does zero water remove fluoride lead and arsenic?

Does ZeroWater Remove Fluoride, Lead, and Arsenic?

ZeroWater is one of the most popular pitcher filters alongside Brita and PUR. This raises a question about performance. Does ZeroWater remove fluoride, lead, and arsenic? I have purposely selected these three contaminants as; generally, they affect most households to a certain extent. If you haven’t got time to read the whole article, here is a short summary.

ZeroWater comes with five filtration stages cartridge and has been proved to remove fluoride, lead and arsenic, and other contaminants out of water. In fact, the product is even certified to remove some of these contaminants such as lead.

I also cover other contaminants that ZeroWater removes further in the article but let’s introduce a brand itself.

About ZeroWater

The company Zero Technologies was founded in 2002 in Pennsylvania, and since then, brand ZeroWater has come a long way to become one of the market leaders and a direct competitor to Brita and PUR.

What makes it different from the two mentioned is that most ZeroWater pitchers come with TDS meter. Although, if you have read my other article about water testing you would know that TDS meter is not precisely the best way to measure the water quality.

The product is in a similar price range as two mentioned, however, don’t let this fool you as the performance is much better.

Keep reading to find out what is the cartridge made of and what it removes.

What Type of Cartridge is Used in ZeroWater

Now, ZeroWater cartridge contains five stages.

  1. Filter screen
  2. Foam Distributor
  3. Activated Carbon and Oxidation Alloy
  4. Ion-exchange resin
  5. Ultra-fine screen

Let me briefly talk about each stage, so you get an idea on what each stage is capable of. This would allow you to understand better what performance you can expect from the pitcher.

Filter Screen

This stage works as the pre-treatment and removes large particles such as sediment, sand, and rust. This is pretty standard for a lot of filters to have a pre-treatment stage to remove larger particles.

Foam Distributor

This is an interesting stage, and if I’m honest, this is something I haven’t seen in many filters. Essentially, this stage simply ensures that water is spread equally around the cartridge, which brings a couple of benefits.

  1. Increased lifespan
  2. Better treatment in stages after

Activated Carbon and Oxidation Alloy

Third carbon stage is the one commonly used in most filters. It reduces various contaminants. Carbon layer is also known to improve taste and remove VOCs.

Oxidation alloy is also known as “Redox” stage removes chlorine, heavy metals, and dissolved gas. The list goes on, but these are the primary contaminants. Now, the best part is of this stage is that it is a combination of copper and zinc.

What does it mean?

I have been talking about the importance of changing filters regularly because the cartridge medium is an excellent environment for bacteria. Copper-zinc combination is known to prevent spreading the mold and bacteria, which would increase the filter lifespan; however, as I will discuss later, you will see that you will have to change the cartridge regularly anyway.

Another great benefit of Redox stage is that it prevents the formation of the hardness scale. This is why ZeroWater comes with TDS meter, which shows the level of hardness and how the product reduces it.

In other words, if you have (moderately) hard water ZeroWater will make it softer. However, this won’t be an efficient solution to very hard water, and I would recommend you to read one of my other articles about hard water.

Ion-Exchange Resin

In a nutshell, ion-exchange resin removes contaminants in water by exchanging ions. This means that the stage takes ions of contaminants and replace them with sodium and potassium ions.

This stage is capable of removing VOCs and heavy metals but also contributes to water softening as it is capable of replacing magnesium and calcium, minerals responsible for water hardness.

Ultra-fine screen

Now, this stage is supposed to remove particles of nanoscale size. However, I was not able to find what size exactly it is. But I have done my research, and the common size for the ultra-fine particle is less than 0.1μm.

Anyway, this stage is last, and it just ensures that any left particles are removed.

So, now we have got a better understanding of the cartridge structure let’s see what of the contaminants ZeroWater removes!

What Contaminants Does ZeroWater Remove?what contaminants zerowater removes


ZeroWater has been proved to remove fluoride. Appartenly, the filter has been certified by EPA to remove fluoride, however, I haven’t been able to find the certificate, but multiple users have confirmed that the pitcher removes fluoride.

I have also an article on different ways to remove fluoride, click here to read.


