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Thanks to their simplicity, water filter pitchers are the most popular type of home water filter money can buy. They are easy to use and clean, portable, don’t require installation, and fit in any standard fridge. And most importantly: They are super affordable.
In other words, using a filter pitcher is an easy way to get access to great-tasting drinking water. Sure, the quality cannot keep up with what a multi-stage water filtration system might provide, however, sometimes bigger is just not practical – especially if you are not ready to invest a lot of money.
This guide will help you find the best water filter pitcher for your needs and protect you from wasting your hard-earned cash on an inferior product.
On This Page You Will…
|Model||Our Rating||Price||Cups||Filt. Capacity||Replacement Cost|
Most Contaminants Removed: Clearly Filtered
Best Water Filter Pitcher Overall: Aquagear
Best Selling Water Filter Pitcher: Brita Everyday
Best Water Filter Dispenser: Brita UltraMax
Best Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher: pH RESTORE
Order of Reviews
The Aquagear water filter pitcher stands out for its high-capacity filters (one of the longest lasting we’ve seen) and their excellent performance:
These are some of the best test results we’ve ever seen for a pitcher water filter. Still, please keep in mind that this pitcher is to be used for municipal (city) water only. Since it doesn’t remove bacteria and viruses, it’s not suited for well water treatment.
What else do we got?
The filters are made in the USA. Above that, they are recyclable. All you have to do is email the manufacturer ([email protected]) and you will receive a prepaid return shipping label.
And last but not least, Aquagear offers a lifetime guarantee on the pitcher. If it ever breaks the company will replace it for free!
Thorough filtration takes a little longer – and a lot longer in some cases. That’s something you have to accept when you opt for the Aquagear water filter pitcher. It’s probably best to refill it right before you go to bed. This way you can enjoy some refreshing drinking water first thing in the morning.
The Aquagear might be one of the more expensive water filter pitchers on our list, but it’s also the most effective for fluoride and lead removal. Plus it eliminates dozens of other nasty contaminants.
We consider it the best water filtration pitcher for people on tap water.
Classic, Slim, Monterey, UltraMax. Brita offers a whole range of water filter pitchers and dispensers. The manufacturer’s most popular model is the Brita Everyday – a basic pitcher that’s simple to use and widely available. It’s one of the best selling water filter pitchers on the market right now. Can it compete with the cream of the crop?
Brita’s Everyday water filter pitcher is affordable for everyone, BPA-free and functional. That’s really the best way to describe it. A full pitcher can fill 10 cups of water making it ideal for families.
It features a compact gravity-fed design, so it won’t take up much space in your fridge. The lift-off lid allows for easy filling and access to the upper water reservoir.
Filtering performance depends on what Brita filter you choose to install. By default, the Everyday comes with a Brita Standard filter. It’s rated at 40 gallons and certified to remove bits of mercury, cadmium, copper, zinc and most importantly chlorine. The latter is often responsible for an unpleasant water taste and smell.
Your second option is to use Brita Longlast filters. They have a filtration capacity of 120 gallons and can handle a wider range of contaminants including lead (99%), benzene (93%) and asbestos (99%).
Lead is highly toxic in low dosages. So if that’s something you are concerned about we definitely recommend you opt for Brita’s Longlast filters. Taking into account their extended lifetime, they have almost the same price tag as the standard version anyway.
You can find more information about Brita Longlast and Standard filters below this review.
The Brita Everyday has three minor flaws:
Brita’s Everyday pitcher combined with a Longlast filter is a quick fix for great tasting drinking water at a price that is hard to beat. Sure, the pitcher lacks some of the fancy features and there are better filters out there. But nonetheless, here we have a reliable pitcher-filter combo backed by lots and lots of customer reviews on Amazon.
In our opinion, this is the best filter pitcher in terms of price-performance ratio, perfectly suited for mild levels of water contamination. If the water in your home requires a more thorough filtration, though, we recommend you check out our Aquagear water filter pitcher review.
Last but not least, Brita Everyday and Longlast do not come in a bundle, so you will have to order them separately.
As stated above, Brita Longlast filters are certified to remove up to 99% of lead from tap water. FYI: Most other manufacturers don’t even list lead in their product descriptions. Above that, Longlast water filters help to reduce the amount of dissolved cadmium, asbestos and 7 other contaminants.
