Lead is one of the most infamous and dangerous water contaminants. These are the best water filters for lead removal on the market as recommended by our experts.
Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
Lead is one of the most dangerous drinking water contaminants, which according to the World Health Organization “the body stores lead in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time“. Yet an estimated 6-10 million lead service lines still exist in the US today. This means that many of us are drinking trace amounts of this toxic metal without even knowing it.
It’s not usually possible to prevent lead contamination, which is why water filters are so important. But with so many options available, how do you know what’s worthwhile and what’s not going to cut it as far as lead removal is concerned?
Our team has spent many hours researching, testing, and comparing over a dozen lead-removing water filters in our own homes, as well as discussing features and posing questions to manufacturers and customer service reps to verify claims. From here, we were able to produce this comprehensive resource, ranking the best lead removal water filters based on their performance abilities, filter capacity, and overall value for money.
Let’s take a closer look at all our top picks.
Table of Contents
- 🥇 Best Water Filter for Lead
- 📊 Comparison Chart of Water Filters for Lead Removal
- 🏷️ The Best Lead Removal Water Filters in the News: The Latest Deals and Discounts
- ⭐ The Best Water Filters For Removing Lead 2023
- 📊 Methodology: How We Tested and Determined Which Lead Removal Water Filter is Best
- ❔Frequently Asked Questions
🥇 Best Water Filter for Lead
- Top Pick & Best Pitcher: Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
- Top Under-Sink Filter: Waterdrop G3P800
- Best Whole House System: SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
- Best Countertop RO: AquaTru
- Larger Holding Capacity: ProOne Big+
- Top Faucet Filter: PUR Plus Faucet Filtration System
📊 Comparison Chart of Water Filters for Lead Removal
|System||Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher||Waterdrop G3 P800||SpringWell Whole House System||AquaTru||ProOne Big+||PUR Plus Faucet Filtration System
|Certifications or Testing||NSF 42, 53, 401 & 473||NSF 58, 372||NSF 53, P473||NSF 42, 53, 58, 401, P473||NSF 42, 53, P231||NSF 42, 53, 401|
|Filter Life||100 gal.||6, 12, 24 months||100,000 gal.||600 – 1,200 gal.||1,000-1,200 gallons||100 gal.|
|Annual Cost||$140 – $200||~$145||$300 – $650||~$100||~$100||$50 – $100|
|Warranty||Lifetime||1 year||Lifetime||1 year||1 year||2 years|
🏷️ The Best Lead Removal Water Filters in the News: The Latest Deals and Discounts
Before jumping into our reviews of the best water filters for removing lead, we’ve summarized some of the discounts, deals, and news for the products mentioned in this guide. This section is updated regularly.
- Get 20% off on Clearly Filtered filtration systems – Black Friday Sale
- Up to 50 percent off Waterdrop G3P800 through November 26
- Save 12% on all Springwell systems, ends November 26th
- 25 percent off on all ProOne products until December 31st
⭐ The Best Water Filters For Removing Lead 2023
Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
Tested to reduce an impressive 360+ drinking water contaminants, including up to 99.3% of lead, our testing found that the Clearly Filtered water filter pitcher is head and shoulders above any other filter pitcher on the market.
|Pb Reduction Rate||99.3%|
|Certifications/Testing||NSF 42, 53, 401 & 473|
|Process||Carbon + Ion Exchange|
|Filter Life||100 gal.|
|Annual Cost||$140 – $200|
The Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher provided a portable solution for lead removal from our kitchen faucet water. We specifically wanted to find an affordable option for removing lead from our drinking water – and the Clearly Filtered pitcher delivered. In fact, it most definitely over-delivered, because it removed tens of other trace contaminants from our water while retaining the good stuff (dissolved minerals and salts). Once assembled (there’s no hassle of permanent installation here), we were able to enjoy filtered, lead-free water within a matter of minutes.
People looking for a no-fuss, no install portable filtration system with an exceptional performance, that can filter lead and hundreds of other contaminants.
