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6 Best Whole House Water Filters – Reviews 2020 [+Guide]

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    A whole house water filter system, also known as point-of-entry (POE) water filtration system, is perfect to clean all the water entering your home before it gets distributed to the various outlets like faucets and showers.

    A good filter system will improve the smell and taste of your water and also make it safe for consumption by removing many of the potentially harmful contaminants. Above that, it will reduce hardness. This means less stains on dishes and surfaces, soft laundry and healthier looking hair and skin.

    The only problem is that there are so many whole house water filters out there for you to choose from. And of course you don’t want to waste your hard-earned cash making a wrong buying decision. So, which one is best suited for your needs?

    On This Page You Will…

    Best Whole House Water Filter & Well Treatment Systems

    Whole House Water Filter Reviews

    1. iSpring WGB32B Whole House Water Filtration System – Our Top Pick!

    Top Rated Filer: iSpring WGB32B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filter

    Best Whole House Filter: iSpring WGB32B

    •    Price: $$$
    •    Micron: 5
    •    Flow Rate: 15 gpm
    •    Filter Capacity: 100k gal
    •    Annual Costs: $$

    Pros

    The iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage is one of the most popular whole house filters on the market and best suited for city water with excessive chlorine.

    Check out the iSpring FCRC25B filter cartridge, if you struggle with lead, iron and manganese (in well water). For just iron and manganese, there is iSpring’s FM25B.

    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 lots of hardness minerals.

    Independent lab tests (NSF/ANSI standards 42 & 53) have shown that the iSpring WGB32B filter removes between 95 to 98 percent of sediment like sand and rust, chlorine and chloramines, as well as a range of other contaminants that make your water look, taste and smell unpleasant.

    Elimination of harmful organic chemicals like pesticides and herbicides? Check!

    In terms of water pressure and flow, a supply of 15 gallons per minute should be absolutely sufficient for a 4 to 6-person household.

    As far as filtration capacity is concerned, the sediment filter (stage one), the carbon filter (stage two), and the additional carbon post-filter (stage three) last for 100,000 gallons, so about 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 in the long run. Sounds interesting? Check out the iSpring WGB32B whole house water filter system here!

    If you are worried about the setup, you can be rest assured that the system does NOT require professional installation, IF you have some basic plumbing skills and the right tools. “All” you need to do is splice in the system into your home’s main water line.

    Separate pressure release buttons make filter changes way easier.

    Last but not least, iSpring’s customer care service is reliable and responsive. If you experience a problem, for example you receive a broken part, the team will send you a replacement in no time.

    Cons

    One customer described changing filters as “nerve wracking”, which is quite understandable considering that the cartridges tend to move when you try to attach the housings back on. Also, both housings and filters are quite heavy, so it’s not an easy job for everyone, especially when you are on your own.

    Our Verdict: Our #1 System

    The iSpring WGB32B whole house water filter is perfect for severe cases of city water contamination. It provides enough filtered water for larger households and comes at an affordable price. Customer ratings reflect our own thoughts: The best whole house water filter!

    2. Home Master HMF3SDGFEC 3-Stage – #1 Whole House Water Filter for Well Water

    Top Rated Fileter: Home Master HMF3SDGFEC

    Best Whole House Filter for Well Water: Home Master HMF3SDGFEC

    •    Price: $$$
    •    Micron: 1
    •    Flow Rate: 15 gpm
    •    Filter Capacity: 95k gal
    •    Annual Costs: $$$

    Home Master is known for producing outstanding reverse osmosis filter systems and taking a look at this whole house water filter series, the brand stays true to itself.

    It features 2 and 3-stage filtration systems that provide exceptionally clean water. The filters also allow for high flow rates, 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 is, in our opinion, the best whole house water filtration system for well water containing a high amount of iron, manganese and sulfur. Home Master does not recommend this system for water with chlorine, though, which excludes most city waters.

    If you want to learn more about Home Master’s 2-stage whole house systems: 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.

    Pros

    The standard filters that come with the HMF3SDGFEC 3-stage remove lead, mercury and manganese in addition to other heavy metals. You also won’t have to worry about sediment and many chemical contaminants 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 microns for the iSpring WGB32B above.

    What’s more, the filtration system is backed by a 2-year limited warranty and 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 water filtration needs.

