Welcome to Our 2018’s Whole House Water Filter Reviews
A whole house water filter, also known as point-of-entry filter system, is perfect to clean all the water entering your home before it gets distributed to the various water outlets like faucets and showers.
The best whole house water filters will improve water smell and taste and make it safe for consumption by removing many of the potentially harmful contaminants. Above that, they also reduce hardness. This means less stains on dishes and surfaces, softened laundry and healthier looking hair and skin.
The only problem is that there are many whole house filter models out there for you to choose from. And of course you don’t want to waste your hard-earned money making a wrong buying decision. So, which one is best suited for your needs?
On This Page You Will…
|Model||Our Rating||Price||Micron||Flow Rate||Capacity|
Best Whole House Water Filter: iSpring WGB22B
|$$||5||15 Gallons||100,000 Gallons|
Best Whole House Well Water Filter: Home Master HMF3SDGFEC
|$$$||1||15 Gallons||95,000 Gallons|
Home Master HMF2SDGC
|$$||1||15 Gallons||100,000 Gallons|
Most Thorough Filtration: Aquasana Premium Rhino
|$$$$||0.35||7 Gallons||1,000,000 Gallons|
Real Bargain: Culligan WH-HD200-C
|$||5-50||3-8 Gallons||10,000-24,000 Gallons|
3M Aqua-Pure AP903
|$$||5||20 Gallons||100,000 Gallons|
One fact is inevitable: Official reports show that the quality of (drinking) water in the United States is alarming. Day in and day out, the majority of us consumes water contaminated with chemicals from agricultural runoff, traces of pharmaceuticals, heavy metals – think lead – chlorine, fluoride…
Fortunately, it seems like more and more people are becoming aware of the problem and want to do something about it – and so do you, which is great! But before you go out and buy a filter system that treats all the water running through your home, consider this:
First of all, you should try to find out more about the quality of water that you receive. This allows you to purchase a whole house filter capable of dealing with all the contaminants lurking in it.
Are you on well water or on municipal a.k.a. city water? If your water is sourced from a well, do you have access to a water quality report? If not, your best option is to send a direct sample to an independent lab. Alternatively, you can purchase one of these well water test kits, which give you a rough idea of what you are facing (more details on how to filter well water below):
Municipal tap water usually contains lots of disinfection byproducts like trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids that are, for example, associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
In addition to that, most municipal water is fluoridated. Studies have linked fluoride to harming teeth and bones and also cause bone cancer. The bad news is that only a small number of filters will help to remove fluoride from you water.
Well water is in many cases polluted with chemicals from agricultural runoff. Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, disease-causing microorganisms – the list goes on.
There’s also a chance that you water is contaminated with lead, which originates from old pipes. If you are worried about this issue, you might want to check out our article explaining how to best remove lead from water. You will also find 3 whole home water filters suited for lead removal on the current page. We consider this one to be the best.
More or less all whole house water filters will remove the basic contaminants found in water. These are sediment, chlorine and a number of chemicals responsible for creating an unpleasant smell and taste. Those models specialized for well water treatment will also eliminate iron, manganese and other heavy metals.
But only a reverse osmosis filter system is capable of removing all the bad stuff and make water 100% safe for drinking and cooking. Your water quality report or a lab test will tell you, if you need to add one of these to your home.
The disadvantage: Whole house reverse osmosis systems are incredibly expensive. A smaller point-of-use system that can be installed under your kitchen sink and that provides pure drinking water for one tap only offers a viable addition to a whole house filter.
What you have to remember is that a whole house water filter has to provide enough water for your bathroom(s) and kitchen, the dishwasher, washing machine and all other household appliances that use water.
Therefore, sufficient water flow is mandatory, if you don’t want to experience a pressure drop when opening multiple water outlets. 10 – 15 gallons per minute (gpm) is pretty standard for a whole house filter. Anything lower than that might not suffice for large homes.
On a side note: A bathroom faucet uses up to 1.5 gpm. A kitchen faucet uses up to 2.2 gpm. The maximum flow rate for a shower head usually doesn’t exceed 2.5 gpm.
At the same time, you want your whole house filter to be effective. In this case, effectiveness is measured in micron. 1 micron is a thousandth of a millimeter. Generally speaking, a smaller micron rating indicates a more thorough filtration.
For example: A filter that only removes sand, silt and rust might have a micron rating of 50. This means that it traps all or most of the particles dissolved in water with a minimum size of 50 microns, which won’t affect substances such as fluoride, lead, most chemicals and most pathogens.
