7 Best Whole House Water Filters for Lead Removal of 2023

Each year we delve into the whole home water filter market to discover, compare, and review the best whole house lead removal filters available. We’ve ranked the 7 systems in this guide based on their lead reduction abilities, what other contaminants they remove, their upfront cost, their maintenance needs, their service flow rate, and more.

📌 Things You Need to Know

  • Manufacturers know that lead is the #1 contaminant of concern for most people, so your options for removing lead are endless – but not all of them are worth your money.
  • Many sites like ours only review the best whole house water filters for the general removal of harmful contaminants – rather than focusing specifically on lead.
  • We’ve narrowed down this list to the best-performing, best-value filters only.
  • Before making a purchase, consider your budget, water quality, your required system flow rate, the manufacturer’s warranty, and the system’s installation and maintenance requirements.

🥇 Best Lead Removal Whole House Water Filters

  1. Best Overall: SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
  2. Top Cartridge Based System: Evo E-1000 Whole House Water Filter
  3. Runner Up: Aquasana OptimH2O
  4. Alternate Tank-Based Pick: SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter
  5. Budget Pick: NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
  6. Best Two-Cartridge System: Home Master HMF2SMGCC55
  7. Heavy Metal Specific: Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter

📊 Comparison Chart of Lead Removal Whole House Water Filters

ProductSpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System
SpringWell Lead & Cyst Removal
<br data-lazy-src=Aquasana OptimH2O
Aquasana OptimH2O
<br data-lazy-src=NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
NU Aqua 3 Stage
Home Master HMF2SMGCC55
Home Master HMF2SMGCC55
<br data-lazy-src=
Ranking1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th
Ratings5/55/54.5/54.5/54.5/54/54/5
Price$$$$$$$$$$$
Pb Reduction Rate99.95%99%99.62%99%99%95%99%
Contaminants Removed10+10+10+10+10+10+80+
Certifications or TestingNSF 53, P473NSF 42, 53, 58, 401, P473NSF 61, 372
ProcessMechanical + Carbon BlockMechanical + Carbon BlockMechanical + Carbon BlockCatalytic CarbonMechanical + Activated Carbon + Carbon BlockMechanical + KDF 85 Catalytic Carbon GACMechanical + KDF + Activated Carbon Block
Filter Life100,000 gal.80,000 gal.100,000 gal.600,000 or 1M gal.100,000 gal.50,000 gal.100,000 gal.
Annual Cost$300 – $650$120 – $300~$535~$40$100 – $200$190 – $200$170-$340
WarrantyLifetimeLifetime (limited)LifetimeLifetime3 years2 years1 year

⭐ Reviews – Best Lead Removal Whole House Water Filters 2023

What else makes this SpringWell system our number one choice? It’s also capable of removing a whole host of other contaminants (including cysts, chlorine, and PFOA), it has a long-lasting 100,000-gallon capacity, and it’s backed by a reassuring limited lifetime warranty and 6-month money-back guarantee – all for the affordable upfront cost of just over $1,500.

Key Features:

  • 99.95% lead removal – The SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System offers the best lead removal of all the filters on this list, eliminating up to 99.95% of the heavy metal. Plus, this system is designed to remove both soluble and particulate lead, protecting you from both in your water.
  • Also removes chlorine, VOCs, and more – Although this SpringWell system is specifically designed for reducing lead and cysts (like giardia and cryptosporidium) in water, it also treats 99.95% of chloramine and chlorine, as well as PFAS, PFOA, and more.
  • 0.5-micron filtration – SpringWell uses a 0.5-micron filter media that reduces lead and other contaminants with ionic bonding, a process that uses the attraction of oppositely charged ions to pull contaminants out of water. In this case, the filter’s binder (a non-metal) attracts lead (a metal), and the two exchange electrons, causing lead to be trapped in the filter media.

Best For:

Small-to-medium families who want to invest in the very best, most direct lead removal whole home filtration system available today, from a reliable manufacturer that offers a superior warranty.

