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10 Best Water Filter Pitchers of 2021 Reviewed

By: Stephanie Nielsen
Last Updated:
Water Filter Pitcher

Water pitcher filters have become a popular and easy way to bring fresh water to any home. They’re small enough to be portable and easily stored, they’re simple to use, and you can get the same quality as bottled water with much less environmental impact.

While most pitchers will look fairly similar, they are certainly not all created equal. This guide and review will help narrow down your choices so that you can be sure you’re getting the best water filter pitcher for your home.

Best Water Filter Pitchers Compared

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES  
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#1 Clearly Filtered
  • Size: 10 cups
  • Filter Life: 100 Gallons or 4 months
  • X-Factor: Best filtration + brand on market
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#2 pH Restore
  • Size: 8 cups
  • Filter Life: 3-4 months
  • X-Factor: Great pitcher for alkaline water
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#3 Aquagear
  • Size: 8 cups
  • Filter Life: 4-5 months
  • X-Factor: Top notch filtration and reliability
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#4 Waterdrop Chubby
  • Size: 10 cups
  • Filter Life: 200 Gallons or 4 months
  • X-Factor: Excellent design, affordable, quality filtration
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#5 Aquasana Clean Water Machine
  • Size: 8 cups
  • Filter Life: 3 months or 320 gallons
  • X-Factor: Powerful & Innovative pitcher
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Things to Consider When Buying a Water Filter Pitcher

These are the important qualities you’ll want to look at when comparing water filter pitchers, and they’re the main things we judged the pitchers on in our review.

Contaminants Removed

At the end of the day you’re getting a water pitcher filter because you want clean water that tastes good and is free of harmful contaminants. Even though all pitcher filters work via gravity filtration, there can still be large differences in the number and type of contaminants each pitcher removes. This is because some filters may rely mostly on activated carbon, while others may incorporate other filtration methods.

Filter Lifespan & Replacement

Another thing to consider is how long the filters are going to last before needing to be replaced – and then how easy it is to swap them out. Some filters will only last for 1-2 months at a shot, while others can last for 6 months or more. The majority of filters will be replaced by either sliding into a set of grooves in the housing or screwing in.

Jug Material & Size

Most filter pitchers are made of plastic, and there’s two main questions to ask: is the plastic BPA-free, and is it thick enough to be durable? BPA is a chemical that’s often used in plastic that can have detrimental health effects in both children and adults if it seeps into the food or water it contacts. The plastic thickness and strength will determine how long the pitcher lasts before needing to be replaced.

As far as the size goes, the dimensions of the pitcher will help you decide if it will fit well in your fridge, on your counter, etc. The capacity in gallons also tells you how much water it will hold, and larger pitchers will usually have the largest capacities.

Filtration Rate

You could have the best filter pitcher in the world that gets every single contaminant out of your water, but it won’t do you much good if it doesn’t filter the water in a timely fashion. Many pitchers will be able to filter their entire capacity in under 15 minutes, but exactly how long it takes will vary from brand to brand.

Certifications

Manufacturers can make all kinds of claims about their pitcher’s performance, but some put their money where their mouth is and have their products independently tested and certified. The Water Quality Association (WQA) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) are two independent organizations that test and certify water filters according to industry quality standards.

While you can certainly find quality pitcher filters that have not been certified, the certification is an extra guarantee that the pitcher is going to perform as advertised.

Price

As with anything you purchase, you want to make sure that your money is being well-spent. No matter where each pitcher falls in the price range, we made sure it’s offering the best value and quality possible for its price. Don’t forget to look at the cost of water filter replacements as well, as those can add up over time and some are more expensive than others.

Water Filter Pitcher Reviews

There are hundreds of different water filter pitchers out there, so how can you tell which ones are best? Using the criteria above as our starting point, we researched all of the top products and brands to bring you our choices for the best water filter pitcher.

1. Clearly Filtered Pitcher – Best Overall

Clearly Filtered Pitcher

The pitcher from Clearly Filtered takes the crown with its top-of-the-line filtration technology, large capacity, great design, and top-notch customer service from Clearly Filtered.

All you have to do is take a look at the rigorous testing they have conducted on their filter pitcher to see that this is one of the top models on the market. It uses Affinity Filtration Technology that incorporates 7+ proprietary filtration medias, and it’s by far the most effective pitcher at purifying water.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: Removes an average of 99.7% of 232+ contaminants including lead, fluoride, BPA, glyphosate, PFOAs, hormones, and much more.

