The Crystal Quest SMART filter cartridge is our #1 pick and best overall whole house water filter cartridge. These are all of our top picks based on contaminant removal, filter life, flow rate, and of course, affordability.
Crystal Quest SMART Filter Cartridge
SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter
US Water Carbon Block Filter Cartridge
Hey, water filter enthusiast! Welcome to our best whole house water filter cartridge guide.
Think you could be getting so much more out of your whole home filtration system? If so, this review is for you. We’ve tried and tested the best universal water filter cartridges against some of the most common water contaminants in the US.
Feel free to continue buying the same meh filters for your whole house system, but we strongly recommend choosing one that’s 10 times more capable of removing the dangerous impurities you’re most concerned about.
#1 is our favorite, but #3 is best for chemicals, and #9 effectively tackles water hardness – no bulky water softener needed!
Table of Contents
- 🥇 Best Whole House Water Filter Cartridges
- 📊 Comparison of the Best Whole House Water Filter Replacements
- ⭐ Reviews – Best Whole House Water Filter Cartridge 2023
- 🧾 Buyer’s Guide for Whole House Water Filter Replacement Cartridges
- 🤔 Do You Need A Whole House Cartridge Filter?
- 📑 Pros and Cons of Cartridges for Whole House Water Filters
- 🧠 Whole House Water Filter Cartridges FAQs
🥇 Best Whole House Water Filter Cartridges
- Our #1 Pick & Best Overall: Crystal Quest SMART Filter Cartridge
- Top Sediment Filter: PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter
- Best for Chemicals: US Water Carbon Block Filter Cartridge
- Ideal for Bad Taste & Smell: Crystal Quest GAC Filter Cartridge
- Best for Fluoride: Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal Filter Cartridge
- Best for Lead: Crystal Quest Lead Filter Cartridge
- Best for Iron: Crystal Quest Iron Filter Cartridge
- Great for Microorganisms: US Water Disruptor
- Great for Scale Mitigation: Crystal Quest Eaglesorb ES3
- Great for pH Neutralization: US Water Calcite Remineralization Filter Cartridge
📊 Comparison of the Best Whole House Water Filter Replacements
Crystal Quest SMART
US Water Carbon Block
Crystal Quest GAC
Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal
Crystal Quest Lead Filter
Crystal Quest Iron Filter
US Water Disruptor
Crystal Quest Eaglesorb ES3
US Water Remineralization
|Filter Type||GAC + Catalytic Carbon + Ion Exchange||Spun||Coconut Shell Carbon Block||Coconut Shell GAC |
+ Catalytic Carbon
|Synthetic Aluminum Oxide||Catalytic Carbon + ERA + Cation Exchange Resin||Eaglesorb & Eaglesorb GAC||CZF Media||Cation Resin||Alkaline
|Certifications or Testing||–||–||–||–||–||–||NSF 42, 61||–||–|
|Filter Life||10K-160K gallons||6 months||8K-32K gallons||12-18 months||12-18 months||80K-160K gallons||5K-10K gallons||6-12 months||2.08K-5.2K grains||Up to 24K gallons|
|Flow Rate||.50-6 GPM||9-20 GPM||1-6 GPM||.50-6 GPM||.50-6 GPM||3-6 GPM||3-6 GPM||10-25 GPM||3-6 GPM||Up to 4 GPM|
|Warranty||1 year (limited)||Lifetime||1 year||1 year (limited)||1 year (limited)||1 year (limited)||1 year (limited)||1 year||1 year (limited)||1 year|
⭐ Reviews – Best Whole House Water Filter Cartridge 2023
Crystal Quest SMART Filter Cartridge
The Crystal Quest SMART filter cartridges sail into first place in our whole house water filter cartridge review. These cartridges combine several highly capable media to do a more thorough job of contaminant removal than most other water filter cartridges on the market.
- Thorough contaminant removal – We were blown away by just how many contaminants the Crystal Quest SMART cartridges can remove – chlorine, pesticides, lead and other heavy metals, organic and inorganic substances, and sediment are just a few of the contaminants tackled by these cartridges.
- Alkalizing properties – It’s incredibly rare for a whole house water filter cartridge to filter and alkalize water, which is what makes the Crystal Quest SMART cartridges so special. The cartridges contain ceramic and tourmaline balls, which lift pH and enhance water’s taste.
