Table of Contents
- 1 Best Lead Water Filter Reviews 2020
- 1.1 Countertop – Big Berkey Water Filter
- 1.2 Under Sink – Waterdrop 3-Stage Ultra Filtration Under Sink Water Filter System
- 1.3 Distiller – Waterwise 4000 Water Distiller
- 1.4 Faucet – PUR FM-3700
- 1.5 Pitcher – Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher
- 1.6 Reverse Osmosis – Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System
- 1.7 Whole House – SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
- 2 How does lead get into drinking water?
- 3 What are the lead health effects?
- 4 How to test for lead in water
- 5 How to remove lead from water
- 6 Types of lead water filters
- 7 Other considerations when purchasing a lead filter
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
You might think that your home’s city drinking water is safe from lead contamination, but in many cases, this isn’t the case. While city water is filtered and disinfected before it travels to your home, it may still contain traces of lead after this purification. And then, on its journey from A to B, water can accumulate lead from corroded pipes and fixtures.
There’s no preventing lead from entering your drinking water. However, you can get rid of lead by filtering it out of your water before drinking. Lead water filters are specifically designed to greatly reduce or remove lead from water. They do this by trapping the lead particles and preventing them from passing any further.
If you’re keen to know more on lead filtration, this guide will teach you everything you need to know about how to remove lead from water, and help you to find the best water filter for lead.
Best Water Filters for Lead
- Countertop – Big Berkey Water Filter
- Under Sink – Waterdrop 3-Stage Ultra Filtration Under Sink Water Filter System
- Distiller – Waterwise 4000 Water Distiller
- Faucet – PUR FM-3700
- Pitcher – Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher
- Reverse Osmosis – Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System
- Whole House – SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
|Big Berkey||Filter longevity: up to 6,000 gallons|
Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5 x 19.2 inches
👉 Read the full review
|Waterdrop 3-Stage Ultra Filtration Under Sink Water Filter System||Filter stages: 3|
Dedicated faucet: Yes
Filter longevity: 24 months
Dimensions: 14.81 x 4.68 x 13.97 inches
Get 5% off with code WFG-5OFF
|Waterwise 4000 Water Distiller||Production rate: 1 gallon/ 4 hours|
Carafe material: Glass
Dimensions: 9 x 15 inches
|PUR FM-3700||Filter longevity: 100 gallons|
Dimensions: 3.2 x 7.3 x 7.7 inches
👉 Read the full review
|Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher||Filter capacity: 150 gallons|
Filter stages: 1
Dimensions: 13.7 x 13 x 9 inches
|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
|SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System||Type: 0.5-micron nominal filtration|
Capacity: 100,000 gallons
Flow rate (GPM): 8
Dimensions: 8 x 40 inches
Best Lead Water Filter Reviews 2020
Countertop – Big Berkey Water Filter
The Big Berkey is a countertop water filter with an impressive 2.25 gallon capacity. This lead water filter is a fantastic option for using in your home, vacation property or RV, and can supply up to 16 people with purified drinking water if it is filled repeatedly, providing you have four filters in use.
Inside the top of the Big Berkey’s chamber are four Black Berkey filters, which is where the lead filtration process takes place. The filters have been tested in the manufacturer’s laboratory to remove both high and low pH heavy metals, including 99.9% lead. Each filter has a 3,000 gallon lifespan, and can be replaced with filters sold by the manufacturer online.
Being a countertop filter, you don’t need to hire a plumber to install the Big Berkey. The system needs to be assembled, but this is relatively simple, and there are both written and video instructions that you can use for guidance. Changing the filters is also a quick and simple!
- Ideal for big families
- Removes up to 99.9% lead
- Not NSF certified
- Expensive for a countertop filter
Read the full review: Big Berkey Water Filter Review
Under Sink – Waterdrop 3-Stage Ultra Filtration Under Sink Water Filter System
Get 5% off with code WFG-5OFF
With three stages of water filtration, the Waterdrop ultra filtration system is installed underneath a kitchen sink to provide clean drinking water in real time. The system has an advanced filter design that allows it to last up to 24 months before the filter needs replacing, which you can do with a simple twist and pull action.
The Waterdrop system is much more compact in design than other under sink filters, giving you more space for storage. The filter has a pore size of 0.01 microns, and can filter out a range of harmful contaminants, including lead.
You can install the Waterdrop ultra filtration system in just a few minutes, and with its quiet operation and space-saving features, it’s a great option for use in an RV. Thanks to the filter’s handy electronic color-changing indicators, you’ll know at a glance when your filter needs changing, and can prepare in advance.
