Brita Elite Water Filter Pitcher Review

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📊 Scoring Data

We conduct our own objective analysis for the water filters we review, which means we can use our own data to rank each filter across several different scoring categories. Our scoring system is also informed by data from official certification organizations and the manufacturer’s website to support our findings. We’ve shared our scores for the Brita Elite water filter pitcher in the table below.

CriteriaResults
Health Related Contaminants35
Aesthetic Related Contaminants99
Performance CertificationCertified for 45% of reduction claims
Filtration Rate2.92 GPH
Component QualityGood
Component CertificationCertified
SetupOutstanding
Servicing RequirementsOutstanding
Costs$0.17/ gallon
CompanyGood

🚰 Contaminant Reduction

Score: 4.29

Our top priority was to remove as many contaminants as possible from our water, so the most important piece of data we collected in our testing was which contaminants the Brita Elite removed. 

We also checked on WQA, IAMPO, and NSF databases to see if the filter had been certified for its ability to reduce contaminants, and how these certifications compared to Brita’s own contaminant removal claims. 

Our Performance Testing

Score: 3.82

We used Tap Score tests by SimpleLab to test our water before and after filtering it through our Brita Elite pitcher. 

water testing with tap score

When analyzing our test data, we compared the detected contaminant concentrations to Tap Score’s own HGL (Health Guideline Level), which prioritizes human health and is stricter than the EPA legal limits.

Good to Know: Our water supply is groundwater from a public well that’s treated at a dedicated treatment plant. It contains a few common groundwater impurities, and because it’s treated, it’s suitable for filtering in the Brita Elite. That said, the Elite filter had a few limitations that we identified, and we think it’s a better solution for filtering treated surface water supplies without fluoride.
water filter pitchers baseline test overview

Health-Related Contaminants

Score: 3.50

We started by determining which health-related contaminants the Brita Elite pitcher could remove from our water. 

There were trace levels of 8 contaminants with potential health effects detected in our drinking water: fluoride, uranium, nitrate, copper, barium, strontium, molybdenum, and sulfate.

ContaminantMeasurementDetectionHGL
UraniumPPM0.0140
ChlorinePPM10.0003
MolybdenumPPM0.00260.03
CopperPPM0.1630.3
FluoridePPM1.10.8
BariumPPM0.01582
StrontiumPPM0.113
Nitrate (as N)PPM3.510
SulfatePPM8.4500
PhosphorusPPM1none
MagnesiumPPM6.32none
pH7.4none
SodiumPPM9.63none
ChloridePPM14.9none
CalciumPPM25.6none
Total Dissolved SolidsPPM137none

These contaminants are associated with the following health effects: 

  • Developmental & skeletal effects
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Kidney damage
  • Blood effects

Of these contaminants, two were detected above the Tap Score HGL: uranium (0.014 PPM detected, exceeding the HGL of 0 PPM), and fluoride (1 PPM detected, exceeding the HGL of 0.8 PPM). 

water filter pitchers baseline test

Our filtered water results showed us that the Brita Elite had done a great job of reducing 100% barium and 97% copper. It also reduced uranium by 26%, nitrate by just 5%, molybdenum by just 7%, and strontium by 13%.

Our water’s fluoride levels stayed exactly the same at 1.1 PPM, and sulfate actually increased slightly post-filtration, from 8.4 to 8.5 PPM. 

The Brita Elite isn’t certified to reduce fluoride or uranium, and nor does Brita claim that it can reduce these contaminants. So, although these were both still present above the HGL in our filtered water results, and our performance scores were affected as a result, there wasn’t a specific fault with the filter since it simply isn’t designed with media that can remove fluoride or uranium.  

We assume that we would have obtained better results with the Brita Elite if we’d tested it with water containing contaminants that it is designed to target, like lead, mercury, cadmium, and Particulates Class I (although we don’t know for certain as we haven’t actually conducted this testing). 

This is a good example of the importance of testing your own water, so you know exactly what it contains, and what you need to remove – key given that water quality can vary drastically from one location to the next.

Here is a table with all the data from our testing:

ContaminantMeasurementPre-FiltrationPost-Filtration% Change
ChloridePPM14.915.11.34%
ChlorinePPM10-100.00%
FluoridePPM1.11.10.00%
Nitrate (as N)PPM3.53.3-5.71%
PhosphorusPPM10-100.00%
SulfatePPM8.48.51.19%
BariumPPM0.01580-100.00%
CopperPPM0.1630.0036-97.79%
MolybdenumPPM0.00260.0024-7.69%
StrontiumPPM0.110.095-13.64%
UraniumPPM0.0140.0103-26.43%
CalciumPPM25.625.1-1.95%
MagnesiumPPM6.326.452.06%
SodiumPPM9.6310.610.07%

Aesthetic Contaminants

Score: 9.90

A chlorine test strip was included in our sample package so we could test our water for this contaminant ourselves. Lab testing for chlorine isn’t an option due to its volatility – it’d dissipate before the water arrived at the lab. 

