Table of Contents
- 1 Best Water Filters That Remove Fluoride – Reviews 2020
- 2 Fluoride Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
- 3 What is fluoride?
- 4 How are people exposed to fluoride from drinking water?
- 5 What are potential fluoride health risks?
- 6 How a Fluoride Filter Works
- 7 Water Filters That Remove Fluoride
- 8 Other considerations when purchasing a fluoride water filter
- 9 Frequently Asked Questions
Fluoride is one of the most common drinking water contaminants. This natural mineral can be found in our bones and teeth, as well as in soil, air, plants and rocks. It has some benefits, including its ability to improve weakened tooth enamel, but when consumed in large doses, it can be harmful to health.
Tap water in the US generally contains around 0.7 ppm of fluoride, but to many people, even this relatively small amount of fluoride is unappealing. If you would rather not drink any fluoride at all, you can use a fluoride water filter to remove or greatly reduce the contaminant from your tap water supply.
If you’re looking to buy the best fluoride water filter, this review will help you to make the right decision for yourself and your family. You’ll learn everything you need to know about fluoride in drinking water, including how to remove it, its documented health issues, and the different types of fluoride filters.
Best Fluoride Water Filters
- Countertop – Big Berkey
- Under sink – Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System
- Distiller – Pure Water Mini-Classic Distiller
- Faucet – Waterdrop Water Faucet Filtration System
- Pitcher – Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher
|Big Berkey||Filter longevity: up to 6,000 gallons|
Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5 x 19.2 inches
👉 Read the full review
|Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System||Filtration: 7 stages|
Water Production (GPD): 400
Dimensions: 18.1 x 5.7 x 17.8 inches
Weight: 31 pounds
Get 5% off with code WFG-5OFF
👉 Read the full review
|Pure Water Mini-Classic Distiller||Production rate: 0.8 gallon/ 3.5 hours|
Carafe material: Glass
Dimensions: 13.5 x 9.9 x 15.7 inches
|Waterdrop Water Faucet Filtration System||Filter longevity: 320 gallons|
Dimensions: 8.1 x 7.1 x 2.9 inches
👉 Read the full review
|Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher||Filter capacity: 150 gallons|
Filter stages: 1
Dimensions: 13.7 x 13 x 9 inches
Best Water Filters That Remove Fluoride – Reviews 2020
Countertop – Big Berkey
The Big Berkey countertop water filter is a fluoride filter that is great for families of 1 to 4 people. With an ability to filter approximately 6,000 gallons of tap water before requiring a filter change, this unit takes just minutes to install and can store 2.1 gallons of filtered water at any time, giving you access to filtered water whenever you need it.
Containing two Black Berkey purification elements, the Berkey system can also be bought with two additional PF2 filters, which connect to its lower chamber, and are designed to filter out arsenic and fluoride. If you’re looking for a filter for removing fluoride, it’s a good idea to purchase the Big Berkey with these PF2 filters included.
We looked into the Big Berkey fluoride filter’s purification elements in more detail. They have been tested by the manufacturer and found to remove up to 99.9% of fluoride. According to the manufacturer, it’s common for these carbon-based purification elements to quickly lose effectiveness when it comes to fluoride reduction. For this reason, they recommend using the additional elements, which can remove fluoride contaminants from up to 1,000 gallons of tap water.
While these additional PF2 filters don’t last as long as Big Berkey’s purification elements (which are effective for roughly 3,000 gallons of water each), the manufacturers argue that they still last much longer than alternative filters for removing fluoride, including those that use carbonized bone char.
You can purchase the easy to use Big Berkey fluoride filter in a number of different sizes, so be sure to make the right choice depending on your water usage and the size of your family. The larger sizes are, of course, more expensive, and take up more storage space, so you might want to opt for something smaller if your water consumption is relatively average.
An obvious advantage of the Big Berkey is that it’s portable, and you can fit the upper chamber inside the lower chamber to make it smaller during transport. It doesn’t need to be connected to a faucet like some tap water filters, so you can set it up virtually anywhere in your home.
