Want the Best Whole House Water Filter in 2020? 7 Reviews [+ Guide]

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Whole house water filters, also known as point-of-entry (POE) water filtration systems, are perfect to clean all water entering a home before it gets distributed to the various outlets like faucets and showers.

A good filter will improve the smell and taste of your water and make it safer for consumption by removing potentially harmful contaminants. Some filtration systems might even reduce hardness. This means less staining on surfaces, softer laundry, and healthier looking hair and skin.

The only problem: There are so many whole house water filters 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 ideal for your needs? Here is our collection of the best whole house water filters currently available on the market.

On This Page You Will…

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

SystemsOur RatingPriceFilter LifeFlow RateAnnual CostWarrantyResponsive
Top Rated: SpringWell CF4 Whole House Water Filter System

Best Whole House Water Filter for Municipal (Tap) Water: SpringWell CF4

Read Review
$$1M gal12 gpm~$40LifetimeTop Rated: SpringWell CF4 Whole House Water Filter System

Best Whole House Water Filter for Municipal (Tap) Water: SpringWell CF4

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Filter Life: 1M gal
Flow Rate: 12 gpm
Annual Cost: ~$40
Warranty: Lifetime


Read Review
SpringWell WS4 Whole House Well Water Filter System

Best Water Filtration System for Well Water: SpringWell WS4

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$$$$18-25 Years20 gpm-LifetimeSpringWell WS4 Whole House Well Water Filter System

Best Water Filtration System for Well Water: SpringWell WS4

Our Rating:
Price: $$$$
Filter Life: 18-25 Years
Flow Rate: 20 gpm
Annual Cost: -
Warranty: Lifetime


Read Review

We recommend pairing the SpringWell WS4 with the CF4 (row above) for a more complete treatment.

We recommend pairing the SpringWell WS4 with the CF4 (row above) for a more complete treatment.
Pelican PC1000 Whole House Water Filter

The Runner-Up for Tap Water: Pelican PC1000

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$$1M gal12 gpm~$30-40LifetimePelican PC1000 Whole House Water Filter

The Runner-Up for Tap Water: Pelican PC1000

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Filter Life: 1M gal
Flow Rate: 12 gpm
Annual Cost: ~$30-40
Warranty: Lifetime


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NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

Best Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Tap Water with Chlorine: NU Aqua

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$100,000 gal15 gpm~$1503 YearsNU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

Best Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Tap Water with Chlorine: NU Aqua

Our Rating:
Price: $
Filter Life: 100,000 gal
Flow Rate: 15 gpm
Annual Cost: ~$150
Warranty: 3 Years


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Home Master HMF3SdgFeC Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Well Water

Best Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Well Water: Home Master HMF3SdgFeC

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$$Varies15 gpm$260+2 YearsHome Master HMF3SdgFeC Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Well Water

Best Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Well Water: Home Master HMF3SdgFeC

Our Rating:
Price: $$
Filter Life: Varies
Flow Rate: 15 gpm
Annual Cost: $260+
Warranty: 2 Years


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Use our coupon code BOSFREEWH at checkout and get FREE SHIPPING!

Use our coupon code BOSFREEWH at checkout and get FREE SHIPPING!
Home Master Custom Whole House Sediment Filter

Best Whole House Sediment Filter: Custom Home Master

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$Varies20 gpm~$1902 YearsHome Master Custom Whole House Sediment Filter

Best Whole House Sediment Filter: Custom Home Master

Our Rating:
Price: $
Filter Life: Varies
Flow Rate: 20 gpm
Annual Cost: ~$190
Warranty: 2 Years


Read Review

Use our coupon code BOSFREEWH at checkout and get FREE SHIPPING!

Use our coupon code BOSFREEWH at checkout and get FREE SHIPPING!

Best Whole House Water Filter Reviews

1. Our #1 Top Pick for Municipal (Tap) Water: SpringWell CF4 Whole House Water Filter System

In our opinion, the best whole house water filter for municipal water in 2020 is the SpringWell CF4. It turns even the nastiest tap waters into great-tasting, odorless H2O. 5 stars!

