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Best Faucet Water Filters

By: Kelly Burgess on February 05, 2018

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-mounted 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. The downside of these filters is that they're often slow, the diversion of the water through the filter narrows the flow to a thin stream.

Installation of either faucet or countertop filters 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 Consumer Reports, 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 it will last for 2 months or 200 gallons.

Both experts and users say that the filter's 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), which is tested and earns runner up status at Reviews.com, where it's dubbed the "Best Long-Term Value." The chrome version gets particularly good reviews for feeling solid and durable.

This Culligan filter is the only one we found for this update that is both professionally tested and gets decent reviews from users. The other faucet-mounted water filters that were included in the tests and roundups we evaluated have all been discontinued since those tests were performed, and their replacements get poor user reviews. So, with its good reviews and decent value, we can only recommend the Culligan filter at this time.

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. $90) is a countertop water filter that gets some of the highest owner 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.

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 purchased 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. While the MSRP is $30, we often spot them on sale for around $20.

The New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Water Filter System (Est. $80) costs slightly less than the Home Master, but does not remove fluoride. 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 10 Stage Water Filter 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), is generally well-liked by owners (for a water filter). Many 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 Consumer Reports; although it gets just a Very good for clogging and Fair for flow rate. We also saw some comments that changing the filter is difficult, and there were some durability complaints as well.

Replacement filters are the Aquasana AQ-4035 (Est. $60), and those 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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