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Best Whole House Water Filters for Well Water

By: Stephanie Nielsen
Last Updated:
well water filters

Whether you just purchased a house with a well or you’re replacing an old filter, you’re probably wondering which well water filtration system is going to do the best job of removing the many contaminants that can dwell in your water.

Some filters are going to be better at removing heavy metals, while others are going to be best for organic chemicals and pesticides. Some systems reduce your water’s flow rate, while others will need regular upkeep and maintenance.

You and your home are going to have your own unique needs, so the best whole-house water filter for well water is ultimately going to be the one that works best for your situation. Having said that, we have put together a list of the top well water filters that can help solve the problem.

Best Whole-House Water Filters for Well Water Compared

#1 Springwell Well Filter
  • Contaminants Removed: Fe, Mn, H2s, Sediments
  • Flow Rate: 12 GPM
  • Filter Lifespan: Lifetime
#2 Aquasana Rhino Well Water
  • Contaminants Removed: Heavy Metals, organic chemicals, sediments
  • Flow Rate: 7 GPM
  • Filter Lifespan: 5 Years
#3 Pelican Iron & Manganese
  • Contaminants Removed: Fe, Mn, H2s, organic chemicals, sediments
  • Flow Rate: 10 GPM
  • Filter Lifespan: 5 Years
#4 Soft Pro Iron Master
  • Contaminants Removed: Fe, Mn, H2s
  • Flow Rate: 6 GPM
  • Filter Lifespan: 5-10 Years
#5 Home Master HMF3SDGFE
  • Contaminants Removed: Fe, Mn, organic chemicals, sediments
  • Flow Rate: 15 GPM
  • Filter Lifespan: 2 Years
#6 Express Water Heavy Metal
  • Contaminants Removed: Heavy Metals, organic chemicals, sediments
  • Flow Rate: 15 GPM
  • Filter Lifespan: 1 Year
#7 iSpring 3-Stage Filter
  • Contaminants Removed: Sediments, organic chemicals
  • Flow Rate: 15 GPM
  • Filter Lifespan: 1 Year
#8 Culligan WH-HD-200
  • Contaminants Removed: Sediments, organic chemicals
  • Flow Rate: 3-10 GPM
  • Filter Lifespan: 2 Years

Things to Consider Before Buying a Well Water Filtration System

These are the main factors that will affect how well a whole-house well filtration system is going to work, and we based our choices for the best well water filters on the following criteria:

Contaminants Removed

Well water often contains sediment, minerals, heavy metals, chemicals, and even microorganisms and radionuclides depending on where you live and how your well’s water is sourced. Three of the most common contaminants are iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide, but you can find home water testing kits that will tell you exactly what impurities are in your well.

The contaminants your well water filter is going to be able to remove depends primarily on the filtration methods it uses, and these are the most common filters used in well water systems:

Filter TypeContaminants Removed
Air injection oxidizing (AIO) filter Iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide
KDF filterHeavy metals
Carbon block filterOrganic chemicals, foul tastes and odors
Sediment filterSilt, suspended particles, rust
UV filterBacteria, viruses, protozoa


Multiple systems on our list are going to come with the ability to upgrade or add other components, which means you can tailor these systems to your home’s specific needs. For example, many filters will let you add a UV light stage to the process, which offers extra protection against microorganisms. Others will let you add a water softener if you live in an area with very hard water.

Flow Rate

Flow rate is a measure of your water’s pressure, and is usually notated in gallons per minute (GPM). Most water filters are going to have at least some impact on flow rate, and if it drops too low you might not have enough pressure to shower, do laundry, wash dishes, etc. without hassle. Make sure your well water filter is going to meet your home’s GPM needs.

Filter Durability and Maintenance

Well water filtration systems are an investment, so you want to get a system with good longevity that also isn’t going to be too hard to maintain. Most systems are rated for a specific number of gallons, which roughly translates into the years you can expect it to last. For example, a 500,000 gallon filter will last around five years.

