Don’t let the myriad of choices in the field of drinking water filters keep you from making a good, informed choice about getting clean water for your home. There are so many different types of filters out there, and so many different sizes of price tags too. So you need to know where the comparisons are and what each model has to offer you. There are three main areas that you need to check on for any filter you are interested in for your home. You need to know how much water you can filter with it, what it’s going to cost you, and what impurities will it remove from the water.
Size / Volume Capabilities
This is usually where people first start looking into filter comparisons. Your specific need for purified water should be taken into account when deciding how large a system to get. Do you only want filtered water for the occasional drink, for cooking or do you need all the water in your home to be cleaned up before use (including laundry and bathing)? That is the question you want to ask yourself right at the outset.
How much money you have to spend on this little project can’t be left out of the decision-making process. You can get some simple and easy filtration options for less than $20, or you can go all out and spend several thousand to purify all the water in your house. And don’t forget that the more complicated units may require a plumber and any system you choose will also have replacement filter costs to be considered for ongoing use.
Finally, you want to see what your unit is actually going to filter. There is no sense in paying a lot of money for a big system that ends up not removing the toxins you were concerned about in the first place. A preliminary water test will let you know what your water contains in the first place and you can see what’s needed from there. Inexpensive and simple filters may only remove sediment and chlorine, but more sophisticated ones can take out heavy metals, organic solvents, pesticides, bacteria and more.
Pros and Cons of Each Filter Model
Breaking down the filter selection by their sizes, you can quickly see where the important pros and cons lie.
These are the pitchers that are meant to be filled up and left in the fridge. The water is filtered within the jug and can be poured out for quick drinking access.
- Very inexpensive
- No installation to deal with
- Easy to use
- Filters are very limited (mainly remove chlorine and sediment only)
- Only produce a small volume of water at a time
- Filtration can be slow
- Filter cartridges are expensive on a per-gallon basis
The next step up from a jug filter is a faucet mount filter that attaches to your existing faucet to provide filtered water on tap.
- Installation is easy with very basic household tools
- Easy and convenient to use
- Filters quicker than a jug filter
- Limited to one faucet only
- Not all models will be compatible with all faucet types
- Can restrict water flow
- Filters are limited, much like the jug filters
- Filters will only last for about 100 gallons before needing to be replaced
These units also work at a single tap in the house, but their larger filter canisters will sit on the counter next to the sink.
- Better filtration capabilities (removes many more contaminants than the previous types)
- Has less impact on water flow
- Still reasonably priced
- Takes up considerable counter space
- Limited to one faucet only
- May not be compatible with your faucet
- Filters will last between 100 and 200 gallons before you need to replace
These operate very much like the counter-top systems above, but their installation is a little different and the filter housing is tucked away under the counter.
- Virtually invisible
- Very good filtration abilities (will remove most common contaminants)
- Little water flow restrictions
- Starting to get more expensive
- May require a plumber to install
- Still limited to a single faucet in the home
Whole House Filter Systems
These filter systems are designed to filter the entire household’s water supply so that filtered water is available through multiple sources through the house.
- Generates filtered water for the entire household
- Has the most sophisticated filter options for the best toxin removal
- Installs out of the way (usually in the basement)
- Usually creates the cheapest filtered water in terms of filter replacement costs
- Filters will last longer than most of the other types
- The most expensive option by far
- Will require extensive installation time and expertise