These are the top carbon whole house water filters based on their contaminant removal abilities, installation and maintenance requirements, water flow rates, and affordability.
SoftPro Chlorine+ Filter
📌 Things You Need to Know
- The reason you’re struggling to find the most suitable carbon whole house filtration system is because carbon filtration media is most commonly found in smaller, point-of-use systems. You’re probably unsure about which features to look out for in a whole house carbon filter, and what makes a system worth your money.
- We know how difficult it can be to choose the best whole house carbon filter, so we’ve simplified your research process by outlining everything you need to know in this review.
- To ensure you buy the best carbon whole house water filtration system, you should know your budget, your water quality, your required system size and flow rate, and your requirements for testing and/or NSF certifications.
- Also consider the system’s installation and maintenance requirements and the manufacturer’s warranty and guarantee.
Table of Contents
- 🥇 Best Carbon Whole House Water Filters
- 📊 Comparison Chart of Carbon Whole House Water Filters
- ⭐ Reviews – Best Best Carbon Whole House Water Filters 2023
- 🧾 Whole House Carbon Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
- 🤔 What Is a Carbon Whole House Water Filtration System?
- 👍 Benefits Of Carbon Whole House Water Filter Systems
- 📝 What to Consider When Buying the Best Whole Home Carbon Water Filter
- ❔ Frequently Asked Questions
🥇 Best Carbon Whole House Water Filters
- Best Overall: SpringWell CF
- Top Cartridge Based System: Evo E-1000
- Runner Up: SoftPro Chlorine+ Filter
- Alternative Tank Based System: US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus
- Runner Up Cartridge Based: Home Master HMF2SdgC
📊 Comparison Chart of Carbon Whole House Water Filters
SoftPro Chlorine+ Filter
USWS BodyGuard Plus
Home Master HMF2SdgC
|Capacity||1,000,000 gallons||80,000 gallons||600,000 or 1M gallons||1,000,000 gallons||100,000 gallons|
|Flow Rate||9-20 GPM||15 GPM||6-15 GPM||10-20 GPM||20 GPM|
|Annual Cost||~$40||$120-$300||~$40||~$60||$250 – $500|
|Warranty||Lifetime||Lifetime (limited)||Lifetime||Lifetime, 10 years, 5 years||2 years|
⭐ Reviews – Best Best Carbon Whole House Water Filters 2023
SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System
In our opinion, the SpringWell CF is the best overall carbon whole house water filter available today. Why? Because this system blows its competitors out of the park with its incredibly thorough 4-stage filtration, including catalytic carbon coconut shell filtration media, significantly improving the taste, smell, and overall quality of chlorinated drinking water. This system removes chlorine AND chloramine, which is rare for a carbon filter.
What else puts this SpringWell system at the top of our list? It’s a tank-based filter, which means it requires minimal maintenance and has a durable, sturdy build that’s designed to stand the test of time. Plus, its components are NSF certified, and your purchase is protected by SpringWell’s superior limited lifetime warranty and 6-month money-back guarantee.
- Thorough carbon filtration – You’re looking for the best whole house carbon filtration system, and the SpringWell CF delivers with a coconut shell carbon media – which has been noted in a 2013 study to have “considerable potential” as a cost-effective filtration material thanks to its ability to remove a range of contaminants (including MTBE) to a non-detectable level.
- 4 stages of filtration – Alongside its carbon media, this SpringWell model also uses a sediment filter and KDF media, with a final stage that eliminates channeling and increases the contact time between the water and the media. In all, these filter stages almost completely remove chlorine, chloramine, PFOS and PFOAs, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, haloacetic acids, MTBE & TTHM, and more.
- Three sizes/ flow rates – The SpringWell CF shouldn’t reduce your water flow rate – as long as you choose the right size for your home. There are three sizes available: a 9 GPM model for homes with 1-3 bathrooms, a 12 GPM system for 4-6 bathrooms, and a 17 GPM unit for 7+ bathrooms. Since the average family needs a whole-home flow rate of 6-12 GPM, the smaller 9 GPM model should be suitable for most families of 2-4.
