By now you are aware of the unregulated contaminants found in tapped and well water.
Even as the government reserves the duty to provide us with safe drinking water, heavy metals, industrial chemicals/contaminants including PCBs and PFCs, pesticides, fluorides, chlorine, radioactive elements, and pharmaceutical residues can be found in tapped water around the globe.
But the solution to safe drinking water needn’t be too hard to find and too expensive. It can be as painless as using a water filter system.
To determine the best water filter system, we looked at the products with high filtration capability as well as positive customer feedback, and ease of installation and maintenance.
A good water filter system does not only remove impurities, but it also improves the taste and smell of your water. It will also not strip healthy water minerals that the body cannot synthesize. A quality filter system does not make the water acidic in the filtration process.
Best Water Filter System Brands & Market Growth
Water purifiers are categorized in different ways including pitcher filters, reverse osmosis, faucet carbon filter, under-sink, countertop, whole house, and UV filters.
As people become more aware of the impurities that exist in water deemed to be safe, the demand for water filters has increased to unimaginable levels globally.
The water purifier market is expected to reach $15 million by the year 2025 growing at CAGR of 4.1% in the period 2018-2015. Some of the most reputable players in this market include Aquasana, Brita, PUR, and Aquaguard. These companies specialize in home-based water filters.
All their water filters are NSF-certified to remove their specified contaminants.
Other brands like Apex and APEC are all about countertop and reverse osmosis filters. They deliver unique features like alkalinizing systems that help restore water PH. They are also capable or restoring lost minerals in the filtration process.
You will also find ingenious brands like Sawyer that bring innovative features like portability without the need to change the filter.
Every brand represented here have a considerable market share since they have managed to use the latest technologies to produce consumer-friendly water filter systems.
Best Water Filter Systems – Top Picks
#1 APEC Top Tier Alkaline Mineral ROES75+ 6-Stage: Best Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
- Improves the taste of water
- Adds stripped minerals in the final stage
- Removes 99% of contaminants
- Easy to install under the sink
- Uses a 6-stage filtration system
- Fills slower than expensive models
- It does not have a UV filter for microorganisms
- It can be challenging to change in-house filters
APEC Top Tier Reverse Osmosis Filtration System is your ticket to pure water without losing out on the minerals that make water healthy. This filter is quite affordable. It works using a 6-stage system that includes a certified ROES-PH75 cartridge that adds calcium carbonate to improve alkalinity of your water after it has been filtered.
This system removes 99.99% of chlorine thanks to the use of carbon blocks as well as sediments and dust particles using its polypropylene filter. It also removes 99% of TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) including carcinogens like arsenic, and heavy metals like mercury and lead. It also removes other inorganic contaminants like chromium, fluorides, radium, bacteria, and viruses.
Compared to other models, this system does not waste as much water as it gives off one gallon of water for every three of wastewater. It fits in the 4:1 and 3:1 wastewater pure water ratio considered as practical in reverse osmosis water filter systems.
Why we like it
This filter system can fit in any under-sink kitchen cabinet. It takes roughly an hour to install with the help of detailed instructions and online videos. APEC is also keen to pick calls so you won’t be listening to automated voice machines when you want help.
The filters of this system have different replacement periods since the first three need changing within six months to a year. The fourth and fifth filters require changing after 2-3 years, while the six can be changed in 4-6 years.
Looking at it, APEC is a great consideration if you want energy savings in the long run.
#2 Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey: Best Gravity Fed Filter System
- Four purification elements
- Lightweight to take anywhere
- Black filters can last up to 10 years
- Can filter fluoride
- Sturdy steel construction
- Rubber stoppers and washers have a rubber smell
- It is quite expensive
- Nozzle and lid could be of better quality
Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey is a versatile water filter system that is ideal for home and outdoor use. It is a freestanding model meaning you have to fill it with the water you need to filter. The advantage is that you can take it with you on camping and road trips where water may be substandard.
The system removes impurities from both untreated and treated water. It can purify lake and well water as it can tap water. You don’t have to worry about microorganisms, cysts, chlorine, nitrates, and just about any dissolved solids that are unseen in water.
