We’ve tested Waterdrop’s faucet water filter in our home, and here, we’ve discussed what we think about how easy we found it to use, how it improved our water quality, its overall value for money, and more.
Table of Contents
🧾 Overview of the Waterdrop Faucet Filter
Waterdrop sells two filters that attach to the end of a faucet:
We’ve personally used and tested the FC-06, so we’ll be mostly discussing this filter in our review. However, we’ll also be commenting on how the FC-01 differs from the FC-06 across different performance categories, so if you’re thinking of buying either of these filters, you’ll find all the information you need.
The idea of both Waterdrop faucet water filters is that they’re connected to a kitchen faucet, meaning that water flows through the filter before leaving the unit.
The major advantage of the FC-06 (the model we tested) is that it’s made from stainless steel, rather than just being plastic with a chrome overlay, as many of the competing faucet filters are. The FC-01 is made from plastic, and it’s over half the price of the stainless steel model. Both units are NSF certified to Standards 42 and 372, for the removal of chlorine, taste, and odor, and for lead-free design.
|Certifications or Testing
|NSF 42, 372
|320 gallons/3 months
|$30 – $45
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In our testing, the Waterdrop FC-06 greatly improved our water’s taste, smell, and quality, and did a good job of removing the contaminants we were the most concerned about. We were won over by the unit’s stainless steel design, which felt sturdier and more durable than plastic models. However, the filter doesn’t remove as many contaminants as other faucet filters we’ve tested. For instance, the PUR PLUS faucet-mount water filter currently removes 70+ contaminants, while the FC-06 only targets 10+ impurities.
👍 What We Like
- Two design choices, including a sturdy stainless steel model
- Plastic model is super affordable at just $20
- Easy to connect to faucet
- Rental-friendly & doesn’t take up counter space
- NSF performance certified
- Delivers filtered water from your existing faucet
👎 What We Don’t Like
- Filter life is quite short
- Doesn’t fit all faucets
- Doesn’t remove as many contaminants as other filters
💡 First Impressions
During unboxing, our first impressions of the Waterdrop FC-06 were that it looks and feels sturdier than many of the plastic faucet water filters we’ve tested. The filter housing is made from stainless steel, which is thicker and more durable than plastic. It felt solid to hold, and we didn’t expect to have issues with the unit cracking and leaking under high water pressure, as was the case with many of the plastic filters we’d used in the past.
Our unit came with one initial filter, which slotted inside the filter housing, with a faucet attachment on the side. We also received two adapters (we’d need to use one of these if we had an internal-threaded faucet). Waterdrop offers a few other adapters at request only, and the installation manual instructed us to contact customer service if we were unable to install the filter.
Design-wise, apart from being made of stainless steel, the Waterdrop FC-06 is pretty conventional for a faucet filter. Unlike other systems, it doesn’t have a filter change reminder, so you’ll need to make your own calendar reminder to replace the filters. This wasn’t a dealbreaker for us since filter change reminders are problematic in faucet filters anyway – they’re battery-operated but once the battery has run out, there’s no way to access it to replace it, so they don’t work forever.
Something important to note is that, like all other faucet water filters, the Waterdrop FC-06 and FC-01 only fit on conventional faucets. Even the two adaptors only enable the models to be used on externally-threaded and externally-threaded standard faucets. They’re not going to fit on most spray-style faucets, pull-out faucets, and faucets with a sensor. We had a pull-out faucet and had to wait until we’d moved into a place with a conventional faucet before we could test any faucet water filters.
As with all Waterdrop’s products, the FC-06 and FC-01 are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee (as long as you have a verified purchase). If returns are requested due to a quality issue, Waterdrop will cover the cost of return shipping. We could still replace the filters after 30 days and receive a refund/replacement and free shipping, if the return was due to a quality issue. The filters are also covered by Waterdrop’s 1-year warranty, so we felt pretty comfortable spending our money.