Pros:

  • One super helpful feature of the SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System is its digital notification head, which monitors the volume of water flowing through the system and turns from green, to amber, to red when you need to replace the filter. That means you don’t have to remember to replace the filter or estimate how many months 100,000 gallons is based on your water usage.
  • 99.95% lead removal is about as good as it gets, and we appreciate that SpringWell uses a dedicated treatment (ionic bonding) that’s designed to target lead before any other contaminant.
  • SpringWell is king when it comes to warranties and guarantees. You’re protected by a limited lifetime warranty on the tanks and valves and a 6-month money-back guarantee when you buy this system – that’s a no-risk investment.

Cons:

  • There’s no data on SpringWell’s website to support its claims about contaminant removal.
  • This SpringWell system only has a flow rate of around 6-7 GPM, so you may notice a drop in your water pressure if you’re a medium-to-large household.

Why does this system take second spot behind the SpringWell system? Because, as a multi-stage cartridge-based water filter, the E-1000 requires more frequent filter changes, increasing its long-term running costs. Plus, it isn’t dedicated to lead removal before anything else, and its 120-day (4-month) satisfaction guarantee isn’t as long as SpringWell’s 6-month guarantee.

Key Features:

  • Catalytic carbon lead reduction – The Evo E-1000 Whole House Water Filter reduces an unspecified amount of lead, as well as about 150 other contaminants (including chlorine, chloramine, PFAS, and benzene), with a dedicated catalytic carbon filter cartridge.
  • Washable sediment pre-filter – Also included is a sediment pre-filter, which extends the lifespan of the carbon filter. You can wash and reuse this filter to minimize your long-term maintenance requirements.
  • 80,000-gallon filter lifespan – You get up to 80,000 gallons, or about 1 year of use out of the carbon and sediment filter cartridges before they need replacing.

Best For:

Medium-to-large families who prefer to spend less money upfront on an easy-install, simply-designed multi-stage cartridge filter that requires a bit more annual maintenance to run.

Pros:

  • Based on our research, the Evo E-1000 is one of the best cartridge-based carbon whole house filters available today, performance-wise. As well as targeting lead, this system removes hundreds more contaminants – you can check the full list in this handy datasheet.
  • You definitely shouldn’t notice a reduction in water flow or pressure thanks to the Evo E-1000’s 15 GPM flow rate – that’s 6-7 GPM higher than the SpringWell system’s! Households with up to 6 bathrooms can use this system.
  • We love how easy it is to install the Evo E-1000, thanks to its no-frills design that requires just two connections.
  • The components in this system are all NSF-certified, which is a reassuring sign of durability. Plus, unlike in other systems, the carbon filter won’t leak unpleasant carbon dust into your water thanks to its solid carbon block design.

Cons:

  • The Evo E-1000 doesn’t have any official certifications for performance, which is a shame – especially considering how many other carbon filters obtain certifications.
  • It’s not clear how much lead this system removes as the Evo E-1000’s dedicated data sheet only lists the contaminants addressed by the carbon filter, and not to a specific percentage.

Read the full review: Evo E-1000 Review


This system is more expensive than our top-pick tank-based lead filter, the SpringWell system, at around $1,800. But the Aquasana OptimH20 is officially certified by IAPMO to NSF Standard 53 for the reduction of harmful contaminants, including 99.62% lead – a huge bonus for anyone who is unwilling to part with their money without third-party proof of performance.

Key Features:

  • Certified lead & other contaminant removal – The Aquasana OptimH20 has been certified by the IAMPO to NSF 53 for the reduction of 99.62% lead and cysts, as well as an NSF P473 certification for 98.2% PFOA and PFOS reduction.
  • Ultra-dense carbon block filtration – The media used in this system is a combination of catalytic and activated carbon, which reduce lead, PFAS, chlorine, and chloramine in their 0.5-micron pores.
  • 5-year warranty – You’re protected by a 5-year warranty when you buy this system, and you can buy risk-free with a 90-day (3-month) money-back guarantee.

Best For:

Folks who are happy to pay a bit more money upfront for a whole home lead water filtration system with a proven, certified performance and low maintenance needs.

