7 Best Water Filters, According to Food Network Kitchen

From water bottles to your whole home, these are the best water filters you can buy.

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April 06, 2023

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Our Top Water Filter Picks

By Sharon Franke for Food Network Kitchen

We all drink water, but increasingly, we’re concerned about not only how our water tastes but what’s in it that could be dangerous to our health. While one way to get peace of mind is to buy bottled water, a less expensive, more sustainable solution is to filter the drinking water from your tap. While the water in your home may be perfectly safe and just not taste delicious, it’s also possible that it contains harmful contaminants. We suggest that you find out what’s actually in your tap water and then buy a water filtering product that works for you. Here’s all the information you need to help you make a good decision including our top picks for various types of water filters.

What To Know About Water Filters

They don’t all remove the same things from your water.

Some water filters merely strain out elements like chlorine that affect the taste and smell of your water while others remove harmful elements like lead, organisms, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. Before you decide what kind of filter to buy, we recommend finding out what’s actually in your water. Your local utility can provide a Consumer Confidence Report but you can get an even better analysis of the water in your home by having it tested. That way you’ll find out if any contaminants have been picked up from the pipes carrying it through the city or in your house. If you get your water from a private well, it’s essential to have your water independently tested, as wells aren’t regulated. Check the EPA website for certified labs.

Once you have determined what’s in your water, read the fine print on water filter labels or on the manual online to determine which ones filter out the contaminants in your water. Or if there is nothing to be concerned about, select one that will improve the taste of your water.

Look for a third-party certification.

Check for a certification from NSF or another accredited lab such as UL, CSA, or the Water Quality Association which gives products it approves of its Gold Seal. These organizations test products to make sure they actually remove what they say they do. It is not enough to see a statement like “tested to” or “meets” NSF/ANSI standards; you want to see a Lab’s mark on the packaging.

Change your filters.

When you notice that the flow rate is slowing down or that the water color is changing, you know it’s time to change your filter. Particles become trapped in the pores of the filter and eventually the filter becomes so clogged that it no longer works effectively. Be sure to use the cartridges recommended by the manufacturer of your filter. While a generic filter or one from another company may look similar in size and even seem to fit, even the smallest size difference could allow contaminated water to go around the cartridge rather than through it.

Photo by: Pur c/o Walmart

Pur c/o Walmart

Types of Water Filters

Water Filter Pitcher

These models are good for people who want better tasting drinking water, and we've tested a ton. Reasonably priced, they’re easy to set up but do occupy some space in your fridge. Virtually all pitchers will remove chlorine but if you have other contaminants in your water, you need to read the label carefully. The rate of filtering varies, depending on the model. (We also found a top filtering water bottle if you're on the-go.)

Countertop Water Filter

These products are easy to install. While there are some with a reservoir that you fill with water, most require that you simply screw one end of a hose onto your faucet. While countertop models are great for filtering out a wide array of chemicals from large quantities of water and rarely clog, they can be slow to filter. Plus, they take up countertop space.

Faucet Water Filter

By screwing one of these devices onto your faucet, you have a constant stream of water filtered of lead, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other contaminants, whether you’re filling a drinking glass or a tea kettle. Keep in mind, that a faucet filter can slow down the rate of flow. When you’re washing the dishes and don’t need filtered water, you can easily switch it off, preserving the life of the filter. You need to be careful that the product you choose works with your faucet.

Under-the-Sink Water Filter

Instead of cluttering the counter, this type, which also allow you to filter large quantities of water for many unwanted impurities, sits beneath the sink. However, an under-the sink filter can be expensive and almost all require a separate faucet. If you don’t have an extra hole in your sink or countertop for a second faucet, you’ll need to hire in a pro to cut one out and unless you’re very handy, you’ll want to call in a plumber to install the filter.

Whole House Filters

A whole house water filter connects to the main water supply line within the house and filters all the cold water in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. This type of filter is mainly designed to remove chlorine for better testing water from every tap in the house. It will also protect your skin, hair, and laundry from chlorine; although small quantities of chlorine in water aren’t considered harmful, it can be an allergen and can accelerate wear and tear on clothes. If you’re looking to remove lead and other contaminants from your water, you can’t depend on a whole house system. In addition to being costly and requiring professional installation, a whole house filter may need professional maintenance.

Refrigerator Water Filter

If you have a refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser and a water filter, you may not need a water filtering device. Depending on the particular filter, fridge filters can reduce many of the same contaminants as a countertop or undercounter filter but you need to read the fine print, if you want to depend on one to remove more than chlorine.

