11 Best Water Filters for Home Use – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2021

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Water filters come in all shapes and sizes. Each type has its own pros and cons:

  • Some have a higher initial price tag, but are more cost-effective in the long run.
  • Others are portable, but at the same time limited in their water storage volume.
  • Yet others are easy to install and use, but mainly improve water aesthetics barely touching the more stubborn and more harmful contaminants.

The point is, although every water filter gives you access somewhat cleaner and better-tasting water, choosing one that perfectly fits your needs requires careful consideration.

Don’t worry; we will help you make the right buying decision. Let’s find you the best water filter!

On This Page You Will…

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

Water FiltersDetails
Clearly Filtered Pitcher
#1 Water Filter Pitcher: Clearly Filtered

Read Review

Price: $
Type: Water Filter Pitcher
NSF: 42, 53, 244, 401, P473
Annually: ~$150
Warranty: Lifetime
AquaTru Countertop RO System
#1 Reverse Osmosis System: AquaTru

Read Review

Price: $$
Type: Countertop RO System
NSF: 42, 53, 58, 401, P473
Annually: ~$100-120
Warranty: 1 Year
SpringWell CF4 Whole House Water Filter
#1 Whole House Water Filter: SpringWell CF

Read Review

Price: $$$
Type: Whole House Filter
NSF:
Annually: ~$40
Warranty: Lifetime
SpringWell WS4 Whole House Well Water Filter System
#1 Whole House Well Water Filter: SpringWell WS

Read Review

Price: $$$
Type: Whole House Filter
NSF:
Annually:
Warranty: Lifetime
Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filter
#1 Under Sink Water Filter: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage

Read Review

Price: $$
Type: Under Sink Filter
NSF: 42, 53, 401
Annually: $400
Warranty: Lifetime
Waterdrop Tankless Reverse Osmosis System
#1 Tankless Reverse Osmosis System: Waterdrop WD-G3-W

Read Review

Price: $$
Type: Under Sink RO System
NSF: 58
Annually: ~$115
Warranty: 1 Year
Big Berkey Countertop Gravity Water Filter
#1 Gravity Water Filter: Big Berkey

Read Review

Price: $$
Type: Gravity Water Filter
NSF: 53
Annually: $40
Warranty: Lifetime
Clearly Filtered Water Filter Bottle
#1 Filter Water Bottle: Clearly Filtered Water Bottle

Read Review

Price: $
Type: Water Filter Bottle
NSF: 42, 53, 401
Annually: ~$100-150
Warranty: Lifetime
PUR Advanced PFM400H Faucet Water Filter
#1 Faucet Water Filter: PUR Advanced

Read Review

Price: $
Type: Faucet Filter
NSF: 42, 53, 401
Annually: $50-100
Warranty: 2 Years
Aquasana Shower Filter
#1 Shower Filter: Aquasana

Read Review

Price: $
Type: Shower Filter
NSF: 177
Annually: ~$100
Warranty: 1 Year
SpringWell SS Water Softener
#1 Water Softener: SpringWell SS

Read Review

Price: $$$
Type: Water Softener
NSF:
Annually:
Warranty: Lifetime

Best Water Filter Reviews

1. Number One Water Filter Pitcher: Clearly Filtered

Water filter pitchers are affordable, they’re handy, and they’re small enough to be carried around and stored in the refrigerator for cooling. What’s more, they’re installation-free and can be assembled in a matter of minutes. All this makes water filter pitchers the most popular type of home water filters money can buy.

In our opinion, the best water filter in 2021 is the Clearly Filtered – as far as pitchers are concerned. It removes more water contaminants than any other model on the market and it’s suited for both tap water and disinfected well water. Filtered water taste? One word: Superb.

Bottom line: The Clearly Filtered is our go-to water filter pitcher. 5 stars!

Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher

Clearly Filtered 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher

Price:$
Type:Water Filter Pitcher
Certifications:42, 53, 244, 401, P473
Annual Cost:~$150
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • Made in USA.
  • The only water filter pitcher successfully tested to 5 different NSF standards: 42, 53, 244, 401, and P473.
  • Uses granular activated carbon and other filter media (not disclosed) to remove 230+ contaminants that could be lurking in you water source, such as: Chlorine (99.9%), chloramine (99.9%), volatile organic compounds (99.7-99.9%), arsenic (99.6%), lead (99.5%), chromium 6 (96.9%), fluoride (~98%), some microorganisms (99.9%), pesticides (99.9%), and PFOS + PFOA (99.6%).
    • Tested by independent labs, so filtration effectiveness for highest drinking water quality is guaranteed.
  • Healthy minerals remain in water.
  • 10-cup water storage capacity is enough for family use.
  • Removable lid makes refilling much easier.
  • Tritan plastic is 100% BPA-free.
  • Initial assembly is quick and easy.
  • Long lasting filters (100 gallons of water or an average of 4 months) save you from frequent replacements.
    • Annual cost: Approx. $150 but you can sign up and buy in bulk to receive discounts.
  • Covered by 30-day satisfaction guarantee + lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • A few people complained about slow filtration and filters clogging ahead of time. We haven’t experienced this ourselves yet.

→ Read: Clearly Filtered Pitcher Fully Reviewed

2. #1 Countertop Reverse Osmosis System: AquaTru

Reverse osmosis filtration removes almost all water impurities. Plus, RO systems provide enough water for an entire family and they’re cost effective.

Our first choice? The AquaTru! That’s because it has earned NSF certifications for the removal of more than 80 different contaminants commonly found in our water supplies. That’s better than any other RO system we know of, and guarantees healthy, safe, and great tasting water for you and your family.

But what we love most about the AquaTru is the fact that it’s a countertop unit which doesn’t require installation. The plug ‘n’ play functionality allows you to set up and use the system right away without any drilling, drain line connection, etc. – perfect for renters and to save money.

AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis System

AquaTru

Price:$$
Type:Countertop Reverse Osmosis Filter System
Certifications:42, 53, 58, 401, P473
Annual Cost:~$100-120
Warranty:1 Year

Our Rating

Pros

  • AquaTru countertop RO system can be put together in no time without any plumbing or drilling.
  • Easy to use.
  • NSF certifications: Standards 42, 53, 58, 401, and P473. Guarantees effective contaminant removal rates, like chlorine (96.6%), lead (99.1%), chromium 6 (97.2%), cyst (99.99%), BPA (99.0%), PFAS (97.5%), VOCs (most above 99%), bad taste and odor.
  • 4 stage filter process combines sediment and activated carbon filtration with reverse osmosis water purification.
  • System filters 1 gallon in 10-15 minutes. Eliminates long waiting times.
  • Built-in water pressure pump increases productivity while dramatically reducing water wastage.
  • Comfortable one-button water dispensing.
  • Clean water tank can be removed from system, for example for cooling in refrigerator.
  • Wastewater collects in second tank to be discarded.
  • Tritan plastic material is BPA and BPS-free.
  • Filter elements need annual/biannual replacement. RO membrane lasts up to 2 years.
    • Replacement process couldn’t be easier.
    • LED on front panel let’s you know when to replace which element.
    • Cost: ~$100-120 per year which is surprisingly affordable.
  • 1-year warranty.

Cons

  • A handful of people had issues with leaking or malfunctioning units.

→ Read: AquaTru Fully Reviewed

3. Whole House System Best for Tap Water: SpringWell CF

Whole house water filters have the benefit of processing all the incoming water before it’s distributed throughout your home. Thus you have clean water at every outlet.

Your best water filter option when on tap water is certainly the SpringWell CF. Making use of catalytic carbon mixed with KDF as well as a small pre-filter, the system removes sediments, chlorine + chloramine, disinfection byproducts, VOCs, pesticides, and several heavy metals. In addition, microorganisms have no chance of accumulating in the large tank leaching into your water.

All in all, your drinking water will be much safe(r) for consumption and, of course, its taste and smell will improve greatly, too. 5 stars!

SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter

SpringWell CF Filtration System

Price:$$$
Type:Whole House (Tap Water)
Certifications:
Annual Cost:~$40
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • Filtration system improves water aesthetics and overall purity level for water ready for drinking, cooking, showering, bathing, and washing.
  • Uses sediment pre-filter rated at 5 microns to trap large solids which would otherwise clog the media bed.
  • Catalytic carbon + bacteriostatic KDF remove all contaminants listed above.
    • SpringWell guarantees chlorine and chloramine reduction below minimum detection level for 6 years respectively 1 million gallons of water.
  • 3 system sizes:
    • Small system version is ideal for 1 to 3 bathrooms (9 gpm).
    • 12 gallons per minute water flow rate is enough for homes with 4 to 6 bathrooms.
    • Larger version with 20 gpm is for very large households.
  • Can be installed DIY style, but involves plumbing.
    • System features bypass valve.
    • Illustrated step-by-step installation instructions are provided.
  • Only minimal maintenance needed: Replace sediment pre-filter once or twice per year. Cost: ~$40.
  • You can try the product for 6 months. If you’re not happy with the results simply return for a full refund.
  • Lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • We would have preferred metal over plastic fittings.

→ Read: SpringWell CF Fully Reviewed

4. Whole House System Best for Well Water: SpringWell WS

In our opinion, the most promising whole house water filter system for well water in 2021 is the SpringWell WS, combined with the SpringWell CF as reviewed above if need be.

As far as the WS is concerned, it’s the perfect solution for well water high in iron, manganese, and/or hydrogen sulfide. The CF would take care of chlorine, chloramine, chemicals, organics, heavy metals, and taste/odor issues. 5 stars!

Please note: You can learn all about the SpringWell CF above. This review lists all pros and cons of the WS.

SpringWell WS Whole House Well Water Filter

SpringWell WS Filtration System

Price:$$$
Type:Whole House (Well Water)
Certifications:
Annual Cost:
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • Whole house well water filter system uses both air injection oxidation and greensand filtration to filter ferric iron and ferrous iron (up to 7 ppm), manganese (up to 1 ppm), and sulfur (up to 8 ppm). Greensand also partially reduces arsenic and radium.
    • Eliminates rotten egg smell, bitter taste, and iron staining.
  • Air pocket in the top of the tank resets daily. Media bed needs to backwash periodically. Everything is controlled by electronic head valve. No work required from your end except for initial configuration.
    • Programmable via mobile device.
  • 2 system sizes:
    • Choose 20 gallons per minute water flow for 4+ bathroom homes.
    • Also smaller version available rated at 12 gpm service flow – 1 to 4 bathrooms.
  • No need to hire a professional for installation as long as you’re handy with tools.
    • Bypass valve included.
  • Virtually maintenance-free for 18 to 25 years (lifetime of Greensand media).
  • Backed by satisfaction guarantee for six months and lifetime warranty like all SpringWell whole house filters.

Cons

  • Plastic fittings instead of metal.
  • Filtration system is not for use with water that’s microbiologically unsafe.

→ Read: SpringWell WS Fully Reviewed

5. #1 Under Sink Water Filter: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage

Under sink water filters, too, can be highly effective at removing a wide range of contaminants providing large volumes of crystal clean and delicious drinking water. And they do so saving precious space on your kitchen counter. You just need to find the right system, one that’s affordable, easy to install, easy to use, and easy to maintain!

Our top choice: The Clearly Filtered 3-Stage. Just like the Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher, this system has been tested to remove 230+ different and potentially harmful water pollutants. People couldn’t be any happier with their purchase, especially with the fast and easy installation. All in all, this is our favorite under sink water filter. 5 stars!

Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filter System

Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Filter

Price:$$
Type:Under Sink Filter
Certifications:42, 53, 401
Annual Cost:$400
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • NSF tested against standards 42, 53, and 401 for chlorine (98.6%), chloramines (95.3%), sodium fluoride (99.5%), total arsenic (94.3%), chromium 6 (99.4%), lead (99.9%), Glyphosate (99.9%) and other chemicals, radiologicals, dozens of VOCs and semi volatile compounds (99.9%).
    • Some of the most thorough testing we’ve seen – and this is only an excerpt.
  • 3 filter stages:
    • Filter 1 – Granular activated carbon. Made in USA.
    • Filter 2 – Proprietary filter media blend. Made in USA.
    • Filter 3 – Applies Affinity Filtration Technology.
  • Calcium and other healthy minerals remain in the water.
  • Uses durable stainless steel hoses opposed to plastic.
  • Non-permanent install can be done by anyone. Doesn’t take longer than 15 minutes. Ideal for renters.
  • The modular filters need to be changed about once a year or every 2,000 gallons, which doesn’t require tools. Minimal effort.
  • 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.
  • Under sink water filtration system comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • High quality and domestic manufacturing make the product rather expensive. Average annual filter replacement cost are pretty high, too.
    • Tip: Subscribe to the Clearly Filtered VIP Program to save 10% on replacement filters + get free shipping.
  • Filter system reduces water pressure by 15-25%.

→ Read: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Fully Reviewed

6. Our #1 Tankless Reverse Osmosis System: Waterdrop WD-G3-W

In case you prefer under sink over countertop, you should check out the Waterdrop WD-G3-W reverse osmosis system. It’s our number one tankless unit in 2021. Tankless means water is filtered on demand instead of storing it in a tank for later use, which saves quite a bit of space in the kitchen sink cabinet.

Waterdrop Tankless Reverse Osmosis System

Waterdrop RO Filtration System

Price:$$
Type:Under Sink Reverse Osmosis Filter System
Certifications:58
Annual Cost:~$115
Warranty:1 Year

Our Rating

Pros

  • A tankless under sink system is space-saving.
  • Uses 3-stage filtration process for most effective contaminant removal:
    • Polypropylene cotton + coconut shell activated carbon block composite filter removes bad taste and odor, chlorine, and sediments.
    • RO membrane rejects heavy metals, salts, bacteria, viruses, and more.
    • Activated carbon post-filter further improves water aesthetics.
  • System is NSF 58 certified for 94 percent TDS rejection.
  • Built-in pump increases water flow rate to 0.28 gallon per minute – no long waiting times.
    • Higher water pressure also lowers wastewater production by as much as 80%.
  • Only BPA-free plastic used to rule out recontamination.
  • Easy to install if you’re handy with tools.
  • Smart faucet uses LED to indicate filter status at a glance. The same lights are found on the unit’s front panel. Thus, you don’t need to remember the date of the next filter replacement.
  • TDS monitor shows filtration effectiveness.
  • Replacing filters is fast and simple with no need for tools.
  • Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year manufacturer warranty for peace of mind.

Cons

  • Additional testing to NSF standards would have been nice.
  • Some people need to drain their first gallon of permeate water before the filtration system achieves optimum TDS reduction.

→ Read: Waterdrop Fully Reviewed

7. Top Rated Gravity Drinking Water Filter: Berkey

Gravity filters require neither electricity nor external water pressure to operate. This makes them ideal in emergency situations. But we also find the best ceramic filters among them which is why they’re great for everyday home use.

Berkey is one of the, if not the most popular gravity water filter brand – and rightly so! Easy to set up and use, simple to maintain, and yet highly effective at providing water that easily meets drinking standards. 4.5 stars!

Big Berkey Countertop Gravity Water Filter

Big Berkey

Price:$$
Type:Gravity Water Filter
Certifications:53
Annual Cost:$40
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • Traps impurities down to the submicron level: Viruses (>99.999%), bacteria (>99.9999%), cyst, chlorine, chloramine (below detectable limits), aluminum (>99%), cadmium (>99.7%), chromium-6 (>99.85%), lead (>99.9%), mercury (>99.9%), THMs (below detectable limits), pharmaceuticals like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen (>99.9%), pesticides and VOCs (below detectable limits), arsenic (>99.9%), sediments, turbidity, taste & odor.
    • In accordance with NSF 53 testing standards.
    • Beneficial minerals in water are preserved.
  • For fluoride and/or arsenic you can use the optional Berkey PF-2 addon filters.
  • Several different system sizes to choose from. The larger the system, the higher the maximum filtration speed and storage capacity.
    • Most popular for families of 4: Big Berkey. Can host up to 4 filter elements and store up to 2.25 gallons of water. Maximum water production: 7.0 gallons per hour.
  • Material is durable 304 food-grade stainless steel.
  • Rubber casket under bottom chamber prevents surface scratching.
  • Quick and easy to assemble with no plumbing involved.
  • Long-lasting Black Berkey filter elements have approx. 3,000 gallons filtration capacity (up to 3 years). Save you time and money. Cost: Around $40 per year.
  • PF-2 fluoride filters last 1,000 gallons per set of 2. Annual cost: ~$120.
  • Lifetime warranty for peace of mind.

Cons

  • The fluoride filter elements seem expensive.
  • Frequent filter re-priming may be required.
  • Filtration does not stop once the lower tank is full.
  • You need to lift the top chamber to check how much purified water is left.
  • Issues with leaking plastic spigot.
  • Negative pressure can cause slow flow from dispenser.

→ Read: Big Berkey Fully Reviewed

8. Our Favorite Water Filter Bottle: Clearly Filtered

As far as we know, Clearly Filtered water filter bottles are the best in terms of contaminant reduction rates and pure water taste. And the quality of the bottles is outstanding, too. So if you want clean drinking water when you’re out and about, you should seriously consider this option.

Clearly Filtered Water Filter Bottle

Clearly Filtered Water Bottle

Price:$
Type:Filter Water Bottle
Certifications:42, 53, 401
Annual Cost:~$100-150
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • 3 bottle types:
    • Insulated stainless steel – Most durable, keeps 20 ounces of water cool for up to 24 hours.
    • Medical grade, BPA-free Tritan plastic – Can hold up to 24 ounces.
    • Borosilicate glass – 20 ounces water storage capacity. Glass requires careful handling!
  • Each type uses Clearly Filtered’s proprietary Affinity filtration technology (activated carbon + adsorption filter media) to remove 220+ contaminants from tap water, including lead, chlorine and chloramines, fluoride, and herbicides.
  • Tested to NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, and 401.
  • All materials are BPA, BPS, and phthalate-free so that nothing leaches into your water.
  • Bottles and filters are built in USA.
  • One filter cartridge is rated at 25 gallons (equals 130-160 fill-ups) or 6 months. Cost: $25 each.
    • Mouthpiece and filter straw need to be hand-washed every once in a while.
  • Full money-back guarantee for the first 30 days after purchase.
  • Lifetime guarantee.

Cons

  • Might be difficult to get a good water flow at first, but filters become less restrictive pretty quickly.
  • Leaking? Only if the silicone ring inside the lid doesn’t sit right.
  • You need to hold the water bottle upright while drinking. Otherwise the water won’t actually flow through the filter.

→ Read: Clearly Filtered Bottles Fully Reviewed

9. PUR Advanced Faucet Water Filter PFM400H

Faucet water filters provide access to filtered drinking water right at the kitchen sink or bathroom tap. Their greatest benefits are affordability and simplicity of use without the need for proper installation.

Our recommendation: The PUR Advanced PFM400H. It’s by far the best filter in terms of overall contaminant removal. 4.5 stars.

PUR Advanced PFM400H Faucet Water Filter

PUR Advanced

Price:$
Type:Faucet Mount Water Filter System
Certifications:42, 53, 401
Annual Cost:$50-100
Warranty:2 Years

Our Rating

Pros

  • You can choose between PUR MineralClear and PUR Basic filter cartridges. Both use activated carbon + ion exchange media NSF-certified to reduce over 70 contaminants in drinking water, including 96% chlorine, 99.3% lead, 99% asbestos, and more than 95% TTHMs and VOCs.
    • Makes your water significantly cleaner.
    • MineralClear also adds minerals improving the water’s taste.
  • You can switch between filtered and unfiltered water to extend filter life.
  • For installation, all you need to do is tighten the threaded mounting nut onto a faucet.
    • Adapters and washers are part of the deal. If they don’t fit, PUR sends suitable replacements free of charge.
  • Filters need to be replaced after 100 gallons which is pretty standard for faucet filters.
    • Clean Sensor Monitor let’s you know when it’s time for a new cartridge.
    • Replacing filters is easy and doesn’t cost much.
  • PUR has a recycling program for all its products.

Cons

  • Construction, especially the filter housing, is rather fragile. Hair line cracks can cause leaks and water spraying everywhere.
  • Malfunctioning indicator lights.

10. Shower Water Filter: Aquasana AQ-4100/4105

The Aquasana AQ-4100 respectively AQ-4105 is our go-to shower water filter. It has shown to remove most of the chlorine for as much as 10,000 gallons of water and, according to Aquasana, also reduces contaminants like chloramines, lead, mercury, iron, hydrogen sulfide, and volatile substances.

Aquasana Shower Filter

Aquasana AQ-4100

Price:$
Type:Shower Filter
Certifications:177
Annual Cost:~$100
Warranty:1 Year

Our Rating

Pros

  • Aquasana promises noticeably softer and more moisturized hair and skin + better air quality inside the shower.
  • KDF-55 (copper-zinc blend) reduces chlorine and balances water pH. Activated carbon further removes chlorine as well as synthetic chemicals.
    • NSF standard 177 certification for chlorine reduction.
  • 4 different versions available:
    • With massaging handheld wand.
    • With massaging handheld chrome wand.
    • With a massaging head.
    • Filter only.
  • Filtered water flow rate is 2.5 gpm which is pretty standard.
  • 100% BPA-free materials.
  • Upflow design prevents clogging.
  • Doesn’t lower shower head height for comfortable standing.
  • Very easy to install.
  • Filters need to be changed every 10,000 gallons or 6 months, so not very frequently. Also, filter replacements are quick and easy, no tools required.
  • 90-day satisfaction guarantee + limited 1-year warranty that covers defects in materials or workmanship in manufacturing. Replacement cartridges are warranted for 6 months.

Cons

  • Replacement filters are quite expensive.
  • Vinyl hose is too stiff. Better go with chrome flex hose.
  • A few users had issues with leaks.
  • Filter nozzle is too short to accommodate large shower heads.

→ Read: Aquasana AQ-4100/4105 Fully Reviewed

11. Our #1 Water Softener: SpringWell SS

A water softener reduces hardness by removing hard water minerals in an ion-exchange process. The result: No more scale buildup in your home’s entire plumbing system including home appliances for increased efficiency and longer lifespans. Healthy skin and hair are a nice side effect.

If that’s what you are looking for, you should definitely go with the SpringWell SS. It’s a salt-based system that’s easy to use and that guarantees highest water and salt efficiency among other benefits.

SpringWell SS Water Softener

SpringWell SS Water Softener

Price:$$$
Type:Water Softener
Certifications:
Annual Cost:
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • Choose from 3 sizes to meet your water demand:
    • SS1 – 32,000 grains for up to 11 gallons per minute water flow (1 to 3 bathrooms).
    • SS4 – 48,000-grain water softener provides up to 13 gpm (4-6 bathrooms).
    • SS+ – 80,000-grain water softener with 20 gpm peak flow (7+ bathrooms).
  • 10% crosslink resin lasts up to two times longer than standard resin when used with municipal water.
  • Full automation: Control valve manages regeneration.
    • Bluetooth allows for easy programming and monitoring via mobile device.
    • Metered regeneration only kicks in when necessary, adjusting salt dose and amount of water used for backwashing to save resources.
  • Vortech plate increases backwashing efficiency by up to 30%.
  • Neoprene tank sleeve provides for protection.
  • Easy to install for DIYers.
    • Bypass valve and installation kit is included.
  • SpringWell offers a money-back guarantee for the first six months. If you’re not happy you can return the system for a full refund.
  • Also comes with lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Nothing so far.

→ Read: SpringWell SS Fully Reviewed

Best Water Filters Comparison List

How do the best water filters of 2021 compare to each other?

(Mobile Hint: Swipe to Scroll)

Water Filtration SystemsPriceAdditional Info
CF 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher$Filter Best Suited for Harmful Contaminants (i.e. Heavy Metals Like Lead, Chlorine, and Pesticides)
AquaTru Reverse Osmosis Filter System$$Filter Removes 80+ Contaminants Providing Great Tasting Water
SpringWell CF POE Water Filtration System$$$Ideal to Remove Contaminants Like Chlorine from Municipal Water
SpringWell WS POE Water Filtration System$$$Ideal to Remove Contaminants Like Iron from Well Water, Large Capacity
CF 3-Stage Filter$$Filters Need to Be Changed Every 2,000 Gallons
Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis Filter System$$4-Stage Filtration Targets Total Dissolved Solids, 2x Activated Carbon Filters
Berkey Gravity/Countertop Filter$$Can Be Used to Remove Contaminants Like Lead, Mercury, Viruses, and Bacteria
CF Water Filter Bottle$The Ideal Personal Water Filter
PUR PFM400H Faucet Filter$
Aquasana AQ-4100/4105$Filters Need to Be Replaced Every 10,000 Gallons
SpringWell SS Hard Water Softener$$$For Hard Water Treatment

Buyer’s Guide – What to Consider for Buying the Right Water Filter System

Which is the best home water filter respectively best water purifier? Well, it turns out that there’re several things you need to consider when shopping:

Purpose

The first question is, what do you want to use your potential new water filter for? Are you looking for a simple unit for improving the taste of your drinking and cooking water? Or do you want a multi-stage system using a sophisticated filtration process to remove even the tiniest trace of contamination? Or do you want a setup that treats all the water as it enters your home in order to protect appliances?

Depending on the purpose your new water filter system shall fulfill, different types of systems are more suited than others.

Water Filter Type & Contaminant Removal Process

Talking about water filters is like talking about cars. There exist many different types, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. There are filter pitchers, portable/gravity water filters, whole house filtration systems, under sink and countertop water filtering units, filtered water bottles, shower filters, faucet filters, and not to forget reverse osmosis systems.

woman with water filter pitcher

As mentioned before, which type is best suited for your needs depends on your individual situation and preferences (we’ll discuss each type further below).

The same goes for the specific water filter process/media a unit applies. For example, one countertop filter may use an ultrafiltration membrane to get rid of heavy metals and solids, while another uses activated carbon combined with UV light treatment for chemical and bacteria removal.

Bottom line: We recommend you look around for a bit to learn about the various types of water filters at your disposal. Or if you like things to happen fast, check the list with our favorite products above. We’re absolutely certain that there’ll be something of interest to you.

NSF Certifications

When reviewing water filters, we like to rely on NSF testing and certifications by independent laboratories which guarantee that a certain model does indeed perform as advertised. In a nutshell:

  • NSF standard 42 tests for chlorine reduction and water aesthetics.
  • Standard 53 was established for contaminants with health effects – think heavy metals.
  • Standard 58 is for RO systems specifically.
  • NSF standard 244 covers testing for the reduction of bacteria and viruses.
  • Standard 401 looks at so-called “emerging compounds“ not yet regulated by the EPA.
  • And lastly, protocol P473 is for PFAS which you’ve might already heard of (not to be joked about).

Filtration Capacity, Flow Rate & Water Storage

Depending on which filter (type) you choose, you’ll get a larger or smaller filtration capacity, pure water flow rate, and storage capacity.

Pro tip: If you don’t like to wait for clean water being produced when you’re thirsty, make sure that a system can meet your daily demand even at times of peak consumption before you spend any money.

Installation + Maintenance

Cost and required work for installing and maintaining a water filter highly depend on what type it is. Simply put, a POE water filter is more difficult to set up than a pitcher.

We made sure to include information regarding installation and maintenance for each product reviewed on top.

Trial Period & Warranty

We prefer products that come with an extended trial period and a lifetime warranty which got you covered in case anything goes wrong.

(Replacement Filter) Costs

It’s pretty obvious: Larger and more complex water filtration systems are more expensive.

That said, you should not only take into account the initial cost for purchase and installation but also for maintenance, meaning replacement filter cost. Standard-sized filter cartridges allow you to switch to off-brand replacements to save.

More on Water Filters

What is a Water Filter?

A water filter is any device designed for removing impurities in water using a biological, chemical, and/or physical process. Thereby, in residential applications most water is filtered for drinking purposes.

The most common water filter types include pitchers, whole-home systems, under sink filters, countertop systems, and faucet-mounted units.

By the way, filtration is just one method used to purify water. There also are distillation, sedimentation, chlorination, ultraviolet light radiation, and flocculation.

The Different Types of Water Filtration Systems

Like we said, there’s more than one type of water filter. Each works a little different and therefore has its own benefits…

Pitcher Filters

Pitcher water filters rely on gravity to force feed water through a filter element. They’re small, handy, and portable. They don’t require installation. And, most importantly, they’re cheap. No wonder that they’re the most popular kind of water filter!

Gravity Filters

Just like pitchers, this water filter type uses gravity to channel water through one or more filter elements. The water filtration process itself is usually very thorough providing you with drinking water of the highest quality.

Portable Filtering (Straws, Pumps, Gravity Bags…)

A water filter pitcher is portable, and so are gravity systems. However, when we’re talking about portable water filters we usually mean those designed for outdoor use: Backpacking, hiking, camping, or traveling. Preppers also like portable systems to be prepared in case of emergency.

A reliable unit provides drinking water free from bacteria, protozoa, and possibly viruses.

Whole House Filters

As the name suggests, whole house water filtration systems supply your entire home. Bathroom taps, showers, kitchen faucet, home appliances – you’ll have purified water at every outlet.

Most common are catalytic or activated carbon filters.

Under Sink Systems

They get installed under your kitchen sink and provide filtered drinking water at a single outlet. Most are effective at removing a wide range of harmful contaminants, while still being affordable. Easy installation, simple maintenance, and convenient use are why people love under sink filter systems.

Countertop Water Filtration Systems

A standard countertop filter gives you access to clean water straight at your kitchen sink without the need for proper installation. They can be hooked up to any standard-sized faucet in less than 5 minutes. More benefits: Portable, convenient, affordable.

Filter Bottle

A purifying bottle is great if you want healthy drinking water on the go.

Shower Filters

A shower water filter can be a great solution if you’re sensitive to chlorine.

More sophisticated models reduce even more for healthier skin, hair, and nails.

Faucet Mount Filters

Similar to countertop water filters, faucet units easily connect to any standard faucet or tap. No need to make permanent changes to your plumbing system. Required budget? Surprisingly small.

Reverse Osmosis Systems

Last but not least, reverse osmosis systems. They come as countertop, under sink, or whole home units using multiple purification stages. At the heart of each system is an RO membrane which rejects up to 99% of water impurities.

Under Sink Water Filter

Our Favorite Water Filter & Purifier Brands

AquaTru

Personally, we find the AquaTru to be the #1 reverse osmosis system. It’s NSF-certified to remove the most contaminants of all models on the market.

Berkey

Berkey is the most popular brand when it comes to gravity water filters.

Clearly Filtered

Clearly Filtered provides the best water filters in the under sink system, bottle, inline, and pitcher category.

SpringWell

If you want a POE water filtration system or water softener for hard water, we recommend you go with SpringWell. They are super high-quality and come with excellent customer support and lifetime product warranty.

PUR

We like PUR for faucet mount water filters. In fact, the PUR PFM400H removes the most contaminants off all faucet filters we know.

Brita

Brita is a great option if you want a filter that improves water aesthetics. However, we usually don’t recommend Brita for more serious contaminant removal.

Do You Really Need a Water Filter?

Whether or not you need a water filter depends on if, which, and how many contaminants are present in your local water source. That said, water filtration is not only about water tasting or smelling unpleasant – far from it. Most dangerous water contaminants are invisible to our senses. One infamous example is lead, a neurotoxin that is too small to see, taste, and smell.

How to Determine Your Water Quality

But how do you know if the water in your home is drinkable? Through testing! Or, if you’d prefer to not spend any money on this you can check the free water quality report for your local water utility on this page – EWG Tap Water Database – or this one – EPA CCR reports directory – provided that you’re not on a small or your own private well.

If the latter is the case, your best option is to send a direct sample to an independent laboratory (such as this one). Alternatively, you could buy a small test kit which should give you a rough idea of what you are facing.

Knowing what’s in your water source is the only way to make an informed buying decision and choose a water filter capable of dealing with all or at least the majority of contaminants you’re exposed to.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Is PUR or Brita better?
    PUR provides the better faucet filter units. Brita pitchers are more affordable.
  • How do I choose a good water filter for my home?
    First of all, you need to determine its purpose.
  • Which water filter system is good for health?
    The Clearly Filtered water pitcher is a great start!
  • Can you filter water to remove lead?
    Yes, many filters remove lead and chlorine.
  • What’s better, filtered or bottled water?
    Properly filtered water beats bottled water, also in terms of cost.
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I hope this list of the best water filters was helpful. Questions? Ask away!

And keep in mind: We’ll add new water filter reviews occasionally. So come back for more!

About the Author Maria Martino

Maria Martino is one of our part-time content creators. She owns a B.A. in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Chicago and enjoys writing about all walks of life. When she doesn’t write, Maria likes to portray people and support her local community.
Learn more about Maria and the rest of the BOS Team.

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