Compare Drinking Water Filters

There are several options available in the market when it comes to filtering your drinking water. Options include under counter water filtration systems, countertop water filtration, pitcher water filtration and faucet attachments. Below, we have compiled important information for you to consider when choosing a drinking water filter including a product by product comparison, filter contaminant reduction capabilities, installation requirements, and ongoing costs per gallon.

Reducing Contaminants in Drinking Water


When understanding a drinking water filter’s contaminant reduction capabilities, there are two important criteria to consider: NSF Certification and chlorine & chloramine reduction capability. First, make sure the filter you are considering is NSF Certified to Standards 42, 53, 401 and P473. Reverse osmosis systems should also be certified to NSF standard 58. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) is the most credible third-party testing organization and “NSF Certification” is considered the Gold Standard for third-party certification in the industry.

NSF Standard 42 addresses chlorine, chloramines, taste, odor and particulates. Most filters that have a NSF Standard 42 certification pass chlorine tests, but not chloramines. Given that chloramines are used in 30% of municipalities it is important that you look for a chloramines certification in addition to chlorine. NSF Standard 53 addresses specific health-related contaminants, such as cysts (ex. Cryptosporidium and Giardia), lead, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) that may be present in public or private drinking water. NSF 401 addresses emerging contaminants including pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medications, herbicides, pesticides and chemicals used in manufacturing such as bisphenol A (BPA). NSF P473 validates reduction claims associated with the emerging contaminants, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). NSF 58 addresses total dissolved solids (TDS) reduction and other optional contaminant reduction claims including cyst reduction, hexavalent and trivalent chromium reduction, arsenic reduction, nitrate/nitrite reduction, cadmium and lead reduction.

NSF Certification ensures the filter has been rigorously tested and confirmed by NSF to fulfill the manufacturer’s claims for these standards. Second, check the filter manufacturer’s product data sheet to get the full story of contaminants they actually reduce or remove. Chances are good that if a filter reduces chlorine, chloramines, lead, mercury, VOCs and MTBE, it most likely reduces more as well. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which include a large number of known carcinogens, like chloroform and benzene, are difficult to reduce through most purification processes, which make it hard to pass the NSF 53 Certification test.

Installing a
Drinking
Water Filter

Most drinking water filter systems are easy to install and pitchers require no installation at all. Filters that attach to or mount on your faucet are easy to install and are compatible with most standard faucet fixtures. Under counter and reverse osmosis systems require an extra hole in your sink for an additional drinking water faucet. Luckily, the holes made for drinking water faucets and soap dispensers are standard in size. If you have a sprayer or soap dispenser you don't use, you can remove them and use the existing holes for the drinking water faucet. If you don’t have any additional sink holes on your counter, you can have a plumber create a hole, which will typically cost around $100-$200. Most people will opt for the convenience of an under counter water filter if possible. Countertop water filters are an excellent alternative if the under counter water filter is not an option.

Cost of Drinking Water Filters

A quality drinking water filter should last for years. To ensure ongoing performance and efficiency, you will need to replace the filter cartridges on a regular basis. How often, depends on the drinking water filter system and the amount of water you use through the system. Once you determine the cost and frequency of filter replacement, you can use this information to calculate the cost of owning a drinking water filter and your cost per gallon of clean, filtered drinking water. You should take into account the initial price of the system and how often you need to change the filter (filter capacity) to calculate your first year and ongoing cost of ownership.

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PROS
Pro
Under Counter Filters
  • Always available filtered water — best long-term solution for in-home water filtration
  • Typically the most robust and effective filtration technology — reduces about 10x more contaminants than the leading pitcher filter
  • Convenient and sophisticated — dedicated on-sink faucet for filtered water on demand; system is hidden under the counter
  • Typically the longest lasting filters compared to countertop or pitcher options
Reverse Osmosis Filters
  • Effective at removing metals like lead, fluoride and arsenic
  • When combined with advanced carbon block filters, RO systems can remove over 70 contaminants – more than any other single water filtration method out there
Faucet Attach Filters
  • Always available filtered water from the tap
  • Superior filtration technology compared to gravity-based pitcher filters — uses water pressure instead of relying on gravity
  • Longer lasting filters compared to pitcher filters
Pitcher Filters
  • Widely available and easy to buy
  • Initial purchase price is low
  • Typically removes chlorine taste and odor for better tasting water
  • Portable — pitcher can be put in the fridge

