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10 Best Whole House Water Filters of 2020

best whole house water filter reviews

Table of Contents

The most popular whole home water filters are carbon based. These tend to be the simplest to maintain, and the lowest in cost, compared to other filter alternatives.

You can usually find a carbon filter online, and many are designed to produce hundreds of thousands of gallons of water before their main units will need replacing.

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

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

  1. A pre sediment filter, which is designed to remove larger particles of dirt, dust, rust and sand from water. This filter is essential for preventing the later stage filters from becoming damaged by these sediments, which could lower their lifespan.
  2. A copper/zinc combination filter, which is used to remove contaminants like lead and mercury, as well as chemicals like chlorine, and other dissolved metals that might affect taste and odor of water.
  3. An activated carbon filter, which is designed to cover the largest surface area possible to trap contaminants 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. This removes any sediment that may have passed through previous filters.

What are whole house water filters?

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

If you have multiple hot water heaters, you will still only need one whole house water filter. 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, reverse osmosis membranes, and next generation technology for a more thorough water cleanse.

Best Whole House Filter Systems

  • Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
  • iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
  • Home Master HMF2SMGCC 3 Stage Filteration System
  • Aquasana 3-Year, 300,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter
  • APEX MR-3030 3-Stage Filtration System
  • Express Water 3 Stage Home Water Filtration System
  • iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
  • 3M AP9003 Aqua-Pure System
  • Home Master HMF2SmgCC 2-Stage System
  • Dupont, WFPF13003B Filter System
SystemDetails 
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System review
Type: Carbon & KDF
Capacity: 1 million gallons or 10 years
Flow rate: (GPM): 7
Dimensions: 9 x 46 x 54 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

Aquasana 3-Year, 300,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter
Aquasana 3-Year, 300,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 300,000 gallons or 3 years
Flow rate (GPM): 7
Dimensions: 27 x 9 x 46 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"

iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 100,000 gallons
Flow rate (GPM): up to 15
Dimensions: 16 x 10 x 31 inches

3M AP9003 Aqua-Pure System
3M AP9003 Aqua-Pure System review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 100,000 gallons
Flow rate (GPM): up to 20
Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 27 inches

Home Master HMF2SmgCC 2-Stage System
Home Master HMF2SmgCC 2-Stage System review
Type: Carbon
Capacity: 95,000 gallons
Flow rate (GPM): up to 10
Dimensions: 9 x 18 x 25 inches

Dupont, WFPF13003B Filter System
Dupont, WFPF13003B Filter System review - Copy
Type: Poly
Capacity: 15,000 gallons
Flow rate (GPM): 5
Dimensions: 13.6 x 5.6 x 5.5 inches

Whole Home Reverse osmosis systems

Another popular option for whole home water filtration is a reverse osmosis system.

One thing to keep in mind about these systems is that they’re more expensive to purchase 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.

In a whole house reverse osmosis filter, there are often three, four or even five stages of filtration.

Generally, the stages you can find in an RO filter include the following:

  1. A pre-sediment filter, which works in exactly the same way as a pre-sediment filter in a whole house carbon filter, removing larger particles that could damage the later stage filters and reverse osmosis membrane.
  2. An activated carbon filter, again, exactly like the filter used in a carbon whole house filtration system. This removes chemicals like chlorine and chloramines, pesticides and herbicides from the water, giving it a better taste and odor.
  3. A semi-permeable membrane for reverse osmosis. Water is pushed through this membrane at a high pressure, and any larger particles of bacteria, lead, arsenic, ions, viruses, mercury and other total dissolved solids are trapped in the membrane, unable to pass through.
  4. Another carbon filter, which removes any remaining chemicals or organic compounds that might have been small enough to pass through the reverse osmosis membrane.
  5. A final remineralization filter (optional). This reintroduces calcium and magnesium minerals to the water in healthy amounts to give water a more pleasant alkaline taste and balance out pH.

You’ll need to be prepared to pay a lot more for a whole house reverse osmosis system.  While standard carbon-based systems are priced in the hundreds, reverse osmosis 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.

Next generation filter technology

The third most common option for whole house water filtration is next-generation filter technology. These types of filters can remove contaminants and dissolved solids on the same level as reverse osmosis, but at a fraction of the price. They also won’t waste water during filtration.

A next generation complete system usually utilizes three stages of filtration:

  1. A pre sediment filter (optional), which is designed to filter out larger contaminants like dirt, sand and rust,
  2. An electro-charged sub micron filter, used to remove a broad spectrum of contaminants from water, including pesticides, disinfectants, microorganisms, pharmaceuticals, microplastics, lead, fluoride, heavy metals and other total dissolved solids.
  3. One or two heavy-duty catalytic carbon filters for reducing hard water scale and adsorbing chlorine, chloramines and other chemical compounds in drinking water.