- Compact, space saving design
- Filter lasts for up to 24 months and is easy to change
- No specific information about lead removal
- No advertised NSF certification
Distiller – Waterwise 4000 Water Distiller
The Waterwise 4000 distiller can produce up to 1 gallon of pure drinking water in approximately 4 hours. Using the process of distillation, which is one of the most effective ways of removing a broad range of contaminants from water, this system evaporates water before condensing it, leaving a build-up of matter behind in the boiling chamber.
As an inorganic compound, lead is unable to become a gas when it is boiled in the Waterwise distiller. This means that it can’t pass through the distiller and into the glass jar for water storage. Though the manufacturer doesn’t directly state that the Waterwise 4000 removes lead, customers have mentioned that the unit eliminates lead during the distillation process.
Distillers like the Waterwise 4000 don’t come cheap, but this one has a warranty for 1 year after purchase. You pay for the high quality of water distillation, the durable parts and the simplicity of installation and maintenance.
- One of the most thorough water filtration methods
- No installation required
- Can only be turned off by unplugging
- Quite expensive
Faucet – PUR FM-3700
The PUR FM-3700 is a faucet water filter that reduces more than 70 contaminants, including lead. If you’re looking for a faucet water filter, you probably already know that not all of them remove lead. The PUR FM-3700 does, and it’s NSF-certified to prove it.
There are a few obvious advantages of using a faucet water filter like this one. Installation is a lot simpler than for large under sink or whole home systems – you just need to attach it to your faucet with or without an adapter, depending on your faucet type. There is also only one that needs changing. Additionally, the PUR FM-3700 is a much cheaper alternative to larger under sink filters.
The only thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need to change the filter more frequently. While some large systems have filters that can last for up to 2 years, you’ll need to replace the PUR FM-3700 filters every couple of months. Handily, the unit has a light that indicates when the filter needs replacing by turning orange, then red.
There are many filter cartridges that are compatible with the PUR FM-3700, but there’s no guarantee that filters from other manufacturers will be genuine or NSF certified. If you’re looking for a filter cartridge that’s guaranteed to work as advertised, it’s best sticking to the manufacturer’s filters, which you can find online.
- NSF certified for lead removal
- Simple installation and maintenance
- Filter needs changing frequently
- Not as durable as larger filtration systems
Read full review: PUR FM-3700 Advanced Faucet Water Filter Review
Pitcher – Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher
As a water filter pitcher, the Aquagear is an affordable filtration option offering a short-term lead removal solution. Tested to meet NSF standards 42 and 53, for removing health-related contaminants and contaminants that affect water taste, you can rest assured that the Aquagear actually works as advertised.
Aside from lead, the Aquagear can reduce fluoride, chlorine, mercury and chloramines. The system works by filtering water in a matter of minutes as it comes into contact with the filter cartridges inside the pitcher. This is pretty fast for a water pitcher filter – some take up to 3-4 hours to filter water – but many customers have found that this filtration speed slows down dramatically after a few uses.
The Aquagear’s filters have a 150 gallon lifespan each, and can last for between 4 and 6 months before they need replacing. You can buy replacement filters online for a fairly reasonable price.
Aside from being a more budget friendly lead filtration solution, the Aquagear also benefits from simple set-up and maintenance. There’s virtually nothing you have to do when the system arrives, apart from clicking the filter into place and flushing out lingering activated carbon before use. Maintenance is just as easy – you can wash the pitcher in the dishwasher, and replacing the filter is a 5 second job.
- Budget friendly option
- Tested to meet NSF standards for lead removal
- Filtration becomes much slower (up to hours long) when filter becomes more clogged
- Other filter types provide a more instant solution
Reverse Osmosis – Waterdrop Reverse Osmosis System
Get 5% off with code WFG-5OFF
The Waterdrop WD-G3-W is a reverse osmosis filtration system, using one of the most thorough lead removal processes of all water filters. NSF 58 and 372 certified, this under sink filter is verified to reduce an impressive range of contaminants, lead included. The Waterdrop RO system also reduces cysts, arsenic, nitrates, barium, fluoride, VOCs, copper, asbestos and radium.
With its tankless design, the WD-G3-W eliminates the risk of bacteria breeding and provides a more instant supply of clean water. It has a 400 GPD fast water flow, enabling you to fill a glass of water in just over 10 seconds. It’s common for RO systems to have a lag in producing water for your faucet, and the Waterdrop RO is faster than many of them.
