Are Water Filter Pitchers Worth It?

Water filter pitchers are a staple kitchen item in homes across the US. You’ve heard good things about them, and you obviously know the benefits of drinking filtered water – but are water filter pitchers honestly worth your money?

We’ve been testing water filters for more than a decade, and we’ve trialed tens of pitcher filtration systems in that time.In this guide, we’ll be weighing up the pros and cons of water pitchers to help you ultimately decide whether these portable filters are worth it for you.

TL;DR

Water filter pitchers are worth it for most people because they’re one of the most affordable ways to drink clean, filtered tap water from the convenience of your own home.

🤔 What Are Water Filter Pitchers?

Water pitcher filters are pitchers that contain two chambers, separated by a filter.

Water is added to the top chamber. To pass into the lower chamber, it has to travel through the filter. This filter is usually an activated carbon filter (sometimes combined with KDF media or ion exchange resin), and grabs onto contaminants, trapping them in the media.

The result is that the water in the bottom chamber is cleaner, healthier, tastier, and safer to drink.

When you pour water from the spout, only filtered drinking water leaves the pitcher.

How a water filter pitcher works

💲 Water Filter Pitcher Costs

When deciding whether to make an investment in your health, one of the most important considerations is cost.

No matter how promising a lifestyle change might sound, if it’s out of your budget, it won’t feel worth it.

Luckily, pitcher water filters are incredibly inexpensive. These filters are some of the cheapest on the market, so they’re suitable for most budgets.

The average upfront cost of a water filtration pitcher is $20-$50. The annual replacement filter cost is around $50, depending on your system’s filter life and the manufacturer’s pricing.

Contaminant Removal CapabilityUpfront CostReplacement Filter Cost
Low$10-$30$5-$20
Medium$30-$50$20-$50
High>$50>$50

🔎 Water Pitcher Quality

It’s impossible for us to tell you that all pitcher water filters are worth your money, because they’re not.

Like all areas of the market, some water pitchers are cheaply made and poor-quality, while others are exceptionally made and high-quality.

Some filtration pitchers are simply better designed to remove more contaminants than others. For instance, the Clearly Filtered pitcher removes hundreds more contaminants than the standard Brita filter, which was originally considered one of the best of its kind.

🆚 Water Pitchers Vs Other Methods of Filtration

Another big part of deciding whether a filtration pitcher is worth your money is to compare this method of filtration to other methods.

Some of the most popular water filters are:

  • Under-sink filters
  • Reverse osmosis filters
  • Water distillers
  • Whole home filters
  • Faucet filters

While these filters all have their benefits, the majority of them need to be installed at your water line. This means you can get filtered tap water on demand, but the downside is that the installation and setup process is difficult. In comparison, a water purifier pitcher can be set up in a matter of minutes.

clearly filtered under sink filter cold water line

🆚 Water Pitchers Vs Bottled Water

A pitcher water filter system is the more affordable, environmentally-friendly alternative to bottled drinking water. You can get the same taste and water quality from a pitcher, without having to spend hundreds of dollars per year or contribute to the ever-growing plastic waste disaster.

You can read our full water pitcher vs bottled water comparison here.

👍 Water Filter Pitcher Pros

Convenient

Filtration water pitchers are one of the most convenient means of accessing filtered, clean drinking water. You just need to add normal water from your faucet to the jug. This tap water passes through the filter on its way into the bottom chamber. You don’t have to put in the effort to drink clean water. Setup and maintenance are easy, too.

Affordable

The cost of buying and maintaining a pitcher filter is less than $100 for the entire year. If your budget is tight, this type of filter is the best you can expect.

Removes a Range of Contaminants

The best water pitchers can remove hundreds of harmful contaminants, including chemicals, dissolved minerals, metals (i.e. from lead pipes), total dissolved solids, bacteria, and more. Some filter pitchers are even NSF/ANSI certified for contaminant removal. Drinking contaminant-free water ensures you and your family are putting your health first.

Removing dangerous impurities

Improves Tap Water Taste

Filtration pitchers greatly improve the taste of your tap water. Whether you buy a standard filter or something a bit fancier, it’s a given that the filter media will remove contaminants that give water a poor taste, like chlorine. With a pitcher to filter water in your home, you’ll actually want to drink from the faucet.

👎 Water Filter Pitcher Cons

Replacement Filters Needed

The average filter lifespan of the carbon filters in a pitcher is three months. Replacing filters is pretty easy and affordable, but you’ll still need to remember to do it about four times a year.

Limited Capacity

Most filtration pitchers can hold half a gallon of water at most. This means you’ll need to keep refilling the pitcher every time you use up the water, which isn’t as convenient as getting purified water on-demand.

Slow Filtration

Water pitchers take up to 20 minutes to filter a batch of water. Most pitchers are designed to allow you to pour from the jug while water is still filtering, rather than waiting for the entire batch to filter first. Still, if you want water on-demand, you won’t get it with this filter type.

📖 How to Decide Whether Water Filter Pitchers Are Worth Your Money

If you’re still not sure whether a water filtration pitcher is worth it for you, consider the following things.

Would You Rather Drink Filtered Water?

If you’d rather drink filtered tap water, and you’re concerned about what your municipal water contains, a water pitcher filter is worth it for you. The best water filter pitchers remove hundreds of contaminants, from volatile organic compounds to heavy metals and chemicals affecting taste and smell.

How Big Is Your Budget?

Ask yourself how much you’re willing to spend on a pitcher filter, both for the upfront purchase and for the replacement filters (which are needed around four times a year). Luckily, pitcher water filters are really affordable, costing less than $50 per year to maintain, but this might still be above what you’re willing to pay.

Are You Happy to Wait For Filtered Water?

Pitcher filters use gravity filtration, so it can take longer than 10 or even 20 minutes for an entire pitcher of water to be filtered. If you’re not prepared to wait this long, a tap water filter pitcher might not be worth it for you.

Considerations when buying water filter pitcher

Are You Prepared for Maintenance?

You’ll need to buy a replacement filter for your pitcher at least once every three months. This maintenance is minimal, and involves twisting or clicking out the old filter, and replacing it with the new one. Still, if you’re after a completely maintenance-free filtered drinking water solution, a pitcher water filter might not be right for you.

Do You Care About Your Health?

Ultimately, if you care about your family’s health, a drinking water pitcher will more than likely be worth it for you. Drinking pitcher-treated water is incredibly reassuring. You know that you’re not putting anything dangerous into your body, and you’re protected from potential contamination and pollution of your local water source.

🧠 Water Filter Pitcher FAQs

What are the best water filter pitcher brands?

Based on our testing for our best water filter pitcher guide, we shortlisted some of the most capable brands: Clearly Filtered, PUR Filter, Epic, Invigorated Water, and Proone. These brands can remove more contaminants than any other water filter pitcher on the market – we’re talking hundreds.

Are water filter jugs necessary?

No. If you have access to a municipal water supply, your water quality is deemed safe for drinking by the EPA. But that doesn’t mean that you personally want to drink water containing traces of chemicals, heavy metals, and other dangerous contaminants. Water pitchers are necessary if you want to filter drinking water in your home and make it 100% safe for consumption.

What is better, faucet filter or pitcher?

It depends on your preferences. Do you want filtered tap water on demand, or are you happy to wait several minutes and get a higher-quality filtered product? Both filters cost about $30 upfront and $50 per year to maintain, so this is a decision you can base on your needs, not your budget.