How Long Do ZeroWater Filters Last? (The Truth Explained)

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Like all water pitcher filters, ZeroWater filters don’t last forever. Whether you’re considering buying a water filter from ZeroWater or you already own one, you might be wondering how long ZeroWater filters last.

In this guide, we’ve shared the filter lifespan of a ZeroWater filter based on your water’s total dissolved solids (TDS) count. We’ve also offered tips on how to know when to replace your water filters, where to buy filter replacements, and more.

πŸ“Ί How Long are ZeroWater Filters Advertised to Last?

According to ZeroWater, the water filters in a ZeroWater pitcher last for about 40 gallons. That means they can produce 40 gallons of filtered water, equating to about 3-4 months, before they need to be replaced.

However, 40 gallons is actually the maximum amount of water that a ZeroWater filter can treat. In reality, you might only get 20, 15, or even 10 gallons of pure water from this filter before it reaches the end of its lifespan.

πŸ”Ž How Long do ZeroWater Filters Really Last?

Our own experience with ZeroWater and customer reviews tell us that these water filters last for 1-2 months on average.

πŸ’‘ Why don’t ZeroWater filters last as long as advertised? Because ZeroWater bases the 40-gallon/4-month lifespan on the assumption that your unfiltered tap water contains only a moderate amount of TDS. If your total dissolved solids count is any higher than 150, the filter won’t last for 40 gallons.

The chart below highlights how long water filters from ZeroWater should last based on your tap water total dissolved solids count:

Tap Water TDSContaminant LevelDescriptionExpected Capacity
000-001Meets FDA
No known municipalities.N/A
002-050ModerateNaturally occurring in only a few cities.
Can still contain dangerous impurities such as lead.
β‰₯ 40 gallons
051-200Typical RangeMost water in the USA falls into this group.25-40 gallons
201-300HighExpect slightly lower capacity.15-25 gallons
301-400Exceptionally HighMost users will notice shorter filter life.8-15 gallons
401+ExtremeThe highest TDS water. Expect lower
capacity when reducing your water to 00.
≀ 8 gallons

πŸ“‹ Factors That Affect a ZeroWater Filter Lifespan

There are two key factors that affect the ZeroWater filter’s lifespan: your water usage and your water quality.

Water Usage

How often you use the ZeroWater pitcher will determine how long the filter lasts.

The more frequently you use the pitcher, the higher the volume of water that flows through the filter per day. The higher the volume of water, the greater the filter’s exposure to contaminants.

What does this mean? If your water usage is below-average, your ZeroWater filter will likely last longer than if you use more water than average.

Water Quality

ZeroWater filters are all about removing total dissolved solids (or TDS), so much so that a ZeroWater pitcher comes with its own TDS meter. The idea is that you can read the TDS meter to determine when the filter needs replacing (more on that later).

The poorer your water’s quality – and the more dissolved solids it contains – the faster the filter will clog, and the shorter the filter’s lifespan. On the other hand, if your water’s dissolved solids count is low, the filter will likely last longer than anticipated.

Zerowater tds meter

πŸ“ How to Know When to Change a ZeroWater Filter

There are several ways to know when to change the filter in ZeroWater drinking water pitcher:

Check the TDS Meter

The purpose of a ZeroWater pitcher is to reduce your water’s total dissolved solids count down to 0. The water filter pitcher comes with a free TDS meter that lets you know whether the water purification process is working.

If the TDS meter reads 0, you know that the filtration process is working. But if the TDS meter reads 006 or more, it’s time to replace the filter.

Taste your Drinking Water

Acidic or lemon-tasting tap water is sign that you need to replace the filter cartridges in your ZeroWater pitcher. You’ll notice this taste when the ion exchange resin has become exhausted and has reached the end of its lifespan.

A fishy taste in water filtered by the ZeroWater pitcher is another sign that the ion exchange technology is no longer working.

Drinking water

Monitor your Water Flow

Gravity filters like the ZeroWater filter have a fairly slow flow rate to begin with. However, if your filtration time becomes twice or three times longer than it started out, it’s probably time to change your filter.

A slow flow rate tells you that the filter is clogged with contaminants, which block water’s path through the filter media.

πŸͺ Where to Buy Replacement ZeroWater Filters

You can buy replacement ZeroWater filters directly from the ZeroWater website or from online marketplaces like Amazon.

ZeroWater offers multipacks of filters at a lower price per filter than buying a single filter alone. If you have the money to buy a pack of filters upfront, this is a good way to save money on your annual filter changes.

