Our Top Picks
Best Overall: APEC 5-Stage Water Filter at Amazon
"Removes as many as 1,000 different unwanted contaminants from the water."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: APEX Countertop Water Filter at Amazon
"Removes contaminants like chlorine, sediment, mercury while leaving behind beneficial minerals."
Best Faucet Attachment: PUR PFM400H Chrome Horizontal Faucet Mount at Amazon
"Mounts easily to the existing faucet without any tools, and it removes a host of common contaminants."
Best Under-Sink Large Volume: CuZn UC-200 Under Counter Water Filter at Amazon
"Installation only requires an adjustable wrench."
Best Whole-House System: Berkey Stainless Steel Water Filtration System at Amazon
"Not only will the water from all the faucets be clean and drinkable, but the shower and tub will thank you, too."
Best Small Pitcher: ZeroWater 6 Cup Water Filter Pitcher at Amazon
"Holds 6 cups, so it won’t take a lot of space in the refrigerator or on the counter."
Best Countertop Dispenser: PUR Ultimate Water Dispenser at Amazon
"Certified to remove 99 percent of lead, along with 22 other contaminants, for clean, clear water."
"The silicone straw/mouthpiece is comfortable to drink from, and the bottle is designed to be leakproof."
Best Pitcher Design: Brita Stream Filter as You Pour Water Pitcher at Amazon
"Since it filters as it pours, there’s no waiting for clear, tasty water."
01 of 09
Best Overall: APEC Top Tier 5-Stage Ultra Safe Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter System
A highly efficient system, and also an attractive option, the filtering system is designed to be placed under the sink but can also be placed in a basement or attached garage with the water routed to the sink for easy dispensing with the included faucet. Along with the typical lead and other heavy metals, bacteria, and chlorine, this removes as many as 1,000 different unwanted contaminants from the water.
The CDC notes that no filter can eliminate all contaminants, and many are specialized. To know what contaminants need to be removed, certified labs can test water from private wells or cisterns, but it’s easier for consumers who get water from their city because a Consumer Confidence Report is sent annually with your water bill.
This filtering system uses five separate stages of filtering to remove 99 percent of contaminants. It has a sediment filter, two stages of carbon filters, a reverse osmosis filter, and a coconut fiber filter. Filters need to be changed at different intervals; the first three last 6-12 months while the two stages can last 2-4 years.
Installation is designed to be a DIY project, but specialized tools may be required to install the faucet if there isn’t already a hole drilled in the sink or counter that can accommodate the new faucet.
02 of 09
Runner-Up, Best Overall: APEX Countertop Drinking Water Filter
This filter takes less space on the counter than typical pitchers and dispensers, and it takes no space at all under the sink while it offers filtered water on demand. A small hose connects the filter to the faucet, which diverts water from the faucet to the filter. The filter has its own small faucet for dispensing the freshly cleaned water for drinking or making coffee or tea.
This filtering system removes contaminants like chlorine, sediment, mercury, and more while leaving behind beneficial minerals. Touted as a source of alkaline water, which some believe has healing properties, this can filter up to 750 gallons before the filter needs to be changed. If alkaline water isn’t desired, the filter can be replaced with a standard one that won’t change the pH of the water.
03 of 09
Best Faucet Attachment: PUR PFM400H Chrome Horizontal Faucet Mount with 1 MineralClear Filter
When an under-sink filter is too much trouble but pitchers aren’t sufficient, a faucet attachment can be the perfect fit. This filter mounts easily to the existing faucet without any tools, and it removes a host of common contaminants like lead and other heavy metals, chlorine, pesticides, and more. The internal filter is easy to change, which is necessary every 2-3 months based on average water use. A sensor checks the filter and indicates when it’s time for a change, so there’s no need to track time or usage.
Since there are plenty of times when filtered water isn’t required, this makes it simple to switch filtering on and off, so drinking water is clean and cold-brew coffee tastes right, but dishes can be rinsed in unfiltered water. This includes three different adapters to fit common faucets, but it won’t work with pull-out or hand-held faucets.
04 of 09
Best Under-Sink Large Volume: CuZn UC-200 Under Counter Water Filter
The high-capacity CuZn UC-200 Under Counter Water Filter is great if you live in a household that goes through a lot of water each day. This water filter is invisible, since it lives under the sink and attaches to the sink’s cold water line. There’s no need for pitchers, bottles, or a separate faucet, and installation only requires an adjustable wrench.
