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Clean, filtered water is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, not every location in the United States has the best water coming out of the tap. For those locations, a home water filtration system can help remove any toxic or unpleasant elements.
Since water is so essential, you don’t want to trust just any filtration system. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of the top five models so you can make an informed and smart decision for yourself and your family. Here’s everything you need to know about home water filtration.
Why Do You Need a Home Water Filtration System?
In many places, the water coming into your home is perfectly clean and safe to drink and use. However, there may be some warning signs that your water isn’t up to your high standards. Here are some indicators that your home needs a filtration system ASAP:
- Discolored Water – Perhaps your water is looking a bit brown, yellowish, or extra blue. Any discoloration is a sure sign that your water may not be suitable for drinking or cooking.
- Bad Smells – Maybe your pipes are starting to stink, or you can’t take a whiff of your tap water without smelling chemicals and who knows what else.
- Dirty Dishes – Whether you wash your dishes in the sink or with a dishwasher, they should look clean and neat once they’re finished. However, if you’re getting lots of water spots or residue, it’s time to get a house water filtration system.
Top 5 Home Water Filtration Models
Express Water Whole House Water Filter
As far as water filter systems go, the Express Water Filter is an excellent selection for most households. Depending on the size of your property, you might need to purchase multiple water filters to ensure you get the best results at every point of entry.
Three-Stage Filtration System
Whether you’re using a water pitcher filter or a system like this, having more than one type of filter helps you get the best, cleanest water possible. Express Water uses three filters to deliver exceptional results, including:
- Activated Carbon Filters – These filters help trap metals and minerals.
- KDF Activated Media – This water filter uses copper-zinc granules to remove toxic chemicals and contaminants.
- Sediment Filtration – Sometimes, nature provides the best filtration. Sediment filters use natural granules (like sand) to trap various VOCs and other chemicals.
Durable Stainless Steel Construction
When comparing the best home water filtration systems, you want something that will last a long time. This way, you can be sure you’ll get clean, filtered water for years to come. This system is made of high-quality stainless steel, making it rust-resistant, lightweight, and extra rugged.
- Three-stage system removes most harmful contaminants and heavy metals
- Fits all standard one-inch connections
- Made of durable stainless steel components
- Uses both sediment and carbon filters
- One-year limited warranty
- In some cases, you may lose noticeable water pressure
- In rare instances, the filter may leak
Although it’s pretty small, the Springwell CF1 Whole House Water Filter System is more than sufficient for allowing you to filter city water to your exacting standards. This one device has a 1 million-gallon capacity, so you should be able to use it for any size house without any problems.
Catalytic Carbon Filter
Unlike activated charcoal, this filtration system is designed to remove chemicals and VOCs from your water. Examples include chlorine, pesticides, and chloramines. So, if you’re mostly worried about having a chemical smell or taste to your water, this filter is perfect.
Combo Water-Softening System
Hard water is a problem that many households experience. While some minerals are necessary for water absorption, too many can cause issues with the plumbing. This filter has a combo water softener option so you get the best of both worlds.
- Compact and lightweight model
- Filters out VOCs, heavy metals, and most contaminants
- Works for up to three bathrooms at a time
- Combo water softener can be included
- Processes up to 1 million gallons
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Doesn’t work as well on sediment or bacteria in your water
- You may lose water pressure when multiple sources are running
iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
Although clean, filtered water is essential for you and your family, paying the installation fee can be pretty prohibitive for some households. Fortunately, if you’re handy with tools and want to spend an afternoon with your water filter, the iSpring is an excellent choice.
One Million-Gallon Capacity
When choosing house water filter systems, you want something that can handle as much water as possible. This way, you can go even longer between filter replacements, leaving you a worry-free and low-maintenance filter. While other models cap off at 100,000 gallons or less, this filter can process up to 1 million gallons. So you should be able to go a long time before buying new cartridges.
Easy for DIY Installation
Typically, putting a home water filter system requires professional installation. Fortunately, the iSpring is easy enough to do it yourself. That said, make sure you’re handy with the right tools since you’re working with your home’s plumbing. If you don’t seal the filter correctly, you could wind up with a leak and potential flooding.
- Durable construction
- Three-stage filter removes most contaminants
- Works for up to 1,00,000 gallons
- Free lifetime tech support
- Easy to install yourself
- May not work on all plumbing connections
- Replacing the cartridges can be challenging
Depending on where you live, your tap water may be suitable for drinking, but it just has a slightly off-putting taste. In most cases, that flavor comes from chemicals used to treat the water, such as chlorine. While you shouldn’t get sick from chlorinated water, it can cause lingering odors and other problems. So, if chlorine is your primary concern, A.O. Smith has the solution.
Flow Rate of Seven Gallons Per Minute
The flow rate of your home water filter matters because it will tell you how many models to install and where to put them. On average, a kitchen sink uses 2.2 gallons per minute, while a bathroom sink uses 1.5 gallons.
So, with a flow rate of seven gallons per minute (GPM), this one filter should work for up to three bathrooms and a kitchen. That said, if everyone takes a shower at the same time, you’ll notice a significant drop in water pressure.