Pros:

  • It’s pretty easy for us to see that the OptimH20 is essentially a copy of the SpringWell Lead system, removing the same contaminants, boasting the same 100,000-gallon lifespan, and using the same handy features, including a color-coded LED light that lets you know when you need to change the filter.
  • Even better: the OptimH20 has officially been IAPMO tested and certified to two NSF Standards – one for 99.62% lead. That’s reassuring.
  • You get a sediment pre-filter (with a 6-month lifespan) included in the upfront price of this water filter for lead, while you have to pay extra for this filter for the SpringWell model.

Cons:

  • The system’s 8 GPM flow rate is fine (since the average household needs a 6-12 GPM flow rate), but it’s not as fast as the Evo E-1000’s, and it might reduce water pressure in large homes.
  • You pay more for the perks of NSF certification. Not everyone can justify spending nearly $2,000 upfront on a whole home drinking water system.

Where does this system lag slightly behind its competitors? Its design is a bit more basic, and we couldn’t find any information to suggest that a sediment filter is included with – or can be purchased as an add-on for – this model.

Key Features:

  • Up to 99% lead & more removal – The SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter reduces up to 99% of a whole host of contaminants, including lead, mercury, and other heavy metals, chlorine, chloramine, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides, THMS, disinfection byproducts, poor tastes and odors, and more.
  • Catalytic carbon filtration – Like our top pick cartridge-based lead-reducing filter system, the SoftPro Chlorine+ system uses an upgraded, more effective version of activated carbon media called catalytic carbon. The media is pre-loaded in the tank and lasts years, rather than months, minimizing maintenance costs.
  • Efficient upflow technology – This SoftPro system has an upflow design, which increases contact time and allows for the most thorough filtration by turning the media upside down from the bottom.

Best For:

Small-to-medium families who want to spend less than $1,000 on a capable whole home water filter for lead removal that uses long-lasting, reliable carbon filter media.

Pros:

  • We appreciate that SoftPro has tested its media (under typical water conditions) to determine its 600,000-1,000,000-gallon or 6-10-year lifespan. That’s longer than the lifespans of any of the other lead filters on this list.
  • The $800 price tag makes this whole house filtration system accessible to almost everyone, without sacrificing quality. What does that mean? Guaranteed great value all around.
  • While the SoftPro Chlorine+ Filter doesn’t have any official certifications for its performance, its components are at least certified to NSF/ANSI 61 and NSF 372 for lead-free materials and safe drinking water.

Cons:

  • We wish SoftPro would share a datasheet for us to learn exactly how much lead its system can remove from a municipal water supply.
  • It looks like you’ll need to buy a sediment filter separately if you want to protect the carbon media and ensure it lasts as long as advertised.

Read the full review: SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter Review


Buying cheap doesn’t mean settling for poor quality. This NU Aqua system has an impressively fast 15 GPM flow rate and combines three filtration stages to remove lead and tens of other contaminants. You also get a good warranty and a 180-day 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Key Features:

  • Removes lead, chlorine, & more – Some of the contaminants reduced by the NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System include lead, chlorine, pesticides, sediment, herbicides, bad tastes and odors, and cysts.
  • 3-stage cartridge filtration – You get three separate stages of filtration in this whole house lead water filter system: a 5-micron sediment pre-filter; a GAC (granular activated carbon) filter; and a 5-micron nominal carbon block filter.
  • 15 GPM flow rate – Small, medium and large households shouldn’t notice a drop in their water flow thanks to this NU Aqua system’s 15-gallon-per-minute flow rate.

Best For:

Anyone who is keen to reduce lead in their entire water supply but doesn’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on a whole home lead filtration system.

Pros:

  • There are a few handy features that -you’ll appreciate in this system. It has built-in pressure gauges for each of the three filter stages that let you monitor the filters and change them as soon as the pressure difference gets too high. When it comes to replacing the filters, the job is easy thanks to the pressure release buttons.
  • We love the system’s intuitive, to-the-point design. Even those with limited plumbing knowledge or experience shouldn’t have a hard time installing the unit.
  • It’s good to know that you’re protected by a 3-year warranty and a 180-day money-back guarantee, so you can buy the system risk-free.

