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8 Best Whole House Water Filters of 2021

best whole house water filter reviews

Table of Contents

The best whole house water filters are carbon based. These whole house system options tend to be the simplest to maintain, and the lowest in cost, compared to other filter alternatives.

You can usually find a high-gallon capacity carbon filter online, and many are designed to produce hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that enters your home before their main water filter units will need replacing.

To put that into perspective, the average family is thought to use just over the 100, 000 gallon mark of drinking water per year.

Best Whole House Water Filter Systems

  • SpringWell Whole House Water Filter System
  • SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter
  • Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
  • Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filter System
  • iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
  • Home Master HMF2SMGCC 3 Stage Filteration System
  • APEX MR-3030 3-Stage Filtration System
  • Express Water 3 Stage Home Water Filtration System
SystemDetails 
SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System
SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System review
Type: Air Injection Oxidizing (AIO)
Capacity: n/a
Flow rate (GPM): 12
Dimensions: 10 x 54 inches


👉 Read the full review
SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter
SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 600,000 gallons or 1 year
Flow rate (GPM):
Dimensions: 9 x 48 x 25 inches
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


👉 Read the full review
Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filter System
Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filter System review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 600,000 gallons or 1 year
Flow rate (GPM): 12
Dimensions: 18 x 49.5 x 18 inches


👉 Read the full review

iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 100,000 gallons or 1 year
Flow rate (GPM): up to 15
Dimensions: 8 x 28 x 21 inches

Home Master HMF2SMGCC 3 Stage Filteration System
Home Master HMF2SMGCC 3 Stage Filteration System review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 95,000 gallons
Flow rate (GPM): up to 15
Dimensions: 24 x 9 x 25 inches


APEX MR-3030 3-Stage Filtration System
APEX MR-3030 3-Stage Filtration System review
Type: Carbon & KDF
Capacity: 20,000 gallons or 6 months
Flow rate (GPM): up to 15
Dimensions: 30 x 24 x 12 inches

Express Water 3 Stage Home Water Filtration System
Express Water 3 Stage Home Water Filtration System review
Type: Carbon & KDF
Capacity: 100,000 gallons
Flow rate (GPM): 7-15
Dimensions: 23.5" x 8.5" x 30"


Best Whole House Water Filter Reviews 2021

SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System

SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System

If you’re looking for a certified whole home filter that reduces high levels of harmful contaminants present in your water, and has a 6-month money-back guarantee, 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 allows the water to have the longest contact time with the filters, helping 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. 

As with all filter-based whole home water filter systems, you will need to replace the SpringWell water filter system’s filters frequently. Replacement filters for the SpringWell system will come at an extra cost after your purchase. The pre-filter needs replacing after 6 to 9 months. 

If you’re familiar with plumbing, you’ll be able to install the SpringWell whole house water filter system yourself. Anyone who isn’t handy may prefer not to install this system themselves – which may mean hiring a plumber. There’s also a 6-month money-back guarantee, satisfaction guarantee and a limited lifetime warranty.

👍 Pros:

  • Uses certified components
  • Relatively low-maintenance
  • 6-month money back guarantee & lifetime warranty

👎 Cons:

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

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


SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter

SoftPro Whole House Upflow Carbon Filter

The SoftPro 5-year water filter system is a long-lasting, low-maintenance whole home carbon filter that can filter 600, 000 gallon to 1,000, 000 gallon 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. Note, though, that this filter is not best overall water filter for well 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. 

👍 Pros:

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

👎 Cons:

  • Currently not much specific info on the manufacturer’s website about the filter
  • No evidence of NSF certification
  • Not best for well water


Aquasana 10-Year Whole House Water Filter System

Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System review

The Aquasana 10-Year Performance Whole House Water Filter is our top pick for whole home softeners and filters. It is NSF certified and has been tested and proven to remove up to 97% of chlorine & chloramine from drinking water, from a city water or well water source. Installed at the water’s point of entry into a home, this filter enables you to enjoy 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 – each of them playing a different role in the removal or reduction of harmful contaminants. 

