Best Whole House Water Filter Systems of 2022

best whole house water filter reviews

Water filters aren’t essential, but it’s easy to see why they’re so popular. Homes that don’t use whole house water filters typically experience rust staining, more frequent appliance breakdowns, and a higher likelihood of lead contamination.

I don’t blame you if you’re looking for the best whole house water filter – but the buying process can be very overwhelming. When there’s so many choices, how do you know what’s right for you? Which brands can you trust? How can you be sure you’re making the smartest investment?

That’s where I can help.

I created WaterFilterGuru.com to share my knowledge in this industry and help people like you find the best at-home filtration solutions. With more than 2 million yearly visitors, I know the ins and outs of the water filter market, including the most promising brands and the products that customers are raving about. 

In this whole home water filter buyers’ guide, I’ve reviewed 8 products that proved, after extensive research, to be the most popular, best-performing filters available in 2022. I ranked the filters based on features, durability, and ease of use, amongst other factors.

In this guide, I’ll share:

  • The only 8 whole house water filters you need to know about
  • What to consider when buying a whole house water filter
  • Whole house filter installation & maintenance, plus your FAQs 

🥇 Best Whole House Water Filters

  • Best for Municipal Tap Water: SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System
  • Runner Up: SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter
  • Budget Option: Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
  • Premium Choice: Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filter System
  • RKIN Whole House Carbon Water Filter System
  • AquaOx Whole House Water Filter
  • US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus Whole House Filtration System
  • Best Cartridge Based: NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
SystemDetails 
SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System
SpringWell cf whole house water filter system
Type: Carbon & KDF
Capacity: 1,000,000 gallons or 10 years
Flow rate (GPM): 12
Dimensions: 10 x 54 inches
Contaminants Removed: 10+

☝️ Get 5% off - Use code GURU5

Read Our Review
SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter
SoftPro whole house upflow catalytic carbon filter
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 600,000 gallons or 6 years
Flow rate (GPM):
Dimensions: 9 x 48 x 25 inches
Contaminants Removed: 10+
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
Aquasana whole house water filter system review
Type: Carbon & KDF
Capacity: 1,000,000 gallons or 10 years
Flow rate: (GPM): 7
Dimensions: 9 x 46 x 54 inches
Contaminants Removed: 10+

Read Our Review
Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filter System
Pelican premium whole house water filter system review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 600,000 gallons or 6 years
Flow rate (GPM): 12
Dimensions: 18 x 49.5 x 18 inches
Contaminants Removed: 10+

☝️ Get 5% off at pelicanwater.com - Use code WFG

Read Our Review

RKIN Whole House Carbon Water Filter System
RKIN whole house carbon water filter system
Type: Carbon & KDF
Capacity: Up to 1,000,000 gallons or 10 years
Flow rate (GPM): 9 - 28
Dimensions: varies
Contaminants Removed: 10+
AquaOx Whole House Water Filter
AquaOx whole house water filter
Type: Carbon & KDF
Capacity: 2,000,000 gallons
Flow rate (GPM): up to 15
Dimensions: 62 x 10 inches
Contaminants Removed: 10+
US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus Whole House Filtration System
US water systems bodyguard plus whole house filtration system
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 1,000,000 gallons or 5 years
Flow rate (GPM): Up to 20
Dimensions: Varies
Contaminants Removed: 10+
NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
NU aqua 3 stage whole house water filtration system
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 100,000 gallons or 6 - 12 months
Flow rate (GPM): 15
Dimensions: 26 x 10 x 32 inches
Contaminants Removed: 10+

⭐ Reviews – Whole House Water Filters 2022

SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System

SpringWell CF Whole House Water Filter System

Our Rating

Price$$
Contaminants Removed10+
Capacity1,000,000 gallons
Flow Rate9 – 20 GPM
Annual Cost~$40
WarrantyLifetime

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

Overview

If you’re looking for a certified whole home filter that reduces high levels of harmful contaminants take note of the SpringWell system, as this top pick whole house water filter is one example of the best industry-leading options available.

The system uses carbon certified filtration media and catalytic carbon coconut shell filtration media to improve water quality and almost completely remove chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, PFOS and PFOA, herbicides, pesticides, and more. 

With a 4-stage water filtering design, this whole house water filtration system helps to provide a more thorough filtration

  1. The first stage of this 4 stage water filter sees the removal of sand, silt and other larger particles in water.
  2. In stage 2, water passes through a KDF filtration media, which removes harmful chemicals like chlorine & heavy metals.
  3. In stage 3, water passes through coconut shell carbon media that removes contaminants including chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical contaminants. 
  4. Finally, the 4th stage of the water filter is designed to eliminate channeling while still giving the water plenty of contact time with the filters. 