- Various filter capacities – We loved being able to choose between the SMART Plus, SMART Ultra, and SMART Ultimate filters based on our water usage and maintenance preferences. The filter cartridges don’t change size, but the SMART Ultra filters have an extra 10,000-gallon capacity than the SMART Plus filters, and the SMART Ultimate filters have an extra 20,000-gallon capacity.
- 7 types of filter media – The SMART cartridges pack an incredible 7 stages into a single cartridge: granular activated carbon and catalytic carbon; KDF redox; ion exchange resin; ceramic balls; tourmaline balls; and micron filter pads.
- USA-made – It’s reassuring to know that all Crystal Quest water filter cartridges are made in the USA.
|Crystal Quest SMART Configurations||Price (SMART Plus)||Price (SMART Ultra)||Price (SMART Ultimate)|
|2-7/8" x 9-3/4"||$59||$79||$99|
|2-7/8" x 20"||$158||$193||$238|
|4-5/8" x 9-3/4"||$159||$199||$239|
|4-5/8" x 20"||$241||$321||$401|
Best for: Anyone looking to get the best value from an all-in-one whole house water filter cartridge that thoroughly treats and enhances their water quality.
- We love that you can use these water filter cartridges in almost any whole house water filter system thanks to their standard sizing.
- The filters last at least 12 months, no matter which capacities you opt for, so maintenance is far from frequent.
- Customers agree with us that the Crystal Quest cartridges are some of the best on the market, and the product is very well received.
- The Crystal Quest filters might be good value, but they’re still expensive.
- Some customers said that their water had a slight metal aftertaste.
SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter
We’ve reviewed tens of sediment filters for various review articles over the years, and the SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter has consistently been our top pick from the very start.
- Fits in 10-inch or 20-inch housing – The SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter can be slotted into any 10- or 20-inch filter housing. You can use the filter to protect your water softener, whole house filtration system, air injection system, water conditioner, and more.
- Removes sediment down to 5 microns – We think 5 microns is the sweet spot for sediment removal. The SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter removes sand, dust, silt, and rust down to this size.
- Protects filter stages – By thoroughly removing large, abrasive particulates, this sediment filter protects filter media that could be otherwise damaged by these impurities, such as adsorptive media and water softening resin.
- 9-month lifespan – The SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter has a decent 9-month lifespan, so maintenance is minimal.
|SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Configurations||Price|
Best for: Anyone who wants to spend their money wisely on a reliable sediment pre-filter from a trusted brand.
- Our research shows that the SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter is one of the best-value sediment filters on the market, costing around $67 for a two-pack.
- Our water’s sediment levels dropped significantly after installing this water filter cartridge, and we felt confident that our downstream water treatment systems were protected.
- We felt reassured that the SpringWell PureT 5-Micron Sediment Filter is made from certified, durable components.
- If you have sediment that’s much bigger than 5 microns, the cartridge will become quickly blocked.
US Water Carbon Block Filter Cartridge
The best way to tackle chemicals like chlorine is with pure granular activated carbon block technology. The US Water Carbon Block Filter Cartridge removes more chemical contaminants more thoroughly than the majority of similar filters on the market.
- Superior GAC block technology – While many carbon filter cartridges are made from granular activated carbon (GAC), the US Water Carbon Block filtration cartridge has a carbon block design that has “vastly superior chemical removal capacities”.
- Reduces more than 95% chlorine – If chlorine is your biggest aesthetic water issue, you’ll be happy to know that this water filter cartridge removes more than 95% of this contaminant for up to 8,000 gallons.
- 10-micron rating – The US Water Carbon Block Filter Cartridge has a fairly high 10-micron rating, meaning it can trap slightly more contaminants than the average 5-micron carbon filter.
- NSF-certified components – It’s good to hear that the components and materials used in the US Water Carbon Block filtration cartridge are NSF certified.
|US Water Carbon Block Configurations||Price|
|2.5" x 10"||$10.95|
|2.5" x 20"||$19.95|
|4.5" x 10"||$28.95|
|4.5" x 20"||$69.95|
Best for: People who want to eliminate the majority of chlorine from their water with a reliable, durable filter. There’s a variation of this filter for removing chloramine, too.
- It’s reassuring to know that the water filter is American-made by US Water Systems, and the material quality is obvious.
