Brita vs Santevia: A Data Driven Comparison

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Brita is the brand that everyone associates with popular water filter pitchers, while Santevia is a lesser-known brand that’s becoming rapidly popular for its natural mineral filtration offerings.

We’ve conducted our own statistically-informed testing of the Brita Elite and Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher, and this review compares the filters across a range of performance categories, including contaminants removed, filtration speed, and design quality.

In our testing, the Santevia MINA did a much better job at reducing the contaminants present in our water, but, despite it being marketed as an alkaline filter that adds healthy minerals to water, our water’s mineral concentrations actually decreased. Brita targets a smaller range of contaminants but is performance-certified and had a faster filtration rate.

📊 Our Testing Data

At Water Filter Guru, we use our own hands-on testing process to evaluate and review all the filters in our guides and comparisons. 

We’ve created a scoring system that allows us to assess water filters across 6 key performance factors. Below, we’ve shared the scores that Brita and Santevia achieved across the testing categories: 

FactorBrita EliteSantevia MINA
Contaminant Reduction4.298.12
Filtration Rate10.008.50
Design8.808.10
Setup9.509.50
Maintenance9.759.75
Company8.507.95

Each testing category in our scoring system consists of several specific performance data, which we’ve broken down in the next table. 

FactorBrita EliteSantevia MINAWinner
Overall Score6.598.45Santevia
Health Related Contaminants3.508.30Santevia
Aesthetic Related Contaminants9.909.50Santevia
Performance CertificationNSF/ANSI 42, 53 & 401Not CertifiedBrita
Filtration Rate2.92 GPH1.43 GPHBrita
Component QualityFairOutstandingSantevia
Component CertificationCertifiedNot CertifiedBrita
SetupOutstandingOutstandingTie
Servicing RequirementsOutstandingOutstandingTie
Costs$0.17/ gallon$0.25/ galBrita
Warranty Length1 year90 daysBrita
Shipping$35 order threshold$99 order thresholdBrita
Returns30 days30 daysTie

🚰 Contaminant Reduction

The primary purpose of a water filter is to reduce contaminants, so contaminant reduction was the performance category that held the most weight in our reviews process. 

We wanted to learn more about this aspect of a water filter’s performance beyond the manufacturers’ performance claims and third-party testing sheets. So we conducted our own before-and-after water quality tests at home, and we’ve compared our results for Brita and Santevia in this section. 

We also checked WQA, NSF, and IAPMO databases for performance certifications, which are more reliable than third-party test data. 

Our Lab Test Results

We used Tap Score laboratory test kits by SimpleLab to test our unfiltered water and learn which contaminants it contained. 

water testing with tap score

After filtering our water through the Santevia MINA and Brita Elite filters, we then retested it to see how effectively the pitchers had reduced these impurities. 

SimpleLab sent us an interactive report for each test, and we chose to use Tap Score’s Health Guideline Levels (HGLs), which are stricter than the federal MCLs, to analyze the safety of the contaminants detected. 

This table highlights the test data for both water filter pitchers. 

ContaminantMeasurementUnfiltered WaterBrita% ChangeSantevia% Change
BoronPPM0NDND0.13n/a
ChloridePPM14.915.11.34%150.67%
ChlorinePPM10-100.00%0-100.00%
FluoridePPM1.11.10.00%1.29.09%
Nitrate (as N)PPM3.53.3-5.71%0.8-77.14%
PhosphorusPPM10-100.00%0-100.00%
SulfatePPM8.48.51.19%16.798.81%
BariumPPM0.01580-100.00%0.0043-72.78%
CopperPPM0.1630.0036-97.79%0-100.00%
MolybdenumPPM0.00260.0024-7.69%0-100.00%
StrontiumPPM0.110.095-13.64%0.03-72.73%
UraniumPPM0.0140.0103-26.43%0-100.00%
VanadiumPPM0NDND0.0105n/a
BicarbonatePPM85.1485.140.00%7.4-71.09%
CalciumPPM25.625.1-1.95%NDND
CarbonatePPM0.10.10.00%NDND
MagnesiumPPM6.326.452.06%3.22-49.05%
SodiumPPM9.6310.610.07%37.1285.25%

The Santevia MINA was able to address many contaminants that Brita couldn’t reduce in our water. But Brita’s performance claims for the Elite filter are fairly limited, and the Elite filter isn’t tested or certified to reduce many of the contaminants in our water. 

Our Brita Elite test results would likely have been more impressive if our water predominantly contained the impurities that this filter can reduce. 

