Worried that your tap water is less than wonderful? We bought the 10 best water filters available on the market today and tested them head-to-head to see which one is truly the top performer. We tested all three major types — under the sink, faucet mount, and pitcher — scoring their performance in our flow rate, taste, and impurity cleaning tests. We even had an independent water quality lab measure the amount of lead, chlorine, and minerals in our water samples to determine how well each filter really filtered the best. Take a read through our comprehensive review below to see filter is truly fantastic, which is the best value, and which ones flunked our tests.
Best Water Filters of 2018
Analysis and Award Winners
Best Filter Overall
ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher
Earning the top score out of the entire group and outperforming models that cost over ten times as much, the ZeroWater is our top recommendation for most people. This filter delivered an exemplary performance in all of our impurity removal tests, delivering a particularly standout performance when it came to removing minerals. It also did very well in our taste test, greatly enhancing the taste of our contaminated water and failing to impart any negative flavors on pure water.
However, this pitcher only has a 10-cup capacity, causing it to deliver an unimpressive performance in our flow rate test. It pours already filtered water very quickly, but it does take a decent amount of time to refill and re-filter the water. Regardless, this is still an amazing product at an even better price and is our absolute favorite water filter that we have tested.
Read Full Review: ZeroWater 10-Cup Pitcher
Best Under the Sink Filter
If you think that the continually filling up a pitcher water filter or you need a much larger capacity than a pitcher, then you should consider the ISpring RCC7. This under the sink filter delivered a fantastic performance in our lead and chlorine removal tests and a great job in our mineral removal assessments. This filter makes the water taste crisp and clean and doesn't impart any negative flavors.
However, this product is definitely on the more expensive side, both initially and when purchasing replacement filters. The RCC7 is a much larger system that will eat up a non-trivial amount of the space under your sink and has a much more involved installation process. It also has a relatively mediocre flow rate. Despite all of this, it is still our first choice when it comes to under the sink water filters, making it a great option for someone who wants clean and great tasting filtered water on tap at all times.
Read Full Review: iSpring RCC7
Best Value for Under the Sink Filters
If you got sticker shock at the price of the iSpring but are still set on an under the sink filter, then consider the APEC WFS-1000. This product costs quite a bit less and has only a slight drop in performance compared to the iSpring, making it an excellent option if you are shopping on a budget. This model does an excellent job of removing both lead and chlorine from the water and has an exceptionally high flow rate.
Unfortunately, this model does a relatively abysmal job at extracting minerals from the water. It also didn't do an amazing job in our taste tests. It doesn't impart any bad flavors in pure water, but we definitely could taste residual traces of salt and chlorine in our contaminated water test. This filter also will take up a decent amount of the space under your sink and will take a bit of time to install. However, if you are trying to save some cash on an under the sink filter and don't mind minerals in your water, then the WFS-1000 is an excellent choice.
Read Full Review: APEC WFS-1000
Best Faucet Mount Filter
While the BRITA SAFF-100 didn't distinguish itself overall, it is our favorite option of the faucet mount variety. It did very well at removing chlorine and has a mediocre flow rate.
However, this filter is definitely a disappointment when it came to extracting lead or minerals from the water. It also didn't do an amazing job of making contaminated water taste great. Regardless, it is a great value pick and the best option if you aren't interested in a pitcher or permanent under the sink system.
Read Full Review: BRITA SAFF-100
Analysis and Test Results
To find out which water filter truly topped them all, we bought all the best and tested them against each other in a series of side-by-side challenges. We created a controlled testing setup that allowed us to add impurities to the water supply for each filter and then collect before and after samples to send to a lab for analysis. We used these results, as well as the results of our blind taste and flow rate tests to give a score to each filter in five different weighted rating metrics: Lead Removal, Flow, Taste, Chlorine Removal, and Mineral Removal. Additionally, we also looked at the price of each product relative to its performance to help you pick the best product if you are shopping on a tight budget.
Surprisingly, our overall winner, the ZeroWater Pitcher is an excellent value. This product delivered the best score overall and has one of the lowest prices of the entire group. If this one is still too expensive, the BRITA SAFF-100 is a few bucks cheaper, but this reduction does come with a substantial drop in price. If under sink filters are more your style, then either the iSpring RCC7 or the APEC WFS-1000 Super Capacity are fantastic options. The RCC7 performs a little better, but the APEC is a better option if you are looking for a better bang for the buck.
Our Lead Removal metric accounts for 25% of the total score for each filter. To score the performance of each filter, we conducted a single test: percentage of lead removed from the supply. We dissolved lead shavings in vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, then seeded the isolated water supply tank until it reached a concentration of 2.3 ppm — well above the EPA legal limit of 0.015 ppm for drinking water. We then ran this contaminated water through each filter and collected samples to send to a local lab for testing, with our rankings of the filters shown below.