🧪 Our Testing
While the FC-01 and the FC-06 are made from different materials, they both use the same NSF certified water filter, which has been tested to remove 10+ contaminants.
As we mentioned, we tested the FC-06 to make our own assessments when it came to water quality, ease of use, filter longevity, and other factors that we consider to be related to performance. We haven’t yet been able to do a before-and-after water contaminant test, but it’s something we’re planning to do soon, so we’ll update this review once this data.
For now, here’s what we thought about the FC-06 across the following testing categories:
Our Water Quality
Both the Waterdrop FC-01 and the FC-06 use the same filter cartridge, made from 0.5-micron “advanced activated carbon from Sri Lanka” (according to the manufacturer).
Considering that the filters have been certified for removing chlorine, taste, and odor, this sounds about right to us – activated carbon is the best and most popular water filter media used to remove chlorine and harmful chemicals. The filter can also apparently reduce sediment, fluoride, lead, and rust, although information on contaminant removal is a bit vague, and we couldn’t find a datasheet on the Waterdrop website.
We taste-tested our filtered water and compared it to the taste of our regular tap water pre-filtration. We definitely noticed a difference – our filtered drinking water didn’t have the lingering aftertaste or odor of chlorine, meaning that the activated carbon media had done a good job of removing this chemical. That said, our water didn’t taste as clean or as pure as it would with a more advanced multi-stage or multi-media filter that could remove more contaminants. We were pleased, but not blown away, in this category.
Ease of Use
We also wanted to test how easy the Waterdrop FC-06 was to use to filter our tap water. And in this category, it ticked all our boxes.
The filter was quite bulky on the end of our faucet, but it had a feature that most faucet water filters we’ve tested didn’t have: a 360 swivel function. This meant we could twist the filter housing to the angle that best suited our situation, whether we were washing dishes and wanted to angle the filter away while we used normal hot tap water, or we needed to fill a large jug and could adjust the filter angle to fit the jug underneath. The FC-01 model doesn’t have this function.
There’s also a lever on the side of the unit that enabled us to quickly switch from filtered water to unfiltered water, so we could preserve the filter lifespan and only use it to filter our cold water (this also prevented hot water damage to the media). We found this function super easy and practical to use, but we wish the unit was advanced enough to detect and block hot water itself – we had a couple of near misses where we almost accidentally sent hot water through the filter.
Speed of Water Filtration
Speed of water filtration is another important performance feature given that the FC-06 was installed on the end of our faucet, so if it significantly hindered our water flow, we’d end up compromising our ability to access tap water on demand.
Waterdrop says that the FC-06 has a 0.5-gallon-per-minute (GPM) flow rate (the FC-01’s flow rate isn’t disclosed). To put this into perspective, the average kitchen faucet flow rate is typically 1-2 GPM, so you will notice your flow rate reducing quite a bit, especially if you have a high-flow faucet.
The end of the filter has a fairly thin nozzle that restricts how much water can leave the unit at any time. We noted that our water flow had reduced – pre-filtration, we could fill a glass in around 4 seconds; while with the filter installed, it took just over 10 seconds. We’d compare the flow of water to the flow that you get from a fridge water dispenser – slow and steady, but consistent.
Finally, we wanted to test the performance longevity of the FC-06 water filtration system, so we could understand its overall value for money.
The carbon block filter media used in the FC-01 and the FC-06 is rated for up to 320 gallons, or around 3 months. That’s pretty average for a faucet water filter – filter cartridges for these systems are pretty small, so they hit full capacity faster than larger filters. However, some of the best faucet systems we’ve tried have filters that last as long as 4-6 months.
In our own testing, our 2-person household got around 2 and a half months out of the FC-06 before the flow rate dropped significantly and we decided to replace the filter. It didn’t quite meet Waterdrop’s 3-month estimate, but that’s exactly what it is: an estimate. Factors like your water quality and how often you use your kitchen faucet for drinking water can affect the filter lifespan. So, again, we were pleased, but not blown away.