As for maintenance, if you get a system that also has a built-in water softener, you’re likely going to have more maintenance than you would with a regular filter. Likewise most carbon and sediment filters will need to be replaced every 6-8 months, so knowing ahead of time what maintenance your system will require will help you plan accordingly.


The two main independent non-profits that certify water filters are the NSF and the WQA. Their labs test manufacturer’s claims about their products and certify them for the standards they meet the criteria for.

Common well water filtration system standards are the NSF P231 for microorganism removal, the NSF/ANSI 42 for aesthetic taste and smell, the NSF/ANSI 53 for the removal of contaminants with health effects, and the WQA Gold Seal certification for materials safety, contaminant reduction, and business integrity.


Price is almost always going to be a factor in your purchasing decision, but the initial cost may not always reflect what you’re going to pay for a whole-house filter. You also have to factor in the costs of replacement filters and other maintenance as well as the added water expense from systems that require backwashing. 

Reviews of the Best Whole Home Well Water Filters

After conducting extensive research and using the criteria above, we created this review of the top 8 well water filtration systems to help you find the best filter for your home.

1. SpringWell Well Filter System (Best Overall)

springwell filter

Our top choice for the best whole-house water filter for well water is this system from SpringWell. Using AIO technology, this filter is extremely effective at removing the top three well contaminants: iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide – and it does it all without hurting your flow rate.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: You won’t find a system that works better on the top three well contaminants. This filter removes nearly 100% of iron up to 7ppm, hydrogen sulfide up to 8ppm, and manganese up to 1ppm. This corrects the taste and smell of your water while preventing unsightly stains, and the built-in sediment filter also removes larger suspended particles.

Upgrades: You have the option of adding a UV light filter to this system if your water has a higher number of microorganisms, or if you’d just like some extra peace of mind. This system also comes equipped with a Bluetooth interface that lets you view your water usage and program the backwash schedule and other settings from your phone.

Flow rate: One of the best features of this model, especially compared to some of the other filters on this list, is the flow rate. At 12 GPM there’s virtually no change in your water pressure, so you can rest assured that you’ll have enough flow to meet all of your home’s needs.

Filter durability and maintenance: SpringWell offers a lifetime warranty on this well filter system, which means you don’t have to worry about any costly replacements down the line. As for maintenance, SpringWell boasts that this product is virtually maintenance-free thanks to the ability to set a backwash schedule. There’s no pre- or post-filters that require changing out, and this system is the definition of set-it-and-forget-it.

Certifications: While this product hasn’t been NSF certified, SpringWell has been in the business of providing quality water solutions for over 20 years and you can trust in the brand backing the technology.

Price: Even though there may be some sticker shock with the $1,965 price tag, the no-maintenance design means you won’t be spending money on replacement filters or other recurring costs. The only other expense is the water used for the daily backwash, which is minimal.

Who Should Buy the SpringWell Filter System?

If you want complete removal of major contaminants without compromising on flow, then this is the system for you. If you like hassle-free control of the settings with the ability to DIY the install and no ongoing maintenance, then you will love the SpringWell Filter System. 

The Bottom Line

Between the filtration capacity and the 12 GPM flow rate, the value of this system is readily apparent. Throw in the Bluetooth interface and the lifetime warranty, and it’s easy to see why this model tops almost every well water filter review out there.


  • Near-total clearance of iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide
  • 12 GPM flow rate
  • Lifetime warranty and a 6-month money-back guarantee
  • Maintenance-free
  • Bluetooth settings and display
  • Optional UV filter
  • Trusted brand


  • Expensive

Check Price

2. Aquasana Well Water Rhino

aquasana rhino

The runner up for the best whole-house water filter for well water is this carbon filtration system from Aquasana. Rather than AIO, this system uses carbon block as well as copper-zinc and mineral stone to purify your water – and the result is water that tastes better, smells better, and is all-around better for you.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: The activated carbon filter reduces chemicals like herbicides, pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as nitrates, 97% of chlorine, and other compounds that cause foul tastes and odors.