SpringWell CF4

SpringWell CF4 Whole House Water Filter System

Price:$$
Filter Capacity:1 Million Gallons or 6 Yrs.
Water:12 gpm
Annual Cost:~$40
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • Designed for tap water containing chlorine or chloramine.
  • Apart from improved aesthetics, your water will be rid of sediments, a bunch of organic contaminants and some heavy metals, meaning it’s cleaner and more healthy to use for drinking, cooking and showering.
  • A 5-micron pre-filter traps sediments to prevent the carbon and KDF media bed from clogging.
  • KDF removes chlorine and heavy metal content, and controls the growth of algae, bacteria and fungi.
  • Uses special long-lasting catalytic carbon to adsorb a large range of contaminants from water including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, trihalomethanes, …
  • SpringWell Water guarantees chlorine and chloramine reduction below the minimum detection levels for 1 million gallons or 6 years.
  • Flow rate is 12 gpm which is perfect for up to 4-6 bathrooms.
  • 1 larger and 1 smaller whole house filter system version available:
    • CF1 delivers up to 9 gallons per minute (used for 1-3 bathrooms).
    • CF+ delivers up to 17 gpm which is very high.
  • DIY installation is doable if you’re handy with tools and have access to main water line.
    • A bypass valve + illustrated instructions outlining every step are included.
  • Maintenance is simple and kept at a bare minimum for maximum convenience. Cost for replacement filters: About $40 per year.
  • For the first 6 months, SpringWell offers a full refund if you’re not satisfied with the results.
  • You get a limited lifetime warranty.
  • SpringWell’s customer support is said to be helpful and cooperative.

Cons

  • The provided fittings are plastic which are prone to cross-threading. We would have preferred brass for example.

→ Read Our Full SpringWell Water Filtration System Review Here

2. Our #1 Top Pick for Well Water: SpringWell WS4 Whole House Well Water Filter System + SpringWell CF4

In our opinion, the best whole house water filter for well water in 2020 is the SpringWell WS4 combined with the SpringWell CF4. Especially the WS4 is not a bargain, but it’s the perfect solution to well water contaminated with iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide. Paired with the CF4, you get access to water 100% odorless and with the cleanest taste. It’ll also be much healthier with zero (or reduced) chemicals, organics, and heavy metals. Definitely 5 stars!

Please note: To learn all about the SpringWell CF4 whole house filter check the review above. Here are all the important details about the WS4:

SpringWell WS4

SpringWell WS4 Whole House Well Water Filter System

Price:$$$$
Filter Capacity:18-25 Yrs.
Water:20 gpm
Annual Cost:Only for Backwashing
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • SpringWell WS4 system eliminates rotten egg smell as well as staining in toilets, sinks, showers, and on laundry. It also greatly improves water taste.
  • Uses air injection oxidation + greensand filter to trap a maximum combined of ferric & ferrous iron (up to 7 ppm), hydrogen sulfide (up to 8 ppm), and manganese (up to 1 ppm). The greensand also helps with arsenic and radium in water.
    • Safe for septic and sewer system.
    • Water pH of 6.5 – 10 is required for the process to be effective.
    • Shouldn’t be used with water that’s microbiologically unsafe or contains viruses without further treatment. Tip: Use live chat feature on website to contact SpringWell Water for more information.
  • Filters up to 20 gallons in one minute, enough water flow for homes with 4 or more bathrooms.
  • One smaller version available:
    • WS1 whole house well filter with 12 gpm service flow (1-4 bathrooms).
  • Treatment process includes daily reset of air pocket in the top of the tank and periodic backwashing of media bed to flush all accumulated contaminants down the drain. Both are controlled by electronic head and happen fully automatic. Set and forget!
    • Programmable via smartphone/tablet app thanks to Bluetooth function.
  • Installation is DIY friendly.
    • Bypass valve + illustrated installation guide is part of the package.
  • Whole house water filter is 100% maintenance-free. Greensand lasts 18 to 25 years.
  • Manufacturer gives 6-month satisfaction guarantee on all systems.
  • Tank, valve, fittings, and filter media are covered by lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Filter comes with plastic fittings instead of metal.