The benefit of a reverse osmosis system like the Waterdrop system is that it can almost completely eliminate lead from your drinking water, rather than greatly reduce it. If you want to drink lead-free water, the Waterdrop WD-G3-W will reduce just over 94% of all total dissolved solids – more than 1,000 contaminants in total – in water, producing an all-round cleaner result than a whole home filter could manage.
You can install the Waterdrop unit yourself, and though installation of this compact unit is easier than other RO systems, you might prefer to save the fuss and hire a plumber. Each filter in the system has a different lifespan: the CF filter needs changing after 6 months; the CB filter lasts for 1 year; and the RO membrane needs replacing after 2 years. The smart faucet and filter life indicators will let you know when it’s time for new filters.
- One of the most thorough lead removal options
- NSF certified
- Costlier method of lead removal
- Wastes water during filtration (1:1 ratio)
Read the full review: Waterdrop RO WD-G3-W Reverse Osmosis System Review
Whole House – SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
This SpringWell whole house water filter has been specifically designed for removal of lead and cysts from drinking water. With a 0.5 micron filtration level, this lead filter can remove lead in particulate form – in tiny, visible grains – and soluble form – invisible to the eye, tasteless and odorless.
Using binders that chemically react to soluble lead, forming an ionic bond, the SpringWell whole house filter kinetically removes lead from water. The result? Up to 99.95% of lead is removed, which is about as good as filtration can ever be. SpringWell’s claims for lead removal are backed by an NSF certification for Standard 53, so there’s no need to go by the manufacturer’s word alone.
The SpringWell system isn’t a standard whole home water filter, so don’t expect it to remove an exceptionally broad range of contaminants. It is, however, NSF certified to remove PFOA and PFOS, two pollutants that are often found in well water. It can also remove chlorine and chloramines, as well as giardia and crypto, making it ideal for well water use.
With an installation kit with all the parts you need for set-up, you can install the SpringWell filter yourself using the written or online instructions available. The system has a digital notification head that changes color to indicate the percentage of fitler life remaining, and you should expect to change the filter after approximately 1 year of use, or 100,000 gallons.
- Specifically designed and certified for lead removal
- Comes with everything needed for installation
- Doesn’t remove fluoride and other heavy metals
- Very high in price
How does lead get into drinking water?
Lead rarely naturally occurs in water, but even if water does happen to contain some level of lead, it’ll be filtered out during the treatment process. It’s after treatment, during water’s journey through the pipes into your home, that lead has the biggest chance of polluting water.
Any plumbing material that contains lead corrode, including lead pipes, faucets and fixtures, can leach lead into your water. Soft water, which doesn’t produce scale, is more prone to lead leaching than hard, calcium and magnesium-rich water.
What are the lead health effects?
Lead is the only metal that has no useful biological function in the human body, and it’s considered unsafe even in small amounts. In adults, lead consumption can cause adverse health effects in the mind and body, and is linked to fatigue, joint pain, memory loss, headaches, depression, high blood pressure, damage to the nervous system and kidneys, and poor appetite. It can also cause decreased sex drive and, in women, spontaneous miscarriages.
In children, lead consumption can affect development, including decreased muscle and bone growth, behavior problems and lower IQ, hearing loss, learning disabilities, kidney damage, anemia, and nervous system damage.
How to test for lead in water
If you think you may have lead in your drinking water, you can ask your local water company to test for it in your home. You can also buy your own personal water testing kit for lead if you would rather do it yourself.
Find a kit that can detect lead at very low levels. It’s best to test the water that comes out of your kitchen faucet, as well at your home’s point of entry, to see how much lead (if any) leaches into your water during its trip through your plumbing.
To use a testing kit, you will usually have to take a sample of your water and put it in a provided vial. You can then place a test strip into the vial, which will provide you with a recording of the lead content in your water by either changing color or indicating a certain marker on the strip.
How to remove lead from water
There are a whole host of water filtration methods you can use to remove lead, from the higher-cost whole home and reverse osmosis filters to the budget-friendly water filter pitchers and faucet filters.
Some methods of lead removal are more effective than others, especially reverse osmosis filtration and water distillation, which remove almost 100% of lead from water. However, all methods of lead filtration are designed to greatly reduce lead from water when they’re performing at their peak.
Types of lead water filters
Countertop water filters are relatively affordable and filter lead using one or several filters, usually made from coconut shell carbon. As the name suggests, they sit on a kitchen countertop and can filter on demand or hold water in a chamber after filtration.
If you have lead in your home’s plumbing, an under sink lead water filter is one of the most suitable options for you. These systems are installed in the space underneath the sink, and connect up to your cold water line. When you turn on the faucet, water first runs through the filter before coming out of the faucet.