The sediment pre-filter removes rust, silt, and suspended particles, while the carbon post-filter further reduces anything that makes it through the main activated carbon stage. There’s also a copper-zinc and mineral stone filter (KDF-55) that reduces heavy metals like iron, lead, and hydrogen sulfide. It also works to prevent bacteria and algae from growing.

Upgrades: This system comes equipped with a UV filter already, but you can also make it a combo system by adding a salt-free water softener. The second carbon post-filter is also optional, and Aquasana offers a Pro-Grade Install Kit upgrade that incorporates better-quality parts as well.

Flow rate: One drawback to this model is that with a flow rate of 7 GPM, it’s better suited to smaller households. If you do have a larger home, you can still make a lower flow rate work as long as you’re mindful not to have too many fixtures and appliances drawing water at the same time.

Filter durability and maintenance: The UV lamps will generally last around a year before needing to be replaced, and it’s recommended that you clean the housing yearly as well.

It’s also recommended that you replace the carbon pre-filters and sediment filters every 2 months, and the whole system is rated for 500,000 gallons or 5 years. That’s also the length of this model’s warranty.

Certifications: This product’s filtration capacity has not been NSF certified, but the components have been certified for safety under standard 61.

Price: For including a UV filter and both a pre- and post-filter, you get a lot of value from this system for $1,149. Having said that, there are more ongoing costs with the bi-monthly filter maintenance. The good news: you can get a 4-pack of filter replacements for $20, so it’s not going to break the bank.

Who Should Buy the Aquasana Well Water Rhino?

This filter is a great option for those who want fantastic contamination reduction at a good price. The KDF-55 and activated carbon filters combine to remove more impurities than just an AIO filter alone, but keep in mind that if you have a large home and/or heavy water usage, the flow rate may be a little low. Also, if you don’t mind a little extra upkeep for the pre- and post-filters, then your water quality will reflect it.

The Bottom Line

Between the built-in UV light and the multi-stage filtration, this product is a great option to consider – as long as you’re willing to trade a little bit of water pressure and a few minutes of your time every couple of months.


  • Removes more types of contaminants than other filters
  • UV filter included
  • Can turn into a combo-system by adding a softener
  • Can upgrade the installation kit
  • 5-year warranty
  • Less expensive price point
  • NSF-certified components


  • Low flow rate
  • Regular maintenance required

Check Price

3. Pelican Iron & Manganese Well Filter

pelican filter

Taking home the Bronze is this Pelican 4-stage well filter. It has been both NSF and WQA certified, and it incorporates both activated carbon filtration and a powerful iron filter.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: The GreenSandPlus iron filter removes virtually 100% of manganese as well as iron up to 10ppm. The sediment pre-filter catches any contaminants larger than 5 microns, and a chlorination system uses chlorine to disinfect and remove any microorganisms.

This chlorine as well as sediment, chemicals, and other things that make your water taste and smell bad are then removed by the activated carbon filter.

Upgrades: This 4-stage system is an upgrade – Pelican also offers just their GreenSandPlus iron filter on its own. That system is significantly less expensive, but it also only works on iron that has already been oxidized (red iron). In order to remove the other forms of iron in your water, you need the complete system to oxidize it first.

Like some of the other models, you can also add a salt-free water conditioner to this system if you want to reduce the hardness of your well’s water as well.

Flow rate: One of the best things about this system is that with the 10 GPM flow rate, you’re not losing anything in exchange for pure water.

Filter durability and maintenance: This filter is rated for 600,000 gallons and comes with a 5-year warranty. The chlorine injector pump seals will need to be replaced every 3-6 months, while the sediment pre-filter will need to be swapped out every 6-9 months.

Aside from that, there’s no other maintenance required – though it is recommended that you check the chlorine levels at your tap periodically with test strips, and you can adjust the injector if you’re still seeing chlorine get through. The system comes auto-programmed to do a backwash daily at 3am.

