ZeroWater 23-Cup Jug Review
Pros: Great contaminant removal, fairly inexpensive
Cons: Slow flow rate
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The ZeroWater 23-Cup is a great choice for multiple people using the same filter and aren't able to install a more permanent under-the-sink option. The 23-Cup has a decently high flow rate and will dispense water quickly --- when it's full. Unfortunately, it does take a little bit of time to filter more water when you are empty.
The first of our contaminant removal tests, lead removal is responsible for one-fourth of the final score for the ZeroWater 23-Cup's. To rank and score this, we dissolved lead shavings into peracetic acid, then mixed that into some water to make some lead-contaminated water well above the acceptable EPA limits. After filtering this tainted water, we sent sample into a lab to measure the concentrations for us to determine results. We repeated a similar procedure for each different contaminant metric and used the same results for each ZeroWater pitcher, as they use the identical filter cartridge in each product. This filter did exceptionally well in this test, removing the vast majority of the lead and earning one of the top scores overall.
The ZeroWater 23-Cup removed 99.9% of the lead in the water, leaving it at a level 7.5 times lower than the EPA standard.
For our chlorine removal assessment — also worth 25% of the score — we laced the supply water with chlorine bleach as a contaminant before running it through the ZeroWater. We did two versions of this test: one with incredibly high levels of chlorine (1300+ ppm) and one with much more reasonable ones (20-50 ppm). We used chlorine test strips to measure the filtering performance, with the ZeroWater 23-Cup again performing exceptionally well.
The 23-Cup removed almost all of the chlorine in both tests, with the indicator strips failing to change color at all.
Equivalent to lead and chlorine removal, salt removal is also responsible for 25% of the final score for the ZeroWater 23-Cup. We repeated the same procedure as before using common table salt as a contaminant and a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter to measure results. Again, the ZeroWater earned one of the top scores of the entire group.
We measured a salt concentration of 445 ppm in the supply water with our meter, which the ZeroWater 23-Cup reduced to 0 ppm according to the meter.
To rank and compare the taste of the filtered water from each product, we started by making an exceptionally foul-tasting batch of water using chlorine and salt, then ran it through each pitcher. We also ran purified water through each product, to ensure that none of the filters imparted a negative taste. We then had a series of judges try the different filtered waters in a blind side-by-side taste test and score the results. This is responsible for 15% of the score for each product, with the ZeroWater earning an excellent score and finishing at the top of the group overall.
The filtered water from the 23-Cup came out near perfect, with our judges struggling to distinguish between the filtered water and the control purified water. All evidence of chlorine and salt had been removed. Additionally, none of our judges found any negative flavors added to the clean water after it had been through the ZeroWater.
For our final testing metric — responsible for the final 10% of the total score — we looked at the flow rate of each filter, both how long it takes to dispense filtered water and in the case of the pitchers, how long it takes to filter water when refilled. The 23-Cup did slightly below average in this metric, hurt by the long time it took to filter more water when empty.
It took about 24 seconds to empty a quart of water from the 23-Cup — if it's already full. However, it would take almost 14 minutes to do this if you had to filter that amount of water first.
The ZeroWater 23-Cup Jug is a solid value option, especially if you need the additional capacity over typical filters.
The ZeroWater did very well in the majority of our tests, thoroughly impressing us with its contaminant removal abilities in our tests. It's a fantastic choice if you want to have a larger supply of filtered water available on hand and don't want to pay the large upfront cost for an under-the-sink filter.
— Austin Palmer, David Wise, and Jenna Ammerman