Best Water Filter Systems for Home Use

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 30, 2017
Are you sure that the water from your tap or well is really safe to drink? If you have the slightest doubt about that, get a water filtering system that will provide you with the purest tasty H₂O for the healthy lifestyle. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Filtration Type
Cleaning Steps
Efficiency
Throughput
Filter Cartridge Yield / Service Life
Warranty
 
PROS

Thanks to the modular design, the cartridges can be changed without any tools.

CONS

A considerable wastage ratio, unless you install permeate pump in it.

OUR VERDICT

After lots of research, we've come up to the conclusion that this Home Master RO-system is the ultimate solution if you want to drink healthy, re-mineralized water every day right out of your tap.

detailed parameters
Filtration Type

RO system

Cleaning Steps

7-step

Efficiency

Removes up to 99% of dissolved solids, chemicals, and metals; Enriches water with calcium and magnesium on the final stage

Throughput

50 GPD

Filter Cartridge Yield / Service Life

Once a year or after 2000 gallons

Warranty

5-year limited warranty

PROS

The built-in smart notification system will inform you when the cartridges are to be changed.

CONS

Only 97% purification ratio.

OUR VERDICT

Owing to the direct-flow filtering system, the Aquasana AQ-5300.55 water filter system can provide you with up to 30 gallons of purified liquid in an hour without wastage, unlike the RO-systems.

detailed parameters
Filtration Type

Flow water filter

Cleaning Steps

3-step

Efficiency

Removes up to 97% of chlorine and chloramines, chemicals and metals

Throughput

0.5 GPM

Filter Cartridge Yield / Service Life

Every 6 months or after 600 gallons

Warranty

1-year limited warranty

PROS

The included Quick Connect pipe fittings require no tools for the installation.

CONS

Requires a sealant if you have an old or non-standard piping size in your kitchen.

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for an easy-to-install system, take a look at this APEC ROES-50 RO filter. It comes with all necessary items for setting it under the sink and can conveniently notify you when the filters have to be changed.

detailed parameters
Filtration Type

RO system

Cleaning Steps

5-step

Efficiency

Removes any chlorine, unpleasant tastes, odors, and up to 99% of harmful contaminants

Throughput

50 GPD

Filter Cartridge Yield / Service Life

Every 6 months

Warranty

1-year limited warranty

PROS

Extremely long cartridge service life.A nesting construction allows compact storing and transportation.

CONS

Requires a lot of space on a countertop or a table.

OUR VERDICT

This Berkey BK4X2 filter system will make you forget about buying bottled water as it can clean the water from the well or even from the lake. The chromed stainless steel design will look good on any kitchen countertop.

detailed parameters
Filtration Type

Filter dispenser

Cleaning Steps

2-step

Efficiency

Removes up to 99% of dissolved solids and metals with purifying black cartridges, removes chemicals and other contaminants with white fluoride cartridges

Throughput

3.5 - 7 GPH

Filter Cartridge Yield / Service Life

After 6000 gallons

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

A transparent housing of the first filter cartridge for checking out if it has to be changed.

CONS

The included pipes are a bit stiff. Warm them up to make more elastic.

OUR VERDICT

Consider buying this iSpring RCC7 under sink water filter system has great efficiency and throughput. Therefore, it can be employed in a large office or a house with a lot of people.

detailed parameters
Filtration Type

RO system

Cleaning Steps

5-step

Efficiency

Removes any chlorine, unpleasant tastes, odors and up to 99% of harmful contaminants

Throughput

75 GPD

Filter Cartridge Yield / Service Life

Every 6 months

Warranty

1-year warranty

What is a Water Filter System

No need to explain that the H₂O is the most vital element in our life. But to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a man needs to drink clean water. As a rule, before coming out of the tap in your kitchen, the water is cleansed inside the purifying station with chemicals that can be hazardous to humans. Thus, even if the liquid is perfectly safe to drink after it comes out of the station, it can still become polluted again by the contaminants inside the pipes while it is delivered to your home. Thus, humans have invented a variety of special devices that can be installed right below your sink or on your kitchen countertop to provide additional water filtering right before you fill your glass with it. These devices are called water filter systems. These stations are more effective than the pitcher-type and have longer service life. Some of them are connected to the tap pipe, others can operate similar to the pitcher and can be employed for purifying the water even from the wells or rivers.

If you are a healthy lifestyle fan, you might also want to have an air washer at home for cleaning the air from the dust and nasty odors, while an oil diffuser will help you create the right climate in your rooms with the pleasant aroma instead.

