Best Water Filter of 2022 – Reviews & Guide

best water filter

Public drinking water supplies are teeming with chemical, microbial and radiological contaminants, many of which pose a serious health risk. I’m not surprised if you want to remove these contaminants from your water as quickly and effectively as possible. 

I’ve been working in the water filter industry for nearly a decade, writing for WaterFilterGuru.com and other key water industry publications, including HowStuffWorks, Water Quality Product Magazine, Water and Wastes Digest Magazine, Sawyer Products. 

When there are so many water filters available in 2022, a filter has to offer something really special to make it onto this list. After so long in this industry, I’m well aware of the products that are consistently favorites amongst customers, based on reliability, performance, contaminant removal capabilities, quality of construction, filter capacity, and much more. 

In this guide, I’ve shared:

  • The best water filters worth investing in this year
  • The most popular filtration methods you should know about
  • Things you should consider before purchasing a water filter

🥇 Best Water Filters

  • Best Pitcher: Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
  • Best Countertop Dispenser: Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
  • Best Whole House System: SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System
  • Best Under Sink Filter: Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Under the Sink System
  • Best Reverse Osmosis System: Waterdrop G3P800
  • Best Faucet Water Filter: PUR Advanced Faucet Filtration System
  • Best Filtered Water Bottle: Epic Outdoor OG Woodsman
Best Countertop Dispenser
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
5.0
$
Contaminants Removed: 200+
Testing/ Certifications: NSF 40, 42, and 53
Process: Mechanical + Electroadhesion + Ion Exchange
Filter Life: 150 gal.
Annual Cost: ~$140
Warranty: Lifetime
👉 Buy at Epic Water Filters Read Our Review
Best Whole House System
SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System
5.0
$$$
Contaminants Removed: 20+
Testing/ Certifications: -
Process: Coconut Shell Catalytic Carbon + KDF
Filter Life: 1,000,000 gal.
Annual Cost: ~$40
Warranty: Lifetime
👉 Buy at Springwell Read Our Review

⭐ Reviews – Best Water Filter 2022

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Key Features

  • Removes more than 365 contaminants from water – The Clearly Filtered filter pitcher can remove harmful contaminants more thoroughly than any other water filter pitcher, including chlorine and chloramine, (99.9%), pharmaceuticals (99.9%), VOCs (99.9%), bacteria, cysts, and microorganisms (99.9%), and lead (99.5%).
  • Independently tested to NSF Standards – The Clearly Filtered is independently tested to a number of NSF Standards: 42, 53, 244, 401 & 473.
  • Retains healthy minerals – Although this water filter pitcher removes more contaminants than any other pitcher, it still retains healthy minerals in drinking water.
  • Made from strong plastic – The Clearly Filtered is made from BPA- and BPS-free durable Tritan plastic, so it won’t add other contaminants to water or affect water’s taste.

Best for: Anyone looking for a no-install, no-fuss water filter pitcher offering an exceptional performance at an affordable price.

Pros

  • There are a massive amount of contaminants filtered in the Clearly Filtered, including difficult-to-remove contaminants like fluoride.
  • The water filter pitcher comes with a lifetime guarantee, so if it ever breaks, the manufacturer will send you a free replacement.
  • The Clearly Filtered is an incredible value for money considering just how many contaminants it can remove.

Cons

  • As a gravity water filter pitcher, the Clearly Filtered takes longer than other filters to provide a batch of purified water.
  • There’s no indicator to alert when it’s time to change the filter, so you’ll need to use your own judgment or time four months from installing the filter.

Best Countertop Dispenser

Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser

5.0
$

The Epic Pure is a filter dispenser that can remove more than 200 contaminants from up to 1.5 gallons of water at a time.

Contaminants Removed: 200+
Testing/ Certifications: NSF 40, 42, and 53
Process: Mechanical + Electroadhesion + Ion Exchange
Filter Life: 150 gal.
Annual Cost: ~$140
Warranty: Lifetime
👉 Buy at Epic Water Filters Read Our Review

My readers get 20% off at epicwaterfilters.com 👉 Click here to get your coupon.

