What Is The Best Whole House Water Filter?

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The Best Walter Filtration Systems for Your HomeHave you ever taken a shower and got out feeling dirtier than when you got in? No one likes to take an unproductive shower or drink water that tastes bad. You can choose what town or county you live in, but you can’t always rely on the city’s water that comes with it.

Unfiltered water can result in bathing water that leaves a film on your body or your skin dry and drinking water that has a bad aftertaste. Installing a filtration system can help purify the water in your home to improve your overall health and well-being.

Article Overview

Best Whole House Water Filter: Aquasana EQ-1000 Review

Aquasana - Rhino 600-PROView on Amazon

The Aquasana line of water filters is one of the most versatile and comprehensive solutions on the market. While the upfront cost is a little on the pricier side, it more than pays for itself over the long haul. Not only are the filters inexpensive to replace, they last a long time. The filtration system itself is also extremely reliable and dependable.

The Aquasana Rhino water filter comes in a variety of capacities, but for the price, the 1000 is the best bet. The 1000 is certified to last up to 1,000,000 gallons and has a 10 year warranty. All of these factors make the Aquasana EQ-1000 our choice for the best whole house water filter.

Each system comes with a number of add-on features like a UV filter, a salt-free softener and a sub-micron post-filter. One of the unique features is the upflow, dual tank design which increases the water contact time with contaminant grabbing media and prevents clogging or media channeling.

The Aquasana filters are simple to install and easy to maintain. Backed by a guarantee and excellent customer service, the Rhino is a good bet when it comes to choosing a whole house water filter.



  • Large capacity – 1,000,000 gallons
  • 90-day satisfaction guarantee, 10-year warranty
  • NSF International gold standard
  • Does not require backflushing or drainage lines
  • High chlorine reduction (97%)
  • High flow rate with no loss in water pressure
  • Inexpensive to replace eco-friendly cartridges
  • Expensive upfront cost
  • Extra features will cost extra
  • Requires some plumbing knowledge to install


What Is The Difference Between Hard & Soft Water?

Water levels can have a different balance of chemicals in them. Depending on the types and quantities of chemicals in the water, it is often referred to as being “soft” or “hard.”

Hard Water

Hard water has a high content of minerals including limestone, chalk and dolomite. While not dangerous to drink, it can lead to buildup of limescale which can cause corrosion or damage to your pipes. It can also cause your soap not to lather, resulting in scum. Eventually, the accumulation of lime can lead to blocks in your sewage lines, which can be costly to repair.

Soft Water

Soft water is the outcome of removing the minerals and chemicals in hard water. The mineral ions that produce hard water are replaced with sodium ions. Having a higher sodium content in your water could harm houseplants, but shouldn’t affect your health since the amount is minimal relative to your overall sodium intake. You can “soften” your water, and minimize your exposure to sodium, by attaching a water softening system to the hot water line only, so that only half of the water you use is softened with sodium.

How Can You Tell If Your Water Is Hard Or Soft?

Over half the U.S. has hard water, with the midwest and parts of the south being especially prone to it. To find out for sure, you can do a number of things:

  • Check with your local government’s water department, which puts out a water quality report.*
  • Reference the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, which has resources and guides to understanding the water in your area — from where it comes from to annual reports of usage.*
  • Notice if white residue builds up around your faucet or shower head.
  • Get a home test kit for a more accurate result. We recommend the AquaChek Water Quality Test Strips from Amazon. They are easy to use and come 50 to a package. If you go the scientific route, there are two methods to measure hardness: grains per gallon or milligrams (or parts) per liter. Less than one grain per gallon or 17 milligrams/parts per liter is considered soft and over 7 grains per gallon or 120 milligrams per liter is considered hard.
  • Do an at-home test without a kit using a water bottle filled with bath water and dish soap (as shown in the video below). If the water suds up after you shake the bottle then your water is soft, if it’s flat and leaves a white film, then it is probably hard.

*These resources give a general idea of the water in your area and are not specific to your home.

Why A Home Water Filter?

There are several different methods to softening water:

  • Using an ion-exchange device
  • A lime softening process
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Distillation or water boiling.