What We Like
- Removes up to 99.3% lead
- Also greatly reduces 360+ other contaminants
- Portable, no-install filter
- Independently tested to NSF Standards
- WQA certified to standards 42 & 53
What We Don’t Like
- Majority plastic design
- 4-month filter life is short
- Expensive for a pitcher
Superior Lead & Contaminant Removal Abilities
Not only does the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher reduce between 95% to 100% of lead, it also serves as the most comprehensive point-of-use contaminant removal solution we could have asked for. With the brand’s patented Affinity Filtration (which we know to be a blend of activated carbon, ion exchange resin, and other media), the single cartridge in the pitcher can remove more than 360 contaminants.
We’ve tested tens of water pitcher filters for WaterFilterGuru, and many of them can reduce chlorine enough to improve water’s taste – and that’s about it. The Clearly Filtered pitcher showed us firsthand just how capable a water filter pitcher can be, despite our assumed limitations of a smaller filter cartridge. Plus, the filter has been WQA certified to NSF Standards 42 and 53, and has been third-party tested to Standards 401 and 473.
Light, Durable Plastic Design
There’s no avoiding the fact that the Clearly Filtered pitcher is made of plastic. But we did some research into Tritan plastic (the kind used by Clearly Filtered) and learned that it’s one of the strongest, toughest plastics – and, importantly, is BPA- and BPS-free.
The filters also have a plastic casing, which houses the filter media. These last up to 100 gallons, or 4 months, depending on your water quality and usage. While this filter lifespan is slightly better than the 2-3-month average for water filter pitchers, it’s worth noting that you will still need to replace your filters at least 3 times a year, so this solution is slightly more maintenance-heavy than other options. Replacement filters aren’t cheap, either – we purchased a 3-pack bundle of filters for around $140.
|Pitcher + 3 Pack||$245|
|Pitcher + 6 Pack||$395|
Easy To Assemble & Portable
We don’t mind getting stuck into a lengthy installation process when the situation arises, but we’re always relieved to test a no-install water filter like the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher. The pitcher was shipped to us partially pre-assembled and required just a few basic tasks to get it set up and ready to use. We filled the included priming bag with cold water, attached it to the filter, and squeezed the bag to send the water through the filter. We noted that the filter could be primed more thoroughly, with less chance of missing certain areas of filter media, compared to the usual process (holding the filter under running water).
Once assembled and primed, we could use the filter right away. As a water pitcher filter, we knew that the rate of water production would be slower, so this wasn’t a priority for us. But we were pleased with the steady trickle of water from the bottom of the filter. Just don’t expect this to be an instant filtered water solution – it took just about 5 minutes for enough water to filter into the bottom reservoir for us to fill a glass.
Portability was a highlight for us. We kept the pitcher on our kitchen countertop mostly, but we occasionally took it to our home office, and even on various staycations in the area. It was handy being able to whip out the pitcher, with no install needed, and start filtering water in any location with a water faucet that may potentially have lead contamination.
Based on our testing, the top contender in the under-sink RO category for lead removal is the Waterdrop GP3800, which is IAPMO certified to greatly reduce TDS, including lead.
|Pb Reduction Rate||99%|
|Certifications||NSF 58, 372|
|Process||RO + Carbon + UV|
|Filter Life||6, 12, 24 months|
The Waterdrop GP3800 is one of numerous offerings from Waterdrop, a manufacturer that’s well-known for its efficient tankless under-sink RO systems. The GP3800 caught our eye as the best under-sink RO solution for lead removal because it’s officially certified by IAPMO to NSF/ANSI 58 for the reduction of up to 99.99% of TDS. Since lead is classed as a dissolved solid, we were confident that this system would be up to the task of reducing lead levels in our water – and it delivered.
As a tankless system, the GP3800 didn’t take up all the space in our under-sink cabinet with a bulky storage tank. Plus, the 800 GPD (gallon per day) flow rate is on the higher end for a tankless system.
|Remineralization Filter||$29.99||Adding minerals back to water|
|Refrigerator Connector||$32.99||Connect RO system to refrigerator water line|
Folks looking for a forward-thinking, smart tankless RO system that greatly reduces lead and up to 99.99% of other TDS from drinking water.
