The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide Of The Best Water Filters In 2019
In this article, I have selected the top 15 water filters in 2019 according to my perspective. The best 3 in each category: Whole house, under-the-sink, countertop, faucet, and pitcher filters.
You may also notice that I used some of the academic papers to back up what I wrote in the product review and not just blindly promoting it.
An inexperienced customer can easily get lost among the wide variety of offers that are available on the market. There are lots of different manufacturers, and each is offering a great variety of filters such as fixed and mobile as well as different level of performance and costs. You can easily get lost and not sure of which one to select.
In fact, it is nearly impossible to answer this question, as different types of filters have their advantages and disadvantages, and it is important that you make your choice based on your needs and not based on the advertisement you have seen on the internet.
I will split the article into separate categories, and in each class, I will have a comparison table and suggest who might be the right customer for this type of filtration.
Why should you purchase a filter?
Before we start our listing, I would like to explain why you should consider a filtration in the first place.
Generally, water is filtered by local water authorities. However, water travels quite a long distance from the plant to your house and collects a great number of heavy metals. You can read more about it in my other article. Also, plants are using chemicals such as chloramine to disinfect the water and this contaminant is not healthy for us either.
To have clean water, the water filter system is necessary for your house, as it will remove all those substances from the water and ensures that you drink the purest water possible. You can check the quality of the tap water in your region and the substances it contains on the website EWG.
Now, having decided on why you need to purchase a filtration system strongly, let’s have a look at my selection.
Whole House Water Filters
If you live in a country house, you should pay special attention to the choice of a water treatment system, as this affects the health and wellbeing of you and your family. Purification of water in a country house is a must since water from wells can contain many harmful impurities such as heavy metals, salt, or bacteria.
What do you need to consider when choosing the water filter system?
Typically, the source of water in a country house is a well. The well water is not as clean as it is commonly believed. It is often contaminated with sediments such as sand and silt, but more harmful pollutants can be present in well water as well such as bacteria, pesticides, and various toxic substances used in treating the nearby field.
The mineral composition of water is also usually far from the standard, as it contains a high concentration of iron, fluorine, calcium, and magnesium. Although calcium and magnesium is a healthy mineral for your body, you’d still want to get rid of iron, fluorine and other unnecessary minerals, as all these substances are harmful in a high concentration.
Minerals are also dangerous for your home appliances because they form a sediment coating on the heating elements of a boiler, washing machine, dishwasher, or kettle. A reddish color can identify the excess amount of iron in the water, but also, red stains might be left on clothes after laundry.
To select a suitable water purification system for your house, I would advise you to conduct preliminary laboratory analysis of water in your area. This service is offered by many private labs, and even some of the companies that sell water filters are offering this service.
Tests will identify how your well water corresponds to sanitary standards, how high is the concentration of metals such as iron, calcium, lead, magnesium, and others. Based on these data, you can choose a whole house water filter that will be effective for your individual needs.
The common issue with people using well water experience is the water hardness. In other words, a high concentration of minerals such as magnesium and calcium, metals, and other sediment contamination and industrial pollution.
Purification of water in a country house with whole house filter is quite a complex task. I would recommend calling a certified plumber to get this done for you if you don’t have any previous experience with the installation.
Filters are usually made of 3 main stages, and additional stages might be purchased separately or in a kit.
The first stage is usually a sediment filter, to remove all the mechanical impurities. This stage might have different size of pores that water is passing through and a standard size of 5 microns. The general rule is “the smaller the micron number, the cleaner the water you get.”
The second stage is an activated granulated carbon block, also known as GAC. This stage removes chlorine, chemicals, dirt, odor, and improves the taste.
The last stage is also called a carbon block, but this one is often referred to as CTO filter. Just like GAC, the CTO block also removes chlorine, VOCs and improves taste. The difference between the two is that the CTO filter allows water to be in contact with carbon for a long time. This is because CTO uses blocks of carbon while GAC filter uses granules of carbon.
To cut the long story short, CTO block has a better performance when it comes to filtration, but the water flow is slower. The GAC stage allows water to pass through faster, but it has the worse treatment rate.
Note that both stages need to be frequently changed as they both are prone to become a breeding ground for bacteria.
There is also a filter known as KDF, which is a combination of copper and zinc. The way it works is called redox (oxidation-reduction). Again, I will not go into much technical detail, but if you are interested in how it works, you can it read here.
The main thing you need to know is that when compared to CTO and GAC, it does the same level of filtration, but this filter does not allow bacteria to grow inside, thus less frequent replacement.
An ideal combination of would be the whole house filter combined with UV filter to remove all the bacteria and viruses in your water.
Now, let’s have a look at the best 3 picks of the whole house water filters.
|Express Water||Home Master||Aquasana Rhino Series|
|Filtration Type||Whole House||Whole House||Whole House|
|Treatment Speed (Gallons per Minute)||15||15||7|
|# of stages||3||3||3+|
|Other Features||KDF Filter, Pressure Gauge||Good Warranty, Customer Service||Softener + Other Stages|
|Filter lifespan (Gallons)||100,000||100,000||300,000-1,000,000|
Express Water offers a 3-stage whole house water system. Due to a couple of reasons, I have selected this product as one of the best. First, I like the simplicity of the construction of this system. It has a nice metal housing where filters are placed.
Secondly, this system has positive feedback from customers, and they are more than happy with it.
Let’s have a quick look at the different stages and explain a little bit about them.
The first stage is the sediment filter that essentially is made of 100% polypropylene. This stage is responsible for removing all the sediment contaminants such as dust, dirt, sand and other small particles collected by water that travels through pipes.
The second stage is called KDF filter. I have mentioned this stage earlier in the article, but let’s have a closer look on about it now.
The acronym KDF (also known as Kinetic Degradation Fluxion), and it is the name of the company that focuses on filtration systems. The mixture of copper-zinc in the cartridge works on the process called oxidation-reduction or also known as redox. The redox works by simply exchanging electrons with contaminants and capturing them. You can have a look at the detailed explanation in the video below.
