PUR vs Brita: An Objective, Data-Driven Comparison

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PUR and Brita are two well-known brands selling affordable water filter pitchers. 

We’ve compared the PUR Plus and Brita Elite water filter pitchers, based on our own objective testing and hands-on experience with these filters.

PUR and Brita both sell similar BPA-free plastic water filter pitchers, which send water through a gravity filter, reducing a handful of common contaminants. The filtered water can be accessed from the main pitcher reservoir by pouring from the spout. 

Both brands are on the lower end of the price scale for water filter pitchers, which is fair given that they haven’t been tested to remove as many contaminants as their competitors. However, they both have a decent number of official performance certifications. Brita’s long filter lifespan outshines PUR’s, while PUR offers the lowest-cost water filter pitchers. 

📊 Our Testing Data

In the following table, we’ve shared the 6 key metrics we used to test and rank the Brita and PUR water filter pitchers, with the scores for each system compared side-by-side.

FactorPUR PlusBrita Elite
Contaminant Reduction5.284.29
Filtration Rate10.0010.00

We’ve done a deeper dive into the data behind each of our testing criteria in the table below, so you can see exactly how we reached our final scores. 

FactorPUR PlusBrita EliteWinner
Overall Score7.086.59PUR Plus
Health Related Contaminants4.503.50PUR Plus
Aesthetic Related Contaminants9.509.90Brita Elite
Performance CertificationNSF/ANSI 42, 53 & 401NSF/ANSI 42, 53 & 401PUR Plus
Filtration Rate2.82 GPH2.92 GPHBrita Elite
Component QualityFairFairTie
Component CertificationNSF CertifiedWQA CertifiedTie
Servicing RequirementsOutstandingOutstandingTie
Costs$0.27/ gal$0.17/galBrita Elite
CompanyGoodExcellentBrita Elite

🚰 Contaminant Reduction

We started by comparing the PUR Plus and Brita Elite filter pitchers for their contaminant removal abilities, using our statistically informed data from our own testing and official performance certification information available online.  

Our Lab Test Results

Our main priority was to reduce contaminants in our water, so we were keen to compare the Brita and PUR pitchers with our own pre- and post-filtration water testing. 

We tested our water with Tap Score tests by SimpleLab and analyzed our test results against Tap Score’s own HGL (Health Guideline Level), which prioritizes human health and is stricter than the federal MCLs.

water testing with tap score

The contaminant reduction table below shows which contaminants our source water contained, and the % reduction of these contaminants by the Brita and PUR water filters. 

ContaminantMeasurementUnfilteredPUR Plus% ChangeBrita Elite% Change
Nitrate (as N)PPM3.52-42.86%3.3-5.71%

We awarded similar scores to both filters for contaminant reduction, but PUR took the lead in this category due to its slightly better score for reducing health-related contaminants and its performance certification score. 

Health-Related Contaminants

The PUR Plus got a slightly better score than the Brita Elite for reducing health-harmful contaminants in our water. 

Good to Know: Our water supply is treated groundwater from a public well. It contains a few common groundwater impurities, and it’s disinfected at a dedicated treatment plant, so it’s suitable to filter in the PUR and Brita pitchers. However, we identified a few limitations for both filters when reducing certain contaminants, and we think they’re best suited to filtering treated city water supplies without fluoride. 

8 contaminants with potential health effects were detected in our unfiltered water.  uranium, fluoride (which were detected at 0.014 PPM and 1 PPM, above their Tap Score HGLs of  0.8 PPM and 0 PPM respectively), nitrate, barium, molybdenum, strontium, sulfate, and copper.

Nitrate (as N)PPM3.510
Total Dissolved SolidsPPM137none

The PUR Plus pitcher reduced or removed 7 out of these 8 contaminants: strontium was reduced by 100%, copper by 98%, uranium by 80%, nitrate by 42%, molybdenum by 23%, and barium and sulfate by just 4%. However, the filter didn’t remove any fluoride.

