We are lucky that so many of us now have access to clean, safe water at the turn of a tap. However, not everyone is so fortunate, and not every municipal water supply is as safe as we would like to think.
Some water supplies contain harmful materials that will damage your health or your plumbing system. The easiest way to overcome this is by cleaning your water with a filter, but with countless models available, you might not know where to start looking.
To help you find the right model, this article explains the different types of water filters that are available today. We have also provided reviews of what we consider the current seven best water filter models, chosen for their effectiveness, ease of installation, and lifespan.
- Comprehensive 3-stage filtration
- KDF filter for heavy metals
- Compact & portable
- Gravity system
- Filtration rate of 1.75 L/min
- 4-liter capacity
- NSF & ANSI certified
- Filters pathogens & heavy metals
- Food-grade plastic construction
- 6-cup capacity
- BPA-free plastic
- Simple filter replacement
- Sleek metallic design
- Reverse osmosis filtration
- Filters fluoride
- Coconut & carbon filter
- Purifies more than 700 L
- Removes chlorine
- Stainless steel faucet filter
- Activated carbon filter
- Processes 0.5 gallons per minute
The Best Water Filter Reviews of 2023
If you are struggling to find your ideal filter, we recommend reading our water filter reviews, where we take a closer look at seven of the best products available today. We chose these filters based on their effectiveness, lifespan, ease of installation, and cost, as well as customer feedback and professional analysis.
CuZn UC-200 Under Counter Water Filter
Handiest Water Filter
The CuZn UC-200 is a compact, durable under-sink filter — tested to last for at least five years and to process 50,000 gallons of water. It provides comprehensive filtration, as there isn’t much that this device can’t tackle.
Using 3-stage filtration, this filter removes contaminants without softening your water. This product includes a Micro Sediment membrane, a KDF filter for chlorine and heavy metals, and a coconut shell carbon filter.
One of the standout qualities of this filter is that it is bacteriostatic. This means it won’t grow mold or accumulate unseen germs over time (1).
What We Like
Three-stage filtration is very effective, and customer reviews show that users are happy with the results. This filter is a great option if you are concerned about chlorine and heavy metal contamination. As a bonus, the filter resists mold and bacteria, reducing deterioration and the need for replacements.
Another great quality is that it filters water without reducing its mineral content. This means you still receive all the health benefits of tap water, but without the contaminants that are often present.
Although installation is required, it is quick and straightforward. The unit connects directly to your cold water line and you don’t need any plumbing skills to set it up. The simplicity of installing and uninstalling makes this a great option for people who are frequently on the move.
A helpful instruction manual is included with the filter and videos are available to walk you through the process, removing the guesswork from installation.
What We Don't Like
For Municipal Water
This unit is designed for water that has already been treated, so it is unsuitable for water from a well. We don’t recommend it if you’re off-grid or are unsure whether or not your water has previously been treated at a plant.
It works well as an extra step to remove the chemicals that can enter water as it travels to your home, but it won’t purify excessively polluted water. If you take your water from an untreated source, consider a heavy-duty filter such as the Express Whole House Filter.
|Type||Under the Sink|
|Filter||3-Stage: Micro Sediment Membrane, KDF filter, coconut shell carbon filter|
|Dimensions||4.5 inches by 4.5 inches by 15 inches|
|Features||Five-year warranty, bacteriostatic filter|
|Included||All components, instruction manual, and video instructions are available|
Platypus GravityWorks Filter
Best for Travellers
There are numerous portable options available for people who love the outdoors, but this model from Platypus is one of the best. It is a gravity system, so it requires some setting up, but it compensates for this by being fast-working and having a high capacity.
You can insert four liters of water at a time and it has a filtration rate of 1.75 liters per minute. This means it is among the fastest filters of its type and will provide a full bag of water in less than five minutes.
Don’t be fooled by its portability — this is an extremely effective filter. It removes almost 100% of pathogens from your water supply and has been tested to NSF and EPA standards.
What We Like
Great in Emergencies
Although setup is required because it is a gravity system, it filters water very quickly. If you are stranded, traveling, or in any situation where clean water isn’t readily available, this filter could be a lifesaver.
Being able to filter an entire bag in less than five minutes is almost unheard of in a portable filter. This is a great filter to store in case of an emergency.
This system’s total capacity is 8 liters — it holds 4 liters of dirty water and stores 4 liters of filtered water. It’s no surprise that it is a firm favorite among outdoor enthusiasts seeking value for money.
Despite its large capacity, it is still compact and lightweight. It will fit comfortably into your backpack or luggage and can be set up almost anywhere.