There are two types of KDF cartridges: one is type 55 and second is 85. Express Water has a KDF 85 filter which removes heavy metals such as iron, lead, and others. Also, KDF filter removes chlorine and substance called hydrogen sulfide.
You probably don’t know what hydrogen sulfide is, but trust me, you have come across this compound. I am pretty sure that you are very familiar with the odor of rotten eggs – well, this is the smell of hydrogen sulfide.
The third and last stage is a 5-micron carbon filter, also known as CTO cartridge. This filter is also responsible for removal of chlorine, different VOCs, chemicals and odor, but the primary role of the filter is to improve the taste of water.
You will like the fact that this system does not have special cartridges, thus when it comes to the replacement of these used cartridges, you can purchase any having the dimensions 4.5 x 20 inches.
Also, you can sit down and relax as the filter lifetime is 6-12 months or up to 100,000 gallons. Please note that this value is based on the average water quality. In the area with unclean water, the filter may be replaced more often.
I suggest you test your water and see if a cheaper alternative would be sufficient enough based on the result.
Note that different stages will have to be replaced in different times, while sediment filter might need replacement after 3-4 months, KDF will last 6+ months.
Another advantage of this system is that it has a great flow rate of 0.25 gallons per second.
The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty on this product.
If you have water containing dirt and a heavy concentration of heavy metals, this whole house filter would be a great option for you. I also suggest purchasing a UV filter in addition to this system, which will get rid of all the bacteria.
Home Master is a well-known brand in the water treatment industry. The company produces a variety of high-quality filtration systems. You can read my other review of the Home Master under sink system. So, there is no surprise that their whole house filter has made it to the top.
The system offers three stages of filtration and exactly as with the previous, Express Water is suitable for people that have water with high concertation of sediment.
Let’s have a quick look at these stages and what it has to offer.
The first filter is a sediment filter. The sediment filter is broadly used in this type of filters, so you may wonder why this product is different from the previous one. This cartridge is slightly different from others because it has 4 layers of filtration inside.
Layers have different sizes of pores where water is passing through. Water travels through a layer of 25 microns that captures larger particles. Then, there are additional layers of 10, 5 and 1 microns, and each stage capture smaller and smaller particles from the water.
The lifespan of this stage is 6-12 months, and the cartridge can handle the flow rate at 20 gallons per minute.
The second stage reduces the amount of iron, sulfur, and manganese in your water up to 3 ppm. You need to test your water first to identify the level of iron in your water because based on this value, the lifespan of this stage is determined. Other contaminants present in your water also determine the lifespan of the water filter.
This stage can also handle the high flow at 20 gallons per minute and the estimated life cycle at an average use of 125 gallons per day of an iron level of 3 ppm is about 6-8 months. More detailed description and installation directions can be found in the product manual.
The last stage is also a high-flow cartridge, made of activated carbon that is responsible for removal of chemicals, odor and improves the overall taste of water.
Another thing that you will like is the fact that the manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty with an overall high-flow rate of 15 gallons per minute.
Before you buy this or any other filter, you need to understand whether it is suitable for you. If you live in the city, the local plants usually use the chlorine and chloramine and other chemicals to treat water before it enters the supply- this makes the water more acidic.
Therefore, this particular type of filter will not be suitable for you because it doesn’t remove chlorine. Also, if the pH of your water is less than 7, this is not the right option, but don’t worry, in this article, I will cover all the options you available.
Meanwhile, private well water supply might contain a higher amount of sediment, minerals, and iron, including bacteria. In this case, this system will be an effective option for you, if combined with UV filter to kill all the bacteria in the water.
If you live in a small town and you have well water supply, this filter would be a great option for you. In combination with the UV water filter to remove bacteria, it will create a great long-lasting combination that would eliminate both the bacteria and sediment, yet keeping healthy minerals in the water.
If I am, to be honest, this system grabbed my attention due to its appearance. It doesn’t look like any other system, either whole house or under the sink. As a result of this, I have decided to have a closer look at what it has to offer and based on my research; this filter has made it to the top.
Let’s start with the most essential filtration stages. This filtration system is a whole series and based on your needs; you can select and combine the right one for your needs. I will only review the core stages that are the same for the whole line, and after that, I will talk about the differences between them.
There are three core stages that make the whole line and can be found in the entire Rhino Series.
The first stage is pre-filter that removes all the sediment, dirt, sand and any other small particles.
The second stage, the one at the top, is a combination of copper-zinc and mineral stone. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information on what kind of mineral stone it is.
Nevertheless, this stage is responsible for the removal of chlorine, and the reported treatment rate is up to 97%. Note that this number is not certain because every house is individual, and the water quality varies in different regions.
Apart from chlorine, this stage takes care of heavy metals and also inhibits the growth of bacteria and algae.
Last core stage of the system is an activated carbon filter. This stage reduces all sort of herbicides, pesticides, and a variety of chemical compounds.
So essentially, these stages are similar to other whole house filters. The interesting part starts with the additional stages you can get as the whole set.
The first additional stage you can get it with is salt-free softener. I think there is no need to explain the purpose of this stage. If you have hard water, this stage will make it soft. The good thing about this stage is that it is salt-free, so your water won’t have a salty taste that some of the salt softeners might leave behind.
Another optional stage you can get with this system is the post filter that removes the remaining particles down to 0.35 microns.
The last stage you can get with this system is UV water filter. There is another separate article about UV water filters on my web. In short, what you need to know about the UV filter is that ultraviolet kills the bacteria that are present in water and might pass all the stages of the filtration. Ultraviolet light destroys the DNA and chromosomes of the bacteria. Those can’t reproduce by themselves, becomes harmless and eventually die.
You can find detailed pictures of the whole Rhino line on this page.
What you will definitely like is that the filter lifetime is between 300,000 and 1,000,000 gallons of water. I will repeat myself, but it all depends on your local water and in this case, on the filter line that you will decide to select.
This system would be a great option for people who want to combine both the water filter softener and UV. In this case, you won’t need to buy 3 separate systems, and you can get it whole as one package, which will make it easier.
