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| Best Under Counter|
Nothing tastes better than a glass of cool, crisp ice water, especially on a hot summer day. Staying hydrated throughout the day is important to our organs, helps us maintain our energy level and aids in digestion and circulation.
While most municipal drinking water has already been tested and is potable to drink, filtering is a great extra precaution to remove unwanted contaminants from your drinking water.
There are a number of reasons you should filter your tap water. Not only are there short-term effects, like better tasting water, coffee and food, but there are also important long-term benefits – removing unwanted chemicals and byproducts also greatly reduces the risks of certain types of diseases and cancers.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), there are more than 250 contaminants in our drinking water that are legally allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act or state regulations. What’s worse? Water is tested at the source facility but doesn’t account for the bacterial and chemical elements it picks up in transit to your faucet and eventually into your body.
You can use EWG’s Tap Water Database that lets you enter your zip code to find out what’s in your water and how it measures up to the national average. It also gives you a description of what each contaminant is and its potential health impacts. I did a quick search only to find shocking results about the water in my home of Washington D.C.
What Do Water Filters Remove?
While it’s nearly impossible to remove everything using a water filter, at the very least a water filter should remove chlorine using a simple charcoal filter.
More advanced filters may also remove concerning contaminants including:
- Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) – pesticides and herbicides which are in most municipal drinking water which may lead to reproductive issues we well as liver and kidney problems
- Heavy Metals – includes lead and mercury which are found in some water sources and pose additional risks
- Endocrine Disruptors – chemicals which cause abnormalities in hormones and more increasingly are found in drinking water. These hormone changers may be responsible for some defective pregnancies, early menopausal symptoms and more.
What About Fluoride Removal?
There are mixed concerns about fluoride in city drinking water but if you are looking to reduce it, you need to look to a higher quality water filtration system. Only reverse osmosis, deionizers and activated alumina filters can remove fluoride from your water.
The lower priced pitchers and faucet filters cannot do the job because they rely on activated carbon filters which are not capable of removing fluoride.
Now you’re convinced you may need a filter. But, with so many different types of drinking water filter products and so many different brands to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? We’ve reviewed the best drinking water filters on the market and picked our favorites by type of filter to help you find the best fit!
The Berkey is our top pick for safest, purest water and best countertop water filter. It is our safest pick because it does powerful work against unsafe contaminants with its solid block carbon filter.
This baby is not letting anything through! In fact, extensive testing has demonstrated that the Berkey is capable of removing 95%+ of nearly every major concerning contaminant, including VOCs, heavy metals, bacteria, parasites and fluoride (with an add-on filter). The only exception is that it reduces glyphosate (found in Roundup) by only 75% (which is still way higher than anything else we reviewed).
The “Big Berkey” (pictured here) stores up to 2 gallons of on-demand, ready-to-drink water in its sleek, stainless steel system. However, they also have 3, 4.5 and 6-gallon systems for higher volumes of drinking water, especially good for those who cook with filtered water as well.
The bundle kit comes with everything you need to get started including two filters, a spigot, stand, stainless steel cup and water bottle (for safe water on the go).
Another reason to love this option is it gives you the ability to serve large quantities of potable drinking water whenever and wherever you need it (sporting events, campground, office, etc.). As with all gravity filters, it doesn’t require power since it uses gravity to produce high-quality water (which is always good for your electric bill and would be beneficial during a natural disaster when your power is out, or there’s no access to clean water).
This product is made in the USA and so are its replacement filters so you can count on it being a bit less impactful on the environment from a transportation standpoint when compared to filters made overseas.
They also offer a portable water filter system which is worth noting, perfect for camping or travel.
- 1.5 Gallon (Travel Berkey) – $228.00
- 2.1 Gallon (Big Berkey) – $292.60
- 4.5 Gallon (Imperial Berkey) – $310.00
- 6 Gallon (Crown Berkey) – $325.00
Probably the most common type of filter, pitchers are a great starter filtration system for your drinking water. Simply insert the granulated activated charcoal filter into the pitcher, fill with water, let the water drip through the filter and in less than five minutes you are ready to start enjoying clean, delicious H2O by reducing chlorine.
However, it is not very effective at removing volatile organic chemicals (aka VOCs, includes pesticides, herbicides, etc.), heavy metals, endocrine (hormone) disruptors or fluoride.
Pitchers are great for one to two people to enjoy as they require frequent filling. On average a pitcher holds 5-10 glasses, so if you drink that much water (and you should) you will be filling at least once per day.
Over time, the cost of replacing filters every 60 days will add up fast. Perhaps you should just invest in a more economical, less wasteful and better filtering product upfront.
It’s made from BPA-free plastic and has a reservoir that you can fill without taking the lid off and automatically stops when full. The digital indicator that measures water hardness, volume, and length of time in use to help you know when to replace the filter. However, unlike Brita, these filters require no pre-soaking and are recyclable (a big win!).
They have 2 sizes to choose from (5 cup or 9 cup), are available in a variety of vibrant colors, and are backed by a 60-day guarantee.
The next step up from a pitcher is a faucet water filter that screens contaminants using carbon filters. This is another easy way to start enjoying filtered water in your home.
Most faucet filters are relatively easy to install and require minimal, if any, tools to assemble. There are various models and types but the most common ones attach directly to your existing faucet.
We recommend the PUR Advanced vertical faucet mount. It snaps on to your faucet within seconds, removing as many as 60 contaminants (but are not very effective at removing VOCs, heavy metals, endocrine disruptors or fluoride) and providing up to 100 gallons of clean water.
The filters last up to 3 months before requiring replacement (a built-in LED light indicates when it is time). It comes in a variety of classic colors including black, white, chrome, stainless steel or silver.
The video below that explains more about the PUR filtration process, the importance of filtered water and how easy the faucet attachment is to mount.
If you’re more of a handyman and ready for the real-deal, then you might be more apt to get an under counter water filter. They offer many of the same benefits as faucet filters but are separate from the existing hardware.
Under counter filters are great for homes that have a pull-out handle faucet (which is not compatible with a faucet filter) or for those who want to experience clean water on demand without having a bulky piece of hardware attached to their faucet.
We recommend the 3M Aqua-Pure Drinking Water system. It has everything you need in a more intense filtration system (advanced dual stage carbon-block) without taking up too much precious space under your sink. It does a significantly better job at reducing harmful contaminants in your water when compared to pitchers and faucet filters. However, you will still need to go a step further to a full carbon block, gravity-fed system to get the purest, safest water possible in your home.
As an auxiliary faucet, it is a nice complement to your existing hardware and will blend in nicely to your kitchen decor.
The one catch is that you must have a second hole cut into your sink (or counter if you have an inset sink). However, most sinks come with a second hole for a soap dispenser or sprayer. The Aqua-Pure kit comes with all the necessary hardware you need to install (including filters). It and is backed by a 10 year warranty.
Deciding which water filter to purchase is ultimately up to you, your water health concerns and your lifestyle. However we can’t stress enough the importance of drinking more, higher quality water to stay healthy and hydrated.
A water filter is the first step in removing many of these unwanted particles in your drinking water. However, if you want to take it a step further, we recommend you also look into a whole house water filter which will filter the water from other parts of your home including your shower and laundry.
We’ve already discussed the various health risks and the negative environmental impacts of bottled water. So instead of stocking up on bottles, for a small investment, a filtration system is not only green but saves you some “green” in the long run. And if you’re someone who loves drinking soda water, a soda stream machine can help you cut down on wasteful cans and bottles.
Have you ever used a water filter? How did your water taste?