Since water filters are all about getting the cleanest, purest water possible, it’s nice to know that your system isn’t also polluting the environment. Some models have drainage and back-flushing, meaning that dirty water gets poured back into the pipes as waste. This filter doesn’t have such measures, so you can feel even better about installing it.
- Durable construction
- Processes up to 600,000 gallons
- 7 GPM flow rate
- Works for high-volume households
- Reduces up to 97 percent of chlorine
- Not built for other VOCs or bacteria
- May not work well for homes with multiple showers
Pentair Pelican PSE1800-P Water Whole House Water Filtration
Sometimes, the price of something tells you whether it’s a quality product. While you can install cheap and affordable filters (i.e., less than $100), they can’t handle as much water as something like the Pentair Pelican. This one device can handle most high-capacity homes, making it a valuable addition to your household.
Handles Up to Three or Six Bathrooms
There are two varieties of the Pentair Pelican. The first works for up to three bathrooms, while the second works for up to six. So, depending on the size of your property, you can choose the one that’s best suited for your needs.
Removes Sediment, Minerals, and Chemicals
Although the Pentair Pelican doesn’t remove bacteria and some VOCs, it’s perfect for softening hard water and removing chlorine and chloramines. This filter also helps remove sediment and other physical materials, like minerals and heavy metals.
- High-capacity water filtration system
- Removes most metals, minerals, and hard water contaminants
- Handles up to six bathrooms (with size upgrade)
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Mounting hardware provided for DIY installation
- More expensive than most other models
- Doesn’t work for bacteria and some VOCs
How to Choose a Home Water Filtration System
We’ve seen some excellent water filtration systems, but since they all have such good features it’s hard to compare them all. So, here’s a breakdown of the features and benefits you should focus on when making a final decision.
As we’ve seen, the top house water filtration system may use one of several filter options. The most commonly used filters include:
- Activated Carbon Filter – This option works well for removing metals and minerals from your water, such as lead or fluoride. Activated carbon also works well at filtering volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals. Unfortunately, this filter does not remove pathogens or diseases.
- Ceramic Filter – If you’re mostly concerned about biological agents infesting your home’s plumbing system, a ceramic filter can remove bacteria and viruses. However, it does not work for VOCs, chlorine, or minerals.
- Distillation Filter – This filter type is also very good at removing bacteria and other pathogens from your water. It works by boiling the liquid and capturing the steam, leaving behind all residue. Unfortunately, distillation doesn’t remove chlorine and other chemicals.
- Reverse Osmosis – This is another excellent option for a house water filtration system. Since water is pushed through a semi-permeable membrane, most elements are removed before it goes into your pipes. That said, chemicals and VOCs can still make it through, so keep that in mind.
- UV Light – UV radiation is good at killing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. However, it doesn’t remove these elements from your water, so you’ll have to combine a UV light with some other filter type to get cleaner results.
As you might imagine, the best water filtration systems are those that use multiple filters to deliver the cleanest, purest water. However, if you’re on a budget, you need to figure out which elements pose the greatest threat and choose from there.
When choosing any kind of water filter, you need to be sure it’s certified to remove the contaminants you want. According to the CDC, the best options are NSF certified. You can look up the NSF database to see which products are the best options for your needs. NSF International sets guidelines for products based on how well they perform and adhere to health and safety guidelines.
While an NSF certification may not be a deal-breaker, it can elevate one water filter above the rest. When everything else is equal, a certification matters.
Before buying a whole house water filter, you need to know how much water it can process at any given time. If the system has a low flow rate, you’ll lose water pressure, which can be both annoying and problematic.
You must also consider how many rooms will attach to the filter. For example, if it’s handling water for your bathroom and kitchen, you may need to be careful when running multiple sinks or showers simultaneously. As a rule, it’s always best to get a model with an extra high flow rate so that you have some flexibility when it comes to water usage.
If you’re looking for a single filter that can remove as many contaminants from your water as possible, the Express Water Filter is the best all-around model. However, if you’re looking for a system that can remove specific ingredients, we like the Springwell or A.O. Smith Filters. However, since they’re so specialized, they might not work for as many households.
FAQs About Home Water Filtration Systems
Which Filtration Type is the Best?
Typically, reverse osmosis is the most effective for purifying drinking water, but it really matters what extra elements are in it. For example, if you want to remove chlorine or VOCs, reverse osmosis isn’t the best.
Is a Home Water Filtration System Worth It?
Even if you’re not too concerned about the health benefits of having a water filter, these systems offer several other advantages. For example, softer water leads to less mineral buildup in your pipes. Also, water with a balanced pH doesn’t cause rust and can extend the life of your plumbing system and faucets.
How Long Do Water Filters Last?
On average, filters can last between three and six months. What matters is the amount of water you use, the size of the system, and how many gallons it’s rated for. As a rule, you should opt for the filter with the largest capacity so you can spend less on replacement filters.
Are There Downsides to Installing a Water Filter?
As with anything, there are pros and cons to putting a water filtration system in your house. First, the installation cost can be pretty high. Second, it’s hard to tell if your filter is removing everything you want it to. Finally, some minerals are beneficial in your water supply, so removing all of them could impact your health.