Certifications: This product has been NSF/ANSI certified for standard 61 – which means the components of the filter have been approved, as well as standard 42 – which means that it removes aesthetic contaminants. It also has the WQA Gold Seal certification.

Price: The Achilles heel of this filtration system is its price. The 4-stage system runs $3,300 normally, though it does sometimes go on sale for $2,812. The sediment pre-filter replacements cost about $15 each, while the pump seals are $75.

Who Should Buy the Pelican Iron & Manganese Well Filter

If your well water comes with crazy amounts of iron, then this system is the one for you. Also, if you have a large amount of microorganisms in your water then this system is great for killing bacteria, protozoa, etc. For those who want to ditch the red water rings without losing water pressure, you’ll love this Pelican product.

The Bottom Line

This filter system is a miniature water treatment plant – and you get all the benefits for your home. It’s also one of the priciest filter systems on the list, but it’s well worth the anti-iron and antimicrobial effects.


  • Removes iron up to 10ppm
  • 4-stage filtration functions like a water treatment plant
  • 10 GPM flow rate
  • Can get either the full system or just the iron and manganese filter depending on your home’s needs
  • NSF certified for standards 42 and 61 and WQA certified
  • 5-year warranty


  • Very expensive
  • The pump can be loud when in use

Check Price

4. SoftPro Iron Master

softpro iron master

They don’t call it the Iron Master for nothing – this filter removes iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide at levels higher than almost any other filter on the market with its AIO technology. 

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminant removal: You won’t have to worry about heavy metal contaminants in your water with this filter – the SoftPro Iron Maser clears iron up to 30ppm, manganese up to 7ppm, and hydrogen sulfide up to 5ppm with its AIO katalox media.

Upgrades: If you’re also concerned about microorganisms in your water, SoftPro has a UV filter that can be added to the system. You can also add a water softener, or upgrade the install kit to a quick-connect system that makes DIY installation a breeze. As for the base model, a digital touch-screen display makes changing the system’s settings quick and easy.

Flow rate: At 6 GPM this system is generally going to be better for smaller households with a lower water usage.

Durability and maintenance: With no pre- or post-filters, this is another set-it-and-forget-it system like the SpringWell model. This system is rated to last for 5-10 years, and comes with a limited lifetime warranty on the parts.

Certifications: This model has been certified for the NSF/ANSI standard 61 as well as for IAMPO and ISO standards – two other independent organizations.

Price: At $999, this system provides top-shelf quality without hurting your wallet. Since there’s no ongoing maintenance, you won’t have to spend money on replacement filters either.

Who Should Buy the SoftPro Iron Master?

If you want exceptional filtration of iron, hydrogen sulfide, and manganese at a great price – and your house can accommodate the 6 GPM flow – then this is the system for you. If you don’t want the hassle of managing replacement filters and doing other upkeep, then that also makes this a good option.

The Bottom Line

For a smaller household with an iron problem, this is one of the best systems you can get. No extra filters means no maintenance, but it also means no extra filtration. If you have other contaminants in your water that you want to remove besides the big three, then you should consider getting a sediment pre-filter or carbon post-filter.


  • Exceptional iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide removal
  • Great price
  • Maintenance-free
  • Limited lifetime warranty on parts and 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Digital display and touch screen
  • Can add a UV filter or water softener
  • NSF, WQA, IAMPO, and ISO certified


  • 6 GPM flow
  • No sediment filtration

Check Price

5. Home Master HMF3SDGFEC


With this system from Home Master, you get 3-stage filtration that removes a wide range of contaminants – all while maintaining excellent flow. 

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: The first stage is a sediment filter that removes particles down to 1 micron, and the second stage is a radial flow filter that reduces iron up to 3ppm and manganese up to 1ppm. It can also remove hydrogen sulfide, but that reduces the filter’s lifespan. The final stage is an activated carbon filter that reduces 95% of chemicals and compounds causing bad tastes and odors.

