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Best Faucet Water Filters

By: Kelly Burgess on March 29, 2017

Faucet and countertop water filters provide fresh, filtered water directly from your tap

The drawback to water pitcher filters, which we discuss elsewhere in this report, is their limited capacity. Most are really only suitable for a small family or one or two people, and you have to continually refill them as you use them.

Faucet-mount filters are handy because they tend to be very inexpensive, like pitchers, but they attach directly onto a kitchen faucet for unlimited filtered water at your fingertips; you can also switch between filtered and unfiltered water. Countertop water filters (covered below) also are linked to the faucet, but, rather than the entire filter attaching to the faucet, the filter sits beside the sink, and a hose attaches to the faucet and diverts water to the filter by twisting a valve or pulling a pin.

Installation of either type is generally easy, though you'll have to remove the faucet's existing aerator. Still, advanced plumbing knowledge isn't required and the filters don't become a permanent fixture in your kitchen. If you prefer a permanent filter though, we discuss under-sink water filters, including both basic and reverse osmosis systems, elsewhere in this report.

The Culligan Faucet Filter FM-15A (Est. $25) is a top pick by both experts and consumers. At ConsumerReports.org, it earns a rating of Excellent for removing lead and organic compounds and is named a Best Buy as well. The FM-15A is also certified to reduce parasites, lead, lindane, atrazine and turbidity. Owners say they have noticed vast improvements in the taste and clarity of their drinking water.

Users say the FM-15A installs quickly and doesn't leak. We saw a few complaints about the included adaptors not fitting some faucets, but we see that with all water filters; most reviewers were able to find the right adaptor at their local hardware store. Switching to filtered water is a simple matter of pulling out a stem valve, which owners say conveniently resets back to unfiltered when you turn the faucet off. The replacement filter cartridge for this faucet filter is the Culligan FM_15RA (Est. $15) and they last for 2 months or 200 gallons. Both experts and users say its biggest drawback is its slow flow. This is a common complaint for faucet-mount filters, and Culligan rates just below average in this regard. However, the FM-15A gets raves for its durability, with some saying they've had theirs for years and it's still working great and looks like new. The FM-15A is white, it also comes in chrome as the Culligan FM-25 (Est. $30),

The only other water filter that earns a Recommended nod at ConsumerReports.org is the now-discontinued, but still widely available, PUR FM-3700B (Est. $25). In testing there it earns an Excellent rating for chloroform removal and Very Good for lead removal; it does not score well for flow rate, which, as we noted, is an issue with virtually all faucet mounted filters.

Users rate the PUR FM-37008B a tick lower than the Culligan, While PUR is a normally very well-respected and popular name in water filters, and the FM-3700B does well in testing, it gets panned by owners for durability. When it does work, users say it works well, though. It comes in four finishes, chrome, white, gray and black.

The replacement for the PUR FM-3700B is the PUR FM-2000B (Est. $20), which has the same type of side-mount design. The FM-2000B gets about the same pretty average ratings from owners as the FM-3700B, albeit far fewer of them since it's a newer model. Most say they're satisfied with their purchase, although we saw plenty of complaints about the slow flow rate, leaks and other durability issues. Both of these PUR faucet mount filters are compatible with either the PUR Basic Replacement Filter (Est. $20 for 2) or the PUR RF-9999 (Est. $15), which are estimated to last for about three months. Other than price, there doesn't seem to be any difference in the filters, both are certified to remove 99 percent of lead, 96 percent of mercury and 92 percent of some pesticides.

Countertop water filters are affordable and easy to use

Countertop water filters are a very popular option for those who want unlimited filtered water, but don't necessarily want to mount a bulky filter directly to the sink faucet. Countertop filters have a hose that connects to the faucet via a small diverter valve, and dispenses water through a spout attached to the filter on the counter. Countertop water filters tend to have better flow rates and fewer issues with clogging than pitcher or faucet-mounted units.

The Home Master TMJRF2 Jr F2 (Est. $100) is a countertop water filter that gets some of the highest reviews we saw of any water filter. It is also one of the few non-under the sink filters that removes fluoride -- up to 93 percent according to the manufacturer. That's as good as a reverse osmosis (RO) water filter, but the Jr F2 does not filter out beneficial minerals the way an RO system would. Filters need to be replaced every three months or 500 gallons and cost about $30.

Owners say the Home Master Jr. F2 is very easy to set up and many have noticed definite improvements in water quality, clarity and taste. We saw many comments from apartment-dwellers who purchase this because they could not install a permanent water filter. It's also easy to switch between tap and filtered water. The replacement filter is the Home Master CFF25-10 Jr F2 (Est. $30), which will last for about three months or 500 gallons.

The New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Water Filter System (Est. $80) costs slightly less than the Home Master, but does not remove fluoride. It's not been professionally tested, but it gets good reviews from users for noticeable improvements in water quality. Owners say it's easy to install and use, and you switch between filtered and unfiltered water with the pull of a pin; the filter shuts off automatically when you're done using it. People also like that it takes up little counter space. It uses the New Wave Enviro Replacement Cartridge (Est. $70), which is estimated to last for about one year or 1,500 gallons.

Neither of the above two countertop water filters are certified by the NSF; one of the few that is, the Aquasana AQ-4000W (Est. $80), gets relatively poor owner ratings for the difficulty in changing the filter and for poor durability. However, even those who decry its short life span say it's one of the best water filters they've ever owned and that it produces excellent-tasting, clear, pure water. In addition to its NSF certification, the Aquasana AQ-4000W earns Excellent ratings for lead and chlorine removal from one professional testing organization; although it gets lower scores for clogging and flow rate. Replacement filters are the Aquasana AQ-4035 (Est. $60) and should be replaced every six months. If NSF certified filtration is your top criteria, the Aquasana 4000W will probably make you very happy.

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