This highlights the importance of testing your water before buying a filter, so you can focus specifically on the filters that reduce the contaminants it contains. 

👉 Read our full breakdown: How Effective Are Brita Filters?

Health-Related Contaminants

Our unfiltered water test report highlighted several contaminants with possible health effects, and we wanted to compare Brita and Santevia’s filtration efficiency for these contaminants in particular. 

We’d used treated groundwater from a shared well for this test, which contained 8 contaminants with possible health effects.  

We especially wanted to address fluoride and uranium, because these were detected at levels above the Tap Score HGL. The other contaminants were detected in trace concentrations below the HGL. 

Here’s the full list of contaminants detected in our water.

ContaminantMeasurementDetectionHGL
FluoridePPM1.10.8
UraniumPPM0.0140.0
NitratePPM3.510
BariumPPM0.01582.0
MolybdenumPPM0.00260.03
StrontiumPPM0.113.0
SulfatePPM8.4500
CopperPPM0.1630.3

Starting with Brita, the Elite filter performed more poorly than Santevia. It reduced 100% barium and 97% copper, but the other contaminants were only reduced slightly: uranium by 26%, strontium by 13% strontium, molybdenum by 17%, and nitrate by 5%. It didn’t reduce any fluoride at all.  

The MINA pitcher did better overall, reducing 100% uranium, copper, and molybdenum, as well as 77% nitrate, and 72% strontium. However, it reduced less barium than Brita – just 78% – and, like Brita, it made no difference to our water’s fluoride concentrations. This was slightly disappointing given that Santevia’s third-party performance data sheet shows that the pitcher reduced 40.5% fluoride. 

There was also an anomaly with our MINA test results: our water’s sulfate concentrations actually increased by 98%, from 8.4 PPM to 16.7 PPM. Tap Score’s HGL for this impurity is 500 PPM, so luckily the concentrations added to our water were still safe. We can’t say for certain, but we think the filter’s remineralization media most likely infused sulfate minerals into our water. 

Aesthetic Contaminants

Around 1 PPM of chlorine was detected in our unfiltered water. This was the only contaminant that affected its aesthetic score in our testing. 

unfiltered vs brita elite chlorine test

There was no difference between Brita and Santevia, here: both removed 100% of this chlorine, including any associated tastes and odors. 

Both pitchers use activated carbon in their filters, which is the most widely used water filtration media for addressing chlorine.  

Minerals & Ions

We expected the Brita Elite filter to reduce harmful contaminants while retaining our water’s healthy minerals. As for the Santevia MINA, we anticipated that our water’s mineral concentration would increase because the filter uses a remineralization media that adds minerals and alkalizes water. 

That’s what made our results in this testing category so unexpected. 

The Brita Elite filter didn’t reduce the calcium and magnesium concentrations in our water, so all was normal here. 

But the MINA pitcher actually decreased calcium by 71% and magnesium by 49%. There was also a 285% increase in sodium, to 37.1 PPM. This is something we typically see with filters that use a cation exchange resin, which exchanges sodium with positively charged ions like magnesium and calcium, as well as harmful contaminants like strontium, barium, and radium. 

Still, we would expect that any minerals lost in the ion exchange process would be gained back – and more – during the remineralization stage. We have to question the legitimacy of the MINA as an alkalizing water filter if it didn’t fulfill the brief. 

Our water’s pH also only increased by 0.1, from 7.4 to 7.5 –  far from the “up to 2.0” pH raise promised by the manufacturer. However, we got completely different data from testing our water with a pH meter separately, after first setting up the pitcher. This showed us that our water’s pH had increased from 7.89 to 9.94, which is much more in line with Santevia’s claims. 

Before and after Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher filtration pH testing

We didn’t score the filters in this category, but the Brita pitcher was the only system that retained our water’s healthy minerals, and we much preferred this outcome. 

Performance Certifications

When we test filters with our own water, there are obvious limitations. Notably, we can only measure their performance based on the contaminants that our water contains. 

Brita is an obvious example of how our limited testing doesn’t tell the full story – the pitcher got a fairly low contaminant reduction score because it’s designed to address a different set of contaminants. 

That’s why we also award scores to water filters based on whether or not they have official performance certifications, which provide proof of a filter’s contaminant reduction performance beyond the data we’re personally able to gather. 