What We Like
- 7 comprehensive filtration stages
- IAPMO certified for TDS reduction
- Space-saving design
- Easy to use
What We Don’t Like
- Expensive for a POU system (it costs around $1,000)
- No remineralization filter included
Comprehensive RO Filtration
One of the reasons we were so keen to test the Waterdrop GP3800 is because we’d heard great things about its performance. It packs 7 stages of filtration into a single 5.7-inch-wide unit – pretty impressive. In our testing the unit eliminated 100% of the lead from our water supply, meaning that the unit offered complete protection against this contaminant. And, of course, lead wasn’t the only contaminant removed. The reverse osmosis process removes virtually everything, and the GP3800 didn’t let us down in this respect. To be absolutely certain of our water’s TDS reading, we used our own TDS meter (rather than the one on the RO faucet), and our TDS levels were consistently reduced by at least 90%.
See how the Waterdrop GP3800 performed, as determined by our third-party laboratory analysis.
|Total Dissolved Solids||84 PPM||15 PPM||82.14%|
|Arsenic||0.0029 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Barium||0.0283 PPM||0.0033 PPM||88.34%|
|Calcium||20.2 PPM||2.6 PPM||87.13%|
|Chloride||2.2 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Copper||0.203 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Fluoride||0.3 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Lead||0.0008 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Magnesium||2.13 PPM||0.27 PPM||87.32%|
|Manganese||0.0048 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Nitrate (as N)||1.1 PPM||0.1 PPM||90.91%|
|Potassium||2.12 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Selenium||0.0015 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Sodium||9.33 PPM||1.65 PPM||82.32%|
|Strontium||0.199 PPM||0.025 PPM||87.44%|
|Sulfate||7.8 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
Easy Setup & Use
We knew that we, and many other users, preferred a more modern take on the conventional tank-based under-sink reverse osmosis system, and the GP3800 ticked our boxes here. The unit is space-saving thanks to its tankless design, and we found the installation process to be manageable, if not long (it took us just over two hours from start to finish). The instructions are clear, and we think you’ll manage it yourself even if you’re not super handy. We watched the video installation guide to understand exactly what the process should look like.
After we’d installed the system, the display on the smart faucet notified us that the system was performing an initial flush. Once the TDS level was displayed, we knew the system was operational. Accessing purified water was as simple as opening the handle on the dedicated faucet and waiting for the water to flow out. We got reminders on the faucet and system housing when the filters needed to be changed, so that was something we didn’t have to put too much thought into, either.
SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
Our top pick for the best whole-house lead filter system is the SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System. This water filtration system is the most capable whole-home lead filter from a trusted manufacturer, and has been third-party tested and certified to remove 99.95% of lead according to NSF Standard 53.
|Pb Reduction Rate||99.95%|
|Certifications or Testing||NSF 53, P473|
|Process||Mechanical + Ion Exchange|
|Filter Life||100,000 gal.|
|Annual Cost||$300 – $650|
- Removes almost 99.95% of lead – the SpringWell is third-party certified to NSF Standard 53 to remove 99.95% of heavy metals including lead.
- Certified for PFOS/PFOA removal – a bonus third-party certification for the SpringWell water filter system is for NSF/ANSI P473 standard for PFOA/PFOS removal. PFOA and PFOS are just as dangerous as lead in water.
- Removes two types of lead – The 0.5-micron water filtration system removes particulate lead (tiny grains of lead that need to be physically removed) and soluble lead (invisible lead, which is removed by ionic bonding).
- Good warranty and trial period – The tanks and valves are backed by a lifetime warranty, and the system has a 6-month guarantee.
|UV Water Purification System||$1100.99||Boil water advisory protection|
|Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System||$442.23||Drinking water|
|Sediment Filter Canister + 5 Micron Filter||$83.23||Prefiltration|
Best for: Anyone looking for the most reliable whole-house water filter system to remove lead from all the water they wash with, cook with, and use for drinking.
