Zerowater vs Waterdrop: A Data-Driven Analysis & Comparison

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We tested the ZeroWater Ready-Pour and the Waterdrop Chubby pitchers ourselves, and we identified a few key differences between the two.

Here, we’ve shared our performance testing data for ZeroWater vs Waterdrop pitchers, including the contaminants they reduced in our water, filtration speed, design quality, and more. 

In our testing, the ZeroWater pitcher did a better job of reducing the contaminants in our water, but the Waterdrop Chubby had a longer filter lifespan and was the cheapest option. We were pleased to see that both pitchers have performance certifications, but ZeroWater’s short filter lifespan didn’t impress us, and the Waterdrop Chubby is only certified to reduce 1 containant. 

📊 Our Testing Data

We ranked the Waterdrop and ZeroWater filters using our 6 key water filter testing criteria. Here are the scores we awarded the filters for each of the criteria:

Contaminant Reduction8.344.24
Filtration Rate10.0010.00

We awarded each testing score based on a combined, weighted average of several subcategory scores. Here’s all the different data we obtained for ZeroWater and Waterdrop.

Overall Score8.626.57ZeroWater
Health Related Contaminants8.303.50ZeroWater
Aesthetic Related Contaminants9.909.90Waterdrop
Performance CertificationNSF/ANSI 42 & 53NSF/ANSI 42Tie
Filtration Rate2.62 GPH3.52 GPHWaterdrop
Component QualityFairFairTie
Component CertificationNSF/ANSI 42, 53 & 372NSF/ANSI 42Tie
Servicing RequirementsOutstandingOutstandingTie
Costs$0.70/ gal$0.27/ galWaterdrop
Warranty Length90 days (vessels), 30 days (filters)1 yearWaterdrop
Shipping$60 order thresholdfreeWaterdrop
ReturnsNone30 daysWaterdrop

🚰 Contaminant Reduction

We used the Tap Score city water test, provided by SimpleLab, to test our water quality before and after filtering it through the ZeroWater pitcher and the Waterdrop Chubby. 

water testing with tap score

We combined our test results with data we obtained from official certification organizations for water filters (the NSF, IAMPO, and WQA).

See our overall score for contaminant reduction for both pitchers in the table below.

Our Lab Test Results

Here, we’ve shared our lab test results for ZeroWater and Waterdrop. 

The water supply we tested is groundwater that has been treated to make it safe to drink.  

To determine the pitchers’ contaminant removal abilities, we assessed their reduction efficacy across various contaminant categories. 

ContaminantMeasurementUnfilteredZeroWater % ChangeWaterdrop Chubby% Change
Total THMsPPB03.4n/aNDND
Nitrate (as N)PPM3.50-100.00%2.6-25.71%

The ZeroWater pitcher did significantly better here – it reduced more contaminants from our water and is also certified to reduce more contaminants than the Waterdrop Chubby.

Health-Related Contaminants

Our water test detected 8 contaminants with health effects in our unfiltered water, and we wanted to see how effectively Waterdrop and ZeroWater could reduce these.

Nitrate (as N)PPM3.510
Total Dissolved SolidsPPM137none

Uranium and fluoride were both detected at levels above the testing laboratory’s Health Guideline: 0.014 PPM of uranium (the HGL is 0 PPM) and 1.1 PPM of fluoride (the HGL is 0.8 PPM). 

The other 6 contaminants were detected in concentrations that didn’t exceed the laboratory’s Health Guidelines, but due to their possible health effects, we still wanted them gone from our water. 

The ZeroWater pitcher outshone the Waterdrop Chubby here, reducing the majority of health-harmful contaminants effectively. Here are its key contaminant reduction stats: 

  • 100% fluoride, uranium, strontium, nitrate, molybdenum, sulfate, and barium reduction
  • 97% copper reduction

Our water’s health score still wasn’t perfect post-filtration, though. The score was pulled down slightly by the presence of 3.4 PPB of chloroform (a disinfection byproduct), which hadn’t been detected in our unfiltered water.