Filter lifespan: The 100 gallon capacity means you’ll only have to replace it about every 4 months.

Material and capacity: It’s made of 100% BPA-free plastic jug with a 10-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: It takes 15 minutes on average to fill the storage tank though Clearly Filtered says that anywhere from 5-35 minutes can be considered average.

Certifications: While not certified by NSF or WQA, it has still been independently tested and found to pass NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, 244, 401, & 473. It’s the only pitcher on the market that has passed all five standards.

Price: This is one of the more expensive filters, but you can be sure that it’s for a great value.

Pros

  • Over 232 contaminants removed
  • 100 gallon filter capacity
  • Extensively tested to NSF standards
  • Lifetime guarantee on the pitcher
  • 4.6 out of 5 star rating with 2,273 reviews
  • Built-in dam keeps any unfiltered water in the top compartment from spilling over into your purified water tank when used
  • Still retains the natural minerals & nutrients found in water
  • Comes equipped with an oversized handle for good grip and control when pouring
  • Rectangle design that stores more efficiently

Cons

  • No reminder for when to change the filter
  • More pricey than some other models, both in terms of pitcher price and replacement filter cost

Who This Model Is Best For

This pitcher is great for those who have high numbers of contaminants in their water, or those who prefer a fast filtration rate. The bottom line is that if you want the best, this Clearly Filtered model is the pitcher you need to buy.

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2. Invigorated Water pH RESTORE

invigorated water

You won’t have to worry about missing out on healthy minerals in your water with this alkaline water filter pitcher from Invigorated Water.

The best alkaline water filter pitcher, the pH RESTORE increases alkalinity, delivers water high in antioxidants, adds healthy minerals such as selenium and calcium, and improves the taste and smell of your water. It uses a dual-cartridge system to achieve high levels of filtration as well.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter removes 90% of contaminants as small as 0.01 microns including sand, silt, rust, heavy metals like arsenic, lead, copper, iron, and tin, chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, and some disinfectants, pharmaceuticals, and microplastics.

Filter lifespan: The alkalizing filter has a lifespan of 96 gallons or 1-3 months, and 264 gallons or 4-8 months depending on your household size.

Material and capacity: It’s made of 100% BPA-free plastic jug with a 8.5 cup capacity.

Filtration rate: It takes about 5-10 minutes to filter the water.

Certifications: This product is WQA Certified.

Price: This filter is middle-of-the-road when it comes to price.

Pros

  • Removes 90% of contaminants larger than 0.01 micron
  • Fast filtration rate
  • WQA certification
  • Increases the alkalinity of water by adding beneficial minerals and preserving the ones already in your water
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Digital filter life indicator lets you know when it’s time to replace the cartridges
  • 4.4 out of 5 star rating with 941 reviews
  • Ergonomic handle and anti-slip base
  • Hands-free filling with the one-way valve lid

Cons

  • It can be challenging to clean as it’s difficult to remove the reservoir
  • There are customer reports of the lid fitting poorly on the pitcher
  • You do have to pay for the two filter cartridges separately

Who This Model Is Best For

This pitcher is best for those who want alkaline water while still improving its quality. Overall, if you’re looking for a pitcher that improves alkalinity and also has great filtration capability then this pH Restore model is highly recommended.

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3. Aquagear Pitcher

Aquagear

Coming in 3rd is the Aquagear pitcher, which is another top-performing water filter pitcher for you to consider.

While it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum, this is a really solid pitcher that has also been rigorously tested. It removes a number of different contaminants using ion-exchange technology while preserving healthy trace minerals.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter removes 93 different contaminants including heavy metals, VOCs, chlorine, chloramine, fluoride, and others

Filter lifespan: This pitcher has a 150 gallon or 6-month filter lifespan according to customer reviews.

Material and capacity: It’s made of 100% BPA-free plastic with a 10-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: It takes about 5 minutes to fill the filter storage tank.

Certifications: This product has been NSF certified for standards 42 and 53.

Price: It’s on the higher-end of the price spectrum but provides great value.

