A countertop water filter is one of the simplest but most effective ways to remove contaminants from your water, providing you with clean drinking water on demand.
For instance, as well as protecting you from pathogens, heavy metals, and high levels of fluoride, countertop water filters may help with weight loss and boost your immune system.
There are numerous models of countertop water filters on the market, each with something slightly different to offer.
We have reviewed all of the different countertop water filters on the market and determined the best models you should consider for your kitchen.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Countertop Water Filters
- 2 Top Countertop Water Filter Models Reviewed
- 3 Countertop Water Filter Buyers’ Guide
- 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Countertop Water Purifier
- 5 How to Choose the Best Countertop Water Filter for You
- 6 How to Install a Faucet Filter
- 7 FAQs About Countertop Water Filters
Top 10 Countertop Water Filters
Home Master Jr F2
Zen Water Systems Countertop 4 Gallon
New Wave Enviro 10
Top Countertop Water Filter Models Reviewed
Let’s take an in-depth look at each of the countertop water filters listed in the comparison chart.
1. iSpring CKC1C
Although it’s a budget model, the iSpring CKC1C is still able to remove a variety of contaminants down to as small as 5 microns. It filters chlorine, sand, rust, pesticides, herbicides, industrial chemicals, and more. The filter cartridges have a decent lifespan of 500 gallons, lasting around six months.
- After installing this model, you can remove it at any time and take it with you while you’re traveling — it works in any country, as long as the kitchen has a standard faucet. This means it can provide you with clean water in places where unfiltered tap water may not be safe to drink. In fact, it’s worthwhile using the iSpring CKC1C even if water is safe, as it will improve the taste and remove the chlorine smell from water.
- Although the iSpring CKC1C comes with everything you need out of the box, you must be careful when installing it to ensure that everything works properly. For instance, the filter needs to sit in the middle of the housing and cap to avoid excessive air.
2. Apex Countertop
The smallest model on the list, the Apex Countertop is an ideal water filter for an apartment. It uses five stages, but as the filters have a capacity of 750 gallons, you won’t be changing them too regularly.
- If you’re concerned about high levels of contaminants in your water, the Apex Countertop is one of the best models. It removes up to 99 percent of fluoride, chlorine, bacteria, parasites, arsenic, sodium, lead, and other metals. At the same time, it adds beneficial minerals to the water, increasing alkalinity and improving taste.
- The excellent filtration capabilities of the Apex Countertop come at a price: it is one of the more expensive models in the top 10. Furthermore, the design is not perfect — you may find that the tube from the filter is in your way when using the faucet.
The CleanWater4Less countertop water filter dispenser is one of the most popular for its low upfront price combined with the long lifespan of the filter cartridges. The CleanWater4Less filter removes most contaminants found in your water, including bacteria, chemicals, and minerals.
- With a capacity of 10,000 gallons, you’d be hard pressed to find a model that requires less frequent cartridge changes than the CleanWater4Less. Better yet, the instructions are easy to follow, making installation and priming simple.
- As a budget model, the features of the CleanWater4Less are limited. For instance, there is no warning when you need to change the filter. Instead, you’ll need to calculate your water usage and determine when you are approaching 10,000 gallons.
4. Home Master Jr F2
For decent water filtration at an average price, you can’t go wrong with the Home Master Jr F2. The countertop water filter removes 93 percent of fluoride, chloride, and harmful chemicals, as well as most bacteria and parasites.
- The Home Master Jr F2 has a great design. It is compact enough to fit on most countertops, even when you have limited space. Its small size also means you can pack it up and take it with you while traveling. Easy to install, you’ll have no problem fitting the filter to a different faucet.
- The main issue with the Home Master Jr F2 is its filters, which are difficult to replace. This is a significant downside, as the filter capacity is just 500 gallons, meaning you’ll be replacing the cartridges often.
5. AQUASPREE Exclusive
The AQUASPREE Exclusive is a table top water filter with a tank that stores up to 5 gallons of filtered water. Its large capacity makes it ideal for big households with high water needs as well as workplaces with several employees.
- Featuring a lever that you push with your glass to obtain water, the AQUASPREE Exclusive is easier to use than many of the other countertop filtration systems, as you only need one hand to operate the filter. Another advantage is that the system alkalizes water for a better taste.
- You may struggle to prime the cartridges of the AQUASPREE Exclusive, as the process is complicated and the instructions unclear. Some users find that they need to contact customer support for assistance.
6. Big Berkey
Berkey is known for manufacturing some of the best gravity water filters on the market. As the models are top of the range, they are expensive but may be worthwhile if you’re looking for effective filtration of a wide spectrum of contaminants. One of the top models from the brand is the Big Berkey.