Lead is a huge topic in recent years, especially after the Flint crisis. There is no doubt that lead is a dangerous contaminant, and what is worse is that it has become a national problem across America.

Now, the good news. ZeroWater is capable of removing lead. The combination of all five stages filters lead.


Arsenic is another big topic. I have written the whole article dedicated to this compound, but in short, if there is anything you want to remove out of water arsenic takes one of the first spots. In fact, arsenic is the 20th most common contaminant that could be found in earth’s crust.

Now, if you think about it, it won’t be difficult for arsenic to get into the water, and you would be right. Luckily, ZeroWater also removes this contaminant out of water.

Water Hardness

If I am honest, I have mixed feelings about this. Let me explain.

Water hardness is definitely bad for your home appliances and hair, and there is no doubt about this. However, think about this for a second.

Hard water is not harmful in any way for you to drink, in fact, it contains healthy minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and surprisingly, both are essential minerals needed for your wellbeing.

ZeroWater neutralizes these minerals by replacing ions, and as a result, it generates softer water. The doubt I have is whether you need to have softer water.


Because you only use this water for drinking, I mean the amount that pitcher filters are not enough for anything else. You won’t be able to use this water in a washing machine or dishwasher, so it kind of doesn’t make sense for me.

The bottom line is that it is sweet from ZeroWater to reduce hardness, but I just can’t see much of value in this.

I would gladly read your opinion on this in the comment section under this article.

Other Contaminants

In terms of other compounds present in water, ZeroWater is efficient at removing the following contaminants:

  • Chromium
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy Metals
  • Chlorine and Chloramine
  • Mercury
  • Dust & Rust

As you can see, the list is quite long and compared to Brita its performance is somewhere else.

Now, since we are speaking about ZeroWater, let me talk briefly about problems that are common for this particular pitcher.

ZeroWater Problems

This brand has certainly proved itself when it comes to performance. However, as always, there is no perfect product, and even ZeroWater has a couple of flaws. Spoiler alert, nothing that should put you off.

Water Taste

During researching, I have noticed that users have reported various opinions about the taste. Some people have reported great amazing crispy taste while others have reported fishy taste.

Now, I was curious to find out why this is happening so I have dug down into research and here is what I found!

Water in different regions can contain various amounts and levels of certain contaminants. Now, the ion-exchange resin could chemically react with those contaminants, which releases such fishy taste and smell. Usually, this happens when the cartridge is reaching its lifespan, so if you see this phenomenon after a certain time of using the filter, it is time to replace the cartridge.

Treatment Speed

The speed of filtration was another frequently highlighted issue. Unlike other pitchers, ZeroWater comes with five stages of filtration, and as a result, it takes time for water to pass through all of them when compared to two to three stages.

The treatment rate could potentially be even lower, but this depends on the initial quality. The general rule is, the more contaminated water you feed to it, the more time it takes to process. So, if you think that filtration speed is slow, maybe it could be a good idea to check the quality of water in your home.

Cartridge Lifespan

Similarly to a filtration speed, cartridge lifespan is heavily dependant on the initial water feed. In a nutshell, the more contaminated water is, the shorter life cycle the cartridge has. The manufacturer has developed a rough guideline on what lifespan you could expect from the pitcher.

TDS Meter Read (PPM)Filter Lifespan (Gallons)
<50 40+
50 - 200 25 - 40
200 - 300 15 - 25
300+ <15

Note, that guideline only follows the TDS meter; however, this is not the best way to tell to what extent is your water contaminated because TDS only determines the hardness of the water. To determine this more advanced test (testing strips or ideally lab) is usually required.

Final Words

I believe I have given you what you have been looking for, and even more about ZeroWater.

Despite having a couple of small flaws it offers great performance for the money you pay. ZeroWater has definitely a strong place on the market of pitcher filters.

You can explore various ZeroWater options on the Amazon and grab one to yourself right now.

Now, it is your turn to share some of your thoughts about this pitcher.

  • How long you have been using ZeroWater for?
  • Do you think that hard water treatment is important for pitcher filter?

Share your views and other questions in the comments below, I will respond to them asap.

Sharing is caring!