The option with water softener would be great for households having well water, as the water pick all the minerals from the ground and becomes harder. The option with UV filter would fit the city water that might contain all sorts of viruses and of course, the ideal option is to combine all of them and get the ultimate protection.
Under Sink Water Filter
After the whole house filtration system, this is the most powerful but also the most expensive solution, that is usually mounted in a cabinet under the sink. In the system set, an additional faucet is included in the package that is installed next to the main faucet.
Under-sink filters traditionally have several stages of filtration. Different combinations of these stages can ensure that the system resolves issues that fit your needs (dust, heavy metal, chlorine, hard water, fluoride, etc.).
Reverse osmosis filters are also part of this group. The principle of this system is very simple – molecules of water pass through the membrane filter, but bacteria and any other harmful substances are captured on the membrane and are not allowed to pass through.
The third advantage of this system is the highest level of purification up to 99% (reverse osmosis). Also, an important advantage is the capacity of the filter which might be up to 2,500 gallons.
High capacity ensures that the system will last without any need for replacement, which is usually for about 12 months. Finally, this system is just convenient as you can have crystal clear water from the tap at any time, without the need of switching hoses or waiting.
The disadvantage of under-sink filters is that they are more complex compared to other systems such as a countertop or faucet mount. Some users might find the installation to be tricky, and this system is stationary, which means that you cannot move it around your house and it will take some space in the cabinet.
Experienced users, however, justify the higher cost of purchase since replacement of components is less frequent, thus the margin of the product itself is higher.
Also, it is good to remember that due to the nature of the reverse osmosis filtration, all chemicals are removed, and the water is close to distillation after the filtration. It also removes healthy minerals from water, and for this reason, I suggest you purchase the system with an additional cartridge that adds minerals back to water, so you benefit from them.
So, the under-sink filtration system is suitable for people that want to have clean water for cooking and drinking and for those that don’t want to make any compromises regarding filtration rates.
|Multipure Aquaversa||Brondell RO Circle||Purify Guru RO|
|Filtration Type||Under Sink - Flow Filter||Reverse Osmosis||Reverse Osmosis|
|Treatment Speed (Gallons per Hour)||55||1,6||16,67 (400 Per Day)|
|# of stages||1||4||4|
|Other Features||No wastewater, Stainless Steel||Circle RO, Reminder||Tester as a gift|
|Filter lifespan (Months)||6-24||3-18|
The Multipure Aquaversa MP750SB Undersink System boasts exceptional contaminant removal and provides choices for the design and system installation. The company is well-established, and their website provides upfront and easy-to-understand information. Read on to learn more about this worthwhile product.
This system is tested and certified by NSF International and provides a 99% reduction for over 40 different contaminants, including heavy metals like lead and mercury as well as a host of volatile organic compounds and other harmful substances.
The filter removes disinfection by-products including chloramine and chlorine. It also provides 99.95% microbe cyst removal (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba, and Toxoplasma). Beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium remain in the filtered water.
A quality that stands out with Multipure is that all their systems have been tested and certified to reduce the disinfection by-products of Trihalomethanes. This is especially noteworthy because not all filters that are certified to reduce Chlorine can reduce Trihalomethanes.
When selecting a filter, pay attention to whether it only reduces Chlorine or whether it is independently certified to reduce the disinfection by-products that are more difficult to remove.
The system does all this with one submicron (0.5 microns) filter stage using solid carbon block technology. The flow rate is controlled by the valve on the water supply. The recommended rate is 3 quarts per minute to achieve optimal contaminant removal. This rate would fill an 8oz glass in 5 seconds. There’s no wastewater with this system.
The system comes with everything you need to install it. This includes a chrome faucet. Other choices of faucets are available through distributors. Choices include white, almond, stainless steel, bronze, polished brass, and black.
The system does not have a filter reminder mechanism. Since it only needs one replacement per year, this is not a deal breaker. Multipure offers a convenient email reminder service through their website.
The manufacturer recommends replacing the filter once per year for typical use. Filter replacement can be difficult depending on how the system is installed. Before installing, plan out how to access the shut-off valve and how easy it is to access the canister itself. Leave plenty of tubing connected so that it is easy to pull out the canister.
Tubing connectors and the connectors at the top of the canister are fragile – be careful not to pull on the tubing or use excessive force with the connectors. Other filter systems provide easier filter replacement, but if you take these steps, you will prevent any major problems.
The unit housing comes with several choices. Under the sink, you have a choice using the included bracket mount or separately purchasing a plastic base. It also may be connected to an icemaker using an icemaker tee fitting. You also have the option of purchasing a separate countertop conversion kit.
Multipure also raises the bar with the information available online regarding its products. Their website has an FAQ page with nearly 30 easy-to-understand answers to questions.
The system comes with a 90-day money-back guaranty. The housings also have a lifetime warranty, and all system accessories are warranted for 12 months.
The price for this system is similar to some RO systems and 2 to 3 times higher than other systems that use carbon block. This unit has a sub-micron filter that is NSF certified, to remove the reported contaminants.
The advantage is that you can feel confident about your drinking water quality, and you must replace only one filter per year. Ensure that you install the system for ease of filter replacement and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with this system.
Multipure has created a great product. Removal rates are high and fast flow rate ensures that you don’t have to wait for ages for your glass of water. You would also like this product if you store other things in your under-counter cabinet, as this product is compact so you won’t take all the space of the reverse osmosis systems.
There is, however, some hassle reported with the filter replacement, it might be more complex than other systems. In general, the product is worth to be on my top list of best filters.
I haven’t selected Brondell Circle RO filter for review by accident but because of the interesting and innovative feature, the product comprises. This feature is called Circle Reverse Osmosis, and that is what makes this product stand out from the crowd amongst other similar RO systems. I will explain what Circle RO means and how it works in a second, but first, let’s start with the brand introduction.
Brondell is a well-known brand that focuses on home improvements such as air purifiers, water filters, and bathroom equipment. You probably won’t be able to find a broad variety of products from this company, as they are focusing on a specific market segment. Personally, from my point of view, I can claim that this company also focuses on the design of the product, which is not a least checked by me when selecting a product.
