Do Brita Filters Work & How Effective Are They?

Brita is one of the longest-standing water filter pitchers on the market. Even if you don’t know much about water filters, you’ve likely heard of Brita.

But do Brita’s products still live up to expectations? The short answer is yes, Brita filters do work. But these filters may not be effective enough to properly address your contaminant removal needs.

If you’re considering buying a Brita filter, or you’re just curious to know whether this filter is still worth your money, I’ll be discussing everything you need to know in this article.

💧 How Do Brita Filters Work?

There are two Brita filters that can be used in the popular pitcher:

  • The Standard Filter
  • The Longlast+ Filter

Both filters have their own unique designs and perform differently.

The Brita Standard Filter use a coconut-based activated carbon filtration media alongside ion exchange resin. These materials trap contaminants in their pores, including chlorine, cadmium, copper, and mercury.

The Brita Longlast+ Filter has a patented pleated filter design with proprietary active filtering agents and can remove a few more contaminants with this upgraded design, including lead and asbestos. As the name suggests, the Longlast+ filters also have a longer lifespan than the Standard filters.

Brita Standard and Longlast+ replacement filters

Brita doesn’t only offer filtering pitchers, although these are what Brita is known for. Brita also offers a bottle filter and a faucet filter.

Brita’s faucet filtration cartridge has a carbon block design, and uses adsorption to grab onto chlorine, lead, pesticides and herbicides, and more.

Brita’s bottle filtering devices also use a carbon block cartridge to treat contaminated water.

☢️ What Contaminants Does Brita Filter Out?

With their different designs, each of Brita’s filtration products removes a unique range of contaminants.

The table below shows the contaminants removed by the Longlast+ Filter, the Standard Filter, the Stream Bottle Filter, and the Faucet Filter.

ContaminantLonglast +StandardStreamBottleFaucet
1, 2, 4 - Tricholorobenzene✔️✔️
Asbestos✔️✔️
Benzene✔️✔️
Cadmium✔️✔️
Chlorine✔️✔️
✔️
✔️
✔️
Copper✔️
Lead✔️
✔️
Mercury✔️
✔️
Particulates✔️
(Class 1)
✔️
(Class 6)
✔️
(Class 6)
✔️
(Class 1)
Select Emerging Contaminants✔️
Select Pesticides & Herbicides✔️
✔️
Select Pharmaceuticals✔️
TTHMs✔️
VOCs✔️
Zinc✔️

🔰 Importance of Replacing The Filter Cartridge

Brita filters all have their own specific lifespans, and once the filters reach the end of these lifespans, they’ll no longer be effective in filtering your water.

Imagine that you ran your tap water through a tiny sieve every time you wanted a drink of water. With every batch of water that passed through the sieve, its tiny pores would become more and more clogged up with contaminants. Eventually, the sieve’s pores would be so clogged that it would no longer allow water to pass through easily.

This is what happens with Brita filters. Tap water contaminants will clog the filter’s pores, until eventually, the filter can’t hold any more contaminants.

This is bad for two reasons:

  1. The filter’s flow rate will slow right down.
  2. The filter may allow contaminants to pass through, as it has no more holding capacity.

Replacing the filter cartridge as advised by Brita, or whenever your water flow slows significantly, will ensure that your filter continues to remove contaminants from your water. If you don’t replace your Brita filter cartridge, you may as well not be using the filter at all, as it won’t change the quality of your tap water.

Old Filters Can Add Bacteria To Your Water

Some water filter cartridges are designed to prevent bacteria buildup, but most – including Brita’s filters – don’t have this capability.

The moist environment inside a water filter makes for the perfect bacteria breeding ground. If you allow your filter to be used for months, or years, longer than advertised, bacteria will build up inside the filter, and could make you sick.

A bacteria biofilm can begin growing on a filter’s surface within just a few weeks, so it’s essential that you replace your water filters as recommended by the manufacturer.

Bacteria in petri dish

When Should I Change My Brita Filter?

Not all water filters need to be changed at the same times. Some filters last longer than others. This usually depends on the filter’s design and its intended purpose.

It’s uncommon for filters in pitchers to last longer than 3-6 months. Faucet filters and water bottle filters have a similar lifespan. The cartridge design of these filters and their smaller size limits their lifespan somewhat compared to bigger under-sink or whole-home filtration cartridges.

