When it comes to home water systems, Brita filters are often seen as the golden standard. But despite their large fanbase, they really don't do all that much.
Even though Brita is a household name, a Brita water pitcher is really just a cosmetic kitchen accessory that makes water taste better. It's comparable to spraying Febreze on a mess. It might smell better, but the germs haven't gone anywhere.
In this article, we're going to cover 5 things your Brita water filter isn't doing—and some better alternatives for you and your family.
5 Things Your Brita Pitcher Doesn't Filter Out (That You Wish It Did)
The main function of Brita filters is to remove the taste and odor of chlorine from water. All its filters complete this task. And while some models are better than others at removing additional contaminants, none of them are up to the task of making your water truly safer.
1. Common household toxins (like lead and asbestos)
Although the Longlast Brita filters do a better job at filtering out heavy metals and toxins, the standard Brita filters do not remove these contaminants at all.
When all is said and done, Brita filters only remove about 30 contaminants. And while Brita and other water filter brands like it (like ZeroWater) will throw around words like total dissolved solids or TDS, these buzzwords don't actually indicate how good your water is to drink.
2. Heavy metals (like mercury, copper, and zinc)
Again, while some Brita filters remove some heavy metals, others do not. And even the Longlast filter, which is advertised to remove mercury and lead, can leave up to 6.6% of these toxins in the filtered water, according to Brita—and that’s assuming you’re changing the filters every 120 gallons and not filtering more than 2 gallons per day.
3. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi
Perhaps the most concerning pitfall of the Brita pitcher is that it does not filter out any bacteria, fungi, or viruses. In fact, they do the opposite. Brita filters can serve as a host for these waterborne illnesses.
This study in the National Library of Medicine found that "filtered" water from a Brita could contain up to 10,000 times more bacteria than average tap water in America. This study also found that 5 of 13 brand new filters were already contaminated with bacteria or mold.
The presence of bacteria, viruses, and molds in your Brita filter gets even worse if you don't change it as often as Brita recommends—which is every 40 gallons, by the way.
Now consider that the average human needs 64 ounces (aka a half-gallon) of water in a day. If two people share one Brita, that filter will need to be changed in 40 days, just over one month.
When you look at the big picture, you're spending about $60 a month to "filter" water into a bacteria-breeding playground.
4. Algae and other organic contaminants
Brita admits that leaving your water pitcher in direct sunlight will cause algae to grow inside your "clean" water.
Seeing green goo floating around in your water is a sure way to know that it's not clean. So, if you needed more reasons to ditch your Brita, this one might be it.
5. Contaminants specific to your area
Brita pitchers also do a poor job filtering out area-specific contaminants (some of which are listed above), including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals.
Thanks to publicly available and easily accessible local water reports from the EPA, it's not that hard to figure out what's in your tap water. With this research, you can learn what specific contaminants you need to filter out and which systems are overpowered for your needs.
Either way, though, I'd bet that the Brita water pitcher isn't cutting it.
2 Water Filter Alternatives That Are Better Than a Brita
So, now that you know you don't want a Brita pitcher, what can you use to filter your water?
The Clearly Filtered Pitcher
If you're hooked on pitcher-style water filters, then choose the Clearly Filtered pitcher. This filtration system is a must-have in homes with a water pitcher, and thousands of satisfied users can back up its worth.
The Clearly Filtered pitcher removes 270+ contaminants, including:
- and more
It even has third-party lab results to back up these claims.
And while it filters all that out, it retains the natural minerals in your tap water that are essential for your lasting health.
With a filter life of 100 gallons, this pitcher comes with a lifetime guarantee—and it's assembled in the US. Oh, and the lab results are guaranteed for the entire life of the 100 gallons—unlike Brita, which doesn’t specify if its lab results apply to the entire life of the filter or only the first few gallons.
The Clearly Filtered pitcher will provide you with peace of mind and much cleaner water.
The 3-Stage DIY Under-Sink Filter by Clearly Filtered
The best choice you can make for your home and your life is to switch from a filtered pitcher to an under-the-sink (or even a full-home) water filtration system.
The 3-Stage Under-Sink Filter from Clearly Filtered is a great option for any household, and here's why.
Household filters give you more space to filter your water while saving precious space in your fridge and freezer. And if you do have a water dispenser on your fridge, you can hook it up to your filtered water line for easy access to clean drinking water.
You can install it yourself in less than 15 minutes with a non-permanent installation method (which makes it great for renters).
With a filter life of 2,000 gallons, you'll only need to replace it once a year. And when the time does come to change your filters, no tools are required.
It's slim and discreet—so no one will see that you have a water filter, but everyone will taste it. And you’ll save plenty of under sink storage space!
This under the sink filter removes 232+ contaminants in three stages.
In Stage One, the premium carbon priming filter (that does all the work of a Brita and more) removes unpleasant odors and tastes, plus some VOCs and chemicals.
In Stage Two, the heavy metal and VOCs filter do the heavy lifting by removing up to 99.9% of heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and toxic contaminants like lead, arsenic, chromium, radiation, PFAs, and more.
Finally, Stage Three uses a fluoride and arsenic filter to remove 90.7% of fluoride. These lab-tested numbers are guaranteed for the entire 2,000 gallons, so you can rest assured that your water on day one of the filter will be just as good when it’s the filter's last day.
Similar to the water pitcher, this filter is built in the USA, retains essential minerals that are good for your health, and includes third-party lab results that verify quality performance.
Final Thoughts: Dump Your Brita and Drink Clean Water Instead
Instead of drinking dirty water that tastes clean, choose a filtration system that delivers water that is as clean as it tastes.
For a pitcher, choose the Clearly Filtered water pitcher. And for something more, go with the 3-Stage Under-Sink Filter from Clearly Filtered.
Notes on water filters for reference:
Types of water all-around filter media (no order)
- Granular Activated Carbon (GAC - most common)
- Catalytic Granular Activated Carbon (high-end carbon filter, does chloramine)
- KDF (has some special qualities, but I don't remember them:) and doesn't remove as much as a carbon filter
- Reverse Osmosis - removes almost everything, not a good thing most of the time, needs to be re-mineralized at least, the most difficult system to maintain, there are usually multiple filters that all need to be replaced at different intervals. If the carbon filter fails before changing it, and some chlorine gets thru, it will ruin the reverse osmosis filter, and you probably wouldn't notice it until you went to replace your RO membrane five years later. Chlorine ruins RO membranes, and the maintenance schedule is very cumbersome.
- Mixed media (a company's proprietary blend, like most of ours, are)
- others that are not common but do very specific tasks