As we are now familiar with the brand, let’s have a closer look at the product itself. The company represents their filter as 10 times more efficient compared to conventional RO system on the market. So, what kind of efficiency is it and where is it hidden?
The principle of Circle RO is the use of a special type of water tank that has an inner flexible water tank in it. The way it works is that the filtered water enters the inner tank and expand it. The pressure pushes the waste water out from the outer tank and fills the inner tank with purified water.
When you pour a glass of water, the valve switches its position depending on the water pressure and fills the outer tank with wastewater again using this pressure to squeeze out the water from the inner tank.
This approach to reverse osmosis allows the system to work without the electricity and rely only on the pressure in the tank and pipes; the wastewater is reused to flush and collect waste and clean each stage of filtration to extend its lifetime. The video below explains how the system works in more detail.
Based on the efficiency, you will save money for electricity as the system runs without it and your water bill will be smaller as the system has an average ratio 2.4:1, so 2.4 gallons of wastewater in each gallon of purified water.
This is a great index for an average reverse osmosis system that might be in a range from 4 to 7 gallons of wastewater for a gallon of clean water. Detailed information and comparison with other types of filters and also savings calculation in terms of water bill can found on the product white paper.
In terms of filtration stages, the filter has 4 stages of filtration:
- 1st Stage – Sediment filter to remove sediments and particles from water such as sand, dust or heavy metals.
- 2nd Stage – Pre-Carbon filter that deals with VOCs, chlorine and other contaminants that might damage RO membrane.
- 3rd Stage – RO Membrane where water pushes through, and all the waste are captured on the membrane.
- 4th Stage – this is the final stage made of Carbon Block and captures the rest of the contaminants that are left in the water, removes odor and improves the taste.
It is suggested by the manufacturer to replace all filters, apart from RO Membrane filter, every 6 months and replace RO Membrane every 24 months.
As additional features, I can consider the fact that the system is NSF and WQA certified which ensures the quality of a product. Also, there is a LED indicator to notify you when it’s time to change the filter, this shows that the manufacturer designed the product by considering customer needs. There is a 12-month standard warranty with this product that covers 100% of all parts and labor.
I like the Brondell approach to this product. They have made a great system and focused on the most painful issue of traditional reverse osmosis systems, which is wastewater, and they have been able to create a working solution for it. This is a product that I recommend for consideration, and it has a right to be on the list of my best water filters in 2019.
You are probably surprised that instead of the popular brands such as Home Master, iSpring, APEC, or Aquasana, the little-known brand has made it to the top. There are quite a few reasons for this, and I am pretty sure that after this review, you will agree with me that this particular product does deserve to be on this list.
Let’s have a closer look at what is so special about this that makes it competitive and win against other well-known brands.
First, the housing of the filter is fully made of stainless steel. This is great news for you if you want to reduce the number of plastics you use in your household. If you are not sure why you should do so, you can read about plastics in my other article. Personally, I prefer steel over the plastic in general, as the material is more durable, easy to maintain, and it simply looks nice.
Secondly, this filter provides an amazing filtration capacity of 400 gallons per day. This means that the glass of water will be filled in 10-15 seconds. It is achieved due to the electric water pump. This means that the system needs to be connected to the electric plug.
Some of you might see it as a drawback, as other systems do not require electricity, but other systems cannot supply the same amount of water. There is always a compromise that needs to be taken. Personally, I wouldn’t want to wait 2 minutes until I can finally quench my thirst.
Thirdly, the faucet that comes with the system has 2 handles. Now, the interesting part is their actual purpose. The one handle activates the reverse osmosis filtration and water is run through all the four stages; this can be made use of when you need clean water, in this case, for drinking.
The second handle activates the first and second stage only, so the water is still filtered but is not as pure as you might want. This option is great when you need the water for cooking, washing fruits and vegetables, and for cleaning or ice-making.
This functionality has one simple purpose; to reduce the usage of all the stages and thus reduce the frequency of filter replacement.
The Purify Guru also comes with the digital panel that monitors and informs you on the life status of the stages, so you will always know when they need to be replaced. Also, you will appreciate that this system doesn’t require a tank. Therefore, you don’t have to clean the tank and also, you wouldn’t put yourself at risk of bacteria spreading within it.
Let’s have a look at the different stages that this filter comprises. To be fair, those are the standard in the industry. The first stage is polypropylene pre-filter for sediment. Second and fourth are activated carbon stages, to improve taste and remove odor. The third stage is the actual reverse osmosis membrane that takes all the impurities off.
You should replace all these 3 filters (except RO membrane) every 6 months and the RO membrane can be replaced every 18-24 months. I will repeat myself, but it depends on the level of contamination and the level of usage of the system.
The good news is that you will get an electronic TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) water tester with this system, so you can check and compare the quality of water before and after.
If you have read the whole review, I am pretty sure that I don’t need to list again to all the great features that this system has to offer. So, the only thing I will say is that if you are looking for the filter that will last long, provide you with fast water flow and requires low maintenance, you will absolutely love this unit and won’t regret you purchased it.
Countertop water filters
Countertop filters are easy to install – there is a special pipe that is connected to the main water tap and a diverter that changes the flow between the tap and filter. Clean water comes out from the tap that is built into the filter housing.
There are different types of countertop filters available on the market, and they may vary based on the number of filtration stages they offer. The main advantage of this system is that it is not required to install it under the sink and installation is simple.
I think this system is a great option for people who often move from one location to another. The size is very convenient, and yet the power of filtration is decent. Another advantage is the price of a system which is way less than the under the sink and the whole house system.
The purification is by cartridges made of polypropylene fiber and activated carbon. The quality of the output water depends on:
You should always look for the approved manufacturers to ensure that the quality of the product is of the highest standard, and ideal products should be certified by WQA and NSF.
Some of the models are nice and have an elegant design, and these make them fit perfectly into any interior.
