn’t require regulation, other sources have linked the substance to cancer and assume that it can affect the development of fetuses and newborns. So remember: Only BPA-free materials like Tritan plastic or glass.

Manufacturer Warranty & Cost

Personally, we prefer water filter products that are covered for lifetime and that come with a trial period a.k.a. money-back satisfaction guarantee.

And as far as costs are concerned, apart from a pitcher’s initial purchase price you also want to check replacement filter cost which can really add up if you have to change filters frequently.

More on Water Filter Pitchers

What Are Water Filter Pitchers?

Water filter pitchers are simple devices to improve the taste and quality of drinking water. Based on gravity, cold water trickles from the feed water container through one or more filter elements into a clean water reservoir ready for consumption.

Depending on the exact process, filtering a full pitcher can take anywhere between three and 30 minutes.

How Do Filter Pitchers Work?

Most make use of carbon filtration as their primary filter medium. That means the filter cartridges contain catalytic or activated carbon in granular or block form to adsorb impurities, trapping them in the surface pores.

More sophisticated pitchers also apply ion exchange which is great for the removal of heavy metals and fluoride for example.

You may also find pitcher filters that use KDF for controlling microorganisms.

What Contaminants Are in Our Water and Can Filtered Water Pitchers Remove Them?

What contaminants a filtered water pitcher removes depends on the water treatment process it applies.

Budget models provide basic filtration to merely improve water aesthetics. Some might even reduce harmful contaminants such as lead.

If you can spend a little more, you could buy the Clearly Filtered which is among the best water filter pitchers in our opinion. It’s independently tested to 5 different NSF certification standards (42, 53, 244, 401 & 473) for the removal of 230 contaminants give or take:

  • Cl
  • Chloramine
  • Fluoride
  • Perfluorinated chemicals (PFOA, PFOS)
  • Microplastics
  • Various metals, e.g. arsenic, lead, chromium 6
  • About two dozen pharmaceuticals
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • 100+ VOCs/semi-volatiles
  • Radiological elements
  • Bacteria, cysts, and other microorganisms

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Benefits – 5 Reasons Why to Use a Filter Water Pitcher

Here are our 5 reasons on why you should use a water filter pitcher in your home:

1. Health Benefits: Removal of Harmful Contaminants

Check the above list and you’ll find that the top rated water filter pitchers are very well capable of filtering a wide of range of potentially harmful contaminants from water. There’s no easier way to protect your family!

2. Improved Water Aesthetics

A reduction in contaminants usually also means improved water aesthetics – think taste, smell, color, etc.

3. Ease of Use

A pitcher is so easy to use. And it doesn’t even require installation. You simply put the filter cartridge in place, fill the top container at your kitchen faucet, and wait. Maintenance is child’s play, too!

4. Portability

No permanent installation means portability: You can store the filter pitcher in your fridge for cooling, take it with you when you move, any maybe even use it in the field.

5. Low Price

To top it off, filter pitchers are one of the most affordable type of water filter system. Only faucet filters can compete in terms of required budget.

Who Should You Be Using a Water Filter Pitcher?

Do you even need a water filter pitcher?

In our opinion, anyone with water quality issues should consider buying one. And if you’re living in a really large household, just buy two!

Drinking water contamination is just too big of an issue – with potentially adverse health effects – to ignore it.

How can you find out if your water contains harmful contaminants? Through testing: You can do basic testing yourself using one of the widely available test kits. Or you can hire an independent laboratory to do it for you.

Alternatively, check your latest water quality report in case you’re receiving tap water.

When to Change a Water Pitcher Filter

There’s no such thing as a standard filter rating. How long a filter lasts in real life varies depending on how many contaminants are present in your water. This especially applies to water with high mineral content that often leads to clogging.

Also, some filters such as the Aquagear are rated much higher than others, e.g. at 150 gallons.

Factors that indicate an imminent filter replacement are a change in water taste and slowing filtration.

Chart: When to Replace Filters

FiltersRatingTime Maximum
Clearly Filtered100 gal6 mos
Aquagear150 gal6 mos
Epic Pure + Epic Nano150 gal6 mos
Invigorated Living PH00196 gal4-5 mos
Invigorated Living PH002264 gal12 mos
ZeroWater Filter20 gal1 mos
Brita Filter – Standard40 gal2 mos
Brita Filter – Longlast120 gal5-6 mos
Santevia Classic80 gal2 mos
Santevia MINA80 gal2 mos
PUR Faster Basic40 gal2 mos
PUR Basic40 gal2 mos
PUR Lead-Reducing40 gal2 mos
Nakii150 gal6 mos
Seychelle100 gal4-5 mos

How to Change the Filter Cartridge

Changing a pitcher water filter isn’t complicated at all.

  1. Usually, the first step is to take out the top reservoir so that you get access to the filter.
  2. Remove the old filter. Most elements screw on, some are simply pushed in place.
  3. Prime the new filter. The package might include a flushing disk or something similar. Some filters simply need to soak for a couple of minutes or hours.
  4. Insert the filter by pushing or screwing.
  5. Install the feed water reservoir.
  6. Depending on the manufacturer instructions, you might have to discard the first one or two pitchers of water before it’s ready for drinking.

Brita vs PUR vs Clearly Filtered vs Aquagear vs ZeroWater – Our Take on Pitcher Brands

Brita and PUR offer their products at an affordable price tag which is why both brands are highly popular. The pitcher filters allow for basic contaminant removal. Brita’s Longlast and PUR’s Lead-Reducing replacement filters can even be used to tackle lead. Bottom line: Good if you’re on a budget.

Clearly Filtered is a premium brand. Their pitcher is by far the best performance-wise. If you’re concerned about certain contaminants in your home’s water supply this is the ideal filter pitcher to buy.

Other top brands to consider are Aquagear and EpicWaterFilters.

If you’re looking for an alkaline filter pitcher, make sure check out the pH RESTORE by Invigorated Water.

ZeroWater’s pitcher filters focus on reducing Total Dissolved Solids. However, in our opinion TDS is not the best measure to determine water quality. And while the filters are great for chlorine reduction etc., they don’t come without flaws – think clogging.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Which water filter pitcher removes the most contaminants?
    That’s an easy one for sure! The Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher removes the most contaminants by far – more than 220 in total.
  • Is filtering water better than drinking bottled water?
    It depends. Many bottled waters, including some of the fancy brands, are just regular tap water filled into plastic containers. In this case, yes, filtered tap water is probably the better option in terms of quality. Plus, there’s a clear cost advantage. Spring water or artesian water is usually really good quality-wise, but might be even more expensive.
  • Do alkaline water pitchers work?
    Yes, they do. Alkaline filter pitchers produce water with a higher pH by adding minerals. The question remains, however, whether or not alkalinized water does have any health benefits.
  • Do water filter pitchers remove bacteria?
    A few of them do, like the Clearly Filtered pitcher.
  • Which water filter pitcher removes lead?
    Lead is one of the easier contaminants to remove, even for a water pitcher. All Brita pitchers that use a Longlast filter cartridge work. Aquagear and Clearly Filtered are perfectly fine, too.
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Questions? Ask away!

And don’t forget to come back to this guide from time to time as we’re going to continue our hunt for the best pitcher water filter and add new water filter pitcher reviews occasionally.

About the Author Tim Stanley

Tim Stanley is our content creator veteran. His daily tasks involve everything from research to editing. His expertise: Water Softeners. When he is not working, Tim spends most his free time cycling and shaping his body doing calisthenics. To calm down he also likes to watch Netflix (who doesn’t?).
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Tim

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