📑 Filter Testing & Certifications
We know that many folks will only buy a water filter if it’s been performance certified, and we get it: official certifications tell you for certain that a water filter will remove contaminants as advertised by the manufacturer.
Waterdrop has obtained an NSF certification to Standard 42, for removal of up to 98% chlorine, for both its faucet water filters. This is the most commonly-obtained performance certification for water filters, and, it seems, one of the easiest to obtain for an activated carbon filter.
While we were pleased to see this certification, chlorine certainly isn’t the only contaminant we’re concerned about in our water, and nor is it the most dangerous. We wish Waterdrop would get its faucet filters certified to NSF 53, for the removal of contaminants with health effects, like lead and PFAS.
The filter also holds an NSF 372 certification, which isn’t for performance – it’s for lead-free design materials.
🔧Installation & Maintenance Considerations
While we don’t mind getting hands-on with a water filter installation when necessary, we know that the appeal of faucet water filters for many folks is their lack of a difficult install. The Waterdrop FC-01 and FC-06 are no different in this respect – they’re quick and easy to install, with no tools or cutting into your water line required.
After removing the filter from the box and taking off the packaging, we untwisted the filter base (it turns anticlockwise), then slotted the filter cartridge onto the filter base. We then inserted the filter and screwed the base back onto the housing.
Next, we removed our faucet aerator and chose the right adapter that matched our faucet threading. We used the adapter to connect the filter to the end of our faucet. In all, the whole process took us less than 5 minutes.
In the user manual, Waterdrop says you should flush the filter for at least 3 minutes by sending cold water through the filter while it’s switched to the “pure water” position. We noticed that the flushed water contained specks of black carbon particles, which is normal and often happens when you first use a brand-new carbon filter (hence the flushing). These particles cleared once we’d flushed the filter for 3 minutes.
We also found the FC-06 easy to maintain. It’s not the best faucet filter we’ve ever reviewed for filter life, and we estimated we’d have to buy around 5 replacement filters a year. So, the frequency of maintenance is quite high. The good news is that replacing the filters was at least easy; we just unscrewed the filter base, removed the old filter, put the new filter in its place, and screwed it back onto the filter housing. After a quick 3-minute filter flush, we were ready to go.
A 3-pack of filter replacement cartridges costs around $33. That meant we were spending around $66 per year on replacement filters, making the system one of the most affordable we’d tried.
🤔 Is the Waterdrop Faucet Water Filter Right for You?
In our opinion, the Waterdrop Faucet Water Filter is a great fit for anyone who wants an affordable, performance-certified, easy-install water filtration system that effectively reduces chlorine, bad taste, fluoride, and a few heavy metals. The FC-06 is better built than similar plastic faucet water filter models, so it’s a good choice for folks who want to enjoy filtered, high-quality water for years with a much-reduced likelihood of the filter cracking and leaking. We think it’s a great alternative to buying bottled water, since it removes a handful of common contaminants, produces great-tasting water, and is much cheaper to maintain than the ongoing cost of buying plastic bottles. We definitely recommend spending that extra $30 on the FC-06, since it has the super appealing durable stainless steel design.
However, we don’t think the Waterdrop FC-01 and FC-06 are ideal for all people or situations. For instance, if you want highly-purified, clean water, the carbon block filter in these Waterdrop models may be a bit basic for you. In this case, you’re best looking at a more comprehensive filter, such as the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher Filter, or even a reverse osmosis water filtration system.
Additionally, the Waterdrop models will only filter a tap water supply. You’ll need a whole house water filtration system if you want to improve your water quality in all your appliances and fixtures.
Finally, the FC-01 and FC-06 won’t fit pull-out faucets, faucets with a sensor, and other modern, unconventional faucets, so make sure your faucet is compatible before you spend your money.
Like Waterdrop? Read our review of the brand’s most popular filters here
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