The good news is that the Brita Elite pitcher is WQA and IAMPO certified to NSF Standards 42, 53, and 401, for the reduction of 15 out of the 33 contaminants listed on the performance data sheet. These include mercury, BPA, asbestos, Particulates Class I, PFOS, and PFOA – which weren’t detected in our feed water. 

The only reason the Elite filter’s score wasn’t higher in this category is that it’s not certified to reduce all contaminants as claimed by Brita. 

The Santevia MINA pitcher got a lower score because it isn’t certified to reduce any contaminants.

🚦Filtration Rate

An advantage of the Brita Elite and Santevia MINA pitchers is that they’re both free-standing units that don’t need to be plumbed into a waterline or plugged into a power supply. But that means their filtration processes are reliant on gravity, so water filters more slowly compared to systems using water pressure or an electric pump. 

We filled the pitchers and timed how long it took them to filter our water, which we converted into a gallons per hour (GPH) measurement. 

ProductFiltration Rate ScoreFiltration Rate
Brita Elite10.002.92 GPH
Santevia MINA8.501.43 GPH

The Brita Elite pitcher had a filtration rate of 2.92 GPH (in our testing, it filtered 0.391 gallons of water in 8:01 minutes). We think that Brita’s simpler filter design works in its favor, here – it doesn’t slow water down with multiple different filtration layers and materials. 

We were surprised to see that the Santevia MINA pitcher’s filtration rate was just 1.43 GPH, making it slower than many of the other pitchers we tested, and around half the speed of Brita’s offering. 

It’s possible that the remineralization media, which none of the other pitchers use, is the reason for the MINA’s slower filtration rate. 

💲 Upfront Cost

There wasn’t much difference in the upfront cost of the Brita Elite and Santevia MINA pitchers when we got them for testing. 

Brita sells a few different pitchers (more on that later), and we selected the 10-Cup Tahoe pitcher, which cost $41.99. However, this came with the Basic filter, and we wanted to test the better-performing Elite filter, so we spent extra money on the Elite filter alongside our upfront pitcher purchase. 

The Santevia MINA pitcher costs just under $50, so it’s not much more expensive than Brita. And considering it had the more capable contaminant reduction abilities in our testing, we think it’s still great value for money. 

Of course, this depends on what your water contains – if you only want to target the contaminants that Brita can address, there’s no need to spend more on the MINA pitcher unless you want to.  

ProductPriceFilters Included
Brita Elite (10-Cup Tahoe)$41.991
Santevia MINA$49.991

📐 Design

We also wanted to compare Brita and Santevia on the quality of their designs. We’ve had a mixed experience with the pitchers we’ve reviewed, and we were keen to see whether or not these two brands could impress us in this category. 

In their appearance and functionality, the Brita Tahoe and Santevia MINA pitchers are essentially identical. They’re both plastic water filter pitchers – the only difference is that the Brita Tahoe is slightly bigger (it holds 10 cups while the MINA pitcher holds 9). 

But, looking more closely at the pitchers’ design quality, there were some differences that are worth mentioning. 

Here’s how the design of the two systems compared. 

ProductDesign ScoreComponent QualityMaterials Safety
Brita Elite8.80FairCertified
Santevia MINA8.10OutstandingNot certified

Brita just did better here – its score was boosted by its certification for materials safety, which Santevia doesn’t have. 

Filter Models

Brita sells a handful of water filter pitchers and dispensers, including: 

All Brita’s pitchers are made from plastic, and the main difference between the different models is their water-holding capacities. Some of Brita’s pitchers have various handle/lid colors to choose from, including blue, white, black, and red. 

Alongside its pitcher and dispenser offerings, Brita also sells faucet filters, countertop filters, and water bottle filters. 

holding brita elite filter next to pitcher

The MINA pitcher is currently the only water filter pitcher that’s sold by Santevia. Its filter, reservoir, and handle are either black or white, depending on the color you choose. 

Santevia also sells a larger water dispenser, the Glass Water System, which uses fewer plastic components and has a more modern glass and bamboo design. It uses the same MINA filter as the pitcher, combined with mineral stones, which have a long 2-year lifespan.  

Brian next to Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher

Santevia’s other two offerings are a bath filter and a plastic gravity water system with a fluoride removal filter. 

We think Brita is the better brand here if you like the choice of different pitcher designs, styles, and colors. But you might find that the Santevia MINA pitcher’s 9-cup capacity is perfect for you. Or, you might prefer to invest in Santevia’s low-plastic option. 

Component Quality 

The Brita Tahoe pitcher had a similar design quality to most of the other water filter pitchers we tested, which was, in two words, not good.