If you’re familiar with plumbing, you’ll be able to install the SpringWell whole house water filter system yourself. As with all filter-based whole home water filter systems, you will need to replace the SpringWell water filter system’s filters frequently.

👍 What I Like:

  • Uses all NSF certified, USA made components
  • Relatively low-maintenance
  • 6-month money back guarantee & lifetime warranty

👎 What I don’t Like:

  • Not all parts for installation are included
  • Some people may struggle with installation

FAQs

Q: Does this filter have a money-back guarantee?

A: Yes, the Springwell comes with an impressive 6-month money-back guarantee.

Q: After how long does the pre-filter need to be changed?

A: The pre-filter needs replacing after 6 to 9 months. 

Q: What sizes/capacities is this filter available in?

A: There are three sizes available: one for 1-3 bathrooms, one for 4-6 bathrooms, and one for 7+ bathrooms.

Why It’s My Top Pick for 2022

The Springwell filter is one of the best value-for-money systems on this list, earning its place as one of the best whole house water filter systems overall. This filter is easy enough for a DIY enthusiast to install themselves, and the lifetime warranty coverage is particularly appealing.

Read the full review: SpringWell Whole House Water Filter System Review


SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter

SoftPro Whole House Upflow Catalytic Carbon Filter

Our Rating

Price$
Contaminants Removed10+
Capacity600,000 or 1,000,000 gallons
Flow Rate6 – 15 GPM
Annual Cost~$40
WarrantyLifetime

Overview

The SoftPro 5-year water filter system is a long-lasting, low-maintenance whole home carbon filter that can filter 600, 000 gallons to 1,000, 000 gallons of water over approximately five years.

This whole house filtration system uses catalytic carbon, which can remove chlorine & chloramines, as well as pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from water. It works by using the adsorption method to trap these harmful contaminants in the filter media and prevent them from passing through with the smaller water particles. 

Also included with the SoftPro 5-year whole house filter, aside from the catalytic carbon filter, is an added KDF sponge, made from high-purity copper and zinc, which uses oxidation and reduction to remove heavy metals.

Additionally, the system uses a 5 micron sediment pre-filter that can remove sediment like sand and dirt from water.

The SoftPro whole house carbon filter comes with an upflow valve and male threaded connections. The filters and tank are also included. It’s easy to install this system at your home’s point of use. Filter replacements are needed every 3 to six months, and all parts have a lifetime warranty. 

👍 What I Like:

  • System has a very long filter life (five years)
  • Added KDF sponge for additional filtration benefits

👎 What I Don’t Like:

  • Currently not much specific info on the manufacturer’s website about the filter
  • No evidence of NSF certification

Common Questions

Q: Does this system use chemicals to produce clean water?

A: No. The softPro is a chemical-free system that uses catalytic carbon media to produce clean water.

Q: Does the SoftPro need electricity to operate?

A: No. The SoftPro doesn’t require power to run. It also produces no wastewater, making it one of the more efficient systems available.

Q: When do you need to replace the SoftPro’s media?

A: The media lasts for between 600,000 and 1,000,000 gallons. After that, it’ll need replacing.

Q: Can the SoftPro remove fluoride?

A: No. The SoftPro is one of the best whole-house filtration systems for removing chlorine and chloramines, but it isn’t capable of removing fluoride.

My Take

The SoftPro has a lot of good features going for it. The system removes up to 99.9% of common city water impurities, including chlorine and chloramines. Its thorough filtration won’t have an effect on flow rate, though – you can choose between two systems depending on the size of your home, and how much water you need.


Aquasana 10-Year Whole House Water Filter System

Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System

Our Rating

Price$$
Contaminants Removed10+
Capacity1,000,000 gallons
Flow Rate7 GPM
Annual Cost~$450
Warranty6 years

Overview

The Aquasana 10-Year Performance Whole House Water Filter is a whole home softener and filter combo.

It is NSF certified and has been tested and proven to remove up to 97% of chlorine & chloramine from drinking water.

Installed at the water’s point of entry into a home, this whole house filter provides filtered water in all your appliances, from your showers and faucets to your washing machines and dishwashers.

The system uses technology that also greatly reduces rust, silt, sediment, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, E-Coli bacteria and viruses, algae and organic particles in water, and prevents the growth of bacteria and algae. 

