We all know that drinking water throughout the day is vital to our health and survival. However it can be tough to get everyone to drink enough water to meet his or her daily needs. In fact, a recent study showed that about 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Many point to poor-tasting tap water, or a fear of contaminants in their tap water, as to why they skip H2O in favor of other drinks. In a bid to stay hydrated, many turn to store-bought bottled water. But while this is good for our water intake, this can be costly in the long run, not to mention damaging to the environment.
The best solution is to install a water filter system in your home so that you can get the best of both worlds. Convenient, great-tasting water free from harmful pollutants and your participation in environmental awareness.
Find the perfect water filter system for your family. Our comparison table will help you to make the best informative decision.
Water Filter Comparison Table
16 x 5.2 x 17.5"
18.5 x 17.5 x 8"
14.5 x 5.2 x 17.5"
9.5 x 9.5 x 23"
12 x 7 x 4"
8.8 x 11.2 x 12"
5.8 x 5.8 x 8.5"
9 x 9 x 13"
25.1 x 4.5 x 4.5"
5.8 x 5.8 x 10.6"
Different Types of Water Filters
Several types of water filter systems on the market today remove unwanted materials from your home's water. Some are more technical, while others rely on a simpler approach. In order to do a useful water filter comparison, you will need to understand how each type of system works.
Most Common Forms of Water Filters on the Market are:
Granular Activated Carbon Filter Systems
Granular activated carbon (GAC) filters are what most of us might think of when we imagine a standard water filter cartridge. It is made up of some organic material (coconut husk is a popular one) that has been "activated" so as to attract particles and different elements. As the water passes through, these contaminants are caught by the GAC and held there. Over time, the filter will become full and will lose its ability to cleanse the water. Therefore be sure to replace or clean your filters regularly.
GAC-type filters are best used to improve the taste and odor of your drinking water. However if your concern is contaminants such as iron or bacteria, the GAC-only filters tend to fall short. They can also be quite costly in the long run, though their initial low starting costs appeal to many.
Gravity-Assisted, or Drip Filter Systems
Drip filters use the power of gravity to move the water through a system of chambers separated by different filters. As you are not relying on high pressure, such as in a faucet or by using a pump, drip filters tend to be very slow. However this also means they can do a more thorough job of scrubbing the water clean. Unlike the GAC filters, drip filters can cleanse more than just large particles and bad taste. They can handle bacteria, parasites, and harmful metals.
The beauty of a drip filter is that it requires no electricity to run. It can be used with untreated water from lakes or stagnant ponds, and is fairly portable. You can bring it on camping trips, or use it during boil-water advisories, or on weekends away to places where the water may not taste great or be safe to drink.
Under-Sink Filter Systems
Are you a "set-it-and-forget-it" type who prefers the idea of attaching a filtration system directly to your tap? Instead of filling pitchers or drip filters you may be interested in an under-sink filter. These types are, as the name suggests, installed under your sink, and filter your water as it comes out of the tap. If you don't want all of your water treated, you can install a dedicated secondary tap that will dispense the filtered water.
This system gives you the option of having a more complex, multi-phase system that can handle more contaminants than a pitcher. It also takes less time and space than a drip filter might.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Reverse osmosis filters are a pretty advanced way of separating unwanted contaminants from your water. They usually work in multiple stages. First, the water moves through at least one pre-filter to get rid of the larger molecules and debris before it reaches the reverse osmosis phase. Here the water is pushed through an incredibly tiny membrane that allows only water molecules through. If your system lacks an adequate amount of pre-filtration for your water, the larger particles will quickly plug up the membrane. That means you will have to change it more often. The water may then be passed through an additional, final phase, such as through a GAC to get it tasting great, before it is dispensed.
Whole House Filtration Versus Point of Use Filtration
Another consideration when it comes to picking a good water filter for your home is whether you want to install whole house filtration. Although, you may just be happy to have a point of use system. The former will treat all water coming into your home from the main water supply. That means that the water used for your shower, your washing machine, dishwasher, etc., will go through a filtration process. Point of use systems, on the other hand, are used to filter water just before it is dispensed. Although you may want to consider a whole house filtration system if you are in a particularly pollutant-heavy area.