- Few countertop gravity filters can remove fluoride — the Big Berkey is one of them. To add to its appeal, it is made of stainless steel for a stunning appearance that suits any modern kitchen.
- The main issue homeowners have with the Big Berkey is with priming the filters, which takes a long time and uses a lot of water. If you fail to prime the cartridges properly, they will only remove around two-thirds of fluoride rather than 99 percent.
7. Zen Water Systems Countertop 4 Gallon
The Zen Water Systems Countertop provides you with five stages of filtration at a mid-range price. In addition to this 4-gallon model, there are also 6- and 8-gallon models. Pick whatever best suits your household’s needs, bearing in mind that the larger models will require more space on your countertop.
- The transparent filter chamber of the Zen Water Systems Countertop will show you when you need to top up the tank, meaning you will always have filtered water ready. Plus, since it’s an alkaline system, water is not only free from contaminants like chlorine and bacteria, it also tastes great.
- Unfortunately, the Zen Water Systems Countertop is unable to filter fluoride from water, which may disqualify the system for some users. In addition, although it has a reasonably low upfront price, you will need to buy new filters after every 500 gallons of water filtered.
8. AlcaPure Zero
To remove the maximum number of contaminants from water, you need to use reverse osmosis (RO). This is the system the AlcaPure Zero uses.
- The AlcaPure Zero removes up to 99 percent of all contaminants, including fluoride, heavy metals, and chlorine. It is also BPA free and has a great design to brighten up your kitchen. Although the way it works is a little complicated, using the system is not. No installation is necessary: just plug it in, add water, and it will start purifying. To bring you great-tasting water, the AlcaPure Zero also raises the alkalinity of water to between 7 and 8 pH.
- The AlcaPure Zero is one of the most expensive countertop water filters in the top 10. Whereas the high rate of filtration may be beneficial if you do need to remove many contaminants, you may prefer to opt for a more economical filtration system if your water is reasonably pure to begin with.
9. New Wave Enviro 10
Another way to ensure your water is free from numerous contaminants is to run it through several stages. The New Wave Enviro uses 10 stages of filtration — by far the most of any model on the list.
- The 10 stages of filtration mean that the New Wave Enviro removes a wide variety of contaminants, including heavy metals, bacteria, and chemicals. The good news is that this does not make the system more complicated to install. In fact, it is ready to use out of the box: just fix it to the faucet and it will start filtering your water. It is also fast at filtering, providing a gallon of water in 1:30 minutes. Best of all, you’ll receive all these features at a lower price than with some of the other countertop filters.
- After you turn off the faucet, you may find that the filtration system keeps releasing water for several seconds. This could be an issue for homeowners who are concerned about wasting water.
10. APEC Portable
Another reverse osmosis system, the APEC Portable is more affordable than the AlcaPure Zero. Although it is still more expensive than the non-RO countertop water filters, the price is good for such effective purification.
- The APEC Portable provides extremely pure water for hardly any effort on your part. There’s no installation involved beyond connecting the system to the faucet, and you only need to change the filters after 2,000 gallons.
- The lower price of the APEC Portable does come with some disadvantages. For instance, it is not as aesthetically pleasing as the AlcaPure Zero. It also provides far less water — it’s best suited for a household of just one or two people.
Countertop Water Filter Buyers’ Guide
You’ve seen what each countertop filter has to offer; now it’s time to figure out what you require. Once you know how to assess filtration systems and you understand your own needs, you’ll be able to find the right solution for you.
What Is a Countertop Water Filter?
First, it’s important to know what we mean by a countertop filter.
Any type of water filtration system that sits next to your sink such as the Aquatru water filter is a countertop filter.
These systems tend to remove at least 90 percent of the contaminants in water, providing you with water that is much safer to drink and cook with.
A countertop water filter is a great alternative to buying bottled water: it’s better for the environment and it takes up much less space in your home. In fact, many models are not just compact, they’re also portable.
As no permanent installation is involved, you can remove the countertop filter from your kitchen and bring it to your vacation home or even an RV or a boat.
Types of Countertop Filters
Countertop filters fall into two main categories:
- Water filter pitcher. Countertop filters that are water filter pitchers feature a large chamber that you fill with tap water. The main benefit of these filters is that there is no need for them to sit next to the sink — you can place them on another countertop if you lack space.
- Faucet filter. A faucet filter is connected directly to the faucet. Whereas this means you will need space near the sink, it also means there’s no need to fill it with water yourself. The main downside is that it will likely require monitoring to determine when you need to change the filter.
How Do Countertop Water Filters Work?
Countertop water filters can use three different types of filtration.