Five filters tied for the top spot, with the ZeroWater Pitcher, the Home Master HydroPerfection, the iSpring RCC7, the APEC Essence, and the APEC WFS-1000 all meriting a 10 out of 10. These filters all removed 99% or more of the lead from the supply, bringing the lead levels in the water well below the EPA limit.
Unfortunately, the remainder of the filters in the group failed to mitigate the contamination to a level below the acceptable amount. The closest to the EPA level in our test was the BRITA SAFF-100, earning it a 6 out of 10. This pitcher filter reduced the lead levels to about 0.066 ppm — still over four times the acceptable level.
The Woder and the BRITA Pitcher came next, reducing the lead levels to 0.16 ppm and 0.38 ppm, respectively. This translates to exceeding the acceptable level by about 10.5 times and 25 times, earning these filters a 4 and a 3 out of 10.
Finishing at the back of the group, the Nanan and the PUR delivered extremely poor performances. The Nanan reduced the lead levels to 0.55 ppm — over 36 times more than the EPA requirement and earning a 2 out of 10. The PUR did even more poorly, only reducing the lead concentration to 0.91 ppm, a whopping 60 times more than the EPA level. Consequently, the PUR earned the lowest score possible of 1 out of 10 when it came to lead removal.
Next, we looked at how well each filter did at removing chlorine for this metric, also worth 25% of the total score for each water filter. To assess the performance of each filter, we conducted two tests: a chlorine torture test with levels that were incredibly high and one with more moderate levels. This translated to about 1370 ppm in the torture test and 20-50 ppm in the moderate level, with the typical pool having 1-4 ppm for reference. We used chlorine bleach to spike the levels in our supply and measured the concentration using chlorine test strips. These strips use a color scale to show the approximate ppm, but the differences between filters were quite severe, making scoring the results quite easy, as shown below.
Again, we had a large group of products tie for the top spot, with the APEC Essence, the WFS-1000, the iSpring RCC7, the ZeroWater Pitcher, and the Home Master HydroPerfection all earned a 10 out of 10 for their superb showing when it came to removing chlorine.
All of these filters removed essentially all of the chlorine from the water, with the test strip failing to indicate any color in both our torture and moderate chlorine test — a particularly impressive feat.
Following this top performance, the BRITA SAFF-100 merited a 9 out of 10. While this product removed all of the chlorine from the 20-50 ppm supply water, it left some residual chlorine after the torture test — somewhere between 10-20 ppm.
The PUR FM-2000B came next, again removing all of the chlorine from the lower concentration supply. However, our test strips indicated over 20 ppm remaining in the water from the high concentration supply after we ran it through the filter. This earned the PUR an 8 out of 10.
The Woder 10K-Gen3 and the BRITA Everyday Pitcher both received a 7 out of 10. This pair of filters both did very well with the moderate concentration supply, with the Woder reducing it to 0 ppm and the BRITA Everyday dropping the concentration to 1 ppm. However, both of these models left a concentration of well over 20 ppm behind when we ran the high concentration supply water through them, exceeding the maximum range of our test strips
Finishing at the back of the pack, the Nanan Healthy Faucet earned a 3 out of 10 for its poor showing. This model showed the highest chlorine levels with the moderate concentration supply at 10-20 ppm and maxed out the test strip with the high concentration supply, leaving well over 20 ppm behind.
Similar to our other two impurity removal metrics, Mineral Removal also is responsible for 25% of the total score. We used standard table salt as our sample mineral and used a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) meter to measure the concentration. We found that this meter would tend to give us slightly different results each time, on the order of plus or minus up to 20 ppm, so we conducted multiple trials for each filter and took the median result to determine scores. Our supply water started with a concentration of about 445 ppm, with many of the filters struggling substantially in this test, as shown in the following chart.
Breaking the trend, the ZeroWater Pitcher is the sole filter at the top, earning a 10 out of 10 for its unmatched performance. This filter completely removed all of the dissolved minerals, with our TDS meter either reading 0 ppm or 1 ppm.
Next, the iSpring RCC7 and the APEC Essence both earned a 9 out of 10 for their excellent performances. These filters removed the bulk of the dissolved salt, leaving concentrations of about 21 ppm and 16 ppm, respectively — over a 95% reduction from the supply!
The HydroPerfection came next and is the last of the filters that did well in this metric, earning an 8 out of 10 for its efforts. This under the sink filter reduced the salt concentration to around 49 ppm.