- The SpringWell water filter system is the best water filter for lead removal for whole-home use, removing almost 100% of lead from water.
- With its space-saving design, the SpringWell whole-home lead removal water filter system packs its entire filtration process into a single tank.
- SpringWell is a trusted brand, so you know you’re spending your money smartly and making a good investment in this system.
- If you want to protect the system with a sediment filter, you have to pay for this filter separately.
- Even with the installation kit, you may find it too difficult to install this filtered water system yourself.
The AquaTru is our top pick for the best countertop reverse osmosis lead filter. The unit has been certified by IAPMO to remove or reduce more than 80 contaminants, including 99.1% lead. Plus, it’s super efficient for a countertop system of its kind, with a pure-to-wastewater ratio of 4:1.
|Pb Reduction Rate||99.1%|
|Certifications/Testing||NSF 42, 53, 58, 401, P473|
|Process||RO + Carbon|
|Filter Life||600 – 1,200 gal.|
We know that countertop reverse osmosis has specific appeal to folks who want to enjoy the benefits of reverse osmosis filtration without the complicated install process of an under-sink unit, and we found that the AquaTru was the best in this category. The main feature that sold this unit to us was its ability to reduce a minimum of 97.5% lead, with testing and certifications to NSF standards by IAPMO to prove it. Most RO system manufacturers make bold claims but have nothing to support them, so we we reassured by AquaTru’s proof of performance before we spent our money.
Currently, you can buy the AquTru in four configurations:
|Classic||RO + VOC Filter||$449|
|Connect||Wifi RO + VOC Filter||$499|
|Alkaline Classic||RO + Alkaline Boost VOC Filter||$469|
|Alkaline Connect||Wifi RO + Alkaline Boost VOC Filter||$519|
People looking for the benefits of reverse osmosis for lead removal from a no-install system that’s easy to set up and use.
What We Like
- Certified to remove up to 99.1% lead
- Impressive 80% water recovery rate
- No-install design
- Reduces 87.1% TDS on average
What We Don’t Like
- Tanks need to be filled & emptied frequently
- Remineralization filter costs extra
IAPMO R&T Certified Lead & TDS Removal
The AquaTru offers all the features we expected from a countertop RO system for lead removal. In our own testing it removed 100% of the lead from our water. It also did a great job of removing virtually all of the other contaminants we were concerned about, including chlorine, fluoride, and uranium. Our purified water tasted much cleaner, with a nice mineral boost from the remineralization filter (remember, we upgraded to the Alkaline Classic for this feature). But our main source of reassurance was the knowledge that our water no longer contained lead.
The fact that this system is IAPMO R&T Certified against NSF standards 42, 53, 58, 401, and P473 is what really sells it. From examining the mechanics of the unit and the different filter stages included (sediment, coconut shell carbon, RO, and activated carbon block filters), we could understand how the complexity of the filtration process enabled us to achieve such high-quality purified drinking water.
We’ve summarized the performance of AquaTru from our third-party laboratory analysis below.
|Barium||0.014 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Calcium||23.9 PPM||0.7 PPM||97.07%|
|Chloride||9.2 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Copper||0.0525 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Fluoride||1.5 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Lead||0.0009 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Magnesium||6.08 PPM||0.36 PPM||94.08%|
|Molybdenum||0.0047 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Nitrate (as N)||2.1 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Phosphorus||1.1 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Sodium||9.91 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Strontium||0.108 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Sulfate||7.6 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Total Dissolved Solids||112 PPM||12 PPM||89.29%|
|Uranium||0.0182 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
|Zinc||0.559 PPM||0 PPM||100.00%|
Efficient Countertop RO Filtration
Compared to other under-sink and countertop reverse osmosis systems we’ve tested, the AquaTru is significantly more efficient. It has an 80% water recovery rate, which is virtually unheard of in the RO treatment space – it means that only 20% of water is wasted, so a greater percentage of water is purified. We still had to get used to the routine task of filling the water tank and emptying the wastewater, which is something we didn’t have to do for any of the under-sink units we tested.