Using SCM salt-free technology, the Aquasana 10-year whole home filter allows for soft water production by naturally altering the structure of hard water minerals, preventing them from being able to form limescale. Hard water problems can reduce the lifespan of your home’s appliances, so this whole home system’s ability to alter hard water minerals with a salt-free soft water process is certainly a bonus.

This 10-year whole house filtration system uses 4 filters in total – a sediment pre-filter, a salt-free water conditioner, an activated carbon filter, and a post filter. Each of these filters plays a different role in the removal or reduction of harmful contaminants. 

👍 What I Like:

  • Tested and certified to remove 97% of chlorine
  • Softens (with salt-free softener) and filters water for the whole home; removes E-Coli bacteria and viruses, prevents growth of bacteria and algae

👎 What I Don’t Like:

  • Filters need changing every 2 to 12 months – not low-maintenance
  • Not easy to install yourself

Top Q & A

Q: Does this system require salt?

A: No. The “softening” process is designed to control scale, not actually to remove hardness minerals from water.

Q: What is the difference between the 600,000 gallon system and the 1,000,000 gallon system?

A: While the size of the tanks in each system is the same, there is more media inside the 1,000,000 gallon system. This means that the system can last longer before it needs to be replaced.

Q: How often does the pre-filter cartridge need replacing?

A: The pre-filter cartridges need replacing approximately every two months. If your water flow decreases before this, you may need to change the filter earlier. It depends on the quality of your water.

Q: Can you install the Aquasana yourself?

A: Yes, if you’re handy. The good news is that the warranty doesn’t void if you install the system yourself, which can be the case with some units.

My Thoughts

The Aquasana is one of the best water filter options for getting your money’s worth. It has a long-lasting 1 million gallon capacity (though the pre-filter requires changing every 2 to 3 months, and the other filters need changing every 6 months to 1 year). This system filters and conditions water, making it one of the best whole-house water filters for tackling contaminants and scale.

Read the full review: Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter System w/ Salt-Free Conditioner Review


Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filter System

Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filter System

Our Rating

Price$$
Contaminants Removed10+
Capacity600,000 or 1,000,000 gallons
Flow Rate12 GPM
Annual Cost~$40
Warranty1 year

My readers get 5% off at pelicanwater.com – 👉 Use Code WFG

Overview

The Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filtration System is a stainless steel system that comes in two long-lasting sizes – 600, 000 gallonS for homes with 1 to 3 bathrooms, or 1,000, 000 gallonS for homes with 4 to 6 bathrooms. The whole house filtration system has a number of certifications, including NSF/ANSI 42 and 61 for the removal of aesthetic contaminants like chlorine taste and smell, and ensuring that no lead or heavy metals are added to water. 

Removing up to 97% of chlorine from water and improving water quality, the Pelican whole house filter allows you to shower in cleaner water, promoting softer skin and hair. You can also drink healthier water from your faucets without having to resort to bottled water. 

The unit consists of a sediment pre-filter and a carbon series chamber, which reduces chlorine and chloramine – most filters only remove either one or the other. It also greatly reduces any remaining sediment, heavy metals, taste and smell from water.

A major benefit of the Pelican whole house premium filter is that you can install it either inside or outside, so if you’re short of space inside, that’s not a problem. Installation is easy to do yourself, and it includes everything you need for setup, including a bypass valve and fittings. 

👍 What I Like:

  • Available in 2 sizes to better match your requirements
  • Easy installation either inside or outside
  • 3-month money back guarantee & lifetime warranty

👎 What I Don’t Like:

  • Doesn’t remove fluoride
  • Filters require replacing every 6 months – 5 years

FAQs

Q: Can this system remove fluoride?

A: No. Like most of the best whole house water filtration systems on this list, the Pelican uses carbon filtration media. It’s rare for a carbon filter to be able to remove fluoride – you usually need something dedicated, or a system that offers thorough filtration, like a reverse osmosis unit.

Q: How often do you need to replace the filters?

A: The sediment pre-filter needs changing after approximately six months, and the carbon series chamber, after roughly 5 years.

Q: Does the Pelican have a money-back guarantee?

A: Yes. You get a 90 day or 3-month money back guarantee, satisfaction guarantee, and a lifetime warranty with this unit.

Q: Do you need electricity to operate the Pelican?

Q: No. The Pelican doesn’t use electricity – it hooks up to your water line and is powered by water pressure.

My Take

The Pelican is both low-maintenance and easy to install, making it ideal for anyone looking for a simple, low-hassle water filtration solution for their whole home. The system’s premium filtration media has a long lifespan, and when it comes to changing the filter, it’s easy – no need to replace the whole tank. This system is one of the best whole house water treatment units for convenience.