Upgrades: While there isn’t the option to add a UV filter or water softener system, the base model still does a great job. It does have the option to add pressure gauges so you can monitor the flow of your system.

Flow rate: You won’t beat the 15 GPM flow rate of this system, which can easily accommodate the majority of households.

Durability and maintenance: The three filter stages will need to be replaced yearly or after 100,000 gallons, and the housing comes with a 2-year warranty. Replacing the filters is quick and easy, and there’s an instruction manual included for DIY installation.

Certifications: The components of this filter system have been certified for NSF/ANSI standard 61.

Price: At $579, this is a great price for the quality of water it puts out. Having said that, the cost of all three filters to replace yearly comes out to about $267, so there are going to be ongoing costs with this system.

Who Should Buy the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC?

If you don’t mind a bit of extra maintenance and would rather spread out the costs yearly instead of paying more upfront, then you should consider this well water filtration system. The flow rate is also great for larger households, and you’re still getting high-quality filtration.

The Bottom Line

The iron filtration capacity isn’t as high as some of the other models, but if your water tests for under 3ppm then the wide range of other contaminants removed makes this filter a good contender. The high flow rate also can’t be overstated.


  • Removes 95% of most contaminants and clears iron up to 3ppm
  • 15 GPM flow rate
  • Low cost up front
  • 2-year warranty
  • Optional pressure gauges
  • NSF/ANSI certified parts


  • Higher maintenance costs and requirements
  • Can’t add a UV filter or softener system

Check Price

6. Express Water Heavy Metal Well Filter


Up next is this 3-stage system from Express. Combined sediment, KDF, and carbon block filters take out the majority of a wide range of contaminants, and this product has over 93% 4- and 5-star reviews.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: While the exact amount that the filters reduce each contaminant isn’t published, Express boasts that their 3-stage system removes contaminants larger than 5 microns and reduces iron, mercury, lead, copper, chromium, aluminum, hydrogen sulfide, rust, sediments, arsenic, chloramine, chlorine, pharmaceuticals, VOCs, and compounds causing bad tastes and odors.

Upgrades: There are no UV filtration or water softener upgrades available for this system.

Flow rate: The flow rate for this filter is a stellar 15 GPM, which should be more than sufficient for most households.

Durability and maintenance: Like the Home Master system, the filters for each stage should be replaced every 100,000 gallons or 6-12 months for optimal performance. The system itself comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Certifications: This product has been NSF/ANSI certified for standard 61.

Price: The initial cost of the system is only $450, which should appeal to those who are looking to get great water for a better price. The replacement filters are also only $149 for all three, so you’re not spending too much for yearly maintenance either.

Who Should Buy the Express Heavy Metal Filter?

If you want a reliable system with excellent flow and the ability to spread out the costs, then this may be the well water filter for you. Without knowing the exact specifications for iron removal, however, it may be better to look at other systems if your water tests for over 2-3ppm.

The Bottom Line

This filter is very similar to the Home Master in its filtration capabilities, flow, and maintenance required. You’ll save a bit more money on this system but you’ll lose a year of warranty, and there are no extra upgrades or features with this model. Even so, it’s still a great option for those who want clean water on a budget.


  • Removes a wide variety of contaminants
  • 15 GPM flow rate
  • Low cost up front
  • 1-year warranty
  • NSF/ANSI certified parts


  • Exact specifications for iron and other contaminants not published
  • More maintenance and costs down the line
  • No upgrades available

Check Price

7. iSpring 3-Stage Filter


While this filter isn’t designed specifically for well water, it can still remove a wide range of contaminants using polypropylene and activated carbon filters. 

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: You can expect this iSpring filter to remove 95% of sediment, rust, pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, industrial solvents, and particles over 5 microns. This system can also clear up to 99% of chlorine, which isn’t usually a problem with well water but doesn’t hurt to have.

