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The 5 Best Water Filters (2021 Review)

A water filter provides you with cleaner and better-tasting water. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best water filters on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you and your home. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Water Filter Courtesy Amazon

Water filters remove contaminants, such as chlorine, bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, and chemicals, from your water to make it safe to drink. Water filters come in many forms from pitchers that you store in the refrigerator to mounts that you attach to your kitchen sink. To help you choose the right water filter, the This Old House Reviews Team looked into the best water filters on Amazon. These are the top five we recommend.

Best Whole-House Filter: APEC Water Systems ROES-50 Essence Series Drinking Water Filter System

This water filtration system filters the water in your home to give you drinking water that’s clear of arsenic, fluoride, chlorine, nitrates, heavy metals, volatile organic chemicals, and more. This water filtration system also softens your water and improves its taste. Plus, the manufacturer has created step-by-step online videos to make installation easy.

Key Features

  • Comes with a faucet, five filters, a water storage tank, and other installation accessories and hardware
  • Removes chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, nitrate, heavy metal, and more
  • Comes with a one-year warranty

What Customers Are Saying

Out of over 4,000 Amazon reviews, 96% gave this product a 4- or 5-star rating. Only 3% of customers gave this water filter system a 1- or 2-star rating. Overall, this filtration system has a high average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 stars.

Satisfied customers raved about this water filtration system’s ability to soften water. Other customers noted a significant improvement in the taste of their filtered water. Negative reviews highlighted the amount of time it took to install the product, with many reviews saying it took around two hours.

Best Filter Pitcher: Brita Water Pitcher

This water filter from Brita cleans water through the filter that sits in the center of the pitcher. The pitcher also has an ergonomic design with a flip-up lid to make refilling it easier. On top of this lid is an electronic indicator that alerts you when you need to change its filter.

Key Features

  • Comes with a standard filter, a lid, and a pitcher
  • Removes chlorine, mercury, copper, zinc, cadmium, and more
  • Holds five cups of water
  • Requires a filter replacement every two months
  • Has a filter life indicator
  • Available in several colors

What Customers Are Saying

This Brita water filter has over 41,000 Amazon customer reviews. Its overall rating is 4.7 stars out of 5 stars, with 3% of customers giving it 2 stars or less and 92% giving it 4 stars or more.

Customers liked that this pitcher fits in their fridge, stating that it was a space-efficient choice for everyday water filtration. Many customers also praised this model for how easy it was to use and how many colors it came in. Dissatisfied customers said that they didn’t like having to replace its filter cartridge so frequently.

Best Countertop Filter: Brita Ultra Max Filtering Dispenser

This water filter is a countertop container from Brita that can hold up to 27 cups of water. Like the Brita pitcher, you’re given one filter to start, which sits in the middle of the container. However, unlike the pitcher, you only need to replace the filter twice a year.

Key Features

  • Comes with a longlast filter, a lid, and a container
  • Removes lead, mercury, cadmium, benzene, asbestos, and more
  • Holds 27 cups of water
  • Requires a filter replacement every six months
  • Has a filter life indicator

What Customers Are Saying

Over 13,000 Amazon customers have given this Brita water filter a 4.7-star average rating. Ninety-two percent of customers gave the product 4 stars or more, and 4% of customers gave it 2 stars or less.

Many reviews praised this product for its abilities to remove harmful contaminants and hold over a gallon of water. However, reviewers had mixed opinions on whether the container was easy to clean, with some saying it was and some saying it wasn’t. Some customers also said that it leaked around the filter.

Best Water Bottle: LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle

This water bottle contains two filtration systems—one at the top to remove microplastics, parasites, and bacteria and one at the bottom to remove chlorine, bad odors and tastes, and chemicals. It filters these harmful contaminants while you’re on the go so that you can have clean water anywhere.

Key Features

  • Comes with a straw, two filters, a lid, a carabiner, and a bottle
  • Removes chlorine, bacteria, parasites, and more
  • Holds 22 ounces of water
  • Requires a filter replacement every 26 gallons for the top filter and 1,000 gallons for the bottom filter
  • Available in several colors

What Customers Are Saying

This water bottle filtration system has an average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars from over 12,000 Amazon customer reviews. Ninety-two percent of customers gave this water bottle 4 or 5 stars, while 3% gave it 1 or 2 stars.