    Cons

    Here is what we don’t like:

    • 1. Unless you opt for a third-party model, replacement filters aren’t exactly cheap.
    • 2. On the one hand, it’s great that the filters have an extended lifespan. On the other hand, they won’t fit in every household due to their size.

    Our Verdict: Our #1 System for Well Water

    The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC whole house water filter 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.

    3. SpringWell 4-Stage Whole House Water Filtration Systems

    SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter

    SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter

    •    Price: $$$$
    •    Micron: 5
    •    Flow Rate: 9 gpm
    •    Filter Capacity: 1M gal
    •    Annual Costs: $

    SpringWell’s whole home water filter series includes 3 systems – the CF1, CF4 and the CF+. They are for use on either a city water supply with chlorine or for city water containing chloramines.

    Pros

    All three SpringWell systems deliver filtered water throughout your home that will taste and smell significantly better from the start. What’s the difference between the models? It’s their size and consequently the maximum amount of water that can be filtered at any given time:

    • The CF1 whole house water filter delivers up to 9 gpm
    • The CF4 whole house water filter deliver up to 12 gpm
    • The CF+ whole house water filter delivers up to 17 gpm

    As you can see, thanks to the large, durable tanks with plenty of filter media, water flow and water pressure are high. Another benefit is that the filter media needs replacement only after a million gallons of water have been filtered (about once every 6 – 10 years). So you can spend your time and money doing something way more enjoyable. Only the 5-micron pre-filter stage trapping sediments and dirt needs changing every 6 to 9 months.

    Except for up to 96% chlorine and chloramine, the KDF-55 (stage 2) + coconut shell activated carbon (stage 3) remove some heavy metals, organic contaminants like VOCs, pesticides and herbicides, sulfur, and other impurities that cause bad taste and odors.

    And lastly, a SpringWell filtration system is not any more difficult to install than other whole house water filters (installation kit included). There are just a few additional steps required. On top of that, you get free shipping, a lifetime warranty, and a risk-free money-back guarantee for the first 6 months of use.

    Cons

    There are 2 minor inconveniences that we wanted to mention:

    1. The carbon media inside the large tank must soak in water for at least two days before installation.
    2. Once installed, it can take a bit to get all of the carbon fibers flushed out.

    Our Verdict

    SpringWell whole house water filters don’t come cheap. But customer satisfaction is high also due to the excellent support that the company provides. And let’s keep in mind that all systems are backed by a 6-month satisfaction guarantee. Our verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars!

    4. Express Water 3-Stage Full House Water Filter for Wells or Municipal Water Supplies

    Express Water 3-Stage Filtration Machine

    Express Water Filtration System with 3 Filter Stages

    •    Price: $$
    •    Micron: 5
    •    Flow Rate: 7-15 gpm
    •    Filter Capacity: -
    •    Annual Costs: $$$

    Pros

    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 being used for well water treatment by many and provides quality (drinking) water that not only protects your household appliances and expands their life span, it also smells and tastes super fresh.

    The system features a sediment filter (stage one), a granular activated carbon filter (stage two), and a carbon block filter (stage three) to remove dirt, chlorine, organic chemicals, rust, scale and VOCs among other contaminants.

    Other advantages are:

    • chlorine free water for your family, garden and pets
    • chlorine free showers for healthier skin and hair
    • filters are low in maintenance saving you time and money
    • pressure release button for easier cartridge replacements

    On a side note: Express Water is another manufacturer known for its reliable reverse osmosis systems and funnily enough, this whole house water filter features the exact same carbon block and granular carbon filters that you would normally find in an RO unit.

    Cons

    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. And as usual we miss NSF certifications.

    Our Verdict

    Compared to its competitors, this whole house sediment and carbon filter by Express Water is relatively new on the market. Nevertheless, customers are highly satisfied with the quality and purification performance. Do we recommend the system to our readers? Absolutely!

    5. 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Whole House Water Filtration System (Well Water Compatible)

    3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Inline

    3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Water Filtration System (Well Water Compatible)

    •    Price: $$
    •    Micron: 5
    •    Flow Rate: 20 gpm
    •    Filter Capacity: 100k gal
    •    Annual Costs: $$

    Pros

    Compared to the other whole house water filters we reviewed on this page, the 3M Aqua-Pure inline model AP903 can process an exceptionally high amount of water per minute (20 gpm), which is ideal for large homes with multiple bathrooms.