Pros

  • Removes 93 contaminants
  • Long filter lifespan
  • Fast filtration rate
  • NSF certification
  • Lifetime guarantee and same-day customer support
  • Maintains healthy minerals in the water
  • Large handle for easy pouring
  • 4.3 out of 5 star rating with 4,559 reviews
  • Every purchase supports the Aquagear Foundation
  • Pitchers made in the USA

Cons

  • Higher price than many other models
  • No reminder to change out the filter cartridge
  • Does not work on microbial contaminants

Who This Model Is Best For

If you want a quality pitcher that’s just a step down from the Clearly Filtered pitcher, then this is a fantastic product. You can also feel good knowing you’re helping bring water to those who have no access to it through the Aquagear Foundation.

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4. Waterdrop Chubby

waterdrop chubby

Next up is Waterdrop’s Chubby Pitcher. Contrary to what the name suggests, this pitcher is actually more compact than some of the other pitchers.

This is a cheaper alternative to the above pitchers while still providing excellent water filtration. The filter uses a 7-stage system that incorporates silver, activated carbon, and other medias to remove a large number of contaminants, and it’s also coming from a well-known brand in water filtration.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter passed over 400 chemical lab tests including chlorine, aluminum, arsenic, mercury, lead, fluoride, limescale, sediment, and many other contaminants.

Filter lifespan: The 7-stage filters have a 200 gallon filter capacity or 3 months lifespan according to the specifications.

Material and capacity: It has a 100% BPA-free plastic with a 10-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: It only takes 1 minute to fill the pitcher which is faster than all the other pitchers except the Aquasana Water Machine.

Certifications: This product has been NSF certified for standards 42 and 372.

Price: It’s on the lower end of the price range compared to similar pitchers, but quality isn’t sacrificed for cost.

Pros

  • Over 400 chemical lab tests passed
  • Long lifespan in gallons
  • Fast filtration rate
  • NSF certification
  • Low-cost
  • Wooden handle for a unique look
  • 4.6 out of 5 star rating on 5,212 reviews
  • Hands-free filling with a one-way valve on the lid
  • Filter indicator to let you know when it’s time to replace it
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Specific contaminants and percents removed not published
  • No warranty after the 30 days

Who This Model Is Best For

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to our other top picks then this model from Waterdrop is highly recommended to give you clean, great-tasting water. It’s also good for those with high water usage due to the fast filtration rate.

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5. Aquasana Clean Water Machine

Aquasana clean water machine

The Clean Water Machine pitcher from Aquasana is unique to our list in that it’s the only system that runs on power.

This is one of the most powerful and innovative water filter pitchers on the market as it uses power instead of gravity to force water through the filtration system. You don’t have to wait for this pitcher to work – it delivers purified water in seconds.

The filter uses Claryum technology which incorporates both activated carbon and ion exchange filtration. The pitcher connects into the main housing for filtration purposes, and then you can remove the pitcher for storage in the refrigerator or general use.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter removes at least 96% of 77 contaminants including VOCs, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, chloramine, and microbial cysts.

Filter lifespan: The Claryum filter has a 320 gallon capacity or up to 3 months filter lifespan according to the specifications.

Material and capacity: It’s made from 100% BPA-free plastic and parts and has an 8-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: With the pump it has a 0.5 gallons per minute filtration rate, which is much faster than every other filter on our list.

Certifications: This product has been NSF certified for standards 42, 53, and 401.

Price: It’s the most costly model, but it’s also the most involved system.

Pros

  • 77 contaminants removed
  • Long filter lifespan in gallons
  • Super fast filtration rate
  • NSF certified
  • 1-year warranty and 90-day guarantee
  • Uses power for instant access to clean water
  • Pitcher is removable from the main housing
  • There’s no installation required, just plug it in

Cons

  • Requires power to filter
  • Bulkier – takes up more countertop space
  • Much pricier than the other models
  • Only a 3.6 out of 5 star rating, and customers cite leaks and flimsy design

Who This Model Is Best For

If you want it all and you want it now and you don’t mind paying more for it, then this is a good system to consider. You won’t have to wait for clean water with the Clean Machine.

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6. Propur with Fruit Infuser

Propur Filter

Propur’s water filter pitcher comes with a built-in fruit infusing device making this the best option if you like to add fresh fruits to your water. Propur has actually re-branded recently to become ProOne, though you can still find products under the Propur label.