Chloroform is highly volatile, so we think it dissipated from our unfiltered water before we filled the sample vials (which we did after filling the filtered water sample vials for the 8 water filter pitchers that we tested). Because it was detected in our filtered water, we knew that the ZeroWater pitcher hadn’t effectively filtered chloroform.

The Waterdrop Chubby pitcher did a poorer job at addressing health-related contaminants overall, reducing: 

  • 86% copper 
  • 81% barium and strontium
  • 49% uranium
  • 25% nitrate 
  • 11% molybdenum
  • 2% sulfate
  • 0% fluoride 

Does that mean that Waterdrop has a poorer performance? In this instance, yes – but only with our water supply. It’s possible that both filters would perform equally, or Waterdrop might even outshine ZeroWater, if we filtered a water sample that contained contaminants the Chubby pitcher was designed to address, like lead, metal ions, and mercury. That’s why we always advise our readers to test their water. It’s worth knowing exactly which contaminants you want to target so you can buy a water filter system that best suits your situation.

Aesthetic Contaminants

Our treated groundwater supply contained around 1 PPM of chlorine. We were pleased to see that the ZeroWater filter pitcher and the Waterdrop Chubby pitcher both reduced 100% of this chlorine, down to undetectable levels. 

Both filters are activated carbon-based, so they’re intentionally designed to effectively reduce chlorine and any chemical tastes/odors. 

Minerals, TDS & pH 

We expected that the ZeroWater pitcher would alter the minerals, TDS, and pH concentrations in our water because ZeroWater promises to reduce TDS down to 0 in drinking water. 

We have issues with this marketing because we think ZeroWater is insinuating that TDS on a whole is bad, and that water filters are only worth the money if they eliminate all dissolved solids. 

This isn’t always the case.

Our test detected calcium, magnesium, and sodium, and 137 PPM of TDS in our unfiltered water. 

The ZeroWater pitcher reduced 100% of magnesium and sodium, and calcium by 99%. It also reduced TDS down to 8 PPM, which was slightly higher than ZeroWater’s 0 PPM claim (although our TDS meter gave a reading of 0, suggesting a lack of precision compared to the instruments at the lab). 

Our water’s pH also dropped slightly from 7.4 to 7.0, so it was still neutral post-filtration. 

The Waterdrop Chubby filter isn’t designed to reduce TDS, but Waterdrop does claim that it can reduce calcium and magnesium minerals. 

Again, we can’t see the benefit of reducing these minerals given that they’re essential to human health and give water a pleasant alkaline taste. 

The Chubby reduced calcium by 82% and magnesium by 79%. Our water’s potassium levels actually increased from 0 PPM to 57.5 PPM. We think the pitcher filter uses a cation exchange resin, which exchanged calcium and magnesium (along with certain metal ions) with potassium ions. 

Waterdrop’s pitcher only reduced our water’s pH to 7.2 – keeping it slightly more alkaline than our ZeroWater filtered water. 

We weren’t impressed with either of the filters in this category since we don’t see the benefit of reducing minerals in our water. 

Performance Certifications

The ZeroWater pitcher and the Waterdrop Chubby are both performance-certified, which is great. But neither of the filters got top marks from us here because they’re each only certified to reduce a few select contaminants. 

The Waterdrop Chubby was the least impressive in this category, with an NSF 42 certification for the reduction of chlorine, tastes, and odors. That means it’s only certified to reduce 1 out of the 6 contaminants listed on the Chubby product page. 

Waterdrop doesn’t even share a conclusive list of contaminants the filter has been tested to reduce. We think this is pretty vital information that should be more clearly displayed on Weterdrop’s website, so customers know exactly which contaminants the filter has been tested to reduce. 

The ZeroWater pitcher did better here because it’s NSF certified to Standard 42 and Standard 53 for reducing chlorine taste and odor, chromium 6, mercury, lead, PFOA, and PFOS. We were pleased to see more certifications from ZeroWater, as well as a separate performance datasheet for the full list of 43 contaminants that the filter has been tested, but not all certified, to reduce. Still, we’d prefer for the filter to be certified for the reduction of more contaminants.