Key Features

  • Impressive contaminant removal – The Epic Pure can remove more than 200 drinking water contaminants, and offers targeted fluoride removal.
  • Tested to NSF Standards – This filter has been tested independently by an accredited laboratory to meet or exceed NSF Standards 42, 53, 401, and P473, to remove chlorine, emerging contaminants, pesticides, fluoride, microplastics, PFOA and PFOS, and more.
  • Retains healthy minerals – The Epic Pure doesn’t remove magnesium, calcium, or potassium, so you can still enjoy the mineral content of your tap water.
  • LED filter countdown timer – The LED timer counts down 90 days from filter setup to ensure that filter changes are made accordingly. 

Best for: Anyone looking for a larger version of a filter pitcher that requires fewer water top-ups and can remove all the most common contaminants in municipal water.

Pros

  • The Epic Pure can hold up to 1.5 gallons of purified water at a time, so you won’t need to top up the water frequently.
  • The system is great for people with smaller budgets, costing less than $100, and its 3-4-month average filter life means you’ll only have to think about filter changes 3 or 4 times a year.
  • With a countertop design, made from 100% BPA-free plastic, the Epic Pure Dispenser is low-hassle and requires virtually no installation. 

Cons

  • Although the Epic Pure is tested to NSF Standards, it isn’t actually NSF certified.
  • Some customers complained that the Epic Pure’s filtration speed slows down significantly after a few weeks.

Best Whole House System

SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System

5.0
$$$

One of the best industry leading options for whole house filtration, the Springwell CF system reduces high levels of contaminants and is covered by a 6-month money back guarantee.

Contaminants Removed: 20+
Testing/ Certifications: -
Process: Coconut Shell Catalytic Carbon + KDF
Filter Life: 1,000,000 gal.
Annual Cost: ~$40
Warranty: Lifetime
👉 Buy at Springwell Read Our Review

My readers get 5% off at springwellwater.com – 👉 Use Code GURU5

Key Features

  • Removes a range of contaminants – The coconut shell catalytic carbon and KDF certified media remove contaminants such as heavy metals, chloramine, chlorine, PFAS, pesticides, and herbicides.
  • Thorough filtration – The 4 stage design makes it possible for the longest contact between the water and media, ensuring the most thorough filtration.
  • Long filter lifespan – The system has a 1 million gallon capacity, so the media should last for around 10 years before needing to be replaced.
  • Sediment pre-filter – To protect the media in the filter, a sediment filter is used to remove particulates from water.

Best for: Anyone who prefers to filter the water in their whole home and is looking for whole-house water filters with minimal maintenance.

Pros

  • The Springwell targets all of the most common drinking water contaminants, from chlorine to PFOS.
  • With its 10 year lifespan, the Springwell requires minimal maintenance.
  • Various parts of the system are covered by a limited lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Although the filter media has a long lifespan, the sediment pre-filter will need to be changed every 6-9 months.
  • The system should be relatively easy to install for those who have basic plumbing knowledge. If not, it would be best to hire a plumber.

Best Under Sink Filter

Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Under the Sink System

5.0
$$$

Capable of removing 232+ contaminants, this compact filter is installed underneath a kitchen sink and can be used with your existing faucet.

Contaminants Removed: 232+
Testing/ Certifications: NSF 42, 53 & 401
Process: Mechanical + Carbon + Ion Exchange
Filter Life: 2,000 gal.
Annual Cost: ~$200
Warranty: Lifetime
👉 Buy at Clearly Filtered Read Our Review

My readers get 15% off at clearlyfiltered.com 👉 Click here to get your coupon.