CONS
Cons
Under Counter Filters
  • Initial purchase price is typically more expensive
  • Installation is more involved — most require a hole to mount a dedicated faucet on your sink counter
Reverse Osmosis Filters
  • All RO systems produce wastewater, most waste over 50% of the water that passes through them
  • Will not remove chemical contamination like volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), herbicides, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals unless combined with carbon block filters
  • RO systems remove all dissolved solids, including naturally occurring minerals that typically make your water healthier and better tasting
Faucet Attach Filters
  • Most can only be attached to simple faucets — will not work with sprayer faucets, etc.
  • Can be bulky on sink faucet or on countertop
Pitcher Filters
  • Short filter life — frequent replacements necessary
  • Higher ongoing cost — expensive option based on cost per gallon
  • Gravity-based filtration is slow and inconvenient
  • Comparatively ineffective filtration technology compared to countertop and under counter options

Faucet Attach Water Filters


Grade A-

Aquasana - AQ-4000

Full system NSF Certified to Standards 42, 53, 401 and P473. Certified to reduce 68 contaminants including >97% of chlorine and chloramines. Long filter life lasts up to 450 gallons or 6 months. Little maintenance required. Easy installation and replaceme

Cost Performance
Gallon
13¢
Certified
NSF 42/53/401/P473
Replacement
$59.99
Capacity
450 gal
System
$114.27
Contaminants
68
Other Benefits: 90-day satisfaction guarantee, 1 Year warranty, Eco-friendly cartridges

Grade C-

Brita - Complete Faucet Filter

Full system NSF Certified to Standards 42 and 53. Certified to reduce 97% of chlorine and over 50 other contaminants. Short filter life lasts 100 gallons. Frequent filter changes drive up ongoing cost. Bulky on faucet design takes up sink space.

Cost Performance
Gallon
19¢
Certified
NSF 42/53
Replacement
$18.99
Capacity
100 gal
System
$29.99
Contaminants
59
Other Benefits: 30-day satisfaction guarantee, 90-day warranty

Grade C-

PUR - PFM400H - Advanced Faucet Filter

Full system NSF Certified to Standards 42, 53 and 401. Certified to reduce over 60 other contaminants. Short filter life lasts 100 gallons. Frequent filter changes drive up ongoing cost. Bulky on faucet design takes up sink space.

Cost Performance
Gallon
19¢
Certified
NSF 42/53/401
Replacement
$18.99
Capacity
100 gal
System
$34.99
Contaminants
71
Other Benefits: 2-year limited warranty

Please note that VOCs include: 2,4,5-TP (Silvex); 2,4-D; Alachor; Atrazine; Benzene; Bromodichloromethane; Bromoform; Carbofuran; Carbon Tetrachloride; Chlorobenzene; Chlorodibromomethane; Chloroform; Chloropicrin; dibromochloropropane(DBCP); O Dichlorobenzene; P Dichlorobenzene; 1, 2 Dichloroethane; 1,1 Dichloroethylene; cis-1,2 Dichloroethylene; trans 1,2 Dichloroethylene; Dichloropropane; Dichloropropylene; cis-1,2-dichloropropylene; Dinoseb; EDB; Endrin; Ethylbenzene; bromochloroacetonitrile; dibromoacetonitrile; dichloroacetonitrile; trichloroacetonitrile; 1,1 dichloro-2-propanone; 1,1,1 trichloro-2-propanone; Haloacetonitriles; Haloketones; Heptachlor; Heptachlor Epoxide; Hexachlorobutadiene; Hexachlorocyclopentadiene; Lindane; Methoxychlor; Pentachloropheno; Simazine; Styrene; Tetrachlorethylene; Tetrachloroethane; THMs/TTHMs; Toluene; Tribromoacetic acid; Trichlorobenzene; 1,1,1 Trichloroethane; 1,1,2; Trichloroethane; Trichloroethylene; Xylenes.

All performance claims and pricing were taken from publicly available information. If you find information that is inaccurate, please send the correct info with supporting documentation to info@waterfiltercomparisons.com, and we will address any errors. Product grading is based on the following criteria: System Price, Cost per Gallon, Contaminants Removed, System Certification, Capacity, Eco-friendly.
1. Pricing is subject to change and is accurate as of the date this chart was last updated. Cost per gallon is calculated as replacement filter price/capacity.
2. Not all contaminants will be listed in chart
Manufacturer data last updated 01/23/2017.