Other micron ratings are 25, 10, 5 and 1 followed by the sub-micron level. The dilemma: The smaller the micron rating, the lower the flow rate. This is also the reason why whole house reverse osmosis filters are rare to find. A reverse osmosis membrane might have a micron rating of 0.0001, which reduces water flow to a trickle.
We are all trying to save money, obviously. This is why, when it comes to whole house water filters, you should not only take into account the initial purchase price of a system, but also filter replacement costs and capacities. A filter with a higher capacity (measured in gallons) will last for a longer period of time.
If you want to estimate your water consumption, calculate with 80 – 100 gallons of water per person and day.
Whole house water filters are much bigger than the average filter system. Don’t underestimate their size and make sure that you have enough space for installation and maintenance in your home.
The iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage is one of the most popular whole house water filtration systems on the market and best suited for slightly contaminated city water. Its two cousins, the iSpring WGB22BM and iSpring WGB22B-PB, are the better choice for well water, which is oftentimes polluted with heavy metals – think iron, manganese, lead.
If you struggle with heavily chlorinated water, check out iSpring’s WGB32B 3-stage system. It’s the older brother so to speak and does an excellent job at chlorine removal.
Using the system for the first time, you will immediately notice that your water not only tastes much better, your laundry will also feel softer and so will your hair. After you’ve taken a shower, your skin will look less dry, especially if you struggle with water containing lots of hardness minerals.
An independent lab test (NSF/ANSI standards) has shown that the iSpring WGB22B is capable of removing between 95 to 98 percent of sediment, chlorine and chloramines as well as a range of other contaminants that make your water look, taste and smell unpleasant.
In terms of water flow, a supply of 15 gallons per minute should be absolutely sufficient for a 4 to 6-person household.
As far as filtering capacity is concerned, 100,000 gallons will last for up to 1 year for a family of 3, respectively up to 6 months for a family of 6. Replacement filters are affordable, which helps to save money in the long run. Sounds interesting? Check out the iSpring WGB22B here!
If you worry about the installation-part, you can be rest assured that the system does NOT require professional installation, if you have some basic plumbing skills. “All” you need to do is splice in the system into your home’s main water line.
Last but not least, iSpring’s customer care service is reliable and responsive. If you experience a problem, for example receiving a broken filter part, iSpring will send a replacement piece in no time.
One customer described changing filters as “nerve wracking”, which is quite understandable considering that the filters tend to move when you try to attach the canisters back on. Both canisters and filters are quite heavy, so it’s not an easy job for everyone.
Additionally, for water with very high chlorine levels, chances are that it will still have a slight chlorine smell and taste to it after filtration.
The iSpring WGB22B whole house system is perfect for mild levels of city water contamination. It provides enough water flow for larger households and comes at an affordable price. Customer ratings reflect our own thoughts: The best whole house water filtration system!
Home Master is known for producing outstanding reverse osmosis filter systems and looking at this whole house water filter series, the brand stays true to itself.
The series features 2 and 3-stage filtration systems that provide exceptionally clean water. They also allow for high water flow, meaning that you can simultaneously use multiple faucets, showers, etc., and are low in maintenance, which saves you money, time and inconvenience.
What we love about the entire series is that you can simply switch to cheaper replacement filters sold by third-party manufacturers. This gives you access to a large range of models that come with many different qualities.
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC 3-Stage Water Filter is in our opinion the best water filtration system for well water containing high amounts of iron, manganese and sulfur. Home Master does not recommend this system for chlorinated water, though, which excludes most city waters.
If you want to learn more about Home Master’s 2-stage whole house water filters, simply scroll down to the next review or click here to jump ahead. In a nutshell, one of them was designed for city water with elevated chlorine levels and the other one for city water with high chloramine concentrations.
The standard filters that come with the HMF3SDGFEC 3-stage system remove lead, mercury and manganese in addition to other heavy metals. You also won’t have to worry about sediment and many chemicals anymore. Most importantly for well water, the filters eliminate pesticides and herbicides. Basically, any particle larger than 1 micron will be removed – compare that to 5 micron for the iSpring WGB22B above.
What’s more, the system is backed by a 2-year limited warranty and Home Master’s A+ customer support. The knowledgeable team members will happily answer all your questions and assist you with setting up a customized system, if you have special filtration needs.
Here is what we don’t like:
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is a great choice for everyone facing well water contaminated with heavy metals and chemicals from agricultural runoff. The level of filtration is second to none in this price segment and among the best water filtration systems for well water for sure. It’s just not the optimum choice for people on a tight budget.