The Brita Elite did a better job at reducing barium, by 100%. It was almost equal to the PUR Plus in removing 97% copper, but it was outperformed by PUR for the other health-related contaminants, only reducing uranium by 26%, strontium by 13%, molybdenum by just 7%, and nitrate by just 5%.

Like the PUR Plus, the Brita Elite didn’t reduce fluoride at all, and sulfate actually increased slightly post-filtration, from 8.4 to 8.5 PPM. 

Importantly, neither of these manufacturers claim to, or have obtained performance certifications for, fluoride and uranium reduction. So, although these contaminants both remained above the Tap Score HGL post-filtration, this didn’t suggest an issue with the filters as neither is designed to reduce fluoride or uranium. 

Still, the filter performance influenced our performance scores for both PUR and Brita, and we want to acknowledge that our scores would likely be higher if we used the pitchers to filter different water sources containing contaminants that these filters have been designed to reduce. 

That’s why testing your own water is key, so you can see what it contains and determine whether or not your chosen water filter will do a good job of removing them. 

Aesthetic Contaminants

The Brita and PUR filters performed identically when reducing aesthetic contaminants in our water. 

We detected just one contaminant of aesthetic concern: chlorine. Around 1 PPM of chlorine was present in our pre-filtered water, and both filters reduced the chlorine down to 0 PPM – as we’d expected given that they both use activated carbon filtration media and are both certified to reduce chlorine taste and odor. 

Activated carbon also addresses tastes and odors, and we noticed that our filtered water from both the Brita and PUR filters tasted cleaner, with no chemical aftertaste or smell. There wasn’t enough difference in taste for us to have a specific taste preference for either PUR or Brita filtered water.

Minerals, Salts, & Hardness

Neither Brita nor PUR are reverse osmosis systems or water purifiers they’re water filters, which typically reduce contaminants but don’t remove all dissolved solids, salts, or minerals. 

In this respect, the Brita filter performed as expected – our filtered water’s mineral concentration remained virtually the same as it was pre-filtration. 

But the PUR Plus pitcher surprised us with an unexpected outcome: our filtered water results showed that the pitcher had reduced calcium by 96%, magnesium by 95%, and hardness by 95%, down to 3.83 PPM. We also saw a massive 388% increase in our water’s sodium concentration, from 9.63 PPM to 47 PPM.

The PUR filter contains an ion exchange resin, and our best guess is that this resin is responsible for the results because it’s loaded with sodium ions that are then ‘kicked off’ the resin in exchange for calcium and magnesium ions. We weren’t super concerned by these results – our water’s pH remained the same at 7.4, and the sodium concentration didn’t exceed the EPA’s recommended range of 30 to 60 mg/L for avoiding adverse taste effects. Still, we’d prefer to retain calcium and magnesium minerals in our water for their taste and health benefits. 


Performance certifications are the best opportunity for manufacturers to prove that their filters are capable of performing according to their contaminant reduction claims. 

We were super pleased to see that both PUR and Brita have obtained performance certifications for their filters – but PUR took the lead once more in this category. 

The PUR Plus water pitcher filter cartridge is certified by the NSF to Standards 42, 53, and 401. 100% of contaminants that PUR claims to remove have been confirmed by its NSF certifications, which is really reassuring.  

pur replacement filters in box on counter
PUR and PUR PLUS filters

The Brita Elite is also performance certified – this time by IAMPO and the WQA – but it has only been certified to reduce 15 out of the 33 contaminants listed on Brita’s performance data sheet. We think there were some missed opportunities on Brita’s part, especially since the Brita Elite has an NSF 53 certification for PFOA/PFOS removal, but for whatever reason, Brita elected not to get its filter certified for VOCs removal under this same certification. 

holding brita elite filter next to pitcher
Brita Elite filter

That makes PUR the winner of this category because PUR can corroborate all its claims with official certification evidence. 

🚦Filtration Rate

The Brita Elite and PUR Plus are both gravity filters, so we measured their speed of filtration in gallons per hour (GPH). 

We compared how long it took for us to filter water in the PUR and Brita pitchers, and Brita just took the top spot, but it was a close one. Both filters had relatively fast filtration rates within their filter category.

