Compare Whole House Water Filters

The primary purpose of whole house water filters is contaminant reduction to correct impurity, taste and odor issues. Finding the right whole house water filter typically requires a bit of research, and there are a few things to consider before you buy. On this page, you will find helpful information about the different types of whole house filtration systems in the market, installation options, and ongoing costs for various whole house systems.

There are three questions to ask yourself when making a purchasing decision: 1) How many contaminants is it NSF certified to reduce? 2) How easy is installation? 3) What are the ongoing maintenance costs?

Whole House Contaminant Reduction

There are two main things to consider:

1) Buy a filter system that is NSF Certified. Specifically, the entire system should be certified to NSF Standard 42, for the reduction of chlorine taste, odor and particulates. NSF is a non-profit organization that independently certifies the contaminant reduction abilities of water filters. This is your assurance that the filtration does what the manufacturer claims.

2) The design of the system is as important as the media itself. Combining multiple media into one tank often results in 'channeling,' where water will find the path of least resistance and flow only through that path, minimizing contact time with media and reducing effectiveness. Multiple tank systems and an upflow design reduce channeling and are more effective.

Installing a
Whole House Filter

Whole house water filters install where your water source enters your home. Most can be installed either inside or outside, but need to be protected from temperature extremes and direct sunlight. Typically, whole house systems are placed where you would see a hot water heater — garages or basements. They come in many forms, shapes and sizes, but the key differences in installation are mainly whether or not your system requires additional drainage and/or electricity, and what flow rates are required to service your home.

Some systems require 'back-flushing,' which occurs when the system reverses flow and drains the dirty, used water into your wastewater system. These systems require additional plumbing and electricity, and the installation and ongoing maintenance is costlier and more complicated. Other systems simply install into the water line prior to your water heater. Finally, systems for well users are usually installed where your well water enters your house. Flow rates required are determined by your water consumption, which typically depends on how many bathrooms you have in your house. A typical 3,000-square-foot, three-bathroom house is well served with about 7 gallons per minute (GPM) (showers flow at 2.5 GPM). Bigger houses require bigger systems, but most houses with fewer than 5,000 square feet will only require a 12 GPM system. Custom installs are available to cover larger homes.

Cost of Whole House Filter

With any quality whole house water filter, you will have it for years, and many of the primary elements will last a long time before you need to replace them. You typically have two options for filter replacements: 1) replace the tanks or 2) replace the media in the tanks.

Media only replacement systems are generally cheaper, but require you to open up the tank, remove pounds of the wet, contaminated media (which is the consistency of wet sand), carefully refill it, and then flush it out. Due to the increased wastewater and energy expenses, buyers should also be aware of the additional cost for systems that require back-flushing.

Systems that require whole tank replacement are generally a bit more expensive, but allow you to avoid the messy, difficult and time consuming process of replacing the media yourself. Whole tank replacement is a faster process which is often worth the additional cost to you in saved labor and time.

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Whole House Water Filters


Grade A+

Aquasana - EQ-300 Rhino Whole House Filter

Full system NSF Certified. Excellent chlorine reduction (>97%) with a high flow rate. Long lasting system with little maintenance required. Easy installation and replacement. System can be customized for unique water filtration needs.

Cost Performance
Gallon
< 1¢
Certified
NSF 42 (Full System)
Replacement
$850
Capacity
300000
System
$999
Flow Rate
7 GPM
System Requirements
No Drainage Required No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required
No Wastewater Well-water Option Customizable & Water Test
Other Benefits: 90-day satisfaction guarantee, 3-year warranty

Grade B-

GE - Heavy Duty Household Water Filtration System

Full system NSF Certified. Good chlorine reduction (93.1%), but has a low flow rate causing loss in water pressure.Very low system capacity requires frequent replacement. Low initial price, but high ongoing costs.

Cost Performance
Gallon
< 1¢
Certified
NSF 42
Replacement
$32
Capacity
30000
System
$86
Flow Rate
4 GPM
System Requirements
No Drainage Required No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required
No Wastewater Well-water Option Customizable & Water Test
Other Benefits: 1-year limited warranty

Grade C

Cuzn - Single Tank Whole House Filter WH-200B

System is not certified, but uses NSF certified media. Passable chlorine reduction (>50%) with a high flow rate. Long lasting system, but requires media replacement. Large whole house system with single tank.

Cost Performance
Gallon
< 1¢
Certified
No
Replacement
$595
Capacity
500000
System
$1,595
Flow Rate
8 GPM
System Requirements
No Drainage Required No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required
No Wastewater Well-water Option Customizable & Water Test
Other Benefits: 10-year tanks only warranty

Grade C

Naturally Filtered - Natural Home MG-10

System is not certified, but uses NSF Certified media. Unknown chlorine reduction with a high flow rate. Long lasting system, but no replacement currently available. Must purchase new system.

Cost Performance
Gallon
< 1¢
Certified
No
Replacement
$3,450
Capacity
5 years
System
$3,450
Flow Rate
10 GPM
System Requirements
No Drainage Required No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required
No Wastewater Well-water Option Customizable & Water Test
Other Benefits: 90-day satisfaction guarantee, 3-year limited (mechanical) warranty

Grade C-

Culligan - Whole House Sediment Filter

System is certified by WQA to NSF 42 standards. Good chlorine reduction (90%), but has a low flow rate. Extremely low system capacity requires ongoing and frequent replacements. All parts sold separately.

Cost Performance
Gallon
2.2¢
Certified
WQA to NSF 42
Replacement
$40
Capacity
5000
System
$110
Flow Rate
3 GPM
System Requirements
No Drainage Required No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required
No Wastewater Well-water Option Customizable & Water Test
Other Benefits: 30 days warranty

Grade C-

Crystal Quest - Triple Big Heavy Duty Whole House Filter

Compact system that uses NSF certified media, but system is not certified. Good flow rates, and convenient cartridge change out. Lower capacity filter only lasts up to 160,000 gallons.

Cost Performance
Gallon
< 1¢
Certified
No
Replacement
$304
Capacity
160000
System
$999
Flow Rate
6-8 GPM
System Requirements
No Drainage Required No Electricity Required No Backwashing Required
No Wastewater Well-water Option Customizable & Water Test
Other Benefits: 30-day less shipping charges satisfaction guarantee, 1-year limited warranty

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.
Pricing is subject to change and is accurate as of the date this chart was last updated. Cost per gallon is calculated as system price/capacity. Product grading is based on the following criteria: System Price, Cost per Gallon, Chlorine Reduction (%), System Certification, Capacity, Requires Backflushing (Y/N), Requires Electricity (Y/N), Flow Rate.
Manufacturer data last updated April 4, 2014.