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

    Products Sighted

    Hours Researched

    And More User Opinions Scanned

    Industry Experts Consulted

    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 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 filters 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…

    Whole House Water Filter Reviews – System Comparison

    Top Considerations Before You Buy

    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:

    1. 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 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 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.

    2. Whole House Water Filter Types

    More or less all whole house water filters can remove the basic contaminants. 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 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 need to add one of these to your home.

    The downside: Whole house reverse osmosis 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 treatment system.

    3. Water Filter Flow Rates + Micron Ratings

    What you have to remember is that a whole house water filtration system has to be able 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 whole house water filters. 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 full house water 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 systems are rare to find. Regular RO membranes have a micron rating of 0.0001, which reduces water flow to a trickle, if no additional booster pumps are applied.

    4. Whole House Water Filter Cost

    We are all trying to save money. 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. 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.

    5. Whole House Water Filter Space Requirements

    Whole house units 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.

    Best Whole House Water Filter & Well Treatment Systems

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

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

    Best Whole House Filter: iSpring WGB32B

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

    What We Like

    The iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage is one of the most popular whole house water filtration systems 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 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.

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

    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 WGB32B here!

    If you are worried about the installation-part, 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 much 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.

    What We Don’t Like

    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 canisters back on. Both canisters and cartridges are quite heavy, so it’s not an easy job for everyone, especially when you are on your own.

    Our Verdict

    The iSpring WGB32B whole house system is perfect for severe cases of city water contamination. It provides a high enough flow rate 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: $$$
    •    Micron: 1
    •    Flow Rate: 15 gpm
    •    Capacity: 95k gal
    •    Annual Costs: $$$

    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.

    The series features 2 and 3-stage filtration systems that provide exceptionally clean water. They 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 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 systems, 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.

    What We Like

    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 WGB32B 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 water filtration needs.

    What We Don’t Like

    Here is what we don’t like:

    • 1. Unless you opt for a third-party model, replacement filters aren’t exactly cheap.
    • 2. It’s great that the filters have an extended lifetime. However, due to their size, they won’t fit in every home.

    Our Verdict

    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.

    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
    •    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 chlorinated city water supply, or for city water containing chloramines.

    What We Like

    All three SpringWell systems deliver clean and clear H2O 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 their service flow rates:

    • The CF1 delivers up to 9 gpm
    • The CF4 deliver up to 12 gpm
    • The CF+ delivers up to 17 gpm

    As you can see, thanks to the large tanks with plenty of filter media, water flow is high and won’t draw down pressure. Another benefit is that the filter media needs replacement only after 1,000,000 gallons of water have been filtered (about once every 6 – 10 years). So you can spend your time and money doing something more enjoyable. Only the 5-micron pre-filter needs changing every 6 to 9 months.

    Except for up to 96% chlorine/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 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.

    What We Don’t Like

    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 not forget that all systems are backed by a 6-month satisfaction guarantee. Our verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars!

    4. Aquasana Premium Rhino – Most Thorough Whole House Water Filtration

    Aquasana Premium Rhino Complete System

    Aquasana Premium Rhino Whole House Water Filter

    •    Price: $$$$
    •    Micron: 0.35
    •    Flow Rate: 7 gpm
    •    Capacity: 1M gal
    •    Annual Costs: $$

    What We Like

    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 wasted!

    Apart from chlorine, this full house filter also reduces the amount of other dissolved substances in your water including pesticides, herbicides, lead and mercury.

    The system’s post-filter can remove impurities with a minimum size of 0.35 microns, which is the best value we’ve stumbled upon so far.

    The benefits are obvious: Clean water, better moisturized skin and hair, and improved indoor air quality for easier breathing not only while showering.

    Warranty? Yep, 10 years (limited)!

    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, an optional pro installation kit can be ordered making the whole process a bit easier.

    As with all whole house water 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 around 3 months if you are on city and 1 – 3 months for well water. The post-filter is likely going to last somewhere between 5 – 9 months. A drop in 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.

