Best Water Filter Reviews & Buyers Guide

Updated: February 16, 2021 by Zac Harding

Water makes up more than two-thirds of the human body weight, and without water, we would die in a few days. The human body can survive for three weeks without food and there are experts who believe that we can live without food for two months. However, if you don’t drink water for a few days, you will surely die.

The body needs water so that it can maintain its bodily functions. The human brain consists of 95 percent water, lungs are 90 percent water and the blood is 82 percent water. If the water supply in the body drops by a mere 2 percent, you start showing signs of dizziness.

Water is life

As you can see, it’s very important to get clean drinking water and we even have a saying that water is life. Apart from drinking, we need clean water for cooking, cleaning, bathing and even for irrigation. The quality of our water is directly linked to the quality of our lives. If we have a constant supply of clean water, we can stay healthy and avoid water borne diseases.

In many undeveloped countries, many people die each year because of lack of clean drinking water and so its importance cannot be overstated. The health effects of drinking contaminated water can range from no physical impact to severe illness or even death. These effects may be immediate or they can go unnoticed for numerous years. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps are some of the possible ill effects of drinking contaminated water.

Water filtration is important

So how can you ensure that you have a constant supply of drinking water? If you live in an area that does not have a reliable supply of drinking water, or if the water supply is contaminated, you need to filter that water to ensure it is fit for human consumption. Water filters utilize two different methods of removing dirt.

The water can be strained to remove the larger impurities, which is what physical filtration does. On the other hand, chemical filtration involves passing water through an active material that removes impurities chemically as they pass through.

Types of water filters

We have various types of filters and they are as follows.

  • Activated Carbon
  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Distillation
  • Ultraviolet Disinfection
  • Alkaline Water Ionizer

Let’s go into some more detail:

Activated carbon

Water purification filter with activated charcoal and other filter substrates
Water purification filter with activated charcoal and other filter substrates

Activated carbon is the most common type of filter, and it is used in many homes. Activated carbon granules or activated charcoal are used in household water filtration. Based on charcoal, these granules are manufactured by burning wood in reduced oxygen supply.

Charcoal has a large interior surface area that is very porous and there are many spaces where chemical impurities can be attracted and trapped. This process is called adsorption and it is where gasses or liquids are trapped by liquids or solids. However, even though charcoal is very good at removing numerous common impurities, it cannot cope with limescale, fluoride, nitrates, sodium, microbes or heavy metals.

For heavy metals, you can use a special kind of activated charcoal. If you are using Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC), its effectiveness in absorbing tastes and odors depends on adequate mixing, contact time, dosage, and the concentration of the taste or odor problem.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis system.
Reverse osmosis system.

Reverse osmosis is a water purification technology that uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove large particles from drinking water. We use applied pressure to force polluted water through the membrane, and after water has passed through, the contaminants will remain behind.

Dissolved inorganic solids will be removed from the polluted water, and this will improve the taste, odor and appearance of the water. Another good thing about reverse osmosis is that it is convenient and it consumes no energy. This purification process is highly effective, and it is a low-cost method of filtering water.

However, the applied pressure must exceed the osmotic pressure in order to obtain water flow and to separate the solute from the solution. Pretreatment is required because the reverse osmosis devices and membranes are prone to contamination.


Man in front of distillery - copper

Among the simplest methods of purifying water is boiling it. However, even though the heat will kill numerous kinds of bacteria, it will not remove limescale, chemicals, and other pollutants. Distillation is therefore used because it goes one step further compared to ordinary boiling.

When you distill, you boil the water to create steam, and then you capture this steam and then condense it back to water using a different container. Since the temperature of boiling water is lower than the pollutants it contains, these will remain behind while the steam is separating away and boiling off.

Unfortunately, we have some pollutants whose boiling point is lower than that of water and so they will evaporate together with the vapor.

Ultraviolet disinfection

Ultraviolet disinfection
Ultraviolet disinfection

Ultraviolet disinfection is a proven and safe alternative for primary disinfection because it is free of the harmful by-products associated with chemical disinfection. An additional benefit of UV is that does not compromise the taste, odor or color of the treated water.

UV light is a naturally occurring component of solar radiation, and it is higher in frequency than visible light and lower than x-rays. It has a strong germicidal ability and it can be used to disinfect water that contains bacteria, viruses and protozoan such as Cryptosporidium cysts and Giardia lamblia cysts.

However, UV disinfection has limitations, and one of them is that the effectiveness of a UV system in eradicating microbiological contamination is dependent on the chemical, physical, and microbiological qualities of the incoming water. In addition, dissolved solids can hinder UV light from penetrating the water. Suspended solids will also shield microbes from UV light.

Alkaline Water Ionizer

Alkaline natural

There has been a lot of talks lately about alkaline water and, in particular, a variety of water treatment systems known as alkaline ionizers. The theory behind alkaline water is that it is a powerful antioxidant with surplus electrons that can mop up the dangerous free radicals we have coursing through our veins.

Alkaline water is said to correct excessive acidity in the tissues, which prevents or reverses cancer and arthritis among other degenerative conditions. Before your water ionization can occur, you should ensure that your tap water contains a variety of conductive minerals, like calcium, magnesium, sodium or potassium in different concentrations.