→ Read Our Full Review Here

3. The Runner-Up: Pelican PC1000 Whole House Water Filter

We wanted to provide you with an alternative for municipal whole house water treatment in case you don’t like the SpringWell CF4 for whatever reason. Thus, let us introduce you to the Pelican PC1000 whole house water filter system. It’s a tad more expensive than the SpringWell CF4, but people who installed it could immediately tell the difference in their water quality: Clean & refreshing taste, odorless, and more gentle to the skin. All in all, the price is still fair making it an ideal choice for basic filtration needs.

Pelican PC1000

Pelican PC1000 Whole House Water Filter

Price:$$
Filter Capacity:1M Gallons or 5 Yrs.
Water:12 gpm
Annual Cost:~$30-40
Warranty:Lifetime

Our Rating

Pros

  • Provides great-tasting drinking water at every tap in your home.
  • Cleaner (shower) water for softer hair & skin and improved indoor air quality.
  • Eliminates both chlorine (96.6%) and chloramine.
  • Reduction of chlorine taste and odor was independently tested and certified according to NSF Standard 42.
  • Also filters out other chemicals as well as non-chemical contaminants, some that could be responsible for bad water taste and odor, and others with potential health effects.
    • i.e. pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, water-soluble heavy metals like lead
  • Sediment pre-filter removes particles larger than 5 microns – think sand and silt – which protects the rest of the filter system from clogging.
  • Uses high-grade catalytic granular activated carbon (coconut shell based) instead of regular carbon for the highest filtering capacity and more effective and broader contaminant reduction.
    • Pelican PC1000 is guaranteed to remove chlorine + chloramine reduction below the minimum detection level for 5 years or 1.3 million gallons.
  • KDF-55, a bacteriostatic copper-zinc alloy, controls bacteria and algae growth inside the tank. It also further reduces chlorine and water-soluble lead, mercury, nickel, chromium, and other dissolved heavy metals.
  • Flow rate is 12 gallons of water per minute which is enough for large homes with 4 to 6 bathrooms.
  • There’s also a smaller version of the system:
    • Filtration capacity of 650,000 gallons or 5 years and 8 gpm, perfect for small to mid-sized homes with up to 3 bathrooms.
  • Tank is wrapped in stainless steel for longevity.
  • Whole house water filter can be installed by DIYer to save money.
    • Everything comes pre-assembled and pre-loaded.
    • Built-in bypass valve included.
    • No electricity required.
  • Low maintenance requirements. Cost: $30-40 per year.
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty + 90-day satisfaction guarantee (if you don’t like the filter you get a refund no questions asked).
  • Pelican customer support is very reliable.

Cons

  • Priming the carbon can be a bit challenging.
  • We would have preferred metal instead of plastic fittings.
    • A handful of people had issues with leaking.

→ Read Our Full Pelican PC1000 Review Here

4. Our #1 Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Tap Water with Chlorine: NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

In our opinion, the best whole house cartridge water filter for chlorinated city water in 2020 is the NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System. Just like the 3 products reviewed above, the NU Aqua provides clean, filtered water for the entire house. The big difference, however, is that – and this goes for cartridge water filters in general – the system is much lower cost upfront. But even in the realm of whole house cartridge water filters it’s surprisingly cheap, considering all the extra features. Bottom line: 4.5 stars!

NU Aqua 3 Stage

NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filter System

Price:$
Filter Capacity:100,000 Gallons or 6 Months
Water:15 gpm
Annual Cost:~$150
Warranty:3 Yrs.

