Drinking Water Filters is a broad term. What I mean by this is any water filter that is portable & not for the whole house. These are point-of-use filters at the output of water rather than filtering water at the input source of your house. It can be filtered water bottles, counter top filtered pitchers, under-the-sink filters, or the filter in your kitchen fridge. These filters are the most common, usually the only way, people receive filtered water.
The best benefit of using drinking water filters, is that they not only filter tap water but at a cost significantly cheaper than single-use bottled water that you buy in the stores.
The common household names in “point of use” drinking water filters, are Brita and Pur.
The recurring theme that you will see on this page, is that “you get what you pay for.” The more you pay for a water filter, typically the better quality water you will have.
We will look at the Pros & Cons of these various drinking water filters.
If you use one of these filtered bottles, the most important thing to check for is that the bottle is BPA-free. The water might be filtered only for the water to absorb chemicals leaching from the plastic. You can also find these bottles in stainless steel.
Most of these bottles are only certified to filter tap water & will reduce the level of chlorine. Depending on the brand, the entry-level carbon filters have an average lifespan of 2 months or 20-40 gallons. High-end filters will last approximately 6 months or at least 100 gallons & will also filter out more chemicals & heavy metals.
Price Range Per Bottle: $10-$50
Replacement Filter Cost: $2 to $20
Average Cost Per Gallon: 25 cents to 50 cents
- Healthier Alternative To Bottled Water Or Public Water Fountains (up to 40% bottled water is regular tap water that is possibly unfiltered).
- Filtered Water On The Go…Filters tap water from any potable water source
- Less plastic consumed than bottled water.
- Most of these bottles are BPA-Free
- Cost per gallon can be higher than other filtration devices.
- Might be hard to find cupholders that fit the bottles.
- Possibly harder to find filters in stores as these products are still relatively new.
Filtered Water Pitchers
Counter-top water pitchers are probably the most popular water filters on the market. When you think filtered water pitchers, the brands Brita & Pur probably pop into you mind first. I used a Brita pitcher for several years, until I became more educated on the average quality of municipal tap water. At this time I switched to the Clearly Filtered brand (pictured at left), because it has a solid carbon filter and does a better job at removing those nasty chemicals.
While some filtration is better than no filtration at all, I personally recommend a brand other than Brita & Pur. These two prevalent brands do reduce the presence of chlorine & other chemicals, but are most effective at improving taste & reducing odor. They use the granulated “loose” carbon & their filters are inherently not as effective as block carbon filters. In my opinion, you can find better brands that have a lower ongoing cost. This ongoing cost is measured as the average cost per gallon.
Water pitcher filters are either granulated or solid block carbon. The solid block carbon filters are more effective, but take longer to filter water. If the block filter is for a family or you use this water for cooking too, it will be tough for one pitcher to keep up. I’m speaking from personal experience & drinking regular tap water because the pitcher was still filtering.
The lifespan for the loose filters is 2 months or 40 gallons, whichever comes first. Solid carbon filters can approximately last 6 months or 200 gallons before needing replaced.
Price Range: A 10-cup pitcher with 1 filter included costs $20 to $70.
Replacement Filter Cost: $7 to $30
Average Cost Per Gallon: 35 cents to 83 cents per gallon
- Affordable option for providing a family with filtered drinking water
- Low initial cost
- Can take the pitcher on vacations or overnight stays to avoid drinking hotel tap water
- Carbon filters reduce or remove chlorine, mercury, cadmium, & solid carbon filters reduce fluoride, herbicides, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals.
- Solid block carbon filters take several minutes to filter water. Means you need a bigger pitcher or several pitchers at one time.
- If you try to fill a drinking glass with water with filtration process incomplete, the unfiltered water can “overflow” and entire pitcher will taste like the unfiltered tap water.
Faucet Mounted Water Filters
If you want a “loose” granular carbon filter, a faucet mounted water filter might be a good option to consider. You can use it to pour drinking water on demand & they are usually rated for 100-200 gallons or 2 to 3 months. So they last longer than water pitcher filters between replacements & normally come with an indicator so you have a more accurate prediction for when replacement time has arrived.
There are not as many producers of this type of filter, so you will most likely choose Brita or Pur.
Initial Cost: $26-35 for the mount and filter.
Replacement Filter Cost: $10-$20
Average Cost Per Gallon: 18 or 19 cents per gallon
- Uses water pressure instead of gravity (used by water pitchers) so you get filtered water on demand.
- Cheaper ongoing cost than water pitchers.
- Filters last longer between changes
- Only fit on basic faucets. Won’t fit on spray nozzles, all-in-one faucets.
- Can be “clunky” and in time will fall off faucet.
- Does not filter as many contaminants as other filter methods.
These filters have the highest upfront cost, but they also remove the highest number of contaminants. They also use water pressure to filter water instead of gravity. These usually require more installation & a separate faucet is needed to distribute the filtered water. You get water-on-demand with this option.
Depending on the brand, the estimated filter life is 150-600 gallons or 6 months of use.
Initial Cost: $100-$200
Replacement Filter Cost: $50-$100
Average Cost Per Gallon: 11 cents to 31 cents per gallon
- Filtered Water On Demand Without Losing Counter Space
- More effective at reducing and removing contaminants than most filters
- Filters last longer than other filtering devices
- Higher initial cost
- Have to drill separate hole to install a dedicated faucet
- If living in rental property, might not be able to install one as a separate hole might need to be drilled.
There are many options in point-of-use filters. I encourage you to research the filter that is best for your needs. Any filter will give you cleaner water than just plain old tap water. Plus filtering your own water is cheaper & potentially more healthy than buying bottled water.
What filter interests you the most? Do you have any past experience with any of these filters?