Berkey BK4X2-BB Big Berkey has a 2.25-gallon capacity. It is capable of purifying up to 3000 gallons per filter. It comes with two black filters that are cleanable and self-sterilizing. It can purify up to 7 gallons per hour which makes it ideal for small parties where you don’t have access to clean drinking water.
Why we like it
The black filters can last up to ten years before you even think about changing them. It is suitable where treated water is not available and when traveling to foreign countries. Even better, it does need any installing. The 304-grade stainless steel construction maintains the quality of this water filter in its best condition.
We cannot understate the convenience of this system. Though expensive its safety water benefits are worth every dollar.
#3 Filtrete 3US-PS01 Advanced Quick Change Filtration System: Best Under Counter Water Filter System
- Super easy to install
- Small size hides away in a sink cabinet
- Reduces microns to 0.5 microns
- Removes microbial cysts
- Water pressure can go as low as 0.75 gallons per minute
- Connectors are not of the best quality
- Some filters cannot last beyond 3 ½ months
Filtrete 3US-PS01 Advanced Under-Sink water filter system is one of the easiest to install and maintain. It connects directly to your kitchen water faucet while keeping decent water pressure. This filter uses activated carbon as its main filter. It meets stringent NSF standards 53 and 42 that indicate it has levels of filtration.
The system can filter pesticides, herbicides, lead, and even emerging contaminants like pharmaceuticals. For the price, this filter system gives you incredible value since your only recurring expense is replacing the filter after six months. It works with standard, advanced, and maximum under sink water filters.
This particular model will come with the advanced filter. If you want to remove up to 99.3% of lead, the maximum filter will work great in your situation.
Why we like it
Filtrete 3US-PS01 costs as much as pitcher filters. It is very affordable, efficient, and convenient for just about any household. The filter installs in 30 minutes, and Filtrete provides all the installation tools and parts. It is compatible with most kitchens seeing that it is not only compact but is also interchangeable with other systems.
This filter is sufficient for most people’s needs. It removes the smell of chlorine and improves its taste, just like bottled water.
#4 CuZn UC-200 Under Counter Water Filter: Best Long Life Under-Sink Water Filter
- 50,000 gallons of pure water capacity
- Resists growth of mold and bacteria
- 5-year long-life filter
- Simple installation without tools
- Does not filter calcium and magnesium
- It installs tightly in many under sink cabinets
- It has minimal installation instructions
- Does not prevent hard scale formation in coffee makers
CuZn UC-200 Under Counter Water Filter is perhaps one of the best water filters for medium-sized families. It installs directly to your cold water line with only a wrench to make the connections tight. This filters offers up to 5 years of use or 50,000 gallons of water.
The filter system has a 1.5-gallon flow rate. It does not affect the water pressure of your tap water. It works using a 3-stage filter system which consists of a micro sediment membrane, acid-washed coconut shell activated carbon, and a powerful KD-55 filter.
It targets chorine-treated municipal water. Its bacteriostatic filtration mechanism is unaffected by mold or bacteria that’s why it can last as long as it can without diminishing in quality. Unlike bottled water, it will now cost you 0.01cents per gallon to get purified drinking water.
Why we like it
CuZn UC-200 meets NSF standards and does not need every other month filter change. It removes contaminants while leaving precious minerals. It reduces and removes both organic and inorganic pollutants that include pesticides, herbicides, bad taste, odors, algae, mold, and heavy metals.
Its 5-year guarantee is a perfect indication of the quality of this system. CuZn offers peace of mind and a worry-free lifestyle for the whole family.
#5 3M Aqua-Pure AP903: Best Whole House Filtration System
- Effortless, quick-change design
- Reduces high levels of chlorine
- High-capacity one-year filter
- Comes with a stainless steel head
- Maintains high flow rate of water
- Not ideal as a drinking water filter system
- Replacement filters are a bit expensive
- Does not remove chemicals and heavy metals
3M Aqua-Pure AP903 is an affordable whole-house water filter system. It connects directly to your water supply system and in turn helps to reduce chlorine, dust, rust, and odor. It works well together with a pre-filter since it does not trap dust and rust entirely.