Our Rating

Pros

  • People report drastic improvement as to how their water tastes and smells.
  • 5-micron sediment filter made from polypropylene fiber traps larger particles – think sand, rust, dust, dirt, and debris.
    • Protects water-using appliances and extends their life.
    • Prevents premature clogging of the rest of the water filters.
  • Granular activated carbon water filter adsorbs chlorine taste and odor, pesticides, herbicides, lead, and many, many other contaminants and chemicals (with health effects) that may be present in water supply.
  • 5-micron carbon block filter further reduces contaminants listed above as well as giardia, cryptosporidium, and more.
  • 15 gallons per minute water flow is perfect for small to large households.
  • Built-in pressure gauges allow for easy filter monitoring.
  • Pressure release buttons are a convenient solution to stuck filter housings.
  • Intuitive system installation + easy-to-follow instructions ideal for DIYers. #save
    • Filter system is shipped preassembled.
  • Sediment + carbon filters need replacement every 100,000 gallons or 6 months so not much to do in terms of maintenance.
  • Replacement filters are affordable and standard-sized (20″ x 4.5″ big blue) so you could go off-brand if need be.
  • Stainless steel frame provides stability. You can wall mount or leave as free standing.
  • NU Aqua guarantees full satisfaction or you get 100% of your money-back (first 180 days).
  • The filtration system is covered by a 3-year manufacturer warranty.

Cons

  • Defective GAC filters might be causing low water pressure.
  • Less effective against chloramines.
  • No built-in bypass.

→ Read Our Full Review Here

5. Our #1 Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Well Water: Home Master HMF3SdgFeC

In our opinion, the best whole house cartridge water filter for well water in 2020 is the Home Master HMF3SdgFeC. It was specifically designed for chlorine free water supplies with low levels of iron. The promise: Provide an entire home with water freed from bad tastes and odors. Water that doesn’t stain clothes, sinks, and toilets etc., and that doesn’t damage water-using appliances. 4.5 stars!

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

Home Master HMF3SdgFeC

Home Master HMF3SdgFeC Whole House Water Filtration System

Price:$$
Filter Capacity:Varies
Water:15 gpm
Annual Cost:$260+
Warranty:2 Yrs.

Our Rating

Pros

  • People are very pleased with their results. They saw an improvement in water quality right after installation – no more iron staining, clean taste, and fresh smell.
  • No huge single payment upfront.
  • Filter stage 1 is a multi-gradient density sediment filter (25 – 10 – 5 – 1 micron nominal) that traps rust, sand, silt and other particles. It makes your water crystal clear and takes out harmful contaminants like bacteria and cysts.
    1. Manufacturer says has triple the dirt holding capacity of similar sized filters.
  • Filter stage 2 is a specialized iron filter. Reduces up to 3 ppm ferrous (clear-water iron) and ferric (red-water iron).
    1. Also helps with manganese and sulfur but both lower the filter life at up to 2-6 times the rate of iron. Ideal conditions: No hydrogen sulfide, no iron bacteria, and manganese below 1 ppm.
  • Filter stage 3 uses granular activated carbon (20 micron nominal) to give the water a final polish removing chlorine, chemicals like pesticides, VOCs, and residual tastes and odors among other things.
  • Optimal pH level is above 7.0.
  • Whole house water filter shouldn’t be used with microbiologically unsafe water or water containing viruses without further treatment.
  • Filters up to 15 gallons per minute which is plenty of water and sufficient for homes with 4+ bathrooms.
  • Not difficult to install if you have any prior plumbing experience or are simply handy with tools.
  • Low in maintenance which is convenient. Naturally, how frequently one has to change filters depends on water usage and quality. Most users are probably looking at biannual changes.
  • Customer support is impressive. You can send in your well report and get recommendations from the knowledgeable staff members.
  • Two-year limited warranty.

Cons

  • No built-in bypass.
  • Replacement filters are quite pricey.

→ Read Our Full Home Master HMF3SdgFeC Review Here

6. Our Number One Sediment Filter: Custom Home Master System

In our opinion, the best whole house sediment filter in 2020 is a custom Home Master system. The setup uses step-down filtration ideal for applications with several sediment water problems. Step-down filtration? It means multiple filters in a row, each stage with a lower micron rating and thus a more thorough filtration than its predecessor. This approach prevents premature clogging of the finer filters. In our case, we use three 4.5″ x 20″ pleated sediment filters rated at 30, 5 and 1 micron.

