Are Water Filter Pitchers Safe? (A Water Expert Explains)

Water filter pitchers are becoming an increasingly popular method of filtering household water supplies, as we become more and more aware of the dangerous trace contaminants in our drinking water.

In this guide, we’ll be sharing what we know about the safety of water filter pitchers, based on our 10+ years of testing, reviewing, and comparing the most popular pitcher filters on the market.

📌 Key Takeaways

  • Yes, water filter pitchers are safe – as long as you replace the filters as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent bacteria growth in the filter media.
  • The safety of a filter pitcher depends on the quality of the product and your own quality of care.
  • To know for certain that a water filter pitcher removes certain contaminants from your water, check for official NSF certifications or testing to NSF Standards.

🚰 Is It Safe to Use a Water Filter Pitcher?

Yes. Generally, it’s safe to use a water filter pitcher.

In fact, using a water filter pitcher is safer than drinking plain tap water, due to the filter’s contaminant removal abilities.

The best water filter pitchers are capable of reducing chlorine, lead, pharmaceuticals, other chemicals and heavy metals, and even microorganisms in drinking water. That makes your water safer to drink than before.

Filling a Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher in the sink

There are a few things to keep in mind, though, if you want to ensure that using a water filter pitcher is safe.

First, buy a high-quality system. Don’t be tempted to spend pennies on a poor-quality unit. You might save money, but there’s no real benefit to that if the pitcher doesn’t do a good job of eliminating a broad range of impurities in your water.

You should also change the filters regularly. Even the best water filter pitcher needs routine filter replacements. An old filter will quickly begin to harbor bacteria, which could re-contaminate your water with dangerous microorganisms. It’s your responsibility to ensure the long-term safety of your pitcher by replacing the filters as recommended by the manufacturer.

Keep Reading: The Dangers of Not Changing Water Filters Revealed

Pouring a glass of water from the Epic Pure pitcher

📖 How Do I Know Whether a Water Filter Pitcher is Safe?

The best way to determine the safety of a filtered water pitcher is to conduct a before-and-after water test.

Try to test for all the contaminants that the pitcher is advertised to remove. If there are hundreds, focus on the contaminants you’re most concerned about. Some common contaminants to test for are chlorine, lead, fluoride, arsenic, chromium-6, VOCs, and pharmaceuticals.

Conduct a test on your water in its unfiltered form, which will give you an overview of your water quality before you use the filter. Then use the same test on a batch of filtered water from the pitcher. Compare the results.

water testing with tap score

If the contaminants are greatly reduced or now nonexistent in your water, your pitcher filter is safe and effective. If there isn’t much difference in the contaminant levels, you probably have a poor-quality pitcher, or you need to buy a replacement filter cartridge.

📌 Important note: In the event of a Boil Water Notice or if bacteria is present, it is recommended to still boil your water after using the pitcher to ensure bacteria removal.

✅ Do Pitcher Water Filters Work?

Wondering whether a filtered drinking water pitcher really works?

The answer is yes – as long as you buy a high-quality model.

If you choose one of the best available pitchers, you won’t be let down by the filter’s performance.

There’s a reason why pitchers are the second most popular filtration solution, after refrigerator filters: they offer an affordable, effective means of water treatment. But not all filtered tap water pitchers are designed equally.

How a fluoride pitcher filter works

📝 How to Buy The Right Pitcher Filtration System

How can you make sure you buy a water pitcher that really works?

Do your research, compare products, and find one that removes all the contaminants you’re concerned about. Read reviews from experts (like us) that test water filter pitchers and share the best performing products.

Don’t just go for the biggest or best-known brand. For instance, Brita is one of the biggest names in the industry, but every Brita filter available today can only reduce a handful of contaminants. In comparison, the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher reduces more than 360 contaminants.

