You can’t be sure of the purity of the water that comes out of your faucet, and it isn’t just the harmful impurities that you should be worried about. Even benign contaminant particles can bring an unsavory taste and smell to your drinking water. Commonly used disinfectants like chlorine in your water supply, make the water taste and smell unpleasant –something that can be markedly improved by filtering the water.
More to the point, it is likely that if your plumbing is old, it could introduce trace amounts of lead into your drinking water. That is why it’s always advised to boil or filter your water before you drink it. Even if you expect it to be clean, it’s never a bad idea to err on the side of caution. But boiling water regularly can become a hassle, so you can either filter it or buy bottled water.
Bottled water pollutes the environment with plastic waste, so it’s not an environment-friendly solution. This leaves us with filtration. To filter your drinking water, you can either install full-blown reverse osmosis or a gravity filter system, but it’s not always the practical answer. What if it’s not economical for you? Or what if you often find yourself traveling and have to rely on bottled water? A more convenient and budget-friendly solution is investing in a water filter pitcher. They clean the water of most contaminants and filter out odors and smells.
The filtering process can make your water taste and smell better, but not all filter pitchers are designed to filter harmful impurities. There’s a range to it, so you want to pick a pitcher that does an excellent job with odor and flavor reduction, but also filters out heavy metals, preferably lead. To save you the trouble of a selection ordeal, here are some of the best water filter pitchers you’ll find in the market.
Before you shortlist products
You can find the contamination levels of different impurities in your drinking water by reading your local water supplier’s CCR, or Consumer Confidence Report. It should tell you the levels of dangerous heavy metals, pesticides, and germs present in your water supply. Use this report to figure out the specific contaminants that require filtering and then shortlist pitchers based on that.
Why is that important? Well, not all pitchers filter out all possible kinds of impurities. More often than not, a pitcher will eradicate bad taste from Chlorine, Zinc, and HS, but it won’t filter lead or fluoride. Check the packaging, and it should clearly state the specific particulates the product removes. For instance, if a pitcher can remove lead and heavy metals, it should say so in the product description.
While you’re at it, ensure that the manufacturer is certified by NSF or WQA, and not merely ‘independently tested to NSF.’
How do these filters work?
Filter pitchers rely on activated charcoal filters. The charcoal particles can absorb chlorine, a handful of different chemicals, and most of the unwanted particulates. They also absorb undesirable color and taste, improving the overall quality and taste of the water. All you have to do is, pour the water into the pitcher and wait for it to make its way to the filter where dirt and particulates are trapped and then into the container.
Note that this activated charcoal filter will be spent after a while and will ultimately need to be replaced – which brings us to our next point.
The lifespan of the filters
On average, most pitchers need a filter replacement every 60 days, or once they’ve filtered over 40 gallons of water. Once these filters have trapped particles to their limit, they’ll become clogged. But you won’t even have to keep track of the gallons or days because once it starts clogging up, the water flow will slow down (more on that in a few). That said, some models warn you when the filter needs changing with an electronic monitor.
You’ll also need to factor in the cost of these replacements because, over time, they add up. Annual prices may differ from model to model, but expect to spend anywhere between $30 and $90 on filters. In the same vein, pick manufacturers that you’ll be able to find the replacement filters in the future easily.
Just as they differ in their price tags and filtering capabilities, not all pitchers take the same amount of time to filter the same amount of contents. But as a rule of thumb, pitchers that filter as you pour, take up to a minute to filter a liter. Other models can take as long as 15 minutes to filter the same amount of water.
You can pick between larger 23 cup pitchers or smaller 5-10 cup models, depending on how many people will be using the pitcher and whether you want it to be portable. If you often find yourself traveling, a smaller 5 cup model would be the obvious choice.
The ZP-010 features a bigger-than-average build to accommodate its five-stage filtration system. The system allows the pitcher to filter out up to 99.6% of dissolved solid impurities, including Chloride, Potassium, and Sodium compounds. It is certified by NSF to dramatically reduce lead and chromium contamination.
