Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Brondell H2O+ Cypress Water Filtration System at Amazon
"Easy to use and nice to look at, this water filter system produces clean, tasteless water without any water waste."
Best for Taste: Apex MR-1050 at Amazon
"Users who prefer mineral water will appreciate this system's remineralization step, which adds flavor back into the clean water."
"Wallet-friendly and easy to install—what's not to like about this well-rated water filtering system?"
Best for City Water: Aquasana Premium Water Filter System in White at Home Depot
"This model uses technology to filter 68 different contaminants, including chlorine, which can be used to purify water in cities."
Best Compact: Brondell H2O+ Pearl at Target
"With a diameter of just six inches, this system is a great space-saving option for small kitchens or even bathrooms."
Best for Fluoride: APEC Reverse Osmosis Water Filter at Amazon
"Using a reverse osmosis system, this filter can remove up to 97 perfect of fluoride from your drinking water."
Best for Well Water: Berkey Big Water Filter at Home Depot
"This system holds up to 2.25 gallons and requires no electricity or pumping connections to properly set up."
Best Splurge: AlcaPure Water Purifier at Amazon
"This reverse osmosis system has a four-stage filter that remove up to 99 percent of all contaminants for your water."
01 of 08
Best Overall: Brondell H2O+ Cypress Countertop Water Filtration System
The Brondell H2O+ Cypress system is our pick for the best countertop water filter, thanks to its efficient operation, great tasting output, and ease of use. While many countertop models are single- or double-filter systems, this model has a triple-filter system to remove even more chemicals and contaminants and improve water quality. It combines some of the more advanced features of under sink water filter systems with the easy set-up and convenience of a countertop water filter.
One of the things that people like most about the Brondell H2O+ is the fact that it doesn’t have any water waste, like reverse osmosis water filters. It also produces clean water that most reviewers loved. As a bonus, the system features a modern aesthetic that will look great on your countertop.
02 of 08
Best for Taste: Apex MR-1050
The process used to filter contaminants and chemicals also removes much of the water’s mineral content. In addition to providing some health benefits, these minerals contribute to the taste. The APEX MR-1050 features a remineralization step that delivers pure water with a pleasing mineral taste.
The system uses several filter media, including carbon granules and KDF-55, to filter out bacteria, metal, and microorganisms like Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts. In the final stage, the water passes through alkaline beads that add minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
This water filter system is available in different color housings to suit your home's style. The company recommends a dark housing if your system will be in direct sunlight to avoid algae growth in the filter. On thing worth noting is that when it comes time to change the filter (after about 750 gallons), it can be difficult to unscrew the housing to replace the filter. Users suggest using a screwdriver or a brand-specific wrench, along with plenty of applied force to open it up.
03 of 08
Best Budget: Pelican PDF-450 W Countertop Drinking Water Filtration System
For pennies per gallon, you can enjoy the peace of mind and great taste that comes from drinking filtered water. The Pelican PDF-450W earns high marks from reviewers for its ability to remove dozens of common contaminants and solve common drinking water treatment problems at a budget price.
This affordable system meets the mark for NSF International certifications 42 and 53, which means that it removes substances that affect taste and odor along with reducing contaminants considered to have an effect on health. At the same time, this unit is available at a budget-friendly price and gives you up to 450 gallons of filtered water before you’ll need to change the filters. Like many countertop water filtration systems, it may be cheaper to buy a new unit than it is to purchase replacement filters, but since installation only takes about ten minutes, that may not be a deal breaker for you.
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
04 of 08
Best for City Water: Aquasana Premium Counter Top Water Filter System in White
Municipal water supplies are subject to the treatment protocols of your local water treatment facility, but you may still want to perform your own in-home water filtration. The Aquasana THD-4000W is a popular countertop water filter for city water. It lacks the ability to filter out microbiological contaminants, but most city water goes through that treatment before your water gets to your home.
This model from Aquasana uses the brand’s Claryum filtration technology to filter 68 different contaminants including particulates, mercury, lead, volatile organic compounds, and asbestos—along with chlorine and chloramines added during city water treatments. This model of countertop water filtration meets NSF International 42 and 53 standards to reduce contaminants with health effects, along with emerging contaminants that are not yet regulated by the EPA, and PFOA and PFOS.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Compact: Brondell H2O+ Pearl
The Brondell H2O+ Pearl is a great space-saving option if you’re looking for a countertop water filter that won't take up all of your countertop space. The slim cylinder has a small footprint and uses a carbon block filter to reduce the presence of water contaminants. Carbon block filters are generally considered superior to granulated carbon filter media when it comes to capturing particles, reducing odors, and improving taste.
This is the perfect size water filter for use in small kitchens or even in the bathroom, so you can have clean, filtered water for brushing your teeth or getting a quick drink of water in the middle of the night.
06 of 08
Best for Fluoride: APEC Countertop Reverse Osmosis Water Filter
If you’re looking for a system that can remove fluoride, one option is a reverse osmosis water filter. This type of countertop water filter system can remove many of the most common contaminants in your water supply, including up to 97 percent of fluoride, according to the manufacturer. Reviewers confirm that their independent testing shows a dramatic reduction of the presence of fluoride in the water when compared to untreated tap water.
Reviewers agree that the biggest weakness of this water filter is the fact that, like any reverse osmosis water filter, there is considerable waste water produced in the process. One other thing you should know is that it can take a minute or more to fill a glass, depending on your home’s water pressure.
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 included 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
07 of 08
Best for Well Water: Berkey Big Water Filter
This model has a sizable 2.25 gallon capacity and includes a dual-filter system that can be expanded up to four filters. The Berkey Big is a gravity-fed countertop water filtration system that offers the simplest set-up of any water filter on our list and requires zero electricity or plumbing connections.
This countertop water filter is well-equipped to filter heavy metals like iron and mercury from well water, along with up to 99.99 percent of viruses and bacteria, which may be an important factor to consider if you have well water, since your water is not tested and treated like municipal water is.
08 of 08
Best Splurge: RKIN AlcaPure Water Purifier
If you’re looking to invest in a top model, the RKIN AlcaPure Water Purifier is the best choice for a countertop water filter. It meets the NSF International 58 standard for reverse osmosis systems, while adding additional filters for further peace of mind.
This reverse osmosis system has a four-stage filter system to remove up to 99 percent of all contaminants such as chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, nitrates and hard-to-eliminate fluoride. The filtered water is dispensed at an alkaline pH of 7 to 8. At 9.5 x 14.5 x 16.25 inches, its dimensions are larger than some other countertop water filters. However, this larger unit can produce 0.5 gallon of water in just 15 minutes. It also produces only about 50 percent of the waste water compared to other reverse osmosis systems units, according to the manufacturer.
People like the speedy operation and thorough filtration offered by the AlcaPure system. Just keep in mind that you can’t start a new water purification cycle until you’ve emptied the fresh filtered water chamber into a pitcher or dispenser for later use. The filters should last for about a year of normal use; an indicator light will let you know when it is time to replace.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Erica Puisis, who has been researching strategies to improve every day life and health, including water testing and filtration options, for more than 3 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.