Read the full review: Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filter System Review


RKIN Whole House Carbon Water Filter System

RKIN Whole House Carbon Water Filter System

Our Rating

Price$$$
Contaminants Removed10+
Capacity500,000 or 1,000,000 gallons
Flow Rate9 – 28 GPM
Annual Cost~$35
WarrantyLifetime

Overview

Featuring an all-in-one single-tank media, the RKIN Whole House Carbon Water Filter System can remove sediment, chlorine, chloramine, pesticides, herbicides and other harmful contaminants from water. 

If your main goal is chlorine removal, the RKIN system is for you. It can remove up to 99.6% chlorine using four stages of advanced filtration.

First, a KDF media uses a copper-zinc alloy to remove heavy metals and water. The next stage is a catalytic activated coconut shell carbon bed, which removes disinfection by-products and organic contaminants. 

Next is the EvenFlow bed, which increases water’s contact time with the filter media, maximizing the treatment process. The final stage, a 5-micron sediment filter, can remove sand, clay and silt. 

The RKIN filter system’s media is pre-installed, and the system is “install ready”, making the installation process as quick and simple as possible.

👍 What I Like:

  • Great budget choice
  • 99.6% chlorine reduction
  • Space-saving single-tank design
  • Certified components
  • Lifetime warranty

👎 What I Don’t Like:

  • Installation kit costs more than $100 extra
  • Carbon media tank needs to be soaked for 2 days minimum before use

Top Q & A

Q: Does the RKIN have a money-back guarantee?

A: Yes. The system comes with a generous 1-year money-back guarantee, so you have plenty of time to try it out pressure-free.

Q: What are the benefits of this system?

A: When you install the RKIN, you’ll enjoy better-tasting, healthier drinking water. Showering in water that’s virtually chlorine-free will also prevent damage to your skin and hair.

Q: Will this system cause a drop in water pressure?

A: No. The water pressure around your home shouldn’t be affected by installing the RKIN.

Q: What warranty does the RKIN have?

A: The unit comes with a lifetime warranty on the tanks and parts.

My Take

The RKIN is ideal for chlorine removal, and is one of the best filters for removing chlorine on this list. It’s also one of the more affordable systems, making it ideal for people with a smaller budget, or anyone who likes to get value for their money. You can feel confident that you’ve made a good investment with the RKIN, especially as the tanks have a lifetime warranty.


AquaOx Whole House Water Filter

AquaOx Whole House Water Filter

Our Rating

Price$$$
Contaminants Removed10+
Capacity2,000,000 gallons
Flow Rate15 GPM
Annual Cost
WarrantyLifetime

Overview

The AquaOx whole house water filter has a capacity of up to 2 million gallons, allowing it to last for 20 years with zero maintenance. The unit comes with an included 90 micron, self-cleaning pre-sediment filter. The system employs multiple types of media to ensure the most thorough contaminant removal. These media include: KDF, garnet, catalytic carbon, coconut shell carbon, and filter-AG.

Among the 200+ contaminants the AquaOx removes are chlorine, mercury, lead, TTHMs, bacteria, chloramines, VOCs and pharmaceuticals.

The system employs a “vortech” design which extends contaminant removal ability by creating a fluidity throughout the media bed. This in turn reduced regeneration frequency and overall water use.

You can purchase the AquaOx whole house filtration system in two sizes: one that can handle water needs for homes with up to 4.5 bathrooms, and the XL version which is intended for residential or commercial use in buildings with up to 11 bathrooms.

There is absolutely no maintenance involved. The system is completely set and forget.

👍 What I Like:

  • 20 year, no maintenance lifespan
  • Removes 200 contaminants
  • Set and forget
  • 15 gallons per minute flow rate
  • 10-year warranty

👎 What I Don’t Like:

  • High price point
  • Lack of customer facing info on website

Common Questions

Q: How long does the AquaOx last?

A: The unit has an average lifespan of 20 years.

Q: What makes the AquaOx so much more capable than a standard carbon filter?

A: The unit is made from more than just carbon, which allows it to remove a variety of contaminants with different media, including KDF and garnet media.

Q: Does the AquaOx come with a sediment pre-filter?

A: Yes, it comes with a self-cleaning 90-micron pre-sediment filter.

Q: Can you install the AquaOx alongside a water softener?

A: Yes. I recommend installing the filtration system first, which will remove contaminants and sediment that might clog the softener.

My Thoughts

The AquaOx offers one of the most advanced, thorough whole-home filtration solutions. If you’re looking for a system that will remove the broadest range of impurities from your water, this unit should tick your boxes. The fact that there’s no maintenance involved is a big bonus, too. However, it’s on the pricier side when compared to others on this list.


