The simplest types of water filters are water filter pitchers. They’re easy to use, much less expensive than a countertop or under sink units, and improve water quality substantially.
Most have a reservoir that’s filled from the tap, and the water flows through a filter to a lower unit where it’s stored. The filters range from basic to complex, with the better filters removing more contaminants.
Most water filter pitchers remove chlorine taste and smell, heavy metals, and many agricultural chemicals, pesticides. Your water ends up without smell, tasting better, and a lot healthier.
Chlorine smell and the odor is the #1 complaint from most people with drinking water. Does your water smell like bleach? That’s the chlorine. It’s added at the water treatment plant and is very effective in killing bacteria, pathogens, and other nasties. It smells like bleach because it is! Sodium hypochlorite used in your water is the same compound used in bleach and swimming pools. Most people don’t like the smell or taste.
Heavy metals come from the ground and pipes. Acid rain dissolves metals in nature and, if conditions are right, they end up in wells and reservoirs. Lead is a particularly nasty heavy metal. We used lead for pipes and pipe solder for years before the hazard was realized. Many older homes have pipes made of lead. They lasted well, didn’t break, and unfortunately, there are many still around in houses built before the 1920’s. Then, even though lead pipes were replaced by copper, builders continued using lead solder to join copper pipes until the late 1980s.
There has been a lot of publicity lately about Flint Michigan. Municipal managers changed their water supply to one that was slightly more acid, and thousands of people are now suffering from lead poisoning.
Lead isn’t the only culprit. Magnesium and Chromium are common in some areas, as is Mercury. These metals, even in small concentrations, collect in our bodies over time and mess up (that’s a technical term!) it’s functions. We don’t want heavy metals in our water.
The third class of water contaminant is organic compounds. These are mostly man-made chemicals that are used by industry, as insecticides and even some drugs. They’re not healthy or welcome either.
Water pitcher filters remove most of these contaminants but not all. Some are better than others as described in the ratings below. Note that most counter and under-sink filters offer more comprehensive filtration, as do distillers and osmosis machines.
Here’s our roundup of the best-selling water filter pitchers:
- 10 cup capacity
- 40 gallons per filter
- Easy to find filters
The Brita 10 Cup Everyday Filter is by far the most popular water pitcher filter in the U.S.A., with it’s popularity challenged only by other Brita models. Being #1 means that the Replacement filters easy to find, they’re in just about every supermarket and hardgoods store, or buy them here at Amazon.
Brita has been making water filters for 50 years. Their design is simple and easy to use. This model doesn’t have an electronic filter replacement reminder, others do at higher prices. Another downside, some users complain that the lid doesn’t lock in place.
ZeroWater 10 Cup Pitcher with TDS Meter
- 10 cup capacity
- Filter life variable and monitored by meter
Zero water uses a 5 stage filter and meter to bring the dissolved solids down to 99.6% clean, a level lower than other filter pitchers. It does this by backing up the standard charcoal filter used in most pitchers with ion exchange layers.
Zero water claims that the TDS meter readings for tap water in the US average between 190 and 200 PPM, conventional filter pitchers run between 030-500, and with Zero Water, yours can easily be kept from 000 to 006.
Also available as ZeroWater 8 Cup Pitcher with Free TDS Light-Up Indicator
PUR Classic Water Filtration System 11-Cup Pitcher
- 11 cup capacity
- 40 gallons per filter
- Easy to find filter
- Certified To Remove 96% of Mercury and 95% of Certain Industrial Pollutants and 94% of Certain Pharmaceuticals
This PUR Classic pitcher has a LED filter indicator to let you know when it’s time to change filters. The general life is 40 gallons, but that varies with the purity of the water going in.