Based on the region where you are based, you should select cartridges that are suitable for water in that region. For example, some of them might soften in hard water, others saturate in minerals, and others disinfect with silver. There are also models that combine all mentioned characteristics.
Now as you understand the advantages of countertop system, it’s time to have a look on some of my picks.
|WaterChef C7000||Doulton Gravity Fed||Apex Countertop|
|Filtration Type||Carbon block||Gravity Fed||Countertop|
|Treatment Speed (Gallons per Hour)||39||0,45||60|
|# of stages||1||1||5|
|Other Features||Usage monitor, Design||High removal rates, Stainless steel||Great flow rate|
|Filter lifespan (Gallons)||1,000||2.5 years||1,500|
|Warranty (Years)||Lifetime||30-Day rerun policy. No warranty info||30-Day rerun policy. No warranty info|
Technology has come a long way from the advent of the pitcher filter. The WaterChef C7000 is an NSF-certified countertop filter that connects directly to your faucet. With several advanced features and an attractive design, this filter is worth taking a closer look at– or taste!
This countertop system removes an impressive range of contaminants including lead and a long list of organic contaminants. Reported removal rates range from 95 to 99 percent, with most being 99 percent or greater.
The system also removes chlorine and chloramine at a rate of 93.1 percent. The system removes cysts (giardia, cryptosporidium, etc.) at an impressive rate of 99.99% and above using a 0.05-micron filter.
How does such a smaller system achieve such a high removal rate? If you have read our reviews about 5-stage systems, you may be surprised to learn that the Waterchef only has one stage of filtration. It uses a proprietary filter design with several different filter media including a carbon block filter.
The great advantage of this single filter system is that a single cartridge will filter up to 1000 gallons. For typical users that translates into once per year replacement, which provides a low operating cost compared to other systems.
There is something else that is unique about this system among filtration systems. The filter allows healthy minerals to pass through while removing contaminants.
The healthy minerals that remain include calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Other systems like reverse osmosis models remove these minerals, and often an additional stage is required to replenish the lost minerals.
This system keeps on giving with an intelligent monitor that tells the users when to replace a filter. This monitor measures the actual usage, providing a more accurate replacement time than models that measure time. It provides the following indicators:
- GREEN: normal system operation
- YELLOW: under 10% of capacity remains (time to order a replacement cartridge)
- RED: capacity has been reached (replace cartridge to ensure peak performance)
In this review, I also considered the time required for installation. No tools are required to install this system in your kitchen, and many users report that installation takes just a few minutes.
Similar to other faucets of countertop models, the Waterchef connects to the faucet and provides a valve that transfers the water flow from the tap to the system.
This approach avoids heavy equipment on the faucet head itself, which can get in the way when using the sink. The filter takes up a relatively small amount of counter space and can be placed either to the left or right of the sink.
If your household water pressure is set to 60 psi, the system will treat water at a rate of 0.65 gallons per minute. While it is slower than some models, this is generally a satisfactory rate. The slower rate of treatment often implies that a system is providing higher quality treatment. Therefore, the extra wait-time may be worth it.
The filtration block comes with a lifetime limited warranty. The plastic components are BPA-free, and the housing is constructed with stainless steel. This system provides a reliable choice for home water treatment.
With its lower cost compared to reverse osmosis systems (see models reviewed on my website), it provides a cost-effective choice for removing common contaminants from your drinking water.
If you are looking for an easy and low maintenance solution, WaterChef would be a great system for you. Installation is very easy and doesn’t require any tools at all. The filter is also reporting great removal rates, so you need not worry if something nasty remains in water after passing through it.
You would also like the monitor that will notify you when you need to replace the filter inside, but usually, the cartridge will last for roughly 1 year. The one thing that might be a barrier is the price that is slightly higher compared to other countertop systems. However, great treatment rate and durable build will justify the cost of investment in your health.
The Doulton countertop gravity fed system provides a great taste, high-quality drinking water and will make anyone’s kitchen look good with its stainless steel exterior. The system removes many pathogens, including greater than 99.9% of cholera, typhus, cryptosporidium, amoebic dysentery, E. coli, colibacillosis or bilharzia, and anthrax sporea.
It also boasts 100% removal of pathogenic cysts including Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, and guinea worm.
It’s no surprise that Doulton has been used to fight diseases in developing countries. A recent study in Zimbabwe showed that using Doulton/British Berkefeld drinking water filters nearly eliminated cases of fatal diarrhea. Doulton has conducted extensive tests to demonstrate the system’s effectiveness.
How does it remove microbes so well compared to other filters? Doulton uses a 0.2-micron ceramic filter infused with silver. The extremely small pore size physically removes most microbes, and the silver further disinfects the water.
The filter is infused with a very small amount of silver that is not harmful to humans but very effective at killing microbes. Like other similar filters, it does not remove most viruses, which are much smaller than bacteria.
The system also removes chlorine, VOC’s, industrial solvents, bad taste and odor using activated carbon. While the carbon filter may remove some heavy metals, it does not remove sophisticated filters. If you are concerned about lead and mercury, you may want to consider other options.
Healthy minerals like calcium and magnesium remain in the water for that spring-like taste. If you’ve read other reviews, you’d know that some systems like reverse osmosis take out the minerals and then add new minerals back in.
The water removed by those systems is of higher quality and purer than the Doulton system. However, the extra filtration and treatment also add to higher costs. If you are looking for safer, fresh tasting water at a reasonable price, the Doulton gravity system provides a great option.
The exterior part consists of high-quality surgical grade stainless steel. This type of steel delivers maximum corrosion resistance. The system comes with a plastic spigot that often needs to be replaced. It can be replaced with a metal spigot that is much more reliable.
How often a filter needs to be replaced depends on the type of filter used. The choices filters, or “candle” as Doulton calls them, range from a year to 2.5-year replacement time. The speed of treatment also depends on the type of filter used and can range from 3 to 6 hours.
During the candles’ lifetime, periodic sterilization with bleach is required according to the product information. The system does not offer an automatic filter replacement reminder.
Doulton offers a 30-day return policy for an item in a new condition that has never been used. Their website does not mention a warranty.