Chlorine and other impurities must then be removed, and then you can use an alkaline water ionizer. The water is first filtered and then water ionization can take place using a special machine for doing so. During this process, controlled electrolysis is used to process the useful electrolytic minerals, and the pH of the processed drinking water rages form 8.0 to more than 11.0.

Physicians are not convinced about the health benefits of drinking alkaline water. The pH of water is a very important component of sound health. In ideal circumstances, experts recommend us to drink water with a pH ranging from 7.4 to 7.6. This means that using alkaline ionizers is nothing but a fad and that there are no real benefits.

In addition, these filters don’t adequately filter water. If there are metals in your water, they may be concentrated to dangerous levels. In addition, if there are unregulated pollutants like pharmaceuticals in the water, ionization may turn them into unknown substances whose health risks are unknown.

Drinking alkaline water can mess with your digestion because the pH of your stomach may be raised, and your stomach is forced to produce hydrochloric acid to counter this increase. Unfortunately, as we age, we may find it difficult to produce the hydrochloric acid.

Water Filter Systems

When it comes to water filter systems, we have the following types.

  • Pitcher Water Filters
  • Faucet Water Purification
  • Whole House Filtration
  • Under-counter Water Filtration
  • Countertop/ Canister filters

Pitcher water filter

Clear water filter pitcher. Isolated on white background
Clear water filter pitcher

A pitcher water filter is a very common method of purifying water in households. It offers cold, filtered water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water, and without the environmental plastic waste. This method is also easy to use because you just pour the water straight from the faucet into the pitcher.

A filter cartridge will then purify the water as it travels from the top to the bottom of the pitcher. Such a pitcher can hold 5 to 18 glasses of purified water, and you can conveniently store it in your refrigerator or display it on your tabletop while you’re entertaining guests.

A pitcher filter can come with a filter life indicator that informs you when it is time for the filter to be changed. The advantage of this type of system is that it is affordable and does not require installation or a water supply. It is portable and you can move it from one place to another.

The disadvantage of this type of system is that the water filtration process is slow. It also comes with high operation costs because the cartridges need to be changed regularly. In addition, the system cannot be used to filter a large volume of water at once. You also have to keep refilling the pitcher.

Top 5 Pitcher Water Filters on Amazon:

ImageModelCupsDurationFavorite FeaturePriceRating
Brita 10 Cup Everyday BPA Free Water Pitcher with 1 Filter, WhiteBrita 10 Cup with 1 Filter1040 galSticker indicator to change$4.4 out of 5 stars
MAVEA 1001125 Elemaris XL 9-Cup Water Filtration Pitcher, BlackMAVEA 1001125 Elemaris950 galAvailable in different colors$4.4 out of 5 stars
ZeroWater ZP-010 10-Cup PitcherZeroWater ZP-0101040 galCertified to reduce lead$$$3.8 out of 5 stars
Brita Atlantis Water Filter Pitcher, White, 6 CupBrita Atlantis640 galBPA free pitcher$$$4.6 out of 5 stars
Brita 8 Cup Marina BPA Free Water Pitcher with 1 Filter, BlackBrita Marina840 galElectronic filter indicator$$3.9 out of 5 stars

Faucet water purification

A faucet water filter is installed on your tap and it allows you to get purified water straight from the tap. Such a filter connects directly to your faucet and requires no plumbing connections. The advantage of a faucet filter is that it is relatively inexpensive, and you get a continuous supply of filtered water.

Another advantage is that you can switch between filtered and unfiltered water. It is also easy to install and you don’t need to be an expert plumber to do so. You can also remove the filter at any time. However, it provides limited filtration and it may be designed to remove foul odors and tastes only.

The good thing is that you can find a more sophisticated unit that has lead-filtering capabilities.

Top 5 Faucet Filters on Amazon:

ImageModelCapacityFavorite FeaturePriceRating
DuPont WFFM350XCH Electric Metered 200-Gallon Deluxe Faucet Mount Premium Water Filtration Filter, ChromeDuPont WFFM350XCH Electric200 galEasy to read electronic display$$3.8 out of 5 stars
PUR Black/Chrome Advanced Vertical Faucet MountPUR Black/Chrome100 gal1 click installation. No tools.$$$3.8 out of 5 stars
Brita On Tap Faucet Water Filter System, WhiteBrita On Tap System200 galBPA free system$3.6 out of 5 stars
Culligan FM-15A Advanced Faucet Filter KitCulligan FM-15A Advanced200 galReduces lead$$3.8 out of 5 stars
InstaPure Brands F2BCTU-1ES Faucet Mount Water Filter ChromeInstaPure F2BCTU-1ES Faucet Mount100 gal3-month filter cartridge$3.3 out of 5 stars

Whole house filtration

Whole-House-FiltrationWhole house filters are also available and they can be easily installed. They are placed in your main water supply line and it removes sediment, rust particles and chlorine from the water.

Such a filter can benefit other kinds of filtration systems in your house by operating like a particulate pre-filter. The good thing about such a system is that it does not waste water and requires no electricity. It inhibits the growth of bacteria and no drain is required.