US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus Whole House Filtration System

US Water Systems BodyGuard Plus Whole House Filtration System

Our Rating

Price$$
Contaminants Removed10+
Capacity1,000,000 gallons
Flow Rate10 – 20 GPM
Annual Cost~$60
WarrantyLifetime, 10 years, 5 years

Overview

The Bodyguard Plus is a whole-house filtration offering by popular water treatment brand, US Water Systems. This system is available in 3 flow rates: 10, 15 and 20 GPM, and can reduce or remove a combination of the most common drinking water contaminants. 

Containing 35% more media than the original Bodyguard offered by the manufacturer, the Bodyguard Plus is designed to work harder, for longer. It can remove chloramine and chemicals, as well as pesticides, lead and other heavy metals, chromium 6, bacteria, viruses, and cysts, making it an effective option for treating mildly contaminated city water. 

A big benefit of the Bodyguard Plus is that while it removes the bad stuff from your water, it still retains the healthy minerals, which helps improve the overall taste of water. Using smart valve technology and backwashing, this whole house softener is designed to run off as little water as possible, reducing water waste and improving efficiency

The Bodyguard Plus’ resin consists of catalytic carbon and granular activated carbon (GAC), two popular materials that have proved consistently effective at water filtration. There’s also a 5-micron sediment filter that acts as a pre-filter, helping to protect the system. 

👍 What I Like:

  • Retains healthy minerals while removing chemicals
  • Smart valve technology reduces water waste
  • Relatively easy install & clear instructions

👎 What I Don’t Like:

  • Difficult installation
  • Pre-filtration options cost extra

Top Q & A

Q: Is the Bodyguard Plus easy to install?

A: Yes. Installing the Bodyguard Plus is relatively easy, and there are simple step-by-step instructions available in the user manual.

Q: What warranties does the system come with?

A: The valves and electronics have a 10-year warranty, while the media has a 5-year warranty.

Q: Do you need to set up the control valve for the Bodyguard Plus?

A: Yes. For convenience, the system’s control valve can be programmed remotely from your smartphone.

Q: Can you install the Bodyguard Plus outside?

A: Not if your local climate gets cold in the winter. The system needs to be protected from freezing, which could damage the media.

My Take

The Bodyguard Plus isn’t only capable of removing common contaminants – it can also get rid of microorganisms like bacteria, viruses and cysts. This makes this system particularly appealing for people who want to make sure that their water isn’t only healthier and better tasting, but also safe to drink.


NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

Our Rating

Price$
Contaminants Removed10+
Capacity100,000 gallons
Flow Rate15 GPM
Annual Cost~$180
Warranty5 years

Overview

The NU Aqua 3 Stage Whole House Water Filtration System is an affordable whole-home filtration system for treating city water. The unit offers three thorough filtration stages: a sediment filtration stage, a GAC stage and a carbon block filter stage. 

The sediment filter starts by removing dirt, silt, rust and other sediment from water. Next, the granular activated carbon (GAC) filter adsorbs VOCs, chlorine, herbicides and pesticides, lead, benzene, mercury, industrial chemicals, and more. The final carbon block filter polishes and filters water, removing any lingering chlorine and chloramine, as well as sulfur and disinfectant byproducts. 

The system’s large, industrial filters can withstand high amounts of water, and the unit operates at a flow rate of up to 15 GPM. With a heavy-duty stainless steel metal frame, the NU filter system can be free-standing or wall-mounted. 

It’s easy to change the filters in the NU Aqua system – just slide them out of the filter housing and slide the new filters in place. According to NU Water, the filters can treat “thousands of gallons” of water before they need replacing.

👍 What I Like:

  • Easy-change filters
  • High 15 GPM flow rate
  • Impressive contaminant removal

👎 What I Don’t Like:

  • No mention of filter life
  • Wider, bulkier than some systems

Common Questions

Q: Is it easy to replace the filters in this system?

A: Yes. You just remove the filter housing, take out the old filter, replace it with a new one, and put the filter housing back on.

Q: Where can you use the NU Aqua system?

A: You can use this system in your home, office, or apartment. It can also be used in some retail applications, like restaurants and bars.

Q: Does the NU Aqua come with a satisfaction guarantee?

A: Yes. The system has a 120-day satisfaction guarantee.

Q: What is the system’s flow rate?

A: The NU Aqua has a flow rate of up to 15 GPM.

