ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher Review
Pros: Fantastic at removing impurities, makes great tasting water, inexpensive
Cons: Smaller capacity, takes some time to refill and refilter
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The ZeroWater finished a few points ahead of the next closest competitors, the Home Master HydroPerfection and the iSpring RCC7. This pair of second-tier filters are both under the sink and cost significantly more. They matched the ZeroWater at extracting lead and chlorine from water, but couldn't compare in our mineral extraction test. However, the Home Master did score better in our flow rate test, as the ZeroWater had to be refilled before it could fill our quart test container.
To see which water filter is truly the top product, we bought all the most popular and highly-regarded models on the market and tested them against each other in a series of head-to-head challenges. We scored their performance in five weighted rating metrics, with the sections below elaborating on the performance of the ZeroWater and how it compared to its peers.
Comprising 25% of the total score for each water filter, our Lead Removal metric tied with our other impurity removal metrics in terms of importance. To evaluate this, we spiked the water supply to high concentrations of lead, then ran this water through each filter and sent samples of the filtered water and the supply to an independent lab for analysis. We scored each product based on how much lead was removed, with the ZeroWater finishing at the top of the group, meriting a 10 out of 10 for its excellent performance.
The ZeroWater did an excellent job, dropping the concentration of lead from 2.3 ppm to 0.002 ppm — well below the EPA standard of 0.015 ppm. This translates to removing 99.91% of the lead, putting it in the top tier of filters: the APEC Essence, the APEC WFS-1000, the iSpring RCC7, and the Home Master HydroPerfection.
On par with the prior metric, the set of tests comprising our Chlorine Removal metric also are responsible for 25% of the total score. We used chlorine bleach to contaminate the water supply for each filter, then measured the amount removed using chlorine test strips and scored each product accordingly. The ZeroWater again finished at the top, earning a 10 out of 10 for its superb showing.
We conducted two distinct tests for this metric: The first with a water chlorinated to exceptionally high levels — on the order of 1300-1400 ppm — and the second with the water chlorinated to more moderate levels — on the order of 20-50 ppm. We used our Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter to determine these value, which is the reason for the range, rather than an exact value, as we found it would vary slightly with each reading we took.
For the test with the high concentration of chlorine, the ZeroWater removed practically all of the chlorine, with only trace amounts remaining. The test strips failed to register anything and the TDS meter only showed about 5 ppm. The ZeroWater completely removed all of the chlorine in the moderate concentration test, with neither the TDS meter nor the test strips reading anything above 0 ppm.
For our final impurity removal metric, also worth 25% of the total score, we looked at how capable each filter is at removing salts from the water. To score this, we dissolved copious amounts of table salt in the supply water, then ran the saltwater through each filter. The ZeroWater again did an exceptional job, earning the top score of 10 out of 10.
The water supply for this test measured in at around 445 ppm on our TDS meter. The ZeroWater removed all of the chlorine from the water, with the TDS meter reading a concentration of zero parts per million.
After our trio of filtration metrics, we moved on to evaluating and judging how tasty the water produced by each filter is, accounting for 15% of the overall score. We split the scoring process for this metric into two separate components, running both contaminated and pure water through each filter and noting how the filtered water tasted. The ZeroWater continued its dominance, earning a 9 out of 10 for its excellent performance.
First, we ran purified water through the ZeroWater, to see if it imparted any negative flavors or other tastes. Our panel of tasters gave the ZeroWater top marks, as the water came out just as crisp and clear as when we put it in.
For the second test, we made a mixture of exceptionally foul tasting water using salt and chlorine — definitely considered undrinkable by our panel of unfortunate taste testers. We ran this through each filter, then had our panel taste and score each glass of the filtered water, without knowing which filter produced it. We also included a glass of purified water and a glass of the supply. The ZeroWater was one of the favorites, producing water that tasted great and ranked on par with the clean water.
For the final metric, responsible for the remaining 10% of the total score, we evaluated and scored the flow rate of each water filter. We timed how long it took to fill up a quart container with each filter, including the time it took to refill the filter if necessary. The ZeroWater did a decent job, earning a 5 out of 10 for its showing.
The ZeroWater was one of the fastest at actually pouring the water, but is one of the slowest to fill the quart container. This product only has a 10 cup capacity, so it took substantial time to refill and filter enough water to top off the container.
The ZeroWater is an amazing value and definitely a product that you should consider when shopping on a budget. This product outperformed other filters that cost over ten times as much in our tests and delivered one of the best overall performances that we have seen from a water filter to date.
If you are looking for clean, clear, and great tasting water, look no further than the ZeroWater. This is one of our favorite filters that we have tested and earned some of the highest marks in all of our impurity removal and taste tests. Unfortunately, it doesn't have the largest capacity and can take a bit of time to refill, but for how inexpensive this product it, you can always buy a second one if you really can't wait and need the extra capacity. All in all, this is definitely one of the best pitcher filters you can buy and should be on your short list when shopping for a new water filter.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer