14 Best Water Filters for Lead Removal + How to Remove Lead from Water

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The water crisis in Flint, Michigan showed us that, depending on where you live, there might be contaminants in your drinking water that pose a serious threat to your health.

From April 2014 to late 2015, Flint residents received water contaminated with poisonous lead, a neurotoxin long used as a building material for pipes.

Studies conducted in recent years have linked lead to causing brain disorders and damage to kidneys and red blood cells. Lead is also particularly dangerous for unborn babies as well as infants and young children being responsible for:

  • Delays in physical development
  • Reduced IQs
  • Attention disorders
  • Behavioral problems
  • Brain damage

Fortunately, there are water filters that reduce lead content by as much as 99.9%. Here are the best ones.

On This Page You Will…

No Time to Read? Check Our Lead Filter Best-Of List!

FiltersOur RatingPriceTypeLead ReductionNSFResponsive
PIONEER Whole House Purifier System

Our #1 Whole House Filter System for Lead: PIONEER

Read Review
$$$$Whole House99.62%53, P473PIONEER Whole House Purifier System

Our #1 Whole House Filter System for Lead: PIONEER

Our Rating:
Price: $$$$
Type: Whole House
Lead Reduction: 99.62%
NSF: 53, P473

Read Review
Clearly Filtered 3-Stage

Best Non-RO Under Sink Water Filter for Lead: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage

Read Review
$$Under Sink99.9%42, 53, 401Clearly Filtered 3-Stage

Best Non-RO Under Sink Water Filter for Lead: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Type: Under Sink
Lead Reduction: 99.9%
NSF: 42, 53, 401

Read Review
AquaTru Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System

Best RO System for Lead: AquaTru

Read Review
$$Countertop Reverse Osmosis99.1%42, 53, 58, 401, P473AquaTru Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System

Best RO System for Lead: AquaTru

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Type: Countertop Reverse Osmosis
Lead Reduction: 99.1%
NSF: 42, 53, 58, 401, P473

Read Review

Use our discount code BOSAquaTru at checkout and get 5% OFF!

Use our discount code BOSAquaTru at checkout and get 5% OFF!
Clearly Filtered Pitcher

#1 Lead Removal Pitcher: Clearly Filtered

Read Review
$Pitcher99.5%42, 53, 244, 401, P473Clearly Filtered Pitcher

#1 Lead Removal Pitcher: Clearly Filtered

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Pitcher
Lead Reduction: 99.5%
NSF: 42, 53, 244, 401, P473

Read Review
Aquasana AQ-4100 Shower Filter

Best Lead Shower Filter: Aquasana AQ-4100

Read Review
$Shower?177Aquasana AQ-4100 Shower Filter

Best Lead Shower Filter: Aquasana AQ-4100

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Shower
Lead Reduction: ?
NSF: 177

Read Review
Brita On Tap Complete Unit

Lead Faucet Filter: Brita On Tap Complete

Read Review
$Faucet99.3%42, 53, 401Brita On Tap Complete Unit

Lead Faucet Filter: Brita On Tap Complete

Our Rating:
Price: $
Type: Faucet
Lead Reduction: 99.3%
NSF: 42, 53, 401

Read Review


The U.S. EPA has set the lead action level to 15 parts per billion (ppb). This is when water utilities are required to take action to lower lead levels in their water.

However, the maximum contaminant goal for lead in drinking water is 0. That’s because lead is too harmful to our health even at low concentrations as it can bioaccumulate in the body over time causing irreversible damage. In a nutshell, lead should be eliminated entirely if possible.

This is something you should keep in mind when choosing a water filter. One model might be more expensive than another but therefore certified to remove 99.9% rather than 95.9% lead (this is only an example) – a small difference which may have a huge impact.

The Best Water Filter For Lead Removal

The following is a collection of the best water filters for lead removal:

Our #1 Whole House Water Filter for Lead: PIONEER

In our opinion, the best whole house lead water filter in 2020 is the PIONEER by ENPRESS. It’s the only whole house water filter on the market with an NSF Standard 53 certification for guaranteed lead removal. All things considered, it’s the ideal system for people who want lead-free water at every outlet in their home. 5 stars!

