Best Water Filter – Reviews, Awards, And Discounts 2021
If you live in the United States, a quick Google search will let you know that your water supply is most likely full of contaminants. Besides chlorine disinfection and high mineral content, residents of the US also have to deal with “forever chemicals,” – particles linked with liver damage, low birth weight, cancers, and other health issues.
To get on top of things, you are more or less required to get a water filtration system, but we’re here to show you how to turn that necessity into a commodity.
With everything going on, we still have a few challenges left in 2021. However, we won’t allow clean water to be one of them, which is why we’ve put together this guide for you to get the most out of your water filters. Don’t worry; we won’t bore you off with unnecessary information, but we strongly advise you to scroll through the article so you can find the best water filter to suit your needs. But, before we discuss the best water filters of 2021, we’re just going to go over the most prominent categories first.
What Types of Water Filters Are There?
With the growing amount of customer demand, environmental crises, and the lack of access to clean water, water filter manufacturers seek continuous innovative ideas for improving people’s water quality. Due to its reduction of common water contaminants and the use of bottled water, we’d say that a water filter system is a pretty good investment. There are dozens of water filter systems on the market, but the following ones are proven to be the most reliable in performance and efficiency. Besides the water industry’s most efficient filter types, we have also provided a product example* so you can check the filters out in real-time and know exactly what we’re talking about.
* The prices of all presented products were correct at the time of writing.
Adsorption Filters – Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter ($299)
Adsorption is the most common water filtration system as its manufacturing isn’t labor-intensive, it is relatively easy to maintain it, and if we are to be completely honest – it just works. Generally, adsorption water filters utilize carbon-based mechanisms that capture water contaminants on its internal surface.
This surface is lined with thousands of small pores that only allow water particles to pass through while absorbing other pollutants like chlorine, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and more. This method is also very advantageous as it effortlessly removes chlorinated water taste and odor.
This filter system either utilizes carbon blocks or granular-activated carbon, both of which are entirely eco-friendly. Since most of what we know in our lives is made of carbon, using these filters won’t leave a significant footprint behind, thanks to their biodegradable composture. More sophisticated replacement filters utilize micron-based carbon blocks, which not only remove common water contaminants but tackle bacteria and viruses too. Berkey‘s whole-house system we’ve attached above features the same carbon-block filters, renowned for a fantastic 99.99% contaminant reduction scale.
Mechanical Filters – Culligan High-Efficiency Water Filter (N/A)
Sometimes, the carbon-based water filter is too porous, deeming it ineffective in trapping specific contaminants that are significantly smaller. Sometimes, people who are supplied by well water have to deal with dirt, silt, and other sediments that are relatively light in size but plump in pollution.
This is precisely where mechanical filters come in, as they physically remove residue from the water before it is treated for the other issues. In this process, whole-house systems use a pre-filter that traps the harmful contaminants as soon as they enter the inline water source.
This water filtration procedure helps the filter system with its efficiency and improves the water filters’ quality. Many studies have also shown that a pre-filter cartridge speeds up an entire unit’s flow rate, so its pros are in more ways than one. There are many mechanical filter types, but the most popular categories include the standard mesh, fine-mesh, or ceramic filters. These water filters are measured with microns, in which case, the smaller the micron count – the better the water filtration. The best water filters (like the Culligan one) have a 1 or 0.5-micron rating, so keep an eye out for those.
Scale-Inhibiting Filters – Scaleblaster Water Conditioner ($165)
For people living in hard water areas, scale build-up is one of the most aggravating issues they have to deal with. On our water softener review, we talked about how contaminants like calcium and magnesium work together to create a corrosion reaction, causing our faucets, showers, baths, home appliances, and other plumbing fixtures to be less efficient. Several people struggling with hard water have also dealt with complete appliance failure, so limescale build-up is not a joke.
To prevent this, water filter companies use a polyphosphate material that chemically isolates the harmful contaminants involved in corrosion. By doing so, the water filter system prevents the hard water scale from developing and further damaging the pipes, so you can save your plumbing fixtures to an extent. However, this procedure only inhibits the scale growth and doesn’t eradicate it, so it is only ideal with light to moderately hard water supplies. However, the Scaleblaster filter has also been noted to have some descaling abilities, so it’s entirely up to you to judge.
Ion-Exchange Filters – GE Appliances Filter & Softener ($447)
If you’ve ever owned a water softener, you’ll know that ion-exchange is one of the most celebrated water treatment methods. Contrary to scale-inhibiting filters, this procedure [typically] uses hydrogen or sodium – particles exchanged with the harmful minerals in your water supply. Like the mechanical method, an ion-exchange system physically removes the hard water minerals from your water, so it not only prevents scaling but deals with existing build-up too. This is ideal for all water hardness and mineral content rates, so you won’t have to worry about whether it can deal with your situation.
