Is Using a Brita Comparable to Boiling Water?

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If you’re looking to improve your drinking water quality at home, you might have looked into an affordable filtration solution like the Brita water pitcher.

But how does filtering water with a Brita filter compare to boiling tap water? Is it better to filter your water in a Brita pitcher or does it make more sense to boil your water?

In this Brita filter vs. boiling water guide, I’ve done a deep dive into the two water treatment processes, comparing their methods of water treatment and ultimately helping you to decide on which is best for your situation.

📌 Key Takeaways:

  • The three main differences between boiling water and filtering your water in a Brita pitcher are:
    1. Boiling water kills microorganisms and causes chlorine to dissipate, while Brita filters trap chlorine, some heavy metals, and a few select contaminants in the filter media.
    2. Brita water filters are intended to filter disinfected tap water, while you typically boil water from a natural, untreated source to make it microbiologically safe.
    3. The boiling water treatment process includes bringing water to a boil for a specified time, then waiting for the water to cool, while Brita’s filtration process sends water through a filter before collecting it in the bottom reservoir in a pitcher.

🆚 What’s the Difference Between Brita Filtered Water and Boiling Water?

The main difference between Brita filtered water and boiling tap water is that Brita water has been physically filtered through a filtration media, while boiling your water simply kills microorganisms and causes chlorine to evaporate.

Brita removes chlorine from water by trapping it in its filter pores. Brita pitchers use activated carbon filters, which adsorb chlorine and a handful of other contaminants, preventing them from passing through into the filtered water reservoir. Brita can’t remove microorganisms from water.

Boiling tap water involves heating it until it reaches a rolling boil, then waiting the allotted time for microorganisms to be killed. Boiling water also speeds up the chlorine dissipation process, helping to reduce the chlorine in your water.

⚗️ What do Brita Filters Remove?

Since contaminant removal is the most important requirement of any water filter, let’s start by outlining what a Brita water filter can remove.

The contaminants removed by a Brita filter depend on the type of filter you buy:

  • The Brita Standard Filter reduces chlorine, mercury, cadmium, copper, and zinc
  • The Brita Elite Filter also reduces chlorine, mercury, and cadmium, as well as lead, benzene, asbestos, particulates class I, and a few additional contaminants
  • The Brita Stream Filter reduces chlorine, particulates class VI, and 1, 2, 4 – tricholorobenzene

Something that Brita filters all have in common is their ability to greatly reduce chlorine in drinking water. The majority of municipal water supplies in the US are chlorinated for disinfection purposes – to kill microorganisms like bacteria.

While chlorine is helpful in protecting water on its journey to our homes, it’s no longer needed once the water exits the faucet. Many water filters, including Brita filters, remove chlorine because of its unpleasant aesthetic effects (chlorinated water has a distinct chemical taste and smell that many people find unpleasant).

Depending on the filter you choose, you may also be able to remove several heavy metals, organic and inorganic contaminants, and disinfection byproducts from your water. Only the Brita Elite filter removes lead, one of the most dangerous drinking water contaminants that leaches into water from plumbing materials.

Brita Medium in action

♨️ What does Boiling Water Remove?

Boiling water doesn’t remove contaminants from water in a physical sense. Instead, the boiling process kills microorganisms that are unable to survive at high temperatures. By boiling your tap water for at least one minute, you can kill bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other harmful substances.

However, boiling your water can only kill pathogens – aka. impurities that are “alive” in the water. When you boil water, dissolved or suspended substances like heavy metals and chemicals can’t be removed.

Chlorine is the only exception here. Bringing water to a rolling boil causes chlorine to dissipate at a faster rate than it would if the water was left to sit at room temperature. That’s because water is unable to hold onto chlorine at a high temperature, causing the chlorine to evaporate into the air.

So, in summary, boiling tap water effectively kills harmful pathogens and causes some chlorine to dissipate, but it can’t physically remove impurities like heavy metals or chemicals.

Boiling water

⚖️ Main Differences Between Brita Filters and Boiling Water

Now we know what they remove, let’s look in more detail at the main differences between Brita filtered water and boiling your water.

The Intended Water Source For Treatment

First, Brita filters are generally intended to treat a different water source than boiling water.

Brita water filters are made for filtering tap water from a municipal supplier. That means the water has been chlorinated for disinfection purposes, and the main purpose of a Brita filter is to remove this chlorine.