- Water will taste cleaner and chemical-free after setting up this water filter cartridge.
- The filter has a lifespan of 6-12 months, so routine maintenance isn’t necessary.
- Coconut shell carbon is a natural, sustainable material that won’t add anything dangerous to your water.
- Although carbon block can be more effective in chemical removal, a filter in this design tends to have a lower lifespan.
- There’s no information on exactly what this filter can remove aside from chlorine.
Crystal Quest GAC Filter Cartridge
If you’re dealing with water that tastes or smells like chemicals, the Crystal Quest GAC (granular activated carbon) filter cartridge is the most effective way to eliminate these unwanted tastes and odors.
- Combines several of the best media – The Crystal Quest GAC filtration cartridge isn’t “just” a carbon filter. It combines standard activated carbon (which is effective enough alone) with KDF filter media and catalytic carbon to do a better job at removing aesthetic contaminants.
- Nearly eliminates aesthetic impurities – Thanks to the Crystal Quest GAC’s ability to thoroughly remove pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, chloramine, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, water-soluble heavy metals, and MTBEs.
- Scale and bacteria control – KDF doesn’t only support activated carbon filtration – this media also controls scale and bacterial growth, extending the filter’s lifespan and preventing nasties from getting into your water.
- Universally compatible – It’s handy that the Crystal Quest GAC Filter Cartridge is a standard size and slots into most whole house water filter housing.
|Crystal Quest GAC Filter Cartridge Configurations||Price|
|2-7/8” x 9-3/4”||$31.85|
|2-7/8” x 20”||$42|
|4-5/8” x 9-3/4”||$39.95|
|4-5/8” x 20”||$82|
Best for: Anyone who wants to properly and thoroughly eliminate chemical tastes and odors in their water, and enjoy the additional perks of VOCs and heavy metals removal.
- Our testing found that the Crystal Quest GAC Filter Cartridge is the best water filter cartridge on the market for improving water taste and smell.
- The filter lifespan is 12-18 months – one of the best lifespans we’ve seen for a whole house water filter cartridge. Maintenance is minimal.
- The flow rate is decent, providing 3-6 gallons of water per minute, depending on the cartridge size you choose.
- We found it easy to change the Crystal Quest GAC Filter Cartridge when needed.
- The Crystal Quest GAC filtration cartridge is more expensive than other carbon filter cartridges on the market (although you definitely get your value for money).
Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal Filter Cartridge
Fluoride is an incredibly difficult contaminant to remove, and we found no filter that can eliminate fluoride as effectively as the Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal Filter Cartridge.
- Highly selective filtration media – The Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal filtration cartridge targets only a specific set of contaminants: fluoride, arsenic, and lead.
- Specially-designed fluoride filter – Your average carbon filter can’t remove chlorine. We were pleased to see that the Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal Filter Cartridge is made from synthetic aluminum oxide adsorbent media, which uses both adsorption and chemical reactions to remove fluoride.
- Decent water flow rates – We were pleased to see flow rates of up to 6 GPM
- e Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal filtration cartridge. The two whole-home cartridges have two speeds: 3 and 6 GPM.
- Varied filter lifespan – The lifespan of the CQ Fluoride filter depends on your water quality. The filter treats between 2,000 and 4,000 gallons of water before it needs replacing.
|Crystal Quest Fluoride Filter Configurations||Price|
|4-5/8” x 9-3/4”||$194|
|4-5/8" x 20"||$276|
Best for: People who specifically want to target fluoride in their city water, and would rather do it with a dedicated filter that removes as much of this mineral as possible.
- The Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal Filter Cartridge uses two highly capable filtration techniques (adsorption and chemical oxide reactions) to greatly reduce inorganic fluoride levels.
- Although fluoride removal is the purpose of this filter, we enjoyed the fact that it also targets arsenic (another difficult-to-remove contaminant) and lead.
- We were pleased with the filter lifespan of 12-18 months. You can get away with buying a replacement filter once a year, max.
- The filter can be used with various pH levels and isn’t altered by high pH.
- The Crystal Quest Fluoride Removal filtration cartridge can only be used to remove inorganic chloride from municipal water sources, and won’t remove natural, organic fluoride.
- The filter cartridges are expensive, and they don’t last that long considering the price you pay.