My Take

The NU Aqua delivers filtered, clean water around your home, protecting your appliances from sediment and providing better-tasting drinking water. The system is a surprisingly good value for money, considering how thoroughly it filters your water. It’s a good choice to consider if you like getting your money’s worth.


📊 Comparison Chart of Whole House Water Filters

SpringWell SystemSoftPro SystemAquasana SystemPelican SystemRKIN SystemAquaOx SystemUSWS BodyGuard PlusNU Aqua System
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Contaminants Removed10+10+10+10+10+10+10+10+
Capacity1M gal.600k or 1M gal.1M gal.600K or 1M gal.500K or 1M gal.2M gal.1M gal.100K gal.
Flow Rate9 – 20 GPM6 – 15 GPM7 GPM12 GPM9 – 28 GPM15 GPM10 – 20 GPM15 GPM
Annual Cost~$40~$40~$450~$40$35~$60~$180
WarrantyLifetimeLifetime6 years1 yearLifetimeLifetimeLifetime, 10 years, 5 years5 years

🧾 Whole House Water Filter Buyer’s Guide

I understand how tiring it can be scouring the internet to find all the most up-to-date information when trying to decide which product you want. That’s why I went ahead and did the homework for you.

I’ve put together the guide below to help you learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision about choosing the best whole home water filter for your specific needs.

💡 What are the Types of Whole House Water Filters?

Single Tank Systems

Single tank whole home water filters consist of a single tank containing a filtration media.

Typically you will see carbon, KDF, or a combination of media types used in these systems which targets a range of contaminants such as chlorine, chloramine, PFAS, pesticides, THMs and more.

Most single tank systems come with a sediment pre-filter to protect the media. Depending on the system you buy, the media should last between 6 months and 6 years before it needs replacing. 

Because of their stainless steel tank designs, the majority of single tank whole home filters can be installed outside as well as inside. 

Cartridge Filters

Cartridge filters consist of a series of filter cartridges and are designed to remove a broader range of contaminants from drinking water.

Most cartridge filter systems will include a granular activated carbon filter that can remove chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and more. These systems typically also feature a carbon block filter and a sediment filter.

Using multiple types of cartridge filters allows these systems to target a bigger rage of contaminants than a single carbon filter.

Whole Home Reverse Osmosis Systems

Another popular option for whole home water filtering is a reverse osmosis water filter system, a filter that can remove 99. 9% (or more) TDS from both well water and city water, including heavy metals, bacteria, and chemicals. You might need a whole house RO filter if you’re looking for a more thorough contaminant removal.

RO filters are more expensive than other whole house alternatives, and can be costlier to maintain, but they’re the most efficient at removing the broadest range of contaminants from water. While standard carbon-based systems are priced in the hundreds, RO types of filters for the home can cost up to $3,000 to $6,000 depending on the complexity of the model. 

Note that traditional reverse osmosis systems waste around 4 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of filtered water produced during the RO process, although newer models are more efficient RO also removes healthy minerals from a water supply.

Ultraviolet Disinfection (UV)

UV filters use ultraviolet light to damage the DNA of waterborne pathogens, like bacteria, viruses and protozoa. These filters can be used as standalone water treatment solutions, or combined with cartridge or tank filters to remove a broader range of contaminants.

A UV filter can only remove live pathogens from water. They can disinfect water by destroying harmful microorganisms, but they won’t improve water taste or quality.

Some whole home filtration systems offer UV filtration as an optional add-on, which is worth considering if you have well water or you have any reason to be concerned about microbiological contamination.

home water filtration system

🤔 Do I Need a Whole House Filter System?

It’s your choice whether you decide to install a whole house water filter. However, most tap water supplies contain traces of harmful impurities, and the best way to stay protected is to filter your water at home.

You can test your water to determine whether a whole home water filter is needed in your home. If your test specifies one of the following things (or if you notice these things yourself), a water filter can improve your water quality and make it safe to drink:

  • Your water contains a high level of impurities
  • Your water is chlorinated
  • Your water is cloudy or has small particles floating in it
  • Your water tastes or smells strange

The main purpose of a whole home water filter is to remove a broad range of contaminants from drinking water, giving it a nicer taste and making it safer to drink. If you want to improve your water quality, using a whole house filter is the best way forward.

📌 How to Choose the Right Filter for Your Home

1) Understand Your Water Quality

Before you can buy a whole house filter, the first step is to understand what you actually have in your water.

If you get your water from a municipal supply, you’re probably dealing with chlorine and other chemicals, as well as some heavy metals, including lead. Well water, on the other hand, contains a completely different set of contaminants: iron, sulfur, manganese, tannins, and even bacteria.