The fruit infuser is the cherry on top of a great product. It works on a wide array of contaminants using G2.0 mini filters that include activated carbon and silver-infused ceramic. The smaller capacity may be ideal for those with limited space, or smaller households that don’t go through as much water.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter removes over 200 contaminants including lead, fluoride, PFAS, heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, chlorine, and others. You can see their lab testing reports here for filtration specs.

Filter lifespan: This model has a 225 gallon filter lifespan which means it should last for roughly six months.

Material and capacity: It’s made from 100% BPA-free plastic and has a 7-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: The exact filtration rate is not published, but it takes longer than many of the other pitchers.

Certifications: This product has been NSF certified for standard 42, and while it hasn’t been certified for standard 53 it has been tested against it and passed.

Price: This model is at the high-end of the price range compared to other models.

Pros

  • Over 200 contaminants removed
  • Long filter lifespan
  • NSF certification
  • Built-in fruit infuser
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 90-day warranty
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars with 566 reviews

Cons

  • Small capacity
  • Pricey
  • Takes longer to filter

Who This Model Is Best For

Overall, if you are looking for a pitcher that works well with infusing fruit in your water while still removing many contaminants then this model from Propur is your best option.

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7. Brita Everyday Pitcher

brita pitcher

Brita is one of the best-known brands for water filters that have a long history of making effective and affordable products.

The Brita Everyday model is a convenient, large pitcher that won’t break the bank. It comes equipped with either the Standard filter or the Longlast+, and we recommend going with the Longlast+. These filters incorporate both activated carbon and pleated fiber as part of their proprietary media blend.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: The Longlast+ filter removes up to 99% of 30 contaminants including organic chemicals, heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals.

Filter lifespan: This pitcher has a 120 gallon or 6-month filter lifespan with the Longlast+ filters.

Material and capacity: It’s made from 100% BPA-free plastic and has a 10-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: It takes 5 mins per cycle, though like most pitchers it does take multiple cycles to fully fill the storage tank.

Certifications: This product has been WQA certified for NSF/ANSI standards 42, 53, and 401.

Price: This filter is middle-of-the-road price-wise with the Longlast+ filter, and among the least expensive pitchers with the Standard filter.

Pros

  • 30 contaminants removed
  • Long filter lifespan
  • NSF and WQA certified
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Sticker reminder for filter replacement
  • 4.6 out of 5 star rating with 15,831 reviews
  • Has a locking lid that’s easy to fill
  • 1-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Doesn’t filter as many contaminants as other pitchers
  • Slower filtration rate than other pitchers

Who This Model Is Best For

Overall, if you have water with lower numbers of contaminants or you’re looking for a simple but effective pitcher, then this is a great choice.

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8. PUR Ultimate

PUR-Ultimate

Next is the largest filter on our list, the PUR Ultimate. PUR is another giant in the water filter industry with a history of great products.

You won’t beat the 11-cup capacity of this pitcher, and like the Brita it works with two different types of filters: the PUR Basic and the PUR Lead-Reducing. Both of these filters use MAXION filtration technology.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter is certified to remove 23 contaminants but may work on more – there’s just no test results behind it.

Filter lifespan: The Lead-Reduction filter has a 30 gallon or 1-2 month filter lifespan.

Material and capacity: It’s made from 100% BPA-free and has a 11-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: It takes 5 minutes per cycle, but, like the Brita, it does also require multiple cycles to fully fill the storage tank.

Certifications: This product has been NSF and WQA certified for standards 42, 53, and 401.

Price: Mid-pack for price and doesn’t sacrifice quality.

Pros

  • At least 23 contaminants removed
  • Largest capacity on the list
  • NSF and WQA certified
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • 4.3 out of 5 star rating with 2,594 reviews
  • Flip-lid on the top for easy access
  • Also available in 7-cup version for those who need a lower-profile pitcher
  • Sleek design despite large capacity
  • 30-day warranty
  • LED filter indicator light

Cons

  • Short filter lifespan
  • Filters reported to be prone to clogging before the end of their life

Who This Model Is Best For

If you want a comparable alternative to the Brita Everyday, then this is a good pitcher to consider. It’s also ideal for those who need a pitcher with a slightly larger capacity.

