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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…
Best Water Filter Pitcher with Most Contaminants Removed: Clearly Filtered
Size (Cups): 10
Filter Life: 100 gal
Annual Cost: ~$150
The Runner-Up: Aquagear
Size (Cups): 8
Filter Life: 120 gal
Annual Cost: ~$100-120
#1 Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher: pH RESTORE
Size (Cups): 8
Filter Life: 96 gal
Annual Cost: ~$50
Best Water Filter Dispenser: ZeroWater
Size (Cups): 30
Filter Life: 20 gal
Annual Cost: ~$200
Warranty: 90 Days
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
|Filter Life:||100 Gallons|
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 tested to remove/reduce around 70 of the most common and most harmful tap water contaminants. 4.5 stars!
Aquagear Pitcher Filter
|Filter Life:||120 Gallons|
The Epic Water Filters pitcher comes in two versions:
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 Filtration Pitcher
|Filter Life:||150 Gallons|
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.
|Filter Life:||96 Gallons|
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 Filter Dispenser
|Size:||23 + 7 Cups|
|Filter Life:||20 Gallons|
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
|Filter Capacity:||40/120 Gallons|
Brita Everyday Pitcher Features
Brita UltraMax Dispenser Features
Brita Everyday Pitcher Only
Brita UltraMax Dispenser Only
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!
|Filter Capacity:||80 Gallons|
Other Issues with the Santevia Classic:
Other Issues with the Santevia MINA:
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 11-Cup Pitcher Version
|Filter Capacity:||40 Gallons|
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|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|
What do you need to consider when buying a water filter pitcher for your home?
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.
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.
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.
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.
For us, a pitcher’s initial price tag is secondary. What matters are running cost 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, 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.
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.
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
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.
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 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:
Here are our 5 reasons on why you should use a water filter pitcher in your home:
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!
A reduction in contaminants usually also means improved water aesthetics – think taste, smell, color, etc.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 120 gallons.
Factors that indicate an imminent filter replacement are a change in water taste and slowing filtration.
Chart: When to Replace Filters
|Clearly Filtered||100 gal||6 mos|
|Aquagear||120 gal||5-6 mos|
|Epic Pure + Epic Nano||150 gal||6 mos|
|Invigorated Living PH001||96 gal||4-5 mos|
|Invigorated Living PH002||264 gal||12 mos|
|ZeroWater Filter||20 gal||1 mos|
|Brita Filter – Standard||40 gal||2 mos|
|Brita Filter – Longlast||120 gal||5-6 mos|
|Santevia Classic||80 gal||2 mos|
|Santevia MINA||80 gal||2 mos|
|PUR Faster Basic||40 gal||2 mos|
|PUR Basic||40 gal||2 mos|
|PUR Lead-Reducing||40 gal||2 mos|
|Nakii||150 gal||6 mos|
|Seychelle||100 gal||4-5 mos|
Changing a pitcher water filter isn’t complicated at all.
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.
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.