  1. A sediment pre-filter,
  2. A salt-free water conditioner,
  3. An activated carbon filter, and
  4. A post-filter

The system is one of the best water filter options for getting your money’s worth, and 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). Pre- and post- filters always have a shorter lifespan, no matter what system they’re paired with. Only the salt-free water conditioner has a lifespan of 1 million gallons before the media will need to be replaced.

👍 Pros:

  • 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

👎 Cons:

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

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

The Pelican Premium Whole House Water Filtration System is a stainless steel system that comes in two long-lasting sizes – 600, 000 gallon for homes with 1 to 3 bathrooms, or 1,000, 000 gallon 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 contaminants like 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 – different filters only remove either one or the other. It also greatly reduces any remaining sediment, heavy metals, taste and smell from water. Note, however, that it doesn’t remove fluoride. The sediment pre-filter needs changing after approximately six months, and the carbon series chamber, after roughly 5 years.

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. The system also benefits from a 90 day or 3-month money back guarantee, satisfaction guarantee, and a lifetime warranty.

👍 Pros:

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

👎 Cons:

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

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


iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System

iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System review

Using a 100-gallon capacity carbon coconut filter, the iSpring WGB32B is my top pick whole house water filter for efficiency, and can provide you with a year’s worth of clean water before requiring that you change the filter. This whole house water filtration system designed to remove up to 95% of chlorine, chloramines, sediment, harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and a number of other chemicals that give water a color or a bad taste and smell. 

Featured in the WGB32B is a pp layered sediment filter, which removes larger particles of sand, dust and rust. There are also two coconut shell carbon block filters, which can filter chlorine particles and other impurities to 0.5 microns in size. 

With densely packed carbon block filtration media, the iSpring system guarantees a more effective contaminant removal, for longer. The filters are third-party tested to meet NSF standards, presumably for chlorine removal (the specifics aren’t mentioned by the manufacturer). 

iSpring has produced a whole host of helpful video manuals for help with installation and maintenance, which come in handy if you plan to handle these things alone. Installation is a little tricky, so you may prefer to hire a plumber. Maintenance is much simpler – you just have to change the filters every 6 months. The system comes with a 3-year warranty.

👍 Pros:

  • Won’t affect water pressure
  • Third-party tested to meet NSF standards
  • 3-year warranty

👎 Cons:

  • Filter life is not as long as others
  • Installation is difficult

Home Master HMF2SMGCC 3 Stage Filtration System

Home Master HMF2SMGCC 3 Stage Filteration System review

The Home Master three-stage water filter offers three stages of filtration to remove iron, manganese, carbon and fine sediment. It is ideal for city and well water supplies, and has huge filter housings for the strongest possible water pressure. With an average flow rate of 15 gallons of water per minute (15 GPM flow rate), the Home Master system can filter water without long wait times when you turn on the faucet. 

Using radial carbon filters, the Home Master HMF2SMGCC three-stage filter has a 95, 000 gallon capacity and can remove particles up to 3 ppm. Through the water treatment process of adsorption, the filters remove iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide, helping to eliminate staining and remove foul tastes and odors from water. The likes of hydrogen sulfide are often found in well water. This whole home filter also removes dirt, sediment, rust, heavy metals, and chemicals like herbicides & pesticides. 

The Home Master filter differs from the majority of whole home filters as it doesn’t offer chlorine and chloramine removal. If your city or well water is chlorinated, the manufacturer recommends several other of their whole home water filters for improving water quality. 

You will have to change the Home Master’s 95, 000 gallon filters every year, which is fairly standard for a filter-based whole home water device. Many users found that they could install the Home Master easily themselves, so you may want to check out the instructions and give it a go yourself before paying to hire a plumber. 

👍 Pros:

  • Relatively low cost compared to similar systems
  • Easy to install yourself
  • 15 gallons per minute flow rate

👎 Cons:

  • Not suitable for chlorinated city or well water
  • Replacement filters are quite expensive

APEX MR-3030 3-Stage Filtration System

APEX MR-3030 3-Stage Filtration System review

With a sediment filter and carbon block, iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide reducing filters, the APEX MR-3030 water filter is another top pick three-stage whole home filter for homes with one or two bathrooms. The MR-3030’s granular activated carbon block filter is NSF certified, so you can rest assured that it effectively removes chlorine and chloramines from city or well water as advertised. It also removes volatile organic compounds (VOCs), insecticides, industrial solvents and pesticides. 