Folks looking for the best value, most capable carbon whole house water filter system sold by a trusted manufacturer and backed by a lifetime warranty.
- We appreciate that all the components in the SpringWell CF are made in the USA and NSF-certified, so they’re guaranteed to offer the quality we’re all looking for.
- The SpringWell CF is one of the easier-to-install carbon whole house water filters available today, and most customers were able to install the system themselves. Plus, thanks to the media’s long 6-10 year lifespan, maintenance is minimal – just change the sediment pre-filter cartridge every 6-9 months.
- SpringWell’s lifetime warranty and 6-month money-back are simply unbeatable.
- We’re a little disappointed that SpringWell doesn’t share its test results online, and the carbon media isn’t NSF certified.
- Some customers struggled to install the system and source the parts needed for installation.
Read the full review: SpringWell CF Water Filter System Review
The Evo E-1000 is our top-choice cartridge-based carbon whole house water filter system on this list. Why? Because this system is sturdier, longer-lasting, and better-value than any other cartridge-based carbon system on the market today, thanks to its 80,000-gallon filter cartridge lifespan and massive 15 GPM flow rate.
Plus, just like the SpringWell CF, the Evo E-1000 is capable of reducing chlorine AND chloramine with a dedicated catalytic carbon filter cartridge. Costing less than $1,000 upfront, this Evo Water Systems model is a fantastic value for money.
- Catalytic carbon block media – The Evo E-1000 Whole House Water Filter uses a highly effective type of carbon media in a dedicated filter cartridge: catalytic carbon. This media reduces chlorine, chloramine, benzene, PFAS, chloroform, and hundreds more chemicals and organics. Very impressive.
- Washable sediment pre-filter – There’s also a sediment filter cartridge that protects the carbon filter. Handily, this filter is washable and reusable, reducing your annual maintenance costs.
- 80,000-gallon filter lifespan – The carbon and sediment filter cartridges last up to 80,000 gallons and only need replacing once a year.
Anyone who wants the simple design and installation of a cartridge-based system and prefers to spend a little less upfront for once-yearly filter changes.
- We think the Evo-1000 is one of the most capable cartridge-based carbon whole house filters available today. It removes hundreds of contaminants – and has a handy data sheet showing us exactly which impurities are targeted.
- Don’t think that you’re at a disadvantage by choosing a cartridge-based system. The Evo E-1000 has an impressive flow rate of up to 15 GPM – that’s 7 GPM higher than the smallest SpringWell CF’s flow rate! – and is suitable for households with up to 6 bathrooms.
- If you’re DIY-adverse, you’ll love how easy it is to install this system. It only requires two connections and has a no-frills design.
- You won’t get any unpleasant carbon dust in your water from this sold carbon block filter.
- We’d love to see an NSF certification for the Evo-1,000’s performance, but so far, nothing.
- You’ll have to spend more money per year on this system because of the frequent cartridge replacements.
Read the full review: Evo E-1000 System Review
SoftPro Chlorine+ Filter
The SoftPro Chlorine+ Filter is our runner-up tank-based carbon whole house water filter system. This unit is almost $200 cheaper than the SpringWell CF, reduces chlorine AND chloramine, and has two official NSF certifications – but it isn’t as sturdily built as SpringWell’s model, and it doesn’t seem that a sediment filter or any other filtration stages are included with this model.
- Catalytic carbon media – Like our top pick tank-based and cartridge-based whole house filter systems, the SoftPro Chlorine+ system uses catalytic carbon, an upgraded, more effective version of activated carbon media.
- Great contaminant removal – The pre-installed catalytic carbon media reduces chlorine, chloramine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides, some heavy metals, disinfection byproducts, poor tastes and odors, THMS, and more. We just wish there was a contaminant removal data sheet for us to view online.
- Efficient upflow technology – This SoftPro model uses upflow technology, which turns the media upside down from the bottom to allow for increased contact time – and therefore increased filtration.
