Water is essential for life… but what if the stuff coming out of your tap contains more than just H2O? Drinking water can be contaminated with foreign substances that impede your health, but by investing in one of the best water filters on the market, you can ensure you’re drinking clean, purified water.
Indeed, there are plenty of ways you can filter your drinking water and make sure you’re not drinking anything you don’t intend to. But does everyone need a home water filtration system? And, if so, which kind is best?
Best Water Filters: Our Recommendations
Best Overall: PUR PLUS Faucet Mount Water Filtration System Best Tap Attachment: Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter SystemBest Pitcher Filter: Brita Extra Large Filtered Water DispenserBest Under-Sink Filtration: Waterdrop Under Sink Filtration SystemBest Whole-House Water Filter: Culligan Whole House Filtration System
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.
Why Use a Water Filter?
For as much as we’d all prefer to believe that our tap water is crystal-clear and perfectly clean, that’s simply not the reality. Remember that your water has to travel through miles of pipe just to make it to your home. Along the way, it picks up contaminants or debris from the pipe itself.
And this is to say nothing of different treatments like chlorination that are used on residential drinking water. While many of these can be more helpful than harmful, some are potentially harmful to pets and humans.
It may shock you to know that the average home’s drinking water contains more than 300 contaminants. If you want to whittle that number down to something closer to zero, your best bet is with a water filtration system.
Most homeowners can benefit from a water filter; this is true whether you’re drinking treated city water or water from a well, which can come with its own ground contaminants. Some of the most common warning signs that you need a home water filter include:
Your water tastes bad or stale (usually a sign of contaminants)Your home predates 1986 (in which case, there could be lead pipes bringing your drinking water)You get your water from a wellYou wash your clothes and they come out looking dingy or dirtyYou have a constant build-up of scum in your sink or shower
If you notice any of these issues, it probably means you have bad water — and that it may be time to improve your water quality with a new filter.
Full Reviews of Our Top Picks
Best Overall: PUR PLUS Faucet Mount Water Filtration System
For a faucet-mounted filter, try PUR, one of the longest-running and most popular brands in water filtration. This is an inexpensive way to skim out more than 70 of the most common water contaminants, leading to notably improved water taste and clarity.
Customer Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars with over 8,300 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “We’ve been using it for about 2 months now and it works perfectly. The natural minerals in the filter give you a crisp and fresh drink, and it is truly effective at removing the tastes of city water… This thing makes my plain tap water as tasteless and fresh as all of those fancy water brands.“ — Ryan M. via Amazon
Why Buy: The PUR PLUS faucet attachment comes at a low price point, is a breeze to install and has a mineral filter that leaves your water tasting pure. We also like the filter’s Filter Change Light, which alerts you when it’s time to change your filter.
Best Tap Attachment: Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System
An alternative to PUR is Brita. Brita’s on-tap filter promises improved water purity and major savings, as you won’t have to spend nearly as much buying your water by the bottle. It can remove more than 99% of lead, chlorine and other common contaminants.
Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars with over 11,600 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “Very easy to install… Because it screws directly onto the faucet, the mount is also sturdier… Water tastes great — removes the slightly ‘off’ taste that our public water contains. If it lasts for the expected lifespan, we’ll be purchasing this again.” — S. LaCour via Amazon
Why Buy: The Brita tap attachment water filter has a compact design that can catch sediment as well as common harmful contaminants. We like that this filter has a spray mode for washing produce and that replacement filters are only needed every four months or so.
Best Pitcher Filter: Brita Extra Large Filtered Water Dispenser
If you prefer a refrigerated or countertop water filter, consider this option from Brita. It holds 18 cups of water, enough to fill six 24-ounce reusable water bottles. The BPA-free dispenser uses a Brita standard filter, which removes pollutants and organic compounds like copper, cadmium and mercury.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 46,000 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I bought this to replace my old Brita that cracked after three years. I like that it doesn’t take up much room in the refrigerator like most standard-sized models. This unit is good for one or two people, but if you have a family, I would recommend upsizing.” — Robert Robinson via Amazon
Why Buy: The capacity of the Brita water dispenser allows users to go a while before refilling. If you don’t have enough fridge space to accommodate this large of a fixture, there are smaller 10-cup and ultra space-saving five-cup water pitcher options as well.
