When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle (or just living at all), drinking water is at the forefront. While many United States citizens have access to water faucets, the number of containments found within some of that running water can make it nearly undrinkable. Thankfully, we have water filter pitchers and filtration systems to save the day.
Although many different brands sell water filters, they’re not all created equal. In an effort to give you the cleanest water possible and products that actually work, The Post spoke to Brian Campbell, water treatment expert and the founder and “leadwatergeek” at WaterFilterGuru.com.
Before diving into his top five picks for the best water filter pitchers, we asked him about all the ins and outs of choosing the best water filter pitcher, how to test your water quality, the health benefits of filtering water and more.
To skip the Q&A, skip to Campbell’s recommendations here.
How do I choose a water filter pitcher?
According to Campbell, shoppers should consider a few things when choosing awaterfilterpitcher for their home: Testing & Certifications, FilterLifespan (Capacity) & Replacement Costs, FiltrationSpeed, FilteredWaterHolding Capacity, BPA-Free Plastic and Warranty.
What makes a goodwaterfilter?
While this answer seems obvious — Campbell took us step by step.
“A goodwaterfilteris one that is capable of removing the contaminants present in the sourcewaterbeing filtered,” Campbell told The Post. “Not allwaterwill have the same contaminants present, and not allwaterfiltertechnology is capable of removing the same contaminants.”
“It’s always recommendedto first test yourwaterto better understand what exactly you are dealing with. From there, use your test result data to identify awaterfilterthat is capable of reducing the pollutants present.”
How do I test my water quality?
There are a few ways you can test your water at home to find out what contaminants you might be dealing with, depending on how much you want to spend.
Free option: Obtain your local water authorities’ Consumer Confidence Report
“All municipal water providers are required by law to publishan annual report on the quality of water they are delivering to their customers. While a good starting point, these reports are limited in that they only provide information fromwhen the sample was taken at the treatment plant,” Campbell said.
“They will not show if the water becomes recontaminated as it travels to your home. The most infamous example of this is lead contamination from aging infrastructure or plumbing,” Campbell explained. “If your water source is from a private well, a CCR will not be available. You canuse this tool from the EPAto look up your local CCR.”
Budget option: Use an at-home test kit or strips
“Widelyavailableonline and at your local hardware or big box store, DIY test kits or strips willindicate the presenceof a select set (typically 10-20) of the most common contaminants found in city water,” said Campbell. “The downside is that these kits are neither comprehensive nor conclusive. They will not provide the full picture of all possible contaminantspresent. They will not tell you specific concentrations of contaminants.”
Expensive option: Send a sample to a certified lab
“Lab testing is the only way to get the full picture of your water quality. You will receive a report that indicates both what contaminants are present and to what concentrations,” Campbell told The Post. “This is the only method of testing that will provide the exact data you need in order to determine the appropriatetreatment necessary — if any.”
Campbell recommends usingTap Score by Simple Lab,calling it “hands down, the best lab testing product out there.”
Testing & Certification
“A third-party certificationfrom NSF International or theWaterQuality Association(WQA) is the best indicator that afilterlives up to the performance claims made by the manufacturer,” he said.
Here are the most common certifications you will see forwaterfiltrationpitchers:
- NSF/ ANSI 42 – Reduction of contaminants affecting taste and smell (primarily chlorine)
- NSF/ ANSI 53 – Reductionof health-related contaminants (such as lead or arsenic)
- NSF/ ANSI 401 – Reduction of emerging contaminants (those that have not yet or only recently been regulated — like pharmaceuticals, pesticides and plant hormones)
- NSF/ ANSI P231 – Reduction of disease-causing microorganisms
- NSF/ ANSI P473 – Reduction of PFAs, perfluoroalkyl substances — “forever chemicals” — a group of over 4,000 man-made chemicals currently unregulated by the EPA, can cause numerous potential health impacts. They’re notoriously called “forever chemicals” due to the length of time they linger in the environment, specifically in the air and bodies of water.
FilterLifespan (Capacity) & Replacement Costs
“Filters’ capacity refers to the amount ofwaterthat can pass through it before it becomes saturated with contaminants and needs to be replaced,” said Campbell. As previously stated, “it’s important to understand what you will be removing from yourwaterin order to determine how often you will need to replace thefilters.”
“Forwater with higher concentrations of contaminants, afilterwill reach its capacity sooner than less contaminatedwater,” Campbell said.