What We Don't Like
Handle With Care
You should be gentle with this filter. Some users have complained that it breaks easily and has a design flaw that can impede the dirty water purifier. Try not to drop it or be too rough with it to ensure it continues to work properly.
Some users also mention that its design makes it difficult to fill completely. Still, most customers are happy with this filter overall, even if it can be tricky to use.
|Installation||Basic setup; easy|
|Dimensions||3.25 inches by 9.5 inches|
|Features||Meets NSF standard, 1.75 liters per minute filtration rate, 4-liter capacity.|
|Included||Storage bag, shutoff clamp, all components|
Express Water Whole House Heavy Metal Water Filter
Express Water pays special attention to heavy metal filtration with this system, but that isn’t all it can deal with. It is built with food-grade plastic and meets NSF regulations that guarantee user safety.
Its three-stage filtration includes a sediment filter, a KDF filter, and a carbon filter. It removes heavy metals, pathogens, and chemicals from your water supply. These extra steps mean your water will taste, look, and smell better.
The filter unit has some excellent features. A clear case makes it easy to monitor your filter, and a stainless steel frame makes it easier to place and store.
What We Like
This system is most effective at purifying heavy metal contamination, but it also removes chemicals, pathogens, and organic pollution. Its design has clearly been very carefully considered by its engineers.
The filter is independently tested and regulated, meeting both NSF and ANSI standards. It is made of food-grade plastic, so you can be confident that it is safe. You won’t risk cheap materials reducing the filter’s effectiveness, or contaminating your water with chemicals after filtering it (2).
What We Don't Like
Users report drops in water pressure once the KDF filter is installed. They also praise how effective the KDF filter is, but some say that it is difficult to work around. It isn’t clear whether this is a design flaw or caused by faulty installation.
|Filter||3-Stage: sediment, KDF, carbon|
|Installation||Required; difficult; professional installation recommended|
|Dimensions||23.5 inches by 8.5 inches by 30 inches|
|Features||Filters heavy metals, pathogens, chemicals and organic pollution; clear sediment filter|
|Included||All components, stainless steel frame|
Brita Water Filter Pitcher
Easiest to Use
This Brita water filter pitcher is a great option if you want a filter that you don’t need to install. The water quality it provides is excellent and users praise its efficiency.
It works quickly, providing you with purified water. The pitcher is durable, with Brita claiming that it will last twice as long as some other top-rated brands which gives you savings for your bucks. Maintenance is easy and usually only required every six months.
This drinking water filter pitcher will tackle chlorine, heavy metals, and organic contaminants. It also removes odors and improves the taste of your water.
What We Like
There are many pitchers that work very effectively but does not totally remove the taste. Brita has created a filter that combines activated carbon and exchange resin, aided with patented aeration technology and mesh screen that removes all the nasty taste and contaminants. This didn’t require sacrificing quality — customers say it produces some of the best water they have tasted.
As well as working efficiently, you will also save time on maintenance. Brita recommends replacing your filters every six months. You should save time and money by using this durable, long-lasting product.
What We Don't Like
Limited Water Capacity
While it may best do its job some users complained that the six-cup capacity will require several water filtration per day which is cumbersome. The good news is that there is a larger pitcher with ten-cup capacity.
On the other hand, the filter is made of strong BPA-free plastic and should survive small drops, bumps, and general wear and tear for a long time.
|Filter||Activated Carbon and Exchange Resin|
|Dimensions||10.95 inches by 10.83 inches by 6.06 inches|
|Features||Rapid gravity filtering system, BPA-free, 6-cup capacity|
APEC Countertop System
Best Water Conditioner
If you live in a smaller home or don’t have permission to install a large filter, this APEC countertop reverse osmosis system is a great solution. No installation is required and it is both lightweight and compact.
All you need to do is attach it to your faucet. APEX designed this unit to be small and stylish, so it won’t impose on your space. Despite its small size and portability, it is very effective and will remove numerous contaminants from your water.
What We Like
Reverse osmosis filtration is held in high regard because it softens water as well as filters it (3). Four-stage filtration tackles an impressive list of contaminants, but stage three softens your water.
If you want to remove minerals from your water, this product is ideal. It requires very little effort on your part, and you will have softer water at the turn of a tap.
Not all filters can tackle fluoride, regardless of type. The ability to do so is rare in a compact model, but that’s not the end of the surprises. This small filter can also remove arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, and much more.
You will get comprehensive filtration at your fingertips with this model. It holds its own against larger systems and, in some respects, outshines them.