This water filter system works using a 5-micron carbon filter. It is ideal for improving the taste of water and removing odors that plague most city tap water. If your water system has a strong chlorine smell, this is the system for you. It helps restore water pressure and can provide up to 20 gallons of water per minute (their goal was 40 gallons in testing).
As your household water becomes cleaner, it helps maintain the integrity of your appliances since most contaminants that eat up metallic surfaces are kept at bay. Not to mention, it prevents discoloration of water which usually causes stains on clothes.
Why we like it
3M Aqua-Pure AP903 does not require a skilled plumber to do the installation. It requires a few simple steps that Aqua Pure demonstrates on their instructions manual. Maintenance also comes easy since it does not need back-flushing. Once a year faucet filter replacement is all you need.
The upfront costs of this system are not as high as other models in its class. If you don’t plan to live in the same house for the next ten years, we highly recommend this model.
#6 Aquasana Premium Rhino EQ-Well-UV with Salt-Free Softener: Best Well-Water Filter System
- 4-stage filtration system
- 7gpm water flow rate
- Removes excess iron and scale
- Does not use salt in softening
- Does not remove healthy water minerals
- It has expensive initial costs
- It does not inhibit algae growth
- Not ideal for city tap water
Sick of dealing with salty well water? Aquasana Premium Rhino is an excellent consideration for your exact situation. It comes complete with a UV filter and salt-free softener. It is capable of removing 97% of chlorine, reduce scale, rust, remove heavy metals, VOCs, pesticides, industrial solvents, E. coli, and cysts that resist chlorine.
This model consists of a pre-filter, carbon media upgrade, and a submicron post filter. Combined with the sterilight ultraviolet filter, this model gives you clean, purified water without the need for backflushing, electricity, or drainage. And because it is not a reverse osmosis system, it will not waste any water.
You will like that this filter does not use a salt-based water softener. It uses its exclusive Aquasana SimplifySoft technology to soften water while leaving healthy minerals.
Why we like it
Aquasana Premium Rhino ensures that every point of water entry in your house receives pure water. It provides a seamless connection to any water supply system whether it is treated or not. It’s efficient for well water since it reduces scale thus protecting faucets, shower heads, glassware, and other home appliances from the effects of scale and excess iron.
This water filter system has an impeccable capacity of up to 500,000 gallons in a 5-year life span. The filter needs changing every five years, and it also has a 5-year warranty. This is a worry-free system that is worth investing for long-term convenience.
#7 Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System: Best Portable Water Filter System
- 1-micron filtration
- Can process up to 100,000 gallons of water
- Can be used for domestic and international travel
- Offers different ways to access purified water
- Can be used on all water sources
- The pouch could be of better quality
- Does not remove chemicals, viruses, heavy metals, and pesticides
- The O-ring does not last long
On trips, it’s easy to forget the importance of drinking safe water. But when you have a trusty, portable water filter, you never have to worry about the water in the places you will be visiting. Sawyer has just the ideal water filter for you. Weighing only 2 ounces, this filter is effortless to fit into a backpack.
You can use it with the squeeze drinking pouch or attach it onto standard water bottles. This way, you will always have drinkable water on hand. And if you happen to leave the pouch; you can use the filter to drink directly from any water source.
With a 0.1-micron water filter, Sawyer removes 99.99% of all protozoa, bacteria, Salmonella, and other organic contaminants. It has a usable capacity of up to 100,000 gallons. Considering the price, it is super affordable.
Why we like it
Apart from the filter and pouch, you also get a 7-inch straw and a cleaning punger. It gives you multiple ways to drink your purified water and a small, compact design that can go anywhere. Whether you are traveling overseas, backpacking, or camping, you will have access to safe drinking water wherever you need it.
#8 Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher: Best Pitcher Filter
- Up to three months of use
- 5-gallon capacity
- Pitcher is BPA-free
- Can remove fluorides
- Exceeds NSF standards 42 and 53
- Filtration rate slows down after two months
- Not ideal for a large family
- More expensive than common pitcher filters
If you are looking for a drinking water filter, a pitcher filter is a nice place to start. Aquagear, a renowned brand in the water filtration industry brings us their most remarkable pitcher water filter. It uses a 5-stage filter with 2-micron pores.