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

How to Create Your Own Custom Whole House Filter System

To create your own custom whole house filtration system, visit this link and go through the following steps (sounds more complicated than it is):

  1. If you are on mobile scroll down to the “Options” section beneath the product image.
  2. The 1st dropdown says “Stages”. Choose “Three Stages”.
  3. The 3rd dropdown says “30 mic. sediment”. Choose this filter as your first stage.
  4. The 4th dropdown says “5 mic. sediment”. Choose this filter as your second stage.
  5. The 5th dropdown says “1 mic. sediment”. Choose this filter as your third stage.
  6. Add to cart and order.

Done! Now Home Master will build the filtration system for you.

Home Master Custom Whole House Sediment Filter

Custom Home Master Whole House Water Filtration System

Price:$
Filter Capacity:Varies
Water:20 gpm
Annual Cost:~$190
Warranty:2 Yrs.

Our Rating

Pros

  • 30-micron and 5-micron sediment filters filter out larger contaminants: Sand, silt, rust and dust.
  • 1-micron sediment filter also filters out cryptosporidium and giardia.
  • Each of the 3 water filters features a pleated design for maximum filtration capacity.
  • At first glance they appear way more expensive than competitor filters. However, the polyester material is more durable, and resistant to bacteria and chemicals in water. This allows you to clean and reuse every single cartridge 1 to 6 times before tearing – a huge money saver!
    • Do not reuse when treating cryptosporidium and giardia.
    • Thanks to 20″ big blue standard size you can go with cheaper aftermarket filters if need be.
  • This setup is not for microbiologically unsafe or non-potable water or water containing viruses without proper disinfection.
  • Absolutely no need to worry about flow rates. You’ll have more than enough water even if you’re living in a mansion.
  • Installing and maintaining this whole house water filter is simple.
  • Best customer support.
  • 2-year limited warranty.

Cons

  • No built-in bypass.

7. Cheap Whole House Water Filter System: 3M Aqua-Pure AP903

Last but not least, a whole house water filter for everyone on a tight budget. 3M’s Aqua-Pure AP903 makes your water look, smell, and taste delicious. Since it won’t help to get rid of most smaller contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides it’s best for people that have fairly clean water already.

3M Aqua-Pure AP903

3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Whole House Water Filtration System

Price:$
Filter Capacity:100,000 Gallons or 12 Months
Water:20 gpm
Annual Cost:~$150
Warranty:25 Yrs.

Our Rating

Pros

  • The AP903 whole house water filter applies carbon block filtration (5 microns nominal) with a non-woven pleat media to remove sediment, chlorine, and chemical contaminants in water. This improves water taste and smell and increases the life of water heaters and other appliances.
  • Can process an exceptionally high amount of water per minute, up to 20 gpm peak flow, ideal for large homes with multiple bathrooms.
  • 304 stainless steel head is corrosion resistant providing a long service life and won’t affect the taste of drinking water.
  • Easy installation. The slim design allows for placement at the main water supply even if space is limited.
  • Filter can be replaced with a quarter turn – quick and easy with no tools needed.
  • Head comes with a 25-year warranty.

Cons

  • Minor disadvantage is a small percentage of users have to replace the filter way more frequently than indicated by the manufacturer. It’s supposed to last 100,000 gallons or 12 months. Theirs was clogged after about 30 days (15,000 gallons) resulting in a significant pressure drop.
    • Too expensive to change at such frequency so you may need additional pre-filter(s) to get rid of particles that obstruct the Aqua-Pure AP903 very easily.

System Comparison List

ModelPriceMicron RatingFilter CapacityFilters
SpringWell CF4 Whole House Water Filter System$$51,000,000 Gallons of WaterSediment (Dirt) Pre-Filter Stage, Catalytic Granular Activated Coconut Shell Carbon, KDF-55
SpringWell WS4 Whole House Well Water Filter System$$$$-18-25 YearsAir Injection Oxidation, Greensand
Pelican PC1000 Whole House Water Filter System$$51,000,000 Gallons of WaterSediment (Dirt) Pre-Filter Stage, Catalytic Granular Activated Coconut Shell Carbon Filter Media, KDF-55
NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System$5100,000 Gallons of Filtered WaterSediment Filter, 2x Carbon Filters (Granular Carbon Filter + Carbon Block Filter)
Home Master HMF3SdgFeC Whole House Cartridge Water Filter for Well Water$$1-25VariesMulti-Gradient Density Sediment Filter, Iron Filter, Granular Activated Carbon Filter
Home Master Custom Whole Home Sediment Filtration System$1-30Varies3x Sediment Filters (Different Micron Ratings)
3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Whole House Water Filter System$5100,000 galCarbon Filter (Block), Non-Woven Sediment Filter