We calculated that the Brita Elite had a flow rate of 2.92 GPH (it filtered 0.391 gallons of water in 8:01 minutes). The PUR Plus pitcher filtered 0.25 gallons of water in 5:19 minutes, giving it a filtration rate of 2.82 GPH. 

Both these filters were relatively new when we tested them, so it’s likely that their flow rates will become slower over time as their media becomes saturated with contaminants. 

ProductFiltration Rate ScoreFiltration Rate
Pur PLUS10.002.82 GPH
Brita Elite10.002.92 GPH

💲 Upfront Cost

When we got the PUR and Brita pitchers for this review, the Brita 10-Cup Tahoe pitcher with an included Elite filter cost $41.99, while the PUR Plus 7-cup pitcher (the only size available in our local Walmart at the time of this review) cost $26.99 at the time. 

The prices aren’t directly comparable because the Brita pitcher is bigger, but PUR’s 11-cup pitcher was still slightly cheaper than Brita’s 10-cup offering last time we checked, at $37.49. 

In terms of value for money, we still think Brita is better, given that its Elite filter lasts up to 6 months (more on filter lifespan later).

Both filters are sold at a number of big box stores, so you might find them at slightly different prices at different locations. 

We’ve compared the costs of the PUR and Brita filters below. 

Brita 10-Cup Tahoe pitcher with Elite filter$41.99
PUR Plus 7-cup pitcher$26.99
PUR 11-cup pitcher$37.49

📐 Design

We analyzed the PUR Plus and Brita Elite pitchers for design based on two factors: 

  • Our subjective analysis of the pitchers’ design quality
  • Our statistically-informed determination of whether or not the systems were certified for materials safety

Check out the overall design scores we assigned to the Brita and PUR pitchers, and the individual scores they received for component quality and materials safety, in the next table. 

ProductDesign ScoreComponent QualityMaterials Safety
PUR Plus8.80FairNSF Certified
Brita Elite8.80FairWQA Certified

Both filters got identical scores in this category because they both use certified components but both have similar limitations due to their plastic designs.

Filter Models

We could find three water filter pitchers that use the Elite filter on the Brita website: 

These are all made from plastic, and their main differences are their water-holding capacities and the location of the filter light indicator. You can get the pitchers with different-colored lids and handles, including blue, black, white, and red, depending on the model you choose. We went for the Brita 10-Cup Tahoe Pitcher. 

We also found three models in the PUR Plus water filter pitcher range. These are:

Like Brita, PUR sells some of its models with different colored lids, including gray, black, and blue.

In terms of availability, both brands are doing the same things here. Their pitcher designs and capacities are slightly different, but you get a similar variety from both manufacturers. 

Component Quality 

The PUR Plus and Brita Elite filters looked and felt very similar in quality. 

Both systems are made from plastic:

  • PUR’s pitchers and reservoirs are made from NAS (a Styrene based plastic) or SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile), and its lids and filter housings are made of BPA-free polypropylene plastic.
  • Brita’s pitchers are made from polypropylene plastic and SAN. 

All the plastics used in Brita and PUR pitchers are BPA-free, and they’re used widely for food and water storage. 

However, the safety of these plastics has been questioned in some studies. For instance, we found a 2021 study that concluded that plastic products “readily leach many more chemicals” than known previously, stating that polyethylene was amongst the plastics that caused the most harmful effects when tested for their impact on health.

If you’re trying to avoid your exposure to plastics as much as possible, we don’t recommend Brita or PUR because all their pitchers have majority plastic designs. You’ll struggle to find a completely plastic-free water filtration system, but glass water filter pitchers are an option to reduce your filtered water’s contact with plastic. 

That said, plastic has a few obvious benefits from a design and affordability perspective, which is evident in Brita and PUR’s pitchers. They might not win any design awards, but we noted that they both felt lightweight yet sturdy, with ergonomic designs for practical use. 

Filter Materials

The PUR and Brita filters remove similar contaminants, and they seem to be almost identical in design.  

