14 Common Water Filter Pitcher Myths Debunked

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Over our decade of researching and reviewing water filter pitchers, we’ve heard all the myths about these water treatment systems that you could possibly imagine. 

Here, we’ve addressed the common misconceptions about water filter pitchers and discussed whether or not there’s any truth to these statements. 

📌 Key Takeaways

  • There’s a lot of information about water filter pitchers online, and not all of it is true.
  • Some misconceptions about water filter pitchers are that they’re supposed to reduce TDS, they’re less capable than more expensive filters, they add BPA to water, they only address chlorine, and they soften water. 
  • Make sure you know exactly what you’re buying before you spend your money. 

⚠️ Common Inaccurate Ideas About Water Filter Pitchers

Here are some of the most common inaccurate ideas or assumptions we’ve read about water filter pitchers. 

1) Water Filter Pitchers Reduce Water’s TDS

Many people assume that a water filter pitcher can remove TDS, which comes from an incorrect assumption that TDS in water is bad and should be removed

We’ve read forums where water pitcher users have deemed their pitcher “useless” because they’ve tested their water with a TDS meter and seen virtually no difference in the pre- and post-filtered water. 

TDS is a good indicator of water quality because generally, the higher the water’s TDS, the more impurities – good and bad – it contains – however a TDS reading alone cannot tell you if water is healthy or not.

However, removing all TDS isn’t necessarily the best solution because healthy minerals, salts, and ions are also classed as dissolved solids. So, if a water filter pitcher removed TDS, it’d remove the healthy stuff too, leaving your water with a flat taste and fewer health properties. 

There’s a popular water filter pitcher brand that has built its marketing around its ability to reduce TDS to below a certain level. Don’t fall for the marketing – TDS removal isn’t the be-all-end-all

Using a handheld TDS meter to take TDS reading from glass of water

2) Water Filter Pitchers Are Less Capable Than More Expensive Water Treatments 

We’ve also read misconceptions that water filter pitchers aren’t as capable as other water filter types because they’re cheaper. 

While we can understand the reasoning behind this belief, it isn’t true. The only reason why water filter pitchers are cheaper to buy is that they’re cheaper to make, being smaller and simpler devices than under-sink and whole-home filters. 

In fact, some of the best water filter pitchers can remove hundreds of drinking water contaminants, and many pitchers actually remove more contaminants than their expensive counterparts because they have a slower, more thorough filtration process

So don’t assume that you’ll have to compromise on quality or performance if you spend less money on a water filter pitcher. Often, you’ll actually get a better performance from a more affordable pitcher than you would on a costlier under-sink or whole-home system.

3) Water Filter Pitchers Re-contaminate Water With Pitcher Materials

We’ve heard some concerns about water filter pitchers being capable of recontaminating water supplies due to the materials used in the pitcher build. 

However, if you invest in a quality water filter pitcher made from BPA- and BPS-free plastic, you shouldn’t be at risk of drinking water that has been contaminated by the pitcher jug.

Many water filter pitchers are made from Tritan plastic, a sturdy, BPA-free NSF certified material that won’t add anything harmful to water. But if you’re really concerned, you can always go for a glass water filter pitcher.

Water filter pitcher with tritan bpa free plastic

4) Water Filter Pitchers Remove Microorganisms

Water filter pitchers are designed to be used for filtering disinfected tap water, so it’s a myth that these pitchers can remove microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. 

Pathogens are tiny – much tinier than chemicals and dissolved metals. They’re small enough to squeeze through the pores of most water filter pitchers, so they’ll still be present in a batch of filtered water. 

You wouldn’t want microorganisms to accumulate in the filter media in your water pitcher, anyway, since that carries the risk of recontamination, so you should only use a pitcher filter with clean, potable water. 

The exception is the few water filter pitchers that offer nanofiltration, which does remove microorganisms – although these pitchers aren’t typically as effective as UV water purifiers and other dedicated treatments for killing harmful pathogens

5) Water Filter Pitchers Soften Water

There’s a lot of misinformation online about how to tackle the effects of hard water, and you might have read that a “hard water filter” will remove hardness minerals. 

Some people assume that water filter pitchers can remove hardness minerals along with other common drinking water contaminants, but this isn’t true. 

Water hardness is a quality issue that can only be addressed with a water softener. If you have hard water, the hardness minerals may clog the filter media in your pitcher, but a pitcher doesn’t provide reliable or consistent hard water treatment. 

Plus, water filter pitchers won’t protect your home’s plumbing from the effects of hard water because they only treat water at its end point, when it leaves your faucet. Installing a water softener at your home’s point of entry will protect your pipes, appliances, and additional water treatment equipment by removing damaging, scale-forming minerals. 

Scale build up in a water filter pitcher cartridge due to hard water

6) Water Filter Pitchers Only Address Chlorine

A lot of people underestimate the abilities of a water filter pitcher when it comes to contaminant removal. 

While most of us know that a water filter pitcher can remove chlorine, tastes and odors from our water supplies, that’s not all

The best water filter pitchers can remove hundreds of contaminants, including heavy metals, fluoride, chromium-6, pesticides and herbicides, nitrates and nitrites, arsenic, lead, and other dissolved organic and inorganic impurities. 

It’s true that the more basic water filter pitchers can only reduce chlorine and a handful of other contaminants, but most filters are much more capable than you might assume. 