The additional NSF Standard 42 certification testifies that at least 97% of chlorine is filtered out. The result: A huge improvement in water taste!
Filtration speed is decent.
1 filter cartridge can treat 120 gallons of water, enough for up to 5 or 6 months before replacement is required – 3 times longer than average. For comparison: A Brita Standard pitcher filter is rated to clean 40 gallons and needs to be changed every two months at the least. Of course, fewer filter replacements also means lower costs.
On a side note: If you already own a Brita filter jug chances are good that it’s actually compatible with Longlast filters. We know this to be the case for the following models:
Unfortunately, Longlast cartridges are incompatible with Brita Stream and Brita Infinity pitchers.
Brita Longlast Clogging Issue
In 2017, people reported clogging issues with Brita Longlast water filters after a couple of weeks use. According to Brita, about 3% of filters were affected. The root of the problem seemed to be aerated tap water and the manufacturer promised to provide a solution in early 2018. Whether or not Brita has solved the issue we do not know.
The Brita Standard filter reduces the amount of mercury, cadmium, copper, zinc and chlorine in water. But compared to its cousin, the Brita Longlast, it clearly lacks the effectiveness that we are all looking for.
In other words, if you have the choice between Longlast and Standard we recommend you go for the first option!
We thought why not continue this review series taking a look at the Brita UltraMax, although strictly speaking this is a water filter dispenser and not a filter pitcher.
The good news is that we don’t have to repeat everything we just said – the UltraMax can be used with both Brita Standard and Longlast filters. Thus, you can expect identical results in water quality.
The Brita UltraMax can hold up to 18 cups of water, or exactly 1.13 gallons. This means it’s one of the bigger pitchers/dispensers that we discuss in this guide. The advantage: 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 larger households.
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.
In addition, the construction is solid. Polycarbonate plastic is great to keep everything nice and clean while not altering the taste of your water.
One new feature is the spigot for easy water dispensing (even for kids), another the flip-top lid which makes refilling a breeze.
Some refrigerators might be too small to accommodate the Brita UltraMax purifier dispenser due to its height.
Above that, the 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.
A huge capacity, an easy-to-use spigot and a solid build. These advantages make the Brita UltraMax the best water filter dispenser for people that want to get rid of chlorine and lead in their drinking water. All in all, great value for the money!
For direct comparison, we are going to review PUR’s popular 18-cup water filtration dispenser next.
The PUR Ultimate stores about 1.13 gallons of filtered water, so you don’t have to refill it more than once or twice a day.
From the design you can tell that PUR really tried to save as much space as possible – and they did a great job! The dispenser is slim and allows for easy carrying to and from the sink. The build quality is remarkable and cleaning the inside of the unit is a piece of cake.
Naturally, only BPA-free materials are used, so you don’t have to worry about any plastic particles leaking into your water.
As for replacement filters, you can choose between PUR Basic and PUR Lead-Reducing. PUR Basic cartridges are rated at 40 gallons and NSF-certified to remove 96% mercury, 99.9% microbiological cysts, more than 96% of various trace level pharmaceuticals and also help to reduce lead.
In addition, the almost complete removal of chlorine and some of its byproducts – think TTHMs – helps to greatly improve the taste and smell of your water.
PUR’s Lead-Reducing filter is certified to eliminate 99% lead. Other than that, it also removes mercury, chlorine and a number of pesticides. Filtering capacity is a bit lower (30 gallons).
Clogging seems to be a common issue with PUR filters. At some point they simply won’t let any more water pass through. To solve the issue, some users say to shake the cartridges and tap them on the kitchen sink. This might work, however, it can’t really be the desired solution to the problem. In our opinion, the manufacturer has to come up with a better fix.
The PUR Ultimate water filtration dispenser leaves almost nothing to be desired. From a water purity point of view, PUR filters are in no way inferior to most of its competitors, including the Brita Longlast. The only drawback is that they tend to clog up faster. Our verdict: 4 out of 5 stars!
PUR’s Classic water purifier pitcher stores up to 11 cups and can be used with the same filters that also fit the PUR Ultimate dispenser. Therefore, water quality must be identical (see review above).
We like the pitcher for the following reasons:
You can’t go wrong with the PUR Classic water filter pitcher. It’s a decent product with good filtration and only 2 minor flaws.