Top Water Filter Systems
Our first contender for premium water filter system reviews goes to the APEC ESSENCE ROES-50. With a five-stage reverse osmosis filtration system, APEC has come up with a top-quality means of filtering your water.
It boasts a near-perfect score of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and from over 2000 reviews! This system claims to remove up to 99% of nasty contaminants from drinking water, including but not limited to arsenic, fluoride, and lead. The APEC ESSENCE ROES-50 is a 401-certified water filtration system. You can be doubly sure that your water is clear of many prescription drugs and medications that can be found in drinking water. The company takes pride in its product. It claims that their system produces water superior to store-bought bottled water.
With the company's free lifetime loyalty support program, you are in good hands should any part of the machine fail. However, it is American designed and built, so you can be sure that the fittings are of good quality. They keep the wastewater from coming into contact with the filtered water and contaminating it.
The system is easy to set up and to maintain; it uses specially designed filters that last longer than other similar systems. It is optimized for homes using either tap water or well water.
The Tyent UCE-11 narrowly beat out the APEC ESSENCE ROES-50 at 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon. However it’s prohibitive cost keeps it out of reach for the average customer, and so we're comfortable with keeping it at our number two spot. Otherwise, the Tyent is a must-have for any tech-savvy, high-end homeowner.
Inspired by the latest smartphones, Tyent brings you a "smart ionizer". This futuristic under-sink filtration unit and ionizer has all the bells and whistles. It boasts top-of-the-line touch screen controls and a voice-guided concierge service.
It's main function, I'm sure you can tell from its name, is as an ionizer, however it also boasts powerful filtration capabilities. Eleven platinum plates, powered by a robust 750-Watt charge, and two large internal filters enable this device. It reduces up to 99.9% of harmful contaminants in your drinking water.
The iSpring RCC7 comes next on our list. It ranks as a top water filter for its thorough 5-stage reverse osmosis setup and its no-fuss approach to filtering water. It is the only one of our contenders to have achieved a gold star from the Water Quality Association. Like our top pick, the iSpring uses a 5-stage process. It has three pre-filtration stages to get rid of the larger particles before the reverse osmosis stage, and a final pass through a GAC filter. It is capable of cleansing at a rate of up to 75 gallons per day, and claims to also be able to filter fluoride from drinking water.
It is easy to assemble. It can be stored under the sink and comes with a nickel-plated faucet so you can separate your drinking water from the general tap water. When you buy this system, it comes with a one-year, money-back guarantee from iSpring.
The Royal Berkey, the only gravity-assisted drip filtration system on our list, is one of our most versatile. You can use it in a variety of circumstances, such as camping or during emergencies. It is extremely effective. It claimes to remove parasites, pesticides, herbicides, nitrates, dangerous minerals, and more. while leaving the beneficial minerals in your drinking water. It even claims to be able to separate red food dye that has been added to water!
A drawback of the Royal Berkey is that it is slow. It purifies at a rate of 4 gallons (15.1 L) per hour, though you can expand its capabilities by installing more elements. It is also fairly large and will take up quite a bit of space on your counter. You will also have to account for the fact that it is not connected to the water source -- you will need to fill it up manually.
But for all its drawbacks, the Royal Berkey is a great system for families who may want a little bit more from their water filter system. More accessories are available to enhance the capabilities of the Berkey. It has extra filters specifically for fluoride, stands, or spigot attachments. The Berkey is made of high-grade stainless steel and lasts a long time.
Our fifth pick of one of the best water filters is the Aquasana AQ-4000W Countertop system. It has earned its spot in the top five by providing good bang for your buck. While you can spend hundreds of dollars on a top water filter system the Aquasana costs the same as or less than a standard pitcher filter. However this system attaches to your faucet, cutting out the need for re-filling.
Another benefit of the Aquasana is its size -- the faucet attachment itself is small and designed to complement most standard faucets. A lot of faucet filters are big and unattractive, getting in the way when you're not using them. The Aquasana filtration system sits to the side of the sink, and its compact and sleek design mean it won't look out of place beside your taps.
