The 8 Best Water Filters for Your Kitchen for 2023

Our favorite, the APEC ROES-50 Reverse Osmosis System, keeps 99% of contaminants out of water.

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The Best Water Filters

FW / Alli Waataja

Water filters can come in handy if you live in an area where the tap water could use a slight improvement. From removing heavy metals and chemicals to filtering out odors and tastes, filtration systems can improve the quality of your drinking water and prove to be an eco-friendly solution to buying single-use plastic bottles.

When shopping for a filtration system, you can narrow your options based on what you want to filter out and how often you want to replace the filter. Your deciding factor, however, will likely be whether you'd prefer a pitcher, a countertop filter, or a system for your entire home, like the APEC ROES-50 Reverse Osmosis System, our selection for Best Overall. We compiled this list based on our research and your needs to find the best water filters for every home.

Best Overall

APEC ROES-50 Reverse Osmosis System

4.8
APEC Water Systems ROES-50 Essence Series Reverse Osmosis System

Amazon

Pros: This under-sink filter is quiet and efficient, removing up to 99 percent of contaminants.

Cons: You’ll have to drill a hole to accommodate the additional tap required for the filtered water.

This top-rated brand earned its reputation for a reason: it uses reverse osmosis to filter out up to 99 percent of contaminants, including fluoride, arsenic, lead, chlorine, and many more pollutants that not all filters address. The system is installed under the sink and comes with a separate tap for filtered water, so you’re not using drinking water to wash hands or dishes. Filters for this system should be changed every six to 12 months, depending on how much water you use, but the replacements are fairly inexpensive, and changing them is simple.

The system does require a more complicated installation, as you’ll need to drill an extra hole in your sink for the additional tap. But once it’s installed, it runs quietly and without disrupting your water pressure. To top it off, APEC donates free drinking water filtration systems to low-income or immunocompromised individuals through their Free Drinking Water charity, something we can totally get behind. 

Price at publication: $172

  • Filter Type: Reverse osmosis, double carbon block
  • Filter Replacement: Every 300 gallons/six months
  • Certification: WQA

Best Freestanding

Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter

Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Purifier

Amazon

Pros: This popular water filter is straightforward to use and filters over 200 contaminants out of water, including parasites and other pathogenic bacteria. 

Cons: While Berkey has a huge following, it is not NSF certified.

This freestanding filtration system is one of the few that can be considered a water purifier, thanks to its ability to remove over 200 contaminants as well as filter out 99.9 percent of pathogenic bacteria. That makes it ideal not only for household use but also for taking on the road or camping, where you may come across a more questionable water source than a kitchen tap. The signature Black Berkey Filters force water through a carbon composite containing high-grade coconut shell carbon combined with a proprietary blend. It utilizes microfiltration and ion exchange to remove heavy metals, bacteria, sediment, and more, making just about any water drinkable. 

The unit itself is made of sturdy stainless steel and is simple to use — just fill up the 2.25-gallon upper chamber and let the filter do its work. Gravity helps feed the water into the lower chamber, and you can dispense your water from its spout. Since it doesn’t require electricity or installation, it’s a great system to rely on.

Price at publication: $384

  • Filter Type: Carbon, ion exchange
  • Filter Replacement: After 6,000 gallons/two years
  • Certification: None specified

Best for Faucets

PUR PLUS Faucet Mount Water Filtration System FM3700

Pur Plus Faucet Mount Filtration System

Amazon

Pros: This affordable filter is easy to install and filters out more than 70 impurities, including mercury and lead.

Cons: The filter is not compatible with all faucet types, and its output is on the slow side.

One of the simplest water filters to add to your home, this faucet mount filter doesn’t even require any special tools to install — it snaps right on. Add it directly to your kitchen faucet so you can have filtered water available with the switch of the lever. This filter uses activated carbon and ion exchange to reduce heavy metals like lead and mercury, certain pesticides, and more. Not only that, it enhances the water’s taste with natural minerals.

This small but mighty filter can handle up to 100 gallons (on average, about three months of use) before the filter needs to be replaced. An indicator light will alert you when the filter needs changing. One downside is that the Pur filter’s output is on the slow side, but it’s fine for filling water bottles or a pitcher to leave in the fridge.