Next on our list, the Clearly Filtered pitcher. In a nutshell, the model is for people who want water as pure and as crisp as it can get when treated with a filter pitcher.
Independently tested against 5 NSF standards (42, 53, 244, 401 & 473), the Clearly Filtered has shown to reduce more than 220 different contaminants, including chlorine (99.9%), chloramine (99.9%), fluoride (between 96.9% and 98.2%), E Coli (99.9%) and other pathogens, lead (99.5%) and other heavy metals, about a dozen pharmaceutical drugs (99.9%), 9 herbicides (93.2 to 99.9%), lots of pesticides (all 99.9%), a bunch of chemicals like PFOA and nitrate (≥97%), and more than 100 volatile organic compounds/semi-volatile compounds (the vast majority to 99.9%).
And believe it or not, this is only an excerpt!
But how is this even possible? We don’t know to be honest. The pitcher uses a combination of ionically activated carbon and several other proprietary filtration media which the manufacturer does not disclose.
What we know is that filters are American-built. And the essential minerals that add to your daily nutritional intake are retained in the water.
The pitcher holds the standard 80 ounces (10 cups), enough for a small family. If you remember to refill the upper reservoir in due time you will never run dry. Speaking of refilling, the removable lid makes this water filter pitcher really easy to use.
The same goes for the assembly. It barely takes 2 minutes (we’ve tested this ourselves). By the way, a flushing disk for filter priming is included in the package.
And lastly, the satisfaction guarantee allows you to send back the product within the first 30 days after purchase and receive a full refund, no questions asked. On top of that, if your pitcher ever breaks, the company will replace it free of charge – not in case of improper use, of course.
Rated at 100 gallons (4 months on average), replacement filters are quite expensive. What you can do is subscribe to the Clearly Filtered VIP Program to get a discount. Filters will be automatically delivered to your home on schedule.
Another drawback is that for a number of users the filters did not last as long as advertised and the filtration speed slowed down quickly.
One minor issue seems to be that a handful of reviewers received a pitcher with a broken handle.
The initial filter priming being too difficult, leaking filters or the lid falling off when pouring are complaints that we read about online but did NOT experience while testing the unit.
The Clearly Filtered is among the top filter pitchers from a water quality perspective, and definitely the most thoroughly tested. However, it’s also the most expensive product in this guide.
Our recommendation is that if you are serious about your drinking water and want nothing but the best, you should definitely give it a try.
More details? Full Clearly Filtered review here.
The ZeroWater 10-cup pitcher is up next. It’s known for filtering up to 99.6% TDS (Total Dissolved Solids).
Now TDS is a great indicator for the aesthetic characteristics of drinking water (smell, taste, looks). However, it’s important to understand that a TDS score of 0 does NOT automatically mean that your water is free from harmful contaminants.
Why? Because TDS only measures dissolved solids, but does not take into account any suspended substances. Still, if water purity is your priority, independent lab tests have shown that the ZeroWater pitcher filter makes one of the best choices.
By the way, if you want to measure TDS you can simply use the free water quality meter that’s included in the package.
The device also makes it super convenient for you to change filters without the need to memorize the date of the last replacement. All you have to do is check the purified water from time to time. Whenever the meter reads “006” or more it’s time to install a new filter.
What’s more, the pitcher is certified to remove lead as well as chromium, mercury, chlorine and hydrogen sulfide.
Last but not least, there is a handy dispenser at the bottom of the pitcher handle. It allows you to dispense water without having to touch the pitcher itself. Although water flow rate is quite low, the feature comes in handy if you don’t feel like doing any heavy lifting.
Almost every product has its drawbacks. The ZeroWater pitcher is no different:
Generally speaking, we found it difficult to use and refill. Trying to pour out the last sip of water would oftentimes cause the filter to fall out.
Furthermore, this pitcher is one of the slowest you can buy.
And lastly, water filtration capacity is surprisingly weak. 10 to 20 gallons don’t last for very long, meaning that replacement costs will add up quickly.
Rating the ZeroWater is not easy to be honest. It does a great job at removing many harmful contaminants from water. However, operating costs are relatively high and the fact that the filters keep falling out gets annoying after a while. Buying recommendation? Yes. The best pitcher water filter money can buy? Probably not.
The pH RESTORE alkaline water filter pitcher sold by Invigorated Water is a tad more expensive than what we are used to.