    It comes with a 5-micron activated carbon filter to reduce sediment, dirt, rust, chlorine and chemicals. This helps to protect your household appliances and plumbing system and, above that, removes unpleasant taste and odor.

    Another obvious advantage, the clever design makes it easy to change the filter cartridge. Replacement takes no more than 5 minutes max – no tools needed! The filter capacity is pretty standard: 100,000 gallons or up to one year.

    The installation 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 at the main water supply even if space is limited.

    Cons

    Disadvantages? According to 3M, the AP903 whole house water filter can be used for both well and city water, which is good, 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.

    Our Verdict

    3M’s AP903 whole house filter unit is really low in maintenance and only requires a quick filter replacement once a year. In comparison to other models, it’s not the best home water filter of all. Still, it’s an ideal solution for someone with fairly clean water, taking into account that it won’t help to get rid of most smaller contaminants, such as VOCs, heavy metals and pesticides.

    6. Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Water Filtration System #RealBargain

    Culligan WH-HD200-C In-Line

    Culligan WH-HD200-C: Very Affordable Water Filter for Whole House Use

    •    Price: $
    •    Micron: 5-50
    •    Flow Rate: 3-10 gpm
    •    Filter Capacity: 10k-24k gal
    •    Annual Costs: $

    Next we’re going to take a look at the Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Heavy Duty Filtration System. The system’s purpose is mainly to protect your plumbing and household appliances from sediments and scale. Contaminants with health effects remain largely unaffected. Although, it’ll also make your water taste way better.

    Pros

    Part of the reason why we like this whole house water purifier is because it’s super cheap. Also:

    • 1. The transparent container allows you to check the condition of your filter cartridge at a glance.
    • 2. We have a built-in bypass valve so that you don’t have to turn off the entire water supply to your house when replacing cartridges.
    • 3. The WH-HD200-C is compatible with 5 different filters – activated carbon filter, sediment filter etc. – with varying capacities and pour sizes. Which option fits your needs best?

    Cons

    The inlet and outlet port are prone to leaking so make sure to use plenty of Teflon tape to create a strong seal.

    A second issue is the bypass valve which may be hard to turn and requires lubricating.

    Our Verdict: Solid Water Filter

    A filter life of 10,000 to 24,000 gallons is not a whole lot of water. However, new cartridges are very affordable. And when you consider that the Culligan WH-HD200-C whole house water filter itself is a real bargain then there is nothing left to complain about.

    System Comparison Chart

    ModelPriceMicron RatingFlow RateFiltering CapacityFilter Elements
    iSpring WGB32B Whole House Water Filter$$$515 gpm100k galSediment (Dirt) Filter, 2x Carbon Filters
    Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Whole House Water Filter$$$115 gpm95k galSediment (Dirt) Filter, Iron Filter, Coconut Shell Granular Charcoal Filter
    SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter$$$$59 gpm1M gal (10 Years)Sediment Pre-Filter Stage, KDF-55 Filter Media, Coconut Shell Activated Carbon Filter Media
    Express Water Whole House Water Filter$$57-15 gpm-Sediment Filter, 2x Carbon Filters (Granular Charcoal Filter + Carbon Block Filter)
    3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Whole House Water Filter$$520 gpm100k galCarbon Block Filter (Sediment)
    Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Water Filter$5-503-10 gpm10k-24k galVarious Filters, i.e. Sediment Filters and Carbon Filters

    Other Whole Home Systems:

    Buying Guide: Top Considerations Before You Buy a Whole House Filter

    Skip Straight to Reviews!

    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 water filtering solution for your home, consider this:

    Which Whole House Water Filter to Buy? Check Your Water Quality!

    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 water 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 test kits, which give you a rough idea of what you are facing (more details on how to filter well water below):

    For those lucky ones among us that receive city water, you can go here or here and browse for your utility. All reports in both databases are available for free!

    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 whole house water filters will help to remove fluoride from your 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.

    Whole House Water Filter Types

    More or less all whole house water filters can remove the basic contaminants. These are sediments, chlorine and a number of chemicals responsible for creating an unpleasant odor and taste. Those filters specialized in well water treatment will also eliminate iron (rust) and other heavy metals.

    But only reverse osmosis filtration technology 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 may need one of these.