The downside to this specific system is that it doesn’t remove iron or manganese, so it’s best-suited for those whose water has more aesthetic impurities than heavy-metal contaminants.

Upgrades: You can add a UV filter, a saltless water softener, a central water filtration system, or a post-sediment filter to your setup, depending on your home’s needs.

Flow rate: Like the other 3-stage filters, there’s no compromise on flow at 15 GPM.

Durability and maintenance: All 3 stages will need to be replaced after 100,00 galls, or every 6-12 months. The system itself is able to be installed DIY, but there is not an associated manufacturer’s warranty.

Certifications: While this product isn’t actually NSF certified, iSpring did pay to have this product tested by a different independent lab and it was found to meet their standards.

Price: For just $390 up front, you can get water that tastes better and is free of most organic chemicals. The replacement cartridges are only $90.50 for all three each year, and this is in the low-mid range for whole-house carbon filters.

Who Should Buy the iSpring 3-Stage filter?

If your well water has minimal heavy metal impurities but still comes out foul-smelling and tasting, then this is the perfect filtration system for you. You’ll see immediate improvements in your water quality without any detriment to flow, and all for a relatively low price.

The Bottom Line

If you need to filter out iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, and other heavy metal contaminants, then this isn’t the system for you. But if your water needs aesthetic improvement and chemical reduction, then this is a great option for the price and you can customize it with upgrades and add-ons to meet your home’s other needs.


  • Removes 95% of sediment, organic chemicals, and impurities that affect taste and odor
  • 15 GPM flow rate
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • DIY installation
  • Many customization options


  • Does not filter out iron, manganese, or hydrogen sulfide
  • No warranty
  • More maintenance and costs down the line

Check Price

8. Culligan WH-HD200-C

Culligan WH-HD200

Our final contender is this system from Culligan. This all-in-one system is compact streamlined, and you have several different options for the filter cartridge so that you can choose the one that best fits your home.

Main Features & Benefits

Contaminants removed: Culligan has 9 different filters that are rated for well water that will fit this system, and each one removes a slightly different subset of contaminants. The most comprehensive filter is the RFC-BBSA, which is a granulated activated carbon filter.

This filter is rated for sediment, rust, scale, extra-fine sand, silt, chlorine, and bad tastes and odors. It filters out all other particles larger than 25 microns, and this system is certified to remove lead as well. It is not rated for iron, manganese, or hydrogen sulfide, however.

Flow rate: The flow rate depends on which filter you select and the inlet pressure of your water. Culligan’s published range is 3-10 GPM, but many customers have left reviews saying it stays close to 10 and they have not noticed a significant decrease in pressure even with some of the finer filters. For the RFC-BBSA filter, however, the published flow rate is 3 GPM.

Upgrades: The main upgrade potential is in choosing your filter. Culligan does not have a UV or softening system that is made to go in-line with this filter.

Durability and maintenance: Each filter cartridge is slightly different, but they all last between 2-6 months. This means more maintenance than most other systems, but the system itself does come with a 2-year warranty.

Certifications: This system has been NSF/ANSI certified for standards 42, meaning it removes aesthetic contaminants, and 372 for low lead compliance.

Price: There’s no beating the price of this system. The filter housing itself is just $58, and the filter cartridges themselves range from $13 to $26. You won’t get cleaner water for cheaper.

Who Should Buy the Culligan WH-HD200-C?

For those who want to spend as little as possible on their whole-house filter, this is as good as it gets. Likewise, if the majority of your water’s contaminants are aesthetic and you don’t have heavy metals, that makes this a great option as well.

You probably don’t want to chance the flow rate if you have a larger household, but with the different filter options available you can tailor this system to your needs.