The APEX MR-3030 three-stage water filter features a 1-inch inlet and outlet. Being only 1 inch, it has a minimal effect on water flow. You can expect up to 15 GPM flow rate (gallons of water per minute) when the system has been installed. Considering the average home’s flow rate is 6 to 12 gallons per minute (6-12 GPM flow rate), this whole house system won’t affect your flow rate at all.

It has a first-stage polypropylene sediment filter that water flows through before the carbon block filter, helping to extend the filter life of the overall system. It removes sediment, rust, and particles down to 5 microns, preventing them from clogging the carbon block filter. 

Finally, a KDF water treatment media filter removes dissolved heavy metals in this whole house system, as well as water-soluble nickel, lead, mercury, and other metals. Each filter in this three-stage system has a filter life of around 20, 000 gallon, or approximately 6 months, before it needs replacing. Handily, it can be installed both inside and outside your home. Installation may prove too tricky to handle yourself. The system comes with a 1-year warranty. Some systems have a much longer year warranty than this, so keep this in mind if warranty is important to you.

👍 Pros:

  • NSF certified for chlorine removal
  • Can be installed inside and outside
  • 15 gallons per minute flow rate

👎 Cons:

  • Filter life isn’t very long
  • Only a 1-year wararanty

Express Water 3 Stage Home Water Filtration System

Express Water 3 Stage Home Water Filtration System review

The Express Water device is a 3 stage filter for high capacity whole home water treatment. Designed to be installed at water’s point of entry into a home, it is made with 100% food grade materials and is built to last. The filter has also been third-party tested to meet NSF/ANSI standards, which means you can trust that it’ll perform as advertised. 

All three filter housings in the Express Water device are fitted to a freestanding mount, making it easier to install the system and perform maintenance like changing filters. The filter housing for the first sediment filter is clear, so you can see when the filter needs to be changed. 

Inside the Express Water unit, you can find a sediment filter, a KDF filter and a carbon block filter. These remove common water contaminants including chlorine, sand, dust, iron, lead, arsenic, sulfur, mercury, pesticides and more from water. 

Filter changes in the Express Water whole house water filtration system are really simple. You just twist off the housings and drop the new filter in place. With pressure gauges included, you’ll know for sure when water pressure has dropped to indicate a filter change is required. 

👍 Pros:

  • Third-party NSF/ANSI tested 
  • Maintenance is simple

👎 Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with all parts needed for point of use installation
  • Some people noticed a drop in pressure with the KDF filter

Whole House Water Filter Buyer’s Guide

We 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 we went ahead and did the homework for you!

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

Lets jump in!

What are Whole House Water Filters?

A whole house water filter is a point-of-entry water filtration system that provides clean water for an entire household and its appliances. This kind of filter is connected up to your main water pipe, making it possible for you to enjoy filtered water throughout your home.

The best overall whole house filters will use at least three, sometimes four, stages of filtration. These stages include:

  1. A pre sediment filter, which can remove large particles of dirt, dust, rust and sand from water. This filter prevents the later stage filters from becoming damaged by these sediments, which could lower their lifespan.
  2. A copper/zinc combination filter, which can remove different contaminants like lead and mercury from water in your home, as well as water contaminants and chemicals like chlorine, and other dissolved metals that might affect taste and odor of water.
  3. An activated carbon filter, which covers the largest surface area possible to remove contaminants from your water like organic compounds in its pores, only allowing smaller water particles to pass through.
  4. A post-filter, which gives water one final polish before it moves into your home’s plumbing. Post filters remove any sediment that may have passed through previous filters.

Something to keep in mind when it comes to water heater appliances: if you have more than one hot water heater, you will still only need a water filter for one home. Providing you can install it at your water pipe before it connects up to your heaters, they will be able to benefit from filtered water.