Compared to models in its class that use 2-stage and 3-stage filters, Aquaguard can remove 2000% more contaminants. These include lead, mercury, fluoride, chromium, and many other unregulated pollutants. It improves the taste of water and leaves no trace of undesirable odors.
The pitcher is BPA-free. It will not release pollutants into your water if you leave it resting on your dinner table.
Why we like it
One of the reasons to pick this water filter system is that it is durable. It provides up to 150 gallons of safe water. It lasts four times longer than other pitcher filters which is why it is an easy pick for small homes.
Aquaguard recycles their filters. If you are up to reducing the waste that ends up in landfills, just call Aquaguard and they will give you a return shipping label. It is impressive to find a model that covers every single detail including having a lifetime pitcher warranty. You can be sure your investment is safe with this water filter system.
#9 APEX MR-1050 Alkaline Countertop Drinking Water Filter: Best Countertop Filter System
- Improves water PH
- Adds healthy minerals to water
- Simple to install and remove from the faucet
- The cartridge can be used up to one year
- Cost effective compared to bottled water
- It is a bit difficult to remove the filter for replacing
- Does not work with pull out, sprayer, and designer faucets
- Not ideal for well water
For those looking to filter their drinking water hassle-free, APEX MR-1050 Alkaline Countertop filter system is a perfect pick. This model uses a 5-stage filtration system that balances water PH levels and adds minerals that make your water healthy.
It removes and reduces chlorine, sediments, chloramine, radon, lead, mercury, hydrogen sulfide, and other impurities that affect the quality of your water. Its system includes a granular activated carbon filter, a micro felt pad, alkaline beads, a calcite layer, and a KDF-55 filter.
It works efficiently to provide up to 1500 gallons of water or up to one year of use. It is cost effective because you do not need to use disposable bottles or replace pitcher filters every three months. It is ideal for a medium-sized family.
Why we like it
APEX MR-1050 alkalinizes water. It helps to balance the PH in your body which comes with better health. It is a portable design since you can easily remove it and install it in a new kitchen. APEX provides all the necessary installation parts, and it fits on regular, standard kitchen faucets.
APEX makes important strides in not only filtering contaminants but also ensuring you don’t miss out on the crucial minerals. Most families will like using this countertop water filtration system.
#10 PUR FM-3700B Advanced Water Filter: Best Faucet Water Filter System
- One-click installation
- Swivels over 360 degrees to fit in most kitchen sinks
- Up to 3 months of use or 100 gallons of water
- Ideal for standard faucet mounts
- Removes over 70 contaminants
- Does not work with handheld and pull out taps
- Works with “advanced” and “advanced plus” faucet water filters only
- Complaints about the overall longevity of the housing
PUR FM-3700B Advanced Faucet Water Filter is designed for small households that need clean drinking and cooking water. Its MineralClear Water filter system is designed to remove up to 70 common tap water contaminants. This includes pesticides, lead, and even mercury.
You can ditch bottled water since this water filter gives you up to 100 gallons of clean water or three months of use. It uses high-quality components including a chrome construction to blend with any kitchen design.
PUR faucet water filter will also reduce odors, bad taste and chlorine. It ensures you have peace of mind with every glass you fill. It uses a 3-stage filter system to trap sediments, microbial cysts, and heavy metals while ensuring it does not cut out useful minerals like calcium that are important to the health of the body.
Why we like it
PUR FM-3700B Advanced Faucet Water Filter swivels over 360 degrees. It is super easy to install no matter your kitchen design. It can accommodate horizontal and vertical installation styles. It does not require tools to install, and if you have problems with the filter falling from the connector, PUR is always ready to send adapters to fix the problem.
We also like that it has an electronic filter indicator that shows the filter status. It helps you to replace the filter in time. It is a thoughtful product that will give you months of use and healthy drinking water to show for it.
Choosing the Best Water Filter System for Your Home
This Guide will help you pick the ideal water filter for your needs.