Cons:

  • The warranty for this system is a bit shorter than the other system warranties on this list.
  • There’s no testing data for us to go off, and the manufacturer doesn’t give us percentages for lead removal.

What else should you know about this system? It has a 10 GPM flow rate and an average 1-year filter life, for starters. But there are a few setbacks – the manufacturer doesn’t share its exact lead removal percentage, and the overall maximum percentage for general contaminant removal is 95%, which is a bit lower than we’ve seen from other systems in this guide.

Key Features:

  • Reduces up to 95% lead & more – The Home Master HMF2SMGCC55 is the only whole home filtration system on this list that combines carbon and KDF 85 to remove 95% of lead, chlorine, sediment, chloramine, heavy metals, and other harmful contaminants.
  • Two-stage cartridge filtration – You get two filter stages in this system: a sediment pre-filter and a carbon/KDF-85 filter. KDF-85 is known to remove up to 99% of water-soluble lead in water.
  • Oversized fittings and filters – This Home Master system offers a decent 10 GPM flow rate, and the unit uses oversized fittings and filters that prevent a reduction in whole home water flow.

Best For:

Families of up to 4 people who want a simple two-stage lead removal solution, protected by a sediment filter, that combines both carbon and KDF for improved heavy metals reduction.

Pros:

  • In our opinion, the Home Master HMF2SMGCC55 is the best two-stage cartridge filter for lead reduction because of its combined KDF, carbon, and sediment filtration. The fact that the KDF-85 and carbon media are housed in the same canister makes this system even better value for money.
  • If you don’t like the sound of long, difficult installation or maintenance processes, you’ll be pleased to hear that this Home Master model has a design that’s simple and DIY-friendly
  • We appreciate the 2-year warranty for this system, even if it’s not the best warranty on this list.

Cons:

  • The Home Master HMF2SMGCC55 doesn’t have a dedicated lead removal percentage, which makes it difficult for us to compare this system to other units in terms of performance.
  • You’ll need to buy a few parts for installation, including pressure gauges (which we strongly recommend because of their usefulness in helping you to know when to replace the filters).

Other notable features of this system are its 15 GPM flow rate, its 1-year limited lifetime warranty, and its heavy-duty stainless steel design.

Key Features:

  • Reduces sediment, heavy metals, & more – The Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter is predominantly designed to target heavy metals, so you can be certain that it reduces lead, iron, rust, copper, zinc, and other metals in your water supply. It also reduced chlorine, sediment, pharmaceuticals, and more.
  • Carbon, KDF, & sediment filtration – This three-stage filtration system combines activated carbon block, sediment filtration, and KDF media: three common whole home filter media that allow for broad, thorough contaminant removal.
  • 15 GPM flow rate – Cartridge filtration doesn’t have to mean slow flow. Your tap water should come out as powerfully as ever thanks to this system’s 15 GPM flow rate.

Best For:

Folks who are mainly concerned about lead contamination but also have other heavy metals in their water, including iron, copper, and zinc.

Pros:

  • The Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter is one of the sturdiest cartridge filters for lead that we’ve seen, with durable stainless steel frames and high-quality 100% food-grade ABS and PCE plastic housings.
  • We think the 100,000-gallon or 6-12 months lifespan for the filters in this system is pretty decent. The filters are really easy to change, too – just twist the old filter out of the housing and drop the new filter in its place.
  • There are a few handy features that we gave the nod of approval, including the built-in pressure gauges that let you know when to change the filters, and the clear sediment filter housing so you can change the filter when it looks dirty.

Cons:

  • The 1-year warranty isn’t the best warranty we’ve seen for a whole house cartridge filtration system.
  • We couldn’t find any test results or data for this filter’s contaminant removal.
  • Many people said they had to install an additional sediment pre-filter to protect the 5-micron carbon filter from damage.

🧾 Whole House Water Filter For Lead Removal Buyer’s Guide

In this buyer’s guide, we’ve shared everything you need to know about whole home lead water filter systems, and what you should consider before buying one of these systems for your home.

🔎 What Is Lead & What’s Wrong With It?