What We Don't Like
Decreased Flow Rate
Customers report significant drops in the flow rate or pressure of their faucet when using this filter. Most users are still satisfied with their results, but it is worth storing some water in case you need it quickly. This filter’s flow rate could cause frustration if you don’t have a secondary faucet.
|Dimensions||115 inches by 6.5 inches by 6.5 inches|
|Features||Filters lead and fluoride, softens water|
|Included||All components, protective case|
Aquacrest Refrigerator Water Filter
Best for Cold Water
Aquacrest took older fridges into account when designing this filter, so it isn’t only for modern dispensers. It uses a coconut and carbon filter and can purify more than 700 liters of water over the course of its life. Its durability is also impressive — this model should last six months.
This refrigerator filter removes chlorine to improve the taste and odor of your water. You will be able to enjoy clean, cold water. We recommend it if you want refreshing water effortlessly, as it requires very little maintenance after installation.
What We Like
Some fridge filters are brand-specific. However, this one fits a variety of models, including some that are older and often don’t have compatible filters. It won’t fit every fridge out there, but it is worth investigating if you’re struggling to find a filter for your fridge.
Chlorine won’t make it past this system’s coconut and carbon filter. Your water will taste and smell better, and it can also benefit your health. We recommend this filter for healthier hydration, especially during the summer months when cold water is more important.
What We Don't Like
Won’t Connect to Every Fridge
Although this is considered a universal model, there is still a list of compatible fridges to check before you buy. It could also fit some unlisted models, but it might not work as effectively as with the listed models.
|Filter||Coconut and carbon|
|Dimensions||1.4 inches by 1.4 inches by 9.4 inches|
|Features||Universal, filters chlorine|
Engdenton Stainless Steel Water Filter
Best for Faucets
This Engdenton filter is our recommendation if you’re looking for style and power. The stainless steel faucet filter is highly effective and looks great, plus it offers value for money and ease of installation.
With food-grade material, this filter is resistant to damage and has a long lifespan. Activated carbon removes numerous impurities including chemicals, VOCs, and pollution that may affect your water’s taste or appearance.
This filter turns a full 360 degrees and can process a very impressive 1211 liters before being replaced. Maintenance is only required every six months, so this filter also saves you time and money.
What We Like
Many faucet filters are high maintenance, which can make them the most expensive in the long run. This model is an exception and will require very little attention. You only need to perform maintainance every six months.
As installation is easy, you won’t need to waste extra money or energy keeping it in top condition. The stainless steel casing is made to last and is high-quality, food-grade material.
Compared to most faucet filters, which reduce your flow rate, this one won’t have much of a negative impact. It can process 0.5 gallons per minute, so you won’t have to wait long to fill glasses and cooking pots.
What We Don't Like
Check Your Specs
Some customers report frustrating leaks and drips because this filter, unlike some options, is not universal. It is possible that it won’t fit your faucet properly, so make sure you double check before buying it.
|Dimensions||Fits: 21.5mm outside threaded faucets; 23.5mm inner threaded faucets; 15-21mm unthreaded faucets.|
|Features||Crack-proof, food-grade0.5 GPM flow rate|
|CuZn UC-200 Under Counter||Handiest Water Filter||Under the Sink||3-Stage: Micro Sediment Membrane, KDF filter, coconut shell carbon filter||Necessary; easy.||4.5″ x 4.5″ x 15″|
|Platypus GravityWorks Filter||For Travellers||Portable||Hollow fiber||Basic setup; easy||3.25″ x 9.5″|
|Express Water Whole House Filter||Comprehensive||Whole House||3-Stage: sediment, KDF, carbon||Required; difficult; professional installation recommended||23.5″ x 8.5″ x 30″|
|Brita Water Filter Pitcher||Easiest to Use||Pitcher||Activated Carbon & Exchange Resin||None||10.95″L x 10.83″W x 6.06″|
|APEC Countertop System||Water Conditioner||Countertop||Reverse Osmosis||Required; easy||115″ x 6.5″ x 6.5″|
|Aquacrest Refrigerator||For Cold Water||Fridge filter||Coconut and carbon||Required; easy||1.4″ x 1.4″ x 9.4″|
|Engdenton Stainless Steel||For Faucets||Faucet filter||Activated carbon||Required; easy||Fits: 21.5mm outside threaded faucets; 23.5mm inner threaded faucets; 15-21mm unthreaded faucets.|
Types of Water Filters
Before you choose a water filter, it’s important to think about your individual requirements. Do you want to filter all the water that enters your home, or only your main drinking water outlet? There are several popular types of filters, so let’s take a quick look at each of them.
A faucet filter is a small device that you connect directly to your faucet. Typically, installation is as simple as removing your faucet’s diffuser and replacing it with the filter. Some users install an extra dedicated faucet, allowing them to choose from filtered and unfiltered water.