The product information also does not mention whether it is BPA-free. Given the stainless-steel construction, most of the system is BPA-free by default. The plastic spigot and any plastic components of the filter would be the only concern.
Overall, this system provides a good value, especially for homeowners concerned about a variety of pathogens in drinking water. The drawbacks include limited removal of heavy metals and slow filtration speed. If you refill the system at night, you won’t even notice the slow filtration.
You’ll wake up to plenty of filtered water every morning. The great tasting water from the Doulton filter will have your household reaching for their glass cups after clean water!
The APEX countertop water filter system offers many of the same advantages as the WaterChef C7000 at a reduced cost. These shared features include very quick, tool-free installation and filter cartridges that typically last for about one year. The filter’s capacity of 1500 gallons is actually greater than that of the WaterChef, which is 1000 gallons.
The APEX system employs a 5-stage filtration process involving:
Stage 1 – Chloramines, heavy metal and microorganisms’ removal with KDF -85.
Stage 2 – Chlorine and odor removal with coconut shell activated carbon.
Stage 3 – Increases alkalinity and adds calcium, magnesium, and potassium with alkaline Beads.
Stage 4 – Removes chlorine and odor with coconut shell activated carbon.
Stage 5 – Increases alkalinity with calcite.
Generally, the APEX system contaminant removal is less impressive than the Waterchef c7000. As at the time of writing this review, the company had not published any numeric removal rates for this system. While we know which contaminants are reduced by the system, we do not know the percent removal.
The filter is rated at 1 micron, which would not be expected to remove as many giardia or cryptosporidium cysts as a smaller micron filter. The WaterChef filter has a 0.5-micron pore size and achieves greater than 99.99% removal of microbial cysts.
Tap water is treated at a rate of 1 gallon per minute with the APEX system. This is a relatively fast rate, and likely implies that this system achieves less contaminant removal than systems with slower rates. Some users, who are less concerned about the removal of a high percentage of contaminants might find the fast rate of treatment appealing.
It is important to note that the APEX system uses NSF certified media and components, but the system itself is not listed as certified with the NSF.
The APEX system provides a stylish design. Many color choices are available including a transparent design that allows the user to see each stage of the filter. A chrome model is available as well as black, blue, green, and red.
Warranty information was not available for this product. The 30-day return policy for new, unopened items was the only avenue listed on the website.
While the APEX system provides some benefits regarding the installation and style, the lack of performance information and warranties calls into question the quality of treatment. Until more information is available on this product’s performance, I recommend looking at countertop systems, reviewed on my website, with published treatment rates and warranties.
Faucet mount filters
Compared to the pitcher filters, faucet mount systems offer better performance in terms of removal rates. Let’s have a look at some of the key advantages and disadvantages and find out whether the faucet mounted filter is the right choice for you.
Faucet mount filters are classified as the flow-through systems. Usually, the cartridge inside is made of activated coconut coal, which captures harmful contaminants from the water while the water flows through it.
This way, the faucet mount filters clean the water of chlorine and remove odor. There is also a micro screen layer that captures and removes heavy metals and metallic taste, dust, sand and other microparticles.
Advantages of faucet mount filters:
Disadvantages of faucet mount filters:
How to install a water filter on the faucet?
Standard faucet mount filter is attached directly to the tap. Filtered water is supplied from the same tap as the filter serves only as the “cleaning layer.” Some better models are equipped with the switch to swap between filtered and unfiltered water without the need to take the filter off the tap.
Regardless of the model you choose, you will have to change filters quite frequently. Usually, the time span between replacement is 3 to 6 months. This depends on the model of faucet filter, quality of the water and the number of family members using it.
|Treatment Speed (Gallons per Hour)||N/A||N/A||0,5|
|# of stages||1||1||5|
|Other Features||Usage monitor, Color options||LED Reminder||Charity program|
|Filter lifespan (Gallons)||200||100||320|
Let’s have a look at my top picks in faucet mount category. As the first product, I have decided to select the filter under the brand name DuPont. This filter got my attention during research with some interesting features it has to offer.
However, let’s have a look at the brand called DuPont and what we need to know about it. The company itself is well-established, to be exact, it’s over 200 years old. It was founded by E. I. du Pont in 1802 as a simple powder mill.
At the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century, the company had been the largest producer of dynamite. In the middle of the 20th century, Wallace Carothers invents first synthetic fiber – nylon. Nylon becomes the most successful product of DuPont.
Nowadays, DuPont is one of the largest producers of chemicals with a revenue of over $20bn. This being said, brand DuPont is not an unknown brand, so let’s have a look if their filter is as good as you would expect.
There are 3 things that caught my attention about this filter.
Firstly, this filter comes in 3 different colors. You will be able to select between Chrome, Brushed Nickel, and White colors. Some may argue that this is not a useful feature, and the only thing I can say to this is that the design is important to me and I would buy a product that somehow disrupts my kitchen design.
Secondly, I was impressed by the reported treatment rate. You can have a detailed look at the report. DuPont is certified by the WQA organization for standards NSF/ANSI 42,53 and 372, which ensures the quality of the product and high treatment rate.
The manufacturer reports that the system is removing over 91% of heavy metals such as Lead and Mercury. The reported removal rate for chlorine and odor is 99%. Rates for other elements are also very high considering that this is not an expensive reverse osmosis system, so you will be surprised in a good way how this filter performs.
A third thing that makes this product stand out is the display that shows how many gallons of water it has filtered. The display requires 2 AA batteries to track the amount of filtered water. The cartridge lasts 200 gallons before being replaced.
Lastly, I would like to add that this filter is made only for filtering cold water that has a temperature of less than 100F or 37.7C. Higher temperature may irreversibly damage the filter, and this will not be covered by the warranty.
DuPont offers a 4-year limited warranty for this product, which is great compared to the standard 12-month warranty provided by other manufacturers.
Customers that are looking for the inexpensive and efficient solution to filter their water will like this piece of device. You will be reminded when the cartridge needs to be replaced, and you don’t need to disassemble the filter when you don’t want to use it, as it has an additional switch to swap between filtered water for drinking and unfiltered for washing up.