Designed to make municipal water taste better for drinking, and for your iced tea and other beverages, this has a three-stage filter system that removes chlorine, heavy metals like lead and mercury, pesticides, and other contaminants while it leaves behind beneficial minerals. It is not designed for well water systems and won’t combat hard water. This comes with fittings for standard installation, but if this will be used for nonstandard plumbing, customer service will supply a nonstandard kit at no additional cost. It can filter up to 50,000 gallons of water, which is about five years' worth of water at an average rate.
For more aggressive filtering of dissolved solids, the company also makes a reverse osmosis system.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Best Whole-House System: Aquasana Whole House Water Filter System
Most water filtration systems are designed for kitchen use, but if the local water supply is so off-putting that brushing your teeth makes your mouth feel dirtier than before, a whole-house filtration system may be the best option. Not only will the water from all the faucets be clean and drinkable, but the shower and tub will thank you, too.
This system filters and conditions the water, so it removes heavy metals, chlorine, pesticides, and contaminants while leaving beneficial—and tasty—minerals behind. A less expensive option that filters but doesn’t condition is also available, as are several other filtering options, so there’s something for every need. The system itself is rated to last for 10 years or 1 million gallons, but filters need to be changed about every three months.
The CDC has a wealth of information to help you decide which type of water filter is best for your home. One word of caution about whole-house systems: According to the CDC, "filtering that removes chlorine might increase growth of germs in all the pipes in your house."
06 of 09
Best Small Pitcher: ZeroWater 6 Cup Water Filter Pitcher
Great for small spaces, this pitcher holds 6 cups, so it won’t take a lot of space in the refrigerator or on the counter. It’s great for filtering drinking water for singles or small families and small enough to bring to the office or when traveling. While it might take several batches to fill a large pot for making stock, this will work for small cooking tasks.
This filter removes chromium, lead, and other heavy metals along with all solids. It also includes a water quality meter, so users can test their water before and after filtering.
07 of 09
Best Countertop Dispenser: PUR Ultimate Water Dispenser
This countertop dispenser holds 18 cups of water, so there’s plenty for family use, filling the coffee pot, and making ice. It’s certified to remove 99 percent of lead, along with 22 other contaminants, for clean, clear water, and can filter up to 40 gallons of water before the filter needs to be changed.
The proprietary filter cap ensures that only filtered water moves from the top reservoir to the bottom, so unfiltered water won’t mix with the clean. This is designed to fit in the sink for convenient filling and is well balanced so it’s easy to move to the counter where it will be used.
08 of 09
Best Portable: LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with Integrated Filter Straw
Built for camping, but great for on-the-go drinking, particularly when you’re not sure of the water supply when you’ll be refilling, this travel bottle has an integrated two-stage filter. It removes bacteria and protozoa from lake or stream water, while it also removes odor, contaminants, and chlorine from funky tap water.
This holds 23 ounces, so it won’t need to be refilled constantly, but it’s also convenient for carrying. The silicone straw/mouthpiece is comfortable to drink from, and the bottle is designed to be leakproof so that you can throw it in the backpack without worry. This comes in a variety of colors and designs so everyone in the family can pick their favorite.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Best Pitcher Design: Brita Stream Filter as You Pour Water Pitcher
Let’s face it, most water filter pitchers are built for function, but they don’t look great for serving. The last thing a host wants is for guests to be wondering how bad the water really is, so this pitcher hides the filter from view with an attractive design element. Since it filters as it pours, there’s no waiting for clear, tasty water. Just fill it and bring it to the table to fill water glasses.
This holds 12 cups and is designed to fit the fridge so it’s ready to dispense chilled water when you want it. It has an electronic filter change reminder, so you don’t have to chart time or usage. It’s made from BPA-free plastic, and the filters are recyclable through TerraCycle.
Our writers spent two hours researching the most popular water filters on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 18 different water filters overall, screened options from 15 different brands and manufacturers, and read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative).
Our reviewers tested the top-rated water filter by using it daily for a week. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this filter, from quality of the water to the filter's overall value. We've outlined the key points so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in a Water Filter
Permanent vs. pitcher Permanent water filters attach to your sink, so there’s no need to remember to refill a container for making coffee or tea. However, since they filter all the water from your tap, you’ll be using filtered water for everything. Pitchers and small containers that just filter the water you’ll use.
Impurities filtered Different filters can remove different contaminants. The simplest ones can help your water taste better by filtering out basic impurities. If your water supply is questionable, you can find filters that remove bacteria and dangerous contaminants as well.
Filter lifespan The downside of using a water filtration system is that you need to replace the actual filters on a regular basis. Before you buy, it’s good to know how often the filter needs to be replaced, and it’s wise to buy filters and have them on hand for when you need them.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Choosing home water filters & other water treatment systems. Updated June 3, 2014.