🚦Filtration Rate

The ZeroWater and Waterdrop pitchers both use gravity-fed filters, and we measured their filtration rate in gallons per hour (GPH).

Here’s how the filters compare in terms of filtration rate. 

ProductFiltration Rate ScoreFiltration Rate
ZeroWater10.002.62 GPH
Waterdrop10.003.52 GPH

Both filters impressed us, with fast filtration rates even given the restraints of gravity filtration (which is slower because there’s no water pressure to speed the process along).

The ZeroWater filtered 0.391 gallons of water in 8 minutes and 56 seconds, and we measured its filtration rate at 2.62 GPH.

We filtered 0.414 gallons of water through the Chubby pitcher in 7 minutes and 4 seconds, so it had an average filtration rate of 3.52 GPH. 

That made the Chubby pitcher the fastest of the two – and, in fact, this pitcher is one of the fastest out of all the water filter pitchers we’ve tested.

The filters were fairly new when we tested them, and it’s likely that their filtration rates will reduce gradually over time. 

💲 Upfront Cost

ZeroWater and Waterdrop both offer budget-friendly water filter pitchers, but Waterdrop just won in this category. 

We reviewed ZeroWater’s 12-Cup Ready-Pour Pitcher, and it cost $39.99 when we got it to test. 

The Waterdrop Chubby 10-Cup Pitcher was around $12 cheaper at $27.49 when we got it to review. 

ZeroWater’s pitcher is bigger, so the value for money is pretty similar, but Waterdrop is the best option if you have a small budget and prefer to spend as little money as possible upfront. 

Here’s our price comparison of ZeroWater and Waterdrop. 

ZeroWater 12-Cup Ready-Pour Pitcher$39.99
Waterdrop Chubby 10-Cup Pitcher$27.49

📐 Design

We assessed the ZeroWater and Waterdrop pitchers during our testing and made notes on their design feel, durability, and quality. We also compared the systems’ materials safety certifications (or lack thereof) to award them both an overall design score. 

Here’s how the filters compared in this testing category:

ProductDesign ScoreComponent QualityMaterials Safety

Both were equal here – they’re both certified for materials safety and have similar plastic designs. 

Filter Models

ZeroWater currently sells a range of pitchers and dispensers that can be used with the 5-Stage Filter:

Most ZeroWater pitchers are available in just one color combination: blue, white, and clear. They’re all made from plastic, with the exception of the Glass Ready Pour Dispenser.

zerowater pitcher and dispensers on countertop table

Waterdrop’s water filter pitcher selection is smaller: 

The Chubby and the Lucid are the larger pitcher options with 10-cup capacities. The Elfin holds just 5 cups of water. Waterdrop doesn’t currently sell 12-cup pitchers like ZeroWater.

Different Waterdrop pitchers are available in different color combinations – our Chubby pitcher was available to buy in white, skyblue, and clear.

In terms of product diversity, ZeroWater is the winner here. But Waterdrop’s Chubby pitcher with a wooden handle might appeal more to you from a design perspective. 

Waterdrop Chubby pitcher on counter

Component Quality 

The ZeroWater and Waterdrop pitchers are both made from similar plastics, so we gave them the same score for component quality. 

The ZeroWater pitcher is made of BPA-free polypropylene and ABS (a terpolymer). The Waterdrop Chubby is made from “BPA-free advanced plastics”. The Waterdrop website doesn’t provide any specific information on exactly what plastics are used, but we contacted the customer service team, who told us that the pitcher is made from polypropylene, like ZeroWater.

We noted that both pitchers felt lightweight yet sturdy, and their plastic designs seemed unlikely to shatter.

That said, we know that some people want to cut down on their plastics consumption, and we’ve read concerning information about microplastics leaching from different plastic materials.

If you want to avoid using plastics where possible, neither of these pitchers is the best choice. You might want to upgrade to ZeroWater’s glass dispenser, although it’s more expensive and isn’t as portable due to being larger and heavier. 

Filter Materials

The Waterdrop and ZeroWater filters are made from similar materials, but ZeroWater’s appears to be more advanced. 