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9. Seychelle pH2O Alkaline Pitcher

seychelle

This next pitcher is from a lesser-known brand, but it’s still a quality product that’s worth a look.

The Seychelle Pitcher differentiates itself from other models by having two filter cartridges rather than one. This speeds up how fast the pitcher is able to filter water, and like the pH RESTORE it’s also an alkalizing pitcher.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This pitcher removes 99.99% of all contaminants – which is one of the best performances on the market.

Filter lifespan: This filter has a 200 gallon filter lifespan or roughly 5 months, which is 100 gallons per filter.

Material and capacity: It’s made from 100% BPA-free and has an 8-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: The filtration rate is not published but customers report that it doesn’t take very long – under 15 minutes.

Certifications: This product has not been certified but has been extensively tested by other independent laboratories.

Price: This pitcher is in the mid-to-high range compared to the others.

Pros

  • Removes 99.99% of contaminants
  • Long filter lifespan
  • Dual filter cartridges
  • Alkalizes water to up to 9.5 pH
  • Ergonomic handle

Cons

  • No warranty
  • Pricey
  • Can work on hard water but it will shorten the filter lifespan

Who This Model Is Best For

If you want an alkalizing pitcher that has great contaminant removal but you don’t want to pay top-dollar for the other pitchers, then this is another good option.

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10. ZeroWater Ready-Pour

zerowater pitcher

Last but not least is this model from the largely popular ZeroWater.

The ZeroWater Ready-Pour is the only filter in this review that brings total dissolved solids (TDS) potentially down to zero. This is achieved by using activated carbon, ion exchange, and KDF media in the filter. Every ZeroWater product comes with a TDS meter that lets you measure the amount in your water.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: This filter removes up to 100% of all contaminants as measured by the TDS meter – however only 23 contaminants have been shown to be removed by lab testing so far.

Filter lifespan: The filters have a 40-gallon or 1-2 month filter lifespan depending on your household size and usage, as well as the number of TDS in your water initially.

Material and capacity: It’s made from 100% BPA-free plastic and has a 10-cup capacity.

Filtration rate: The filter has a 12 minute filtration rate for the whole 10 cups.

Certifications: This product has been NSF certified for standards 42 and 53.

Price: The ZeroWater Ready-Pour is a comparable price to the Brita Everyday and the PUR Ultimate.

Pros

  • Removes up to 100% of contaminants
  • Fast filtration rate
  • NSF certified
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Comfortable handle for easy pouring
  • TDS meter included
  • 4.5 out of 5 star rating with 16,750 reviews
  • 90-day warranty

Cons

  • Healthy minerals are not returned to the water
  • Shorter filter lifespan
  • Not tested for all contaminants

Who This Model Is Best For

If you want to remove every possible contaminant in your water, then this would be the best choice. It’s affordable and easy to use, and you can monitor the filter performance in real time with the TDS meter.

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 Whole House Water Filters Feature Comparison Table

ProductContaminants RemovedFilter LifespanSizeFiltration RateCertificationsPrice
Clearly Filtered Pitcher232100 gallons10 cups<15 minTested but not certified$$$
Invigorate Water pH RESTORE Pitcher90% of contaminates larger than 0.01 microns96 gallons8.5 cups5-10 minsWQA$$
Aquagear Pitcher93150 gallons10 cups5 minsNSF$$$
Waterdrop Chubby Pitcher400200 gallons10 cups1 minNSF$
Aquasana Clean Water Machine77320 gallons8 cups0.5 gallons per minNSF$$$$
Propur Pitcher with Fruit Infuser200225 gallons7 cups>15 minsNSF$
Brita Everyday Filter30120 gallons10 cups5 minsWQA & NSF$
PUR Ultimate Pitcher2330 gallons11 cups5 minsWQA & NS$
Seychelle pH2O Alkaline Pitcher99.99%200 gallons8 cups<15 minsN/A$$
ZeroWater Ready-Pour Pitcher100%40 gallons10 cups12 minsNSF$

A Buyer’s Guide to Water Filter Pitchers

There are various types of water filtration products on the market. Some of these purify all of your water (like whole-house filtration units that attach to your water main), whereas others only filter drinking water (like reverse osmosis systems that sit under your sink or on a countertop).