- Can be set up or stored anywhere; not attached to a pipe so fairly portable
- Fluoride filters are longer lasting
- Fluoride specific filters come at an extra cost
- Quite large; not an ideal space-saving option
Read the full review: Big Berkey Review
Under sink – Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System
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The Waterdrop reverse osmosis system is NSF 58 and 372 certified to reduce a whole host of contaminants in drinking water, including fluoride. It has a tankless design that prevents bacteria breeding, and comes with a smart faucet that displays your exact water quality in real time. The Waterdrop RO system can read the TDS level of your water and lets you know just how clean your water is after filtration.
For homes with high fluoride content in their water, RO systems like the Waterdrop can do the most thorough job at removing almost all traces of fluoride, leaving healthier, better tasting water for drinking. The unit uses a DOW® reverse osmosis membrane that has a higher quality and a longer life, helping it to remove all contaminants with accuracy.
Let’s look in more detail at the NSF 58 Standard, for which the Waterdrop is certified. It’s the American National Standard for RO systems, and requires that RO systems use safe materials, demonstrate structural integrity, and are capable of powerful contaminant reduction performance.
When a manufacturer applies for an NSF 58 certification, they can ask that this certification is backed by tests that verify certain claims made by the manufacturer, including fluoride reduction.
The Waterdrop system is NSF certified for fluoride reduction, which means that the NSF has tested and found the unit to be effective in reducing fluoride. This is a very reassuring sign from a customer’s perspective; it’s proof that the RO unit has been proven to work as advertised.
You can connect the Waterdrop RO system up to your cold water line underneath your kitchen sink. It has a slim, space saving design that won’t take up too much storage space, and it’s very quiet while in operation. It has a 400 GPD water flow rate, so you won’t need to wait around when you’re thirsty.
- RO design removes fluoride almost entirely from water
- Tankless design is more space-saving
- Pricier than other filter options
- Wastes water while in use
Read the full review: Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System
Distiller – Pure Water Mini-Classic Distiller
The Pure Water mini classic is a countertop water distiller that can produce up to 8 gallons of distilled water in 3.5 hours. It uses a vapor distillation process to remove fluoride, as fluoride can’t vaporize and return to liquid form like water particles can. When water evaporates, the fluoride is left behind in the Mini-classic’s boiling tank along with other contaminants, including inorganic compounds and non-volatile molecules.
Distillation is considered one of the most effective ways to remove fluoride from water. A distiller is also a great long term investment, as unlike water filters, it doesn’t need replacing every 3 to 6 months. This means you only need to make the initial investment, and clean the distiller according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Many distillers also have a small filter before the spout to remove any lingering contaminants from water, but these are fairly low-cost to replace.
What makes the Pure Water mini-classic stand out from other distillers is that it has a very simple, compact design. Instead of having a distiller and a water reservoir sitting next to one another, there is a space built into the Pure Water that holds the reservoir, which makes it much tidier to look at.
Designed to last with its stainless steel construction, the Pure Water mini classic distiller doesn’t use any plastic parts that could contaminate water during the distillation process. Set-up is quick and easy, and the unit includes an activated carbon filter that refines water’s taste before it’s served up for you. The Pure Water Mini-Classic is a bigger investment – but thanks to its durability, it should pay itself off in a couple of years.
- Distillation is considered highly effective for removing fluoride
- Can produce up to 8 gallons of water at a time (it’s recommended to drink half a gallon a day)
- Not compact or portable
- Quite a costly upfront price
Faucet – Waterdrop Water Faucet Filtration System
Get 5% off with code WFG-5OFF
The Waterdrop AFC faucet filter system connects up to your faucet to produce instant filtered water at your kitchen sink. It has two NSF certifications, for chlorine and lead, and can also remove fluoride – not many faucet water filters can do this. It’s installed directly to a standard US faucet, and can be set up ready for use in a matter of minutes.
If you’re looking for a small, instant, non-invasive and easy to use means of reducing fluoride in your tap water, the Waterdrop AFC is great for the job. The unit uses a 0.5 micron carbon filter to remove even the smallest of contaminants, and the cartridge lasts for roughly 320 gallons of use before it needs replacing.
The Waterdrop faucet filter system doesn’t have an NSF certification for removing fluoride, which is likely because it uses an activated carbon filter. These filters are designed to remove roughly 60% of fluoride. They aren’t capable of trapping all fluoride isotopes, so the Waterdrop AFC will be effective for fluoride reduction, not removal. However, a 60% fluoride reduction will make your water much safer to drink than no fluoride reduction at all.