Folks with small budgets who prefer low-maintenance tank-based carbon filtration but don’t want to spend upwards of $1,000 upfront on a whole house filter system.
- The media in the SoftPro Whole House Chlorine+ Filter media has a long lifespan of 6-10 years, so this system’s maintenance frequency is much less than a cartridge-based system.
- We think this SoftPro system is one of the best budget-friendly carbon whole house water filtration systems available today. It costs$800, so it won’t break the bank. But, unlike other budget-friendly systems, the SoftPro Chlorine+ doesn’t sacrifice quality due to its low upfront cost.
- Let’s end with the biggest benefit of all (in our eyes!): the system has an NSF/ANSI 61 certification for the removal of contaminants with health effects, AND an NSF 372 certification for lead-free materials. Just what we want to see.
- We can’t find any evidence of contaminants removed, so we’ll just have to take SoftPro’s word for it.
- There are no sediment filters included with this whole house filter, so you’ll need to buy one separately.
Read the full review: SoftPro Chlorine+ Filter Review
US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus
Based on our research, the US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus is the best alternative tank-based chlorine whole house water filter available today.
This system drew us in with its promise to reduce tens of contaminants with two media types – catalytic carbon AND coconut shell granular activated carbon (GAC) – but it’s about the same price as the SpringWell CF, and since it doesn’t have NSF certified components and pre-filtration costs extra, we still think SpringWell’s model is better-value.
- Two carbon media in one – There’s not one, but two, types of filter media in the BodyGuard Plus’ tank: catalytic carbon and granular activated carbon (GAC). Combining these two media should allow for even more thorough filtration, because if one media manages to miss certain contaminants, the other media shouldn’t. Also included is a 5-micron sediment pre-filter, which removes large particles and protects the carbon media.
- Broad contaminant removal – Like all the best carbon filters on this list, the BodyGuard Plus greatly reduces chloramine, chlorine, pesticides, and other chemicals and organics. There’s no data sheet and no test results to view online, though.
- Available in 3 flow rates – You can choose between three system capacities and flow rates: 10, 15 and 20 GPM. That’s a slightly faster starting flow rate than the SpringWell CF’s 9 GPM smallest model.
People who like the sound of a whole house filter system that combines two types of carbon media to thoroughly reduce common contaminants in their drinking water supply.
- The BodyGuard Plus is one of the most efficient carbon whole house water filters on this list thanks to its smart valve technology and backwashing. It uses minimal waterduring backwash cycles – plus, it’s an upgraded design that contains 35% more filter media.
- We think the big selling point of this system is that it combines two types of carbon media, while most other whole home carbon water filters use just a single media type: catalytic carbon. Does this guarantee more thorough contaminant removal? No – but chances are, using two filter media will remove a broader range of contaminants than just one.
- The 10-year warranty on the valves and electronics and the 5-year media warranty are great (although not quite the SpingWell CF’s limited lifetime warranty).
- We couldn’t find anything to suggest that this filter is tested or certified to NSF Standards.
- You have to pay extra for the optional pre-filters, but we think pre-filtration is essential.
Home Master HMF2SdgC
We think the Home Master HMF2SdgC is the runner-up cartridge-based whole house carbon filtration system, closely following the Evo E-1000. This three-stage system has a fast 15 GPM flow rate and an average 1-year filter life. Plus, it’s affordable, costing around $550 without add-ons.
Why does the HMF2SdgC take second place in this list, and not first? Because it doesn’t appear to remove as many contaminants as the Evo E-1000, including chloramine, probably because it uses GAC and not catalytic carbon (which is known to have more contaminant removal capabilities) With that said, it’s a better choice for well water because the second filter stage is a dedicated iron filter.
- Granular activated carbon media – The media used in the Home Master HMF3SdgFeC’s third-stage filter is granular activated carbon (GAC), a type of carbon filter that’s proven effective at reducing chemicals, especially organic chemicals that affect taste and odor, from water.