Finding out what your water contains will help you choose a system that will remove these impurities.

water testing with tap score

2) Select System Type

Now you know what’s in your drinking water, you can look at your system options. The types of whole-house filter are listed earlier in this buyer’s guide.

Make sure you’re aware of all the available systems, and their pros and cons. This will help you to weigh up your choices when you come to deciding on the right system for you.

3) Determine the Right System Size

Not all whole-home filters might be sized to fit your home. Some filters come in multiple sizes to cater to different-sized households with higher or lower water consumption and flow rates.

It’s important to size a whole house filter correctly to ensure the system can provide water quickly enough to meet demand.

In many cases, a water filter will tell you exactly what sized home it is suitable for (e.g. 1-3 bathrooms). Otherwise, you should find information on how many gallons of water a filter can produce per minute, or per day. Here, you’ll just need to work out your daily water use – or use the average water use of 80-100 gallons per day per person – and find a system that can handle at least this amount.

4) Identify a System That Fits Your Needs

Finally, you should use the data from points 1, 2 and 3 to find a system that meets your requirements for contaminant removal, flow rate, and filter capacity. You may still have several filter types to choose from, and here’s where budget and personal preference will come into play.

Set yourself a price that you’d prefer to stick to and take a look at your available options. When you find a system you like, do your research and read up on customer reviews. If the product has a good reputation, you can consider making a purchase.

❗️ Key Considerations When Reviewing Whole Home Filtration Systems

A whole home water filter is a big investment, and it’s important not to rush the purchasing process. Be sure to do plenty of research before you make a final decision, and read through buyer’s guides like this one.

Water Source

Whether or not you get your water from a municipal or well source will determine which contaminants you’re dealing with, and what type of system is for you.

Most whole house filters are designed for municipal water supplies, and can remove common city water contaminants, including chlorine, pesticides and lead. Test your water in advance to find out which contaminants you need a filter to remove.

If you get your water from a private well, these filters are a better choice for you. 

Water Consumption & Filter Capacity

A filter’s capacity is the number of gallons of filtered water it can produce during its lifespan. The higher the filter capacity, the more efficient a filtration system is, and the quicker you’ll be able to benefit from filtered drinking water from a private well or a city source.

Standard whole home water filters, like carbon-based filters, don’t produce any water waste and have better filter capacities. This method of water filtration doesn’t flush away water during the process. A filter’s capacity depends on its quality and the materials that make up the filter.

The longevity of a filter usually depends on the manufacturer and quality of the product. Different filter types may last longer than others.

Generally, pre-sediment filters have the shortest lifespans, as they can become quickly clogged with large particles. Most pre-sediment filters need changing after about 3 to 6 months.

Carbon filters and remineralization filters (for adding healthy minerals to water) have an average lifespan of 6 months to 1 year, depending on filter use.

RO membranes can last for up to 2 years before they need changing.

Read up on a product to learn when the filters require changing. Some of the best whole house water filter systems contain more filters than others. No filter lasts forever, so no matter what model you go for, you’ll have to regularly replace your filters if you want to get the most out of your system.

Contaminant Reduction Capability

Not all whole house filters remove the same contaminants. While most will target chlorine and lead, some are capable of removing hundreds of contaminants, while others can remove less than 10.

It helps to know what’s in your water before choosing a filter based on its contaminant reduction capabilities. I suggest that you request a water quality report from your local area’s tap water provider. This can give you a breakdown of the different elements in your drinking water. Another way to find out the quality of your water is to test yourself using a water test kit.

Once you know what’s in your tap water, you can determine what you want to remove.

System Footprint & Space Available

Your household water system will need to be installed somewhere, which means having free space for connecting a whole house water filter to your main water line.

Not only will you need enough space to store your filter, you’ll also want easy access to the unit for whenever you have to change a filter or perform system maintenance.

whole house water filter

Sediment Pre-Filter Micron Rating

A micron is a unit of measurement, with 1 micron being equal to a millionth of a meter in length. Microns are tiny – we can’t actually see anything smaller than 40 microns.

A filter’s micron rating is its ability to remove contaminants based on their micron size. So, for example, a 5 micron sediment filter will be able to remove particles as small as 5 microns, or a 1 micron filter filters up to 1 micron in size.

Nominal micron rating gives a measurement of a filter’s ability to remove specific particle sizes at an efficiency of 50% to 90%. So, if a filter has a nominal micron rating of 5, it can remove particles as small as 5 microns at a 50% to 90% efficiency.