Our first test of our unfiltered water detected 1 PPM of chlorine residual (free chlorine). The second test of the filtered water from the Brita Elite detected 0 PPM of chlorine, telling us that the filter’s carbon core technology had done its job. Activated carbon is a popular water filtration media for reducing chlorine tastes/odors.

unfiltered vs brita elite chlorine test

Our filtered water had a noticeably improved taste post-filtration, with no chemical aftertastes or odors.

Performance Certifications

Score: 8.50

The Brita Elite is certified by IAMPO and the WQA for its performance, which is great news – but we didn’t just look for proof of certification to award the filter a score in this category. 

We wanted to know how many contaminants the Brita Elite had been certified to remove compared to Brita’s performance claims. Here’s the data we found:

ContaminantClaimCertified
2,4-D85.50%
Asbestos>99%
Atenolol>95%
Atrazine99.30%
Benzene93.50%
Bisphenol A95.50%
Cadmium99.20%
Carbamazepine>96%
Carbon Tetrachloride91.20%
Chlorine97.40%
DEET98.00%
Endrin98.70%
Estrone96.40%
Ethylbenzene99.00%
Ibuprofen94.90%
Lead99.60%
Linuron>93%
Meprobamate>94%
Mercury95.90%
Metolachlor>94%
Naproxen96.40%
Nonyl phenol93.50%
Particulate (Class I )99.60%
P-Dichlorobenzene98.20%
Phenytoin>95%
Simazine98.40%
TCEP99%
TCPP>99%
Tetrachloroethylene96.10%
Trimethoprim>96%
PFOA98.1%
PFOS98.1%
Microplastics99.6%

That told us that the Brita Elite is certified to reduce 15 out of the 33 contaminants listed on the performance data sheet

Interestingly, Brita claims that the Elite filter can remove a handful of VOCs, which it could have elected to be certified for removing alongside PFOA/PFOS as part of the NSF 53 certification. But the Brita Hub is currently the only Brita product that has been IAPMO certified for VOCs removal.

🚦Filtration Rate

Score: 10.00

We timed the filtration process in the Brita Elite pitcher to see how quickly it would filter our water.  

Our calculated flow rate was 2.92 GPH (gallons per hour), based on the pitcher’s ability to filter 0.391 gallons of water in 8:01 minutes. 

This is pretty quick for a gravity filtration system, although we acknowledge that we tested relatively new filters, so the flow rate will likely decrease slightly as our filters become more clogged with contaminants over time. 

Our intention isn’t to look for the fastest filtration speed anyway – actually, increasing water’s contact time with the filter can help improve the efficacy of contaminant removal by extending the opportunity for contaminants to be trapped in the media. But filtration speed is still helpful to know so you can get an idea of how long you’ll need to wait for your water to be filtered.

📐 Design

Score: 8.80

We used our own objective data based on what we thought about the look, feel, and quality of the Brita Elite pitcher’s design, along with materials safety certification data, to award the pitcher a design score. 

We got the 10-Cup Tahoe pitcher, which is practical in design and appearance – it’s not the sleekest or most modern-looking water filter pitcher we’ve tested, but it felt sturdy and appeared to be thoughtfully designed. 

There are just a few main parts to the pitcher: the pitcher itself; the upper reservoir with the attached filter, and the lid. The idea is that you fill the top reservoir with water, which filters through the filter cartridge and down into the bottom reservoir, ready to pour from the spout. 

A number of Brita’s filter pitchers come with a SmartLight indicator, which measures how much water you pour from the pitcher and changes color to indicate filter lifespan. We found this a useful feature on our pitcher, even though it wasn’t 100% reliable – the indicator doesn’t account for water quality and you might need to replace your filter more frequently, even if the light isn’t red. 

Models & Sizes

Brita sells a few different water filter pitcher models, with different water holding capacities. These are:

Product (with Elite filter)Cost
10-Cup Tahoe$41.99
6-Cup Denali$37.49
10-Cup Huron$42.99

You can choose your lid/handle color for some models, including white, black, and blue. 

We appreciated having a few different water-holding capacities to choose from, since we know that some folks will prefer a smaller pitcher for travel and 1-2-person use, while others will want a bigger pitcher that stores more filtered water.

Component Quality

Score: 8.00

The Brita filter pitchers are made from polypropylene plastic and SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile), which are BPA-free plastics that are commonly used for food and water storage. 