What Features to Compare

The water filter systems for home use can be divided into several categories by their cartridges types and installation methods. But first, let's sort them out by their design:

Under-sink models are usually installed under the counter or sink and connected to the cold water supply. You will also need to install a small faucet on the countertop or sink for pouring it. This type can be further divided into 2 categories by the filtering method:

  • Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filtration. Although it depends on the model, most of the RO-systems remove the largest number of contaminants, minerals, and odors by processing water through multi-stage filters. They are considered the most effective choice for water cleansing, but they are not too efficient. Generally, per each filtered gallon, about 2-6 gallons go to the waste drain. They also require a lot of space due to a large filtered water tank that has to be mounted under the sink.
  • Direct-Flow filtration without RO. Such systems are slightly less effective than RO ones but they don't produce wastage. They are also more compact as they don't come with a several-gallon tank that you have to find the place to mount to.

Pitcher types usually consist of 2 reservoirs one on top of the other and a filter cartridge between them. You pour the water into the upper one, and it goes down through the filters with the sheer force of gravity. On the bright side, they are portable and are not too expensive. Yet, most of them use only activated charcoal that is able to remove chlorines but not many other microscopic impurities like heavy metals or fluorides.

On-counter dispensers use the same filtering technique as the pitcher types, yet they are considerably bigger in size. Due to the large reservoir, they can hold more filtered water to serve more people when compared to the pitchers.

Faucet-mounted filters are installed right on the faucets or work as a substitute for them. They allow you to choose between the filtered and unfiltered water streams and also use activated charcoal filters. The good thing is that they are relatively inexpensive. However, their cartridges can't boast long service life and have to be changed more often than in the under-sink types.

Before buying, you should also consider the system's throughput performance. 1-3 persons will require a model with approximately 30-35 gallons per day (GPD). For a 4-member family, consider buying the model with around 50 GPD rate. If you have a big family or you're looking for a filter to install in the office, opt for the models with the rates of 70 GPD and more.

Cartridge yield or service life indicates the recommended time or amount of processed water after which the cartridge has to be switched. Still, this is heavily dependent on the quality of the incoming water.

Most of the under-sink filters will require tools for installation like a drill, a wrench, and screwdrivers. Many companies can provide you with professional service assistance, so, if you are not sure whether you will cope with the installation process yourself, you can pay a bit more and rest assured that the filter will be mounted in a proper way. 

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Home Master TMAFC

Artesian Borehole in Your Kitchen

The Home Master TMAFC Artesian RO-Filter System - previously known as the Tap Master - is an innovative solution for those who want to not only drink clean water but also enjoy it. The 7-step filtration removes up to 99% of hard particles, contaminants, and a long list of other chemicals that can be hazardous to humans and pets. The annual filter change is nothing but a snap too. Just remove the old one and plug the new one in without much fuzz.

The major difference from other models, though, is that the final result tastes really good, owing to the patented mineral enrichment technology. After the water is cleaned of impurities, it's further enriched with calcium and magnesium that are vital to our bones, muscles, and body metabolism. As you can see, this is clearly something you just can't obtain from the generic tap water without getting a bunch of contaminants in your glass as well.

As a result, if you want to live a healthy life, this water filter system is one of the best options available on the market today.

Review of Home Master TMAFC Osmosis Water Filter System

Simple Ways How to Reduce Water Wastage

In our opinion, the only drawback of this system is that it has a relatively big wastage ratio. Up to 4 gallons of fluid will be drained away per each gallon of purified water. Still, these calculations are only approximate and may vary depending on the incoming water pressure and its temperature. The higher the pressure is, the more effectively the filtering will be done. The same goes for the temperature. The warm liquid has low viscosity, so it flows better than the low-temp one.

In order to reduce water wastage, you can follow these simple tips. Make sure to regularly clean the incoming membrane as it serves as the main barrier between the pipe and system containers, and install a permeate pump. Adding the pump to the system will help effectively increase the overall RO efficiency by lowering the back pressure and allowing for a quicker filling-up of the storage tank. With the right permeate pump, the wastage can be reduced up to 1:1 ratio.

Home Master TMAFC Osmosis Water Filter System in the use

Advantages On A Microscopic Level

As we've already mentioned above, the key feature of this filter system for water is mineralization. This unit not only removes almost all possible contaminants, including chlorides and unpleasant odors but also adds such minerals as calcium and magnesium to water. Furthermore, there are 2 carbon filters in the system where each of the filters has 5-micron cells. Comparing to other water systems where 5-micron cells usually alternate with 5-micron ones, the Home MasterTMAFC will be much more effective. The other advantage of the system is that it employs special antimicrobial materials that prevent the dirt from clogging inside the cartridge's walls. 