Boiling is a process that’s more often used for natural water sources that haven’t been disinfected. You’re likely to boil your water if you’re camping or hiking and need to make river or stream water safe to drink. You might also boil your water if you’ve been issued with a boil water notice because your local water supply has been compromised by pathogens. You can, of course, boil your municipal tap water if you choose to, for the purpose of chlorine reduction.

Filling the brita pitcher with water

The Treatment Process

The actual treatment process in a Brita filter is different than the method of boiling water.

Brita water filters use granular activated carbon media to remove select contaminants. Activated carbon is one of the most popular filtration methods because it can effectively remove harmful substances that affect water taste, including chlorine. In a gravity filter like Brita pitchers, the top reservoir is filled with normal tap water, which passes through the filter before collecting as filtered water in the bottom chamber.

The process of producing boiled water involves heating a batch of water over a heat source (your stove, or a fire if you’re off the grid). To kill microorganisms, you need to keep the water at a rolling boil for at least one minute. You’ll need to leave the water boiling for longer to remove chlorine – around 1 mg of chlorine dissipates every 10 minutes in a 10-gallon batch. You’ll then have to wait for the water to cool before drinking it.

Reliability of Treatment

These two methods of water treatment also vary in terms of reliability.

For chlorine removal, Brita is the more reliable option because Brita water filters are specifically designed for this purpose. A high-quality activated carbon water filter, like the filters used in Brita pitchers, can remove up to 95% of chlorine.

Boiling water is less reliable for the purpose of removing chlorine because it’s impossible to know how much chlorine has been removed. All you can do is boil your water for as long as you have the patience, then hope that you’ve managed to reduce most of the chlorine. However, boiled water is guaranteed to be microbiologically safe (as long as you’ve boiled it for at least 1 minute), so it’s the most reliable solution for killing microorganisms – something that Brita filters can’t do.

The Treatment Time

The treatment time to produce Brita filtered water is different from the time it takes to boil water.

The filtration time in a Brita pitcher is around 7-15 minutes for a full batch of water to be filtered, depending on the filter you own (Elite filters take longer because they have a more complex filter design). You can pour from the pitcher at any point during the filtration process – you don’t have to wait for a full batch of filtered water first.

The time it takes to produce boiled water depends on your intended outcome. If you just want to kill bacteria, the process is quick: just 1 minute. But, unless you’re okay with drinking warm water, you’ll have to wait for your water to cool. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how much water you boil. Boiling water to reduce chlorine is an even longer process that could take up to 10 minutes, followed by the wait for your water to cool.

Slow water pitcher filtration process

The End Water Quality

Finally, the end water quality varies depending on the method of treatment you’re using.

Brita filters improve water quality by removing chlorine and a few other select contaminants. However, they don’t purify water or remove bacteria, viruses, or any other microorganisms.

Boiled water has the advantage of being microbiologically safe and should have a reduced chlorine content, but boiling doesn’t physically remove suspended particles, so there are limits to how much you can improve your water quality with this process.

🤔 Is Brita Filtered Water or Boiling Tap Water Better?

So, what’s the better option: boiling tap water or using a Brita water filter?

In my honest opinion, if you just want to improve your drinking water quality at home, I think neither filtering tap water with a Brita pitcher nor boiling the water on the stove is the best solution.

Both of these methods of treatment only really focus on chlorine reduction. If your main goal is to remove chlorine from your drinking water, then go for a Brita water filtration pitcher – it’s quicker and more effective than boiling your water.

But if you want to remove as many contaminants as possible from your water, you’ll need a more effective purification method. I recommend upgrading to a more capable water filtration system, like a reverse osmosis filter, which can remove up to 99.99% of all dissolved solids – including harmful microorganisms – giving you bottled water quality from your own faucet.

Prefer the convenience and affordability of a filtered water pitcher? The Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher is, based on my research into its performance and contaminant removal abilities, the best water filtration system in this category. It can remove more than 360 contaminants, making it significantly more capable than Brita’s offerings.

Clearly Filtered water pitcher on countertop

📑 Final Word

I wrote this article because I wanted to produce a helpful resource that clearly outlined the differences between boiled water and filtered tap water from a Brita water pitcher.

While there’s a lot of information out there about boiled water vs. filtered water, there was nothing specific about Brita filtered water, based on the contaminants that Brita can remove. Hopefully, I helped you to find the answers you were looking for in this guide.

  • 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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