Customers said that this water filter’s small and lightweight design made it easy to carry while they were traveling. Others complimented how easy the bottle was to clean. The most common complaint from dissatisfied customers was that it was difficult to suck water through its straw.

Best Faucet Mount: PUR Faucet-Mount Water Filtration System

This water filter from PUR mounts onto the end of your kitchen faucet with one click, giving you access to clean drinking water within seconds. It can remove over 70 contaminants with its filter cartridge, which can filter about 100 gallons of water before needing to be replaced.

Key Features

  • Comes with a filter, a body, and a mount
  • Removes lead, mercury, pesticides, and more
  • Requires a filter replacement every 100 gallons
  • Has a filter life indicator

What Customers Are Saying

This sink filter has an average of 4.4 stars out of 5 stars from over 10,000 global reviewers. Eighty-six percent of reviewers gave this model a 4- or 5-star rating, and 8% gave it a 1- or 2-star rating.

Positive reviews raved about this sink filter’s easy installation and ability to clean tap water. Other satisfied customers highlighted the built-in LED light, which told them when their filter needed to be changed. Negative reviewers said that it wasn’t durable, as it broke, leaked, or wobbled shortly after installation.

Buyer’s Guide

Before buying a water filter, there are a few factors you should consider. In addition to the type of water filtration system, you’ll also want to consider what impurities the system filters out and how long its cartridge lasts.

Filter Type

There are five types of products that remove contaminants from your water.

  • Pitcher: This is the most common type of water filtration system. The top third of the pitcher is where the water sits when you first fill it with water. The water trickles down to the bottom portion of the pitcher as it passes through the cylindrical filter in the middle.
  • Countertop: This type of water filter is similar to a pitcher except it can hold more filtered water. This decreases how often you have to refill it. It also sits on the counter instead of in the refrigerator.
  • Faucet mount: This type of filter is mounted to your kitchen sink. It filters the water as you pour it into your glass, eliminating the need to store filtered water in your fridge or on your counter.
  • Whole-house: If you live in an area with poor water quality, you may want to consider a whole-house filtration system. These are more expensive and more difficult to install, but they ensure that any water you use in your home is free of contaminants.
  • Water bottle: If you’re planning a trip and want to ensure that the water you encounter is safe to drink, consider bringing along a water bottle with a built-in filter. The filter sits in the center of the bottle and filters out contaminants as you pour in the water.

Filtered Contaminants

Not every filtration system filters out the same impurities. If the water in your area is mostly clean and you just want to improve the taste of your water, any filtration system will work. However, if there are specific contaminants you want filtered out, you may want to invest in a water filter that has multiple levels of filtration.


Water filters require continuous upkeep—you can’t just install a filter and use the system for an indefinite amount of time. Most filtration systems have an indicator that lets you know when you need to replace their filter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I buy a pack of replacement filters?

Yes. When you purchase a water filtration system, you’ll likely be given one or two filters to start with. However, you’ll have to buy the replacements once those filters are used. It’s more cost-effective to buy a pack of several filters at once than a single one each time your filter needs to be replaced.

What do NSF and ANSI certifications on a water filter mean?

National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International is a nonprofit organization that promotes sanitary living conditions across the world. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has a similar mission, except the organization exclusively works in the United States. Both of these organizations offer similar certifications on water filtration systems to let customers know how well the products filter out contaminants.

Two common standards you might see from these organizations are:

  • Standard 42: These water filters filter out non-health-related contaminants, such as chlorine, taste, odor, and particulates.
  • Standard 53: These water filters filter out health-related contaminants, including cryptosporidium, giardia, lead, and volatile organic chemicals.

What are some of the most trusted water filter brands?

PUR and Brita are two of the most trusted water filter brands that create pitcher, countertop, and faucet-mount systems. If you’re looking for a water bottle filter, LifeStraw is a well-known option.

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