In homes across the country, it is risky to drink water straight from the tap because of the significant number of contaminants in the water. One option is to purchase bottled water, but this is expensive and bad for the environment. Another solution is to purify water either through a reverse osmosis system or whole-house filtration. However, this may be unnecessary — sometimes, all you need is a water filter pitcher.
Water filter pitchers are the most popular way to remove contaminants from water, due to their low cost, low maintenance needs, and simplicity of use. They are also ideal if you rent, rather than own, your house as well as if you otherwise have no option to install a system to the water line. Plus, filter pitchers come in a range of types, meaning it’s easy to find one that meets your needs and suits your budget.
Below we have tested and reviewed the top products on the market so you can select the best filter pitcher for your needs.
What do you need to consider when buying a water filter pitcher for your home?
A good indicator of filter quality whether it is certified against NSF/ANSI standards, which measure a filter’s ability to remove certain contaminants. Another indicator to watch for is whether the company is a member of the Water Quality Association (WQA).
Most pitcher filters are designed to improve only the aesthetic aspects of drinking water (taste and smell). Among these it’s good to find one with an NSF/ANSI 42 certification, which not every pitcher is. The famous Ehm is a surprising example of one that’s not certified.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking to get rid of certain harmful pollutants such as heavy metals, make sure the filter is certified to the NSF/ANSI 53 standard. It can be hard to find a filter of this size that’s NSF/ANSI 53-certified, though. You may want to focus on larger, more advanced filtration systems if your home water has serious contaminants.
The lifespan of a filter depends on the level of contamination and the amount of water you put through it per day. It is usually estimated by the manufacturer in normal conditions (i.e. tap water).
It’s best to choose a filter that can last between two and six months. We don’t recommend using a filter for longer than six months, even if the manufacturer claims you can do so. Within that time, moss and bacteria tend to grow inside your filter and will begin to contaminate the water.
Ideally, it’s good to find a filter with an indicator that tells you when a replacement is needed.
Most filter jugs have a plastic body, making them affordable and lightweight.
It’s worth noting, however, that not all plastics are created equal. Low quality plastics can be a health hazard in and of themselves, as they may leach chemicals into the water that interfere with your hormone levels. We recommend going with food-grade plastics and bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) materials. They may not be 100% safe, but are still a big step up.
If you are providing drinking water for more than just yourself, always check how much water the pitcher can process at a time.
A larger capacity means you don’t have to repeatedly refill the jug and wait for the filter to do its thing. While you can still get enough water for three people using a five-cup jug if you’re diligent, a ten-cup one will save you more time and headache. A few minutes may not sound like much, but it can feel like forever if you have to stand next to the countertop waiting for it.
If refilling the pitcher at all sounds too inconvenient, an under-sink water filter may be a better idea.
Look for a design that’s sturdy in all its features. The jug, lid, handle, reservoirs, and filter should all fit together tightly, preventing any leakage, especially from the upper to the lower reservoir. At the same time, the filter should also be easy to detach when the time comes to replace it.
All pitchers have a lid, but only some have an auto-open lid, a feature that comes in handy when you refill.
The pitcher will need cleaning about once a week to prevent the growth of algae, bacteria, and other unhealthy stuff inside that may pollute your drinking water. In this respect, a simple design, free of gimmicky details, can be important so you can easily clean every corner.
Here are the five most important reasons why you should try a filter jug.
Most filter jugs are based around a carbon filter. Some go further with multi-stage processes featuring stones, ceramic pellets, an ion-exchange resin, and other filtration materials. These are all useful in removing the smell of chlorine, sulfur, and iron, as well as odors caused by organic contaminants (particles of decomposing plants or animals, for example).
As a result, your drinking water will become clearer, crisper, and more pleasant to drink.
Tap water is not always safe straight out of the faucet. Some pitchers come with ion-exchange resins and other media that can reduce the levels of certain heavy metals, including lead, chromium, copper, and others. Of course, we don’t recommend relying on even the best water filter pitchers for serious water problems. However, they can be useful as an extra line of defense along with other filtration systems for drinking water.
Water filter pitchers are typically small, countertop friendly, and easy to carry around. They take mere minutes to assemble, require minimal maintenance, and are not attached to the plumbing. That makes them very easy to introduce into rented apartments, offices, and college dorms. Those are places where the installation of a whole filtration system would be too much hassle.
Since they can make tap water safer and better tasting, filter pitchers can reduce your need for bottled water. (Peaking of which, bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water in the first place). A pitcher can take the place of thousands of water bottles in its lifetime.
At under a hundred dollars each, and with no installation fees, filter pitchers are significantly cheaper than countertop or under-sink filters. Plus, you won’t have to spend a fortune on maintenance — the assembly, cleaning, and replacement are all DIY-friendly. They may cost more than bottled water upfront, but they pay for themselves after a couple of months.
Even if you don’t know anything about water filter pitchers, you can still make a smart buying decision with the right information in hand. At Swipereviews, we perform extensive research in every product category. To avoid bias, we always decline offers from manufacturers for “free” samples. We want to be your go-to source for honest, thorough product reviews you can trust.