Make sure you manage your expectations when it comes to water dispensing speed, though. While we noted a pressure pump that boosted water production speed, this water was then stored in a gravity-fed tank, and the water flow from the dispenser decreased as the tank emptied.
Read the full review: AquaTru Review (updated)
ProOne Big+ Gravity Water Filter
We found that the ProOne Big+ Gravity Water Filter is the best gravity-based countertop water filter for lead removal. In our testing it removed 100% of the lead present and has the advantage of a large water holding capacity of 2.75 gallons.
|Pb Reduction Rate||99.9%|
|Certifications or Testing||NSF 42, 53, P231|
|Process||Carbon Adsorption & Ceramic|
|Filter Life||1,000-1,200 gallons|
As a gravity filtration system, we identified that the ProOne Big+ would be ideal as a no-install, portable, low-maintenance lead removal solution, with the added benefit that it can also filter non-potable water sources, so it’s suitable for emergency preparedness. We installed the unit independently on our kitchen countertop, with no required electricity or faucet connection, and were excited to compare our own test results with the manufacturer’s third-party lab test results, which say it can remove up to 99.9% of lead in the “heavy metals” category and up to 100% of lead in the “minerals” category.
Big families and people who want a countertop lead filter that requires as little maintenance – including refills and filter changes – as possible.
What We Like
- Removes lead & 200+ other contaminants
- Suitable for non-potable water & emergency use
- Portable, doesn’t require electricity
- Long-lasting filters (up to 1 year)
What We Don’t Like
- Not a very attractive design
- Takes up a lot of counter space
Performs Better Than Similar Countertop Filters
When it comes to lead removal and contaminant removal in general, the ProOne Big+ scored high points in our books. Our experience testing the G2.0 filter elements made one thing quickly apparent: they’re some of the best countertop gravity filters available today. We tested our water quality before and after using the system, and found that it completely eliminated our water’s lead content. It also greatly reduced chlorine, fluoride, aluminum, copper and manganese.
Refer to the table below for our third-party laboratory testing data on ProOne Big+.
|Contaminant||Priming Water||Test 1 Pre-Filtration||Test 1 Post-Filtration||% Reduction||Test 2 Pre-Filtration||Test 2 Post-Filtration||% Reduction|
|Aluminum||ND||0.052 PPM||0 PPM||100%||0.03 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Barium||0.0265 PPM||0.0127 PPM||0.0275 PPM||+116.54%||ND||ND||ND|
|Bromodichloromethane||0.00289 PPM||0 PPM||0.00319 PPM||n/a||ND||ND||ND|
|Calcium||35.1 PPM||8.8 PPM||19.3 PPM||+119.32%||ND||ND||ND|
|Chloride||14.4 PPM||6.9 PPM||8.3 PPM||+20.29%||ND||ND||ND|
|Chloroform||0.0141 PPM||0.0352 PPM||0.0155 PPM||55.97%||ND||ND||ND|
|Copper||0.0424 PPM||0.0434 PPM||0 PPM||100%||ND||ND||ND|
|E. coli||ND||ND||ND||ND||15 CFU/100ml||0 CFU/100ml||100%|
|Enterococcus||ND||ND||ND||ND||4 CFU/100ml||0 CFU/100ml||100%|
|Fluoride||0.1 PPM||0.1 PPM||0 PPM||100%||ND||ND||ND|
|Iron||ND||ND||ND||ND||0.1 PPM||0.02 PPM||80%|
|Lead||0.0009 PPM||0.0006 PPM||0 PPM||100%||ND||ND||ND|
|Magnesium||10.6 PPM||2.19 PPM||7.91 PPM||+261.19%||ND||ND||ND|
|Manganese||ND||0.001 PPM||0 PPM||100%||0.02 PPM||0 PPM||100%|
|Phosphorus||ND||ND||ND||ND||0.01 PPM||0.21 PPM||+2000%|
|Potassium||1.91 PPM||0 PPM||1.27 PPM||n/a||ND||ND||ND|
|Sodium||12.5 PPM||10.4 PPM||14.2 PPM||+36.54%||ND||ND||ND|
|Strontium||0.193 PPM||0.062 PPM||0.098 PPM||+58.06%||ND||ND||ND|
|Sulfate||24.1 PPM||10 PPM||16.9 PPM||+69.%||42.29 PPM||27.4 PPM||35.21%|
|Total Coliform||ND||ND||ND||ND||75 CFU/100ml||0 CFU/100ml||100%|
|Total THMs||0.01699 PPM||0.0352 PPM||0.01869 PPM||46.90%||ND||ND||ND|
A major benefit of the filter elements is that they use ceramic filtration media, which means that, unlike the rest of the shortlisted filters on this list, they’re not limited to treating potable municipal drinking water. You can also use them to treat water that might be microbiologically contaminated, which means you have the A-OK to filter campsite water or compromised tap water (i.e. in the event of a boil water notice) through the system.