For enhanced convenience of use and due maintenance of the filtration system, all tubes are marked and have a different coloring; this will come useful when the tubes are to be changed. 

Detailed review of Home Master TMAFC Osmosis Water Filter System

Full Set Installation

This water filter system comes packed with all fittings that you'd need to install it under your sink. There's also a small faucet for the filtered water included in the package. Given that you decide to mount the system yourself, make sure that you've got a screwdriver set and/or cordless drill to be able to screw and tighten all the fixtures. 

Home Master TMAFC Osmosis Water Filter System application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Home Master TMAFC
Home Master TMAFC
 

Aquasana AQ-5300.55

Clean Water at Any Time

If you are looking for a small, yet reliable under-sink water filtration system, take a look at the Aquasana AQ-5300.55. It comes with everything, required for the quick installation, including a single-lever faucet to mount on the sink or a countertop in your kitchen. The tap water is processed with a 3-step filtration. The first filter cartridge is responsible for picking up small hard particles that may occur inside old piping systems and overall improves the service life of the following filters. Inside the next 2 filter tubes, the level of chloramine and other chemicals is reduced up to 97%, preserving the essential amount of minerals like calcium, potassium, and others safe elements.

Another major aspect of any system is how often you have to change the filters. The manufacturer states that with the Aquasana AQ-5300.55 you have to do this every half a year or after around 600 gallons of the processed water. For your convenience, the system will make audible signals if the filters have to be switched whenever you open the tap. It works from a single battery that is also shipped with a filter.

In our opinion, this compact house filtering system has a decent throughput at around 30 GPH, which is enough to cover any average family needs with no restrictions on how or when to use it. Simply open the tap and enjoy your portion of tasty, unpolluted water.

Review of Aquasana AQ-5300.55 Water Filter System

The Power of Three

Sometimes, clients ask us: what's the difference between a pitcher and a 3-stage purification system if either of them produces clean water. Obviously, the fact that the water looks visually transparent doesn't necessarily mean that it's clean. Just like with the air pollution, there are sometimes contaminants so small that a standard carbon filter simply cannot catch.

In the Aquasana, the first stage employs a 20-micron prefilter to catch rust, silt, sediment, and other large particles. At the second stage, an activate carbon removes all organic chemicals, chloramines, and farmaceuticals, as well as neutralizes all unpleasant odors. The third yellow cartridge works on a 0.5 sub-micron level. Basically, it reduces chlorine-resistant cysts and most of the heavy metals if they somehow bypassed the previous two stages.

Aquasana AQ-5300.55 Water Filter System in the use

How to Install

Among the variety of under-the-sink systems that we've come across, the Aquasana AQ-5300.55 is probably the easiest one to install. It will require a bare number of tools and take about 20 minutes of your time.

First, attach a brass tee (T-shape fixture) to the cold water pipe under your counter. Then, find the place where the unit won't block the access to the drain and sink trap - just in case they'll get clogged in the future. Mount the unit on the wall with a couple of screws. Finally, connect all the flexible tubes from the brass tee to the inlet and the outlet to the supplied faucet that goes over the countertop. Then, enjoy the crystal-clear, healthy water.

Detailed review of Aquasana AQ-5300.55 Water Filter System

Purity in Everything

The clean water is needed not only for drinking and preparing food. Sometimes, the tap fluid (for the lack of a better term) can be contaminated so much that it won't be fit even for washing. What you mightn't have known about is that the Aquasana company produces special shower filters too. Install one in your bathroom and rest assured that water from your tap is clean and safe.

Aquasana AQ-5300.55 Water Filter System application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Aquasana AQ-5300.55
Aquasana AQ-5300.55
 

APEC Water Systems ROES-50-A

Effortless Installation

We've seen several topics, where people asked if installing and maintaining the RO-filters is hard or troublesome. Sure, a whole-house filter for a multistory building requires a lot of space and upkeeps. However, by the example of this APEC Water Systems ROES-50, we can see that not all of the reverse osmosis systems are hard to install and use. To set this filter under your sink, you will require a wrench, cross-driver, and a drill. If you have all of these items, you can easily get the job done by yourself. The detailed manual can guide you through every step of the installation.

Performance-wise, at around 2 GPH rate, you will never run out of the clean water to drink. Depending on the source quality, you will have to change the filters once per 6 months, give or take. Doing it is also pretty simple. Just turn the water supply off, open the filter containers, and switch the filter cylinders. As you can see, the APEC Water Systems ROES-50 is maintenance-friendly and, obviously, far more effective than any pitcher filter currently available on the market.