Crystal Quest Lead Filter Cartridge
Lead is one of the most dangerous contaminants in drinking water supplies, and the Crystal Quest Lead Filter Cartridge you can 100% trust to greatly reduce lead in your water – more than any other filter we’ve tested.
- Combines effective filter media – The Crystal Quest Lead filtration cartridge combines catalytic granular activated carbon, cation exchange resin, and KDF – i.e. some of the best filter media that exists today – to thoroughly remove lead from water.
- Targets lead and other heavy metals – Alongside lead, this filtration cartridge removes traces of several other heavy metals and cysts.
- Inhibits scale and bacteria – We were pleased with the addition of KDF media in the cartridge, which is known to prevent bacteria and scale formation and extend the filter’s lifespan.
- Fits in most filtration housing – We like the fact that you don’t have to buy a special Crystal Quest filter system if you want to buy this cartridge, because the cartridge is compatible with most standard-size system housing.
|Crystal Quest Lead Filter Configurations||Price|
|4-5/8" x 9-3/4"||$172|
|4-5/8" x 20"||$261|
Best for: People who want the best protection against lead in their whole house water supply, with a dedicated filtration cartridge for lead removal.
- The Crystal Quest Lead Filter Cartridge is the best whole house filtration cartridge we’ve found for lead removal, and we truly felt that we could trust this system to remove lead from our water supply.
- The filtration techniques used in this cartridge are all tried and tested – another reliability bonus.
- The average filter lifespan is 12 months, which is better than most whole-home cartridge lifespans.
- The filter costs more than $250, so it’s not a cheap recurring investment, even if you’re only spending the money once a year.
Crystal Quest Iron Filter Cartridge
Who said you couldn’t remove iron with a cartridge filter? Forget expensive air injection systems – the Crystal Quest Iron filtration cartridge is just as capable.
- Oxidizes and removes iron – One of the most effective methods of removing dissolved iron is to oxidize the iron first. The Crystal Quest Iron Filter Cartridge does just that, oxidizing ferrous iron, sulfur, and manganese, before trapping them in the granular activated carbon media bed.
- Backwashing maximizes filter capacity – Most iron removal cartridges need to be backwashed, and this filtration cartridge is no exception.
- Greatly reduces iron-related problems – Poor tastes, orange water tinges, and staining will be reduced after the Crystal Quest Iron Filter Cartridge is installed.
- Easy to install – It took us minutes to install this filter, a fraction of the time it would take to install a complete air-injection system.
|Crystal Quest Iron Filter Configurations||Price|
|4-5/8” x 9-3/4”||$134|
|4-5/8” x 20”||$189|
Best for: Anyone looking for an affordable, compact, effective alternative to a tank-based iron removal filter, from a reliable brand, targeting iron, sulfur, and manganese in one.
- The filter has a decent flow rate of 3 to 6 GPM, which shouldn’t have an impact on your home’s water pressure.
- We were pleased with the filter capacity of 5,000 to 10,000 gallons – impressive for a single water filter cartridge.
- If your water is particularly hard or poor-quality, it’s likely that you’ll need to replace the filter more frequently.
- If you have high iron concentrations of more than 3 PPM, you’ll probably wear the filter out really quickly.
US Water Disruptor
Expensive UV purifiers and chemical chlorine treatment aren’t the only ways to protect yourself from microorganisms in your water. The US Water Disruptor is our top pick as the best water filter cartridge for bacteria, virus, and cyst removal.
- Effective Zeta filtration – The US Water Disruptor isn’t just a normal water filter cartridge with a low micron rating. This water filter uses zeta filtration, which has strong positive electro-kinetic properties, made with nano alumina fibers that are highly effective at trapping microbiological contaminants.
- Physically removes microorganisms – Unlike UV systems, which kill microorganisms but keep them in the water, the US Water Disruptor physically removes microorganisms completely
- Tackles pathogens and tannins – We were impressed with this water filter’s contaminant removal. It doesn’t only target bacteria, viruses, and protozoa – it also removes tannins.
- Better protection against impurities – Unlike standard micron filters, the US Water Disruptor adsorbs contaminants, a bit like a carbon filter. This secures the pathogens, preventing them from escaping the media and leaching back into the water.
|US Water Disruptor Configurations||Price|
|2.5" x 10"||$48.95|
|2.5" x 20"||$96.95|
|4.5" x 10"||$132.95|
|4.5" x 20"||$233.95|
Best for: Anyone who prefers to protect themselves against microorganisms with a simple, affordable, easy-replace cartridge filter that physically removes the bad stuff from their water.