As already mentioned above, there are two different 2-stage filter systems for you to choose from in Home Master’s whole home filter series. The HMF2SDGC system is for use on a chlorinated city water supply. For city water containing chloramines, we recommend model HMF2SMGCC.
Both systems deliver clean and clear water throughout your home that will taste significantly better from the start. If you struggle with hard water, you will notice better lather from shampoo and less stains on plates and glasses.
Thanks to the oversized filters, water flow is high and won’t draw down pressure. Another benefit is that the filters need replacement less frequently (about once per year), so you can spend your time and money doing something more enjoyable.
On the one hand, we have the HMF2SDGC model for chlorinated water that will remove sediment, bacteria and a bunch of chemicals that create nasty tastes and odors.
On the other hand, there’s the HMF2SMGCC whole house filter best suited to eliminate chlorine, sediment, turbidity, pesticides, herbicides as well as some light and heavy metals.
Both units have a solid construction and will last for years. Plus they are not too complicated to install, especially compared to other whole house filters.
Even if you set up everything correctly, chances are that the filters might drip at the inlet and/or outlet port. A couple wraps of Teflon tape and pipe joint compound safe for drinking water should to the trick.
The Home Master HMF2SDGC and HMF2SMGCC 2-Stage whole house water filters offer an attractive price-performance ratio. Customer satisfaction is high – and let’s not forget that both models are also backed by a 2-year limited warranty. Our verdict: 4 out of 5 stars!
Believe it or not, the Aquasana Premium Rhino Whole House Filter provides you with water almost 100% free from chlorine for the next 10 years or 1,000,000 – that’s one million – gallons. No draining, no back flushing and not a single gallon of water wasted!
Apart from chlorine, this whole house filter also reduces the amount of other dissolved substances, including pesticides, herbicides, lead and mercury. The benefits are obvious: Clean water, better moisturized skin and hair, and improved air quality for easier breathing while showering.
The system’s post-filter removes all impurities with a minimum size of 0.35 microns, which is the best value we’ve stumbled upon so far.
Also, all of Aquasana’s whole home systems are made in Haltom City, Texas, if that’s something that is important to you. Plus we have a 180-day limited warranty.
When it comes to installing the Aquasana Premium Rhino, you are probably better off hiring a professional plumber. Should you still decide to do the installation on your own, expect to spend at least several hours for completion. By the way, a pro installation kit is included in the package, which will come in handy for sure!
As with all other whole house filters, it’s hard to predict how often the cartridges need replacement, because it depends on water quality and usage. The pre-filter should last 3 – 6 months if you are on city water and 1 – 3 months for well water. The post-filter is likely going to last somewhere between 5 – 7 months. A drop in water pressure is a good indicator that it’s time to make replacements.
Tip: Write down your water meter count after the initial installation and each time you change filters in order to stay on top of things.
There are several optional upgrades for you to choose from:
The Aquasana Premium Rhino lasts for 10 years, which is why we don’t consider the high price a real disadvantage. However, the same does not hold true for the reduced water flow rate of 7 gpm, which may not be sufficient for large households.
We also want to point out that such a big system is more expensive to maintain. Filter replacement costs can easily add up to between $200 and $300 per year.
Admittedly, the initial price tag for the Aquasana Premium Rhino Whole House Filter seems quite high, but over the course of 10 years, the system provides great value for your money. The high-quality filters will protect you and your family against many harmful contaminants, first and foremost chlorine, and you will immediately notice a difference in taste.
The standard version is a great fit for city water. For well water, we recommend you to go with the optional upgrade.
This whole house filter by Express Water is of high quality and also looks pretty damn good – there’s no reason to hide it in a remote corner of your basement. It’s used for well water treatment by many and provides quality (drinking) water that not only protects your home appliances and expands their life span, it also smells and tastes super fresh.
The system was tested by independent labs against NSF/ANSI 58 standard, so say goodbye to dirt, chlorine, organic chemicals, rust, scale and VOCs.
Other advantages are:
On a side note: Express water is another manufacturer known for its reliable reverse osmosis systems and funnily enough, this whole house filter features the exact same carbon block and granular activated carbon filters that you would normally find in one of the RO units.
It turns out that the water inlets and outlets are tapped too loose. If you want to prevent dripping, don’t forget to use enough tape.