- Three-stage filtration – The GAC filter is combined with a sediment filter and an iron filter, which remove a broader range of contaminants than you’d get with carbon filtration alone, including up to 95% volatile organic compounds, sediment, herbicides, pesticides, chlorine, iron (up to 3 PPM), and sediment.
- Oversized fittings and filters – You get an impressive flow rate of 15 GPM from this Home Master system. The unit’s oversized fittings and filters should prevent a noticeable drop in water pressure.
Folks looking at cartridge-based well water filters with a dedicated carbon cartridge for chlorine & chemical removal.
- The Home Master HMF2SdgC is a good option for a chlorinated well water supply, thanks to its ability to reduce chlorine (and other chemicals), up to 3 PPM of iron, and sediment. Here’s the full list of chemicals the carbon filters can remove.
- As a cartridge filter system, this Home Master model has a simple, DIY-friendly design and only needs filter changes once or twice a year.
- You’re protected by a reassuring 2-year warranty when you buy this unit.
- The Home Master HMF2SdgC is the only filter system on this list that doesn’t reduce chloramine.
- You’ll need to buy a few additional parts for the installation process, and buying even one pressure gauge costs extra.
🧾 Whole House Carbon Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
In this buyer’s guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about whole house carbon filters, including what they are, what they can remove, media vs cartridge-based filters, and what to consider before buying a carbon whole house water filter system.
🤔 What Is a Carbon Whole House Water Filtration System?
💡 A carbon whole house water filtration system is a type of whole home filter that uses carbon media to reduce or remove common drinking water contaminants.
There are two types of carbon whole house water filters: tank-based systems (which use pre-loaded media in a large tank) and cartridge-based systems (which use one or several smaller filter cartridges).
How Does a Carbon Whole House Water Filter Work?
Carbon media uses a filtration process known as adsorption. As water flows through the media, contaminants are pulled into the filter pores, in the same way that a sponge soaks up water.
Over time, the media’s pores become more and more clogged, until the filter needs to be replaced with a fresh cartridge, or backwashed to flush the contaminants out of the media.
The most common contaminants removed by the carbon adsorption process are chlorine, disinfection byproducts, pesticides, herbicides, PFOS, PFOA, some VOCs, some heavy metals, and (sometimes) chloramine.
👍 Benefits Of Carbon Whole House Water Filter Systems
Some of the benefits of a carbon whole house water filter are:
Filter Whole-Home Water Supply
A whole house carbon filter removes contaminants in your entire water supply, so you can wash with, drink, cook with, and clean your dishes and clothes in chlorine-free water.
Easy To Maintain
Maintaining a carbon whole house water filter is simple. Just replace the filter cartridges or program the system to backwash as advised by the manufacturer.
Don’t Waste Water or Use Electricity
Whole house carbon water filtration systems run off water pressure, so they don’t need electricity to operate. Plus, they don’t waste water, so they’re efficient, too.
Retain Healthy Minerals
Despite their impressive contaminant removal, carbon water filter systems don’t remove beneficial minerals from water, so they retain water’s health properties and pleasant alkaline taste.
Finally, the best carbon whole house water filtration systems are cost-effective in the long run, eliminating your need to spend money on bottled water and costing very little to maintain year-by-year.
📝 What to Consider When Buying the Best Whole Home Carbon Water Filter
When you’re shopping around for carbon whole house water filters, consider the following factors:
Your budget will determine the type of carbon whole house filtration system you can buy.
📌 Cartridge-based systems are the cheapest, costing around $300-$600. However, these have the highest long-term maintenance costs, since the filters typically need changing every 6-12 months.
Tank-based systems cost more – around $1,000-$1,500 – but they have a media that lasts 6-10 years or longer, so you pay more upfront for the greatly reduced long-term maintenance costs.
Your Water Quality
The quality of your water, and the contaminants you’re most concerned about, should also influence your purchase.
Some whole house carbon filters are simply better than others at removing certain contaminants. If you have chloraminated water, for instance, you’ll need a carbon filter that removes chloramine. Or, if you’re particularly concerned about PFOS and PFOA, look for a carbon filter that reduces at least 90% of these contaminants – and has test results as proof.