- It’s reassuring to know that the US Water Disruptor is certified by the WQA to NSF Standard 61, meaning that its components and materials are safe, and have no known health effects.
- We like the extra layer of protection in the filter, the Agion® Silver Zeolite Technology, which also reduces tastes and odors.
- “Charge” filtration is much better at retaining water’s flow rate than micron filtration.
- The US Water Disruptor has a good lifespan of 6-12 months.
- If your water contains iron and manganese, you’ll need to install a filter upstream of the US Water Disruptor to protect the media from these contaminants.
- Not all tannins are removed by this water filter. Apparently, the “nature of the tannin itself” can sometimes make it impossible to remove with a cartridge filter alone.
Crystal Quest Eaglesorb ES3
It’s incredibly rare to find a water filter that can effectively treat hard water, which is what makes the Eaglesorb ES3 so special. If you have mild to moderate water hardness, you can save the hassle and expense of installing a complete water softener system, and choose the Eaglesorb ES3 instead.
- Treats very hard water – Don’t assume that the Eaglesorb ES3 is less capable than a water softener. This unassuming filter treats up to 25 grains per gallon of water hardness.
- Doesn’t actually remove hardness minerals – Calcium and magnesium are healthy, so it’s good to know that the Eaglesorb ES3 doesn’t actually remove these minerals. Instead, the cartridge turns dissolved calcium into crystals, simply preventing it from sticking to surfaces as scale.
- Dissolves previous limescale deposits – We were impressed that the Eaglesorb ES3 doesn’t only prevent new scale – it also dissolves existing limescale deposits in your pipes and plumbing.
|Crystal Quest Eaglesorb ES3 Configurations||Price|
|4-5/8" x 9-3/4"||$134|
|4-5/8" x 20"||$231|
Best for: Anyone who doesn’t want to shell out thousands of dollars for a complex water softener system, and prefers a low-maintenance, affordable, effective scale removal alternative.
- You won’t find any other whole house water filter cartridge that can treat water hardness up to 25 PPM.
- The filters have a flow rate of 3-6 GPM, which is good for a cartridge water filter.
- We were pleased to see that the Eaglesorb ES3 doesn’t add anything to your water – and there’s no steady maintenance to remember, like salt top-ups.
- The cartridge has two grain capacities that you can choose from: 2,080 grains and 5,200 grains.
- If your water contains a lot of iron, chlorine, sulfur, iron, copper, or phosphate (more than 3 PPM), you’ll need a pre-treatment filter.
- Although the Eaglesorb ES3 treats very hard water, it’s not recommended for water that’s more than moderately hard. You’d need to replace the filter all the time if your water was very hard.
US Water Calcite Remineralization Filter Cartridge
Enjoy the taste of mineral-rich, alkaline drinking water? There aren’t many dedicated remineralization filters available today, and the US Water Calcite Remineralization Filter Cartridge is the obvious customer favorite.
- Effective neutralizing process – The US Water Calcite Remineralization Filter Cartridge uses calcite media, which neutralizes water’s pH by slowly dissolving calcium and magnesium oxide (two alkaline minerals) into water.
- Good post-RO solution – If this cartridge is installed downstream of a whole house RO system, it will remineralize and raise the pH of slightly acidic water, to prevent metal leaching from plumbing.
- Measured mineral dissolving – The US Water Calcite Remineralization Filter Cartridge has a clever design to make sure only enough calcite is added to water to neutralize pH. Neutral water can’t dissolve calcite, so the minerals stop dissolving once the pH has been corrected.
- Doesn’t add anything dangerous to water – It’s reassuring to know that this water filter doesn’t use fillers or additives – it’s filled with 100% calcite only.
|US Water Calcite Remineralization Filter Configurations||Price|
|2.5" x 9.75"||$13.95|
|2.5" x 20"||$25.95|
|4.5" x 10"||$57.95|
|4.5" x 20"||$109.95|
Best for: People looking to remineralize water that has been treated by reverse osmosis, or people who just want to neutralize the pH of their slightly acidic water supply.
- The US Water Calcite Remineralization Filter Cartridge improves water taste and quality
- This water filter slots comfortably into 10-inch or 20-inch housing in most existing whole house water filter systems.