PUR filters combine granular activated carbon and ion exchange media. GAC adsorbs chlorine, tastes, odors, and a handful of other contaminants, while ion exchange targets a number of metals and mineral ions in water. 

Brita is a bit more vague with disclosing its exact filter media, describing it as “proprietary pleated media”, and “activated carbon core technology”. So, like PUR, Brita uses activated carbon of some form, although we don’t think the Elite filter contains ion exchange resin – this seems to be a component of the Brita Standard filter only

Both filters contain their media inside plastic cartridges. 

Materials Safety Certification

As part of their performance certifications, both Brita and PUR have certified their filters for materials safety. 

PUR’s materials safety certification was obtained by the NSF, and Brita’s was awarded by the WQA. 

This is super reassuring to see for both brands, telling us that their pitchers have been tested and deemed safe and suitable for their purpose by a trusted third-party organization. 

⚙️ Setup

We compared the PUR and Brita setup processes by timing how long it took us to assemble the systems, and how easy we found the process. 

We’ve shared the times and setup scores for the PUR Plus and Brita Elite pitchers in the table below.

ProductSetup ScoreSetup Time
PUR Plus9.50Less than 5 minutes
Brita Elite9.50Less than 5 minutes

Again, both filters were equal in the setup category. We found them both similarly easy to assemble thanks to their basic designs and lack of filter priming requirements. 

To assemble both filters, we removed the parts from the packaging and washed the pitchers and reservoirs with warm water and mild dish soap. Next, we prepared the filters, which involved holding them under running water for 30 seconds before inserting them into the bottom of the upper reservoir. 

It’s great to see that water filter pitcher manufacturers are starting to make the filter prep process so much quicker and easier than it used to be. We’ve been reviewing water filter pitchers for almost a decade, and it wasn’t long ago when preparing the filters involved a lengthy soaking process, and possibly having to filter and discard several batches of water, too. 

This wasn’t the case with the Brita Elite or PUR Plus pitchers. We could start filtering and using our water straight after rinsing the filters under running water. The whole setup process took less than 5 minutes for each pitcher, so we definitely recommend the systems to folks who want to avoid any sort of difficult DIY assembly work. 

🔧 Maintenance

We compared the PUR Plus and Brita Elite filters in this category by analyzing their ease of maintenance and servicing costs (determined by our calculation of each filter’s cost per gallon). 

The table below highlights the maintenance scores we awarded to the PUR and Brita filters based on these individual testing categories.

ProductMaintenance ScoreServicing RequirementsCosts
PUR Plus9.75Outstanding$0.27/ gal
Brita Elite9.75Outstanding$0.17/gal

Once again, both brands obtained the same test scores, mainly because they’re both easy to maintain and have similar ongoing costs. 

Servicing Requirements 

The main maintenance requirement for the Brita and PUR pitchers is replacing the filters. 

Both the PUR and Brita pitchers we tested had filter change reminders on the lid. These changed color to indicate when we should replace the filters based on a 2-month countdown timer (PUR) or the total amount of water we poured from the pitcher (Brita). 

Having a filter change reminder built into the pitchers was super helpful because we then didn’t have to set our own phone calendar reminders to buy new filters. But both timers had their limitations – they can’t account for different water qualities, and PUR’s doesn’t account for how much water is being used, so we still had to use our common sense and replace the filters before indicated if necessary. 

looking at bottom of a pur filter

The actual filter change process was easy for both pitchers. We just removed the old filter and disposed of it (both brands use recyclable filters and Brita has partnered with TerraCycle to make this easier), then prepared the new filter by holding it under running water for 30 seconds. 

Aside from filter changes, we also washed our pitchers every few days to keep them free from scale buildup and debris. PUR pitchers are dishwasher safe (just remove the filter and the light from the filter change indicator first!), but Brita pitchers are hand-wash only. 

Maintenance Costs

The Brita Elite filter has a projected lifespan of up to 6 months, giving it the lowest ongoing cost compared to PUR. 

Brita filters have a cost per gallon of just $0.17. The PUR Plus filter is still super affordable at   $0.27, even though the filters need replacing around three times as often (once every 2 months on average).  