But considering the fact that 2 filters are included in the package both with a 96-gallon filtration capacity the price seems reasonable.
What’s really special about the filters is that they add healthy minerals like calcium and selenium to your water for higher alkalinity.
At the same time, they reduce 90% of chlorine, chloramine, VOCs and heavy metals, some organic and non-organic matter, and even a little bit of fluoride.
If you upgrade the regular PH001 filters with the optional PH002 cartridges, fluoride filtration becomes way more effective. In the end, about 80% will be removed.
The PH002 also help to make your water safe for consumption by filtering 99.9% of waterborne pathogens including colloids, parasites, cysts and protozoa.
And their filtration capacity is extremely high: 264 gallons respectively 1 year!
A Word On Alkalinity
With the pH RESTORE, 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.
The biggest issue is that the filters tend to clog. In order to fix this you have to take them out and do some shaking and tapping. The only way of knowing if a filter is unclogged is by putting it back into the pitcher and run water over it. If the first attempt didn’t work you have to repeat the whole process. It’s not a big deal, but it’s inconvenient.
Moreover, the filling reservoir is difficult to detach which is important if you want to give your pitcher a good cleanse.
We leave it up to you to decide about the health benefits of alkaline drinking water. One thing is for certain: The pH RESTORE is the best alkaline water filter pitcher we could find. It provides great tasting drinking water and comes with nice additional features. On top of that, filtration capacity is huge helping you to save money in the long run.
What, even more Brita filter pitchers? Yes, but those are the last two from the company, we promise.
There is not much new to be said about the Brita Metro and Brita Grand pitcher. Both are compatible with Brita’s Standard and Longlast filters that we already covered in great detail above (click to jump).
What we like about the Brita Metro is that it’s super cheap. It costs about half as much as other products, but also only has half their capacity (too small for an entire family). The sleek design makes it perfect for 1 or 2 people with a crowded fridge.
Two more features are the electronic indicator that tracks when the filter needs to be replaced and the locking lid to prevent spilling.
Advantages of the Brita Grand? It comes in bright colors – choose which one you like best! – and also has an electronic filter indicator.
The Brita Grand has a so called “easy-fill lid“. However, the easy-fill lid turns out to be quite difficult to handle. It’s not only slippery when wet, it’s also hard to reach with your thumb if you don’t want to use both hands.
On top of that, there is a second lid over the spout that keeps falling off while pouring.
For all Brita water purifying pitchers filtration performance is identical. In this regard, it doesn’t really matter which one you buy.
Nevertheless, we prefer the Brita Everyday (second review) over the Brita Grand, because it’s a tad cheaper and lacks all the annoying “features”.
We don’t have any complaints about the Brita Metro. Like we said, it’s cheap and perfect for everyone that doesn’t have enough fridge space to accommodate a larger unit.
Made in the Far East, this 7½-cup pitcher features a modern design and saves a lot of refrigerator space thanks to the almost rectangular shape.
It’s inexpensive, it’s quite sturdy and it even has a nice-looking handle (although that’s not real wood but an imitation).
Other than that, Nakii filters have an extended lifespan of 150 gallons (money saver!) and are certified to remove chlorine, mercury, rust, sediment and suspended particles. The result: Drinking water that tastes great.
The filters also reduce hardness minerals which is nice if you struggle with hard water.
Initial filtration speed is pretty fast but slows down considerably after a couple of days/weeks.
And since the upper reservoir is way too small, you can’t just fill it up and let the carafe sit for 5 hours expecting that you will find half a gallon of filtered water as you return.
Furthermore, lead reduction is inefficient – do not use this jug if you struggle with lead in your water – and fluoride content is left untouched.
We also heard customers complain about the top lid sliding off and breaking while they tried to pour water.
It’s kind of surprising that hundreds of happy customers vouch for this product on Amazon. Sure, the design is nice and the pitcher is inexpensive, but it’s not crazy cheap and the water upper reservoir is too small for our liking. Also, filtration performance could do with an update. All in all, this filter might be suited for chlorine reduction and that’s about it.
The last product in our pitcher water filter reviews series is the Seychelle dual filter pitcher. The reason why we chose to review it is that we wanted to find out how a high-end (or shall we say high-priced?) pitcher compares to the Average Joe model.
Well, we can say this much:
Almost all filters that process water very thoroughly are prone to clogging. In some cases, after a couple of days all you get is a slow drip. This requires much more frequent replacements – better prepare for skyrocketing costs.