Know your Water Source: City Water or Private Well Water
- Municipal water is prone to contamination from rivers, groundwater pollution, seepage, and urban and farm runoff. Well, water, on the other hand, is found to carry bacteria.
- Most water filtration systems will work with tapped city water, but not many are ideal for well water.
What’s in Your Water
- Water testing is easier than you think.
- First, you can hire an independent lab that does not have an interest in selling you an expensive water filter. Second, you can buy a water testing kit to do it yourself at home, and third, you can read EWG (Environment Working Group) searchable database for people living in the USA.
- The database allows you to see water quality report of your area. It lets you search by Zip Code or state. Here, you can see the results of your area and find out the contaminants to expect depending on your water source.
- Knowing about contaminants like lead in your water allows you to pick a water filter that can effectively remove those exact pollutants.
Water Filtration Systems: Point of Use (POU) vs. Point of Entry (POE)
- POU water filters are common in that they filter a small amount of water and require little to no setup. They include pitchers, countertop filters, refrigerator filters, and bottles with inbuilt filters.
- It’s the most straightforward method as it only filters the water in the jug. It is ideal for small families like a couple. Most of them use activated carbon to remove odors, chlorine, and bad taste. They leave out most of the other contaminants.
- These filters require little installation into a faucet or can be gravity fed into a freestanding unit. They rely on a replaceable carbon or specialty cartridge to soften and alkalize water, remove impurities like rust, organic pollutants and neutralize mercury, lead, and arsenic. Some advanced filters will eliminate heavy toxins using a silver filter and can also add minerals like calcium and magnesium that may be lacking in your water.
Faucet Water Filters
- These are used on treated tap water since they improve water quality by up to 20%. They do not really purify it. Faucet water filters also use a cartridge filter. They work by removing sediments, rust, trapping contaminating ions, and they can also remove chemicals depending on the manufacturer’s specifications.
Under-Sink WATER Filters
- Also in the Point of Use category, these filters are usually out of sight in the cabinet under the sink. They will not interfere with your kitchen’s aesthetics. They also depend on filter cartridges and work more efficiently in removing a broad category of contaminants.
- You will, however, need to check that your water pressure is compatible with that of the water filter’s pressure. You don’t want to spend five minutes trying to fill a glass of water. Cartridges in under-sink water filters also need changing from time to time mostly every six months.
- Point of Entry filters are whole-house systems. The filter is installed at the point where water enters your home. A plumber mostly does the work. These filters also have to be periodically replaced. The good thing is that water at all points of use from the kitchen sink to the washer, shower, and even the pool is safe to use.
- This does not mean that you don’t need a drinking water filter. Since water is still running through your home pipes, it may still pick impurities along the way.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
- This process uses a membrane that allows only water molecules to pass through. Every other ion, mineral, and contaminant is rejected. Reverse osmosis produces water that is 99.99% pure. But it comes with water wastage as lots of water is rejected for it to produce clean water. It also strips water of useful minerals like alkaline which helps reduce acidity in water.
- With technology advancements, some manufacturers have found a way to alkalinize and re-mineralize water after it is purified.
Types of Water Purification Methods
Home water filters use a wide variety of technologies. For example, activated carbon which removes excess chlorine, odors, and bad taste. On the other hand, activated carbon block filters can remove waterborne pathogens, arsenic, radon, asbestos, lead, and mercury.
You will also find filters that use membranes, ceramic filters, activated alumina, and many others.
The best water purification method for you is the one that can remove odors, bad taste, chlorine, along with a range of other contaminants.
Know your Family Water Needs
The size of the filter system you pick is determined mostly by the maximum water flow rate in your home. A couple running only one bathroom does not have the same water filtration needs as a family with kids and three bathrooms.
You will want to know the peak flow of water and the daily needs of your family before picking a water filter system.
The best water filter systems provide refreshing water with less hassle. Our list compiles advanced products that will filter the most harmful contaminants. You can count on our best water filter systems to keep you and your family safe.
Lastly, it’s important to read reviews and find out the experience of others while using a particular product. This way, you will know what to except and not feel blindsided if it does not work as stipulated.