How to Choose the Best Water Filter for You
Everything you want to know about filtering your drinking water.
We can all agree drinking clean water is a must for good health. A water filtration system can help ensure you're drinking clean water and help the environment by cutting back on the need for plastic water bottles. Here are some tips to help you figure out which water filter is best for you.
How Do Water Filters Work?
While municipalities work to keep water supplies safe to drink, it is still possible for pollutants to get into your drinking water. Filters add another layer of protection, helping to remove even trace amounts of bacteria, heavy metals and pesticides, providing water that is better tasting and better for you. Basic filters can be used for pitchers while other models are meant to be hooked up to your tap or other water supply.
What Do You Need to Filter from Your Water?
Several factors can lead to contaminants in your water. For example, old plumbing or run-off from nearby agricultural and factories can lead to soil and water contamination from heavy metals like lead, toxins like mercury, and some potentially harmful types of bacteria. Some local water treatment facilities add chlorine for disinfection purposes and while this is legal and considered safe by the EPA, some prefer to filter it out before taking a sip.
How To Tell If Your Water Needs Filtering
It’s a fact, water from different sources tastes different, and while variations in odor, color, taste and clarity is typical but can make it hard to know if your local water source is safe.
Companies like Cloud and the Environmental Working Group publicly display contaminant levels based on water company data. While this is not necessarily definitive data, it may help you choose the right water filter for your geographical region. Interested in testing the water from your own tap? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also offers info on when and how to conduct water testing in your own home.
Is It Ever Safe to Drink Straight from the Tap?
For the most part, yes, usually. Local municipalities work hard to keep your tap water safe, but using a filter add extra layers of protection by removing impurities and optimizing flavor.
How to Choose a Water Filter
Many filters use products like charcoal to extract impurities from your water as it passes through. It leaves behind the minerals that you actually want to drink.
Another filtration method, known as reverse osmosis is a multi-layered process that exposes water to several filters. Some suggest against using this high powdered method as it removes some of the good minerals you want to glean from your glass.
Popular Water Filters You Can Buy Online
Different filters for different folks! Here are some of the most reliable brands and where they shine.
A long-standing favorite for its affordability, accessibility and ease of use. The carbon filter in this design helps remove copper, mercury and chlorine from your water. Don’t worry, fluoride (often added to the water supply for dental health) still makes its way into your glass.
Available in both faucet and pitcher filters, Pur products remove mercury, lead and an impressive number of industrial pollutants. Removal of chlorine improves taste and reduces odors.
This super popular system filters and purifies water in 2.25 gallon batches from the tap but can also be used with water from ponds and streams. It’s a fairly large contraption with several small parts but detailed online user instructions can help guide you. The specialized, cleanable filters remove more types of bacteria and contaminants than other brands, according to the product website. Like other standalone models, these machines are very expensive, costing around $400.
This reusable water bottle comes with its own built-in filtration systems to remove lead, chlorine and other particulates. Great for on the go and an additional layer of protection for when you aren’t familiar with the water source.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from basic filters are products like the countertop AquaTru filtration system. This method of uses the process of reverse osmosis via a 4-stage process to process 1 gallon of tap water in about 15 minutes. Standalone machines such as this have excellent reviews but do come at a higher price point.