You don’t need a plumber or a DIY expert to install the Waterdrop faucet fo;ter at your kitchen sink faucet. Providing the unit fits to your faucet (with or without an adapter), you will simply be able to click it in place and have access to clean drinking water instantly.
You can switch between filtered water and tap water by moving the dial on the filter housing, so you can protect the filter when using hot water and get the most out of its use for drinking water. If you have lead in your water as well as fluoride, you’ll appreciate that the Waterdrop AFC is NSF certified to remove 97% of lead.
- Small and space-saving
- 0.5 micron filter capable of removing fluoride
- Doesn’t fit on non-standard faucets
- Plastic design may not last as long as metal or chrome
Read the full review: Waterdrop Water Faucet Filtration System
Pitcher – Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher
The Aquagear is a water filter pitcher that is NSF tested and certified to remove chlorine and contaminants with a health effect, including fluoride. The US-manufactured filter is BPA-free, and uses recycled materials. According to the manufacturer, the Aquagear pitcher can remove 90.6% of fluoride from drinking water in just a few hours.
Priced at less than $100, the Aquagear filter pitcher is an ideal fluoride-removal solution for health-conscious consumers with lower budgets. After paying the upfront cost of the Aquagear pitcher, you will just need to factor in the price of a filter change after around 150 gallons of use.
You can trust that the pitcher does what it claims to do, as it has been NSF certified to meet Standards 42 and 53. NSF 42 is for chlorine reduction, and NSF 53 is the important Standard if you’re looking for fluoride reduction, as this Standard is for the removal of contaminants that pose a risk to health.
To have obtained its NSF 53 certification, the Aquagear filtered pitcher would have had to undergo third-party testing to prove the legitimacy of its claims. This NSF-certification backs Aquagear’s claims that the filter can remove 90.6% of fluoride through proof of testing.
You will need to change the Aquagear water filter pitcher’s filters after 150 gallons of use – which is a lot longer of a lifespan than you can usually expect from the filters in a standard water pitcher. Filters are recyclable and can be sent back to the manufacturer with their provided postage. The pitcher currently has a lifetime guarantee, and the manufacturer will replace the product if it breaks, which is certainly a very promising sign.
- Great value for money
- Certified to remove 90.6% of fluoride
- Takes several hours to filter water
- Filters a limited amount of water
Fluoride Water Filter Buyer’s Guide
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a mineral that is found in rocks and soil. It can be released into water, and can also be found in naturally occurring levels in certain foods.
How are people exposed to fluoride from drinking water?
In some states, fluoride is added to water to minimize the risk of tooth decay. Fluoride can also make its way naturally into drinking water supplies, and during the treatment process, it is never fully removed.
If you don’t know whether your local area uses fluoride in its water, search online for a water quality report. You will be able to see the exact level of fluoride in your drinking water, and how this compares to the average.
Drinking water is the primary source of fluoride, but you can also find it in some dental products.
What are potential fluoride health risks?
There’s lots of debate about whether the oral hygiene-related benefits of fluoride are worth it when its potential health risks are considered. Some of these health risks are as follows:
Dental fluorosis is characterized by white spots or discoloration on the teeth. It is caused by consuming large amounts of fluoride, especially as a child, when teeth are in the development stage and are still forming under the gums.
Fluorosis doesn’t affect the functioning of the teeth, but it can create aesthetic damage and significantly change the appearance of the teeth. Severe dental fluorosis can even cause pits to form in the teeth.
Adults can’t develop fluorosis. Only children under 8, whose teeth are still developing, are at risk of the condition. The more fluoride sources a child is introduced to, the more at risk they are of developing fluorosis. Ironically, though fluoride is a means of preventing tooth decay, it has the potential to cause discoloration that looks almost as bad as mild decay itself.
Skeletal fluorosis is caused by too much fluoride in the bones. This disease can cause irreparable damage to the bones and joints, which may be accompanied by pain and reduced joint mobility.
A high level of fluoride in a person’s body can cause their bones to become hardened, reducing their flexibility. As a result, people with skeletal fluorosis are more at risk of broken bones and solidified cartilage and ligaments.