The Bottom Line

This system isn’t going to work quite as well as some of the others at removing chemicals and other impurities, and you definitely want to look at another filter for heavy metals. Having said that, it’s a great, low-cost option to aesthetically improve the water of those who can afford a hit on their flow rate.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Removes bad odors, tastes, and sediments
  • Many different filter options
  • 2-year warranty
  • NSF certified
  • Simple installation


  • Not as good for many other contaminants
  • Potentially significant flow reduction
  • More frequent maintenance required

Check Price

 Well Water Filters Feature Comparison Table

ProductContaminants RemovedUpgradesFlow RateFilter LifespanCertificationsPrice
SpringWell Well FilterFe, Mn, H2S, sedimentsUV filter12 GPMLifetimeN/A$$$$
Aquasana Well Water RhinoHeavy metals, organic chemicals, sedimentsUV filter, water softener, install kit7 GPM
5 yearsNSF/ANSI$$$
Pelican Iron & Manganese FilterFe, Mn, H2S, organic chemicals, sedimentsWater softener10 GPM5 yearsNSF/ANSI, WQA$$$$$
SoftPro Iron MasterFe, Mn, H2SUV filter, water softener, install kit6 GPM
5-10 yearsNSF/ANSI, IAMPO, ISO$$$
Home Master HMF3SDGFEC Fe, Mn, organic chemicals, sedimentsPressure gauges15 GPM2 yearsNSF/ANSI$$

Express Water Heavy Metal Filter
Heavy metals, organic chemicals, sedimentsN/A15 GPM1 yearNSF/ANSI$$
iSpring 3-Stage FilterSediments, organic chemicalsUV filter, water softener15 GPM1 yearN/A$$
Culligan WH-HD-200-CSediments, organic chemicalsFilter choice3-10 GPM2 yearsNSF/ANSI$

Well Water Filtration System Buyer’s Guide

Before you can select the best whole-house water filter for well water, you need to know more about them and well water in general.

You can also see our full guide to well water treatment here.

Why You Need a Water Filter for Your Well Water

Water Well

Well water is a grab bag – there could be just about anything in there depending on where you’re located. Some of these contaminants are only annoying. They cause mineral stains, make your water smell or taste funky (like sulfur), but don’t pose any real health threat. Other contaminants have significant risks, even in microscopic amounts (think arsenic).

Unless you have exceptionally pure water that is free of harmful contaminants, well water filtration systems are an investment in your health as well as a way to make your water look, taste, and smell better.

The Most Common Impurities in Well Water

As mentioned, iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide are the three main contaminants you’re most likely to find, but you could also have any combination of arsenic, Chromium 6, mercury, lead, nitrates, VOCs, brown residue, inorganic chemicals, minerals, radon, coliform bacteria and many other contaminants in your water as well. It all depends on what’s in the ground around you, and what’s contributing to the water below.

Types of Well Water Filter Systems

There are five main methods deployed to purify well water, and systems may incorporate one or a combination of the following: air-injection oxidization, KDF, activated carbon, UV light, and mechanical filtration.

Air-Injection Oxidation Filtration

This method (AIO) uses a pump to inject air into the water, which oxidizes iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide. The oxidized metals are not water-soluble, and are trapped by the media in the tank. These systems work on iron consistently, but with manganese and hydrogen sulfide they will only work if your water is at a high enough pH. Some systems incorporate pH correction to counteract this.

As more and more oxidized metals become trapped, the media gets clogged and must backwash – or flush out – the built up debris. This generates a bit of waste water, but not as much as some other filtration types.

KDF Media

KDF is a combination of copper and zinc that causes the transfer of electrons between that media and the other elements it contacts. This causes soluble heavy metals like copper, lead, mercury, iron, and others to become oxidized and precipitate out of your water, along with other chemicals like chlorine.

It’s also bacteriostatic, which means it prevents the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. Like the AIO filter, it uses a backwash feature to clear away the filtered debris.

Activated Carbon

Activated carbon, or charcoal, is processed so that each particle has millions of pores that serve to trap impurities in water. As water flows around the carbon particles, suspended solids, sediments, chlorine, VOCs, and other organic chemicals like pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and herbicides are attracted to the carbon media and stick to it. Other particles that are larger than the pore and channel sizes become trapped as well.