However, those solutions can be expensive and time-consuming. The most common home remedy is to use a water filtration system. A home water filter easily removes impurities in your water at a fraction of the cost of softening. Filters are installed between the water source and the faucet that dispenses, which intercepts and traps the mineral ions and keeps them from getting through. There are a number of reasons that this can be beneficial:

  • Cooking – filtered water produces stronger flavors, quicker cooking times and overall better results in the kitchen. Even ice and coffee will taste better with filtered water.
  • Better Drinking Water – chlorine-free drinking water is fresh, clean and great-tasting. It also removes harmful pesticides, metals and solvents.
  • Softer Skin – results in less dry, flaky skin that can cause irritation and rashes.
  • Shiny Hair – hard water can leave your hair feeling dirty and slimy whereas soft water will make your hair feel healthy and smooth.
  • Cleaner Clothes – leave your laundry feeling fresh and smelling great by washing in better quality water.
  • Protect Your Pipes – prevent your home’s valuable plumbing system from eroding over time by pumping only clean water through the pipes.
  • Save Money & The Planet – eliminate the need for buying expensive and wasteful bottled water.

Other Whole House Water Filter Reviews

Home water filters range in capacity depending on how large your home is and how many bathrooms and sinks you want to filter. They also vary in flow rate and filter life. (It also depends on how often and how much water you use.)

Another thing to look for in a whole house water filter is whether it’s been certified by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF provides industry standards based on product tests and audits.

The NSF 42 standard specifically covers minimum requirements for drinking water treatment systems that includes “material safety, structural integrity and aesthetic, non-health-related contaminant reduction performance claims.” It’s not a requirement to have an NSF certification, but having this certification sets certain filters apart since they are endorsed by a government agency that has the public’s health and safety in mind.

With so many whole home filters it can be overwhelming to decide which are the best. We reviewed the most popular, highest rated and widely used home water filtration systems on the market to provide you with enough information to find the right fit for your home.

3M Aqua Pure | Dupont WFHD13001B | Home Masters HMF2SDGC | SpringWell

3M Aqua Pure Review

3M Aqua PureView on Amazon

The Aqua-Pure Water Filter System is another solid option at a fraction of the price of our first place pick, Aquasana. The AP903 model is for city water while the AP902 is designed for well water. With a flow rate of around 75 liters (20 gallons) per minute, it’s built to support most larger homes or even small commercial properties.

Made with non-corrosive stainless steel, it will last the test of time. The filter is integrated into the cartridge and requires no tools or contact with the filter itself to replace. Though the up-front cost is less, the filters are more expensive. Each filter will last you about a year.



  • Limited 1-year warranty
  • Change-outs of replacement cartridges require no tools
  • Meets NSF Standard 42 and FDA compliant
  • 3M is a Fortune 500 company that has been in business for over 100 years
  • Replacement filters are expensive ($150)
  • Tends to clog or provide low flow rate over time


DuPont WFHD13001B Review

DuPont WFHD13001BView on Amazon

The Dupont WFHD 1300 features a universal system that makes it easy to upgrade filtration with other higher performing DuPont filters. It comes with a tank wrench to install tightly, but many users complain that it does not come with the mounting bracket which is sold separately (view on Amazon).

With a water flow of 10 gallons per minute, it’s about half the flow rate of the Aquasana and the 3M models, but is a solid option for a small to mid-size home that has lower usage. Although the filters are inexpensive, because of their smaller size they need to be replaced every 90 days or so. This filter is a great value for the price.



  • 3 year limited warranty
  • 30,000 gallon filter life
  • Inexpensive filters $10-15 to replace
  • Tested and certified by the Water Quality Association instead of NSF
  • Good value
  • Lower flow rate
  • Doesn’t come with a mounting bracket


Home Masters HMF2SDGC Review

Home Masters HMF2SDGCView on Amazon

The Home Masters HMF2SDGC is a dual-filter system providing double filtration for maximum quality water. The dual chambers also make it a twice as heavy (over 30 lbs) so make sure you have a sturdy wall or stud to mount it to. The hefty size comes with a large 100,000 gallon capacity and high flow rate (up to 15 gallons per minute).

The replaceable filters are easy to swap out and provide up to a full year of clean water for a family of four (View the Radial Flow GACC Carbon Filter on Amazon). The Home Masters has high reviews but it’s unclear if the product meets the NSF standards. If you’re looking for a reliable, heavy duty filtration system this will be a great pick.