Easy Assembly & Steady Filtration
We wanted to dodge a difficult installation process whenever possible, and the ProOne Big+ had a refreshingly straightforward assembly that took us less than 15 minutes. The instructions actually made sense (a rarity nowadays), and we were able to follow them to assemble the unit and attach the filters – no priming needed, just rinsing!
We tested the system’s capacity with our family of two – and for context, we use a lot of water. The ProOne Big+ is the biggest unit available by the manufacturer, with a high holding capacity of 3 gallons, which ended up being spot-on for our family’s water needs. We filled it once a day and generally had enough water for drinking, and using for cooking.
|ProOne Big+ Options||Price (Polished)||Price (Brushed)|
|1 G2.07 Filter Element||$229.95||$239.95|
|2 G2.07 Filter Element||$289.95||$299.95|
|3 G2.09 Filter Element||$369.95||$379.95|
As we mentioned, we installed two 7-inch filters in our unit, which have a slightly faster 0.52 gallons per hour (GPH) flow rate compared to the 0.26 GPH flow rate of the unit with a single filter. As we expected from a unit that purely relies on gravity to send water through the filter, we didn’t have instant access to filtered water. But we left the system to get on with it, and within 10 minutes, it had filtered enough water to fill a glass.
PUR Plus Faucet Filtration System
The PUR Plus Faucet Filtration System is one of the only faucet filters to hold an official NSF certification for 99% lead removal, making this our top pick in the best faucet filters for the lead category.
|Pb Reduction Rate||99%|
|Certifications/Testing||NSF 42, 53, 401|
|Process||Activated Carbon + Ion Exchange|
|Filter Life||100 gal.|
|Annual Cost||$50 – $100|
We identified the PUR Plus Faucet Filtration System as being the obvious choice for anyone who knows the importance of removing lead from their water but doesn’t want to spend a fortune on the process. We were able to attach it to our kitchen faucet and enjoy virtually lead-free drinking water in a matter of minutes, and at an upfront cost of just $30. It gave us the option to use cold filtered water from the filter or bypass the filter whenever we wanted to use our normal hot water for non-drinking purposes, without us having to remove the whole filter every time.
Anyone who wants a non-invasive, affordable, certified solution to achieving a lead-free water supply at their kitchen faucet.
What We Like
- Holds an official NSF certification for lead reduction
- Affordable upfront cost
- Non-invasive installation
- Delivers filtered water on tap
What We Don’t Like
- Can only be used with cold water
- Plastic design susceptible to leaking (chrome is an overlay)
- Won’t fit all faucets
On-Demand Faucet Filtration
One of our favorite things about the PUR Plus Faucet Filtration System was that we could attach it to the end of our faucet within five minutes, giving us the convenience of filtered water on tap but without the expense or difficult installation of an under-sink system. There were just four steps to the setup process: we inserted the included filter into the housing, replaced the top cover, removed our faucet’s original aerator and washer, and attached the housing to our faucet (using one of the included adapters).