The most basic is gravity filtration, which some filter pitchers use. Water enters at the top and gravity causes it to pass through the filters that remove contaminants.
A second method is a filtration system, used in some faucet models. Water passes through several filters of the system, with each filter removing different types of contaminants.
The third method is reverse osmosis. This is the most complex and removes the most contaminants, making it ideal if you are concerned about water quality. In reverse osmosis, the water passes through semi-permeable membranes. These membranes trap dissolved solids, purifying (rather than simply filtering) water.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Countertop Water Purifier
There are several factors to consider that will help you narrow down your choices and arrive at the right countertop water filter for you.
Type of Filtration System
As you saw above, there are several types of countertop water filters. The best choice for you will depend on why you are looking for a water filter in the first place. For instance, it’s no good finding a filter that removes heavy metals if you’re mostly concerned about high levels of fluoride in your water.
You’ll need sufficient space on your countertop for the water filter. Whereas some are compact enough to fit on almost any countertop, others are quite large. You’ll need to measure the dimensions of your countertop to figure out which models are possible contenders.
Capacity of the Filter Cartridges
Countertop water filtration systems all have cartridges that you need to replace on a regular basis. The amount of water they are able to filter before they need changing varies widely — from around 500 gallons to as much as 10,000 gallons. If you have a large household, it may be worthwhile choosing a model with larger-capacity cartridges simply to avoid changing the cartridges so often. If there’s just one or two people in your household, this is less of an issue.
Countertop water filters vary widely in price. At the low end, they are affordable to most homeowners, whereas the most expensive are a more significant investment. Determine how much you are willing to spend, bearing in mind that removing more contaminants is more expensive.
Beyond changing the cartridges, countertop filters require minimal maintenance. Filter pitchers require just a light cleaning, whereas faucet countertop filters are virtually maintenance free.
Taste of Water
Taste preferences are something personal. Water that tastes delicious to one person may even be unpleasant to someone else. In fact, it may even be down to what you’re used to. For instance, if you’re accustomed to the taste of chlorine, you may find it difficult to transition to unchlorinated water. However, if the smell of chlorine bothers you, it’s worth finding a filter that removes chlorine entirely.
Ease of Use and Installation
Both faucet water filters and pitcher filters are easy to use. However, pitcher filters involve more effort, as it’s necessary to keep refilling them with water manually. All the same, there is usually no reason to worry that you’ll run out of water when you need it. As long as you’re disciplined about refilling the pitcher regularly, you’ll easily find a filtration system that has a large enough capacity to meet your needs.
Similarly, installation for either types of countertop filter is simple. A faucet water filter attaches straight to the sink. For a pitcher filter, it’s just a matter of figuring out where you want to place the pitcher and filling it up.
Effective water filters remove most of the minerals from your water. Whereas many of these minerals are unhealthy (and can also lead to limescale building up around the sink), others are good for you. They also impact the taste of water — you may find that you dislike the taste of softer, mineral-free water.
The solution is to find a water filter that alkalizes water. Such filtration systems have a filter just to remineralize water with a healthy amount of minerals. This has numerous health benefits. For instance, alkaline water is linked to anti-aging and weight loss. It can also boost your immune system, keep your skin hydrated, and improve your digestive system.
How to Choose the Best Countertop Water Filter for You
You now know what you want from your water filter. However, it is impossible to know which countertop filtration system is suitable for your needs until you are clear on what contaminants you need to remove. In addition, you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend in the long term on replacement filters.
Test Your Water for Contaminants
It’s no good just assuming that your water likely contains certain contaminants — you need to test it. You can purchase an affordable home testing kit to find out exactly what your water contains. Cheap tests will tell you the levels of heavy metals, fluoride, and chlorine, whereas more expensive tests also assess pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and pesticides. It’s worth purchasing a more expensive test if you suspect that your water does contain harmful chemicals.
Research the Contaminants
Once you know what contaminants are in your water, you can find a filtration system that removes those specific contaminants. For instance, each type of water filter is best at removing the following:
- Gravity filters — aluminum , chloride, iron, manganese, silver, sulfates, and zinc
- Filtration system — copper and foaming agents
- Reverse osmosis — fluoride and odors
It’s important to note that some contaminants are more harmful than others. Research the contaminants in your water to find out which it is most essential to remove.
Decide on the Price Range and Type of Filters
Filtration systems with more filters may remove more contaminants, but they’re also more expensive to maintain. Decide how much you can afford to spend on filter cartridges, bearing in mind that those with a smaller capacity need replacing more often.
Find the Right Model
Taking all the above into consideration, you can arrive at the right countertop filtration system for you. It is particularly important to note which specific contaminants each model filters and find the one that removes close to all the most harmful contaminants present in your water.