This procedure is more intrusive (and useful), so it is more damaging to the environment. Ion exchange filters typically use resin, which is a particle-based mixture in the form of beads.
These beads need to be recharged to maintain their exchanging abilities, which prompts the use of salt. This mineral mixture isn’t preferred for drinking water systems, as its high sodium content could be harmful to our bodies. However, certain products like the GE appliances combo allow its buyers to use potassium-chloride resin instead of sodium, which is ideal for those looking after their health.
Reverse Osmosis Filters – Waterdrop G3 Filtration System ($549)
A reverse osmosis filtration system is among the most successful approaches to filtered water. This method works by utilizing a semipermeable membrane with microscopic pores and water pressure. To do its magic, an RO system sends the polluted water through its processing tank and against the membrane,
where the pressure leaves the harmful contaminants behind as the clean water pulls through. This process is ideal for treating heavy metals and other dissolved solids since they are generally larger than water particles, so it is easier for the reverse osmosis membrane to keep them apart.
However, reverse osmosis filters (especially whole-house ones) are usually combined with other filters to ensure that the filtered water retains its necessary minerals. The best water filters in this category are typically joined with a sediment filter (mechanical filtering) and a carbon filter (adsorption). The Waterdrop G3 alternative features all three methods, which is why it is considered among the best water filter systems to date. Even though reverse osmosis is an excellent means to an end, it is also followed by large amounts of wastewater, which is quite alarming considering the global water crisis.
The Best Water Filters Of 2021
Now that you know your drinking water filters, it’s time to learn about which products have made it to Water Whizz’s Top 8 list. We made sure to include a wide range of units to filter water, from whole-house filtration systems to water filter pitcher alternatives. Another critical condition we included was that these filter products have to be easy to install, straightforward to use, and cost-effective to maintain. Lastly, considering that access to clean water is a privilege we all should be able to afford, we made sure only to include water filters below the $1k price tag. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
1. APEC Water Systems ROES-50 Filter ($230)
* For an unspecified period, you can find the ROES-50 filter at $189.95 on the brand’s website *
The best water filter of 2021 is the Essence Series filtration system by APEC. The five-stage filter is certified by the WQA for the highest quality and performance, so you can put your full trust in it. To filter water, this premium-grade system utilizes a reverse osmosis mechanism that will undoubtedly enhance your water quality. The easy to install water filter works directly through your inline pipes, so you’ll have 24/7 access to filtered tap water.
The US-manufactured drinking water filter is certified to remove up to 99% of arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, and all chlorine-related contaminants that affect your water’s taste and odor. The reverse osmosis filter works both on city and well waters.
APEC uses a five-stage filter approach to properly assess the water contaminants and ensure a quality close to bottled water. First, the untreated tap water goes through a sediment filter that removes dirt and rust particles from the water supply. In the second stage, the water flows inside a carbon-block filter that removes contaminants like chlorine and VOCs from the drinking water, where the process is repeated for better filtering. In the fourth stage, there’s a high-rejection TFC membrane that reduces the heavy metals, bacteria, and fluorides. The water then enters a coconut-shell refining filter that removes any remaining contaminants from the filtered water. Finally, the multi-stage approach prompts the water filter to ensure a premium water quality with a delicious taste and a pleasant odor.
One of the main reasons why this tap water filter is ideal is that you can put it just about anywhere. The compact-sized water filter has a tank capacity of 4 gallons, which will treat approximately 50 gallons of water per day. By doing so, the city & well water filter maintains a 40-80 PSI feed water pressure, which means that it won’t affect your faucet’s flow rate. This unit’s total number of dissolved solids reaches 2000 ppm, a range that not many water filters can match. The water filter’s intuitive design is another excellent feature, as everything that is to be done with the system is carried by itself. The easy to install water filter is guaranteed to work with all water types, pH levels, and water hardness, so we urge you to give it a chance. The system comes with a one-year warranty and has a 4.9 review score.
2. Big Berkey Water Filter System ($278)
* With the code “JERSEY10,” you will get a discount of up to 10% on the Big Berkey system *
While the APEC filter is a champion in reverse osmosis systems, Berkey’s Big filter is undefeated in the gravity-led units category. Ideal for families of four, the stainless steel water device remains one of the best products for those who are after cost-effective systems. Even though the tap water filter is most suitable for medium families, it is still designed to fit in tight spaces, tiny homes, RVs, or cabins. The easy to install filtration unit includes two black Berkey filters, a system pro kit, and a BPA-free spigot, so you’ll have everything you need to revolutionize your water quality. The drinking water filter system comprises 304 AISI stainless-steel, which is highly rust, corrosion, and scratch-resistant.