Key Features

  • Reduces more than 200 contaminants – This impressive system reduces or removes more than 232 contaminants, including fluoride, lead, PFAS, pharmaceuticals and pesticides.
  • Tested to NSF Standards – The Clearly Filtered direct connect under sink system is tested to NSF standards 42, 53, 244, 401 and 473.
  • Healthy mineral retention – The system retains healthy minerals our bodies need like magnesium and calcium.
  • Long-lasting filters – The filter cartridges last from 9 to 15 months, depending on usage.

Best for: Anyone with the budget for a high-end, highly effective under-sink system that is quick and easy to install.

Pros

  • The Clearly Filtered doesn’t require a separate faucet installed at your sink, and is compatible with most standard faucets.
  • Although the system doesn’t hold the actual NSF certifications, the filter is backed by independent 3rd party testing to NSF Standards.
  • Installing the system is extremely simple, and should take ten minutes or less. You’ll only need to connect the system’s input line to your cold water line, then output up to your faucet line.

Cons

  • Compared to other under-sink filters, the Clearly Filtered is an expensive purchase.
  • The system reduces your water pressure by up to 20 percent.

My readers get 10% off at Waterdropfilter.com – 👉 Click here for code

Key Features

  • One of the most thorough filtration methods – The Waterdrop removes hundreds of contaminants with thorough RO filtration, blocking particles bigger than 0.0001 microns in water.
  • Long-lasting UV light – The built-in UV light reduces more than 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, and lasts 50 years.
  • TDS and filter tracker – The system monitors filter life and TDS with a TDS tracker and filter life light, so you know that the filter is working as it should.
  • Inhibits scale – The Waterdrop has scale-inhibiting technology that reduces hardness minerals, preventing scale formation. 

Best for: Anyone with the budget for one of the smartest tankless RO systems available to buy today.

Pros

  • The Waterdrop does waste some water, like all RO filters – but it wastes only 1 gallon of water for every 3 gallons produced. 
  • With its slim design, (just 5.67 inches across), the Waterdrop is ideal for under-sink locations with minimal space.
  • Installing the Waterdrop is easy. Even if you’re not handy, you’ll find the job straightforward enough.

Cons

  • The 1-year warranty could be better.
  • The upfront cost of the Waterdrop is high – even if the value for money is good.

Key Features

  • NSF certified – The PUR has an official NSF certification for reducing over 70 harmful contaminants, like chlorine, heavy metals (including lead), mercury, and some pesticides.
  • Durable chrome design – The filter has a chrome design, making it a standout against other plastic-build faucet filter solutions that are prone to cracking under pressure.
  • On/off lever – You can use the on/off lever to divert the water flow through the main faucet when you’re using hot water, which will help protect the filter and extend its lifespan.
  • Activated carbon filter – The PUR uses an activated carbon filter with a 100-gallon lifespan.

Best for: Anyone looking for a no-fuss faucet filter that will produce instant clean drinking water at an affordable price.

Pros

  • The PUR is easy to attach to your faucet with one click – you don’t need tools or experience for the job.
  • With a modern, no-fuss build, the PUR Advanced Faucet Filtration System looks like a natural extension to a kitchen sink faucet – and is compatible with most standard US faucets.
  • The PUR Advanced filter has an unrivaled flow rate, as it uses the force of water pressure to instantly filter water.

Cons

  • You’ll need to change the filters after 100 gallons, or 2-3 months, which isn’t the best filter lifespan out there.
  • Although compatible with standard faucets, the PUR isn’t compatible with all kitchen sink faucets.

Best Filtered Water Bottle

Epic Outdoor OG Woodsman

5.0
$

The Epic Nalgene OG Woodsman is made from 100% BPA-free Tritan material & is designed for survival and everyday use.