Contaminants Guide from the EPA
The EPA monitors tap water in accordance with the National Primary Water Regulations. These regulations set the standards for water quality, including the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs), which specify how much of a certain contaminant can be in the water.
There are also guidelines for secondary maximum contaminant levels (SMCLs). The contaminants in this list mainly impact the aesthetic conditions of water (taste, smell, and color). Although SMCLs are unenforceable, state health agencies and public water systems do often monitor them. The EPA outlines what these SMCLs are and what steps you can take if you find that your water is too high in any of the contaminants, beyond using a countertop filter in your home.
Benefits of a Countertop Water Filter
A countertop water filter is just one way you can gain clean drinking water, but there are many benefits to choosing this method.
- Affordability. Many filtration systems are prohibitively expensive to some consumers. Whereas there are some costly countertop water filters, there are also many economical models to choose from.
- Portability. Another advantage over many other solutions is that countertop water filters require no permanent installation. As well as being ideal for travelers, this makes them a good option for renters and homeowners who want clean water now but may not be staying in the same home for many years.
- Compact. Even if you have limited space, you can find a compact countertop water filter that will fit next to your faucet. Even some of the pitcher filter models are smaller than many other types of filtration systems.
- Efficiency. Countertop water filters are also one of the most efficient ways to remove contaminants. Depending on which model you choose, you may be able to remove most of the contaminants in your water, including sediment, bad odors, and unpleasant tastes.
- Simple installation and setup. Few water filters are easier to install than a countertop filter. Even if you have no DIY experience, you’ll be able to install a faucet filter. Plus, priming the filter cartridges is just as easy. You’ll likely find written instructions included in the box or you can search for videos to see how to prime your specific cartridges.
- Minimal maintenance. Other than a light cleaning, the only maintenance a countertop water filter requires is changing the filters. Many use stickers where you can check off how many gallons you’ve filtered, which makes it easier.
- Option of remineralized water. If you want to gain even more health benefits from your water, choose a countertop filter that alkalizes water.
How to Install a Faucet Filter
If you choose a faucet filter, you will need to take a few minutes to install it. The steps involved are much the same no matter the filtration system.
- Position your countertop filter near your kitchen faucet. It needs to be close enough for the water line to connect the filtration system to the faucet.
- Unscrew the aerator from your faucet and connect the water line. If the filtration system uses an inside thread, you’ll need to connect the adapter before the filter. Use a washer and screw the adapter until it is secure but not extra tight, as screwing it too tight could lead to damage.
- Attach the diverter valve directly to the faucet. The water should begin flowing out the faucet, but when you rotate the diverter valve, it should come out the water filter.
FAQs About Countertop Water Filters
Many consumers have questions and concerns about buying a countertop water filter. We have the answers to all your frequently-asked questions.
Q: Do Countertop Water Filters Remove Fluoride and Chlorine?
A: All countertop water filters that contain a carbon filter or use multiple stages filter chlorine. However, only some countertop filters also remove fluoride.
Q: Is Filtered Water Better Than Bottled Water?
A: Filtered water is far less expensive than bottled water. It is also always high quality. In fact, it is often cleaner than bottled water.
Q: How Often Will I Need to Replace Filters?
A: Some water filters (particularly pitcher filter models) notify you when it’s time to change the filter cartridges. Others require you to calculate how many gallons you’ve used. The shortest-lasting cartridges need changing every three months.
It is important to pay attention to when you need to change the filters, as you cannot count on noticing a change in taste. Some carbon filter cartridges continue to improve taste even though they are no longer effectively filtering water.
Q: Do I Need a Big Countertop?
A: Many countertop water filters are compact and require hardly any space. You may need a large countertop for some pitcher filters, but as there’s no need for these to be right next to the faucet, you have more flexibility.
Q: Can I Connect the Filter to More Than One Faucet?
A: Each faucet water filter connects to just one faucet. If you need to use your water filter elsewhere, remove it and reinstall it at another faucet.
Q: Can Bacteria Grow in the Faucet of My Countertop Filter?
A: Your filtration system will clean water flowing in, but bacteria can still accumulate in the faucet. To remove any bacteria, flush your kitchen faucet for 20 seconds and then the faucet of the filtration system for another 5 to 10 seconds.
Whatever type of countertop water filter you choose, you’ll improve your health. Firstly, it will mean you stop consuming the contaminants contained in tap water. Secondly, as you’ll see the water filter as soon as you enter the kitchen, it may remind you to drink water and prevent you from turning to something unhealthy to quench your thirst. Choose from one of the above top 10 models to ensure you pick a filtration system that effectively filters water and provides you with good value for money.