Affordability was another huge benefit of this PUR system for us. We believe that everyone should have access to a lead removal solution, regardless of budget, and this faucet filtration system is one of the most inclusive options for the purpose that we’ve tested. We bought the filter for just under $30 and spent around $40 on a 6-pack of replacement filters. The filters last up to 3 months on average, so, assuming that we’d only need 4 replacements per year, we’d be spending well within $50 annually on keeping our water lead-free. That’s the most affordable solution we’ve tested so far – made even more impressive by the fact that the system’s filter, which comprises activated carbon and ion exchange resin, holds an official NSF certification for the removal of 99% lead.
📊 Methodology: How We Tested and Determined Which Lead Removal Water Filter is Best
What qualities do we look for in the best water filter system for addressing lead contamination and how do we decide whether or not something is worth our money? In this section, we discuss the factors we considered when we tested, compared, and rated the filters on this list.
% of Lead Removal
Many of the filtration systems we investigated and tested for this guide could remove a selection of contaminants. However, those that made this list were superior, either because they have an official certification to NSF/ANSI 53 for lead removal or they have compelling data to support their lead removal capabilities.
Lead is a cumulative toxicant with serious possible health effects, including brain and organ damage, and it’s also classed as likely carcinogenic (cancer-causing). It’s no surprise that the Maximum Contaminant Level set by the Environmental Protection Agency for lead is 0 Mg/L, meaning that no level of lead in drinking water is considered safe.
For this reason, our aim was to find filters that could remove as much lead as possible from our water, knowing that even tiny trace amounts of lead could still be unsafe. Testing and certifications are positive signs, but our research went beyond this. We looked at the percentage of lead removal that each filter was tested and certified to remove. The higher the percentage of lead removal, the more capable the filter, and the safer the filtered water.
We conducted our own before-and-after water tests for many of the filters on this list to see how well they performed in real life.
Additional Contaminants Removed
While most folks prioritize lead removal above anything else, we know that there are other dangerous trace contaminants in drinking water, and it makes sense to find a system that removes those contaminants as well.
Many water filters remove chlorine and other heavy metals from water. Modern filtration technology has come a long way, and we tested numerous affordable filters that can remove hundreds of varieties of contaminants.
In our before-and-after water tests, we noted additional contaminants that each filter had reduced or removed from our water supply. This allowed us to deduce the greater potential of the products we tested performance-wise.
We recommend asking yourself whether you’re ultimately looking for a lead water filter or a water filter that removes a range of common contaminants, with lead being one of them. This will help you to prioritize whether to look for a filter that removes as many contaminants as possible, or a filter that removes a handful of contaminants, but is exceptionally good at lead removal.
We wanted to give options for everyone in this list, so we’ve found the best lead water filters for whole house, faucet, and under-sink installation. Each filter type has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the type of filter often affects its features.
For instance, water filter pitchers and faucet filters are the most affordable lead-removal solutions, but they require more maintenance in the form of filter changes. Reverse osmosis systems are more expensive but offer the advantage of incredibly thorough water treatment. Countertop systems are the better option for folks who want a no-install solution, while whole house or under-sink systems are best for anyone who wants filtered water from their faucet.
We made sure to test:
- At least 4 possible countertop filtration options
- At least 2 under-sink systems
- At least 2 faucet attachment filters
- A minimum of 3 affordable solutions
We didn’t shortlist all of our tested filters, but we ensured that at least one filter from each of the above categories made it to this list.
When considering lead water filters for this list, we knew that cost would be an important factor, because not everyone has the same budget.
The lead filters in this guide cost between $50 and $1500. We identified that some filters, like whole house water filter systems, are more expensive than smaller models with shorter filter lifespans, like water filter pitchers.
The long-term costs of owning a lead water filtration system are just as important as the short-term costs. We looked at filter lifespans and the cost of filter replacements, and how much each product would cost to run on a yearly basis.