    The downside: Whole house reverse osmosis filter systems can be really expensive. Alternatively, a smaller point-of-use unit that can be installed under your kitchen sink and that provides pure drinking water for one tap only offers a viable addition to any regular whole house filtration system.

    What about installing a water softener? Well, a water softener softens water. Other than scale, it’s not meant to remove dirt or chemicals and the like.

    Water Filter Flow Rates + Micron Ratings

    What you have to bear in mind is that a whole house filtration system has to provide enough filtered water not only for the kitchen faucet but also your bathroom(s), the dishwasher, the washing machine and all other household appliances that use water.

    Therefore, sufficient flow is mandatory, if you don’t want to experience a water pressure drop when opening multiple outlets. 10 – 15 gallons per minute is pretty standard for a whole house water filter. Anything lower than that might not suffice for large households.

    On a side note: A bathroom faucet uses up to 1.5, a kitchen faucet up to 2.2 gpm. The maximum water flow for a shower head usually doesn’t exceed 2.5 gallons per minute.

    At the same time, you want your whole house filter to be effective. In this case, effectiveness is measured in micron. One micron is a thousandth of a millimeter. Generally speaking, a smaller micron rating indicates a more thorough filtration with more contaminants removed.

    For example: A whole house water filtration system 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 like bacteria.

    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 output water pressure and flow. This is also why whole house reverse osmosis systems are rare to find. Regular RO membranes are rated at 0.0001 micron, which reduces water flow to a trickle, if no additional booster pumps are applied.

    Whole House Water Filter Cost

    We are all trying to save. 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 cartridge life and cost. Water filters that have 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 per person and day.

    Whole House Water Filter Space Requirements

    A whole house unit is way bigger than the average filter system. Don’t underestimate its size and make sure that you have enough space for installation and maintenance.

    More on Whole House Water Filter Systems

    In section 1, we reviewed the best whole house water filters. Next, we are going to tackle some of the most common questions our readers have about this special type of filter.

    Whole House Water Filtration: How to Best Filter Well Water (for Drinking)

    Even though this buying guide is only partly about whole house well water filtration system reviews, we want to provide you with more information on how to properly treat well water using a whole house water filter.

    About Whole House Filtration and Well Water

    Well water is groundwater, which means that it comes mainly from rain sinking down through the earth’s soil. This fact explains why well water contains a lot of contaminants. Some of these are natural impurities, take sediments, calcium, magnesium and selenium as an example. Others are manmade contaminants like 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 bacteria, cysts, etc. 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 family.

    Best Whole House Well Water Treatment System Setup

    A residential whole house filtration system for your well should combine a sediment filter stage for larger particles like dirt and rust with a chlorination stage for bacteria.

    An additional activated carbon filter removes any amount of chlorine and organic contaminants and neutralizes bad tastes and odors. Want more info on chlorine removal? Click here: best-osmosis-systems.com/how-to-remove-chlorine-from-water/

    activated carbon

    An iron water filter is a worthy upgrade to reduce ferrous iron, ferric iron (rust), manganese and sulfur. Want to learn more? Follow the link: best-osmosis-systems.com/water-filters-to-remove-iron/

    An additional water softener stage with a salt resin or a separate water softener is best suited to regulate hard water minerals in severe cases.

    Instead of a chlorine stage, which could be the source of disinfection byproducts, you can also opt for a UV filter stage. A UV filter kills all waterborne pathogens including bacteria and viruses.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    • Does a whole house water filter reduce water pressure?
      Yes. More filter stages and a more thorough filtration means higher pressure drop.
    • How often should a whole house water filter be replaced?
      It depends. Is your water full of sediments? Apart from that, one filter cartridge might only last 3 months, while another is good for a whole year.
    • Are whole house water filters necessary?
      This depends on the quality of water in your home. If it doesn’t contain any harmful type of contaminants, you’re fine. But this is rare so you might want to consider having it tested.
    • How much does it cost to install a whole house water filtration system?
      Between $100 and $500+. If you feel comfortable cutting into your main water supply you might be able to do the job yourself, by the way.
    • How do I choose a whole house water filter?
      There are a bunch of factors to consider such as the quality of your water, your clean water demand at times of peak consumption, and your budget.
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    Questions about whole house water systems or any other type of water filter? Ask away!

    And remember: We’ll continue our hunt for the best whole house water filter and add a new whole house water filter review occasionally. So come back for more!

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