Water filter pitchers are simpler than both of the above, meaning they cost far less. However, they can also be less thorough at removing contaminants from water. To decide if a water filter pitcher is a suitable choice for you, it’s necessary to know what they a filter pitcher does, how it works, and what kind of water it is suitable for.

What Are Water Filter Pitchers?

Most filter pitchers concentrate on improving the taste and smell of water by removing chlorine and similar chemicals. Most also remove other contaminants to an extent, and some even to a high level as you’ve seen. Several filter pitchers also remineralize water to further enhance flavor and to provide you with beneficial minerals.

Water filter pitchers come in different jug sizes, ranging from around 7 cups to as many as 15 cups. Although most have a single filter cartridge, some utilize a pair of cartridges. All cartridges last a certain amount of time, measured in gallons. The least durable filters last about 30 gallons, which is enough for one or two months of water. The most durable filters last as much as 300 gallons, which means you only need to change the cartridge once a year.

How Do Filter Pitchers Work?

Water filter pitchers have two sections that are separated by the filter. You pour tap water into the top reservoir and then the water passes through the cartridge (or cartridges) to the storage tank below. Once the water is filtered, you can pour it out though the spout of the pitcher. The water will flow freely through the bypass system, avoiding the need for it to pass through the cartridge again.

Types of Filters

Filter pitchers come with various types of cartridges. Most of the time, you’ll be unable to choose the cartridge you want, as only one type of cartridge will fit your pitcher. The exception is when you choose a brand that offers a choice of two types of cartridges. In these cases, each has its share of benefits.

For instance, one type of cartridge may have a longer lifespan than the other, but it will also be more expensive. In other cases, one cartridge may filter standard contaminants, whereas the other may specialize in removing a particular contaminant.

Carbon Filtration

The majority of cartridges use carbon, which is especially effective at filtering chlorine and its byproducts, like TTHMs. Such cartridges contain either a solid carbon block or granular activated carbon (also called activated charcoal). In both cases, the carbon is usually derived from coconut shells, but it can be made from coal, lignite, wood, or petroleum pitch. The carbon may be physically or chemically activated.

There are two ways to physically activate carbon. One involves heating the material that will be carbonized in an inert atmosphere to between 450 to 900 degrees Celsius. Usually, there is nitrogen or argon present. Alternatively, the manufacturer may use oxidation, which usually involves heating the material up to as much as 1,200 degrees Celsius and exposing it to oxygen.

Chemical activation involves infusing the material with various chemicals (acids, bases, and sometimes salts). The most common chemicals include hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, zinc chloride, and calcium chloride. These chemicals make it easier to activate the carbon, meaning the process takes less time (and is therefore cheaper). However, it is still necessary to heat the material to between 450 to 900 degrees Celsius.

As water passes through a cartridge filter, the carbon absorbs any impurities in liquid and gas form. Due to the highly-porous surface and the physical form of activated carbon, a single gram has an absorptive surface of 32,000 square feet. All the same, it will eventually become saturated with impurities and, once this happens, you’ll need to replace the cartridge.

What Contaminants Does the Best Filtered Water Pitcher Remove?

Almost all pitcher filters remove chlorine, but some are also effective at removing other contaminants. For instance, pitchers that use cartridges containing ion exchange resin are also able to remove heavy metals. This resin comes in the for of minuscule beads filled with sodium, other cations, or anions. They work by exchanging their cations or anions for the metals like magnesium, calcium, mercury, copper, and others in your tap water.

Other contaminants filters can remove include:

  • TTHMs — When the chlorine that your city or municipality adds to the water as a disinfectant interacts with organic matter, it creates TTHMs as a byproduct. Although local governments must regulate the amount the amount TTHMs in water to keep levels safe, it’ss better for you to consume none at all.
  • VOCs — Herbicides and pesticides used in agriculture run off the land and end up in your water supply. These VOCs can be harmful to some people, particularly children and the elderly.
  • Cryptosporidium — A protozoan parasite, cryptosporidium causes cryptosporidiosis. The illness impacts the lower small intestine and respiratory tract, causing diarrhea and coughing. It is extremely dangerous for people with a compromised immune system.
  • Giardia — Another protozoan parasite, giardia can cause an illness called giardiasis, which has symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting, and fever. The parasite is present in water in the form of cysts that can survive for as long as 3 months.

It’s a good idea to get your water tested to find out what contaminants it contains. This will help make sure you choose the best water filter pitcher for your water’s specific needs.