It’s made from polypropylene and SAN (Styrene acrylonitrile resin), and we thought it felt quite thin and flimsy. 

The Santevia MINA pitcher is made from Tritan plastic. We actually found that the other Tritan pitchers we tested, like the Clearly Filtered pitcher, had a higher-quality design. 

Tritan is known for being tough and durable, but we still noted that the MINA pitcher’s plastic is thinner than the Tritan that Clearly Filtered is made of.

So, while the MINA pitcher felt better quality than the Tahoe pitcher, there was still room for improvement. 

A possible setback of both of these water filter pitchers is that they’re made from plastic. If you want to store your water in a plastic-free pitcher, you might prefer Santevia’s Glass Water System, but it’s a lot more expensive. Brita has sold glass pitchers in the past, but not presently. 

Filter Materials & Media

Next, we evaluated the type(s) of filter media used in Brita vs Santevia, and the safety of these media.

The only publicly shared filter media in the Brita Elite is activated carbon media. Judging by Brita’s performance in our testing, we don’t think it contains any more comprehensive media, like ion exchange resin. 

Activated carbon has been used in water filters for several decades and is considered safe for this purpose. It’s typically made from natural materials, like charcoal and coconut shells. 

The Santevia MINA filter is made from granular activated carbon (GAC) media, as well as an ion exchange resin and remineralization media. 

Ion exchange resins are another commonly used filtration media, especially in water filter pitchers. Remineralization media is found in some alkaline water filters and post-RO remineralization filters. 

The MINA filter’s more comprehensive design makes it capable of reducing a broader range of contaminants and making a bigger difference to water quality. 

In both pitchers, the filter media are enclosed in a plastic casing. 

Materials Safety Certification

Our own experience with handling a filter can only tell us so much about its design safety and quality, and that’s why we look for materials safety certifications as further reassurance in this testing category.

We were pleased to see that the Brita Elite pitcher has a materials safety certification as a component of its WQA and IAMPO performance certifications. 

But the Santevia MINA pitcher doesn’t have a materials safety certification, so it got a lower score from us here. 

⚙️ Setup

Brita and Santevia both got the same high scores in the setup category. They had some of the easiest assembly and filter prep processes of all the water filter pitchers we tested. 

ProductSetup ScoreSetup Time
Brita Elite9.50Less than 10 minutes
Santevia MINA9.50Less than 10 minutes

Here’s an overview of the setup process we followed for both pitchers. 

  1. We started by unboxing the pitcher, reservoir, and filter. 
  2. Following the manufacturer’s advice, we washed out the pitcher and reservoir, then left them to dry. 
  3. Our next task was to prepare the filter. The Brita filter just needed to be held under running water for 30 seconds, and the MINA filter was similar, but with more detailed instructions: we had to hold it under running water for 1 minute, shaking it and tapping the sides until the water ran clear.
  4. We could then install the filter and start using the pitchers. 

The Brita Tahoe pitcher had a filter replacement indicator light, which we set once we’d installed the filter. 

Setup was quick and easy for both pitchers, with no time-consuming filter soaking or priming process. 

🔧 Maintenance

Brita and Santevia also got very high scores for maintenance.

See how the pitchers performed in this category below. 

ProductMaintenance ScoreServicing RequirementsCosts
Brita Elite9.75Outstanding$0.17/ gal
Santevia MINA9.75Outstanding$0.25/ gal

Again, the pitchers’ scores were tied, here – both had very similar servicing requirements and costs. 

Servicing Requirements 

For both systems, the big maintenance task to remember was replacing the filters. 

New filters needed to be prepared following the same instructions that we’d used during setup. Again, this process was quick and easy for both brands. 

The Brita Elite filter lasts up to 120 gallons, or around 6 months. It’s one of the longest-lasting water filter pitchers we’ve tested, so it’s a good option for folks who want to invest as little time and money in maintenance as possible. 

The Santevia MINA pitcher has a shorter filter lifespan of 80 gallons, and Santevia estimates that the filter will only last around 2 months. This depends on water use and quality, but it’s safe to assume that the MINA will require more frequent maintenance than the Elite. 

As we mentioned, our Brita filter came with a filter countdown timer, so we didn’t have to make our own phone calendar reminders. The Santevia MINA pitcher doesn’t have this feature, although customers can choose to sign up to Filter Ease to receive SMS or email filter reminders from Santevia.  

