Are Water Filter Pitchers Worth It?

If you’ve clicked on this article, it’s probably because you’ve seen a lot of people raving about water filter pitchers recently, and you want to know whether or not they’re worth your money.

In this guide, we’ll be answering your question: “Are water filter pitchers worth it?” We’ll help you to weigh up the pros and cons of a filtered water pitcher, and share with you the features of the best water filter pitcher models, so you can confidently decide whether or not these filter systems are worth it for you.

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways

  • Some pitcher water filters are worth it, while some are not.
  • Most water pitchers work, meaning that they improve water quality in some way. However, some pitchers are more capable of removing contaminants than others.
  • The advantage of water filter pitchers is that they’re an affordable, portable, easy way to reduce a whole host of common contaminants and improve your water’s taste and smell.
  • However, a few negatives are that pitcher water filters have slow filtration and require frequent filter replacements.
  • Factors that make a water filter pitcher worth it include removing problem contaminants, being within your price range, being built to last, and having NSF testing or certifications.

πŸ€” So, Are Water Filter Pitchers Worth It?

Water filter pitchers are the second-most popular form of filtration, closely following in-line refrigerator filters.

From this, we would deduce that water filter pitchers are clearly worth it – or fans of water filtration think so, anyway.

But not all pitcher water filters offer an equal performance. That means that, in our eyes, some water filter pitchers are worth it, while others are not.

Remember, everyone is different, with their own tap water quality and their own unique situations. A filter that’s worth it for you might not be worth it for your friend in a different state.

Skip to the bottom of the article if you want to learn which factors make a filtered water pitcher worth your money.

Different water filter pitchers

πŸ”Ž Do Water Filter Pitchers Work?

The majority of popular tap water pitchers on the market work – but they might not all work for you.

What do we mean by this? Different pitcher filter models have different purposes.

For instance, if you buy a Brita pitcher, it might only improve your water quality a little bit by reducing chlorine, taste and smell.

On the other hand, if you buy the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher, it’ll significantly improve your water quality by removing 360+ contaminants.

Does that mean that Brita’s pitcher filters don’t work? No – it just means they don’t work as well as Clearly Filtered’s pitcher filters.

But you might only want to improve your water’s taste and smell. In which case, a Brita filter might suit your needs just fine.

Unfortunately, there are a few filtered water pitchers that don’t work at all.

Because of that, we recommend reading guides and reviews from experts (like us!) who test water filter pitchers and following their recommendations to make sure you don’t end up wasting your money on a pitcher that doesn’t filter your tap water at all.

The filters that work best tend to be those that combine multiple media types, including carbon filters, ion exchange resin, KDF media, and more, to reduce a greater range of drinking water contaminants.

How a water filter pitcher works

βš–οΈ Tap Water Filter Pitcher Pros and Cons

The best way to determine whether or not a filtered water pitcher is worth your money? Evaluate the pros and cons of this type of drinking water filter, and decide whether the pros outweigh the cons for your own situation.

Water Filter Pitcher Pros

A few reasons why a water pitcher might be worth it for you are:

They’re An Affordable Filtration Solution

Water filter pitchers start at just $30, and rarely cost more than $100. The annual cost of replacement filter cartridges is around $50.

This makes pitcher tap water filters some of the most affordable filtration solutions on the market.

With a low upfront price and filter cost, pitcher filters are suitable for people who want to significantly reduce contaminants in water, but don’t have the big budget for a larger system.

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

Pitchers are also a good first step into the world of water purification. If you’ve never filtered your water before, you can affordably do so with a filter pitcher.

You can then decide, over time, whether or not you’d like to upgrade to a bigger filtration system.

Looking for great deals? Check out the Best Value for Money Water Filter Pitchers of 2023 πŸ‘ˆ

They Have Great Contaminant Removal Potential

Some of the best water filter brands offer filters that remove hundreds of contaminants, including heavy metals, emerging contaminants like pharmaceuticals, chlorine, chloramine, chromium-6, disinfection byproducts, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and more, greatly improving water taste and quality.

While it’s rare for filtration pitchers to reduce total dissolved solids (like reverse osmosis systems can), these filters are still capable of producing virtually contaminant-free water.

