Most of us don’t drink tap water for a variety of reasons. Your water might come from a well and needs to be purified, you are concerned about how your city regulates the water and want to ensure your drinking water is clean, or you are having problems with smell and odor. Whatever the case may be you have chosen to buy a water filter or purifier but this can be tricky. I am going to walk you through finding the best water filters for personal needs!
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Water filters vs. Purifiers
Water filters are particularly good at eliminating harmful chemicals and other contaminants like microplastics but are typically the most effective if you’re living in a city or town that already attempts to filter the water and has systems in place. If you live on land where the water comes from the well it is best to look into a water purifier. Well water contains waterborne pathogens that can cause serious illness when not properly removed. Purifiers specifically go the extra mile by eliminating viruses from the water that you otherwise would have had to boil to remove.
Signs you need a water filter
There are many reasons why people look into water filters: they don’t trust the water they are drinking; they live in a rural area where the quality may not be best, or their water comes from a well and it’s a necessity. Regardless of why you think you might need one, here are some of the signs you should look for to determine whether you need a water filter or not.
The water tastes bad
I feel like a few people out there would debate the taste of water, but honestly, it tastes different everywhere you go. If you find that there is a foul taste coming from your water or you smell an odor, it could be due to bad contaminants, and you will likely want to opt for a water filter.
This is a tested and true way to determine the need for filtered water. Limescale indicates the hardness of water and when you start to notice the buildup in your tub or on your faucets it’s a dead giveaway that there are too many minerals in the water. A whole-house water filter works well to resolve this issue.
Chlorine in the water
Most cities and towns are starting to add Chlorine to their water filtration systems to kill off bacteria that might be in the water, however, Chlorine can alter the taste of your water, and the process of adding it often leaves by-products that have been proven harmful to you. If you know your area adds Chlorine to the water, it might be a good idea to consider a water filtration system to not only removes the Chlorine but also ensures that there are no by-products in your drinking water.
If you are tasting metallic or smell it in your water, first thing you should do is get the water tested. Heavy metals can include arsenic, lead, mercury, and chromium. These are toxic and can cause health effects in people when high levels are found in water. A filtration system can help reduce this. Make sure to read what filters have the highest rate of removing heaving metals and what ones they can remove.
You have a well
All the farmers and rural area residents will understand this one! If you have well water, then your water is not being regulated by your area’s utility company. This means your water can contain bacteria, contaminants, nitrates, and a fluctuation of pH levels. Make sure to always test your water and install a water purification system.
Types of water filters and purifiers
There are five main types of water filters: mechanical, absorption, sequestration, ion exchange, and reverse osmosis filters. Each one of these filters helps to solve various water problems and a lot of filter systems use a combination of each type to achieve different levels of filtration.
This is best for removing sediment and dirt particles. These usually come with a micron rating which will tell you how effective the filter is in terms of the size of the particles it can remove. Common ratings are 0.5, 1, and 5 — a 0.5-micron rating will remove cysts, 1 removes particles that you can only see with a microscope, and 5 removes particles you can see with the naked eye.
This utilizes carbon in the water filter to capture water-borne contaminants, carbon works best for absorbing contaminants so easily because it has a large internal surface that has lots of areas to trap chemical impurities such as chlorine.
An ion exchange filter is used to remove heavy metals, organic compounds, and microorganisms. An ion exchange resin is used because it is positively charged with hydrogen ions that attract contaminants with the same charge. It can also help with softening the water because it removes sodium which makes water hard.
Reverse Osmosis (RO)
RO is a method of purification that will remove minerals, salts, chemicals, and particles from drinking water. RO uses pressure to reverse the flow of liquids through partially portable membranes. It is generally the most used system because it removes up to 99% of total dissolved solids.
Should We Drink Tap Water?
Tap water is regulated by your city’s standards so it really depends on what they are doing to make sure your water is safe and clean to drink, even though the water passes your province or states law, it doesn’t mean that there are things in your water that you just shouldn’t drink. Tap water can still contain lead (especially in places with old pipes), pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate, and microplastics.
There is a long list of things that can be in your water, the most controversial being fluoride. It’s a naturally occurring mineral that comes from the ground and acts as a neurotoxin specifically to children in utero. Lead is known to everyone as a toxic heavy metal that was found in kid’s toys, our plates, and shoes. It comes from older pipes, but it needs to be filtered out. Also, to be avoided are PFAs, Aluminium, pesticides/herbicides, Chromium-6, and pharmaceuticals.
So, the answer… you probably shouldn’t drink it. Tap water just isn’t regulated enough and the particles and various chemicals are not getting filtered out properly by the city’s water systems. Tap water is not the only issue, there are also harmful chemicals from your shower water that can also be removed, and this is where a full house filtration system can come in handy. If you are not quite ready to make that big of a commitment, start off small with a filtered water bottle or pitcher and move up from there.
Our Top Recommendations For The Best Water Filters
Best under the sink: Home Master Artesian Full Contact Reverse Osmosis System
The best under-the-sink water filter is defiantly the Home Master Artesian Full Contact Reverse Osmosis System, it is a 7-stage filtration system that purifies and enhances your water, it can also remove 99% of chlorine, chemicals, lead, heavy metals, fluoride, microplastics and much more! It is BPA and lead-free and is NSF certified, you can get this filter in a 3.2 Gal. tank, or you can upgrade it to as large as 53 Gal. The water filter needs to be changed approximately once a year (depending on use) and the filter is easy to change without the use of a wrench. This retails for $329.95.