ZeroWater’s 5-Stage Filter has an activated carbon media, a combination of cation and anion exchange resins, and three layers of physical filtration.

Brian holding the ZeroWater 12 cup filter cartridge

Waterdrop’s water pitcher filter is silver-laced activated carbon fiber media. We think the filter also uses a cation exchange resin, given that it reduced minerals in our water.

Both filters use an exterior plastic cartridge that houses the media inside.

Waterdrop chubby filter cartridge

Materials Safety Certification

Both ZeroWater and Waterdrop have obtained materials safety certifications as components of their performance certifications, so they got the same top scores from us here. 

Waterdrop claims the Chubby also has an NSF 372 certification for lead-free design, but we couldn’t confirm this on any of the certification databases. 

We appreciated knowing that the pitchers had both been tested and deemed safe for their purpose by a trusted third-party organization.

⚙️ Setup

We expected that we’d have a similar setup experience with ZeroWater and Waterdrop because they’re both no-install pitchers that use a single filter. 

However, there were a few minor differences between setup for the filters that we’ve commented on here. 

The table below shows our setup scores and times for the ZeroWater filter pitcher and the Waterdrop Chubby.  

ProductSetup ScoreSetup Time
ZeroWater9.50Less than 10 minutes
Waterdrop9.50Less than 10 minutes

Both filters got the same setup scores because, despite their slight differences in setup, they were both equally quick and easy to assemble. 

The ZeroWater pitcher was our favorite in terms of ease of setup. We didn’t have to prime, soak, or flush the filter – we just inserted it straight into the pitcher and started using it immediately. 

Waterdrop’s filter is only slightly more time-consuming to set up. We had to activate it by soaking it in cold water for 10 minutes, which added a bit of time to the process. 

Aside from filter setup, we also:

  • Washed them in warm water and soap, then dried them thoroughly 
  • Did some basic assembly (the reservoir slots into the pitcher)
  • Set our filter change indicator light
  • Filled the reservoir with cold water

We found setup for both filters easy and would recommend both of them to folks who want to avoid DIY, filter priming, and difficult instructions.

🔧 Maintenance

Again, we found maintenance for ZeroWater and Waterdrop very similar. 

The Waterdrop Chubby filter’s lifespan (up to 3 months based on its 200-gallon capacity) is significantly better than ZeroWater’s (around 1 month on average, based on its 40-gallon capacity).

Here are the maintenance scores we awarded for the two filters. 

ProductMaintenance ScoreServicing RequirementsCosts
ZeroWater8.25Outstanding$0.70/ gal
Waterdrop9.75Outstanding$0.27/ gal

Waterdrop did better in this category. While we found both pitchers easy to maintain, the ZeroWater pitcher’s high ongoing filter cost pulled its score down. 

Servicing Requirements 

The ZeroWater filter pitcher and the Waterdrop Chubby have two basic maintenance requirements:

  1. Washing out the pitcher and reservoir
  2. Replacing the filters

We washed the pitchers and reservoirs around once or twice a week, using warm, soapy water. This was to prevent the accumulation of scale and other deposits inside the jugs.  

We replaced the filters according to their own schedules (ZeroWater’s needed replacing more often). 

The Waterdrop Chubby pitcher has a filter change indicator light that changes color to let you know when to replace the filter. This doesn’t account for water quality, so it’s not as accurate as ZeroWater’s method of determining when to replace the filter: using the included TDS meter to take a TDS reading of your water. When the meter reads 006, ZeroWater says it’s time for a new filter. 

Replacing the filters was easy – we just followed the same steps as outlined in the filter setup instructions, with no need to prime them first.

Waterdrop chubby reservoir and cartridge

Maintenance Costs

We estimated that ZeroWater’s ongoing maintenance costs are almost three times the cost of Waterdrop’s, so the Waterdrop Chubby is definitely the better option if you want to spend as little as possible on filter replacements in the long term. 

ZeroWater filters have a capacity of 8-40 gallons depending on the TDS reading of the unfiltered water. Even its maximum capacity is low, and we’ve heard of customers claiming their filter only lasts 1-2 few weeks before needing to be replaced. 