Like standard kitchen sink water filters, whole home filtration systems come in a variety of different styles, each with slightly different purposes. Some of the more popular whole house filter choices include systems that contain carbon filters, RO membranes, and next generation technology for a more thorough tap water cleanse.

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, as well as preventing the growth of bacteira. You might need a whole house RO filter if you’re looking for a more thorough contaminant removal.

One thing to keep in mind about these whole house filters is that they’re 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, and can even prevent the growth of bacteria. 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 reverse osmosis systems also waste around 4 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of filtered water produced during the RO process. This means this solution isn’t the most environmentally friendly, and you’ll end up with a higher monthly bill from your wasted water supply. They also remove healthy minerals from a water supply.

Next Generation Filter Technology

Another common option for whole house water filtration, both for city and well water, is next-generation filter technology. These types of filters can remove harmful contaminants and dissolved solids on the same level as RO, but at a fraction of the price. They also won’t waste water during filtration.

Next generation technology household filters are an environmentally alternative to RO, although they’re still more costly than carbon-based systems. Expect to pay around the $2,000 mark for a decent next generation filter.

home water filtration system

Things to Consider When Reviewing the Best Whole House Water Filters

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.

Consumption & Filter Capacity

A filter’s capacity is the amount of gallons of filtered water it can produce per hour. 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.

Type of Filters

As covered already, there are three types of whole home water filters: carbon-based, RO, and next generation technology. Knowing the different filter types and the contaminants they can remove will help you to decide which filter is the best overall for your household’s water quality.

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. You can buy one of several water testing kits online.

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

Filter Longevity/ Lifespan

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.

System Physical Size & 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

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 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 whole house water filter, 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 house water filters aren’t just high quality – these water filtration systems are also 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 certifications are NSF 42 and 53, for the reduction of chlorine and lead, one of the most common heavy metals.

Water Quality Association (WQA)

The Water Quality Association is an independent body that helps customers identify when a water quality improvement product is at a certified level of high standards and expertise. Manufacturers can obtain WQA certification to prove to customers that their product is approved by a third party.

NSF International

NSF International is the more popular certification body. NFS certification ensures customers that an independent third party has reviewed a product’s manufacturing process and concluded that a product complies with specific standards for safety, quality, sustainability and performance.

When Do I Need a Whole House Filter System?

You might be wondering whether it would really be necessary to own a filtration system for your whole home.

If your home’s water source comes not from city water, but from a privately owned well, a whole house water filter for well water is a necessary appliance to ensure water is clean, potable, and ready for use.

Well water needs to be cleaned just as city water does. There are filters designed specifically for well water, and you will usually find in their advertising that they mention being “effective for treating well water” somewhere.

When is a Whole House Filter Not Necessary?

Even with all the benefits of a whole house water filter for treating city water, you might simply prefer a simpler filtration system to help you cut down on buying bottled water.

You’d be better off looking for a water filter for your kitchen sink, whether that be a countertop filter that attaches to your faucet, or an under sink filter with its own faucet provided. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t install a different filter in every tap in your home, as, while less expensive than whole home options, this type of filter typically is only suitable for kitchen sinks. That means that not every tap will produce clean, filtered water.

Alternatively, you could opt for a water filter pitcher. These water filtration systems don’t need connecting up to a faucet, and filters city water in a matter of minutes. Note that this type of filter is usually only suitable for treating city water.

Finally, water softeners may be more useful than water filters for you if you’re dealing with a hard water issue. Salt-based water softeners use ion exchange to completely remove hard water minerals, while salt-free softeners use conditioning technology to change the structure of these minerals. You could also pair water softeners with filters to get the best of both worlds.

How Does a Whole Home Water Filter Work?

All whole home water filters work in a slightly different way, but all have the same outcome: to reduce contaminants in the water that enters into appliances and faucets around the home, making it cleaner, safer and more beneficial for use.

We’ll start by looking at a carbon-based whole home filtration system. This is a multiple-stage whole home water filter that is considered one of the best water filtering options for a whole home. It combines a number of filtration processes, including an activated carbon filter, to carry out a thorough water filtration process.