More Reviews

Buying Guide: Considerations Before You Buy a Whole House Filter

Before you go out and buy a water filtering solution for your home, consider this:

Which Whole House Water Filter Do I Need? Test Your Water Quality!

First things first. You need to find out more about the quality of your water. This allows you to purchase a whole house water filter capable of dealing with all or at least most of the contaminants lurking in it.

Are you on well 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 a well test kit which gives you a rough idea of what you are facing (more details on how to filter well water below).

If you’re on city water you can go here or here and search for your utility. All reports in both databases are free!

Whole House Water Filter Types

Whole house water filters for city water usually focus on removing sediments, chlorine (possibly chloramine) and its disinfection byproducts, and various chemicals responsible for creating unpleasant odor and taste. These systems are carbon-based and might even contain additional KDF media to reduce heavy metals and keep bacteria and algae in check. Units making use of bone char are capable of removing fluoride from water.

Filters specialized in well water treatment will usually eliminate iron, manganese, and sulfur, which are the most common contaminants here. One example is the SpringWell WS4 using air injection oxidation + greensand filter bed. In case your well is also polluted with contaminants from agricultural runoff – think fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides – consider adding carbon filtration.

You’re living in an older house and have detected lead in your water? Check out our article explaining how to best remove lead from water.

whole house cartridge water filter

Flow Rates

A whole house filtration system has to provide enough filtered water for your kitchen, bathroom(s), dishwasher, washing machine, and all other household appliances that use water.

Therefore, high flow is mandatory if you don’t want to experience a water pressure drop when opening multiple outlets. 10 – 15 gpm is pretty standard for a whole house water filter. Less might not suffice for a large household.

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

Micron Ratings

When dealing with suspended solids, filtration effectiveness is measured in micron (one micron is a thousandth of a millimeter). Generally speaking, a smaller micron rating indicates more thorough filtration with more contaminants removed.

For example: Whole house water filtration systems that only remove sand, silt, and rust might have a micron rating of 50. This means they trap the vast majority of particles with a minimum size of 50 microns, which won’t affect contaminants such as fluoride, lead, 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 really rare. Regular RO membranes are rated at 0.0001 micron, which reduces water pressure to a trickle if no additional booster pump is applied.

Whole House Water Filter Cost

You should not only take into account the initial purchase price of a whole house water filter, but also the lifespan and cost of replacement filter cartridges/media.

A system featuring a large media tank might cost much more upfront, but likely lasts for one million gallons of filtered water or more. This not only means virtually no maintenance requirements for several years, you also save tons of money in the long run.

Cartridge-based water filters are cheaper in the beginning. Therefore, you need to replace the cartridge(s) every 6 months or so, so that replacement cost can really start to add up over time.

Space

Whole house water filtration systems are way bigger than the average point-of-use filter. Don’t underestimate their size and make sure you have enough space for installation and maintenance.

More on Whole House Water Filter Systems

What is a Whole House Water Filter?

As the name suggests, a whole house water filter filters all incoming water at the main water line and thus before it gets distributed throughout your home. This way you have access to filtered water at every outlet including water-using appliances.

Whole house water filters are also known as point-of-entry water filtration systems.

Why Do You Need a Whole House Water Filter?

If you look at the data, almost all US water supplies are contaminated. Not all of the contaminants are harmful, but many are. So the number one reason to install a whole house water filter is to protect the health of your family. And the filtered water will taste and smell much better, too!