With such a broad range of lead filters available, the average running cost spans from $100 to $300 per year.
Whether your budget is on the lower end or the higher end, providing you have some flexibility, you should find several lead removal systems that are affordable and suitable for your requirements.
Quality of Components
The quality of the components used in a lead water filtration system determines the filter’s durability, running costs, and ease of use. We specifically tested our products for design quality during use, which involved:
- Visually inspecting all the included components
- Feeling the components for weight and sturdiness
- Noting any changes in quality over time as we used the filters as intended
Plastic parts are less durable than metal parts, but in some of the water filters included on this list, like water pitcher filters, plastic parts just make sense. We’ve not excluded plastic parts on this list, but we’ve selected products that use durable, BPA-free plastic, like Tritan.
Installation & Maintenance
Depending on our lead removal water filter design, we either had to install it at a specific location along our water line, plug it into a power outlet, or simply assemble it and place it on our kitchen countertop.
We double-checked that the homes where the units were tested were suitable for the requirements of a particular filter. For example, whole house water filters take up a lot of room length-wise and are limited to where exactly they can be installed (must be upstream of your hot water heater at your POE).
If we didn’t feel confident with the install, we hired a professional. This set us back $125-$250, depending on the scope of the job, but we knew that the install was done correctly. 9 times out of 10, we DIY-installed our filters, which is obviously the cheaper option, but a system’s potential for DIY installation depends on the process itself, as well as the user’s handy skills.
We determined the ease of maintenance by considering the following factors:
- How long filters last
- The number of filters that need to be replaced
- The method of replacing the filters and how many steps are involved
- Any additional tasks involved in filter replacements (such as priming new filters)
- The frequency and ease of other maintenance requirements (cleaning, replacing o-rings, etc.)
We know that most folks have busy lives and want a low-maintenance filter that won’t interrupt their schedule, so our shortlisted filters were generally very easy to maintain.
Reviews & Customer Feedback
Our research wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t take customer reviews into account. While we might know from personal experience how a lead water filtration system performs, the overall customer experience with a product can often be very different from ours.
We used customer reviews to provide more insight into the durability, quality, and user-friendliness of the water filters on this list. We read hundreds of customer reviews for each product, noting any mentions that were repeated by more than a handful of customers.
Reading reviews gave us a clearer picture of how each filter could perform in the long term, and whether any unexpected issues and complications were discovered by customers after several months or years of use.
❔Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a water filter that removes lead?
Yes, there are actually quite a few different filters that remove lead from water, including some countertop filtration systems, under-sink filters, faucet filters, and whole house water filters. However, not all filters contain the same filtration media, and they don’t all remove lead. Check the manufacturer’s product description carefully before spending your money.
Can I remove lead from my water by boiling it?
No. Actually, boiling your water can increase the lead concentration because the volume of water decreases while the lead levels remain the same. The only way to get lead out of your water, assuming that you’re unable to address the cause of the problem (such as replacing lead pipes or plumbing materials in your home), is to use a water filter that can remove this contaminant.
Do Brita filters remove lead?
Some of Brita filters remove lead, while others don’t. The Standard filters in Brita pitchers can only remove chlorine and a few other contaminants (excluding lead). The Elite filters have greater contaminant removal abilities, and can remove up to 99% of lead.
Do carbon filters get rid of lead?
Generally, activated carbon filters can reduce lead to some extent through the process of adsorption. However, the quality and complexity of the filter’s design, as well as whether or not it’s combined with other filtration media for lead removal, affects how much lead can be removed. Some carbon filters aren’t advertised for lead removal because they can only remove around 10-30% of this contaminant. But the best activated carbon filters can remove up to 99% of lead.
Do refrigerator water filters remove lead?
Some refrigerator water filters remove lead, while others don’t. Lead removal isn’t something that all refrigerator filters are capable of by default. Make sure to check the product description for the filter you’re interested in before you click “buy”.