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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Increased lifespan
- 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
In terms of other compounds present in water, ZeroWater is efficient at removing the following contaminants:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 - 200||25 - 40|
|200 - 300||15 - 25|
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.
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.
Share your views and other questions in the comments below, I will respond to them asap.