Next generation technology household filters are an environmentally alternative to reverse osmosis, although they’re still more costly than carbon-based systems.

You can 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 systems

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

Reach out to the manufacturer with any questions if you can’t find information on a website or product listing, and read up on reviews to get an idea of how a product has worked for a broader audience.

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.

If we just look at water waste, whole house water filters that use reverse osmosis have the poorest filter capacity.

They have an average filtered water to waste water ratio of 1:4 or 1:3, meaning that for every 1 gallon of water that is produced, an average of 4 or 3 gallons are wasted.

This is because, during the reverse osmosis process, water is forced at a high pressure through a membrane, while any remaining water containing contaminants that can’t pass through the membrane is consistently flushed away.

Standard household water filters, like carbon-based filters, don’t produce any water waste, and have better filter capacities in general. All water that passes through the filters is used around your home, as this method of water filtration doesn’t flush away water during the process.

Next generation technology filtration systems provide the best of both worlds, as they produce no water waste, while still giving almost the same level of water filtration benefits as reverse osmosis.

If your household uses a lot of water, you’ll need to keep in mind that a reverse osmosis system is the most wasteful of the three, although this doesn’t mean that it’ll produce fewer gallons of water per hour.

A filter’s capacity depends on its quality, and the materials that make up the filter. You’ll be able to find a whole home filter’s water production rate in its product description. Contact the manufacturer directly if you’re not sure.

Type of filters

As we’ve covered already, there are three main types of whole home water filters: carbon-based, reverse osmosis, and next generation technology. It’s worth being informed on the different filter types, and the contaminants they can remove, in order to know which filter is the best for your household’s water quality.

Request a water quality report from your local area’s water provider if you don’t receive them already. This can give you a breakdown of the different elements in your drinking water, and compare them to the average level of contaminants in the country.

Another way to find out your water quality is to test it yourself using a water testing kit. You can buy one of these online, and it’ll give you an indication of which contaminants are the most highly present in your water.

Once you know what’s in your water, you can determine exactly what you want to remove, which can help you decide which filter type is for you.

For example, reverse osmosis filters can remove the majority of TDS from water, but if your biggest issue is your water’s chlorine levels, a carbon filter might be more than adequate for you.

Filter longevity/ lifespan

The longevity of a filter usually depends on the manufacturer, model, and quality of the product. Different filter types may last longer than others, depending on their make-up and the contaminants they’re designed to eliminate from water.

Generally, pre-sediment filters have the shortest lifespans, as they can become quite quickly clogged with larger particles, which will eventually prevent them from being able to filter water properly.

Most pre-sediment filters will need changing after about 3 to 6 months.

Carbon filters and remineralization filters have an average lifespan of 6 to 12 months, depending on filter use.

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

Ultimately, you’ll need to read up on a particular product to learn exactly when its filters require changing. Some whole house water filter systems contain more filters than others, so you’ll need to factor this in when it comes to replacing them.

Unfortunately, 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

Of course, your household water system will need to actually be installed somewhere, and that means having free space to install it. You’ll need to set your filter unit up connected to your water entry point into your home, before it reaches your water heater.

Not only will you need enough space to store your filter, you’ll also want easy access to the unit for whenever you need to change a filter or perform any other type of system maintenance. If you don’t have too much available space for a unit, you’ll need to bear this in mind before you purchase a filter.

There’s not much difference in size between the three common types of whole house water filters, but size may vary depending on a filter’s model and manufacturer.

It’s wise to measure out the space you have available for storing your filter, then compare this to the measurements of a filter you’re looking at online. There are always compact and space-saving options available if you need them.

whole house water filter

Micron rating

A micron is a unit of measurement, with 1 micron being equal to a millionth of a metre in length. Microns are tiny – we can’t actually see anything smaller than 40 microns, and, to put things into perspective, one white blood cell is thought to be about 25 microns in size.

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

This doesn’t cover the efficiency of the removal of these microns, which is why it’s important to know the difference between nominal and absolute micron rating.

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 filter’s micron rating will give an indication of the types of particles it will remove best.

For example, chlorine, chloramines, lead, and cysts are 5 microns in size, so a filter with a 5 micron rating would eliminate these elements from water the most efficiently.

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

You’ll find that some systems have all in one filters, which can work just as well at removing a broad range of particle types.