One of the most common causes of skeletal fluorosis is drinking water containing a high level of fluoride. Other causes include inhaling fluoride fumes in a factory setting and drinking fluoride tea, especially tea bricks.
One of the organs in the body that is most impacted by excess fluoride is the thyroid. The thyroid gland is particularly sensitive to fluoride, as fluoride mimics TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, enhancing the effects of this hormone needlessly. Fluoride may also force iodine to leave the thyroid gland – iodine is needed for the production of the thyroid hormone.
The thyroid gland is needed for the regulation of the body’s metabolic rate, among other things. When minerals like fluoride interrupt its function, it can lead to a whole host of health issues. There is concern that fluoride intake might be linked to an increased rate of under-active thyroid, characterized by tiredness, weight gain and depression.
Scientists are only presently starting to understand the neurological side-effects of an excess of fluoride. Studies have found that fluoride is a neurotoxin, which means that it can cause damage to the brain. One study has even found that a moderately high fluoride exposure can lead to reduced intelligence.
Fluoride is linked to an impaired capacity to remember and learn, and may harm brain development in unborn babies. It can also lead to neurobehavioral deficits and disorders. More research needs to be carried out into how and why fluoride can have such effects on the brain, but multiple research studies have helped to shine a light on what we know of the issue so far.
Fluoride poisoning, otherwise known as fluoride toxicity, is caused by elevated levels of fluoride in the body. Fluoride is considered safe in small concentrations, but if it is consumed in large amounts, it has the potential to cause serious health complications.
It’s very unlikely that you will experience fluoride poisoning in the US from drinking water, where fluoride is regulated. However, if you drink from a well water source, and do not measure the fluoride content in your water, you may be more at risk.
Other health issues
High levels of fluoride consumption is linked to a number of additional health issues, some more serious than others. There is a possible link between fluoride and cancer, with some studies finding that fluoridation may cause plates in the bone cells to grow faster, eventually forming tumors. However, more studies are needed to support this theory.
Fluoride has also been found to cause an increased risk of arthritis-like joint pain and stiffness, which may be diagnosed as arthritis, but is actually a symptom of low-grade fluoride poisoning. Additionally, fluoride has been linked to hypersensitivity of the skin, gastric distress, headaches and weakness.
One study has found that skeletal fluorosis may lead to abnormalities in the heart and cardiovascular disease. Finally, fluoride has been found to disrupt normal endocrine response and function, which secreted hormones that the body needs for a wide range of functions.
How a Fluoride Filter Works
Fluoride is a suspended particle found in drinking water among other particles, including chlorine, lead and hard water minerals. The role of a fluoride filter is to trap this particle in its media while allowing the rest of the water particles, which are much smaller, to pass through the filter. There are also filters that replace fluoride with another ion. This produces cleaner, fresher drinking water containing a much smaller amount of fluoride (typically 10% of the original content or less).
Water Filters That Remove Fluoride
Countertop fluoride filter
Countertop water filters are, as the name suggests, placed on your kitchen countertop and are usually connected up to your kitchen faucet with a flexible tube. When you turn on your kitchen faucet, water flows through the tube into the filter unit, where it passes through one or several filter media.
It’s common for a countertop fluoride filter to contain a bone char activated carbon filter. This filter exchanges fluoride ions for hydroxide ions, greatly reducing the amount of fluoride in water. Once water passes through the filter, it will come out of the dispenser or faucet attached to the unit.
Under sink fluoride filter
Under sink water filters are connected to the cold water line underneath the kitchen sink. When you turn your faucet on, water flows out of the pipe, through the filter and back into the pipe, where it comes out of the kitchen sink faucet.
Under sink water filters that remove fluoride usually consist of multiple filters, each which is designed to remove sediment and contaminants of different sizes. An under sink filter that removes fluoride will have a filter stage that traps fluoride particles, preventing them from passing any further with the smaller water particles.
A water distiller works by boiling water and evaporating it into steam, and condensing that steam back into liquid form. Distillers don’t have a fluoride removal filter. Instead, during the evaporation process, many contaminants remain left behind in the boiling chamber, as they are unable to change form when heated. Fluoride is one of these contaminants.
The distillation process for 1 gallon of water takes between 4 and 6 hours in a countertop water distiller. But distillation is one of the most thorough and effective means of removing fluoride.