Water distillers use the method of distillation to filter lead and other contaminants out of water. Water is heated up in a boiling chamber, then evaporates and condenses, where it is collected in a jug outside of the unit. Being unable to evaporate into a gaseous form, lead remains in the boiling chamber, resulting in lead-free drinking water.
Faucet water filters are a small, cost-effective means of removing lead from water. The majority of faucet water filters don’t remove lead, but some have a special type of filter cartridge that enables them to do so. They are attached onto the end of a kitchen sink faucet and typically require changing once every three to six months.
Water filter pitchers are a budget-friendly lead removal solution. When water is added to the pitcher, it is slowly filtered through a filter cartridge, which traps the lead in its pores. It can take a pitcher filter up to two-to-three hours to filter a full jug of water, so keep in mind that it doesn’t offer the fastest solution.
Reverse osmosis filters are advanced, multi-stage systems that are installed at a home’s point of entry or underneath a kitchen sink. They’re extremely effective at removing lead from water, thanks to their RO filtration process, which flushes away contaminant-ridden water and allows only water molecules to pass through the filter. For this reason, they’re one of the more expensive lead filtration options.
Whole house water filters are installed at a home’s point of entry, and prevent lead and other contaminants from passing through a home’s plumbing and into its appliances and faucets. There are some whole home filters that are specifically designed to remove lead from water, and these, unsurprisingly, work best at the job.
Other considerations when purchasing a lead filter
NSF 53 certification for lead removal
A water filter that has been NSF tested and certified for Standard 53 has been validated to remove or reduce a wide range of contaminants from drinking water, including lead. When a product has been NSF certified, it acts as a guarantee that it works as advertised by the manufacturer. While a product with no certification still may work as advertised, you should keep in mind that it’s a claim that hasn’t been backed by a third-party testing company.
Filter lifespans vary widely depending on the filtration system of choice. Some systems, like distillers, don’t even use a filter. Others, like whole home and reverse osmosis systems, have multiple stages of filters that will each require changing periodically.
Usually, smaller units like faucet filters will require changing the fastest; roughly every 3 to 6 months. Large whole home systems may have filters that can last longer before they need replacing; some up to 3 years. Changing the filters in a lead filtration system is unavoidable, as once they become too clogged with contaminants, they won’t filter your water properly anymore.
Other contaminants in water
If you have a high concentration of other contaminants in your water, it makes sense for you to find a system that removes those contaminants as well as lead.
Many water filters remove chlorine and other heavy metals from water. The likes of water distillers and RO filters can remove a whole lot more; hundreds of varieties of contaminants.
Ask 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.
Investment (long term vs. short term)
Buying a water filter pitcher or a faucet water filter is cheaper upfront, but their filters will need replacing more frequently, and they’re not built to be as durable as whole home or reverse osmosis systems.
If you’d rather make a short-term investment of less money, and are happy to part with your cash for filter changes and unit updates more regularly, faucet water filters and pitcher filters are ideal for you. If you’d rather part with more cash for a unit that will last you several decades and requires less frequent filter changes, a whole home or reverse osmosis filter is for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there anything I can do to reduce lead from my water aside from using a filter?
Generally, no. You could pay for an inspection of your home’s pipes by a plumber and replace any lead materials with lead-free. But that would cost thousands of dollars – and anyway, it wouldn’t solve the issue of lead being picked up from the pipes on its way into your home. Using a lead water filter is much cheaper and easier than trying to prevent the lead from getting into your water in the first place.
Can I find lead in my well water?
As it’s uncommon to find lead in natural water, the answer to this is probably no. We say probably because some older wells have a lead seal which may cause lead to leach into stored water. Water may also become contaminated with lead if it passes through lead pipes from your well into your home. It’s best to test the water that comes out of your kitchen faucet for lead if you have a private well water source, just in case.
Can I remove lead from my water by boiling it?
No. Actually, boiling your water can increase the lead concentration. This is because some of the water will evaporate when you heat it up, leaving a higher concentration of lead in the water that is left over. The only way to remove lead effectively is with a filter.
How can I make sure my chosen filter will do a good job of lead removal?
Manufacturers can often exaggerate their marketing claims to make a sale. If you want to know that a product is genuine, look for an NSF certification or third-party testing for Standard 53, for lead.
If a manufacturer hasn’t arranged for NSF testing or certification, make sure you do your research. It’s also wise to look at customer reviews, especially on sites like Amazon, where there’s no way for a manufacturer to vet or control which reviews are posted. There will always be negative reviews, even from the best of products, but you can still learn a lot from the reviews section before making a purchase.