PIONEER Whole House Filter System


Filter Type:Whole House
Lead Reduction:99.62%
NSF Certifications:53, P473
Warranty:1 Year

Our Rating


  • Only whole house water filter tested and certified for lead reduction against to NSF standards. Removes 99.62% particulate + soluble lead from 100,000 gallons of water.
    • Traps particulate lead down to 0.5-micron nominal.
    • PIONEER filter uses special binders to bind soluble lead.
  • Also certified for PFOA/PFOS (97.9%, NSF P473) and cyst (>99.95%, NSF 53).
  • Also helps with chlorine, chloramine, other heavy metals, bad taste and odor.
  • 4.51 gallons per minute service flow and 8 gpm peak flow – sufficient for homes with 1-3 bathrooms, depending on your water usage patterns.
  • Unit is metered and uses simple LED system to let you know when the remaining filter life is less than 10% and when to replace the filter cartridge.
  • Filtration capacity is 100,000 gallons of water or 1 year, whichever comes first.
  • Whole house water filter system is shipped preassembled and includes bypass ideal for DIYers who like to self-install and save money.
  • Replacing filters is a simple process and doesn’t require tools.
  • Seller provides 6-month satisfaction guarantee for peace of mind.
  • System is warranted for 1 year, filters for 30 days.


  • 8 gallons per minute peak flow might not suffice for large homes with 3 or more bathrooms without experiencing water pressure drops.
  • Not for people on a budget.

→ Read Our Full PIONEER Filter Review Here

Whole House Water Filter Alternative: Home Master HMF2SmgCC55

Make sure to use our coupon code BOSFREEWH at checkout for FREE SHIPPING!

Home Master HMF2SmgCC55 Whole House System

Probably the best alternative to the PIONEER is the Home Master HMF2SmgCC55. It, too, is a cartridge-based system with

  • One multi-gradient depth sediment filter stage removing sand, silt and other particles down to a size of 1 micron (nominal).
  • And one cartridge with a mix of catalytic carbon and 12 pounds(!) of KDF-55 filter media for “challenging lead removal applications”. Apart from lead and other water-soluble metals, the filter media also reduces chloramine, chlorine, all kinds of chemicals, and bad taste & odor.

The Home Master HMF2SmgCC55 has 2 advantages over the PIONEER whole house water filter:

  1. It’s a lot more affordable upfront.
  2. Instead of 8, it allows for up to 10 gallons per minute flow rate which is better for large houses with multiple bathrooms.

On the downside, the Home Master HMF2SmgCC55 is NOT certified for removing lead. The manufacturer claims up to 95% reduction, but that’s not backed by actual lab testing.

Also, the HMF2SmgCC55 is more costly to maintain. The annual cost for 100,000 gallons of filtered water are around $500, opposed to $350-400 for the PIONEER.

And lastly, the Home Master system is for city water only.

Our #1 Under Sink Lead Water Filter: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage

In our opinion, the best under sink lead water filtration system in 2020 is the Clearly Filtered 3-Stage. It provides highly clean, safe, and refreshing drinking water. How clean? According to independent lab testing against NSF standards, it removes 99.9% lead in addition to more than 230 other contaminants that might be lurking in your water supply. Simply put, you won’t find an under sink water filter with better stats than the Clearly Filtered 3-Stage; at least we don’t know of one. 5 stars!

Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Under Sink Water Filter

Clearly Filtered 3-Stage

Filter Type:Under Sink
Lead Reduction:99.9%
NSF Standards:42, 53, 401

Our Rating


  • The Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Under-the-Sink Filter System removes lead (99.9%), chlorine (98.6%), chloramines (95.3%), arsenic (94.3%), sodium fluoride (99.5%), chromium 6 (99.4%), PFOA (99.9%), herbicides and pesticides (up to 99.9%), 100+ VOCs and semi volatile compounds (99.9%), and much more.
  • Filter stage 1 uses granular activated carbon (made from coconut shells).
  • Filter stage 2 uses “special blend” to reduce heavy metals, VOCs, radiation, PFAS and other chemicals.
  • Filter stage 3 uses proprietary filter media which targets fluoride and arsenic in drinking water.
    • Free from activated alumina and bone char.
  • Built in USA.
  • Stainless steel hoses guarantee durability.
  • Designed for a quick, non-permanent DIY installation (i.e. doesn’t require a hole for an extra faucet) – great for renters and to save money.
  • System maintenance is low. Each of the 3 filters lasts about 2,000 gallons or 12 months. The average household has to replace once a year.
    • Modular design + built-in shut-off valves allow for quick and tool-free filter changes with no need to close the feed water supply.
  • Covered by lifetime warranty.
  • 30 days satisfaction guarantee for peace of mind.


  • Quality has its price. This under sink water filter is more expensive than most of its competition.
  • Reduces water pressure by 15-25% (thorough filtration takes time).

→ Read Our Full Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Review Here

Under Sink Water Filter Alternatives: Epic Smart Shield & Aquasana Claryum Under Sink Water Filter Systems

2 budget-friendly alternatives to the Clearly Filtered 3-Stage under sink water filter are the Epic Smart Shield by Epic Water Filters and Aquasana’s Claryum systems (there are 3).

Both are NSF-certified for more than 99.3% average lead reduction which is less than what the Clearly Filtered can do for you, but it’s still very good.

Epic Smart Shield Under Sink Water Filter

The Epic Smart Shield features a single activated coconut carbon block filter stage and is thus the most affordable option. Made in USA, it removes over 70 tap water contaminants (NSF 42, 53, 401) and is available with or without a dedicated faucet.

Setup couldn’t be easier and the filter is small enough to fit in the tightest corner

Capacity: 650 gallons which is less than one-third of the Clearly Filtered’s life so that, over the long run, there’s not that much of a difference in terms of annual filter replacement cost.

As for Aquasana’s Claryum water filters, there’s

Aquasana AQ-5300+

  • The AQ-5200 with 2 filter stages and 500 gallons of water filtration capacity.
  • The AQ-5300 with 3 filter stages. Filters 600 gallons.
  • And the AQ-5300+ with 3 larger filter stages for higher water flow and 800 gallons filter life.

All 3 use activated carbon + catalytic carbon filter media to remove up to 99.9% of at least 77 different contaminants including lead. NSF certifications: Standard 42, 53, 401 and Protocol P473.

Personally, we favor the AQ-5300+ because the other two tend to be too slow.

Does Reverse Osmosis Remove Lead?

Does reverse osmosis remove lead from water? Yes, RO systems are great for removing lead from drinking water – to about 94-99+% depending on the model.

Our # 1 RO System for Lead Removal: AquaTru System

In our opinion, the #1 RO system for lead removal in 2020 is the AquaTru. It’s a countertop system that has been tested rigorously to earn 5 different NSF certifications. Lead reduction rate: 99.1%. And the best thing about the AquaTru, it doesn’t even require installation. It’s a plug & play unit ideal for renters and everyone who doesn’t want to bother with a tedious install. 4.5 stars!

Make sure to use our discount code BOSAquaTru at checkout and get 5% OFF!

AquaTru Countertop Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System

AquaTru Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration System

Filter Type:Reverse Osmosis
Lead Reduction:99.1%
NSF Cert.:42, 53, 58, 401, P473
Warranty:1 Year