- The US Water Calcite Remineralization Filter Cartridge has a maximum flow rate of 20 GPM – one of the best flow rates we’ve seen for a cartridge water filter.
- The filter has a decent lifespan of between 10,000 and 63,000 gallons depending on water usage, or about 12 months minimum.
- A single cartridge costs around $50, which is quite expensive considering you’re only paying to neutralize your water’s pH.
🧾 Buyer’s Guide for Whole House Water Filter Replacement Cartridges
Struggling to choose a single whole house water filter? This section of the guide shares everything you need to consider when buying a new cartridge for your filtration system.
Your Water Quality
The first step is to work out what your water contains. You don’t want to waste money on a whole house water filter that removes contaminants that aren’t even a problem in your water, while completely not addressing the impurities that are most prominent.
Test your water with an at-home test kit, or arrange for private laboratory testing, to find out which contaminants are present in your water supply.
Once you know what you want to remove, you can move on to looking at different types of water filter cartridges.
The Type of Cartridge
There are tens of different types of whole house water filter cartridges to choose from. Before you start narrowing down your options, you need to know the filters that are available, and which ones are most suitable for you.
You now know what your water contains, so you just need to choose a filter that’s capable of removing your problem contaminants.
Some of the popular types of whole house water filter cartridges are:
- Sediment filters
- Granular activated carbon filters
- Carbon block filter cartridges
- Catalytic carbon filter cartridges
- Iron filters
- Ion exchange filters
- KDF filter cartridges
- Ultrafiltration cartridges
- Scale treatment filters
- Reverse osmosis membranes
We have a complete guide on the types of whole home water filter cartridges if you’re looking for more information on the subject.
A huge factor to consider when buying a cartridge for your whole house water filter system is cost.
Unfortunately, if you want to buy one of the very best, most capable filter cartridges, you’ll need to spend at least $50 – sometimes more than $200. The best whole house water filters are expensive, but they still offer exceptional value for money.
Work out how much you can comfortably afford to spend on replacement filter cartridges. If you’re buying multiple replacement filters for a single system, decide on a total annual spend for all the filters in your system.
The average annual spend for a single whole house water filter is $100-$220. Two filters could cost double this, and three filters could cost triple, depending on the filter type.
Luckily, the best whole house water filter cartridges are long-lasting, and most have a lifespan of at least 1 year (with the exception of sediment filters, which usually last for 9 months).
This means that you won’t have to remember to change your filters frequently, and you won’t have to keep spending hundreds of dollars, either.
The type of media used in a whole house water filter cartridge affects its lifespan. For instance, pleased sediment filters have a longer lifespan than carbon block filters.
All cartridge-based systems need more maintenance than tank-based media systems, but once-yearly maintenance is manageable for most people.
Testing and Certifications
It’s reassuring to know that a water filter manufacturer has had their products tested according to professional standards.
This information isn’t always available online. Contact the manufacturer and ask for a contaminant removal datasheet if you want to know exactly what a filter has been tested to remove.
Third-party testing is, for obvious reasons, more reassuring than testing by the manufacturer themselves. Even better is official NSF testing & certification. If a filtration cartridge is NSF certified, it means it has been officially proven to remove the impurities it’s designed to treat.
The bigger the cartridge, the better equipped it is to treat fast-flowing water at your home’s point of entry.
There are four common cartridge filter sizes available today:
- 2.5 inch by 10 inch
- 2.5 inch by 20 inch
- 4.5 inch by 10 inch
- 4.5 inch by 20 inch
4.5 inch by 10 or 20 inch filter cartridges are the most popular sizes for whole house water filter systems. These filters are large enough to handle high water flow rates and won’t cause your water pressure to drop.
Some whole house water filters are offered in sizes that fit point-of-use units, too, so don’t just buy the smallest filter because it’s the cheapest – it might not be suitable for whole-home use.
Warranty and Guarantee
Even if you’re spending less than $100 on a cartridge filter, you want to know that your investment is protected if the filter doesn’t live up to your expectations.
The best water filter cartridges for whole house units are backed by at least a money-back guarantee, which allows you to return the product for a full refund within the first few months if you’re not happy (terms and conditions apply).
Not all filter cartridges come with a warranty because their lifespans don’t exceed 12 months. A warranty isn’t essential, but it’s certainly reassuring.
