What every best Water Filters has:
- A large enough capacity.
- The proper filtering mechanism.
- A moderate to fast flow rate.
ConsumerReports.org editors analyze several dozen water filters in five categories, including carafes (pitchers), countertop, faucet-mounted, under-sink and under-sink reverse osmosis. Each unit was ranked on removal of lead and chloroform, as well as flow rate and clogging. Each filter is ranked against other, similar filters. Useful buying information includes pros and cons of each type of filtering system.
Thousands of users post comments on water filters and replacement filters at Amazon.com. Owners share how easy the filters are to install, how durable they are and which features are convenient for everyday use. Many offer helpful tips on installation and maintenance.
Walmart.com offers fewer water filter systems than Amazon.com, with Brita and PUR the top sellers. Some water filters get hundreds or thousands of user reviews, which tend to be more positive overall than those at Amazon. Walmart.com also carries quite a few replacement filters and cartridges.
Water filters don't get a lot of feedback at HomeDepot.com; still, these reviews can give some additional insight into the water filter you may be considering. GE and Whirlpool are top brands here. In addition, replacement filters often receive quite a few reviews.
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute partners with the Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants at the University of Arizona to test refrigerator and pitcher water filters. Researchers evaluate how well each filter reduces 15 common water contaminants that aren't regulated by the government, including estrone (estrogen), DEET, BPA and common medications. Editors analyze three pitcher filters and two refrigerator models with built-in water filters.
Originally the National Sanitation Foundation, NSF International is an independent nonprofit that provides regulatory resources across a variety of industries. In their home drinking water section, you can learn about contaminants in water, determine if you need a water filter, get some tips on selecting the right filter, and look up products to see if they carry the NSF certification.
Like the NSF, the WQA certifies that manufacturer's claims about water filters hold up in testing. They also have links to find certified professionals for installing your home water treatment system and to learn about water quality.
Maxwell Ryan is the owner and editor of Apartment Therapy, a site that helps people organize and decorate their homes. In this roundup, Ryan discusses six water filters that he has personally tested; they include filters from Brita, PUR and Multipure.
This update was made in response to issues with TheSweethome.com's previous top pick and runner up, a PUR and a Mavea water pitcher. The PUR has ongoing clogging issues with no timetable for a resolution, and Mavea has gone out of business. Still, the testing performed on the other water pitchers is helpful in narrowing down our top picks, and they have also named a "provisional pick" pending more testing.
At the time our report was prepared, YourBestDigs.com still had the now-discontinued Mavea as their top pick. However their extensive testing on the other water filter pitchers -- including Brita, ZeroWater, BWT and PUR -- was extremely helpful in helping us to make our choices in this category.