We also washed out the pitcher and reservoir around once or twice a week to prevent debris and scale from accumulating on their surfaces. 

Maintenance Costs

Again, there was no major difference between Brita and Santevia in terms of their ongoing spend.

Assuming that it really does last up to 6 months, the Brita Elite filter is one of the most affordable filter pitchers we’ve tested. We estimated that its maintenance cost is just $0.17/ gallon

The Santevia MINA filter has a slightly higher ongoing cost of $0.25/ gallon. That makes it another of the most affordable pitchers we’ve reviewed, even if its long-term value for money isn’t quite as good as Brita’s.

Again, you might prefer to spend slightly more on the MINA pitcher in the long run to benefit from its additional contaminant reduction abilities and its alkalizing abilities (although we didn’t experience these ourselves).

🏢 Company

Beyond the performance of the pitchers themselves, we also evaluate the company behind the product. We only recommend reliable companies that provide some form of warranty and returns policy, but that’s not to say that all manufacturers are equal in their offerings. 

Here, we’ve compared Brita and Santevia’s warranties, shipping, and returns policies.

ProductCompany ScoreWarranty LengthShippingReturns
Brita Elite8.501 yearFree shipping on orders $35 or more30 days
Santevia MINA7.9590 daysFree shipping on orders over $99, excluding Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska and rural areas30 days

Both got similar company scores, but Brita has a better shipping policy and a longer warranty, so it did better overall. 

Warranty Length 

Brita offers a 1-year warranty, which is one of the highest warranties we’ve come across for a water filter pitcher. We think it’s pretty generous given that Brita pitchers are low-cost and made from materials that don’t feel super durable. 

Santevia’s warranty length is 90 days, which is more in line with the average warranties that we’ve seen for other water filter pitcher brands. 

Shipping 

Brita offers free shipping to customers who spend at least $35 on their order, while Santevia’s free shipping applies to customers spending more than $99 on orders, excluding Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and rural areas. 

We prefer Brita’s offering here because Santevia doesn’t ship to all areas, and its free shipping cutoff is quite high – even the initial pitcher purchase would incur a shipping fee. 

Returns

Brita and Santevia both offer a 30-day returns policy, and again, this is a standard offering by water filter pitcher manufacturers. 

⛔️ System Setbacks & Flaws

In our testing process, it’s natural that we identify a few setbacks or flaws with the filters we’re reviewing. We always want to be 100% honest and upfront with our reviews, which means sharing the things we were less impressed with, too.

Here, we’ve compared the drawbacks of the Brita and Santevia pitchers. 

Brita Setbacks

  • Reduced fewer contaminants – The Brita Elite filter isn’t designed to reduce many of the contaminants that were present in our water. 
  • Poorer design quality – We noted that the Brita Tahoe pitcher was made from thin, flimsy materials, leading us to question its durability. 
  • No mineralization/alkalization – There’s no alkalizing media in the Brita Elite filter, so it didn’t introduce additional minerals into our water. 

Santevia Setbacks

  • Not certified – Unlike Brita, the Santevia MINA filter isn’t certified to reduce any contaminants, and it also doesn’t have a materials safety certification. 
  • Disappointing alkaline/mineralization performance – We were disappointed that the MINA filter actually reduced healthy minerals in our testing rather than increasing our water’s mineral concentration as advertised. 
  • Shorter filter life – We’d have to replace our MINA filter up to three times as often as the Brita Elite, and its 2-month lifespan is one of the shortest we’ve seen for a water filter pitcher.

🆚 Brita or Santevia: Which Should You Choose?

After comparing Brita and Santevia across all performance categories, which would we recommend?

You’ll Prefer the Brita Elite Pitcher If:

You don’t want to invest in a water filter pitcher unless it’s certified for performance and materials safety.
You prefer the lack of maintenance involved in owning a pitcher with a filter life of up to 6 months.
Your water contains the contaminants that the Brita Elite filter is designed to address.

Choose the Santevia MINA If:

Your water contains a broader spectrum of contaminants that the MINA pitcher, but not the Brita Elite, can reduce.
You prefer a pitcher that’s made from Tritan plastic.
You want to be able to alkalize your water (the pitcher didn’t alkalize our water in our testing, but it’s possible that we had a filter with a design flaw).

Ultimately, both of these filters are great choices, but neither of them is our number-one pick for gravity pitcher filtration. There are some incredible pitcher filters available today, so make sure to check out our top-pick water pitchers and alkaline water pitchers to make a well-informed purchase

  • 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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