Overall, the Seychelle dual filter pitcher provides drinking water of good quality that’s safer for consumption than plain tap water. The only problem: It’s not really suited for water containing hardness minerals that cause clogging. Taking into account the high price tag, in our opinion it makes more sense to install a reverse osmosis filtration system under your kitchen sink.
Brita vs PUR vs Aquagear vs ZeroWater
Brita and PUR offer their products at an affordable price tag which is why both brands are very popular among users. 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: Top if you are on a budget.
The Aquagear is a premium model offering by far the best filtration performance. If you are concerned about certain contaminants in your home’s water supply this is the best water purifier pitcher for you.
ZeroWater’s 10-cup filter pitcher focuses on reducing Total Dissolved Solids. However, in our opinion Total Dissolved Solids is not the best measure to determine water quality. And while the model is great for chlorine reduction etc., it doesn’t come without flaws – think clogging filters.
We recommend everyone on well water to conduct a water quality test.
Most well water contains impurities in quantities that you won’t find in municipal tap water. Not all of them have to be harmful, but chances are that some pose a serious threat to your health.
And in contrast to tap water, well water doesn’t necessarily get any pre-treatment before it enters your home. Therefore, it may contain a whole range of microorganisms that can cause gastrointestinal illnesses and infections, even though the water looks clean. These microorganisms are the reason why water filter pitchers are not suitable for raw well water treatment.
If well water is pathogen-free it’s still likely to be polluted with different heavy metals, pesticides, nitrates/nitrites and more. In this case the Aquagear is by far the best candidate for the job.
What do you need to consider when buying a water filter pitcher for your home?
Most water filter pitchers use some sort of activated carbon to trap impurities, mainly chlorine, with the goal to improve water taste and odor. So, if all you want is to enjoy a refreshing glass of drinking water and you are not really concerned about removing certain contaminants for health reasons, a filter jug makes a great choice.
But there are also brands like the Aquagear that will take care of at least some of the nasty stuff that might be lurking in your water, such as lead, fluoride 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.
Pay special attention to certifications for NSF 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, inorganics (fluoride, nitrate/nitrite) and VOCs.
In addition, NSF 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 filters have been tested against this standard yet.
On a side note: NSF certifications do not guarantee that a particular water filter will remove a certain contaminant entirely but to a significant extent.
For pitchers, water storage volume is measured in cups. You will find models with volumes between 5 and 11 cups on this page. This equals 0.31 to 0.69 gallons.
Obviously, a lower volume requires more frequent refills. This is why a pitcher is not an ideal filter for a large home and people with a 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 18 cups of water (1.13 gallons) each. This should last for a whole day in a 2-person household. 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. Although this is not a deal breaker, it can be inconvenient.
For us a pitcher’s initial price tag is secondary. What matters are running costs determined by the price and lifespan of replacement filters:
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 water, whereas a cheap one dies at the 40-gallon mark.
By the way, we are not into filter life indicators. Why? Because they are highly 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.
Not all water filter pitchers are created equal. Some are faster and some slower. And while fast filtration seems preferable to quench your thirst, remember that thorough filtration takes time.
You want to make sure that all materials are 100% BPA-free, especially for 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 does not 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.
More on Water Filter Pitchers
In section 1, we reviewed some the best water pitcher filters on the market. In this part, we are going to tackle some of the most common questions our readers have about this special type of filter.
The standard filter rating is 40 gallons or 2 months use. Both estimates can vary 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 water filters such as the Aquagear are rated much higher, 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 Water Filters
|Water Filters||Rating||Time Maximum|
|Brita Standard||40 gal||2 months|
|Brita Longlast||120 gal||6 months|
|PUR Basic||40 gal||2 months|
|PUR Lead-Reducing Water Filters||30 gal||2 months|
|ZeroWater||10-15 gal||2-3 weeks|
|Invigorated Living PH001||96 gal||4-5 months|
|Invigorated Living PH002||264 gal||12 months|
|Aquagear||150 gal||7-8 months|
|Nakii||150 gal||7-8 months|
|Seychelle||100 gal per filter||5 months|
If you have any questions about water filter pitchers or any other type of water purifier really, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
And don’t forget to come back to this guide from time to time as we are going to add new water pitcher filters reviews occasionally.
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