Compared to its competitors, this whole house filter by Express Water is relatively new on the market. Nevertheless, customers are highly satisfied with the quality and filtration performance. Do we recommend this system to our readers? Absolutely!
Compared to the other whole house water filters we reviewed on this page, the 3M Aqua-Pure model AP903 features an exceptionally high water flow rate (20 gpm), which is ideal for large homes with multiple bathrooms.
It comes with a 5-micron carbon filter to reduce sediment, dirt, rust and chlorine. This helps to protect your household water appliances and plumbing system and, above that, removes unpleasant tastes and odors.
Another obvious advantage is the quick and easy to chance filter cartridge. Replacement takes no more than 5 minutes max – no tools needed! The filtering capacity is pretty standard: 100,000 gallons or up to 1 year.
The install is straightforward and not difficult at all. Still, you want to make sure that you can spare a couple of hours, especially if you are going to add an additional pre-filter and a bypass line + shutoff valves. By the way, the slim design allows for installation in small spaces.
Disadvantages? According to 3M, the AP903 can be used for both well and city water, which is great, but the seller also recommends the use of a pre-filter system upfront.
This will help to prevent clogging and increases filter life span. Unfortunately, this also means additional costs that you need to cover.
3M’s AP903 is really low in maintenance and only requires a quick filter replacement once a year. In our opinion, it’s the ideal solution for someone with fairly clean water, taking into account that it won’t help to get rid of most smaller impurities, such as VOCs, heavy metals and pesticides.
Next we’re going to take a look at the Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Heavy Duty System. The system’s purpose is mainly to protect your plumbing and household appliances from sediment and scale. Although, it’ll also make your water taste much better.
We like this very affordable whole house filter for 3 reasons:
What we don’t like is the install and the filter replacement process. The reason being that changing the filter is, simply put, a messy business. Above that, the housing needs to sit really tight or it will continue to leak.
By the way, there is a small red button, which turns out to be an air release. Don’t make the mistake and push it down, because you expect that it will allow you to open the filter housing. It won’t, but it will get stuck and cause you a lot of trouble.
A filtration capacity of 10,000 to 24,000 gallons is not a whole lot of water. However, replacement cartridges cost somewhere between $10 and $25 dollars, which really isn’t much either. And when you consider that the Culligan WH-HD200-C is available for less than 100 bucks, there is nothing left to complain about. Just don’t expect extraordinary results from this filter.
The APEX MR-3030 is a lesser known 3-stage whole home filtration system capable of removing all kinds of dissolved solids with a minimum size of 1 micron. This includes chlorine, iron and other heavy metals, which is pretty decent in direct comparison with the competition.
Filters are NSF-approved and provide great tasting drinking water. Other than that, there is not much to be said about this product.
APEX would do good to improve on the low filtration capacity of 20,000 gallons. This whole house model is best suited for small homes. Otherwise filters have to be changed far too frequently.
Another aspect that we don’t like is APEX’s customer care service, which sometimes doesn’t respond to inquiries in a timely manner.
The best bang for your buck? Maybe not. But certainly great to get unlimited access to refreshing drinking water in your home at an acceptable price.
The greatest advantage of DuPont’s WFPF13003B universal whole house filter is that it comes at a fraction of what you pay for other multi-stage filter models.
On top of that, replacement filters are super cheap. And due to the 10″ cartridge, all standard filters sold by DuPont and other manufacturers like Culligan and Pentek can be placed in the housing. As you can see, the level of water purity that you can achieve depends a great deal on what you are shooting for.
A very smart idea is to arrange three or more of the filters in sequence. You could start with a 10 to 20-micron filter, followed by 5 microns, and a 1-micron filter at last. This setup is likely to guarantee excellent drinking water quality safe for consumption.
Another benefit: You don’t need to be an expert plumber to install this whole house filter.
Sure, the DuPont WFPF13003B retails at far less than what you have to pay for most whole house water filters on the market. And yet we have to acknowledge the fact that it really lacks the filtration capability that those other filters provide.
One WFPF13003B might be sufficient to adequately protect your plumbing system, but in regards to drinking water safety, it won’t suffice. This is all the more true, if you are on well water.
This whole house filter might be affordable even for those on a tiny budget, but don’t confuse it with a proper system that will remove the majority of harmful contaminants from your water.
Other Filter Types:
More on Whole House Water Filters
In section 1, we reviewed some the best whole house water filters on the market. Next, we are going to tackle some of the most common questions our readers have about this special type of filter.