Your budget

One of the biggest determiners for which whole house water filter you opt for is your budget. There’s a substantial difference in price between carbon filters and reverse osmosis or next generation technology filters. While there are certainly benefits to RO and next generation complete systems, if your budget is on the lower end, you’ll still be able to significantly benefit from a carbon-based water filter.

Whole house carbon-based filters cost around $300 to $600 in price. Some filters are more expensive than this, and you may need to pay slightly more for additional features like remineralization filters. Replacement filters can cost anywhere between $20 and $50, depending on the brand you go for.

Reverse osmosis 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 reverse osmosis 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.

Flow & water pressure

Your household’s water pressure is a factor which will affect the efficiency of your whole house water filter, especially reverse osmosis systems.

You might think that a higher water pressure or flow is always the best option, but that isn’t true. Carbon filters actually benefit from a slower water flow, as it allows the filters to more thoroughly remove particles from water over a longer period of time. It’s less important to have a higher water pressure for this type of whole house water filter – you’ll just need enough pressure to send water through your system and out of your faucet.

In reverse osmosis filters, on the other hand, a water pressure of 60 PSI is optimal for water filtration, as it allows water to flow through the filters quickly enough for the whole process to be most efficient.

This type of filtration requires adequate water pressure to force water through the RO membrane at a sufficient rate. Without a good enough water pressure, there won’t be enough driving force to send water through the RO membrane at a fast rate, resulting in more water waste and slowing down the production of clean water.

You can test your home’s water pressure with a pressure gauge that measures in PSI. You’ll find these in most hardware stores or online. If you’re interested in a whole home RO filter and your water pressure is lower than 30 PSI, it’s recommended that you purchase a booster pump, which can get your water pressure and flow up to a more desired level.

Certifications

The best whole house water filters are certified by either the WQA or NSF International. Certification proves that a filter works to the standards as advertised by its manufacturer, and ensures that a product is worth the money you’re paying for it.

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 for offering legitimate benefits.

To obtain WQA certification, a manufacturer of a water filter needs to complete specific coursework, pass an exam and agree to abide to the WQA’s Code of Ethics for the Water Quality Improvement Industry.

NSF International

NSF International is the more popular certification body of the two, and a product that is NSF certified is recognised by a blue NSF mark displayed on its packaging or marketing images online. 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 or performance.

Obtaining NSF certification involves submitting a product for rigorous testing and auditing, complying to annual manufacturing site visits,and signing a written agreement.

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. After all, you’re only really interested in drinking cleaner, safer, better tasting tap water from your kitchen faucet – aren’t you?

Actually, there are many benefits you’ll be missing out on if you decide to opt for a kitchen faucet water filtration system. Water filters can do so much more than improve your water for drinking. They can also benefit your appliances, including your shower or bath, dishwasher and washing machine.

The chemicals used in water treatment for disinfecting purposes become airborne when they come out of your shower or other water-based appliances. When we breathe them in, they’re thought to be more harmful to our health than when we ingest them in drinking water. A home that uses filtered water, therefore, doesn’t pose a risk from chemical vapor every time a water-based appliance is used.

Aside from staying healthy in your home, whole house water filters can help you with many aspects of daily life.

Here are the best instances for using a whole house water filter:

When you’re showering

If you have a whole house water filter that softens water without remineralization, your skin and hair will benefit from the new composition of your water.

Water that contains hard causing minerals like calcium and magnesium has been found to prevent soap from lathering properly, and leave deposits over hair and skin that lead to dryness and brittleness.

Soft water, on the other hand, is much easier to lather, and can help your skin and hair to retain its moisture.

showering with house water filter

When you’re taking a drink

Whole house water filters produce clean, contaminant-free drinking water for all the faucets in your home.

This means that whenever you’re thirsty, you’ll just need to turn on your faucet and benefit immediately from filtered water. Unlike other water filter systems, you won’t need to wait for water to filter, or install a special faucet to get your filtered water from. Whole home water filters are undoubtedly the most convenient solution for filtered drinking water.

When you’re doing the laundry

It doesn’t quite make sense that we’d take steps to remove the contaminants from our drinking water, but not the water we washed our clothes in.

When you use a whole house water filter, it produces clean, chemical-free water that’s kinder on your laundry. Household water systems that soften water can also help you to save money, as you’ll be able to use less laundry soap for the same lather.

Clean, soft water will prevent your clothes from drying with a slightly stiff, starchy feel.

When you’re washing dishes or Making Coffee

If you use a dishwasher or a coffee maker frequently, and have noticed limescale building up in either of them, you need a whole house water filter that softens water.