  • 2 year limited warranty – parts only
  • Removes up to 95-percent of sediment, chlorine, chemicals and other contaminants
  • Big and heavy
  • No NSF certification


SpringWell Whole House Water Filtration System

SpringWell Whole House Water FilterView on Amazon

SpringWell’s ActivFlo 1 million gallon filtration system uses a proprietary 4-stage design that allows the most contact time between the filter and the water. You can install the system indoors or outdoors (as long as it’s above freezing). They stand behind their product and have a 6-month return policy which allows you to try and get a full refund if not fully satisfied.

You replace the filters every 6 to 9 months, and they are sold separately for $34.96 for a two-pack. They also have an optional UV water purification system available as an add-on for killing cryptosporidium and giardia. The kit comes with everything you need to install yourself, and they have customer service via phone and email if you need additional assistance.



  • 100% satisfaction guarantee up to 6 months
  • BBB accredited business
  • Certified NSF components
  • Lifetime warranty on tanks and valves
  • 20 years experience in water quality
  • Removes up to 95% of sediment, chlorine, chemicals and other contaminants
  • On the more expensive side


Video: How To Install Whole House Water Filtration System

Watch this video from This Old House as they install a whole house water filtration system in five minutes.

Is My Water Safe?

There are a number of local and federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that regulate the standards for ensuring that our drinking water is potable and safe. Rest assured there are thorough checks and balances in place that make your water completely safe to consume before it ever reaches your home. In fact, city water is better regulated than the bottled water industry so your home water may be safer too.

If drinking water comes from a private well, the homeowner is responsible for the safety. While EPA rules do not apply to private wells, some states may have well water safety rules. Either way, it’s recommended that well water users have their water tested annually. Read our reviews of water test kits to find the right solution for your home.

If you find yourself drinking or cooking with a lot of water, you might also consider a water filter for your kitchen.

What solutions have you used to insure your water is safe?

About The Author:

Sadie is a vegetarian and an avid recycler who loves riding her bike and practicing yoga. She is passionate about the planet, conserving life’s precious resources and making the world a better place for generations to come. A big fan of up-cycling, Sadie loves yard sales and vintage stores to find new uses for old things. She loves to cook, clean and enjoy the many parks and outdoor spaces in DC where she currently resides with her husband.

Her expertise has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Forbes, People, Reader's Digest, Apartment Therapy, and other regional news organizations.

Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
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Mindy Jollie
September 6, 2019 12:34 pm

That’s a good point that you can’t always rely on the water supply where you live to be filtered as much as you’d like. My sister lives in an area where they have a lot of hard water and they tend to get tap water that doesn’t taste as good. They probably need to look into finding a residential water treatment system so they can enjoy their water more. I’ll have to show them your list!

Amy Winters
August 14, 2019 9:01 pm

Thank you for pointing out that hard water has a high content of minerals including, limestone, chalk, and dolomite. I’ve been thinking about getting a water treatment system for my house because of the issues of hard water on pipes. As you state, it can cause limescale corrosion or damage. I think that scaling back limestone issues would be better for the pipes in my home.

Sarah Packer
August 12, 2019 12:17 pm

My husband and I are building our dream house, so I wanted tips on home systems that’ll increase the longevity of our house. I didn’t know you could prevent your pipes from eroding when you use clean or soft water. I’ll have to keep that in mind and find a plumber that can tell me when we should install a water infiltration system, thanks to this post!

felix lina
August 11, 2019 2:19 am

I am not sure of the cause of COPD emphysema in my case. I smoked pack a day for 12 or 13 years, but quit 40 years ago. I have been an outdoor person all my adult life. Coughing started last summer producing thick mucus, greenish tint to clear. I tried prednisone and antibiotics, but no change. X-rays are negative, heart lungs and blood and serum chemistries all are normal. I have lung calcification from childhood bout with histoplasmosis. I am 75 years old and retired.My current doctor directed me to totalcureherbsfoundation .c om which I purchase the COPD herbal remedies from them ,they are located in Johannesburg, the herbal treatment has effectively reduce all my symptoms totally, am waiting to complete the 15 weeks usage because they guaranteed me total cure.