Brita technically offers the better value for money here, if we’re to believe that the Elite filters really do last 6 months. 

We’ll update this review once we’ve tested the filters for long enough to replace them, so we can comment on their actual value for us based on our own experience (filter change frequency varies from one household to the next depending on water usage/quality).

🏢 Company

Looking beyond their filters to the companies themselves, we wanted to compare PUR and Brita based on their shipping and returns policies, and the warranties they offer. 

In the below table, we’ve shared our company scores based on the individual data for Brita and PUR.

ProductCompany ScoreWarranty LengthShippingReturns
PUR Plus7.5090 daysDifferent shipping policiesDepends on distributor
Brita Elite8.501 yearFree shipping on orders over $35 to the lower 48 states30 days

Brita did better overall, offering a longer warranty and better returns policy than PUR. 

Warranty Length 

Brita warrants its water filters for 1 year against manufacturing defects and damage, while PUR warrants its pitchers for 90 days, and its filter cartridges for 30 days. Brita’s is by far the best warranty here.


Brita offers free shipping to customers who spend over $35 or more on their orders, and PUR’s shipping is a bit more complex because its products are only sold through distributors: Amazon, Walmart, and Target, etc.

Different distributors have different shipping policies, but most have an order threshold to meet for free shipping, so we assigned PUR the same score as Brita in this category.


Brita offers a 30-day unconditional money-back guarantee for its filter pitchers, while PUR doesn’t have a dedicated returns policy – this depends on the distributor you buy from, and many distributors only provide returns on specific terms. 

⛔️ Pitcher Setbacks & Flaws

Our aim is always to share the whole picture when we review water filters, so you have the information you need to make an informed buying decision. That means discussing any setbacks we noticed during our testing. 

We’ve compared the setbacks and flaws we identified for the PUR and Brita pitchers below. 

PUR Plus Setbacks

  • Reduces minerals – In our testing, the PUR Plus greatly reduced the healthy minerals present in our water, which we think was due to its ion exchange resin. 
  • Filters need changing regularly – Even though the PUR filters have a low ongoing cost, we found it a bit of a hassle to replace the filters every 2 months (on average).
  • No longer certified to reduce lead – The PUR Plus filters have recently had their lead reduction certifications revoked, replaced by a microplastics reduction certification. 

Brita Elite Setbacks

  • Not dishwasher-safe – Brita pitchers can’t be washed in a dishwasher, which could be a setback for you if you like to avoid hand-washing as much as possible. 
  • Concerns about long filter lifespan – We have concerns about using our Brita Elite filter cartridge for up to 6 months, especially given that a study from the 90s found that Brita filters introduced bacteria into water after just one week due to biofilm growth in the media (we acknowledge that this study is old and Brita filters have seen design improvements that may have reduced the likelihood of bacteria growth in their media).

Setbacks of Both Pitchers

  • Only certified to reduce a handful of contaminants – The Brita Elite has only been tested to reduce 33 contaminants (and a good portion of these are pharmaceuticals). The PUR Plus contaminant datasheet only lists 19 contaminants that the filter can reduce. Neither filter has been tested to reduce fluoride, chromium-6, arsenic, nitrates, or other common contaminants of concern.
  • Entirely plastic design – PUR and Brita pitchers are made completely out of plastic.

🆚 PUR or Brita: Which One’s for You?

We don’t think the PUR Plus or Brita Elite pitchers are the very best water filter pitchers available today. However, both are well-made and sold by reputable manufacturers, and, depending on your situation and preferences, one might be perfect for you.

The PUR Plus Pitcher is Most Ideal For: 

Anyone who wants a water filter pitcher that has been certified to remove 100% of contaminants claimed to remove. 
Folks who prefer the slightly lower price point of PUR pitchers. 

The Brita Elite is Best Suited For:

You want a water filter pitcher that has been tested to reduce more drinking water contaminants. 
You prefer a pitcher with a long filter lifespan that should require the least amount of maintenance and costs the least to own.  
You want the reassurance of a longer filter warranty and perhaps the most reputable name in the water filter pitcher industry.


  • 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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