Calcium and magnesium minerals leave scaly deposits on the surfaces of appliances, which can shorten their lifespans and prevent them from working as efficiently. A whole house water filter without a remineralization filter can remove these minerals, thus preventing limescale.

When you’re cleaning

A whole house water filter can help to make your household cleaning chores a little easier. This is because the minerals and chemicals that cause smearing on glass, metals and other shiny surfaces are removed from the water.

Your faucets in your kitchen and shower and your showerhead will especially benefit from the lack of calcium and magnesium minerals in your water.

When is a whole house filter not necessary?

Even with all the benefits of a whole house water filter, you might simply prefer a filtration system that specifically filters your home’s drinking and cooking water.

If this is the case, spending that extra bit of money on a whole house water filter won’t be necessary.

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.

Alternatively, you could opt for a water filter pitcher, which doesn’t need connecting up to a faucet, and filters water in a matter of minutes.

All three of these options are cheaper alternatives to whole home water filters, and can provide the same quality of filtered water. The only difference is that they’re restricted to one point of use location.

How does a whole home water filter work?

Each type of whole home water filter works in a slightly different way, but all have the same outcome: to reduce contaminants in the water that’s used in 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 combines several filters, including, of course, an activated carbon filter, to carry out a thorough water filtration process. The stages of a carbon-based whole home filter are as follows:

  1. Pre-filtration – Water enters the system and passes through a pre-filter, which removes larger particulates and impurities, like sediment and silt. Pre-filters tend to trap particles at around 5 microns in size. Pre-filters are especially useful in whole home water filters as they stop sediment from entering your home’s pipes, where it could cause damage to your plumbing and appliances.
  2. Activated carbon filtration – Next up is the activated carbon stage. Water flows through a carbon filter, usually made up of organic material and charcoal or coconut carbon shells. This media has a large surface area designed to trap contaminants in its pores, and can bind to these contaminants, pulling them out of the water. Activated carbon filters can remove contaminants from water that a pre-filter might miss, like chlorine and chloramines, herbicides, certain pesticides, and copper.
  3. Post filter – The water filtration process is completed by a carbon-based system’s post filter. This filter polishes water before it can pass into our home’s appliances, giving it one final clean and trapping any remaining sediment and organic particles that may have passed through the previous filters.

Some carbon filters may also include an additional copper/zinc combination filter, which removes contaminants like lead and mercury from water.

A UV filter and a remineralization filter may also be purchased as optional add-ons.

How to install a whole house water filter system

Build your own system vs. Professional installation

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

If you’d feel more comfortable having a professional carry out your installation, you could call a plumber or handyman to help. Just remember to factor in the additional cost if you’re definitely planning on doing this. Shop around in your local area and request free quotes to find the best deal before you book.

Installation step by step

Different types of water filters may require slightly different installations, and you’ll be able to find more specific information about your filter in its instruction manual.

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 best to choose your 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 space you have available. Keep in mind that you need to install the filter as close to a water pipe’s point of entry into your home, after the water shut off valve. Make sure there’s not only enough room for installation, but for regular system maintenance and filter changes.
  2. Prepare the pipe – Use the water shut off valve to switch off the water coming into your home. Your filtration system will have a template you can use for reference when it comes to cutting the pipe. Mark it with a pen at the precise locations, then refer to your manufacturer’s instructions to know how much of the pipe to cut to fit your filter and connecting fittings.
  3. Cut the pipe – Use a tube cutter to cut your pipes in the two locations, and remove the section of the pipe that will be replaced with your water filter. There might be some leaking from the pipe, so use a bucket or two 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 – Install a shut-off valve at the water supply pipe. This will allow you to divert the water away from your filter during maintenance or when you’re replacing your filter. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for where to locate the valve.
  5. Prepare fittings – Prepare your fittings and dry them all to ensure they connect properly. Your fittings should normally include a ferrule, compression nut, ferrule, and fittings for connecting your filter’s ingoing and outgoing sides to the water pipe. Check that you have all the fittings you need for installation.
  6. Connect fittings – Connect your fittings to your water pipe as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Use plumber’s or PTFE tape for the fittings, making sure not to over-tighten them. Depending on filter size and your type of pipe, you might need to use 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, there’s a chance that your water filter might have broken this ground path. To solve this issue, 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 make sure the shut-off valve is diverted towards the filter. Check for leaks in your fittings. If you see any, shut off the water supply and use more plumber’s tape to secure the fittings.