As we discussed in our Berkey review, the secret behind this filter’s success rate is within its premium-grade filter elements. The black Berkey filters are certified to remove up to 203 contaminants like lead, chlorine, viruses, pathogenic bacteria, chloramines, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and heavy metals. The best part about Big Berkey’s filtration is that the brand has the data to back its claims, whether for chemical reduction, purification elements, radiological tests, or other water filtration procedures. The black Berkey filters are considered to be better than the competition in many ways, including price, filter costs, bucks per gallon, flow rate, and most importantly – water filtering abilities.
The system’s standard design is adjusted with two filter elements, maintaining a consistent flow rate of 3 GPH (gallons per hour). Alternatively, you can also customize this drinking water filter to contain up to four filters, which will then give you a 7 GPH flow rate. Without needing electricity, this stainless-steel water filter will effortlessly lead your drinking water from its upper tank to the bottom cartridge. Somewhere along the road, the contaminated water will go through Berkey’s black filters that will purify up to 3 000 gallons of water throughout their entire lifespan – giving you filtered water to die for. To make matters even better, Berkey has also included a limited lifetime warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Currently, this system has over 3000 purchases and a 4.7 review score.
3. Aquasana Under-Sink Filter System ($219)
* With the “LS” code, you will get a discount of up to 50% on Aquasana’s under-sink filters *
When we talked about reverse osmosis systems that combine different filters, Aquasana was precisely what we had in mind. According to Aquasana, the OptimH2O water filter is tested and proven to remove up to five times more contaminants than other reverse osmosis systems. To do this efficiently, the water filter utilizes one of the best six-stage filtration procedures we’ve ever seen. First, the city or well water goes through the central RO membrane that tackles dissolved solids smaller than 1 micron.
The process continues with an activated-carbon filter that reduces herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, and MTBE. Afterward, the water goes through a second carbon filter, only this one is catalytic and used to reduce chlorine and chloramines. The water then undergoes an ion-exchange procedure to remove heavy metals like lead and mercury from your city or well water supply.
In the fifth stage, the filtered water goes through absolute sub-micron filtration, which is where things get interesting. What standard reverse osmosis filters fail to go through with is trapping highly-resistant contaminants like giardia and cryptosporidium. Part of why Aquasana’s system is among the best is precisely this, as it can reach down to these bacterial’s deep formations and eradicate them from the water structure. If you’re supplied with well water and are struggling with bloating, stomach cramps, or nausea, this product may be the best choice for you. In the sixth stage, these filters initiate remineralization, which infuses the water with beneficial minerals to enhance its alkalinity.
One of the main reasons why you should give Aquasana’s RO system a chance is its NSF-certification that guarantees the best filtration performance you can get. The Aquasana water filter also has one of the steadiest flow rates in the market, as it can produce more than 13 gallons of water per day. The unit’s filters are also accompanied by relatively long lifespans, as the system supports a 1-year life for the RO membrane and remineralizer, and six months for each carbon-based filter. If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe you’ll appreciate the brand’s numerous filter prizes. Aquasana is the winner of the 2019 Eco-Excellence, America’s Company of the Year (2019), Top 20 Winner of Best New Home Products, and the Best of the Test Award from The Good Housekeeping. This Aquasana filter is warrantied for two years, has a 90-day returns guarantee period, and maintains a 4.4 review score.
4. Brita Everyday Filter Pitcher ($26.99)
* If you buy via Amazon, you can take advantage of its discounts of up to 40% on Brita filter pitchers *
Writing about the best filter products and not including Brita is a sacrilege that we’re unwilling to be a part of. You may have seen Brita’s Everyday water filter pitcher in several online reviews, and that’s because the product doesn’t disappoint. With a 10-cup capacity, this water filter pitcher will ensure that all your post-Covid guests will get to taste your recently filtered water that’s well worth its praise. The intelligently-designed pitcher only measures 10 inches (in width and height), which means that you can quickly put it inside your fridge so you can have fresh water on the go. To ensure each customer is satisfied, Brita offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year product warranty.
Among the most significant reasons why this filter pitcher is among the best is its unmatched water filtering abilities. The 10-cup pitcher is NSF-certified to remove dozens of contaminants from your water supply, but its specialization lies in chlorine taste and smell reduction. The water filter pitcher is guaranteed to leave you wondering how you could ever drink unfiltered water, and by doing so, it will also eliminate the use of unnecessary plastic bottles. The WQA-approved filter pitcher is also certified to remove other contaminants like copper, mercury, lead, cadmium, herbicides, and pesticides. The 10-cup filter pitcher is designed to capitalize on practicality, so we’re confident that you’ll find it very easy to use the device. With 40 gallons capacity and a lot of willpower, the Brita filter pitcher will make it effortless for you to pour, refill, change the filters, and clean the unit’s BPA-free coating.