Review of APEC Water Systems ROES-50-A Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Changing Schedules

As the numbers in the name indicate, the APEC ROES-50 can process around 50 gallons per day. This volume is more than enough to provide a family of 3 or 4 people with clean water for different needs: drinking, cooking, making cocktails and sparkling water, and so on. Furthermore, this system employs the industrial-grade cartridges capable of removing almost 100% of impurities and contaminants. According to the manufacturer, cartridge replacement doesn't need to be done more often than once a year, which is still pretty long if compared to many other filter systems. Although, the first cartridge usually tends to get clogged much quicker, so, it's possible that you may need to change it earlier. 

APEC Water Systems ROES-50-A Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System in the use

Flexible Modularity

Before buying this model, you should consider the fact that it's not too small. The cartridge unit is sufficiently compact. However, the reservoir is around 11" in diameter and 15" in height, so you will need quite a lot of space under your sink to set it up.

Nevertheless, the unit consists of several modular parts, connected together with the flexible supply tubes. This allows you to organize the space under the sink just the way you want it. For example, you can even place the canister behind or even next to the countertop if necessary.
Detailed review of APEC Water Systems ROES-50-A Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Do It Yourself

The Amazon offers expert installation for more than $100. Still, the installation is pretty intuitive. On the picture below you'll find a simplified installation scheme that will show you how to connect all components. Thus, if you can handle the instruments like drills, wrenches, and screwdrivers, you will be able to put it all together by yourself and save a few dollars.

APEC Water Systems ROES-50-A Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


APEC Water Systems ROES-50-A
APEC Water Systems ROES-50-A
 

Berkey BK4X2

Wishing Well

The Berkley products always feature some unusual design solutions. Basically, this Big Berkey BK4X2 filter consists of 2 reservoirs: one for the dirty water on top and for the clean liquid below. Both of them are made of the top-quality food-grade stainless steel and plastic elements. When assembled, the system is around 8.5" in diameter and 21" tall. Therefore, think through in advance where you will place it. Anyhow, it looks equally cool on a modern kitchen table or a bar countertop.

Review of Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System

No Tap Water Is Needed

The filter cartridges have a proprietary, company-owned design. In a set, you will get two black and two white filters that work in pairs. Or you can use only a single black cartridge. The black cartridges are designed for picking up the impurities and other hard particles from the water. The white filters are chemical filters for removing arsenic and fluoride elements. Generally speaking, the black filters are enough to provide you with a clean, safe-to-drink water. However, the white ones will make it even safer and cleaner from the elements that are invisible to a human eye. Despite being a bit pricey, the black filter can process around 3000 gallons each before the change. The white cartridges are required to be switched after about 500 gallons each as well. That is still a far better result than most of the other under-sink filters.

Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System in the use

Clean Carefully

Despite having a huge working capacity, the cartridge's inlets may get clogged even after processing about 1000-1500 gallons. Yet, you can easily clean it by using a clean scouring pad. Rub the sides of the cartridge first to remove a small layer of rust and then, rinse it under the tap water to dispose of the leftover particles. That's all. The cartridge can be reused. 

The cartridge can also be cleaned with a vegetable peeler, although this method is considered to be a bit rougher. Do it carefully and rinse under water.

Detailed review of Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System

Standalone and Portable Models

All in all, these Berkey bowls can be used literally anywhere, as you don't need the tap pressure to push the liquid through the cartridges. Therefore, it's an ideal choice if you need to use a filter system in your country house or you'd like to carry one with you on travel trips, picnics, etc.

If you still want to see more filters that don't require drilling holes for installation, check out this review and find a wider selection of standalone models.

Berkey BK4X2 Countertop Water Filter System application

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


Berkey BK4X2
Berkey BK4X2
 

Ispring RCC7

Nothing Should Be Wasted

The iSpring RCC7 water filter system has several major characteristics that set it apart from many other reverse-osmosis systems. The biggest one is the efficiency. Generally, the RO-filters have a 4:1 or 6:1 efficiency ratio, meaning that per each gallon of purified liquid, 4 to 6 gallons go down the drain. This model, though, has a 2:1 efficiency ratio. Anyway, if you are going to set this system in your own house, we urge you to collect the discharged water into some sort of a reservoir and use it for irrigation purposes in order to prevent wastage.