This little device packs a lot of punch for its size. It can filter out harmful pollutants while leaving the beneficial ones, and is rated NSF-42 and -53. It has been designed with easy-to change filters that can cleanse three times as much as a standard pitcher filter. If you're after value and decent filtration, the Aquasana might be right for you.
More Quality Water Filters
The next 5 water filters did not make my top 5 list, but are definitely worth your consideration.
The WaterChef U9000 water filter system is another great example of an under-sink unit that also includes a secondary faucet. It claims to cleanse up to 1000 gallons of water per filter. And with its Intelligent Monitor LED, you will always know when the filter needs changing. No more using the filter past it’s due date or wasting barely used filters by changing them prematurely.
If you are looking for a water filtration system for your kitchen appliances, RV, or cabin, the Multipure Aquaverse is a strong contender. It can be used under the sink or on top of the counter. Its compact design makes it ideal for small spaces, and it comes with a slim faucet if you choose to use it for drinking water.
The Megahome Countertop Water Distiller is a different kind of filter system. It relies on steam to separate water from impurities. The Megahome distiller is a leader of its kind. It is made of high-quality glass components rather than cheap plastic or low-grade materials. When you just want great tasting water, give the Megahome distiller a try.
3M Aqua-Pure AP902 is a stainless steel whole-house system. It removes sediments, metals, and other impurities at a rate of 20 gallons per minute. It is ideal for homes connected to a well, but can also be used for other houses on a municipal supply. Changing the filter is quick and painless and doesn't require a special tool for the task. For a no-hassle whole house system, the 3M Aqua-Pure AP902 should do the trick.
My final pick for top water filters has to go to the Soma, our sole pitcher on this list. First of all, it is good at filtering metals and chlorine from your drinking water. And second, it is the best looking system around with a sleek design. It has a sustainable wooden handle, and a shatter-proof, BPA-free, plastic reservoir. It'll be easy to get your 8 cups a day in with this one.
Before you purchase a water filter, it is always best to do your research to find the perfect water filter for you. Of course, take a look at comprehensive lists like this and read through water filter system reviews. But also be sure to take a look at your home and what type of system would work best for your family.
It is always advisable to know what sorts of contaminants you are dealing with in your water supply. You can find this out by looking up your municipality's annual water testing results, or buying a simple kit you can use at home. Once you know what is in your water and how much of it is in there, you can better decide if you need to invest in a whole house filter or a point of source filter.
The longevity of your water filter will depend on how much stuff is in your water, and how well you take care of the filters. Be sure to change or clean them when recommended, or you may be drinking contaminated water without knowing it.
Take a look at the NSF Standard rating. Different filter types are rated for their performance. Not all filters are created equal, and if you're concerned with more than just the taste of your water, it might be a good idea to look out for those ratings.
And finally, consider the set-up you need for your home. If you don't have a lot of room to spare on your countertop, the drip filter may not be great for you. Or if you don't want to go through the hassle of installing a secondary tap for your water, an under-sink system may be too much work. When in doubt, always have a professional assist with installation. They can help you avoid accidentally contaminating your clean water or causing a plumbing issue for your home.
Take a look at this video for more information on proper set-up for the different types of water filter systems:
When it comes to buying the best water filter system for your home, it can be a tough choice. It is important to consider not only the cost and quality of a water filter, but also the water that comes into your home and how your family uses it. Not all water filters are created equal, and unfortunately it can be hard to tell the difference just by looking at water filter reviews. What worked for one person may not work for another.
Simple GAC filtration systems can help improve the taste and odor of your water. If you are concerned with other harmful chemicals and pollutants, you may want to invest in a reverse osmosis system. If being green is important to you, the drip filter uses no electricity and can be used in all sorts of scenarios. If you are in an area where you don't feel comfortable using the water for cleaning, cooking, or showering, a whole house filter could be a wise choice.
But whatever you choose, be sure to get the help of a professional for installation if you need it.
Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com