Best whole house filter: 3M Aqua-Pure™
The 3M Aqua-Pure™ is the best whole-house filter in my opinion. You get a 100,000 Gal. filter capacity that is carbon activated which will reduce sediment, chlorine, and other various water contaminants. The Aqua-Pure™ is NSF/ANSI standard 42 certified and has a flow rate of 20 GPM (gallons per minute), making this a great option to give you filtered water everywhere in your home. It retails for $499.00 on Amazon.
Best filtered water pitcher: LARQ Pitcher PureVis™
A truly fantastic water pitcher, the LARQ Pitcher PureVis™ is a high-tech option that will give you clean and fresh water. This pitcher uses a 2-step process called the PureVis™ and Nano Zero filter. The Nano Zero filter is plant-based and is NSF/ANSI 42, 53, and 401 certified. The filter will protect you against 360 harsh contaminants like Cadmium, copper, lead, and PFAS/PFOA. It also has the highest removal rate per volume than other traditional filters. The PureVis™ wand gives off a UV light that prevents the growth of bio-contaminants. The battery is a rechargeable lithium so you do not have to worry about it dying.
I've been using this for the past few months and am very impressed by the quality and taste of the water. It has a very sleek design and does not take up too much space in my fridge. The built-in water purification eradicates up to 99.99% of bacteria which gives access to clean drinking water anywhere.
There are two versions of the bottle – insulated and non-insulated. The LARQ Bottle PureVis is insulated and keeps water cold for up to 24 hours and hot for 12. The LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis is non-insulated and lighter in weight, perfect for those with an active lifestyle.
The pitcher retails for $175 without a subscription or $148 with a reoccurring two-month subscription for filters.
Best without a designated faucet: The Clearly Filtered 3-stage filter
The Clearly Filtered 3-stage filter is highly recommended for renters and for someone who does not want a separate faucet. This system is easily portable and does not take up a lot of space. You can install this filter within 15 minutes; all you need is a wrench! It has a 2000 Gal. filter which will only need to be changed once a year (depending on use). This compact filter will remove 232+ contaminants and is compatible with any sink. It currently retails on Clearly Filtered for $550 but you can save $55.00 if you subscribe to yearly deliveries, and get the filter for $495.00.
Most cost-effective: Zero Water Ready Pour
For a pitcher the most cost-effective is Zero Water Ready Pour. This pitcher will fill 30 cups and is a 5-stage filtered water dispenser. It also has a quick fill PFOA/PFOS. The Ready-pour® technology allows you to pour filtered water into your cup while the reservoir continues to filter. The Ready Pour has a 20-gallon filter but that, of course, is all dependent on use and how many contaminants it filters. The price of this is $44.99 or $46.98 with a subscription to their filters.
Most eco-friendly and sustainable: pH Replenish
For this category, there were a couple of amazing options but the best for the eco-friendly and sustainable is the pH Replenish. This is a jug but it is made from glass and has a place to add infusions for tea or fruit to enhance your water if you choose. This eco-friendly option is carefully crafted to look sleek like a wine craft, but don’t underestimate this craft by its looks. It can filter chlorine, fluoride, and heavy metals. The pH Replenish is an Alkaline filter that has been known to increase pH, reduce inflammation, improve your immune system, and adds minerals to the water.
Best for travel: Garyl UltraPress® Purifier
The Grayl UltraPress® is my pick for the best for the travel category. This is especially good if you hike and visit foreign countries where you might be worried about the water quality. It works like a coffee press —just fill the bottom, and then put on the lid, press down and in 30 seconds you have clean filtered water. This bottle is effective for all 7 continents and will remove waterborne pathogens including viruses like SARS, and many forms of bacteria. The filter is rated for 150L and includes a riverflow™ spout which allows for a fast flow of water. The price of this bottle is $115.00.
Best for reducing Contaminants: APEC ROES-50 Reverse Osmosis System
This water filter is easily the best for cleaning contaminants, it removes 1000+ contaminants, viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, chlorine, lead, fluoride, and arsenic. Can be used for both well water and tap water, and features leak-free fittings. The APEC utilizes carbon blocks to filter the water and they have made them larger than most to maximize contact with the water. Because this is a 5-stage system three of the filters need to be changed in the first 6-12 months while the last two can last for 2-4 years. This currently retails on Amazon for $30.69 and has a review rating of 4.6.
Works with a water softener: SpringWell Whole House Filtration & Softening Combo
The SpringWell is quite the unit, with multiple options for capacity to choose the right size for your home. You can also choose between salted and unsalted for the water softener. It will remove harmful contaminants like chlorine, chloramine, PFOA, PFAS/PFOS, pesticides, herbicides, halo acetic acids, and more. The filter is a 4-stage system to allow maximum contact time between filtration and the water. This system is best for municipal water. This retails for $1,643.00 but is currently on sale for $1,016.44.
A final thought on water filters
When it comes to the best water filters it really is up to the consumer. Everyone has different needs and requirements for their water systems whether it be because you are on a well, a renter, you want something small and portable, or you need something that can also soften water. Regardless of the need, adding a water filtration system to your home will cut down on bottled water use and help you further get to a low waste living lifestyle.
Please make sure to do your research for your personal needs, and be on the lookout for tank size, ease of installation, or if you will need a plumber or special tools. If you live somewhere that has a well for water this is particularly important to make sure that the filtration system will do what you need it to. It is also important to have your water tested from the well to know what contaminants are in there to ensure your filtration system will eliminate them properly.
I hope this list helps you navigate the world of water filters, if you know someone who could use some extra help in making up their mind feel free to give this article a share!