Our Rating


  • RO system is compact and easy to use.
  • Tested and certified to remove up to 99.99% of 82 different contaminants
  • 4 filter stages:
    • Uses combination of mechanical and activated coconut carbon pre-filter to trap sediment and other large particulates as well as adsorb chlorine, chemicals, bad and odor, and more.
    • Reverse osmosis membrane rejects heavy metals, fluoride, nitrate, arsenic, TDS, etc.
    • Activated coconut carbon block polishing filter takes care of organic compounds, PFOA, PFOS, pesticides, and residual taste among other stuff.
  • 5 NSF/ANSI certifications (Standard 42, 53, 58, 401, Protocol P473) guarantee clean drinking water.
  • Purifies 1 gallon of water in 10-15 minutes so no long waiting times.
  • Built-in pressure pump increases recovery rate to 80%, meaning only one-fifth of the input water goes down the drain (compared to 3-5 gallons that other reverse osmosis water filtration systems waste for every gallon of filtered water produced).
  • Permeate water collects in 3-quart front tank which allows for easy button dispensing.
    • Tank is removable for portability and refrigerator cooling.
  • Reject water is collected in second tank ready to be discarded.
  • Material is Tritan plastic which is BPA + BPS-free.
  • Takes less than 10 minutes to set up for maximum convenience. No drilling. No plumbing.
    • Great for renters who aren’t allowed to drill into their sink/countertop and make changes to the plumbing system.
  • System maintenance is low, straightforward, and affordable. Cost: Approximately $100-120 a year.
    • Indicator light on front panel tells you when it’s time for a new filter cartridge.
    • Filters need to be replaced annually/biannually. RO membrane lasts up to 2 years.
    • Tool-free replacement process takes 2 minutes max.
  • One year warranty.


  • Issues with leaks and units malfunctioning after several months use.

→ Read Our Full AquaTru Review Here

2 Reverse Osmosis System Alternatives: Home Master TMAFC and Aquasana OPTIMH2O

Use our coupon code BOSFREERO at checkout for FREE SHIPPING of the Home Master TMAFC!

Home Master TMAFC Reverse Osmosis System for Drinking Water

2 alternatives to the AquaTru countertop RO system are the Home Master TMAFC and the Aquasana OPTIMH2O. Both are under sink units that require proper installation.

According to the manufacturer, the former removes 99.3% lead from water on average. However, this claim isn’t backed by an NSF certification.

Reasons why the Home Master TMAFC is still one of our reverse osmosis system top picks is because of A+ customer feedback, a 5-year warranty, low maintenance requirements, and the built-in remineralization – the system adds calcium and magnesium back into the drinking water to balance mineral loss during the RO filtration process. →Check the Home Master TMAFC on Amazon.

Aquasana OPTIMH2O Reverse Osmosis System for Drinking

If you’re on a budget the Aquasana OPTIMH2O is probably the right system for you. It’s certified to remove 99.3% lead and 87 other contaminants. Just know that the system is not without flaws. A few people had trouble with leaking and the flow rate can be pretty slow, too.

Our #1 Lead Removal Pitcher: Clearly Filtered

In our opinion, the #1 lead removal pitcher in 2020 is the Clearly Filtered. It’s for people who put healthy and clean drinking water at the top of their priority list and don’t want to make any compromises when it comes to quality and taste. Being the only water filter pitcher tested against 5 NSF standards, it’s guaranteed to remove over 232 contaminants including 99.5% lead. 5 stars!

Clearly Filtered Purifier Pitcher

Clearly Filtered Pitcher

Filter Type:Pitcher
Lead Reduction:99.5%
NSF Standards:42, 53, 244, 401, P473

Our Rating


  • Our go-to water filter pitcher.
  • Removes more contaminants than any other model on the market. For example: Chlorine (99.9%), chloramine (99.9%), fluoride (96.9-98.2%), bacteria like E Coli (99.9%), cryptosporidium (99.9%), arsenic (99.6%), lead (99.5%), chromium-6 (96.9%), about two dozen pharmaceutical drugs (99.9%), 10 herbicides (93.2-99.9%), pesticides (all 99.9%), chemicals like BPA, PFOA and nitrate (≥97%), 100+ volatile organic compounds/semi-volatile compounds (vast majority to 99.9%).
    • You can check the performance data sheet here.
    • NSF standards: 42, 53, 244, 401, P473.
  • Uses Affinity Filtration Technology which combines granular activated carbon with several other proprietary filtration materials.
  • Built in the USA.
  • Made from medical-grade Tritan.
    • BPA-free and doesn’t leach chemicals, odors, or tastes into your water.
  • Holds 10 cups, enough for family use.
  • Removable lid makes refilling very easy.
  • Water dam allows pouring out drinking water without spilling unfiltered water.
  • Most healthy minerals are kept in the water and add to daily nutritional intake.
  • Filters are long lasting for convenience: 100 gallons or 4 months on average.
    • Way more than what you get with most other brands.
  • Filter pitcher is backed by 30-day no-risk satisfaction guarantee + limited lifetime warranty.