Why Should You Use a Filter Pitcher?

No matter where your water comes from, it does contain some contaminants. This is because tap water must travel to you through a long network of pipes. The water may be completely free of contaminants when it leaves the treatment facility, but it likely picks up all kinds of particles before it enters your home. If some of the pipes are old, they may contaminate water with heavy metals, bacteria, and fungi.

By drinking filtered water, you avoid both short-term and long-term health problems. Having a filtration system is especially important if you have children at home, as contaminants in the tap water could impact their development.

Benefits of a Filter Pitcher

There are also several benefits to having a filter pitcher:

  • You can stop wasting money on bottled water. If you want to have purified water when you leave home, just refill a bottle with water from your filter pitcher.
  • You won’t consume dangerous contaminants from plastic bottles. Some plastics used for bottling water can actually contaminate water. For this reason, filtered water from a pitcher made of high-quality materials is a much healthier choice.
  • It will encourage you to drink more water. As you’ll want to make good use of your filter pitcher, you’ll be more likely to drink the water. Plus, the smell and taste will be better, making it more appealing.
  • Some filter pitchers even provide added benefits. For instance, those that change the pH of water add healthy minerals.

Who Needs a Water Filter Pitcher?

Anyone will benefit from a water filter pitcher, as no one should be drinking tap water. All the same, filter pitchers are best suited to certain types of households:

  • Where the incoming water only has low to moderate levels of contaminants. If your water has a large quantity of contaminants (such as if you receive your water from a well), you should consider a solution that offers more thorough filtration including whole-house systems.
  • You’ll get more benefit from a pitcher if you have limited space in your home. There are filter pitchers that are compact enough to fit in even the smallest home — it will even take up less space than a supply of bottled water. This is not the case for all other filtration solutions.
  • An alternative option for on-the-go situations is to use a filtered water bottle alongside your pitcher at home.

What Factors to Consider When Choosing a Filter Pitcher

It’s important not to just pick any filter pitcher — you need to find the best home water filter pitcher for your family. There are several factors to consider that will help you arrive at the right choice.

Filter Type and Durability

The type of filters and their durability will impact how much you spend on your pitcher — even more than the upfront cost of the pitcher. You can figure out durability by looking at the capacity of the filter. The smallest capacity is around 30 gallons (which lasts around 1.5 months), whereas the largest filters can have a capacity of more than 200 gallons (meaning they last at least 10 months).

Therefore, if you purchase a budget pitcher with a small filter capacity, you’ll end up spending more in the long term than you would for an average-priced pitcher with large-capacity filters.

This chart will give you an idea of how long each filter will last, though how fast you go through that number of gallons will depend on your water usage and household size.

Reminder to Change the Filter Cartridge

If you’re a well-organized person, you may manage to remember when to change your filter without a reminder. It may be just a matter of adding a date to the calendar and making sure you always have at least one spare cartridge on hand.

However, many people find this to be an added inconvenience and they risk forgetting to change the filter. This is a problem because it can seem as if the pitcher is still working well, In actuality, it will no longer be filtering your water and you will be drinking contaminated water. For this reason, if you think you may forget sometimes, it’s best to choose a model that comes with a reminder.

Filter Speed

The time it takes a pitcher to filter water varies greatly between models. It’s logical that you want a pitcher that filters fast, but slower filtration often means the pitcher is removing more contaminants. You can always avoid the need to wait by refilling the pitcher right after use, rather than waiting until the pitcher is empty.

Number of Filters

Most filter pitchers have just a single cartridge, but a few on the list have two. With two cartridges, your water will be purified twice as fast. This is great if you want to have water almost immediately and you’d rather not wait. It also means the filters will last longer before needing to be replaced.

However, it does have the downside that you’ll pay twice as much for cartridges. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to decide if this is a worthwhile feature for you.

Material of the Pitcher

The material of the pitcher will impact how long the pitcher lasts. Top materials to look out for include ABS plastic and food-grade materials.

It is important that all the components of the filter pitcher are free from BPA — the jug itself as well as the cartridges. BPA (or Bisphenol A) is a common compound in plastics that gradually leaches into water. As there are no regulations against BPA, it can be in any products. This is despite the fact that the compound is linked to cancer and may impact the development of babies.

