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Brita Ultramax Review

Overall, the Ultramax didn't impress us all that much
Brita Ultramax
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Price:   $32 List | $31.88 at Amazon
Pros:  Did well at removing chlorine, easy to dispense
Cons:  Didn’t do well in the lead, salt removal metrics
Manufacturer:   BRITA
By Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman  ⋅  Nov 8, 2019
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41
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 11
  • Lead Removal - 25% 3
  • Chlorine Removal - 25% 7
  • Salt Removal - 25% 1
  • Taste - 15% 6
  • Flow - 10% 4

Our Verdict

While the Brita Ultramax did do alright in some of our tests, it overall delivered a fairly lackluster score and isn't one of our favorite filters that we have tested to date. It did do well at removing chlorine in our tests but wasn't terribly impressive at removing lead or salt. It also can take a long time to filter more water once it runs empty.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Brita Ultramax
This Product
Brita Ultramax
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  
Price $32 List
$31.88 at Amazon
$35 List
$31.88 at Amazon
$38 List
$29.88 at Amazon
$180 List
$118.95 at Amazon
$30 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Did well at removing chlorine, easy to dispenseFantastic at removing impurities, makes great tasting water, inexpensiveGreat contaminant removal, fairly inexpensiveInexpensive for an under the sink filter, removes tons of lead and chlorineInexpensive, removes tons of chlorine
Cons Didn't do well in the lead, salt removal metricsSmaller capacity, takes some time to refill and refilterSlow flow rateFiltered water didn't taste amazing, didn't remove minerals wellDidn't do well in our lead or salt removal tests
Bottom Line Overall, the Ultramax didn't impress us all that muchDoing a fantastic job in most of our tests, this filter combines amazing performance with an even better priceThis filter jug is for anyone who wants a bit more water on hand than the typical model and also impressed in our impurity removal metricsIf you are set on an under the sink filter and are shopping on a budget, this is the perfect choiceIf you are set on a faucet mount filter, then the SAFF-100 is your best bet
Rating Categories Brita Ultramax ZeroWater 10-Cup Pi... ZeroWater 23-Cup Jug APEC WFS-1000 Brita SAFF-100
Lead Removal (25%)
3.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
6.0
Chlorine Removal (25%)
7.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
9.0
Salt Removal (25%)
1
10.0
10.0
2.0
1
Taste (15%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
5.0
Flow (10%)
4.0
5.0
4.0
9.0
5.0
Specs Brita Ultramax ZeroWater 10-Cup Pi... ZeroWater 23-Cup Jug APEC WFS-1000 Brita SAFF-100
Model Pitcher 10 Cup Pitcher WFS-1000 SAFF-100
Replacement Schedule Brita Standard (White) Filter: every 40 gallons (about 2 months) 18,000 mg of disolved solids; 1-40 gallons 18,000 mg of disolved solids; 1-40 gallons Every 12 months Every 100 gallons or 4 months
Replacement Cost Standard: 1 for $7, 3 for $15 2 for $30
4 for $40
8 for $90
12 for $115
16 for $150
2 for $30
4 for $40
8 for $90
12 for $115
16 for $150
Stages 1-3 for $40 1 for $19
Pure Water to Waste Water Ratio N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Gallons Per Day (GPD) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
NSF/ANSI certified for lead removal No Yes Yes No Yes
NSF/ANSI certified for organic contaminants removal No No No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

We did like the dispenser on the Ultramax, as water keeps flowing once you open it and you don't have to keep holding it open like you do with other models. However, we didn't think this even came close to redeeming its otherwise lackluster performance in our tests.

Performance Comparison


The Ultramax didn't do the best in our lead removal test.
The Ultramax didn't do the best in our lead removal test.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Lead Removal


To test and score the lead removal abilities of each filter, we ran lead-tainted water through each product, then took samples of the filtered water and the contaminated supply and sent them to a water quality testing lab for precise analysis. This accounts for 25% of each filter's final score, with the Brita Ultramax, unfortunately, scoring below average.


The Ultramax removed about 83.4% of the lead from the contaminated supply but the filtered water still had lead concentrations that were significantly higher than what the EPA considers a safe level.

This filter couldn't handle the high concentrations of chlorine in...
This filter couldn't handle the high concentrations of chlorine in our torture test, letting a noticeable amount through.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Chlorine Removal


Next, we moved on to assessing the dechlorinating skills of each filter, which also makes up 25% of each product's total score. The Brita Ultramax did quite a bit better in this metric, earning an above-average score.


In this metric, we used chlorine bleach added to the supply as our contaminant and measured the before and after concentration with chemical test strips. We scored each filter's performance in two separate tests: one with extremely high levels of chlorine (1300+ ppm) and one with more moderate levels (20-50 ppm).

The Ultramax did do fairly well when the supply water only had...
The Ultramax did do fairly well when the supply water only had moderate chlorine levels.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Ultramax didn't do very well with the heavily chlorinated water, with the test strip continuing to max out after filtration. However, it did drop the chlorine levels to around 1 ppm with the moderately chlorinated supply.

The Ultramax failed to impress with its salt removal abilities.
The Ultramax failed to impress with its salt removal abilities.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Salt Removal


The Ultramax's performance dropped again in our salt removal test, which is equivalent to lead and chlorine removal in importance, also accounting for one-fourth of the final score. We measured the concentration of dissolved table salt with a TDS meter before and after filtering, with the Brita Ultramax delivering one of the worst performances of the entire group.


This filter pitcher essentially failed to remove any salt, with the concentration only dropping by 4% or so according to our meter.

The Ultramax didn't score the best in our blind taste tests.
The Ultramax didn't score the best in our blind taste tests.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Taste


Our taste testing process is twofold. First, we ran purified water through each filter and tasted it to make sure the Ultramax isn't adding any unsavory flavors. Second, we ran some very unpleasant tasting water through the filter — flavored with chlorine and salt — to see if this pitcher from Brita could make it taste a bit better. We had a panel of judges rate the taste of the water before and after to determine scores. The Brita did a little better than average in this metric — worth 15% of the total score — compared to the rest of the group.


The Ultramax did improve the taste of the salt & chlorine water by dechlorinating it but still left it tasting solidly salty. However, we did like that it didn't impart any negative taste to clean water.

The Ultramax is a little slow to filter more water and refill.
The Ultramax is a little slow to filter more water and refill.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Flow


We focused on the flow rate of each water filter for this final metric, which is responsible for the remaining tenth of the final score. We awarded points based on the time it took the Brita to filter and dispense a quart of water. It was a little on the slower side in our tests, earning it a fairly lackluster score.


This pitcher took 34 seconds to fill up a quart container if it was already full but takes just over four minutes if you need to wait for it to filter more water.

We did appreciate that you don't have to hold down the lever while...
We did appreciate that you don't have to hold down the lever while filling up a glass or pitcher.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Value


The Ultramax isn't too expensive but overall scored quite badly in our tests, so it isn't the best budget buy we have seen.

Conclusion


While we did find a few things to praise about the Brita Ultramax, it overall failed to impress. It can remove chlorine from your water but based on our tests but didn't do well with salt or lead. It's not the worst we have seen but we vastly preferred similar models that perform better at roughly the same price point.

Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman

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