Whole house water filters employ different mediums to eliminate impurities. A multi-stage system might combine a sediment pre-filter that removes larger particles with activated granular carbon filters to reduce the amount of chlorine and chemicals found in water. Depending on feed water quality, this will already be sufficient to provide you with clean and healthy drinking water all throughout your home.
In addition to that, the setup also helps dealing with hardness mineral, at least to a small degree. The life span of your household appliances and plumbing system will increase due to the prevention of lime scale build-ups that cause clogging.
An additional softening stage with a salt resin or a separate water softener is best suited to regulate water hardness in severe cases. However, please keep in mind that water treated with a salt-based softener is not suited for consumption due to its high sodium levels. If you rely on a salt-free softener, that’s a different story!
Thanks to the oversized filters, whole house water filtration systems are low in maintenance and have an increased water flow. 15 gallons per minute are no exception and cartridges need replacement about every 3 to 12 months.
When it comes to installing a whole home water filtration system, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every system is different and therefore requires different tools and a different game plan to set up. One thing is for sure: Installing a whole house filter is a tad more complicated than installing most other home filtration systems.
Of course, we don’t want to leave you with this vague answer. This is why we put together these basic installation instructions.
Still, you might want to consider hiring a professional plumber, especially if you don’t have any prior DIY experience and lack the necessary skills. But don’t let that discourage you, if you are willing to learn! With the right mindset and the right tools, chances are that you will be able to install your filter on your own and within a couple of hours.
This is a list of tools and installation accessories that you are going to need:
Please note: Use a couple wraps of Teflon or plumbers tape on all threads to prevent leakages.
Congratulations. Installation completed!
We get it! Some things are easier to explain using images/video rather than words:
There is no definite answer to this question. If you hire a professional, the costs for installing almost any type of water filter depend on your individual plumbing setup. You should expect to pay anywhere between $250 to $600 under normal circumstances.
You should install your whole house water filter close to the point where the feed water enters your home. Installing the filter before the water heater will expand the lifespan of all your household appliances running on hot water. Above that, the water heater itself will also be protected from sediments and lime that may cause clogging.
For well water, most manufacturers recommend to install a whole house water filter after the softening system to allow for proper backwashing.
For city water, you can install your filter system before the softener, thereby protect it from increased chlorine exposure.
Like we said earlier, every filter model is different. Therefore, the procedure for changing filters can vary. This is why, again, we can only provide you with basic guidelines. If you are looking for more detailed information, consult your manufacturer’s instructions or call the customer support team.
Here’s another video by Jeff Martin explaining the filter replacement process in more detail:
Although this guide is only partly about whole house well water filtration system reviews, we want to provide you with more information on how to properly filter well water.
Well water is groundwater, which means that it comes mainly from rain sinking down through the earth’s soil. This is the reason why it contains a lot of impurities. Some of these impurities are natural, take calcium, magnesium and selenium as an example. Others are manmade chemicals entering the water cycle as industrial and agricultural runoff or sewage waste.
Natural or manmade – both groups of contaminants can pose serious health risks. The good news is that if you are supplied with city water, your municipality has already taken care of the majority of dangerous pathogens. If you rely on a private well, however, this is simply not the case and you are responsible for making sure that your water is safe for your uses.
By the way, only because the water from your well looks clean doesn’t mean that it is de facto clean. Clear well water may still contain microorganisms that can cause gastrointestinal illnesses and infections.
In order to determine well water quality, your best option is to conduct a test. Well water test kits or a professional lab will be able to tell you what contaminants are present in your water. Only then can you be certain about what type of filtration system is best suited to treat the water according to your needs and even make it potable.
A test kit for well water should check for heavy metals, bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, chlorine, lead – you name it. Based on the test results, it might be necessary for you to set up a customized well water filtration system.
A well water filter should combine a sediment filter stage for larger particles with a chlorination stage for bacterial content. Additional carbon filters help to reduce the amount of chlorine and organic contaminants and neutralize taste and odors. An iron reduction filter is a useful upgrade to reduce iron, manganese and sulfur.
Instead of a chlorination stage, which could be the source of disinfection byproducts, you can also opt for a UV-light stage, which will kill all waterborne pathogens.
Please be aware that using 3 or even 4 different filtration stages in a row does not guarantee that your water is going to be 100 percent free from harmful pollutants. Consider buying a reverse osmosis filter system, if you want to get access to an unlimited supply of clean drinking water in your home.
If you have any questions about whole house water filters or any other type of water filter really, 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 are going to add new whole house water filter reviews occasionally.