Whole house water system maintenance

Fortunately, 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 filter is to trap sediment and debris, so it’s expected that it will eventually become clogged up after so many uses. A filter that is too blocked will prevent water from properly flowing through, resulting in a much slower production off filtered water for your home.

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

Pre filter

Most whole home water filters contain a pre-filter to remove sediment and larger particles from water. It’s most important that you change this filter regularly, as if it stops effectively filtering water, your other filters may become damaged, leading to a decline in efficiency in your entire filter system.

You should 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.

Carbon filter

Carbon-based filters and reverse osmosis systems both use activated carbon filters to remove heavy metals and chemicals like chlorine from water. Using a carbon filter can help water to taste, look and smell more pleasant.

These filters need changing every 6 to 12 months, depending on the level of use they get. Check your manufacturer’s guidelines for filter changing for your specific system model.

Reverse osmosis membrane

Whole home reverse osmosis systems use a semi-permeable RO membrane to remove total dissolved solids from water. These membranes block sediment from passing through with smaller water particles, so that sediment can be flushed out of the system.

RO membranes have a slightly longer lifespan than the average filter. You can get up to 2 years of use out of one, 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 filter always works to the highest standard, try out these tips:

water filter for home

Buy batches of filters

Many manufacturers offer better deals for bulk-buying filters rather than buying them one at a time. To save yourself a last-minute filter ordering emergency, buy a batch in advance that will last you 1 to 2 years. This will ensure that whenever you remember it’s time to change your filter, you’ll have one to hand.

Make Reminder on your calendar

Most of us have a calendar for remembering important dates. It’s a good idea to go through your entire calendar year and mark the specific dates for changing your filters. Then, when you move onto a new month, you’ll be able to know in advance that you’ll need to change a filter. Setup automatic reminders so your phone will give you a notification when its time to change your filter.

Match it up with your other home admin

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. That way, you’ll be able to get into the habit of replacing your filters on a regular basis.

How to change filters in your whole house filtration system

Changing your filters 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 supply at either end of your whole home filtration system, or twist your shut-off valve to divert water away from your unit.
  2. Relieve the pressure from inside your filter – To relieve any pressure from your filter, you’ll need to press the button or switch on the filter unit for doing so. You can usually find this switch around the top of the pre filter housing.
  3. Unscrew your housing – Locate the housing for the filter you want to change and carefully unscrew it from the unit. 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 a little bit of diluted bleach, rust remover, and warm water. Rinse and dry with a towel.
  5. Add replacement filter – Add the new filter in the old filter’s place. You will normally be able to simply drop the filter in place, or 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 – Turn your water back on at both ends of the filter, or twist your shut-off valve to divert water back towards your filter housing. Check for leaks in your filter. If you notice any, shut off the water and hand-tighten your filter housing again, or use plumber’s tape to secure your fittings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which whole house water filter is for me?

As we’ve covered in this buyer’s guide, there are three main types of whole home water filters: 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 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 do more than a good enough job of removing the contaminants that are typically found in drinking water 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 work out what you want to get out of a 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 systems filter out chemicals at the water’s point of entry into your home, you won’t be exposed to dangerous chlorine vapors while you’re showering. A whole home system also removes sediment from water before it can travel through your home’s pipes and potentially cause damage. Some whole home water 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, a whole house water filter isn’t essential.

How much should I expect to pay?

Whole house water systems can cost anything from $500 to $3,000. Be wary of paying more for a filter unless the product is truly worth its value (e.g. if it offers a more complex filtration or additional features that can’t be found in other systems). Equally, if a filter is very low in price, read up on product reviews and FAQs to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Final Thoughts

A whole house water filter is the best water filtration option for your home. 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.

Don’t be hesitant to get in touch with a product’s manufacturer if you need more information. You want to make sure your investment is worthwhile.

Best Whole House Water Filters Comparison Chart

SystemRelative PriceCapacity (gallons)TypeFlow Rate (GPM)
Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
$$$$$1 millionCarbon & KDF7

iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
$$$100,000Carbon15

Home Master HMF2SMGCC 3 Stage Filteration System
$$$95,000Carbon15

Aquasana 3-Year, 300,000 Gallon Whole House Water Filter
$$$300,000Carbon7
APEX MR-3030 3-Stage Filtration System
$$$20,000Carbon & KDF15
Express Water 3 Stage Home Water Filtration System
$$$100,000Carbon & KDF7-15
iSpring WGB22B 2-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
$$100,000Carbon15
3M AP9003 Aqua-Pure System
$$100,000Carbon20
Home Master HMF2SmgCC 2-Stage System
$$$95,000Carbon10
Dupont, WFPF13003B Filter System
$15,000Poly5