🧠 How Long do ZeroWater Filters Last: FAQs

Why do I need to change my ZeroWater Filter?

You need to change your ZeroWater filter to keep it working. Once the filter cartridge reaches the end of its lifespan, it’ll be too clogged with contaminants to effectively trap any more. Even worse, parts of the filter media could degrade and form holes, allowing trapped contaminants back into your water. Plus, old filters harbor bacteria. You need to change your filter to keep your water safe and clean.

How many gallons does a ZeroWater filter last?

A ZeroWater filter lasts for 40 gallons of water. After this, the filter will begin to degrade and the filtration process will no longer be effective.

How many liters does ZeroWater filter last?

The ZeroWater filter lasts for between 95 and 200 liters of water, depending on your drinking water quality. The more contaminants your water contains, the faster the filter will become clogged.

How often should I change my ZeroWater filter?

You should change your ZeroWater filter once every 1-3 months, depending on the quality of your water. Most people need to make 4-7 filter changes per year.

Brian removing the top reservoir of ZeroWater Glass Dispenser and replacing the filter

How can I make my Zero Water filter last longer?

You can make your Zero Water filter last longer by using a pre-filter to remove contaminants like sediment from your water before using the Zero Water filter. This will prevent these contaminants from quickly clogging the Zero Water filter media, helping to extend its lifespan.

Is ZeroWater better than a reverse osmosis system?

Like reverse osmosis filtration systems, ZeroWater pitchers are designed to produce purified water by reducing TDS down to 0. However, reverse osmosis is much more thorough than ZeroWater, with multiple filter stages (including an activated carbon filter and a semi-permeable membrane) that remove hundreds more contaminants, producing the purest-tasting water.

Related: Is Zero Water Healthy?

Why does my ZeroWater smell like fish?

The most likely reason that your ZeroWater smells like fish is the process it uses to filter water. The ZeroWater filter uses ion exchange, which sometimes releases an organic compound called trimethylamine, which has a rotten fish smell. The only way to eliminate this smell is to frequently clean your pitcher and buy replacement filters on time.

Do ZeroWater filters expire?

Yes, ZeroWater filters expire after about 2-4 months of producing filtered water. The shelf life of these filters in storage is unknown.

Why does my Zero Water filter keep clogging?

Your Zero Water filter will keep clogging if your water contains a high quantity of total dissolved solids. The more total dissolved solids in your water, the faster the filter will clog. Sediment-heavy water is especially likely to clog your water filter.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

6 thoughts on “How Long Do ZeroWater Filters Last? (The Truth Explained)”

  1. Avatar for Laura Shallcross

    You mentioned the Zero Water filter can last longer by using a pre-filter before using the Zero Water filter. What is that? Would you please provide names or links so I know what to look for? Thank you.

    1. Avatar for Laura Shallcross

      Any cheaper pitcher filter will do, like a basic Brita or PUR. The advantage of pre-filtering with one of these is that it should do a good job to reduce some of the organic chemicals the ZeroWater might struggle with. You can also use an old ZeroWater cartridge to pre-filter. Once you see 006 TDS, which normally means its time to replace, throw the old filter in another ZeroWater vessel, fill that one first, then fill the vessel with the brand new cartridge from that! πŸ˜‰

  2. Avatar for Laura Shallcross

    We go to Florida to visit with my father-in-law and he does not use the Zero water. So it sits empty during the 2 – 3 month period between visits. Is it bad for the filter to sit drying out? Or should we leave it during that period with water in it? The concern there is if it starts leaking, no one will notice until they step on soaking wet carpet.

    Thank you,

    1. Avatar for Laura Shallcross

      Great question, Rachel. A filter should no sit unused for that long. Bacteria will grow inside the filter element. Best practice would be to replace the filters.

  3. Avatar for Laura Shallcross

    Hi there. First, thanks for being humans and not AI! I’m hoping you know something I don’t know. Your review of Zero Water filters say they have roughly a 40 gallon life. (Yup, I know it depends on the water.) On Amazon, the ZeroWater Official Replacement Filter – 5-Stage Filter Replacement says the life is 20 gallons. (I tried to attach a screen shot, but can’t.) If it’s just 20 gallons, then I won’t get it, but if it’s 40, then I will, so it’s important to know. I hope it’s 40 gallons.

    Thanks much!

    (I had this question before reading seeing this page, but am posting in case it helps others.)

    1. Avatar for Laura Shallcross

      Hey Carol,

      Thanks for reaching out! Great question.

      As you mentioned, this is 100% dependant on the quality of the water being filtered. They can last *up to 40-50 gallons.

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