“Typically,waterfilterpitcherfiltershave a capacity of 40-100 gallons, which should last 2 to 4 months. This will help you determine the yearlyfilterreplacementcost associated with maintaining your system.”
Note: Filterreplacement is critical to ensure your unit continues to function correctly.
“Waterfilterpitchers rely on gravity to pull thewaterdown from the top reservoir through thefilter,” Campbell explained. “You can expect the entirefiltrationprocess to take [up to] 20 minutes, depending on how old and saturated with contaminants thefiltercartridge is.”
“Filtrationpitchers come in an array of sizes, but typically you can assume that they will provide enough filteredwaterfor one person,” Campbell said. “You can also find dispensers with larger holding capacities that use the samefiltrationtechnology as their smaller pitcher counterparts.”
“This one might go without saying, but it’s important to make sure the pitcher will not leach chemicals into your filteredwater! Most modern units are BPA-free, but it’s worth checking just to be safe,” Campbell noted.
A manufacturer’s warranty is a strong indicator of their confidence in their product,” Campbell said. “Look for those that provide a warranty of at least six months — the bestfilter pitchers come with a lifetime warranty which will replace the entire unit if it ever breaks!”
What are the main benefits of filtering your water?
According to Campbell, here are the top seven benefits of using water filter pitchers.
- Provides safe drinkingwater: The most obvious benefit, but worth laying it out plain. Using awaterfilterpitcher to remove potentially dangerous pollutants from yourwatercan positively impact your health.
- Makeswatertaste better:Mostwaterfilterpitchers are designed to remove, at the very least, aesthetic contaminantslike chlorine that affect its taste and smell.
- They are easy to use: There is little setup or maintenance involved withwaterfilterpitchers. Install thefiltercartridge, and you are good to go. Occasionalfilterchanges and soapy scrub-downs are the only other actions you will need to take to keep your system in tip-top shape.
- Portable for cleanwateron the go:Going on a vacation to the in-laws’ for the Fourth of July? Great! Bring your pitcher with you. After all, it’s not connected to your home’s waterline.
- Cheaper than buying bottledwater: If you compare the yearly cost of buying bottledwaterversus awaterfilterpitcher and replacement cartridges,the pitcher will be cheaper every time.
- Helps the environment by reducingplastic waste:Byfilteringyour ownwaterinstead of buying bottles, you are doing your part to reduce environmental plastic waste.
- The most wallet-friendly option to get cleanwater:Filterpitchers are by far the easiest and most cost-effective way to get access to cleanwater, providing a solution for even the smallest budgets.
The best water filter pitchers, according to an expert:
1. Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher, $85
The Clearly Filtered water pitcher is Campbell’s top recommendation.
“The Clearly Filtered pitcher has been tested to NSF standards 42, 53, 244, 401 and 473to be capable of removing a whopping365 contaminants,” Campbell said. “This includes difficult to remove pollutants such as fluoride, lead, arsenic, bacteria and more. It has a goodfilterlifespan of 100 gallons (depending on the sourcewaterbeing filtered).”
Plus, this pitcher comes with a lifetime guarantee, so if it ever breaks, the company will replace it for free!
2. Epic Pure Countertop Water Filter Dispenser, $69
“With a larger filteredwaterholding capacity than a pitcher, this dispenseris capable of removing fluoride as well as 199 other contaminants commonly found in citywater,” said Campbell, who specifically loves this option because it’s designed to fit nicely in most refrigerators.
“The PUR pitcher holds an official NSF certification for standardsNSF 42, 53 and 401. Although thefilterdoesn’t last as long as some others (only 40 gallons), this pitcher is a great budget option that will remove lead and 19 other citywatercontaminants,” Campbell said.
4. Propur Water Filter Pitcher, $118
Campbell recommends the Propur pitcher for those who don’t want to replace the cartridge too often.
“Coming in with a massivefiltercapacity of 225 gallons, you won’t have to worry about replacing the cartridges nearly as often,” he said. “The ProOne pitcher provides strong contaminant reduction [and is] capable of getting rid of 200+ impurities.”
5. InvigoratedWaterpH Restore AlkalineWaterPitcher, $38
“The pH Restore pitcher will remove aesthetic contaminants, improvingthe taste and smell of yourwaterwhile at the same time increasing its pH by up to 2.0,” Campbell said. “Alkalinewater[will] taste better and may provide additional health benefits.”
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