Price at publication: $36

  • Filter Type: Carbon, ion exchange
  • Filter Replacement: Every 100 gallons/three months
  • Certification: NSF

Best for Under the Sink

Frizzlife Under Sink Water Filter System

Frizzlife MK99 Under Sink Water Filter System

Amazon

Pros: This filtration system takes just three minutes to install, and replacement filters are fairly inexpensive.  

Cons: The filtered water tastes average — it could use a mineral component to improve flavor.

An under-sink water filtration system allows you to have filtered water at a higher flow rate than a faucet-mounted filter. This model from Frizzlife connects directly to the cold water line in just minutes, allowing water to pass through its two-stage compound filter to eliminate lead, chlorine, heavy metals, and other compounds while also removing unpleasant odors and tastes. 

This filter has a nice flow rate of two gallons per minute and can handle 16,000 gallons before having to be replaced. The manufacturer notes that the filter can last as long as two years (depending on usage) but its filter should ideally be changed after six to eight months for optimal performance. One of the best things about this filter is that the initial installation takes just about three minutes, and switching out the filter is even quicker than that. No need to be a pro to set this up.

Price at publication: $60

  • Filter Type: Two-stage compound carbon filter
  • Filter Replacement: Every 16,000 gallons (or every six to eight months for optimal performance)
  • Certification: NSF

Best Countertop

Aquasana Countertop Water Filter Dispenser System - Clean Water Machine

Aquasana Clean Water Machine Countertop Water Filter

Amazon

Pros: This compact countertop filter removes up to 99 percent of 77 contaminants while leaving beneficial minerals behind. 

Cons: It has a maximum capacity of 64 ounces, so it may feel small depending on your consumption level.

If your pitcher-style filter can’t keep up with your water consumption, consider this countertop-style system from Aquasana. It forces water through the patented Claryum system — a combination of activated carbon, catalytic carbon, ion exchange, and mechanical filtration — to remove up to 99 percent of 77 different contaminants, including chlorine, pesticides, lead, and more. This filter also manages to retain beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which also helps the filtered water actually taste good.

The machine itself is about the size of a compact Nespresso, similarly built with a 64-ounce water tank that you fill from your tap. The drop-in filter needs changing about every six months, but it’s very easy to replace. If you have space on your countertop, this sleek machine looks great while delivering pure water at the touch of a button.

Price at publication: $200

  • Filter Type: Carbon, ion exchange, microfiltration
  • Filter Replacement: Every 300 gallons/six months
  • Certification: IAPMO, ANSI, NSF

Best Whole House

Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter

4.6
Express Water Heavy Metal

Home Depot

Pros: This system is fantastic for large households and is unlikely to affect water pressure. 

Cons: The filters need to be extra tight to prevent leaks. This system also won’t noticeably reduce the hardness of hard water.

If you’re looking for a whole-house system to give you filtered water from every tap, this model is a pretty solid choice. Set in a stainless steel frame, it uses a three-stage filter — KDF, sediment filtration, and an activated carbon block — that removes heavy metals, chlorine, fungi, dirt, as well as bad odors and tastes. This system allows for a steady flow of 15 gallons per minute, so you shouldn’t notice any change in water pressure after installation.  

While it is a little trickier to install than an under-sink model, once it’s in, the filter replacements are quite simple. Best of all, each filter set is good for up to 100,000 gallons of water. You’ll only have to replace the filters once or twice a year, depending on how much water your household uses. 

Price at publication: $485

  • Filter Type: Sediment, KDF, activated carbon block
  • Filter Replacement: 100,000 gallons/six to 12 months
  • Certification: NSF, ANSI

Best Pitcher

ZeroWater 10 Cup Round Water Filter Pitcher

ZeroWater 10 Cup Round Water Filter Pitcher

Amazon

Pros:  This pitcher filters out over 99 percent of total dissolved solids and comes with its own water quality meter.

Cons: The filtration process is a bit slow, so it takes longer for the top chamber to empty. 

Pitcher-style filters are one of the easiest ways to achieve filtered water since they require minimal setup and typically take up little space. This BPA-free pitcher from ZeroWater offers a 10-cup capacity and uses a five-stage filtration system that removes 99.6 percent of total dissolved solids (TDS), including heavy metals like lead, copper, and mercury as well as chlorine and fluoride. 