Elisabeth Southgate
July 29, 2019 12:45 pm

Thank you for your tips on knowing if your water is hard or soft. My husband and I are looking into if we need a water filter system of some kind. Know what to look for will help us.

Sam Li
May 31, 2019 4:53 pm

I love what you said about purifying water with a filtration system. Water treatment ought to be taken care of by professionals. If I needed a water filter or a softener, I would call a reliable company in my area.

dicky pinnix
May 29, 2019 7:18 pm

i haqve iron in my water what filter should i get

Mckenzie Poter
April 3, 2019 12:40 pm

I like how in this article it mentions that water softeners cans remove the minerals and chemicals in hard water. My husband always filters his water. I have a hard time tasting it but I will look further into this as it potentially has many benefits.

Hazel Owens
September 10, 2018 8:10 pm

That’s interesting that you can check if your water is hard or soft by filling a water bottle with bath water and dish soap and then shaking it to see if it suds up or stays flat with a white film. The water in my new house doesn’t seem to clean as well as our last home so I’m trying to find how to check the water. I’ll have to do a test with a water bottle and then find a water filtration system I can buy that can help fix the problem.

D. P.
August 28, 2018 12:40 pm

The article might be more credible and useful if the author had bothered to take the time to find out what NSF actually stood for in the context of water filter certification. (Hint: it’s NOT the National Science Foundation)

Connie J Herigstad
July 24, 2018 6:48 pm

We are moving to an area that has high arsenic and nitrate levels. Is there any good systems that will remove these at a whole house level? I don’t mind a higher price, I just can’t find any data to substantiate peoples claims

Alexandria Martinez
May 4, 2018 6:57 pm

A good friend of mine was looking into getting water purification equipment. He wants to know how you can tell if water is pure to begin with. It would help him a lot to know that the EPA will be making sure that all water, besides private wells, are safe.

December 20, 2017 11:56 am

Any thoughts on the PurHome X-1000? Seems to have a higher quality filter and 10-12 GPM flow rate.

Jim S
December 15, 2017 10:07 am

I like your recommendation for the Aquasana EQ-1000 whole house filtration system. I am concerned about one thing – the water flow is rated at 7 GPM while other famous brands are rated at 10 to 15 GPM. Have you found this to be a problem with existing users?

Jim S
December 21, 2017 7:07 pm

Thanks Sadie – I do have a larger home with four baths and two kitchens with six people or more. We water trees and plants frequently. I like to find a system that features a bypass valve and a salt free softener. Do you have any other brands you could suggest?

August 4, 2017 1:15 pm

This system is really inadequate for good long term filtration. Culligan, Kinetico and Rainsoft whole house systems cost more initially but last forever and really do take out the contaminants. If you have hard water a softener is need with ionically charged resins. Chlorine and pesticides require a carbon based system and the most important filter is reverse osmosis for your drinking and cooking water These inexpensive systems don’t last or filter as well. Invest in a quality system with one of the big three US manufacturers who have been doing this a long time and avoid the cheap systems.

June 26, 2017 8:45 am

how does the Aquasana do if installed after a typical water softener (culligan)?

March 29, 2017 11:16 am

Still confused as to which one to get. The city has added a great deal of chlorine to our water which is not good for health and make sit hard to drink. Have you any idea of which one is the best to install overall?

L. Van Hulle
September 21, 2016 2:08 pm

It’s the hard water that ruins you appliances, skin, hair, clothes. These filters do not help with that.

October 11, 2016 4:30 pm
Reply to  L. Van Hulle

You can add the descaler component to your Aquasana system which prevents build up of hard water minerals and therefore extends there life in a similar manner to the salt/potassium water softening treatments which are now suspect due to the addition of salt. Apparently this contaminates the water supply over time and for those on salt restricted diets the salt addition is not recommended.

John Carston
April 28, 2016 11:06 am

I knew there were a lot of benefits to having a good home water treatment but I didn’t know that it would actually protect the pipes in my home. Between that and the money I would save from buying expensive bottled water it makes a lot of financial sense to invest in a system like this. Thanks for the your water treatment guide and reviews!

January 31, 2016 1:11 pm

I live in Flint, Michigan where as you might have read in the news we’ve been having some drinking water issues with the city and lead leaking into our water! I am going to look into having one of these installed to see if that helps my drinking water situation! Thank you!