Faucet Filter vs Pitcher Filters: Which is Best?

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Trying to decide whether to install a faucet filter or buy a pitcher? In this faucet filter vs pitcher guide, we’ll look at the pros and cons of both filters, and help you decide which is best for you.


Faucet filters are best if you want instant access to filtered water, but pitcher filters are more suitable if you want a portable water filtration solution and you’re happy to wait a few minutes for your water to filter.

🚰 What Are Faucet Filters?

A faucet filter, otherwise known as a faucet mount filter, is a type of filter system that attaches to your faucet.

Faucet filters are small devices, made from plastic or chrome, which contain filtration media (usually activated carbon, sometimes combined with additional media, like ion exchange resin or KDF media).

When you switch on your faucet, water passes through the filter media, which adsorbs (grabs onto) certain contaminants, pulling them out of the water. This filtered water then flows out of your faucet.

PUR faucet mount filter

⚖️ Pros and Cons of Faucet Mount Filters

👍 Pros

Easy to Install

Faucet water filters are usually very easy to install on standard faucets. In most cases, you just need to attach the filter to the end of your existing faucet.

You might need an adaptor if you have a non-standard faucet. Most faucet filters are sold with a couple of adaptors, so the filter should fit most faucets.

Installing a faucet mount filter

Switch Between Filtered and Unfiltered Water

A faucet mount water filter isn’t as “permanent” as other filtration systems connected to your water line, like under-sink filters.

You don’t have to use a faucet mount filter all the time if you don’t want to. Most of these filter types will let you toggle between filtered and unfiltered water with a lever or a button.

When you’re washing your dishes, for instance, you can use normal, unfiltered tap water, preventing hot water damage to the media.

Compact Design

A faucet water filter doesn’t take up much space in your kitchen. The unit is simply an extension to your existing drinking water faucet.

If you don’t have a lot of room on your countertop or underneath your kitchen sink, using a faucet water filter is the best space-saving option.

Great for Small Budgets

Faucet filters offer one of the cheapest ways to access pure drinking water from your home. If your budget is small, it won’t be stretched by this filter type.

Once you install a faucet mount filter, you can stop drinking bottled water – so you’ll probably end up saving money with a faucet filter.

brita faucet filter models

Instant Access to Filtered Water

You don’t have to wait more than a couple of seconds for a faucet water filter to produce filtered water.

Your drinking water is delivered on demand, as it usually is when you open your faucet. You should be able to fill a glass in less than 10 seconds.

👎 Cons

Don’t Fit All Faucets

Although faucet water filters are designed to be attached to most faucets, they don’t attach to pull-out faucets or spray-style faucets.

You might also need to buy an adaptor for your filter if you have a uniquely shaped or sized faucet that the filter company doesn’t cater to.

Pull-out and spray-style faucet

Only Remove Select Contaminants

Faucet water filters don’t remove anywhere near as many contaminants as some water filter pitchers.

This might not be a problem for you – perhaps you only want to remove a handful of the most prominent tap water contaminants, like chlorine and lead, and drink healthier water. But you might want to protect yourself from everything in your water. In this case, a faucet filter isn’t for you.

Learn Which Water Filter Remove the Most Contaminants 👈 Click Here!

Affect Flow Rate

Yes, you get instant access to drinking water with a faucet filter – but you’ll still need to wait longer than usual to fill your glass.

The filter cartridge inside the faucet filter acts as a barrier, slowing down water flow as it passes through. The older and more clogged the filter cartridge, the slower the flow, and the lower the water pressure will be.

Filters Need Replacing Frequently

The average lifespan of an activated carbon filter in a faucet filtration system is 2-3 months. Filter changes are a hassle, but they’re also unavoidable.

If your water quality is particularly bad, or you use more water than the average person, you might have to replace your filter even more frequently than usual.

pur faucet mount filters and replacement cartridges

Prone to Cracking

Plastic faucet water filters are particularly prone to cracking. They’re just not built to withstand steady water flow rates and high water pressure.

You can avoid this issue by buying a chrome faucet filter. The problem here is that some filters have a chrome coating for aesthetic purposes only, so they’re not always sturdier.

⛲ What Are Water Pitcher Filters?

A water filter pitcher, or a pitcher water filter, is a pitcher that contains a filter (usually activated carbon or combined media) and two chambers. To pass from one chamber to another, water must first flow through the filter.

Water filter pitchers rely on gravity filtration. When you pour from the spout, only filtered water leaves the pitcher.

clearly filtered high performance water filtration pitcher

⚖️ Pros and Cons of Water Pitcher Filters

👍 Pros

Remove a Broad Selection of Contaminants

Some water pitcher filter brands can remove hundreds of harmful contaminants from drinking water. On average, filtered water pitchers can remove at least ten times the contaminants that a faucet mount filter can remove.

If you want to be protected against as many impurities as possible, you’ll be impressed with a filter pitcher’s performance in removing contaminants.