Faucet filters are excellent for purifying drinking, cooking, and hand-washing water, but they have limitations. They might not fit your faucets and aren’t designed for other outlets such as showerheads. Regular maintenance is necessary, and the filter could cause a drop in water pressure.
- Easy installation
- Relatively inexpensive
- Excellent for cooking and drinking
- Can have dedicated faucets
- Decreases water pressure
- May be incompatible with faucets
- Requires frequent maintenance
If a faucet filter is too small for your needs, consider an under-sink model. As the name implies, these systems are connected to your plumbing beneath your sink, usually out of sight. Thanks to their size, they tend to have greater flow rate, and sometimes use sophisticated filtration methods (such as reverse osmosis), to purify your water.
These filters aren’t for everyone, however. Under-sink systems cost more than faucet filters, and they can occupy a lot of space below your sink. On the other hand, they also require less maintenance.
- Infrequent maintenance
- Can use advanced filtration methods
- Great for cooking and drinking water
- Cost more
- Occupy more space
Fridge filters dispense filtered cold water and ice from your refrigerator. They are sophisticated and convenient, adding another useful feature to your kitchen. They are installed by simply connecting them to your fridge’s dispenser.
If your fridge has an ice or water dispenser, these filters are a must-have. Fridges are often overlooked for filtration, but these devices provide all the same benefits as other filter types.
One drawback is that they are high maintenance. They also occupy extra space in your fridge and will cost extra to install.
- Can filter ice water
- Simple installation
- Cost extra
- High maintenance
Water Filter Pitchers
If aren’t concerned with large-scale filtration, a water filter pitcher might be sufficient for you. They look and function much like standard pitchers, with the added benefit of safer drinking water.
The advantages of investing in a water filter pitcher are they don’t require installation, and they are compact and easy to use. The drawbacks are that they can be quite slow, and require frequent filter replacement.
- Ease of use
- Compact and portable
- Only filter drinking water
- Regular maintenance is required
Countertop filters are similar to faucet filters in terms of functionality, but they are larger and more efficient. Instead of connecting to your faucet directly, they divert water from your sink to the filter, then dispense clean water.
Although countertop filters are generally compact, they still occupy space on your work surface. Installation is simple and you can choose from filtered or unfiltered water. Some models are more complex than others, so there is potential for higher initial costs.
- Easy installation
- Choice of filtered or unfiltered water
- Compact and efficient
- Cost more than faucet filters
- Installation required
Whole House Filters
Whole house filter systems are your best bet if you want comprehensive filtration throughout your home. With multiple components, they are installed directly onto your main water line. This is the most effective and versatile filtration method you could use, as all the water that enters your house will be cleaned.
A whole house water filtration system is an excellent investment for your home but the initial costs are much higher than other filters. Professional installation is recommended, and you won’t have the option of using unfiltered water.
- Comprehensive filtration
- Filters all water that enters your home
- Durable and will last for years
- Highest initial cost
- Professional installation is recommended
Compared to whole house filters, portable filters have a more specific purpose. They are designed for travelers and hobbyists to ensure you always have filtered water, wherever you go.
Portable filters come in many shapes, sizes, and designs, and their functionality varies. Common traits are that they are all lightweight, easy to store and carry, and easy to use.
Their drawback is that they won’t provide you with a consistent, continuous supply of filtered water. Maintenance requirements could be higher, depending on the filter type, and some work very slowly.
- Filtered water on the go
- No installation necessary
- Effective and easy to use
- Best reserved for emergencies
- High maintenance
Tips for Buying the Best Water Filter
The type of filter isn’t the only aspect that you should consider carefully before buying. You should keep these three tips in mind when shopping for a new filter.
- Pay attention to the filter: Look closely at the type of filter included with the product. Activated carbon is a popular choice, as it filters out most chemicals and impurities (4). Make sure the filter you choose will address your contamination concerns.
- Consider maintenance: If you want a smaller or cheaper filter, also factor in the cost of maintenance. Compact filters generally require replacing more frequently, which adds to the overall cost. Do some research to ensure the included filters are easy to clean, and cost effective to replace.
- Can your home accommodate it? Don’t waste money on a large filter system that you don’t have room to install. Before you make a purchase, consider the size of the filter and where it will go in your home. Make sure you have enough space to accommodate it, and that your plumbing won’t be disrupted or damaged.
Which Brand Should You Buy?
The brand is another important factor to keep in mind. There are many popular brands that make effective and affordable filters, but brand recognition shouldn’t be the most important factor. Brita and Pur appear to be the top sellers in filtration, but they aren’t necessarily the best in terms of customer satisfaction.
We have chosen some of the top brands to take a closer look at. This doesn’t mean that you have to choose a filter by one of these brands but they are all popular choices with their customers.