For reassurance that a pitcher removes what it’s advertised to remove, check for an NSF/ANSI certification. Popular certifications are:

  • NSF/ANSI 42, for reduction of chlorine, taste, and odor
  • NSF/ANSI 53, for reduction of contaminants with health effects, like lead
  • NSF/ANSI 401, for reduction of emerging contaminants, like pharmaceuticals
  • NSF/ANSI 473, for reduction of PFOA and PFOS

Official NSF certifications are ideal, but if a filter is certified to NSF Standards by the Water Quality Association (WQA), that’s also great. We also appreciate when a manufacturer shows transparency by sharing their third-party test results online.

🔎 Are Plastic Pitcher Jugs Safe?

Most water filter brands use plastic pitcher jugs, allowing for a lightweight pitcher that’s easy to carry and pour from.

But is there any risk in using plastic for water storage?

Yes. Plastic is known to contain BPA (Bisphenol A), an industrial chemical that has several possible health effects, including fetal development issues, behavioral effects in children, increased blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

You can avoid drinking BPA by buying a pitcher that’s BPA-free. Most manufacturers will state this in their marketing details because they know it’s a selling point nowadays.

With that said, a BPA-free plastic product isn’t necessarily 100% safe, especially if the manufacturer has simply swapped BPA for another BP chemical, such as BPF, BPAF, BPP, BPS, BPZ, BHPF, and so on.

If you want to know exactly what a plastic pitcher is made from, you’ll probably have to contact the manufacturer, since this information is unlikely to be available in the marketing materials.

Or, look for a pitcher made from Tritan plastic, which generally isn’t made from BPA or other bisphenol compounds.

Clearly Filtered pitcher parts

📉 How to Maintain a Water Pitcher

We’ve already mentioned the dangers of failing to replace filters on time, which leads to bacteria, mildew, mold, or algae buildup in the filter.

The yearly filter replacement cost is $10-$60, depending on the model, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to ensure safe long-term use of your pitcher.

We’ve shared the filter lifespans of some of the most common pitchers in the table below.

PitcherFilter Capacity (gals.)Time Max. (Months)
Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher1004
Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher1505
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser1505
Aquagear1205-6
Invigorated Water pH Restore964
ZeroWater Filter201
Brita Standard402
Brita Longlast1205-6
Santevia MINA802
Santevia Classic802
PUR PLUS 11 Cup Pitcher402
Proone Water Filter Pitcher2256
Seychelle 1004-5

*Important Note: The length of time a filter lasts is dependent on the quality of water being filtered.

Alongside filter changes, you should also clean the pitcher itself using hot water, soap, and a soft sponge. Try to do this at least once or twice a week.

❔ Are Water Filter Pitchers Safe? FAQ

Is it safe to use a water filter pitcher to filter well water?

No, it’s not usually safe to use a standard water filter pitcher to treat well water – or not without pre-filtration, anyway.

That’s because well water is often much higher in contaminants like iron and sediment than city water, which would clog the filter membrane and significantly shorten its lifespan. Plus, if your well water contains microorganisms, the average water filter pitcher doesn’t usually offer full protection against these impurities.

There are some exceptions, though – such as the Epic Nano Water Pitcher, which is specially designed to treat well water.

Are water filter pitchers worth it?

Yes. If you’re concerned about drinking water contaminants, the best water filter pitchers are worth it. Water pitchers are some of the most affordable means of water filtration, meaning that you can make a relatively small investment in a highly capable system (as long as you choose wisely). To get the best value for your money, look for a water filter pitcher that can remove hundreds of tap water contaminants, like the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher.

Are Brita pitchers safe to use?

Yes, Brita pitchers are safe to use, as long as you change the filters on time. Brita is a trusted brand that has been a leader in the water filtration industry for years. You can trust that Brita’s products are legitimate and do what they’re advertised to do (with official NSF certifications for reassurance). With that said, you can get better filtered water pitchers than Brita’s nowadays, which reduce more impurities and make water safer to drink than any Brita product can.

Are water filter pitchers better than bottled water?

That depends on the pitcher in question and the brand of bottled water. Some bottled water brands purify their water with reverse osmosis, while others simply sell bottled tap water. Regardless of bottled water quality, buying a good pitcher is always better than buying bottled water from an environmental perspective because you’ll be cutting down on your plastic bottle waste.

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