We calculated the ZeroWater’s filter’s ongoing cost at $0.70/ gallon, assuming that our water’s initial TDS falls into the “typical” range on this chart:

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.
≥ 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

The Waterdrop Chubby pitcher is cheaper to maintain, both because its filters last longer and because replacement filters are more affordable. We calculated the ongoing filter value at $0.27 per gallon.

While neither pitcher is super expensive to own, replacing filters in the ZeroWater pitcher is costlier than most of the other water filter pitchers we tested. 

🏢 Company

We also wanted to compare the reliability of ZeroWater and Waterdrop as manufacturers, including their shipping policies, how they respond in the case of a defective product, and whether or not they offer refunds for returns within a specific post-purchase period. 

Here’s how ZeroWater and Waterdrop compared as companies.

ProductCompany ScoreWarranty LengthShippingReturns
ZeroWater7.5090 days (vessels), 30 days (filters)Free shipping on orders over $60 to customers in continental U.SNone
Waterdrop8.651 yearFree shipping on economy orders 30 days

Waterdrop got the higher overall score here because it has a better warranty, and better shipping and returns policies. 

Warranty Length 

Waterdrop’s 1-year warranty is as good as it gets for water filter pitchers. 

ZeroWater has a shorter warranty: 90 days for its pitchers and reservoirs, and 30 days for its filter cartridges (only if they’re defective; not if they just need replacing within this period). 


Waterdrop offers free economy shipping for all orders, while ZeroWater only offers free shipping to customers in continental U.S. who spend a minimum of $60. 


Again, Waterdrop’s return offering is best: it provides a 30-day returns policy, while ZeroWater doesn’t have a returns policy at all

⛔️ Pitcher Setbacks & Flaws

Like all water filters we’ve tested, ZeroWater and Waterdrop both have room for improvement. Here, we’ve compared the unique setbacks of both pitchers, so you know the full story before you spend your money. 

ZeroWater Setbacks

  • Only certified to reduce some contaminants – ZeroWater’s performance certifications only apply to 6 of the 40+ contaminants that the manufacturer claims to reduce.
  • TDS reduction doesn’t guarantee all contaminants are reduced – The ZeroWater pitcher’s main selling point is TDS reduction, but we prefer to focus on reducing specific harmful contaminants.
  • Short filter lifespan – ZeroWater filters last only a month or two at most, so they need replacing more frequently. 
  • Expensive ongoing cost – We also found that ZeroWater cost more than most other pitchers to maintain. 

Waterdrop Setbacks

  • Only certified to reduce 1 contaminant – The Chubby is certified to reduce even fewer contaminants than the ZeroWater pitcher. 
  • Reduces healthy minerals  – Our water’s calcium and magnesium concentrations had decreased significantly post-filtration. 
  • Didn’t address many of our water’s contaminants – The filter did a much poorer job than ZeroWater at reducing uranium, fluoride, nitrate, and other contaminants in our water.
  • Filter needed soaking – We had to soak our Waterdrop filters, which made the setup process take longer than for ZeroWater. 

🆚 ZeroWater or Waterdrop: Which is Best?

We would recommend ZeroWater and Waterdrop for different scenarios and preferences. Here are some of the specific situations when one filter might be best for you:

Choose ZeroWater If:

You want to reduce a broader range of contaminants with a water filter pitcher, or your water contains contaminants that ZeroWater can address (while Waterdrop can’t).
You need a filter that has been certified to reduce more contaminants, including lead and PFOA/PFOS.
You want the most accurate way to track the performance of your filter and know when it needs replacing.

Go For Waterdrop If:

You prefer a water filter pitcher that has the lowest upfront and ongoing costs.
You want to focus on reducing specific select contaminants, including chlorine and some metal ions, without reducing your water’s TDS.
You value long warranties and returns policies.

Neither pitcher is the solution if you want to retain healthy minerals in your water.

Related: ZeroWater vs LARQ PureVis pitchers compared

  • 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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