💡 Lead is a heavy metal that usually ends up in drinking water due to contamination from lead pipes. While lead isn’t allowed in water service lines today, old pipes remain underground, leaching lead into water as it travels to our homes.

No amount of lead is considered safe in a tap water supply, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that lead levels over 15 parts per billion are unacceptable. Lead accumulates in the body over time, leading to a whole host of nasty health effects, including:

  • Decreased kidney function
  • Reproductive problems
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Premature birth (in pregnant women)
  • Learning disabilities and behavioral problems (in children)
  • Poorly functioning blood cells (in children)

📌 If you’ve clicked on this guide, we’re pretty certain that you know about the dangers of lead already. But if you’re looking for more information, we’ve shared more about lead’s health effects, and how to detect lead in water, in this article.

Lead poisoning from drinking water contamination

📖 Types of Whole House Filters That Can Remove Lead

There are two types of whole house water filters that are most commonly used for lead reduction: tank-based or media-based systems, and cartridge-based systems.

  • Tank-based systems use a large tank containing pre-loaded media. This media often has a lifespan of 1-5-years or longer, and reduces lead as water flows through the tank. The media may need to be cleaned by automatic backwashing to remove the accumulated contaminants and extend its lifespan.
  • Cartridge-based systems combine several cartridge water filters that are smaller and more compact than the media in a tank-based system. Cartridge filters have shorter lifespans and need to be replaced more often than the media in tank-based systems, but they offer the same thorough contaminant reduction.

👍 Benefits Of Whole House Lead Removal Water Filter Systems

Wondering why you should love whole house lead removal systems? Here are some of the most notable benefits.

Protects Your Entire Home

A lead whole house filtration system doesn’t only remove lead from your drinking water – it reduces the contaminant in your entire water supply. That means you can wash with, cook with, and drink lead-free water.

Numerous Filter Types Available

There are several different types of POE lead filters available today, and there’s something for every budget. Whether you prefer to spend less than $1,000 on a cartridge-based system or invest $1,000-$2,000 on a media-based system, there are plenty of options out there.

Cost-Effective

In the long run, owning a whole home lead filter is cost-effective. Filter replacements are minimal, even for a cartridge filter, because the filters are so much bigger than those in an under-sink lead filter. That means you get more long-term value from your investment.

Easy To Maintain

Whole home lead filters are super simple to maintain. You just need to replace the filter cartridges or media as advised by the manufacturer.

Additional Contaminant Removal

Most whole house lead filters don’t only filter lead. Many systems also reduce other heavy metals (like iron and copper), as well as chlorine, chloramine, pharmaceuticals, PFOA, PFOS, cysts, and other impurities often found in municipal water supplies.

📝 What to Consider When Buying the Best Whole Home Lead Reduction Water Filter

Before you invest in a whole home lead water filter system, consider the following things:

Your Budget

Your budget is the place to start. Work out how much you can comfortably spend upfront, and per year, on a lead water filter.

Whole home filters are more expensive than POU systems, and you should expect to spend at least $350 for a lead filter that’s worth your money. Most whole home lead filters cost $400-$2,000.

📌 Decide whether you’d rather spend less upfront for a higher long-term maintenance cost, or vice-versa. Cartridge filters cost more per year (replacing filters is more frequent) but they’re between one-third and half of the price of tank-based systems, which cost less to run because their filter media lasts for years on end.

Water Quality & Other Contaminants Removed

You know that you want to filter lead out of your drinking water – but do you know exactly what your water contains?

We recommend testing a sample of drinking water from your faucet, ideally with a certified laboratory, which can tell you exactly how much lead – and other contaminants – is present.

Once you have this information, you can choose a whole home filtration system that’s best suited for treating your water quality.

For peace of mind, after installing the whole house lead filter, you can repeat your water test on a batch of filtered water. If your chosen system really can filter lead, your filtered water should contain far less – or no – lead compared to the initial water sample.

Tap score water test report

The Filter Type

There are several types of filter media that are used in whole house water filters to reduce lead.