Absolute micron rating provides information of a filter’s ability to remove specific particle sizes at an efficiency of at least 98.7%. This means that if a filter has an absolute micron rating of 5, it’s much more efficient in removing a particle as small as 5 microns – it will remove a minimum of 98.7% of the particles from water.

You should be able to find the micron ratings of a particular filter in its product information. As all particles are variously sized a micron filter rating will give an indication of the types of particles it will remove best.

Household water filtration systems that consist of a larger variety of filters tend to be the best high quality water filter option for removing the largest quantity of contaminants from city and well water, because their filters are designed to remove particles at different micron sizes.

Your Budget

There’s a substantial difference in price between carbon filters, RO and next generation technology filters.

Standard whole house water filtration carbon-based filters are generally cost-effective and around $300 to $600 in price. Some whole house filters are more expensive, and you may need to pay more for features like remineralization filters or a UV filtration option for water purification.

RO and next generation filters cost between $1,000 and $3,000 to purchase. Whole house RO filters can reach the highest in price, with some peaking past the $5,000 mark. A RO system is a much bigger investment than a carbon-based filter, and if your budget is more flexible, you’ll need to decide whether it’s worth paying more for the additional benefits of RO. You can also use a UV filtration device with a RO system.

Water Flow & Pressure

Your household’s water flow and water pressure is a factor which will affect the efficiency of even the best home water filtration system, especially RO systems.

You might think that a higher water pressure or flow is always the best way to filter water, but that isn’t true. Carbon whole home water filter systems benefit from a slower water flow, as it allows the filters to more thoroughly remove particles from water.

With RO filters, on the other hand, a water pressure of 60 PSI is optimal for water filtration. This type of filtration requires adequate water pressure to force water through the RO membrane at a sufficient rate, making it not so environmentally friendly.

You can test your home’s water pressure with a pressure gauge that measures in PSI.

Certifications

The best whole home water filtration systems are certified by either the WQA or NSF/ANSI. Certification proves that a filter works to the standards as advertised by its manufacturer, whether you plan to use it for city (municipal) water or well water.

Common NSF certifications for these systems are:

  • NSF/ANSI 42: for the removal of chlorine, taste & odor
  • NSF/ANSI 53: for lead reduction
  • NSF/ANSI 55: for killing microbiological contaminants with UV light
  • NSF/ANSI 58: for reverse osmosis systems that remove EPA-regulated contaminants
  • NSF/ANSI 401: for the reduction and removal of emerging contaminants, like pharmaceuticals or PFOA

If a system is NSF certified, it means you can trust it to live up to its performance claims, which is good to know from a buyer’s perspective.

Warranty

No matter what type of whole home filter you opt for, a good warranty is essential

If a system has a warranty of 5 years, it tells you that the manufacturer expects to last for at least this long – and they’re happy to offer replacement parts if something goes wrong. This is reassuring to customers, as it means you’re covered if your filter has damage or defects that weren’t caused by you.

Lifetime warranties tend to be the best warranties on offer for whole home water filtration systems. This means that you’re covered throughout the entire lifespan of the system – although, of course, this could range from 1 year to 10+ years, depending on the model. Always read a warranty’s terms carefully before making a purchase.

❔ Frequently Asked Questions

Which whole house water filter is the right one for me?

It’s worth weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of the different kinds of whole house water filter when deciding which is for you.

Keep your budget in mind – and work out what you’d save if you stopped buying bottled water and bought a filter. Decide what you want to get out of a cost-effective whole house water filter. This should make it easier to narrow down your search to a particular filter type.

Why should I choose a whole house water filter over a kitchen sink filter?

Your choice is entirely based on personal preference. A whole house water filter will give you all the benefits of a kitchen sink filter, as well as a couple of extras.

Because whole house water filters filter out chemicals at the water’s POE, where water enters your home, you won’t be exposed to dangerous chlorine vapors while you’re showering. Some whole home water filter systems can remove iron, preventing rust from forming in your home’s appliances.

These benefits are all great, but if you’re just looking for clean drinking water from your well or municipal source, opting for one of the best whole house water filters isn’t essential.

How much should I expect to pay?

Whole house water systems can cost anything from $500 to $3,000. You should only pay more than this for a filter if the product is well worth its value.

💭 Final Thoughts

A whole house water filter is a water filtration option that’s best for well water or a municipal water source. It provides all of the benefits of a kitchen sink filter, with the added bonus of being able to supply your entire home and its appliances with safe, chemical-free, clean water.

Now that you’ve read through this buyer’s guide, it’s time to start researching your available options. Check out a filter’s product reviews and read up on what other customers are saying to get the best idea of how it functions in real life.