Best Under-Sink Filtration: Waterdrop Under Sink Filtration System
As for under-sink water filters, we recommend Waterdrop, a high-capacity filter that uses a four-stage process to ensure your drinking water is as clean as can be. The system comes with a lead-free brushed stainless steel faucet for added ease of use and seamless integration in your kitchen.
Customer Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars with about 700 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “First off, installation was easy, taking all of 20 minutes for me. The unit seems to be of high quality, instructions were clear, and it all went together well. No leaks so far, and my water tastes much better. ” — C. B. Long via Amazon
Why Buy: The Waterdrop under-sink water purifier reduces heavy metals but retains essential minerals like potassium and calcium. The faucet has a fast flow rate that can push out 0.75 gallons of water per minute.
Best Whole-House Water Filter: Culligan Whole House Filtration System
Whole-house filters are a little tougher to install and require that the filter cartridge be changed regularly. In the long run, however, they can be one of the more convenient options, guaranteeing clean water from all of your taps. We like this Culligan model best of all, and it’s priced very reasonably.
Customer Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars with over 3,200 Amazon ratings
Standout Review: “I had this installed by a master plumber. (I have had enough problems with leaks and floods that I wouldn’t want to risk an error!) Professional installation was absolutely worth it. I had no idea how much stuff was in my city water until I had this filter to ‘show’ me… This little unit was/is a great investment.” — Heidi via Amazon
Why Buy: If you’d rather pre-filter your water supply before it hits the taps in your house, the Culligan water treatment system might be the best fit for you. It has a battery-operated filter change timer that lets you know when it’s time to change the cartridge.
How to Choose the Best Water Filter
So, which type of filter is the best choice for your home? There are a number of options, and the most convenient tend to be fridge units, faucet units and water filter pitchers. The best water filter for you will depend on your preference.
A fridge filter will come built into your kitchen appliance and will help filter out any water that’s dispensed from the fridge or used to make ice. If you happen to have a fridge with a built-in filter, that’s great! However, by their very definition, these filters will leave other home water sources (including bathroom taps) unfiltered.Faucet units help you to filter water in other areas of your home, though again, you may need to invest in multiple units to ensure clean drinking water throughout your house.Another option is to invest in a pitcher that filters water for you, making sure you always have a clean hydration source (that is, as long as you remember to re-fill the pitcher).
As you look for the best home water filters, certification is another foremost concern. Specifically, be on the lookout for water filters that rise to the level of National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification. NSF has rigorous, nationalized standards for clean and contaminant-free municipal drinking water, and the best water filters receive certification after undergoing a testing process.
There are several third-party and independent labs that test water filters and make sure they’re up to NSF standards. Some examples include the CSA Group, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the Water Quality Association (WQA). If you see any of these certifications on a water filter, that’s a good sign that the product has been thoroughly vetted and found to be effective.
Frequently Asked Questions: Water Filters
Which filter is best for drinking water?
To turn municipal water into clean drinking water, we recommend the PUR PLUS Faucet Mount Water Filtration System.
Is it worth getting a water filter?
Well water and city water both can have harmful contaminants that have adverse effects on human and pet health.
Which water filter removes the most contaminants?
When looking for a water filter that removes many contaminants, look for certifications from the National Sanitation Foundation or other labs. These have been tested and are guaranteed to filter out most common contaminants.
Do filters really clean water?
Yes, water filters can be highly effective at filtering contaminants from pesticides to sediments. Reverse osmosis systems are ultra-effective at cleaning water.
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