Brita pitcher filter is generally expected to last you about 2 months before you have to replace it, which means that you’ll have to invest a few bucks in the long run. However, the brand’s 2600 positive customer reviews note that this transaction is entirely worth it, as Brita will completely change the way you think about water. The 10-cup filter pitcher currently has a 4.8 review score and considering that so many lovely people endorse it, we can’t help but love it too. Moreover, among the best awards that this brand was congratulated with include the Japanese Good-Design Award, the Red Dot prize, the IF Design Award, and the European Centre’s Great Design Award – all of which praised Brita’s fantastic pitcher layouts. Brita was also the recipient of many sustainability honors, the most important of which include the Green Apple Award and the Denise Kolar Prize for eco-friendliness.
5. Pur Ultimate Faucet Filter System ($44.99)
* You can buy Pur’s three-pack MineralClear filters at only $29.58 in Home Depot *
Next in line on today’s best-of list is Pur’s faucet filter system that will give you an endless supply of clean tap water. When we reviewed Pur, we discussed how this faucet filter had revolutionized smart living ideas, which is the main message we want to get across here. The premium-grade water filter will connect through your smartphone and give you insights into your daily water consumption, the number of contaminants reduced, filter usage, and everything in between.
If you’d rather get your info the traditional way, this faucet filter also includes a Clean Sensor monitor that shows your filter status throughout its usage. The best part about this water filter is that it is compatible with most faucets (except pull-out and handheld ones), so it will probably match your kitchen beautifully.
This faucet filter is NSF-certified to reduce up to 72 water contaminants, an above-average hit for faucet filtration systems. Pur’s excellent filtering abilities come from its MAXION filter technology that can effortlessly reduce lead, mercury, chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, and more. Among the best features of Pur’s MAXION filters is that they have mineralization abilities so that the filtered water will maintain its delicious taste and profitable components. If you’re having a hard time believing Pur’s excellence, we ought to tell you that the brand is credited as one of the best pillars of innovation in the water treatment industry. This is because Pur was the first manufacturer to design the automated filter system’s gauge, making our lives easier and our systems more affordable.
Pur has also been the first brand ever to be certified by the NSF for reducing “emerging contaminants” from city and well water supplies. The brand has also been involved with aiding most local and international water emergencies, the best of which included Milwaukee’s microbial cyst outbreak and the Flint crisis. The brand’s ultimate faucet filter is just another one of Pur’s success stories, as over 400 buyers on Amazon have credited it as handy, practical, and budget-friendly, giving it a 4.3 review score in the process. The faucet filter is supplied with a 100-gallon filter life that will last you for about three months before you have to buy a replacement filter. The best part about Pur’s faucet water filter is that it is also warrantied for two years, so you’ll have everlasting peace of mind.
6. Springwell Whole-House Filter System ($793)
* As long as you buy from the brand’s site, all Springwell filters come with free shipping in the US *
So far, we’ve covered the best water filters for different plumbing fixtures, but there wasn’t any mention of a system that will take care of everything. For those of you who have patiently waited for a whole-house water filter, we’re proud to present Springwell’s fantastic city water system. Because the water filter is made of entirely certified components, we can reassure you that the Springwell system will be there for you in the long run. The best part about this water system is that it has a capacity of 1 000 000 gallons, so you’ll never be out of clean running water.
Like the APEC filter, this whole-house system utilizes a multi-stage filtration design that is granted to remove hundreds of pollutants from your water supply. And the best thing about it? It will do so while saving you money on the process!
In the first stage, your contaminated water will pass through a KDF 55 media that will start by reducing chlorine and chloramines from your supply. Next, the treated water enters the system’s coconut shell carbon filter that tackles contaminants like herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, and more. However, the third stage is where the real magic happens. Springwell’s position in this best-of list is granted due to its excellent proprietary layout that ensures the filter has the most contact time with the water. This way, the third stage ensures that the water filter removes all the contaminants trapped inside the cartridges, enhancing their efficiency while doing so. In the fourth stage, the system utilizes a 0.5-micron filter to clean up the water residues like sediment, silt, clay, or sand.