This proves that you don’t have to spend a fortune on an under-sink or whole-home filtration system to benefit from impressive contaminant removal.

Water testing data sheet report

They’re Portable and Convenient

Water filter pitchers are small, compact, and lightweight, which makes them ideal for portable filtration.

You can take a filtered water pitcher anywhere, including to work, on vacation, and any other location that has access to municipal tap water.

This makes water pitchers better options for people who want the convenience of filtered water on the go.

They’re also ideal for people who live in rental properties and can’t make permanent changes to their plumbing, since they don’t need to be installed at your water line.

They Don’t Require a Difficult Installation

Installing a water filter pitcher takes a matter of minutes. Simply insert the filter into the housing beneath the lid, fill the pitcher with water, and click the lid onto the jug.

The biggest task involved in setup is priming the filters, but most brands have made this super simple nowadays. You’ll usually just need to hold the filter under running water for a couple of minutes.

If you hate DIY or you’re not a handy person, you’ll feel comfortable installing a pitcher water filter without professional help.

That means you can save money by avoiding professional installation fees. You’ll be able to set your filter up as soon as you receive it, and start enjoying filtered water straight away.

Assembling a water filter pitcher

They’re Good For The Environment

Finally, using water pitchers in place of drinking bottled water is a great way to reduce your own single-use plastic consumption and help minimize your individual environmental impact.

It’s no secret that plastic waste is a huge issue across the world. If you swap your bottled water habit for drinking filtered water straight from the tap, you’ll help to reduce the tonnes of plastic that end up in landfill sites up and down the country.

Most filters in a pitcher last at least 2 months. The best pitcher filter brands have recycling programs with incentives for returning your used filters to the manufacturer. This means you don’t have to waste any plastic at all if you choose to use a water pitcher.

Water Filter Pitcher Cons

Several reasons why a drinking water pitcher might not be worth it for you are:

They Need Frequent Maintenance

Because pitcher filters have small filter cartridges, you’ll need to buy replacement filters more frequently than you would for larger under-sink or whole-home filtration systems.

The yearly filter replacement cost for pitchers isn’t usually high, but you’ll still need to remember to replace the filters every 2 months or so to prevent bacteria growth and media clogging.

Replacing filters up to 6 times a year might not sound ideal if you’re looking for a low-fuss, minimal-maintenance filtered drinking water solution.

Alongside filter changes, you’ll also need to rinse the pitcher every day and give it a proper clean with hot, soapy water at least once a week. Some pitchers are dishwasher-safe, but most aren’t, so you’ll need to put in the extra effort yourself.

They Have a Small Holding Capacity

Most water filter pitchers have a capacity of 8-12 cups. You can only filter one batch of water at a time, so you don’t get the perks of filtered water on tap (as you would with under-sink or whole home filtration systems).

If you have a big family or a high water demand, even the biggest pitcher filter might not provide a constant supply of filtered water for your needs.

You could buy multiple pitchers to remedy this solution, but two lots of replacement filters come at twice the cost.

They Don’t Produce Instant Results

Even the best water purifier pitcher offers slow filtration. In fact, a slow flow rate in a drinking water pitcher is a good sign, showing that water is having enough contact time with the filter media to allow for thorough contaminant removal.

Still, filter pitchers are slower than most other filtration solutions, and that’s not ideal if you want access to filtered tap water on demand.

Expect to wait up to 15-20 minutes for a pitcher water filter to produce a full batch of contaminant-free water. The good news is that you can pour from most pitchers before the entire batch has been filtered.

Slow water pitcher filtration process

They’re Not Usually Suitable for Well Water

Most water filtration pitchers are only capable of treating a municipal water supply. City tap water contains a whole host of different contaminants to well water, which often contains elevated levels of sediment, hardness minerals, and other impurities that could damage the pitcher filter media.

Plus, most pitcher filter elements don’t have small enough pores to reduce bacteria and other microorganisms as tap water passes through the filter media. While microorganisms are rare in city water, they’re occasionally found in well water supplies.

There are a few exceptions, of course, like the Epic Nano pitcher, which is specially designed for well water contaminant reduction.

You can read our Well Water Filter Pitcher Recommendations for 2023 here! πŸ‘ˆ

πŸ’΅ What Makes A Water Filter Pitcher Worth It?