  • Although you can buy in bulk and/or subscribe to filters and save up to $9.50 per piece, the replacements are quite pricey.
  • People complained about slow flow and clogged water filters.
    • We haven’t experienced the latter ourselves.
    • The Clearly Filtered pitcher was designed for longer contact time between water and filter media to allow for highest contaminant removal.
    • Seller sends free replacement filters in case of defect.

→ Read Our Full Clearly Filtered Pitcher Review Here

Shower Filter that Removes Lead: Aquasana AQ-4100

Aquasana AQ-4100 for Showers

As far as we know, there’s no shower filter certified for lead removal currently available. This also goes for the Aquasana AQ-4100 shower filter. However, it uses the right types of filter media – granular activated carbon combined with KDF-55.

This is the best defense against lead you can get for your shower. By the way, the filter life is 10,000 gallons or 6 months so maintenance is kept at a bare minimum.

Do Brita Filters Remove Lead? (+ Lead Filter for Faucets)

Does Brita remove lead? Well, the Brita Standard filter cartridge which can be used with Brita pitchers and dispensers applies coconut-based activated carbon in combination with an ion-exchange resin. This reduces the level of lead only marginally and is not effective enough to provide safe drinking water.

However, the Brita Longlast filter is WQA certified to remove 99.5% of lead in addition to 10 other contaminants including pharmaceuticals that found their way into our water supply systems in recent years. Now, this is a good start but it also shows that Brita simply cannot compete with Clearly Filtered in terms of filtered water quality.

Also, people are having numerous problems with Brita Longlast filters including premature clogging, unpleasant drinking water taste, and overall low quality and filtration performance. Bottom line: We don’t recommend it.

Brita On Tap Complete

That being said, apart from filter pitchers and dispensers, Brita offers the On Tap Complete, a solid faucet water filter certified against NSF standards 42, 53 and 401 for removing lead at a minimum rate of 99.3%.

With 100 gallons the filtering capacity is about average. The small unit connects to any standard kitchen tap within minutes. Cartridges can be changed with a simple click.

As an added benefit, you can easily switch between filtered and unfiltered water which is a simple yet effective way to extend the filter’s lifespan and save money by only using filtered water when really needed.

Does a PUR Water Filter Remove Lead?

Does a PUR water filter remove lead? Yes, it does. Though, PUR offers a wide range of filter pitchers and faucet mounted units…

PUR Lead Removal Replacement Cartridge

If you want to go the pitcher route, make sure to use PUR’s Lead Reduction replacement filter cartridges instead of the PUR Basic.

While the Basic has a slightly higher gallon rating, it’s best used for removing mercury, microbiological cysts, chlorine, disinfection byproducts, and several pharmaceuticals. The lead reducing version is certified to eliminate 97.7-99.4% of the toxic heavy metal among other harmful stuff. Filters: 30 gallons.

If you check the performance data sheet you’ll find that the stats aren’t bad, but also nowhere near the Clearly Filtered pitcher reviewed above which is certified to remove way more contaminants and at higher reduction rates.

On a side note: With PUR pitcher filters clogging seems to be a common issue.

If you haven’t settled for a pitcher yet, the PUR Classic is our top choice. It’s convenient to use, can store up to 11 cups, and is made from BPA-free materials.

PUR Advanced

You don’t like pitchers? The PUR Advanced faucet water filtration system is up to NSF standards taking on 70 different contaminants in water including more than 99.3% lead and 96.0% mercury. (This is the exact same model that was given to Flint residents so they could combat their drinking water crisis!)

Cons: People have had issues with leaks after about 6-10 months of using the PUR Advanced. What’s causing these problems are cheap materials that tend to develop hair line cracks making the product unusable.


The ZeroWater water filter pitcher is famous for reducing TDS to (almost) zero, thus the name. When it comes to lead, it achieves a 95.9-99.7% reduction rate. Apart from lead, the ZeroWater has shown to remove chromium-6, fluoride, chlorine, and a bunch of other stuff. But we’ve seen better.