Springwell’s filter is also incredibly easy to install, as it features Clack’s easy-connectors that we mentioned in our thorough Clack review. As we talk about the best features that this Springwell filter offers, we can’t help but note its perseverance in your home’s water flow. First, you’re going to have to decide the filter’s capacity unit, as Springwell offers different models based on your bathroom count. If you purchase the 1-3 bathroom filter, you will gain a consistent water flow of up to 8 GPM. The 4-6 bathroom model comes with a 12 GPM flow rate, whereas the +7 bathroom filter goes up to 20 GPM. Regarding the filter system’s ability to improve the water’s taste, odor, and quality, the brand’s customers have given it a fantastic 4.9 review score. The premium-grade system comes with a limited lifetime warranty and a 6-month trial period where you can decide if the system is indeed the best.
7. Sprite Slimline 2 Shower Filter ($24.80)
Before you decide you’ve learned everything you need, give us a couple of minutes to tell you more about why you might need a shower filter. If you have dry skin, an itchy scalp, frail nails, and weak hair, then the high mineral content in your water may be the culprit. Many people have reported that chlorine-contaminated water left them feeling doozy and “unclean,” which is counterproductive. To help with that, we suggest you check out Sprite Industries, a brand that makes the best shower filter products in the market. In that category, the brand’s Slim Line 2 shower filter wins the popular vote, as its buyers are absolutely in love with its effectiveness, efficiency, and ease of use.
Sprite allows you to customize this shower filter according to your needs to ensure that you get the best out of your filter. This way, you can choose to “design” the filter with or without a showerhead, with a three-setting massage head, or a seven-setting showerhead. And to give you the best spa-like experience, Sprite also features a Dial-a-Date indicator that will remind you to replace the cartridges in time. The reason why Sprite is the best shower filter you can find is that it utilizes a patented chlorgon media that combines copper, zinc, and calcium sulfide. This NSF-certified media can reduce sediment, dirt, chlorine, and other contaminants that affect your water’s taste and odor. The water filter has an efficiency rate of up to 90%, which is something we’re immensely proud to announce.
What the buyers loved most about this shower filter was the fact that its replacement cartridges last for up to six months or 10 000 gallons, leaving you with just enough time to enjoy the wonders of clean water. The Sprite shower filter is also universally-compatible, which means that you can install it on your existing showerhead, shower arm, or other plumbing fixtures you use to bathe yourself in. The high-output shower filter has a 2.5 GPM flow rate, which is a little above the average. At Home Depot, these products have a 4.4 review score, but what’s even more interesting is that more than 85% of these buyers would recommend the filter to others. If you want to learn more about the brand’s alternatives, we urge you to read Water Whizz’s Sprite filter review.
8. Seychelle pH2O Alkaline Filter Pitcher ($49.95)
* By using the code “JE10”, you may get a discount of up to 10% on the Seychelle filter *
Because we can’t have enough of water filter pitcher systems, we’re going to conclude this product review with Seychelle. When we researched the brand, we reported that Seychelle pitcher models were certified to reduce up to 99.99% of contaminants, which is precisely where we’ll continue. Contrary to the Brita pitcher, this Seychelle alternative uses a pH enhanced filtration that cleans your water in more ways than one while also nourishing it.
The easy to use filer pitcher supports a 10-cup design equal to about 40 oz. of filtered water. Capable of treating all water sources except saltwater, this filter pitcher is certified by the NSF to reduce common water chemicals, heavy metals, chlorine, VOCs, radon, fluorides, and other contaminants that are found both on city and well water supplies.
What’s so special about this filter pitcher is the fact that not only does it remove pollutants from your water, but it mineralizes it after doing so as well. The proven-tested technology that this pitcher utilizes is certified to increase your water’s pH levels up to 9.5 pH, which is the ideal balance for human consumption. As a result, the pitcher will help your body maintain normal homeostasis, as it will infuse your blood with numerous beneficial minerals. The filter pitcher will also flush out all the toxins from your body, which will help with its proper hydration. Last but not least, the Seychelle pitcher has been known to aid with many digestion issues, so you’ll win a guaranteed health reform.
This pitcher’s overall filter capacity reaches 100 gallons, meaning that you’d have spent some good months on the device before you have to replace its cartridges. Many customers who bought the filter pitcher reported that they loved the unit’s layout, as it is very easy to work around it. It’s worth noting that the Seychelle pitcher features a convenient grip-handle and non-slip base, so you won’t have to worry about spilling your precious water after the system treats it. Seychelle filter pitchers can also fit inside your fridge, so you will always have a fresh batch of water for when you want to make those delicious cocktails. Contrary to Brita, Seychelle pitchers are only warrantied for 90 days after the initial purchase, but the brand also has the 30-day money-back guarantee that we couldn’t do without.