Now that you know the pros and cons of a water filter pitcher, let’s look at the specific features that make a water pitcher worth your money.

It Removes Your Problem Contaminants

Not all water supplies in the US contain the same percentages of the same contaminants.

The contaminants present in your water supply, and the contaminants removed by a particular pitcher, will determine whether or not that filter pitcher is worth it for you.

For instance, if your water contains PFOA, a filter pitcher that removes at least 95% of this chemical will be much more worth your money than a pitcher that can’t remove PFOA at all.

We recommend testing your water and making a list of all the biggest problem impurities it contains. Then look for the best water filter pitcher that can remove these contaminants (and, ideally, has test results and/or certifications to prove it).

tap score water test report

It’s Within Your Budget

Even some of the best water filter pitchers might not be worth your money if they’re out of your budget.

Luckily, pitchers are some of the cheapest types of filters available today, costing less than $100 upfront and around $25-65 per year for filter changes.

But if your budget is particularly low, you might not want to splash out $70-$90 upfront for a filtered water pitcher.

πŸ“Œ To ensure your purchase is worth it for you, outline a budget before you get started (We recommend setting aside at least $45 for the upfront pitcher cost). Then, read buyer’s guides and customer reviews to find the best-performing water filter pitcher within this price range.

It’s Built To Last (And Has a Warranty)

No water filter pitcher is worth the money if it isn’t designed to withstand years of daily use.

A water filter pitcher should have a solid, durable build that isn’t prone to cracking or breaking.

The more durable a pitcher, the greater its value for money, because you’ll get more use out of it for the initial price you pay.

Still, it’s possible for even the best water filter pitcher brands to have the occasional flawed product, which is why it’s important to choose a brand that offers some sort of warranty against manufacturing defects. That means you’re protected if the water pitcher filter cracks or breaks during your use.

It’s Tested Or Certified to NSF Standards

Finally, we believe that a water pitcher filter is only worth your money if it has been tested or certified to NSF Standards.

An official NSF certification is ideal, since it tells you that the NSF has officially tested the filter and deemed it capable of living up to the manufacturer’s claims.

We also consider independent third-party testing to NSF Standards to be a mark of good quality. Look for pitcher water filters with test results that can be accessed online.

You can then evaluate a filter’s contaminant removal abilities and decide whether or not it’s worth it based on your own water quality issues.

Nsf logo

πŸ“‰ In Summary: Test Your Water

You can’t possibly tell what your water contains just by looking at it, tasting it, or smelling it.

That’s because the majority of drinking water contaminants are invisible.

To know whether or not a filter pitcher is worth your money, you need to know what your water contains, and what you want to remove.

We recommend using a tap water testing kit to detect a whole host of common contaminants present in drinking water supplies across the US.

If you don’t want to spend money on a test, ask your water supplier for a Water Quality Report, which outlines the contaminants present in your water supply after treatment (but doesn’t account for contaminants that might enter your water on its journey to your home).

Once you know which contaminants are present in your water, you can easily find a pitcher that’s worth the money.

Water testing with tap score

❔ Are Water Filter Pitchers Worth It? FAQs

Are water filter pitchers necessary?

Water filter pitchers aren’t necessary if you drink disinfected city water. With that said, many people would say that pitchers are necessary because even treated municipal water contains traces of dangerous contaminants like lead, pharmaceuticals, VOCs, and pesticides. If you’re concerned about drinking any of these impurities in your water, then you might consider a water filter pitcher to be necessary.

Do water filter pitchers work?

Yes, water filter pitchers work, but some pitchers work better than others. The best water filter pitchers can remove hundreds of contaminants effectively, while the cheap filters can only reduce a handful of contaminants.

Are water filter pitchers better than bottled water?

Yes, water filter pitchers are usually better than bottled water because they produce water that contains fewer contaminants than most bottled water brands (with the exception of reverse osmosis treated bottled water) and they help to cut down on the major issue of plastic waste in the world.

Is it worth buying a water filter jug?

It’s worth buying a water filter jug if you’re concerned about the contaminants in your drinking water and you want an affordable way to remove them. Just make sure to buy one of the best water filter jugs that can remove hundreds of contaminants and is worth your money.

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