Finishing next, the APEC WFS-1000 proved to be a bit of a disappointment, delivering a very poor performance that was a stark contrast to its prior excellent showing. This water filter merited a 2 out of 10, only reducing the salt concentration by about 40 ppm, putting it around 405 ppm in total.
Rounding out the back of the group, the remaining filters (BRITA SAFF-100, BRITA Pitcher, Nanan, PUR, and Woder) all earned a 1 out of 10. These filters essentially failed to reduce the concentration of salt in the slightest, with any reductions being well within the variation of the TDS meter.
After our impurity removal triad, we moved on to what most people will immediately notice when using these products: Taste. To assess the performance of each filter in this metric, worth 15% of the overall score, we made a batch of foul tasting water by mixing a decent amount of both salt and chlorine into our supply tank. We then ran this water through each of the filters and had a panel of tasters blindly taste and score each water. Additionally, we also ran pure water through each filter and repeated the process, to see if any of the filters actually degraded the taste of the water. You can see which water filters did the best — and worst! — in terms of taste in the following chart.
Some familiar faces claimed the top spot, with the Zero Water, the HydroPerfection, the iSpring, and the APEC Essence all earning a 9 out of 10 for the superior tasting water that they produced. This quartet all removed any taste of chlorine and salt, producing clear, crisp, and refreshing water. They also failed to impart any taste on the pure water, leaving it untainted.
Following this top group, the BRITA Everyday Pitcher earned the second highest score of 6 out of 10, slightly redeeming its previously lackluster performance. This filter didn't impart any negative taste on the pure water, but it couldn't quite remove the negative flavors in our contaminated water test. Our tasting panel didn't think that it necessarily tasted bad, but unanimously agreed that something tasted off with it.
The APEC WFS-1000 and the SAFF-100 both earned a 5 out of 10 for their mediocre performance. This pair also didn't degrade pure water, but there was definitely a noticeably undesirable taste left behind. The water samples weren't quite undrinkable, but were definitely well on the way there.
The FM-2000B and the Woder came next, both earning a 4 out of 10 for their substandard performances. The PUR left behind distinct traces of chlorine when filtering the tainted water, while the Woder created water that was significantly salty. At this point, none of our testers felt that they would continue to drink this water voluntarily. On top of that, this pair also imparted a slightly funky taste to the pure water, with the Woder, in particular, leaving an odd salty aftertaste.
Finishing in a familiar spot, the Nanan claimed the last place position, earning a 3 out of 10 for its pitiful performance. This filter imparted such a bad taste to the clean water that the majority of our testers spit it out immediately. It also failed to clean the chlorine and salt spiked water, with only a marginal improvement in taste from our untreated control sample.
For the final metric of our test, responsible for the residual 10% of the total score, we evaluated and scored the flow rate for each product. We timed how long it took to fill up a quart container. Each filtration system was full at the start of the test with that time not included in our score, but we did keep the clock running if the system ran out of water and had to filter more. There was a bit of a shift to the usual order, as shown in the following graphic.
The Nanan and the Woder claimed the top spot in a stunning upset, both earning a 10 out of 10. These filters only took 10 seconds and 12 seconds to fill a quart container — just slightly longer than the 9 seconds it took the unimpeded faucet.
Next, the APEC WFS-1000 earned a 9 out of 10 for its exceptionally high flow rate, almost matching the top models. It only took about 15 seconds for the APEC to completely fill the test container.
After this top trio of performers, there was a bit of a drop in performance, with the Home Master HydroPerfection taking close to a minute and a half — 84 seconds — to fill the quart container.
The bulk of the filters came next, with the SAFF-100, BRITA Everyday, iSpring, PUR FM-2000B, and ZeroWatcher Pitcher all earned a 5 out of 10. The ZeroWater and the BRITA Everyday both have exceptionally high flow rates, being pitchers, but neither had the capacity to fill the 1-quart container without being refilled and having to re-filter the water, taking a decent amount of time and hurting their score significantly.
The BRITA SAFF-100 and the PUR both just have reduced flow rates for faucet filters, taking about 25 and 30 seconds to fill a quart container, respectively. The iSpring is the slowest of this group, taking 35 seconds to accomplish the task.
Finishing last, the APEC Essence has the lowest flow rate of the overall group, taking 38 seconds to output a quart of water.
Hopefully, this review has helped you in your quest to get the best tasting and cleanest water for your home. If you want to find out more about these products and purifying water in general, head on over to , or if you are more interested in what we actually did to test these products and score the results, check out our How We Test article for a full explanation of our water filter testing processes and procedures.
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for more info.