It also uses carbon filtering to remove odors and taste from your water. It can hold up to 10 cups and features a handle and push-and-pour design for easy filling and pouring.
You also get an electronic TDS meter which alerts you when the filter is spent and needs replacing. You get the first replacement for free, since it ships with a filter.
- BPA-free construction
- Uses five-stage filtration
- Makes use of Ion Exchange tech, in addition to carbon filtering
- Can reduce lead, and remove up to 99.6% of solid dissolved particulates
- NSF certified lead and chromium removal
- Ships with one replacement filter
Aquagear’s filter pitcher claims to remove up to 89 contaminants, and reduce lead contamination down to undetectable levels. To filter out the bad taste and odors, the filter uses activated charcoal and to eradicate heavy metals, it makes use of CRM Ion exchange medias. The water makes its way through five stages of filtration before it’s dispensed.
The manufacturer also promises that the construction of their pitcher is environment-friendly, recyclable, and BPA-free. Aquagear’s filters have a lifespan of 6 months, or 150 gallons, whichever comes first. That’s 3-4 times higher than what you’ll find on traditional filter pitchers. That said, it is marginally pricier than its competitors.
- Meets NSF requirements
- Each filter allows 150 gallons to be purified
- Uses five-stage filtration
- 2-micrometer pores remove lead and fluoride
- Comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee
Clearly Filtered can reduce as many as 220 different contaminants, including lead, fluoride, and pesticides. You’ll hard-pressed to find a pitcher that can claim to filter this many harmful particulates, and that is why it made our final cut.
The model uses BPA-free materials for its construction, and can hold up to 0.5 gallons (or 10 cups). So not only will you have to refill your pitcher less often, you’ll also need to replace the filter not as often. The filters have an average lifespan of four months – twice as much as most pitchers. The manufacturer’s confidence in this product is reflected by life-time money-back guarantee.
- Filters have an average lifespan of 4 months
- Can reduce lead, fluoride, and pesticide levels (220 different contaminants)
- 10 cup holding capacity
- Can filter up to 100 gallons
- BPA-free food-grade construction
- Lifetime guarantee and customer support
If you’re looking for a pitcher-for-one, Brita’s Metro should be on your shortlist. It has a 5-cup capacity, which allows for a more compact and portable design. It also offers an LCD indication to notify you when the filter needs replacing. The first replacement filter ships with the pitcher, but the model itself is compatible with every standard Brita filter. So, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a replacement.
This Brita can’t filter lead owing to its small size, but it does reduce chlorine, making your water odorless and fresh. It can also remove a handful of heavy metals like mercury, copper, and cadmium.
- A good budget option
- Designed to eliminate chlorine, zinc, cadmium, fluoride
- Reminds you to change the filter
- Can filter as much as 4 gallons
- Filters have a lifespan of 2 months
- 5-cup capacity
The highlight for this particularly model would be its BWT Magnesium filtration system. Not only does this pitcher filter, it also mineralizes. Or more accurately, it adds Magnesium ions to your water before it finds it way into your cup. That’s a selling point because many adults often suffer from Magnesium deficiency – something that’s earned BWT multiple awards worldwide.
It uses activated carbon for filtering water, but unlike most pitchers, the filter doesn’t need to be pre-soaked. That said, the filters themselves have a noticeably short lifespan. You can only filter 25 gallons before they’re spent. In addition to the shorter life of the filters, this pitcher also needs to be refilled more often because it can only hold 4 cups before reaching full capacity.
- Uses patented BWT Magnesium filtration tech
- Reduces chlorine, heavy metals and mineralizes the water with magnesium ions
- Faster filtration (doesn’t require the filter to be pre-soaked)
- Can last up to 60 days and can filter 40 gallons
- Recommended for up to 2 people
In a nutshell, water (even if you deem it safe) is safer to drink after it has been filtered. But since extensive filtration systems aren’t always practical or inexpensive, water filter pitchers are a great alternative. The water that has been purified by these products is bound to taste and smell better, and because they remove solid particulates and heavy metals to boot, it should be healthier too.