The 7 Best Countertop Water Filters of 2020

Taste the difference of filtered water

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Our Top Picks
"Beyond removing contaminants, this model adds in minerals that makes the water tasty."
"Perfect for renters who can’t make major modifications to their apartments."
Best for Fluoride Removal:
RKIN AlcaPure Zero at Amazon
"Removes up to 95 percent of fluoride and up to 99 percent of other contaminants from tap water."
"Looks sharp in any kitchen and is quick and easy to install."
"Can filter a gallon of water in about one and a half minutes—considerably faster than many of its competitors."
"Great to bring along when traveling because of its compact size."
"By far the longest-lasting countertop water filter out there."

Best Overall: Apex Advanced Alkaline Mineral Countertop Filter System MR-1050

The Apex Alkaline Mineral Countertop Filter System MR-1050 is our pick for the best countertop water filter. Though simple in design, this system uses a number of filter media to get rid of 99 percent of contaminants present in tap water through a five-step filtration process. It not only does an efficient job of removing contaminants such as fluoride, chlorine, and arsenic, but it also adds minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which helps create a pleasing taste.

Another great feature of this model is that it is easy to install. The product includes all of the tools necessary to hook the filter right onto your faucet. Each filter lasts approximately four to eight months (for a family of four) or up to 750 gallons of drinking water. 

Customers like the compact size of the Apex (12 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches), so they can easily set it next to their sinks without it taking up much space. The unit is also on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of price, which is always a bonus. Choose from a number of color variations including black, blue, chrome, clear, red, and white.

Best Taste: APEC Water Systems 90 GPD Countertop Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System With Case

One of the most effective ways to purify water is through reverse osmosis (RO). Typically, an RO system must be installed under the sink. However, this model overcomes that barrier. This filter sits on the counter and is able to remove contaminants through a four-stage reverse osmosis filtration process, delivering safe water that also tastes delicious. It’s also surprisingly easy to install considering it is an RO system and requires a simple hook up to your faucet.

The only downside is that the APEC is not the prettiest to look at, nor the smallest (15.5 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches). Fortunately, the manufacturer sells a lovely cartridge that completely covers the filter to aid in the overall aesthetic. Reviewers agree that it’s a great option for renters who want to use an RO system but can’t make modifications to their home unit. This model also comes with a one-year limited warranty. More information can be found in the user manual.

Expert Buying Tip

"Reverse osmosis filters remove a large number of contaminants but are generally more expensive. Most models come with an activated carbon filter to remove additional contaminants and protect the sensitive membrane of the reverse osmosis filter. One drawback of these types of filters is that they can waste three to five times the amount of water they treat." — Sydney Evans, Science Analyst at the Environmental Working Group

Best for Fluoride Removal: RKIN AlcaPure Zero Installation Purifier Reverse Osmosis Countertop Water Filter

Some studies suggest that high levels of fluoride in drinking water can be a danger to one’s health, as it can damage teeth and weaken bones. Fortunately, there are certain water filters that can remove most of the fluoride present in tap water. This model in particular does an excellent job of that, claiming to remove up to 95 percent of fluoride and up to 99 percent of other contaminants from tap water.

No installation or assembly is required: The filter sits on your kitchen counter, and all you have to do is load tap water into the front. It filters the clean water into the top of the unit through a four-stage process, including one of the most efficient reverse osmosis filters; it meets the NSF International 58 standard for RO systems. The process takes approximately 15 minutes for a half-gallon of water. 

Customers love the modern, stylish look of this countertop water filter. It is also compact, measuring 9.5 x 14.5 x 16.25 inches. Unfortunately, this filter doesn't come cheap; it's on the higher end of available products. The three filters must be replaced about every 12 months, and the reverse osmosis membrane must be replaced about every two years. 

Expert Buying Tip

“Some filters have third-party certification, which details which contaminants they remove to what levels. Be sure to read the label on any individual filter.” — Sydney Evans, Science Analyst at the Environmental Working Group

Best for Easy Installation: Brondell H2O+ Cypress Countertop Water Filtration System

Countertop water filters use incredible technology to filter your tap water without the need to install anything under the sink. This one uses a three-stage patented Nanotrap technology, which is typically only found in under-counter systems. It will not only reduce bad tastes and odors, but also many bacteria, viruses, industrial and harmful chemicals, pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and microorganisms.

Measuring 3.75 x 10.5 x 13.5 inches, this model takes up little room on the counter, and customers agree that it looks sharp with its slim and sleek design. There are three filters included, each corresponding with a different filter stage. Stage one (composite plus filter) and stage three (carbon block filter) require replacements every six months, and stage two (the Nanotrap filter) requires a replacement about every 12 months. 

Reviewers rave about the quick and easy installation. Requiring about 10 minutes or less, the Cypress simply attaches to your faucet, and voilà, you’ve got clean water. 

Best for Fast Filtration: New Wave Enviro 10 Stage Plus Water Filter System

This product can filter a gallon of water in about one and a half minutes, which is considerably faster than many of its competitors. In addition, you can be sure your water is clean of lead, chlorine, and other common contaminants, as it uses a complex 10-stage process. It’s also easy to install and is space-saving, measuring 5.3 x 4.5 x 12 inches.

The manufacturer's website recommends replacing the filter after one year or after 800 gallons. If you aren’t satisfied with your purchase, this model comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can return it at no additional cost. 

Best Compact: Home Master Counter Top Water Filtration System

This filter takes up very little counter space, measuring only 12 inches tall with a 4.5-inch diameter. It can easily fit next to nearly any sink. The compact size also makes this model convenient for traveling, if you’d like to bring it with you on vacation. It’s important to note that you might want to consider purchasing the brand’s adapter pack, as the faucets you use during travel may differ from place to place. The installation is simple and takes only a few minutes to hook up.

This unit uses a three-stage process that removes up to 93 percent of fluoride, chlorine, and other harmful chemicals. Many customers also claim that it works particularly well for city water, which can often be filled with chlorine and fluoride. The filter must be replaced every three months or every 500 gallons, whichever comes first. 

Best Value: cleanwater4less Countertop Water Filtration System

If you’re looking for a countertop water filter that doesn’t require frequent filter replacements, this model can filter out contaminants in about 10,000 gallons of water. For such a long-lasting filter, you might think it would be costly, but it’s actually one of the more budget-friendly options available. The downside is that you can’t replace the filter, but instead must purchase an entirely new device.

It's very compact, measuring 9.5 x 4.75 inches, so it can easily fit next to most sinks. And despite being so small, this unit uses a five-stage filter process that works to filter out chlorine, sediment, and VOCs (but note: not fluoride). Another selling factor is that no tools are required for the installation. It can be set up in just a few minutes by attaching it directly to your faucet. 

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Cheyenne Elwell strives to do what it takes to preserve the planet and reduce her personal use of plastic as much as possible. She has experience with several of the environmentally friendly countertop water filters on this list.

An earlier version of this roundup was written by Erica Puisis, who has been researching strategies to improve everyday life and health, including water testing and filtration options, for more than three years for The Spruce. A purveyor of one of life’s most essential elements, Erica has tried reverse osmosis systems, water ionizers, and gravity filtration pitchers to stay hydrated and keep healthy!

For this roundup, Erica interviewed Sydney Evans, a science analyst for the Environmental Working Group, for background information on the different types of water filters, what they do differently, and how to pick the right one.

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