Customer service is another aspect to consider. If a manufacturer offers poor customer service, you’ll regret choosing their product if you encounter problems with your filter.
🤔 Do You Need A Whole House Cartridge Filter?
You need a cartridge filter if you want to protect your entire household from dangerous contaminants, impurities that affect odor or taste, particulates that damage your plumbing and appliances, and those that affect your skin and hair health.
You might not need a filtration cartridge if you get your water from a city supply. But many people want to remove trace impurities and improve the quality of their water, even if it’s pre-treated to a standard that’s deemed acceptable by the EPA.
If you currently own a whole house filtration system and you’re nearing the time to buy replacement filter cartridges, consider buying a replacement cartridge from one of the brands on this list.
These water filters don’t just remove the most contaminants – they target a niche selection of contaminants to effectively improve your specific water quality concerns.
📑 Pros and Cons of Cartridges for Whole House Water Filters
- Top-quality whole house water filters eliminate unwanted impurities, from chlorine taste and odor to sediment, lead, and bacteria, greatly improving water quality.
- It’s really easy to replace a cartridge filter – you just untwist or unclip the old filter from the housing and slot the new filter in place.
- Cartridge filters for whole-house systems typically last for at least 10,000 gallons – far more gallons than a smaller point of use filter.
- The price of water filter cartridges tends to be much cheaper than the price of large, tank-based systems. If your budget is small, you should be able to afford the price of cartridge filtration.
- Filtration cartridges are completely automated – you can install them and forget about them until they need replacing.
- Cartridge filters are incredibly versatile. There are a range of filters for sediments, filters for chlorine, filters for lead, bacteria, and so on. It’s easy to find a specific filtration cartridge for what you need.
- You’ll need to buy replacement filters around once a year. These types of whole house water filters need more frequent maintenance than tank-based filters, which need replacement media every 5 years or so.
- Although the price of filtration cartridges is typically quite affordable, the costs will add up over the years. You’ll spend around $100-$250 to get a filter replaced. If you have multiple filters, your annual spend could surpass $400.
- You can’t usually use a filtration cartridge to remove a huge range of contaminants. This type of filter is usually used to remove a select group of impurities.
- Finally, cartridge filters can become quickly clogged if your water quality is particularly poor, and you’ll need to buy a water filter replacement more frequently than expected.
🧠 Whole House Water Filter Cartridges FAQs
How often do I need to change a whole house water filter cartridge?
Whole house water filter cartridges typically last for around 9-12 months. However, actual lifespan completely depends on several factors, including:
- The quality of your water supply (i.e. how many impurities it contains)
- How much water you use every day (i.e. how much flows through the system)
- The manufacturer’s technology, and whether this is long-lasting or not
- The size and capacity of the filter
Manufacturers usually give an estimated filter lifespan based on average water usage with moderately contaminated water. You may need to replace your water filter cartridge more or less frequently than this.
What flow rate should I get for a water filter cartridge for whole home?
Between 6 and 12 GPM is a common flow rate for a whole house water filter cartridge. However, the flow rate that you need is entirely dependent on your household size and water usage. The bigger your home, the higher the flow rate you’ll need, to accommodate for all the extra appliances and pipes that your water needs to travel to.
What’s the lifespan of a whole house filtration cartridge?
The average lifespan of a whole house water filter cartridge is 9-12 months. The manufacturer will probably give a measurement in gallons, then estimate how many months this is equal to. Whole house water filters can last up to 100,000 gallons.
Does a whole house water filter cartridge reduce water pressure?
No. As long as you buy the right-sized water filter cartridge for your system, it shouldn’t reduce your water pressure. When a whole house water filter needs replacing, it will become clogged, slowing down your flow rate. This can be avoided as long as you replace the filters on time.
How do you know when to change whole home filter cartridges?
The most obvious sign that you need to change your whole house water filter cartridges is a reduced flow rate. Your water may also take on an unusual taste or odor, and may not taste as “clean” as it did when you first installed the system. If in doubt, work out when you last changed the filter, and count how many months have passed since then.
How do micron ratings affect filtration?
A filter’s micron rating tells you what sized contaminants it can remove. The higher the micron rating, the bigger the contaminants that can be targeted. Sediment water filter cartridges typically have higher micron ratings (5 microns or higher) to remove suspended solids in water, while later-stage filters usually have a micron rating of 5 or lower.