The disadvantage of this system is that it cannot provide hyper-filtration like a reverse osmosis unit can.

Top 5 Whole House Filtration Systems on Amazon:

ImageModelDimensionsFavorite FeaturePriceRating
Culligan US-EZ-1 EZ-Change Undersink Drinking Water Filtration System, 3,000 GallonCulligan US-EZ-1 EZ-Change3.8 x 8.2 x 12.2 in.Twist-on twist-off mechanism$4.2 out of 5 stars
Home Master HMF2SMGCC Whole House 2-Stage Water Filter with Multi Gradient Sediment and KDF85:Catalytic CarbonHome Master HMF2SMGCC9 x 18 x 25 in.Oversize filters improve flow rate and reduce maintenance$$4.7 out of 5 stars
HydroCare HC-300X Iron Well Water FiltrationHydroCare HC-300X24 x 9 x 27 in.No backwashing or electrcity required$$$$$3 out of 5 stars
APEX Whole House GAC Water Filter System with Activated Alumina for Fluoride RemovalAPEX Whole House GAC28 x 22.5 x 9 in.Pre-filter extracts suspended materials such as sediment + rust$$$4.1 out of 5 stars
Aquasana EQ-600-AMZN Whole House 6 Year Water Filtration System, 600000 gallonAquasana EQ-600-AMZN9 x 46 x 27 in.Does not require salt, electricity, or back flushing$$$$4.1 out of 5 stars

Under-counter water filtration

Under-counter-Water-FiltrationThis is a very convenient system because once installed, you won’t know it is there. When you turn on your tap, filtered water will flow through.

The system is efficient because it allows you to purify the water that goes to a particular faucet, which reduces the demands placed on your filter cartridges. For instance, your shower water doesn’t need to be filtered but you can filter the drinking water you’re your kitchen tap.

Top 5 Under the Counter Filtration Systems on Amazon:

ImageModelCapacityFavorite FeaturePriceRating
Culligan US-EZ-1 EZ-Change Undersink Drinking Water Filtration System, 3,000 GallonCulligan US-EZ-1 EZ-Change3000 galMost affordable$4.2 out of 5 stars
Aquasana AQ-5300.55 3-Stage Under Counter Water Filter System with Brushed Nickel FaucetAquasana AQ-5300.55600 gal3 stages, 25% faster flow rate$$$$4.3 out of 5 stars
UPGRADE! Ultra High Capacity, Premium Under Sink Direct Connect Water Filter (10,000 gallons:THREE YEARS) by Nahla Pure. Removes 99.99% of Contaminants for Great Tasting Water. Made in the USA.Nahla Pure Ultra High Capacity10,000 galLong lasting, value for money$$4.7 out of 5 stars
Watts Premier 531130 Filter-Pure UF-3 3-Stage Water Filtration SystemWatts Premier Filter-Pure UF-3330 galValve-in Head shuts water off for easy filter changes$$$$4 out of 5 stars
Aquasana AQ-4601.55 Premium Under Counter Water Filter SystemAquasana AQ-4601.55 Premium500 galEasy installation and cartridge change$$$3.9 out of 5 stars


Countertop/canister filtration

Countertop-Canister-filtersThis is a simple filter that is a countertop appliance such as a toaster or microwave, and it can purify your water and remove different contaminants. Some countertop filters have to be kept on your countertop while others may need to be connected to a spigot.

We also have countertop filters that require you to pour water through them. Unlike under-counter filters, the use of a countertop filter isn’t discreet.

Top 5 Countertop Filtration Systems on Amazon:

ImageModelCapacityFavorite FeaturePriceRating
APEX Countertop Drinking Water Filter - Alkaline (Clear)APEX Countertop, Clear1500 galSlim, Portable, Compact Design$$$4.6 out of 5 stars
New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Water Filter SystemNew Wave Enviro1500 galLeaves desirable minerals behind$$4.2 out of 5 stars
Brondell H2O+ Cypress Countertop Water Filter System, WQA Gold Seal CertifiedBrondell H2O+ Cypress150 galTriple filter system$$$$4.2 out of 5 stars
iSpring CKC1C Countertop Water Filter, CleariSpring CKC1C Countertop2000 galPortable and easy to install$4.1 out of 5 stars
Brondell H2O+ Pearl Countertop Water Filter System. WQA Gold Seal CertifiedBrondell H2O+ Pearl Countertop5000 galDIY installation in less than 10 minutes$$4.3 out of 5 stars

How to choose the best filtration system for your household

The first step in determining the best water filter for your home is to analyze the contaminants that are present in your water. The next thing is to determine what type of filtration system is going to serve you well. You also need to consider the size of your family and the cost of operating the system.

If you are looking for the most affordable system, a powered water filter pitcher is recommended. If you’re looking for convenience, under-countertop is the best system. For a high-performance filtration system, a whole house filter is a good option. If you live alone or you have a small family, a pitcher water filter is ideal for you. Whichever system you choose to buy for your home, you should ensure that it has undergone thorough testing and it has also been certified.

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