Catalytic activated carbon is a popular choice. Other types of activated carbon may also be able to reduce lead, especially if the micron rating is lower than 1 – but don’t assume that carbon targets lead unless the manufacturer states that the filter is designed for lead reduction.

Other media used for lead reduction include some KDF media (such as KDF 85), and ionic bonding media, such as the media used in our top choice SpringWell model.

We’d advise choosing a filter that uses any of these media, and ideally has test results to prove its lead reduction abilities (more on that later).

System Size, Capacity & Flow Rate

The size, capacity, and flow rate of a drinking water lead filter are essential if you want to maintain a good flow of water through your home’s plumbing system.

Whole house systems intercept your water line before it even reaches your heater, so incorrectly sizing your system could mean that your appliances, faucets, and fixtures all don’t receive enough water to operate properly.

📌 If you have an average-sized family and water usage, you should be fine with a system with a 6-12 GPM service flow rate. If you have more than 5 people in your family, look for a 12-15 GPM system.

Taking measurements for whole house water filter install

Installaion & Maintenance

Do you plan to install a whole house lead filter system yourself? How confident are you in your DIY skills? If your answers are “yes” and “very”, you can buy any of these whole home lead filters without concern. But if your DIY skills aren’t up to scratch, you might want to look for a cartridge-based system, which is typically easier to install than a tank-based unit because it doesn’t require a drain line.

You can also consider hiring a plumber to install your system for you, costing around $200 on average.

As for maintenance, you’ll either need to replace the filters once or twice a year (for a cartridge-based system) or replace the media every 1-5+ years (for a media-based system). Look for a system that has easy-change filters to minimize the maintenance work required.

Testing and/or Certifications

Third-party testing to NSF Standards, or official certifications by the NSF itself, are reassuring signs that a whole home water filter for lead can perform as advertised.

Unfortunately, the manufacturers of whole home lead water filter systems don’t often share their test results online. We recommend contacting the manufacturer and asking them to send you a data sheet to review if third-party test data is important to you.

As for official certifications, an NSF Standard 53 certification, for the reduction of contaminants with health effects (which covers lead), is the best certification available for lead removal.

Warranty & Guarantee

No matter what type of drinking water lead filter you’re looking at, don’t buy it unless it’s protected by some sort of warranty.

The best whole house lead water filters have limited lifetime warranties, and many also have money-back guarantees, allowing you to try the system out for a few months at no risk, and return it for a full refund if you decide it’s not right for you.

At the very least, choose a system with a 1-year warranty on the most expensive and important components, such as the tanks, valves, or filter housings.

❔ Frequently Asked Questions

Does a whole house filter remove lead?

Yes, many whole house water filters remove lead – but lead removal isn’t guaranteed. If you want to be certain that a filtration system will remove lead from your water supply, look to see if the manufacturer has shared a percentage lead reduction based on third-party or NSF testing (ideally with test results available for you to view online).

What water filter is best for removing lead?

The best lead water filter for whole home filtration is the SpringWell Whole House Lead & Cyst Removal System. We love this filter because it’s one of the few systems that offers targeted, tailored lead removal, and removes more lead than most other water filters: an impressive 99.95%.

Is there a water filter that removes lead?

Yes, there are plenty of water filters that remove lead, including some (but not all) activated carbon filters and some KDF filters. The best way to know for certain whether or not a water filter removes lead is to look for test results or NSF certifications.

Will a 5 micron filter remove lead?

No. Most 5-micron filters won’t be able to remove lead because 5-micron pores are large enough to allow lead and heavy metals to pass through. A filter’s pores should be at least 1 micron, ideally 0.5 microns, for lead reduction.

Is it worth getting a whole house water filter?

Yes, it’s worth getting a whole house water filter if you want to protect your entire home from contaminants, not just your tap water supply. However, if you just want clean, lead-free drinking water, you might want to save money and buy a point-of-use filter instead.

Can reverse osmosis systems remove lead?

Yes, reverse osmosis systems offer one of the most effective filtration processes for lead removal. However, whole home reverse osmosis systems are very expensive (both to buy and to run), which is why we haven’t included them in our best whole home lead water filter list.

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