Review of Ispring RCC7 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Enough for Everobody

The design of the faucet that the iSpring comes with is worth mentioning as well. It's made in modern European style and has a smooth lever to open and close the tap. By contacting a seller or the iSpring company, you may also ask for one of the five available finish colors to get the fitting one to your sink fixtures. As for the materials, the body of the faucet is nickel-plated with a ceramic valve inside that ensures durability and a smooth movement of the lever.

Ispring RCC7 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System in the use

Small Extras

The shipping box includes all the fixtures and fittings that are required for installation, so you'll only need a few tools like wrenches and screwdrivers to set the system up.

Along with the standard parts and details, the package also includes a battery-powered moisture detector (a small box with sensors) that will inform you of the leakage with an audible sound once any of the system components comes in contact with water. With that said, we doubt that you'll ever hear this warning sound as the whole system has been designed to last. 

Additionally, if your refrigerator has an icemaker, you can hook it to the iSpring with a special adaptor (not included) to get crystal-clear ice cubes for your drinks and cocktails.

Detailed review of Ispring RCC7 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System

Delicate yet Durable

We also liked that the first stage - the sediment filter - is made of clear plastic. Understandably, the first cartridge in a row serves as the main barrier between the grunge and other filters. Thus, being able to check its condition, without taking it out of the container, is very handy. As for the throughput, the system can process up to 75 GPD, which is a head above many other systems that employ a similar technology. Therefore, we believe that the iSpring RCC7 RO Filter System is an exemplary choice for an office or a big family mansion.


Ispring RCC7 Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System application

Ispring RCC7
Ispring RCC7
 

Infographics

Comparison of Water Filter Systems for Home Use

FAQ:

Q: What's the difference between RO-systems and flow filtering systems?

A: Actually, Reverse Osmosis filtering system is a variant of the previous one with the only exception that it employs RO-system to additionally purify water. In addition to cartridges, the reverse osmosis process means that water is also pushed through special membranes that block all particles bigger than water molecules. Thus, it can remove many more elements that the activated carbon won't help with. They also use more water than they produce.

Q: Which one is better, a pitcher or a dispenser? 

A: There are 2 factors to consider. If you need a big amount of filtered water not just for drinking but for cooking as well, then chose a dispenser as it can hold more water in a smaller reservoir. If you need water for drinking only, then a pitcher might be a better option because of its lower cost. The second factor is the filters. Most of the pitchers have sediment and activated carbon filters, whereas some dispensers have an option to attach additional cartridges with other cleansing qualities.

Q: The system has a ceramic filter. What does it remove?

A: The ceramic filters have small holes that pick up dust and rust particles, sediments, and cysts. However, they do not remove most of the chemical contaminants.

Q: What's the difference between an activated carbon and activated charcoal?

A: Those two terms are totally interchangeable and mean the same. It is used in various water and air filters due to the fact that it attracts most of the organic chemicals. Activated carbon is made from several types of coal and even wood. In most multi-stage systems, activated carbon is used at the second stage after water has passed through a sediment filter.

Q: How do I connect the flow system to the tap water source - will I need to lay additional pipes?

A: Most under-sinks come with a valve tee that is attached to the cold water pipe. The tee is connected to the filter with a small-diameter flexible tube. The valve allows you to stop the flow to the filter when you need to switch the cartridges.

Q: Do they require electricity to work?

A: Most of the filters work without electricity. The water is pushed through the filtering membranes either with the pressure inside the pipe or with the gravity force in the dispensers and pitchers.

Q: I brew beer at home. Is it okay to use filtered water for brewing?

A: You don't want too many elements to be removed from water. In the biggest part of Northen America, tap water is totally okay for brewing. Filter it only if you have a real problem with its purity.

Note, the RO process removes not only contaminants but many other chemicals that come beneficial to the taste and quality of beer. Therefore, RO-systems aren't suitable for those consumers who plan to use the filtered water for brewing beer. 


Sources:

1. How to Choose a Home Water Filter, wikiHow.

2. Selecting a Home Water Treatment System, NSF.

3. Laura Gaskill How to Choose a Home Water Filtering System, Houzz. September 9, 2013.

4. Don Vandervort Water Filters Buying GuideHomeTips. November 28, 2016.

5. Water Filter Buying GuideeBay. March 3, 2016.

6. Water Filter Buying Guide, Lowe's.

7. Richard Trethewey How to Choose a Water FilterThis Old House.

8. Water Filter Buying Guide, Consumer Reports. August 2016.

9. Chris Woodford Water filtersExplain that Stuff. August 25, 2016.

10. Different Water Filtration Methods Explained,  APEC Water Systems.

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