  1. Pre-filtration – Water enters the system and passes through a pre-filter, a filter that removes larger particulates and impurities, like sediment and silt. Pre-filters tend to trap particles at around 5 microns in size.
  2. Activated carbon filtration – Next up is the activated carbon stage water filter process. Well or city water flows through an activated carbon filter, made up of charcoal or coconut carbon. This carbon media has a large surface area to trap contaminants in its pores, and can bind to these contaminants, pulling them out of the water. An activated carbon filter removes contaminants from water that a pre-filter might miss, like chlorine and chloramines, certain herbicides, industrial solvents, pesticides, copper & zinc.
  3. Post filter – The water filtration process is completed by a carbon-based system’s post filter. This filter, like all post filters, polishes water and gives it one final clean, trapping any remaining sediment.

Some carbon whole home water filter systems may also include an additional copper/zinc combination filter, which gives an extra benefit of clean water by removing contaminants like lead & mercury from water.

A UV filter and a remineralization filter may also be purchased to add healthy minerals, alongside whole house water filtration systems as optional add-on.

How to Install a Whole House Water Filter System

Build Your Own System vs. Professional Installation

A whole house water filter requires a fairly easy installation that can be done on your own. Most whole house water filters are intended for DIY easy installation, and come with clear step by step instructions and an install kit for every stage involved in the set-up.

If you’d feel more comfortable having a professional carry out an installation of your whole house water filtration systems, rather than attempting a DIY installation yourself, you could call a plumber or handyman to help. Just remember to factor in the additional cost if you’re definitely planning on getting professional help when installing a whole house filter. Shop around in your local area and request free quotes from experts in fitting whole house filters to find the best deal before you book.

Installation Step by Step

Different types of water filters may require slightly different installations, and not all offer easy installation.

To give you an idea of what a general installation of a whole house water filter looks like, we’ve supplied some example step by step instructions below.

  1. Choose your location – It’s the best bet to choose a filter location before you even purchase a whole house water filter, so that you can carry out measurements in advance and be sure that a filter will comfortably fit in the available space. The best way to install the filter is as close to a tap water pipe’s POE, where water enters your home, after the water shut off valve. Be sure there’s enough room for installation, regular system maintenance and filter changes.
  2. Prepare the pipe – Use the shut off valve to switch off the water coming into your home. The best filtration system options will have a template for reference when it comes to cutting the pipe. Mark the precise locations, then refer to your instructions to cut the pipe to fit your filter.
  3. Cut the pipe – Use a tube cutter to cut your pipes in the two locations. Use a bucket to collect any water that escapes. Use a deburring tool to get rid of burrs on the cut pipes.
  4. Install a shut-off valve – To divert the water away from your filter during maintenance or when you’re replacing a filter.
  5. Prepare brass fittings – Prepare the brass fittings for your whole home water filter. Your brass fittings should normally include a ferrule, compression nut, ferrule, and fittings for connecting your filter’s ingoing and outgoing sides. Check that you have all fittings needed for installation.
  6. Connect fittings – Connect your fittings to your water pipe following the manufacturer’s instructions. Use plumber’s tape, making sure not to over-tighten fittings. You may need an adapter to connect the two.
  7. Check to see if you need a grounding jumper cable – If you live in an older home, your electrical system might use metal water pipes as a ground. Check to see if your electrical panel has a wire attaching it to your water supply pipe. If it does, your whole home water filter might have broken this ground path. To solve this, you’ll need to install grounding clamps to the pipe on either side of the filter, then secure a copper cable from one clamp to the other, across the filter distance.
  8. Turn on your water supply and divert the shut-off valve towards the filter – Once everything is in place, it’s time to test your whole home water filter. Turn your water supply back on and be sure the shut-off valve is diverted towards the filter. Check for leaks in your fittings. If you see any, use more plumber’s tape to secure the fittings.

Whole House Water System Maintenance

Fortunately, the best, high quality whole house water systems require very little upkeep once you’re past the installation process. The most frequent maintenance you’ll need to carry out on your system is filter changes.

It’s important to change your filters to make sure your whole system can continue to function properly. The job of a whole home water filter is to trap sediment, filter debris and so on, so it will naturally become clogged up over time. A filter that’s too blocked will prevent water from flowing through, resulting in a much slower production of filtered water.