UV Light

While technically not a filter because nothing is removed, UV light kills microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and protozoa instead by damaging them with ionizing radiation. The intensity of the light source corresponds to its effectiveness, and UV light systems have the potential to kill over 99.9% of microorganisms.

Mechanical Filtration

The most simple filtration method, this involves simply taking a barrier and making small holes in it that the water can pass through but anything larger than the pore size cannot. Mechanical filters are rated by the size of their pores, and the most common well water filters are 5-micron – meaning they block any contaminants that are larger than 5 microns.

What Filter You Need to Remove Iron from Well Water

AIO and KDF are the two best filter types for removing iron, and KDF has the added benefit of being inhibitory to iron-loving bacteria as well. Just make sure you know the ppm of iron in your water so that you can find an AIO or KDF with a high enough capacity.

What Filter You Need for Coliform Bacteria in Well Water

Coliform bacteria are bacteria that are found naturally in the environment as well as the intestinal tracts of mammals. They’re common contaminants, but high numbers can cause significant health problems especially in immunocompromised individuals.

Chlorine and UV light are commonly-used disinfectants that kill the bacteria in your water, while gravity-fed filters and reverse osmosis filters will remove them completely.

Well Water Filters vs Water Softeners

water filters vs softeners

While traditional water softeners are technically filters because they remove minerals that cause hard water like calcium and magnesium (which are total dissolved solids, or TDS), water softeners are mainly used for aesthetic purposes. Water filters on the other hand generally don’t remove TDS, and work on a wider range of contaminants.

What to Keep in Mind When Picking a Well Filter

You can’t get a well water filtration system until you know what’s in your well water, because the best filter in the world is going to be useless to you if it doesn’t take out the contaminants that are in your water specifically.

You can purchase testing kits that will give you a breakdown of what metals, minerals, chemicals, and other contaminants are present so that you can find the filtration system that will work the best on them. For example, a high-powered iron filter would be useless to you if your well water isn’t high in iron, whereas an activated carbon filter won’t do you much good if your well is only full of metals.

Another thing to consider is where you’re going to put your filter. You’ll want it somewhere you can easily access for maintenance and to change settings, and it should also be installed in-line with your main water line. Make sure the filter you select will be able to fit where you want to install it.

How to Choose the Correct Size Well Filter

Most well water filters are going to be rated for 1-3 bathrooms or 4-6, which will give you an idea right off the bat of the size you need. Refining that further, the flow rate will also tell you how large of a house a filter can service.

Every appliance and fixture that uses water is going to need flow, and these are the average flow requirements for each appliance:

ApplianceFlow Rate (GPM)
Bathroom Faucet
0.5 GPM
Kitchen Faucet
0.5 GPM
2.5 GPM
1.0 GPM
Clothes Washer
1.5 GPM

In order to know what size filter you need in terms of flow rate, calculate the flow you would need if you ran all of your water-using appliances and fixtures at once. That’s the maximum amount of flow you need, so any filter with a flow rate over that is more than enough for your house.

Is it Easy to Install & Maintain a Well Water Filtration System?

As with most things, how easy it is to install and maintain your water filter is going to depend on which system you choose. Some may need to be installed by a professional plumber, either by necessity or because not doing so will void the manufacturer’s warranty. Other systems come with DIY installation instructions and kits to make it easier to do on your own.

Similarly, filters that incorporate carbon-activated filters or sediment filters are going to need more frequent maintenance and replacement than those with KDF or AIO media alone. 


Well water filters are important for the health and aesthetics of your water. The SpringWell Well Filter System is our choice for the best whole-house water filter for well water due to its great flow rate and fantastic filtration of iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide.

In order to make sure this system is best for you, you should have your well water professionally tested to see what contaminants it contains and measure your household’s flow requirements.

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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.