Let’s have a look at the brand behind the very popular faucet filter called PUR.
The brand PUR is a part of a bigger company called Helen of Troy Limited. You’d probably wonder who Helen of Troy is?
Well, I am pretty sure you have heard of some of their other products and brands such as Braun, Honeywell, Vicks or Febreze.
Rings a bell?
I bet it does. Now, we know that the brand PUR is not some small unknown company, so let’s have a closer look at the product itself.
This filter grabbed my attention because of it is quite popular brand in the business of faucet filters.
The filter has a LED tracking device inside that monitors the amount of filtered water, and notifies you when its time to replace the cartridge.
How cool is this?
Let’s see how it performs in terms of treatment rate.
PUR is NSF/ANSI 42, 53 and 401 certified, which means that removal rates should be pretty accurate.
In terms of the odor and chlorine taste, it is reported that the filter removes an overall of 96%, which is a great score. Also, it is reported that the filter removes 99% of lead, 96% of mercury, and 97.7% of Bisphenol-A. You can read more about the negative effects of Bisphenol-A in this article.
In terms of the filter lifecycle, PUR does not perform very well, as the filter should be replaced every 100 gallons or roughly every 3 months. Compared to other competitors in this article, this product is the worst in terms of the lifetime.
Note that this filter should only be used for cold water up to 100F.
PUR performs well in removing contaminants as well. Only one thing that takes the system down is the cartridge lifespan of only 100 gallons.
If you are okay with the fact, this is a great choice to pick.
As the last representative of faucet water filters, I have picked the brand called Waterdrop. This water filter grabbed my attention because compared to the other competitors, this one offers 3x long-lasting filter.
This gives the filter 6 months or 320 gallons of a lifetime. Just so you can compare yourself, standard lifetime for the faucet filter is about 3 months or 100-150 gallons.
Even if the filter is small in size, it still offers 5 stages of filtration.
1st Stage is pre-filtration that captures and removes larger contaminants
2nd Stage filters off sand, dust, suspended solids, etc.
3rd Stage is carbon fiber filter that takes care of chlorine, odor, bad taste and other organic compounds
4th Stage is post-filter and the purpose is the same as the second filter – remove last bits of sand and dust
5th Stage is the end-filter and is very similar to the 1st stage. It captures the last possible bits of the contaminants.
I am sure that if you have ever used any water filtration, you will agree with me that the time of waiting until the glass of water is full feels like it takes ages. So, if you are annoyed by this, the same way as I am, I have some good news for you.
This filter actually has a pretty high flow rate of 0.5 gallons per minute, so no more thirsty people waiting. The interesting fact is that some users reported even higher flow rate than it was without the filter, which is quite surprising to me.
Usually, the installation of faucet water filters is simple and doesn’t require any tools. Well, this filter is not an exception, and you will find the installation hassle-free. Please, also note that this filter won’t fit any non-standard faucets, but you shouldn’t have any problems with standard faucets.
There is also a switch to swap between unfiltered and filtered water. So, whenever you need to wash something, and you don’t need your water to be filtered, all you need to do is to switch the position.
I am sure you will also appreciate an interesting charity program that Waterdrop as a company supports. Manufacturer states that every purchase of the filter equals one day of clean water for a child in Kenya.
Waterdrop invests in clean water for different communities and schools. This is exactly the win-win situation that you would like to see. Investment in your health by purchasing a filter but also, you will support a good cause.
Personally, out of those three filters mentioned earlier in the faucet section, this one is my favorite. It has a long lifespan before replacement is needed, offers 5 stages of filtration, water flow rate is high, and you are supporting a good cause by buying this filter. If I consider all these benefits and add the price of the filter that is cheaper than the other two, I would conclude that this is a perfect buy.
Regardless of where you are at home, office, or on a trip to nature, an efficient water filter is necessary. Comparing to other types in this long article, pitcher filters are the most portable and does not require any connection to the water source as others previously-mentioned systems. You can simply pour the water into the jug and let it run through the filter.
Construction of most of the pitcher filters is very simple. It consists of 2 small tanks and a filter cartridge between them.
You can simply pour water in the top of the tank and let it flow down to the bottom tank through the cartridge that’s in-between them.
Usually, pitcher filters are made of durable glass or plastic. Mostly, the main filtration component in the cartridge is a mixture of coal that has absorptive qualities and removes any mechanical impurities out of the water.
The coal itself is extracted from coconut shells and depending on the type, and the filter can purify up to 150 gallons of water before replacement is needed. Apart from the coconut coal, manufacturers are also using an ion-exchange resin that produces de-ionized water. Those can deal with hard water and heavy metals that might be present in the water.
For the mineralization of the water, using cartridges with sodium or special calcium salts, which contain healthy minerals and add them to the water.
Always make sure to consider the quality of water that flows in your area and what problem do you want to solve, before you purchase a filter. The reason is that pitcher filter might not be enough to treat your water, and you will need to invest more money into other systems such as under-sink or countertop.
|Aquagear||Invigorated Water||EHM Ultra|
|# of stages||1||1||6|
|Other Features||Charity program||Additional cartridges, improves pH||Improves pH|
|Filter lifespan (Gallons)||150||95||~80|
|Warranty (Years)||Lifetime||No warranty info||No warranty info|
I must say from the very beginning, that even though I don’t prefer pitcher filters, this particular one is surprisingly good. I will tell you straight away that amongst pitcher filters in this article this one is the best of them. Let’s have a look why.
First, the most important thing you should be looking for in filters is their purification performance. Aquagear does perform really well and claims that their product removes 90% of fluoride 99% of chlorine, chloramine, lead, arsenic, and chromium 6.
The overall manufacturer claims that this pitcher filter removes over 89 contaminants and to back up this statement, manufacturers has certifications of independent tests; NSF Standards 42 and 53, and ISO 17025. If you want to have a more detailed look, you can see the full performance report on the manufacturer website.