Contaminants Removed: 70+
Pathogen Removal: Bacteria, Viruses, Microbial Cysts
Holding Capacity: 1 liter
Process: Mechanical + Electroadhesion + Ion Exchange
Filter Life: 300 liters or 3-4 months
Annual Cost: $90 – $120
Warranty: Lifetime
👉 Buy at Epic Water Filters

Key Features

  • Thorough contaminant removal – This filter bottle can eliminate up to 99.99% of contaminants, like heavy metals, chlorine, pharmaceuticals, agricultural pollutants, and more.
  • Purifies water – The Epic Nalgene can also remove contaminants found in outdoor water sources, like bacteria and viruses, making water safe to drink.
  • Long filter lifespan – The filter lasts for up to 300 liters, or around 300 bottle fills, before it needs to be replaced.
  • Dishwasher-safe – The bottle (not the filter) can be washed in the dishwasher for convenience.

Best for: People who are out of the house a lot and want an on-the-go water filtration solution, whether for work or travel.

Pros

  • For a relatively small bottle filter, the Epic Nalgene removes an impressive range of impurities, including dangerous contaminants.
  • The filter has a big 1-liter capacity, so it has plenty of space for storing water, and you can drink water straight from the bottle.
  • The bottle is made from durable, BPA-free Tritan.

Cons

  • There’s no filter countdown, so you’ll have to either count your bottle refills or replace the filter when flow rate becomes significantly slower than usual.
  • The bottle is quite bulky, so it’s not ideal if you’re traveling light.

📊 Comparison Chart of Water Filters

Clearly Filtered 3-Stage Under the Sink SystemSpringWell Whole House Water Filter SystemWaterdrop G3P800PUR Advanced Faucet Filtration SystemEpic Outdoor OG Woodsman
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Contaminants Removed365+200+232+20+1000+7070+
Testing/ CertificationsNSF 42, 53, 244, 401 & 473NSF 40, 42, and 53NSF 42, 53 & 401NSF 58, 372NSF 42, 53, 401NSF 42, 53, P231, 401
ProcessCarbon + Ion ExchangeMechanical + Electroadhesion + Ion ExchangeMechanical + Carbon + Ion ExchangeCarbon + KDFMechanical + Carbon + ROCarbon + Ion ExchangeMechanical + Electroadhesion + Ion Exchange
Filter Life100 gal.150 gal.2,000 gal.1,000,000 gal.100 gal.300 liters
Annual Cost~$140~$140~$200~$40~$145~$100$90 – $120
WarrantyLifetimeLifetimeLifetimeLifetime1 year2 yearsLifetime

🧾 Buyer’s Guide – How to Select the Best Water Filter

This guide covers everything you should keep in mind when searching for a water filtration system for your family.

📌 Personal Filtration Needs

Everyone has their own unique reasons for wanting to buy a water filtration system. Perhaps you want to cut down on the number of plastic water bottles you use, or your tap water doesn’t taste good, or you’re concerned about contaminants – or a combination of all three.

Think about when, and how, you’d be using a water filtration system. There are different kinds of water filters that suit different filtration needs.

Consider whether you’ll benefit most from a filter you can take with you on the go, a filter that provides clean water for your whole home, or a filter that you can store out of sight when not in use.

Understanding Water Quality

Your tap water quality is unique to where you live. Although tap water is generally safe to drink, there are still hundreds of possible contaminants that it might contain.

Ask yourself the following questions about your water quality:

  • Does your water come from a municipal supplier or private well?
  • Are there high concentrations of any specific minerals in your water?
  • What common contaminants might be found in your water?
  • Are there particular substances you know you want to remove?

Check out this guide to learn all about testing your home’s water quality.

🧫 Contaminant Removal Capability

Virtually every water filter with basic filtration capabilities can greatly reduce or remove chlorine, heavy metals like lead, and VOCs. But the best water filters can do so much more than that.

Different types of water filters remove different types – and quantities – of contaminants. You don’t always have to pay more money for more thorough filtration, either – there are plenty of water filter pitchers that can remove more than 100 contaminants nowadays.

If you want to achieve the purest drinking water, consider reverse osmosis systems.. Some of the more unique contaminants that RO systems can remove are sodium, mercury, barium, arsenic, selenium, nickel, total volatile organics, cyanide, algae, and silicate.

Of course, it’s not essential that you purify your water if you’re only dealing with a few select contaminants.