Lead, chlorine, heavy metals, fluoride, arsenic, chromium, THMs, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, and microorganisms can all be removed by the best water filter pitchers. Some pitchers even rival reverse osmosis in performance.

Can Be Stored in the Refrigerator

Most of us would rather drink crisp, cool water than lukewarm drinking water that’s been heated up by the sun in our pipes.

The good news is that most filtered water pitchers can be stored in the door of your refrigerator. This means you can drink cool, filtered water even on the warmest days.

Filtered pitcher in refrigerator

Portable Filtration

You can take a water filter pitcher wherever you want – whether that’s in another room or another state.

As long as you have tap water to fill the pitcher, you can use it anywhere. You have the freedom to bring your pitcher to work and on vacation, knowing that you can drink clean water in every location.

Easy to Look After

A water filter pitcher needs very little maintenance. There’s only one filter to change, and the pitcher itself just needs to be cleaned.

If you want to minimize your own efforts in maintenance, buy a pitcher filter with a long filter cartridge life (some Brita filters last for 6 months, for example), and that’s safe to wash in the dishwasher.

Cleaning the water pitcher


Like faucet filters, pitcher water filter systems are affordable for small budgets. The upfront cost of a pitcher filter is as low as $20, and the annual cost of filters is about $50.

Filtered water pitchers are ideal for small budgets, and give you the flexibility to take a few months off if you can’t afford to keep up with filter changes.

👎 Cons

Slow Flow Rate

Because filter pitchers use gravity filtration, they’re pretty slow to deliver clean water.

You can wait upwards of 10 minutes for a full batch of filtered water. When the filter is reaching the end of its lifespan, you might have to wait more than 20 minutes. Luckily, most pitchers let you pour water from the spout even when the full batch hasn’t been filtered.

Slow water pitcher filtration process

Small Capacity

Water filter pitchers are fairly small because they need to be lightweight enough to be picked up when full. This means the capacity in the clean water chamber is limited.

If you have a big family, you’ll probably have to refill the pitcher more than five times per day to provide constant access to filtered water.

Multiple Filter Changes Needed

You’ll need to make a filter change in a water pitcher every three months, or whenever the rate of filtration slows significantly.

This is a hassle that can’t be avoided if you want to drink clean drinking water around the year.

Changing the filter of water pitcher

📝 How to Choose Between a Faucet Filter and a Water Pitcher Filter

To choose between a faucet filter and a pitcher filter, consider the following things:

Your Water Quality

Test your water to find out what it contains. If you discover all sorts of trace contaminants, you might feel more reassured using a pitcher filter, which can remove more contaminants. Alternatively, you can start by accessing your local Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to identify possible contaminants and violations.

water testing with tap score

Your Preferred Filtration Speed

Would you rather drink filtered water straight away, or are you happy to wait a few minutes? If you have a big family, a faucet filter is the more practical choice.

Related: What’s better, reverse osmosis or a filtered pitcher?

Your Installation Preferences

Installing a faucet filter is really easy, but you might still rather not install a filter at all. If so, a pitcher filter is probably the best choice.

Faucet filter vs pitcher filter

🧠 Faucet Filter Vs Pitcher FAQ

Are faucet filters or pitcher filters better?

There’s no better filter – only a better choice for you. If you prefer to get instant access to clean water, and you only want to remove a handful of contaminants, faucet mount filters are best for you. If you prefer to remove hundreds of contaminants with a portable option, and you’re happy to wait a few minutes for filtered water, pitcher water filters are best for you.

Are faucet filters or pitcher filters more affordable?

Both filters are in a similar price range, costing about $20-$30 upfront and requiring filter changes every 2-3 months. If your budget is low, you should be able to afford both of these filter types.

What are the best faucet filter brands?

PUR, Waterdrop, Brita, Culligan, Engdenton, DuPont, Instapure, and iSpring have all performed well in our testing. You can read reviews of our top three favorite brands (including the PUR faucet filter) in our best faucet mount filters review.

What are the best pitcher filter brands?

We love Clearly Filtered, Epic Filters, Invigorated Water, PUR, and Proone for pitcher filters. We’ve reviewed the top products from our favorite brands in this best pitcher filter review.

Do pitcher filters really work?

Yes! As long as you buy from a good brand. If you want extra reassurance that your pitcher filter works, choose one that’s certified by a third party, like NSF International, for its contaminant removal.

Are faucet filters worth it?

Most people think that faucet filters are worth it because of their ability to remove a select group of contaminants at an affordable price. Thankfully, faucet filtration systems are far from a mammoth investment, so if you don’t enjoy your experience with a faucet filter, you’re not going to lose a whole lot of money.

  • Jennifer Byrd
    Water Treatment Specialist

    For 20+ years, Jennifer has championed clean water. From navigating operations to leading sales, she's tackled diverse industry challenges. Now, at Redbird Water, she crafts personalized solutions for homes, businesses, and factories. A past Chamber President and industry advocate, Jennifer leverages her expertise in cutting-edge filtration and custom design to transform water concerns into crystal-clear solutions.

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