The manufacturer Aquagear is a relatively small company, and when you check the website, you will see that they are offering only 2 products, this pitcher filter and filter straw cup. However, this shouldn’t stop you, as the product is made in the USA, so it is BPA-Free and is made of food grade approved materials.
The cartridge has a lifetime of 150 gallons before needs to be replaced, which is a good performance for pitcher filter. You need to understand though that the lifetime of the filter heavily depends on the quality of water in your region. Very poor water quality will reduce the filter life.
What else should convince you to buy this filter?
Well, I have mentioned earlier that there is a charity program that Aquagear is supporting and I think it is a good idea to talk about it, so you can better understand how your purchase is supporting a good cause.
The company runs a foundation and claims that for every purchased filter they provide a six month of clean water. Aquagear is installing filters in developing communities. The technology used for these is a biosand that removes bacteria and viruses but also filters off metals.
This is a great example of the win-win situation, you will purchase a filter and help yourself, but also you will support a good cause and help others.
As this kind of a cause is something I would like to do myself, the company definitely has my sympathy. You can have a closer look at a program on the company website.
This pitcher filter seems like the one I would personally go for. I was really convinced by the charity program that the manufacturer is running, and I feel like this is the reason why I would select this brand rather than the others.
Check out my full review of this product.
This pitcher filter caught my attention because it should increase the pH balance level in your water. For this reason, I have decided to take a closer look at this product.
First of all, let me explain why you should be bothered by the pH level of your water. I won’t go into much of details as this is topic for a full article, but I will briefly explain why it matters.
The pH level identifies whether water is alkaline or acidic. The acronym of pH comes from Latin “potentia hydrogeni”, which means the potential of hydrogen and basically displays the number of hydrogen ions present in water. The scale of pH is in the range of 1 to 14.
To give you an idea, the pH level of 2 is the stomach acid, and pH 13 can be the oven cleaner. In this case, you should always aim to get water between the pH of 7 and 8, which is neutral to slightly alkaline.
You can test the level of pH with a color based on the pH level or with an electronic meter.
So, why is it important to check the pH level?
Contaminants can change the pH level of water and make it more acidic, which may harm your body. Obviously, it will not damage you if you drink water with a pH level of 4 or 5 couple of times, but during the longer period, this might have a negative impact on your body. You won’t want to drink acid.
Now, when you understand the impact on pH balance on your body let’s have a look on the product.
This product might be interesting to you because the manufacturer claims that the filter can improve the pH balance of your water. During my research, I have browsed lots of reviews, and I have seen a proof where customers have posted a picture of their water tested on pH before and after where there is a notable improvement.
Also, lots of customers reported that the filter has improved the taste of their water and worked for them.
Unfortunately, there is a big issue I have with this product that makes me wonder about the real performance.
Some of the customers have mentioned in their reviews that they have been contacted by the manufacturer and offered the additional filter if they leave a 5-star rating. For this reason, I can’t really say that this product performs as good as it seems like.
In terms of filter lifetime, the cartridge can purify about 95 gallons of water before it needs to be replaced. The good thing is that you will receive additional 2 filters, so you will have nearly 300 gallons of purified water before you have to purchase a new cartridge.
Another drawback I have noticed is that customers are not happy with the quality of the material and overall construction of the product, but this is more of a personal preference of an individual.
It seems like a great option, and I believe that this filter does help as there are lots of positive reviews and all of them cannot be fabricated. However, since manufacturer offers a free filter for positive review, I cannot entirely rely on them.
If you live in the area with relatively clean water, I believe that this filter will do the work and will help with the pH. However, if your water is heavily contaminated, I suggest you watch out for reverse osmosis system.
I have selected this filter for this review because of the all great responses I have seen about the product, and since my article is about best water filters of 2019, I think this product fits in here.
Many customers reported that their pH has improved to the level 9 and even more which is a great indicator of the performance of this system.
The system offers 6 stage filtration, however, there is no precise information on different stages and what those are made of. I was able to find that some of the stages are made of activated carbon and ion exchange resin as I have mentioned in the introduction of this section. Additional stages are made of tourmaline cartridge and micro-screen.
In terms of the performance, the filter removes heavy metals as well as chlorine and odor and improves the pH level up to between 8 and 10. Another thing you need to know before buying this product is that it does not remove fluoride from water.
There are only two drawbacks I have noticed about this filter.
Firstly, EHM Pitcher does not have any filter usage tracker on the lid or anywhere else, and thus you will have to remember the last time you replaced it.
Secondly, a drawback that is related to the first is that the lifetime of the filter is not reported, there is only a mention that it lasts for about three months, but it does not tell us how many liters or gallons you can filter, which I think is a shame.
It is stated that 90 days is the lifetime if the pitcher is filled once a day. So, if we calculate the capacity of 3.5 liters times 90 days, we will get a quantity of 315 liters (about 83 gallons).
This filter has really some nice feedback from the customers that have reported the performance, and I wouldn’t be afraid to say that the actual performance matches to the reported one. If you are looking for a simple yet durable filter that will this is an excellent option for you if you can live with the fact that you will have to use a reminder as of when to replace the cartridge.
I know that this was a very long guide about water filters, and I really hope that you now have an idea on how and which filter you should select.
I know that some of these systems are expensive and you’d want to select the right one, so you don’t waste your money. For this reason, make sure to test your water first and then pick the right filtration for you and your family.
In the table below, I have highlighted all the best filters in the category that I would personally go for.
300,000+ gallons, salt-free softener, dual tank design, NSF certified
Capacity 400 GPD, Stainless steel construction, two modes of filtration, water tester as a gift
Carbon block technology, filter usage reminder, tool-free easy installation
long filter lifespan, five-stage filtration, high water flow, charity program
removes Fluoride, lead and chloramine, BPA-Free and FDA approved, charity program
If you found this article useful, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family on social media. Also, drop a comment about your experience with the different types of filters in the comment section below.
If you have any queries regarding the test results of your water or you want some advice about the products, drop me a message below. I will have a look and help you to select the right filter based on your test results and needs.