Learn all about common drinking water contaminants 👈 Click Here

🔍 What to Look For in a Water Filter

System Type

The main water filtration system types, and what they do, are listed below:

  • Water filtering pitcher – Water is added to the pitcher and moves through a filter, which traps contaminants
  • Countertop filter system – Water is added to a top container and flows through a filter into a lower container
  • Faucet filter – The water from a faucet is forced through a filter attached to the end of the spout
  • Whole home water filter – Unit is set up at water’s point of entry into a home, filters water flowing through the plumbing system
  • Reverse osmosis – Can be installed under a kitchen sink or on a countertop for point-of-use applications, forces water through an RO membrane and several filters
  • Shower filter – Attached to the end of a showerhead, removes contaminants like chlorine
  • Backpacking filter – Gravity filter type, water is added to the bag and passes through the filter at the bottom of an attached pipe
  • Water bottle filter – Works like a small pitcher, filters faucet, river, lake, and well water for drinking directly from the bottle
  • Water softener – Doesn’t technically filter contaminants, but removes magnesium and calcium ions, which cause limescale

Filtration Method

Though there are a wide variety of system types, some of them use the same filtration methods. The most popular methods, and how they work, are:

Reverse osmosis

A reverse osmosis filter system forces water through a semi-permeable RO membrane, which prevents most total dissolved solids (TDS) from passing through. These molecules are then eliminated through a waste pipe, and only tiny water molecules can pass through the RO membrane. Reverse osmosis is a highly effective filtration solution with a price tag to show for it.

Adsorption

The chemical process of adsorption is used in activated carbon, carbon block, or granulated carbon filters. During adsorption, contaminants are trapped inside the pore structure of the carbon filter media. An activated carbon filtering cartridge is the best adsorptive filter media because of its large surface area.

Distillation

One of the oldest filtration methods is distillation. In the process, water is heated to extremely high temperatures and vaporized. The vapor then condenses back into liquid form. This process purifies water, as the majority of contaminants can’t evaporate and condense like water, and remain in the boiling tank after distillation.

Ion exchange

Ion exchange is traditionally used in salt-based water softeners. During ion exchange, calcium and magnesium hardness minerals are replaced with sodium ions, preventing scale formation. Ion exchange systems are designed to regenerate frequently to flush out the unwanted calcium and magnesium ions and replace the used sodium ions.

Water conditioning

A popular alternative to salt-based water softening is water conditioning, which alters the structure of hardness ions and prevents them from sticking to surfaces as scale. The most popular water conditioning technique is template-assisted crystallization.

Filter Capacity

The filter capacity of a system varies depending on the system you opt for. The size and design of a filter greatly affect how long it will last.

Here’s how long the most popular media and cartridge filters typically last for:

  • Water filter pitcher – 2 months
  • Countertop – 4-8 months
  • Faucet – 2 months
  • Whole home – 3-6 months
  • Reverse osmosis – RO membrane: 2-5 years; additional filters: 6-12 months
  • Shower filter – 6 months
  • Backpacking filter – 2-6 years
  • Water bottle filter – 2 months
  • Water softener -10-20 years

Keep in mind that there’s other maintenance to consider aside from replacing filters or media. Even if a system has a high capacity, you may need to spend money on maintenance between filter changes.

Flow Rate

A filter’s flow rate determines how quickly it can process unfiltered water.

There are several filter types that use gravity to filter water, and have a slower flow rate of up to 20 minutes, depending on how much water is needed:

  • Water filter pitchers
  • Some countertop water filters
  • Backpacking filters
  • Straw/ bottle filters (these use the force of suction, not gravity)

Other filter systems are hooked up to your water supply and use the force of water pressure to filter water. These filters include:

  • Whole house water filters
  • Under-sink filters
  • Water softeners
  • RO systems
  • Faucet filters
  • Sediment filters
  • Showerhead filters

All water filters, whether they’re supported by your home’s water pressure or not, will experience a slow-down in flow rate as the filter becomes more clogged with sediment. The tap water quality in your home will, in part, determine how quickly you need to replace your filters.