10 thoughts on “Does ZeroWater Remove Fluoride, Lead, and Arsenic?”

  1. Thanks for the excellent review. I have been using Zero water for about 2 months now. The TDS of my San Diego water is just under 300 – so quite high – which means that my filter doesn’t last very long before I get a pretty disgusting fishy odor and taste. I find the PUR chart for how often I need to change to filter to be accurate. The thing that is tricky is that, at this point, the TDS meter should show that the filter needs to be changed but it does not. The meter does seem to be working when tested on other waters but it doesn’t give a warning about needing to change the filter before the fishy taste and smell happen. Annoying. As for the importance of measuring TDS in the water, my understanding is that removing these minerals also is part of removing arsenic and fluoride. I am guessing that this is why the PUR pitchers retain calcium and magnesium but do not remove arsenic. In order to get the arsenic and fluoride out you need a filter that, as it happens, also removes the other minerals. I saw a warning somewhere that once your TDS meter shows .06 or above, the filter is no longer filtering out fluoride and arsenic. So I suspect they weren’t trying to target calcium and magnesium per se, those minerals just got caught up in the effort. As for correcting the lack of minerals/taste, that is very easy. I use a product called EMDrops which adds them back into your water easily. You can create a great-tasting mineral water if you wish! There are other products as well such as Anderson’s Sea MD, etc. Also, it should be noted that all filtered water that I have tested is acidic. I also correct this by adding a tiny amount of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) – about 1/64th of a tsp per cup of water – and this will bring the pH up to approximately 7.5 or close to human blood. The amount of sodium it ads is not significant to me although others might find it an issue. 😁

    1. Hey Tara,

      Thank you for leaving a comment, I am sure that it will help a lot of people. Also thank you for a feedback, I am glad that you have enjoyed the article.

      The thing with TDS is that it only measures solids dissolved in water, but not other contaminants. For example, it won’t tell you whether you have fluoride in water. It also won’t tell what types of solids are present in water. You can have 80% of TDS made up of calcium which is just the indicator of hard water, but not dangerous. On the other hand, you can have 80% of TDS number made up of arsenic, which is extremely dangerous. The TDS meter won’t pick this up and this is the problem.

      This being said, my recommendation to you is not to solely rely on TDS meter, but use it more as a hint that you might need to make a better analysis or test for a specific contaminant.

      Also, thanks for recommendation on EMDrops and baking soda tip, these are great. I will have a look at this and include in the future articles.


  2. Awesome review and comments! I live in northern Arizona where arsenic levels are extremely high. I purchased the Zero Water Pitcher. The initial TDS reading was 378. Once I filtered my water it is now at 0! But my question is do you have a recommendation for an inline filtering system for my city water input? I live in an RV and want something that will also filter my shower water. I keep 2 gallons of ZW water on hand for drinking and cooking but would like to go to the next level for the whole RV. Thanks for any feedback!

    1. Hello Bonny,

      First of all, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. Also thanks for your kind feedback.

      Couple of days back I had a comment from the other user and he went with Woder. He was very happy with it. You can read his comment here.

      In your scenario I would suggest you Woder as well, because it is compact and doesn’t affect the pressure, which I think would be key for RVs and showering. The thing is that Woder has two types of filters single stage 8k does not remove arsenic at all, but Woder FRM does a great job at removing it. So, it is worth to have a look at two stage Woder FRM – here is the link.

      Let me know what you think.


  3. Thanks for the article. About the water hardness, I use my zero water to filter water I use in my humidifiers so the lack of hard water scale is good for this too.

  4. I’ve been using a Zero Water pitcher for several years now. I live in an area with pretty good tap water compared to a lot of places in the country. But the city does add fluoride to it, which is a practice I dislike. Additive fluoride is NOT the same thing as natural fluoride. I also find that I really prefer the taste and clarity of the filtered water, as well as the fact that the filters remove most of the bad stuff. The water develops a slightly “off” taste when the filter needs to be changed but not otherwise. I usually get 6 weeks to 2 months out of a filter, but that can vary quite a bit depending on the quality of the water.

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for sharing your story with us here. I am sure it will help a lot to other people looking for information on ZeroWater.


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