To use, just fill up the upper reservoir with tap water and cover it with the lid. The water will flow through the filter and be ready to drink within a few minutes. You can store the pitcher in the refrigerator or countertop, depending on the temperature you prefer. This pitcher includes a water quality meter so you can know when the filter needs replacing. It only takes a few seconds to change the filter, so it’s a breeze to use.

Price at publication: $33

  • Filter Type: Carbon, ion exchange
  • Filter Replacement: After 40 gallons 
  • Certification: NSF

Best Filtered Water Bottle

GRAYL Geopress Water Purifier

Grayl Geopress Water Purifier

Amazon

Pros: This water bottle is the ultimate portable filter since it also addresses waterborne pathogens — perfect for camping.

Cons: It’s a bit heavy for hiking and backpacking even without water, and it’s more expensive than other portable options.

There are plenty of options when it comes to water bottles with their own filtration systems, but none are quite as effective as this 24-ounce version from Grayl. Designed to be used both indoors and outdoors, this bottle’s filter can tackle pathogens that live in water (viruses, bacteria, and protozoa) making it an ideal option for campers and hikers who may have to refill their bottles from a river or stream. In addition, the filter’s activated carbon layers also address chemicals, heavy metals, and unwanted flavors and odors. Another feature that sets this bottle apart is its open spout (versus a straw that requires suction), making it easier to drink from.

It’s designed for rugged excursions, so some may find its appearance on the utilitarian side, but it stands up well to heavy use and can withstand a six-foot drop while full. While it may be overkill if you’re just filling water from the tap, one filter can process 300 cycles before having to be replaced (or three years, whichever comes first).

Price at publication: $100

  • Filter Type: Electroadsorption, Activated Carbon
  • Filter Replacement: After 65 gallons/three years
  • Certification: NSF, ANSI

Factors to Consider

Your Water Source

When buying a water filter, your water source can certainly affect what type of filtration system best suits your needs. “If you know your local municipality treats water heavily with fluoride, you’ll want to make sure the type of filter you choose has the capability of reducing fluoride,” says Parker Emerson, a brand director for Berkey Filters

If you anticipate being in a situation where potable tap water isn’t readily available — think campsites or in an emergency situation — you’ll also want to take that into consideration. “If you’re looking to be prepared for the worst, you’ll want a robust enough filter to filter water straight from lakes, streams, or other untreated water sources,” says Emerson.

Filtration Method

There are several types of filtration methods that each address different impurities. “The most popular filtration media by far is activated carbon,” says Derek Mellencamp, General Manager at Aquasana. Carbon filters can greatly reduce organic contaminants, lead, pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and pesticides, and improve the taste and smell of tap water.

“Reverse osmosis process is also incredibly popular,” says Mellencamp, as it “removes a large percentage of impurities from water, including some dangerous ones like asbestos and hexavalent chromium, as well as fluoride.”

Other types of filtration include catalytic carbon (which targets chlorine and chloramines), ion exchange (which eliminates heavy metals like lead and mercury), and absolute sub-micron mechanical filtration (which captures asbestos and chlorine-resistant cysts like cryptosporidium and giardia).

Maintenance

How often you maintain your filter will depend on how “polluted” your water is to start, and what type of filtration you’re using. Smaller filters, like faucet mounts or pitchers, will likely need to be changed more frequently, while larger filters can often go for at least six months to a year before needing replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How does a water filter work?

    “Most systems include a step where water passes through filtration media to capture impurities and rid the water of contaminants,” says Mellencamp. “The types of impurities that a filtration system removes depend wholly on the media. While certain media remove a broad range of toxins, others might only tackle one, like many of the pitcher filters we’re all familiar with, which mainly reduce chlorine for odor and smell.”

  • How often should you change a water filter?

    “On average, point of use filters, such as countertop and under sink filters, should be changed every six months, when they typically first wear out,” says Mellencamp. But, since filter capacity and usage can vary widely, you should ultimately check the manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

  • How do you clean a water filter?

    “The easiest way to clean a water filter is to do a quick rinse out of the filter housing each time you change the filter, based on the manufacturer’s recommended replacement schedule,” says Mellencamp. Again, always refer back to your instruction manual for the best results.

Our Expertise

Bernadette Machard de Gramont is an LA-based freelance writer specializing in food, wine, and kitchen products. After a two-year stint at Williams Sonoma headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight.

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