These plastics are considered safe and adhere to industry standards, but their safety has been questioned by a number of studies. 

For instance, research into polypropylene suggests that certain chemicals used to produce this plastic, like stabilizers and additives, may leach into the food or beverage if the plastic is exposed to high temperatures. Another study of leaching of microplastics from different plastics, including polypropylene, and concluded that microplastic particles can disintegrate from the original plastic materials “under suitable conditions”.

In terms of sturdiness and design quality, we thought our Brita pitcher felt strong, solid, and well-made, and we do appreciate the benefits of plastics for water filter pitchers – our Brita pitcher shouldn’t shatter like glass and won’t rust like steel. 

Certification

Score: 10.00

We were reassured to see that the Brita Elite pitcher has been certified for material safety as a component of its performance certifications. 

That means the pitcher is endorsed by a reliable third-party testing organization (the WQA) for its materials safety based on official testing. 

Filter Materials

Brita says the Elite filter is made from proprietary active filtering agents. We did a bit of digging and found that Brita also refers to this media as “proprietary pleated media”, and “activated carbon core technology”. 

This seems to be a fancy way of saying that the filters are activated carbon-based, which explains their ability to reduce chlorine, tastes, odors, Particulates Class I, some VOCs, and a handful of heavy metals. 

holding brita elite filter next to pitcher

There’s no mention that the Brita Elite filter uses an ion exchange resin – Brita only mentions this as a filter media for the Standard filter, which doesn’t remove as many contaminants and has a shorter lifespan.

⚙️ Setup

Score: 9.50

We gave the Brita Elite pitcher a high setup score because of how easy and quick the setup process was. 

There was no difficult or time-consuming filter priming process, and Brita, like many other water filter pitcher manufacturers, has recently made it possible to prepare the filters by rinsing them under running water, without having to soak them first. 

We first washed the pitcher body and reservoirs in warm water with mild dish soap. We then held the filter under running water for 30 seconds, then inserted it into the upper reservoir, attached it to the pitcher, and filled it with water. 

The process took us less than five minutes and required no technical skill, so we recommend this Brita pitcher to folks who want to avoid a difficult install.

🔧 Maintenance

Score: 9.75

There were a couple of factors we considered when evaluating the Brita Elite pitcher in the maintenance category: its servicing costs and its ease/frequency of maintenance. 

Servicing Requirements

9.50

One of the biggest selling points of the Brita Elite filters is that they last up to three times longer than most other filters for water pitchers. The filters have a lifespan of up to 6 months (120 gallons), which is significantly longer than the Brita Basic filter lifespan (40 gallons or up to 2 months). Of course, this is just an estimate, and doesn’t account for your own daily water use or the quality of your water. 

As we mentioned, some Brita water pitchers have a filter change reminder on the lid, which you can use as guidance for when you need to replace your filters. 

Aside from changing the filter, we also washed the pitcher every day in warm, soapy water. Brita pitchers aren’t dishwasher safe, so you’ll need to hand-wash them to prevent damage. 

Costs

Score: 10.00

Thanks to its super long lifespan, the Brita Elite has a very low cost per gallon of $0.17 (we calculated this based on Brita’s filter life information). That makes it really affordable to own in the long run. 

Note: We haven’t yet tested our Brita pitcher for long enough to confirm whether or not the filter lasted 6 months for us. We know that our long-term filter cost would increase if we were having to replace the filters more frequently.
PitcherCost per Gallon
Brita Elite$0.17
Santevia MINA$0.25
Pur PLUS$0.27
Waterdrop Chubby$0.27
Epic Pure$0.31
Larq Purevis Advanced$0.54
Clearly Filtered$0.55
ZeroWater$0.70

🏢 Company

Score: 8.50

We assessed the warranty, shipping, and returns policies provided by Brita to evaluate the company as a whole.

Warranty 

Score: 8.50

Brita warrants its water filter pitchers for 1 year against damage not caused by incorrect use or mishandling. That’s a pretty decent warranty for water filter pitchers – similar manufacturers usually provide shorter 60-90-day warranties, likely because the upfront investment is quite small. 

Find Brita’s warranty information here. 

Shipping 

Score: 9.00

Brita provides free shipping to all customers who spend $35 or more on their orders. Most Brita pitchers with the Elite filter cost at least $35, so there’s a good chance you’ll get free shipping if that’s what you’re going for.

Returns

Score: 8.00

Brita offers a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee for its filter pitchers, which is super reassuring and not something you’ll see from all water filter pitcher manufacturers – being a big brand with a big budget works in Brita’s favor here.

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  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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