Jug Size

It may seem like a minor detail, but jug size can make a big difference to how convenient it is to have a filter pitcher. If you have a small household or a compact kitchen, it is best to choose a small jug to save space. However, if you have a large family and high water needs, you should pick a large jug — otherwise, you’ll constantly be waiting when you want a drink.

How to Change a Filter Cartridge

You can find the instructions for changing cartridges with the filter. The process usually involves the following steps:

  1. Place the new filter in a bowl of water, making sure it is fully submerged.
  2. Leave the cartridge to soak for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the old cartridge from the pitcher.
  4. Fill the top reservoir of the pitcher and wait for the water to pass into the storage tank.
  5. Drain the pitcher of the water and repeat the process two more times.
  6. After the third time, the carbon will activate in the cartridge and your pitcher will be ready to filter water.

All the above water filter pitchers are best suited for city water. The best water filter for well water will depend on what is in the water, but if your water contains microorganisms that could cause you to become sick, you are better off finding a solution other than a pitcher filter. For instance, reverse osmosis with UV light will kill bacteria and keep your safe from infections.

Certifications of a Top-Rated Water Filter Pitcher

The top filter pitchers have certifications to back up their claims that they will filter a particular contaminant to a significant extent. Some certifications to look out for include:

  • NSF Standard 42 — This tells you that the filter pitcher effectively removes the taste and smell of chlorine and other unpleasant chemicals from water.
  • NSF Standard 53 — Filter pitchers with this standard remove contaminants that could have an adverse impact on your health. Such contaminants include heavy metals and inorganic compounds like nitrates, nitrites, fluoride, and VOCs.
  • The new NSF Standard 401 — This standard assesses how well filter pitchers are able to remove trace medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), herbicides, pesticides, and other chemical compounds. As it is a new standard, only a few filter pitchers have been tested for this requirement.

Ease of Use and Cleaning

If your household is just adults without physical disabilities, ease of use is less of an issue. However, if children will need to be able to use the filter pitcher to pour themselves a glass of water or if some adults may struggle with a heavy pitcher, consider opting for a smaller jug size.

Also consider if there are other features that could make one filter pitcher easier to use than another. For instance, an ergonomic handle lowers the risk of spills.

It is equally important to choose a pitcher that is easy to clean. Some models are difficult to dismantle, which makes washing the storage tank more challenging. However, if the pitcher has a lid over the lip, you may even be able to clean it less often.

Price

How much you decide to spend on your water filter pitcher comes down to how much you can afford. There is no need to feel like it’s important to purchase the most expensive filter pitcher if you’re on a tight budget. However, if you can afford it, buying a higher-priced model may be worthwhile for the better filtration and additional features you’ll receive.

What Is the Best Water Filter Pitcher Brand?

Another factor to consider is brand. When you purchase from a trusted brand, you can believe the manufacturer’s claims about the extent the pitcher filters contaminants. You’ll also know that you’re receiving a pitcher with a long lifespan. Finally, the brand you choose will influence how much the cartridges cost and how often you need to replace them.

You will want to receive at least some period of guarantee from your filter pitcher, especially if you choose a model from a lesser-known brand. The best is if your pitcher comes with a lifetime guarantee, as you’ll never need to worry about it failing.

See a few of our head to head pitcher brand comparisons below:

Conclusion

 
You’ll want to look at qualities like the contaminants removed, the filtration rate, the filter lifespan, the size and material of the pitcher, its price, and whether it has been certified when deciding what water filter pitcher is best for your home. By getting your water tested you’ll know exactly what contaminants are inside, and that will help you choose a filter that will best address your needs.

The specific pitcher that works best for your home may vary from person to person, but we believe that the Clearly Filtered Pitcher is the best choice on the market due to its high number of contaminants removed, filtration speed, and filter lifespan.

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AUTHOR
Stephanie Nielsen
Stephanie worked as a department supervisor of kitchen, bath, and appliances at Home Depot, and water filters were part of the inventory she was responsible for assisting clients with so she learned the ins and outs of matching the right filtration device to homeowner’s needs. She also worked closely with Culligan water to educate customers about whole-home water treatment and softener systems. Since leaving Home Depot and pursuing freelance writing, she has used her knowledge about water treatment devices to write about water filtration systems for RVs, water purification methods for backpackers, and home water devices.