Here’s what to know about changing some of the most common filters in a standard whole home filtration system:

Changing the Pre- and post-filters

It’s important that you change this element of a whole home water filter regularly. With our a functioning pre-filter, your other filters may become damaged, affecting your entire filter system. Change your pre-filter at a minimum of once every 3 to 6 months. If your water filtration is slowing down, it’s a sign you need a filter replacement.

Changing the Carbon filter

Carbon-based filters and RO systems both use activated carbon filters to remove heavy metals and chemicals like chlorine from municipal water and well water best. These filters need changing every 6 months to 1 year. Check your manufacturer’s guidelines for making a filter replacement for your specific whole home water filter system model.

Changing the Reverse Osmosis Membrane

Whole home RO systems use a semi-permeable RO membrane to remove total dissolved solids from water. These membranes are well-designed block sediment from passing through with smaller water particles. RO membranes have a slightly longer filter life than the average filter. You can get up to 2 years of use out of one before you need a filter replacement, but it’s recommended that you regularly check the efficiency of the membrane after 1 year of use.

Remembering to Change Your Filters

You might have trouble trying to remember exactly when to change your filters. If you want to ensure your whole home water filter always works to the highest standard, try out these tips:

water filter for home filter change

Buy Batches of Filters

Many manufacturers offer better deals for bulk-buying filters for a whole home water filter. To save yourself a last-minute filter ordering emergency, buy a batch in advance that will last you 1 to 2 years.

Make a Reminder on Your Calendar

Go through your entire calendar year and mark specific dates for changing your filters. Then, when you move onto a new month, you’ll know in advance that you’ll need to change a filter. Setup automatic reminders on your phone when its time to change an element of your whole home water filter.

Match It Up With Your Other Home Appliances

If you have other admin to remember around your home, like paying a specific bill, replacing your air conditioning filters or cleaning your carpets, coordinate your filter changes with these jobs.

How to Change Filters in Your Whole House Filtration System

Changing the filters of a quality water system is an incredibly simple process, and you won’t need professional help to get the job done. You can buy replacement filters online. Usually, you won’t have to stay loyal to the brand of your whole home filter. If you can find a better deal elsewhere, check that the filters are designed to fit your system before purchasing.

Changing filters step by step

To change a filter in your whole house water system, follow these simple steps:

  1. Turn off your water supply – You don’t want water flowing through your filters while you’re trying to change them, so make sure to turn off your water supplies at either end of your whole home filtration system.
  2. Relieve the pressure from inside your filter – By pressing a button or switch on the filter, which you can usually find at the top of the pre-filter housing.
  3. Unscrew your housing – You might need to use a filter wrench if the fittings are particularly tight.
  4. Remove the filter – Remove the filter from inside the filter housing and clean out the inside of the housing with diluted bleach, rust remover, and warm water.
  5. Add replacement filter – Add the new filter in the old filter’s place. You might need to click it or screw it to the right location.
  6. Screw the housing back on – Screw your filter housing back onto the main unit and hand-tighten. Note that you don’t need to use a wrench to achieve desired tightness.
  7. Turn your water on – Then check for leaks in your filter. If you notice any, shut off the water and hand-tighten your filter housing again.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

As we’ve covered in this buyer’s guide, there are three main types of whole home water filters that are best for well water and municipal water: reverse osmosis, carbon-based, and next-generation. It’s worth weighing up the advantages and disadvantages for all three when deciding which is for you.

Reverse osmosis water whole house filters remove up to 99.9% of total dissolved solids from water, but produce lots of water waste and are the costliest of the three systems. Carbon-based filters are less efficient than RO systems, but are cheaper, and are well-equipped to do more than a good enough job of removing the contaminants in your water – both well water and municipal water sources – today. Next-generation systems are as effective as RO systems, and don’t waste water, but are less commonly available on the market.

Keep your budget in mind – and it helps to know what you’d save if you stopped buying bottled water and bought a filter! Work out 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. Whole house water filters sediment from water before it can travel through your home’s pipes and potentially cause damage. 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 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.

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