What if I drink nothing but bottled water? Well, what about the water you use for cooking and showering? For example, did you know that the largest chunk of your daily chlorine exposure does not come from the water you drink but from the water you use for washing? That’s because human skin is permeable for all kinds of stuff. Plus, you inhale some of the volatile compounds.

The second reason to use a whole house water filter is to prevent your plumbing system, fixtures, and appliances from taking damage due to water containing high levels of iron or sediment for example. This will result in reduced maintenance, fewer repairs, and ultimately safe you a lot of money.

How Does a Whole House Water Filter Work?

Whole house water filters connect to the main water line and filter all the water entering your home. How each individual system works depends on what type of filter process it applies:

  • Whole house sediment filters work by size exclusion.
  • Activated and catalytic carbon adsorbs contaminants into its surface pores.
  • KDF uses oxidation and reduction to eliminate mainly chlorine and some heavy metals.
  • Bone char relies on adsorption and chemical reactions to remove fluoride and heavy metals from water.
  • Greensand oxidizes and then traps iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide.
  • Air injection oxidizes iron, manganese, and sulfur which are then trapped by subsequent filter stages.

How to Install & Maintain a Whole House Water Filter?

Installation

wrench

The installation of a whole home filter system is certainly more difficult than setting up a POU unit. For one, it may involve plumbing. But it’s still doable if you’re handy around the house and have the necessary supplies and tools including tubing, fittings, and a pipe cutter.

In our opinion, getting everything up and running is moderately difficult. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to do:

  1. Follow manufacturer instructions to properly activate any filtration media.
  2. Shut off the main water supply.
  3. Drain any remaining water.
  4. Cut into the main water line.
  5. Optional: Install a shut-off valve on both sides of the system for ease of maintenance. Adding a bypass valve is usually not necessary. Most whole house water filters have one already built in.
  6. Connect the whole house filter making sure it’s facing in the right direction. Use Teflon tape on all threads for sealing and adapters on ports if necessary.
  7. Turn the water back on.
  8. Open all valves except for the bypass.
  9. Leaks?
  10. Flush the entire water system for several minutes.

Maintenance

Whole house water filter systems using a large media tank don’t require maintenance at all. Only the sediment pre-filter needs regular replacement in case there is one.

As for cartridge-based filters, they do require some attention every now and then to perform at their best. Timely filter replacements usually do the trick:

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  2. Drain all remaining water.
  3. Remove the first filter housing, and take out the old cartridge and insert the new.
  4. Optional: Clean the filter housing with soapy water or bleach solution and rinse thoroughly when done. Lubricate/replace O-rings.
  5. Screw the filter housing back on.
  6. Slowly turn the water supply back on.
  7. Leaks?
  8. Flush the new filters as per manufacturer instructions.

How often should a whole house water filter be replaced? It depends. Is your water full of sediments? Apart from that, one filter might be designed to only last 3 months, while another is good for a whole year.

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 your well using a whole house water filter.

About Whole Home Filtration and Well Water

Well water is groundwater which means it comes mainly from rain draining through the earth’s soil. This explains why well water contains a lot of contaminants. Some of them are natural impurities, i.e. sediments, calcium, magnesium, and bacteria. Others are manmade 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’re supplied with city water your municipality has already taken care of all dangerous microorganisms. If you rely on a private well, however, this simply isn’t the case and you are responsible for making sure your water is safe.

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 chlorine stage for bacteria.

Additional activated carbon filters remove any amount of chlorine and organic contaminants and neutralize bad tastes and odors. Need more info about removing chlorine?

activated carbon

An iron water filter is a worthy upgrade to remove ferrous iron, ferric iron (rust), manganese, and sulfur.

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 chlorination stage, which could be the source of disinfection byproducts, you can also opt for a UV filter stage. UV filters kill 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 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, though.
  • 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 filtered water demand at times of peak consumption, and your budget.
  • Can I drink the water filtered with a whole house filtration system?
    Yes, you can. But there’s no guarantee that it’s 100% free from harmful contaminants.
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I hope this list of the best whole house water filters was helpful. Questions? Ask away!

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

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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Gene

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