How We Picked

We have years of experience researching and testing water filtering products as well as using them in our own homes. That’s why we’re confident that the water filters we’re recommending are the best you can buy. To double check our selections, we read what other professional reviewers have to say and what users report about their experiences. Our chief concern was the filtering ability of each product; we looked for products that could do more than simply improve the taste of water. We also checked for filters that wouldn’t greatly affect the rate of flow.


This reasonably priced 10-cup pitcher has a filter that only has to be changed about every six months, which means less maintenance and fewer dollars spent on replacements. As you would expect, it removes chlorine to give you better tasting water but what really make it our best overall is its ability to filter out lead, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals, and endocrine disruptors. The Brita is also fast — expect it to take about 4 minutes to filter enough water to fill the entire pitcher. Our only gripe with this model is that you have to handwash it.

Buy It

If you’re confident that your water is safe but are trying to avoid storing water in plastic, consider this slim 5-cup glass pitcher. It’s lightweight and attractive enough to bring to the table for serving. Although it has a relatively small capacity, it filters exceptionally quickly so you can easily fill the pitcher while everyone’s sitting down to dinner. Just keep in mind, that the Hydros only removes chlorine so although it will improve the taste of your tap water, it won’t remove any harmful contaminants. The filter needs to be changed about every two months.

Buy It
$79.38 $34.99
Roll Back

With its ability to remove 71 contaminants, including lead, mercury, pesticides, BPA, VOC’s, and pharmaceuticals, this is our top choice for a filter to attach to your faucet. You get all this filtering power at a very reasonable price. It has a sleek appearance and is available with your choice of a chrome, metallic gray, sea glass or matter silver finish so you can coordinate it with the fixtures in your kitchen. The Pur is easy to attach and comes with several adapters so you should be able to match one to the threading on your faucet. A toggle switch directs the water through the filter or turns it off so that you don’t have to use filtered water for washing your dishes. An indicator light will alert you when it’s time to change the filter, about every three months.

Buy It
$99.99 $69.98
$30 Off

Sitting next to your sink, this water filtering device will take up about the same amount of space as two six packs of soda pop stacked on top of one another. In exchange for giving it some room on your countertop, it’ll filter out an impressive number of contaminants including lead, cysts, VOCs and pharmaceuticals such as ibuprofen and estrone from your tap water. You won’t need any tools to install it. Plan on replacing the filter about twice a year.

Buy It

You’ll need to pull out your tool kit or call in a handyman to install the Aquasana, but once it’s in place beneath your sink, you can turn on the tap without giving a thought to what’s in your water and without noticing a reduced flow rate which is great if you’re often filling a large pasta pot. Lead, mercury, cysts, drugs, pesticides are among the contaminants it’s certified by NSF to remove. About every six months, an alarm and a flashing light will let you know that the filters need replacing. It comes with a faucet in your choice of chrome, brushed nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze. Be aware that the unit is bulky so will limit the space under your cabinet for storing cleaning supplies.

Buy It
$1198 $749
37% Off

The combined cost of the Rhino plus a professional installation is a major expense but for your investment you get chlorine-free water throughout your home. That means you not only have filtered water for drinking and cooking but also for brushing your teeth, bathing your kids, and doing your laundry. If hard water is also a problem in your house, you can add a salt-free water conditioner although it will about double the price. Another option is a UV filter to kill viruses, bacteria, and cysts that can grow in chlorine-free water; it too costs almost as much as the basic unit. Although the tanks only need to be replaced every there six years, it uses “pre-filters” that need to be changed every 2 months.

Buy It
$29.99 $24.99
16% Off

If you refill your water bottle throughout the day and want great tasting water, the Brita with a built-in filter is the perfect choice. The slim filter fits inside the straw and remains effective at removing chlorine and other contaminants that affect taste and odor for about 2 months. However, keep in mind that it won’t remove lead or any harmful contaminants. As a water bottle, the Brita has just about every positive attribute you can think of. With stainless steel insulation, it keeps your beverages icy for as long as 24 hours. It’s leakproof and won’t form sweat beads on the outside so can be tossed in a tote without worry that it will make a mess. There’s a straw for sipping but the lid is removable to add ice. On top, there’s a handle to make it easy to carry when walking and it’s slim enough to fit in a car’s cup holder. The only negative we can think of is that the filter adds a little weight to the bottle. One filter is included with the bottle.

Buy It

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