Faucet fluoride filter
Faucet water filters are small, compact filters that attach onto the end of a kitchen faucet. When a faucet is turned on, water flows through the faucet, and then the filter, before coming out of the filter’s spout. The larger particles in the water become trapped in the filter media, leaving cleaner, purer water for drinking.
The majority of faucet water filters don’t reduce fluoride, so be sure to read a product’s description and reviews before committing to a purchase.
Water pitcher filters are the cheapest option for removing fluoride. To use, you simply fill the pitcher with water, then leave the water to pass through the filter, which traps contaminants. It can take around 15 minutes for water to become fully filtered, although exact times depend on the model and the age of the filter.
Again, not many water filter pitchers can effectively filter fluoride, so be sure to do your research carefully. Filters that are capable of fluoride reduction will contain a special type of activated carbon for doing so.
Reverse osmosis filter units are positioned underneath a kitchen sink, and have the same exterior set-up of an under sink filter. They are connected up to the cold water line, and filter drinking water before returning it back to the pipe, where it will continue to the faucet. However, reverse osmosis filters look a lot different on the inside.
These filters use a reverse osmosis membrane that prevents up to 99.9% of total dissolved solids (TDS) from passing through with water. This makes it one of the most effective methods of removing fluoride.
Other considerations when purchasing a fluoride water filter
Not all fluoride removal filters have the same lifespans. Some filters will last for 3 months, while some can last for a year. If you buy a product that has a lower up-front price, consider whether making double the number of filter replacements per year might make it more expensive in the long-run. You will know when your filter needs replacing as it will become much slower at filtering water, or it won’t work at all, so changing a filter is not something you can put off or avoid.
Other contaminants in water
Your main goal might be to remove fluoride from your water, but it’s always worth looking into the other contaminants that a fluoride removal filter can remove. Look online for a water quality report for your local area, and note which contaminants are highest in your drinking water.
If your chlorine content is high, you may want to opt for a filter that is NSF certified for chlorine removal. The same goes for lead, VOCs, herbicides and pesticides, or BPA. If you have a well water source, you should look for a filter that is NSF certified for standard P231, meaning it can remove microbiological particles like viruses and bacteria.
Investment (long term vs. short term)
Some fluoride removal filters, like reverse osmosis filters and water distillers, are very high in price. You might feel nervous at the thought of spending so much money upfront for any product – but the investment should always pay itself off over the years.
When you pay several thousands of dollars for a reverse osmosis filter, you’re investing in something that will last virtually forever providing you treat it well and service it when needed. Faucet water filters, on the other hand, are much cheaper, but tend to become faulty or broken after several years of use. If you’re not prepared to make a long term investment on a filter just yet, start small. You can always make that bigger investment a few years down the line.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know that a filter removes fluoride?
You will read it somewhere in the product description and manufacturer’s marketing. Some products may be certified to NSF Standard 53, the reduction of contaminants that are known to cause health effects.
If a product doesn’t have an NSF 53 certification, turn to customer reviews to see if a customer has posted a “before” and “after” of their water testing results to determine whether the product definitely removes fluoride. Just remember to be open-minded and consider all reviews thoroughly.
Do fluoride shower filters exist?
Yes, though they’re not everywhere at the moment. When looking for a fluoride shower filter, try and find one that’s NSF certified to do what it claims. Also keep in mind that showerhead filters are less effective at thorough water filtration, as water only has a second to pass through the filter media before it comes out of the showerhead at a relatively high pressure. You will find that a fluoride shower filter generally reduces your water’s fluoride level by about half, which, compared to no filtration at all, is still pretty decent.
Is it dangerous to drink fluoride?
In small quantities, no. However, you may prefer not to drink water containing fluoride for your own personal health reasons. If you have children, they are at risk of developing dental fluorosis from too much fluoride consumption, which is another reason why you may choose to reduce your fluoride intake through water as a family.
What types of filters remove fluoride?
Aside from water distillers, which reduce fluoride with distillation, there are several filter media types that can be found in a variety of filter units for fluoride reduction.
Carbon filters can remove around 60% of fluoride, as they can’t remove all fluoride isotopes from water. Bone char activated carbon filters can remove a higher level of fluoride, and replace it with hydroxide. Reverse osmosis filters can remove almost every single fluoride ion from water.