The table below shows when you should change your Brita filter, depending on which filtered water system you own.

Filter
Replacement
by Gallons
Replacement
by Time (Months)
Longlast+
120
6
Standard
40
2
Stream
40
2
Bottle
40
2
Faucet
100
4

🤔 So, Do Brita Filters Work & Are They Safe?

The answer is yes: Brita filters do work, and they can effectively remove impurities from your tap water.

However, Brita water filters will only work for you if you’re dealing with the problem impurities that Brita can address!

For instance, Brita filters won’t work for you if your tap water contains fluoride, because Brita doesn’t remove fluoride. However, if you’re just dealing with lead or chlorine in your tap water, the Longlast+ filtered water pitcher will remove these impurities and give you the solution you’re looking for.

Are Brita’s filtered water systems safe? Again, the answer is yes, but only with the right use. Monitor your filter’s usage and replace filters as recommended by Brita to prevent a buildup of bacteria that could get into your tap water and make you sick.

In all, Brita can provide filtered water to some extent. If you have basic filtration requirements and you’ll safely replace the filters to prevent bacteria growth, either one of Brita’s pitcher, faucet or water bottle systems will be safe and effective for you.

Brita Grand Pitcher Performance

📖 How to Choose The Best Water Filter For Your Needs

There are hundreds of filtered water systems on today’s market, and finding the right system to treat your drinking water will ensure you achieve your intended outcome. But how do you choose the right filtration system for your needs?

There are three steps to follow:

Step 1: Test Your Water

The first stage is to test your tap water to learn exactly what it contains. There are several testing methods, and some are more effective than others.

If you get your water from a municipal supply, you can look at your annual water quality report. This will tell you what your water contains after treatment, but it won’t tell you if your water picks up impurities on its way to your home.

tap score water test report

You could also use an at-home testing kit to test your tap water. These kits cost less than $20 and can test for the most common causes of contamination, including lead, chlorine, fluoride, hardness minerals, and harmful chemicals, like pesticides and herbicides.

The most thorough and accurate testing strategy is laboratory testing. This method will give you the most detailed data about what your water contains. Some laboratories will list possible contamination sources and advise you on the most suitable filtered water solutions. I recommend SimpleLab Tap Score for testing your drinking water.

water testing with tap score

Step 2: Narrowing Your Options

Once you’re aware of what your tap water contains, you can narrow your options based on what you want to remove.

Here, you can think about other factors that might affect your purchasing decision, such as your budget, installation and maintenance preferences, preferred speed of filtration, and more.

There are hundreds of filtered water solutions to sift through. I have plenty of guides, such as my best gravity water filters guide, that showcase a selection of the most effective filters available on today’s market. Using these guides can cut your research time in half, because I’ve already narrowed down your search and eliminated the filtering systems that aren’t worth your money.

Step 3: Reading Reviews

Reading reviews is the final stage of selecting the right tap water filtration system for you.

I recommend reading a combination of customer reviews and unbiased reviews from water treatment experts.

Customer reviews will give you an idea of the experience that people just like you have had with a water filter. These reviews will tell you things that you won’t learn from a product description alone, like how easy the system is to use, and whether it lives up to performance standards. You can also find trends in negative reviews that may raise a red flag about a product.

Reading unbiased 3rd party reviews will help you to learn more about a product before you buy. It can be difficult to find all the information you need to know on a manufacturer’s product page. Most product descriptions will talk about the disadvantages of drinking contaminated water and the product’s benefits, but you won’t find much information about specs or performance.

Unbiased reviews are thorough and well-structured, providing all the information you need to know whether a product meets your requirements and compare it to other products on the market.

You should now be in a position to confidently purchase a drinking water filtering system that addresses your contaminant removal needs.

👉 Alternative Options to Consider

Brita isn’t the only brand to offer pitcher, water bottle, and faucet filters. There are tens of brands that now offer these products, and many products are now much better than Brita’s.

If you’re keen to know which water pitcher filters are the best on the market today, you can find all the information you need in my best water pitcher guide – found here.

You may be more interested in faucet filters, which connect directly to your faucet and provide instant access to filtered drinking water. My best faucet filtration guide will tell you which faucet filters are most popular today.

Finally, if you’re looking for the convenience of a filtered water bottle, you’ll get plenty of value from my best filtered water bottles guide.