Installation & Maintenance

Installation of a water filter depends on the type of system you’re using.

Systems that are easiest to install are those that don’t need connecting up to your plumbing are countertop units, filter pitchers, water bottle filters, and gravity filters.

Also easy to install are faucet water systems, which can be attached to your faucet without the need for tools, and showerhead units, which can be attached to your shower hose in the same fashion.

Units that are more difficult to install are under-sink systems, which need attaching up to your cold water line, and whole-house filtration system units and water softeners, which you need to attach at your home’s point of entry. If you don’t have much plumbing knowledge, a plumber can do the job for you at an extra cost.

The majority of filters require maintenance. Buying replacement filters is the biggest responsibility, and most systems require a replacement filter at least twice per year. If the system uses media or resin, it may require less frequent maintenance.

Costs

There are water filtration solutions to suit all budgets, and you don’t have to spend thousands on a filter to achieve the desired results.

Water filter systems fall into three tiers:

  1. Low-cost (between $20 and $200)
  2. Mid-price (between $200 and $600)
  3. High-cost ( $600+)

Low-cost systems include water pitchers, faucet water filtration systems, water bottles with a filter, and backpack water filtration systems. Though these have cheaper upfront costs, you’ll generally need to replace the filter more frequently (around every two months on average). Still, filter replacement cartridges for these systems are cheap, and maintenance will cost around $50-$100/year.

Mid-price systems include countertop filter units and some under sink filtration systems. These are a little more expensive, for both the unit and its replaceable components, but you may only need to replace their filter media once every year or more.

The highest cost systems are reverse osmosis units, water softeners, and whole-home water filters. These can cost thousands of dollars but provide the biggest benefits, either filtering your entire home’s water supply or greatly improving the quality of tap water.

📝 Filter Certifications

An official certification is the best indication of a filter’s performance. There are two common certifications that a manufacturer can apply for: a WQA certification and an NSF certification.

WQA

The WQA, or Water Quality Association, is a not-for-profit independent trade party that represents the water treatment industry. Manufacturers who have gained a WQA certification have been able to achieve a “certified level of professional expertise and are dedicated to high professional standards”.

NSF

NSF International is an accredited third-party certification body that tests and certifies water filter products to check that they meet their promotional claims. There are a number of NSF Standards that a product can be certified for, including:

  • NSF 42, for chlorine removal
  • NSF 44, for cation exchange water softeners
  • NSF 53, for contaminants with health effects, like lead
  • NSF 58, for reverse osmosis water filters
  • NSF 177, for chlorine removing showerhead filters
  • NSF 401, for emerging contaminants
  • NSF P473, for the removal of PFOA and PFOS

❔ Frequently Asked Questions

Which contaminants should I be most concerned about in my drinking water?

It depends whether you’re more bothered about water taste or quality. If you’re looking to improve the taste of your water, a chlorine water filter can be used to remove the chlorine taste and odor from water. If your water has a higher-than-average lead content, look for a filter that is specifically advertised to remove lead. If you want to remove total dissolved solids (TDS), only a reverse osmosis filter system can be used.

Other city water and well water contaminants to be concerned about include harmful chemicals like pesticides and herbicides, volatile organic compounds, other heavy metals like mercury and arsenic, and microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.

Which water filter is best of all?

That’s impossible to answer! The best filter for you might be different from the best filter for somebody else. You may have a higher budget that allows you to consider thorough filtration options like reverse osmosis units, but these aren’t necessarily “best” for everyone. Systems like countertop filtration units can remove the most common contaminants, like chlorine and lead, for a fraction of the cost.

What’s the best filter for using to treat well water?

Anything that removes common contaminants often found in well sources, including heavy metals, fluoride, nitrates, organic compounds, and viruses and bacteria. Whole home systems, reverse osmosis systems, and systems designed specifically for treating well water, will work best for you.