If you don’t already know your water quality, get a water sample tested by a certified laboratory. This will give you the information you need to buy a carbon whole house water filter that effectively targets your drinking water contaminants.
The Type of Carbon
The type of carbon a system contains, and the complexity of the filtration media, may affect the contaminants it can remove.
📌 The best types of carbon in a whole house water filter are various forms of activated carbon filter media (such as coconut shell carbon, granular activated carbon, and charcoal carbon). Catalytic carbon is superior to normal activated carbon, offering chlorine and chloramine removal.
You may find carbon block filter media used in a whole house filter system, but this is rarer in POE units, since carbon block is known to reduce flow rate.
NSF Certifications & Testing
The most reassuring proof of a carbon whole house water filter’s performance is an official NSF certification.
Some whole house water filtration system companies obtain an NSF 42 certification, for the reduction of chlorine, tastes and odors (the most common certification for carbon filters).
Even if a filtration system doesn’t have an official NSF certification, proof of testing to NSF Standards – in the form of an online data sheet or test report – is also reassuring.
System Size(s), Capacity & Flow Rate
The size, capacity, and flow rate of a carbon whole house water filter is essential to know before you buy the system.
Most manufacturers offer at least two system sizes: one for homes with 1-3 bathrooms and one for homes with 4+ bathrooms.
Smaller systems typically have a flow rate of 7-10 GPM, while larger systems have a flow rate of 12+ GPM.
📌 The goal isn’t to buy the biggest system possible. In fact, oversizing a system could actually damage your plumbing. Make sure the flow rate is fast enough for your home, though, to prevent reduced water pressure in your faucets and appliances.
Installation & Maintenance
The average carbon whole house water filtration system is suitable for DIY installation.
With that said, if you’re not a confident DIY-er, or you just don’t enjoy DIY, you might want to pay a plumber (usually costing about $200 extra) to install the system for you.
A plumber can ensure that the installation is compliant with local and national plumbing codes and regulations. Installation involves cutting into your main water line, and you might simply feel reassured to have a professional handle the job for you.
As for maintenance, this depends on the type of carbon filtration system you buy. Tank-based filters require far less maintenance than cartridge-based filters. This is because cartridge filter systems have smaller cartridges that need replacing every 6-12 months or so, while media systems use a large tank containing media that lasts 6-10 years or longer.
Warranty & Trial Period
Regardless of the carbon whole house water filter you’re interested in, don’t buy it unless it has a warranty.
📌 The best carbon water filtration systems have a warranty of at least 5 years. Some manufacturers, like SpringWell, also offer money-back guarantees to allow you to trail the system at no risk for a certain period of time (usually 6 weeks – 6 months).
❔ Frequently Asked Questions
What carbon is best for water filtration?
The best type of carbon for water filtration is activated carbon. Why? Because activated carbon uses adsorption to trap harmful contaminants like chlorine and disinfection byproducts in water, improving its taste, odor, and health properties.
Are whole house carbon filters worth it?
Yes, whole house carbon filters are worth it if you’re looking to filter the water in your entire home, including your faucets, showerheads, and water-using appliances. A carbon whole house water filter will remove chlorine from the water you cook with, wash with, drink, and wash your clothes and dishes in, eliminating this harmful chemical from your household.
How long does a whole house carbon water filter last?
On average, a whole house water filter using pre-loaded carbon media in a tank lasts 6-10 years. Carbon water filter cartridges last 6-12 months before they need replacing, depending on the cartridge size.
How much is a carbon water filter for whole house?
The average cost of a carbon whole house filtration system is $800-$1,500. Factors affecting the cost of the system include its size and capacity, its filter type (e.g. tank-based vs cartridge-based) and number of filter stages, and the filter brand.
What does a whole house carbon filter remove?
Depending on the quality and complexity of the filter, a whole house carbon water filter should be able to remove chlorine, disinfection byproducts, some heavy metals, PFOA and PFOS, pesticides, herbicides, and potentially also chloramine.