Furthermore, the ZeroWater doesn’t come without flaws. Most importantly, some people had to replace their ZeroWater filter cartridges after a mere 10-15 gallons of water.

Does Berkey Remove Lead?

Does Berkey remove lead? Yes, it does! We usually like to recommend the Big Berkey, but what’s really important is that you use Black Berkey Purification Elements to achieve 99.9% lead reduction. They also get rid of dozens of other harmful contaminants as certified by lab testing to NSF standards (42 & 53).

Big Berkey

Each element has a filtering life of 3,000 gallons and fits:

  • Travel Berkeys
  • Big Berkeys
  • Royal Berkeys
  • Imperial Berkeys
  • Crown Berkeys
  • Berkey Lights

Refrigerator Water Filters

Believe it or not, there are many, many high-quality refrigerator water filters that are great for removing lead. Examples are:

  • The Samsung DA29-00020B – For side-by-side and French Door refrigerators. Lead removal >99.0%
  • The GE RPWFE – Also for French Door refrigerators. Lead removal >98.0%
  • The GE MWF – For side-by-side and bottom-freezer refrigerators. Lead removal 99.3%
  • The Frigidaire WF2CB PureSource 2 – For refrigerators after 2004. Lead removal 99.3%
  • The LG LT700P – For different LG refrigerators. Lead removal >99.3%

Which filter is best suited for you depends on your refrigerator model of course. That’s why we suggest you go ahead and check our 2020 Refrigerator Water Filter Special here: best-osmosis-systems.com/refrigerator-water-filter-reviews/

Buying Guide – What to Look for When Shopping for a Lead Water Filter

Indispensable: NSF International Standard 53 Certifications

When shopping for a water filter definitely look out for NSF Standard 53 certifications for lead removal.

NSF International is a not-for-profit organization that develops industry standards. Independent third-party testing agencies such as the Water Quality Association (WQA) or CSA certify specific products on the market to these standards.

To get certified, a filtering solution must be able to reduce the amount of lead in water below the U.S. EPA action level of 15 ppb. That’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

You should also check and compare the specific lead reduction rate listed in a product’s performance data sheet.

Types of Lead Filtration Systems

Truth is, lead removal from water isn’t so much about the type of filter but rather the filtration process/method(s) used. Reverse osmosis, carbon filtration, KDF filtration, and distillation are all very effective.

They can be found in whole house filtration systems, under sink filters, water filter pitchers, countertop units, gravity-fed systems, faucet filters, distillers, and the different types of RO systems.


wrenchHow challenging the installation of a lead water filters turns out to be depends on its type. Whole house systems are certainly more difficult to install than under sink filters. Pitchers, gravity filters, faucet mount systems, countertop filters, and distillers can usually be assembled in a matter of minutes and don’t require permanent installation.

Replacement Filters

Replacement filters are an important aspect with every type of water filter: They are the predominant long-term cost factor. That’s why long-lasting, affordable filters that are widely available are the preferred choice.

More on Lead Filtration

How Does Lead Get into Our Water?

Lead enters our water systems via pipes and fixtures connected by corroding lead solder which was used until 1986, and via pipes directly containing lead which applies in particular to homes built before the 1930s. Thus, the AWWA estimated that 15-22 million Americans drank from a water supply with lead-based service lines in 2016.

Another adverse factor of lead contamination is acidic water with low mineral content that accelerates corrosion.

What’s Really Shocking

USA Today identified about 2,000 water supply systems in all 50 U.S. states where tests showed severe lead contamination between the years 2013 and 2016.

The Detroit Free Press stated that hundreds of major U.S. cities still have 100% lead piping connecting municipal water utilities to homes.

And according to The Guardian, at least 33 U.S. cities have been found to use cheats to conceal dangerous levels of lead in their water.

Health Risks – How Does Lead Affect the Human Body?

Lead is classified as a neurotoxin. It

  • permanently impairs the intellectual development of children and fetuses, and their delays physical development.
  • affects a child’s ability to concentrate and causes behavior problems (e.g. irritability).
  • can be responsible for fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and hearing loss in children.