    Optional Upgrades

    There are several optional upgrades for you to choose from:

    • Salt-free conditioner to prevent scaling and protect your plumbing
    • UV-light stage to kill 99.99% of harmful pathogens
    • Additional pre and post-filters for higher purity levels

    What We Don’t Like

    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 flow rate of 7 gpm which may not be sufficient for large households.

    Other cons are cheap plastic fittings that make the installation a lot harder and are prone to leaking and warranty claim issues.

    Our Verdict

    Admittedly, the initial price tag for the Aquasana Premium Rhino whole house purifier seems quite high, but over the course of 10 years the system will provide 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 the taste and smell of your water.

    The standard version is great for city supplies. If you are on a well, we recommend you go with the specialized version.

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

    Express Water 3-Stage Filtration Machine

    Express Water 3-Stage

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

    What We Like

    This POE water filtration machine 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 home appliances and expands their life span, it also smells and tastes super fresh.

    The system removes dirt, chlorine, organic chemicals, rust, scale and VOCs among other stuff.

    Other advantages are:

    • chlorine-free showers for healthier skin and hair
    • chlorine-free water for your garden and pets
    • low maintenance requirements, which saves 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 filter features the exact same carbon block and granular activated carbon filters that you would normally find in one of the RO units.

    What We Don’t Like

    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 this system to our readers? Absolutely!

    6. 3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Whole House Water Filtration System (Well Water Compatible)

    3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Inline

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

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

    What We Like About this System

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

    It comes with a 5-micron charcoal filter to reduce sediment, dirt, rust and chlorine. This helps to protect your household appliances and plumbing system and, above that, removes unpleasant tastes and odors.

    Another obvious advantage is the quick and easy-to-change 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.

    What We Don’t Like About this System

    Disadvantages? According to 3M, the AP903 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 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 impurities, such as VOCs, heavy metals and pesticides.

    7. 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
    •    Capacity: 10k-24k gal
    •    Annual Costs: $

    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.

    What We Like About this Water Filter

    We like this very cheap whole house purifier for 3 reasons:

    • 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 with varying capacities and pour sizes. Which one fits your needs best?

    What We Don’t Like

    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

    A filtering capacity of 10,000 to 24,000 gallons is not a whole lot of water. However, replacement cartridges are very affordable. And when you consider that the Culligan WH-HD200-C is available for little money – and even less when on discount – then there is nothing left to complain about.

    Whole House Water Filter Comparison Chart

    ModelPriceMicron RatingFlow RateFiltering CapacityAnnual Costs
    iSpring WGB32B Whole House Water Filter$$$515 gpm100k gal$$
    Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Whole House Water Filter$$$115 gpm95k gal$$$
    SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter$$$$59 gpm1M gal$
    Aquasana Premium Rhino Whole House Water Filter$$$$0.357 gpm1M gal$$
    Express Water Whole House Water Filter$$57-15 gpm-$$$
    3M Aqua-Pure AP903 Whole House Water Filter$$520 gpm100k gal$$
    Culligan WH-HD200-C Whole House Water Filter$5-503-10 gpm10k-24k gal$

    Other Top Whole House Water Filtration System Reviews:

    More on Whole House Systems

    In section 1, we reviewed the top rated whole house water filtration systems 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 Filtration: How to Best Filter Well Water (for Drinking)

    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 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 is the reason why well water 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.

    Best Whole House Well Water Treatment System Setup

    A residential well water filter should combine a sediment filter stage for larger particles with a chlorination stage for bacterial content.

    Additional activated carbon filters help to reduce excessive chlorine and organic contaminants and neutralize 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 filter is a useful upgrade to reduce iron, manganese and sulfur. Want to learn more? Follow the link: best-osmosis-systems.com/water-filters-to-remove-iron/

    An additional softening 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-light stage, which will kill all waterborne pathogens.

    More Information on Whole Home Water Filters

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    If you have any questions about whole house water filtration systems 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 a new whole house water filter review with comparisons occasionally.

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