7) Water Filter Pitchers Offer a Maintenance-Free Solution

Many people don’t think beyond the initial purchase. Yes, a water filter pitcher can provide years of effective filtration – but only when you spend money on regular filter changes. 

Some users have the misconception that water filter pitchers are maintenance-free, but actually, you’ll need to replace the filter every 4-6 months to keep the pitcher in good working operation. 

This is the same for any water filtration system for your home, although other water filter types may have longer-lasting filters. 

If you’re not prepared to spend around $70-$150 per year on maintenance for a water filter pitcher, ask yourself whether it’s the right solution for you. 

Changing the filter cartridge of a water filter pitcher

8) Water Filter Pitchers Instantly Filter Water

Another source of disappointment amongst some water filter pitcher customers is the speed of filtration. 

Many users don’t learn about the gravity filtration process before they buy a water filter pitcher, which means they’re surprised when the pitcher arrives and it takes upwards of 10-20 minutes for a single batch of water to filter

The slow rate of filtration is actually a good thing because it allows for a longer contact time between the water and the filter media, so more contaminants can be removed. 

However, if you want filtered water on demand, know before you buy that a water filter pitcher doesn’t provide this solution. 

9) Water Filter Pitchers Can Be Used for All Water Types

As we mentioned earlier, most water filter pitchers are designed to be used to treat a municipal tap water supply. 

Municipal tap water has been filtered and disinfected at a treatment plant to make it safe to drink, and water filter pitchers act as a final polishing stage at home, removing disinfectant chemicals and further reducing trace levels of contaminants. 

The idea that all water filter pitchers can be used to treat any water type, including well water, is a misconception. 

There’s a small selection of water filter pitchers on the market today that are suitable for well water. However, even these pitchers shouldn’t be used to treat water straight from your well. 

You’ll need to pre-treat your well water with a sediment filter and an iron/manganese filter, and disinfect the water if necessary, before filtering it through a pitcher filter. 

Water filter pitcher can't be used for cloudy well water

10) Water Filter Pitchers Are Unsafe

We know there’s some concern amongst people considering buying a water filter pitcher about the safety of this filter. In fact, a commonly asked question we came across on Google was: “Is it safe to drink water from a filter pitcher?”

We think people are probably asking this because a few studies have found that water filter pitchers may harbor bacteria. 

From our perspective, the idea that a water filter pitcher is unsafe when used correctly is a misconception. Like anything you’d use to store food or water, a pitcher should be cleaned regularly. The filter also needs to be replaced as often as advised by the manufacturer. 

As long as you can keep your water filter pitcher in clean, proper working condition, it should be safe to drink water from

11) Water Filter Pitchers Are a Scam

We understand the hesitancy to spend your money in a world that’s out to take everything from your pockets and give you nothing much in return. 

But of all the scams that exist today, water filter pitchers aren’t one of them. 

The best pitcher filters use filter materials that have been scientifically proven to reduce contaminants, and many filters have official endorsements and certifications from third-party agencies like the National Sanitation Foundation, so you know they’re the real deal. 

As with any industry, there are a few water filter pitcher manufacturers that sell a product that doesn’t do everything it’s advertised to do – and that’s why it’s important to shop around and spend your money on a popular product by a reputable brand

Pouring a glass of filtered water from a water filter pitcher

12) Water Filter Pitchers Are a Gimmick

A similar misconception about water filter pitchers is that they’re just a “gimmick like bottled water”. 

A water filter pitcher is more than just a gimmick because it reliably removes trace amounts of dangerous contaminants and improves the taste of your water

If you hate the taste of your tap water or you’re concerned about water quality, a water filter pitcher should prove genuinely helpful to you. 

Of course, it all depends on your goals and preferences – some people may simply prefer to avoid the extra responsibilities of owning a water filter pitcher.

13) Water Filter Pitchers Are the Only Filter Option

If you’re just dipping your toe into the water filter industry, you’ve probably only heard of water filter pitchers. 

They’re the cheapest and most accessible filters for domestic use, and many of the big filter pitcher brands spend thousands of dollars on marketing every month. 

But water filter pitchers aren’t your only option if you’re looking to filter your water at home. There are also countertop filters, under-sink filters, faucet filters, water bottle filters, in-line filters, fridge filters, shower filters, whole-house filters, and much more. 

There’s a filtration solution for every need and budget – so make sure you know all your options before you spend your money. 

Related: Water filter pitchers vs reverse osmosis systems compared

Countertop water filters

14) The Most Well-Known Pitcher Brands Have the Best Products

When you think of water filter pitchers, one or two big brands probably come to mind. 

You might assume that these brands are the most popular because they offer the best products, but this simply isn’t true. 

If you want to buy a filter pitcher that removes hundreds of contaminants and provides a reliable long-term performance, you’ll need to look beyond the obvious choices and see what the experts are recommending. 

A well-known brand simply has a big marketing budget – it doesn’t mean it’s the best brand to buy from!

🔚 Final Word

Hopefully, this guide has cleared up a lot of the misconceptions you might have heard about water filter pitchers.

Ultimately, a water filter pitcher is an affordable investment in your health – but make sure you know exactly what you’re buying. Water filter pitchers aren’t for everyone. You might prefer another type of water filter, or you may simply not want to filter your water for the time being. 

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