Symptoms in adults include high blood pressure, abdominal pain, constipation, joint and muscle pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities, headache, miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women, fatigue, and memory loss. (Source)

What Is Considered a Safe Level of Lead in Drinking Water?

As mentioned above, although the Environmental Protection Agency has set the lead action level to 15 parts per billion, there is no safe level of lead in drinking water.

Even at low concentrations lead can bioaccumulate in the body causing irreversible damage. That’s why it needs to be removed from water entirely.

How to Test Water for Lead

Lead is colorless and odorless, and if traces of it are dissolved in water they are invisible to the naked eye. So if there’s lead in your tap water how can you find out about it?

  1. First of all, you can request a free water quality report, called Consumer Confidence Report, from your municipality. Water quality reports have to be released each year by July 1st. And all public water suppliers have to provide them for free. The exception are private wells which the EPA does not regulate. Here it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain water safety. Alternatively, you can access the EWG Tap Water Database which provides a browsable collection of water quality reports from almost all suppliers in the country.
  2. If you can’t get access to a Consumer Confidence Report, you can contact your local health department and ask for information.
  3. Since 1. and 2. don’t take into account possible lead contamination caused by the plumbing system leading water to and through your home, the safest way of identifying a problem is by having a direct sample tested by an independent lab. Cost range from $40 to $150. Your local water authority can help you find a suitable service provider. Or you purchase a test kit at the local hardware store and do the testing yourself.

laboratory test

Heads Up!

Lead does not distribute evenly in water. You could test your water right now and measure 2 ppb of lead. 5 minutes later you might find 10 ppb. And the next day you suddenly have 1,000 ppb. So even a direct test doesn’t guarantee lead-free water.

How to Remove Lead from Water

By far the easiest way to remove lead from water is using a water filter. But first you should try to identify the contamination source and eliminate it if possible.

Now, if you are on city water there usually isn’t much you can do, unless your home’s outdated plumbing system is the root of the problem and you have the resources to completely renew it.

If you’re on private well water, have a licensed contractor check the well itself and the pump.

If removing the lead source turns out to be too expensive or is simply not an option for any other reason, the CDC recommends flushing your water system before using any water for drinking and cooking. The longer the water has been sitting in the pipes, the more lead it’s likely to contain. So, if a particular tap hasn’t been used for six hours or more, let it run for 1-2 minutes or until the water is as cold as it gets.

Obviously this wastes a lot of water so you might want to collect it for later use, for example in your garden. The CDC also advises against using hot tap water as it dissolves more lead than cold water.

Lead Filtration Methods

You want to play it safe and have a water filter installed in your home? These common filtration methods are suited for lead removal:

  • Reverse osmosis purification– Reverse osmosis (RO)is considered one of the best methods to reduce lead in drinking water.
  • Activated carbon filters – Activated carbon uses adsorption to effectively remove lead among other heavy metals. However, not all activated carbon water filters are capable of removing lead sufficiently. What’s more, some quickly lose their removal capabilities after processing a certain amount of water.
  • KDF-55 filtration– When water filters through KDF-55 soluble lead is reduced to insoluble lead which is then electroplated onto the media surface.
  • Distillation – Although having nothing to do with water filtration, distillation is a very effective method for removing lead from water.

Does Boiling Water Remove Lead?

Does boiling water remove lead? That’s a frequently asked question. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. While boiling kills waterborne pathogens and eliminates volatile chemicals, lead does not evaporate easily and the heating process can actually further increase lead levels.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What does lead in water taste like?
    You cannot taste lead in water. That’s why it’s so dangerous.
  • What does lead in water look like?
    It’s invisible to the naked eye at concentrations found municipal and well water.
  • What are the most trusted lead water filter brands?
    We doubt that there are water filter brands most trusted for lead removal. But you can find the most effective filters listed above.
  • How to remove lead from water naturally?
    You cannot remove lead from water naturally.
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If you have any questions about how to remove lead from water please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

And don’t forget to come back to this page from time to time as we’re going to continue searching for the best water filter for lead removal.

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald has been with BOS since the very beginning. She is head of content creation and has fully immersed herself into the home water treatment industry only to become an expert herself. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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