Best Water Filtration Systems of 2020

A water filtration system improves the taste of tap water and eliminates harmful contaminants. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best water filtration system to keep your family happy and healthy.

Drink Clean with the Best Water Filtration Systems

If the water that comes out of your tap is less than pristine, you may be spending a lot of money each week on bottled water. A home water filtration system is an environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water that's also nice to your wallet.

The best water filtration systems can filter out up to 99 percent of harmful chemicals from your tap water. But with so many of these appliances on the market, choosing the right water filtration system for your home can prove daunting. Do you need an under-sink system, a simple faucet-mounted system, or a whole-house water filtration system?

At BestReviews, our goal is to answer your shopping questions. Through in-depth research, testing products in our labs and the field, interviewing experts, and gathering feedback from existing customers, we can pinpoint the best of the best for you. And because we never accept free products from manufacturers, you can trust that our recommendations are 100 percent unbiased.

If you're ready to purchase a water filtration system, simply scroll up for BestReviews' top picks. For everything you need to know about water filtration systems before you buy, you've come to the right place.

The more stages a water filtration system uses, the more thoroughly it filters drinking water.

What a Water Filtration System Can Do for Your Water

First, let's consider the benefits of adding a water filtration system to your home.

  • A water filtration system is a great option if the tap water in your area is unsafe to drink.
  • By filtering out hazardous contaminants from tap water, a water filtration system provides peace of mind.
  • Water filtration systems are less expensive in the long run and much more eco-friendly than bottled water.
  • Water filtration systems improve the taste of tap water.
  • Water filtration systems reduce the effects of hard water on clothing, dishes, and your skin and hair.

Hard water doesn't just damage your dishes and clothes. It can be a problem for sensitive skin, too. A water filtration system can reduce hard water's effects.

Do You Need a Whole-House Water Filtration System?

There are three main types of home water filtration systems: whole-house, under-sink, or faucet-mounted.

Whole-House Water Filtration Systems
Whole-house water filtration systems filter all the water in your home. They keep chlorine and other chemicals out of not just your drinking water but your washing machine and dishwasher, too. Whole-house water filtration systems can protect your home's plumbing, but they require more maintenance than other types of water filtration systems. These filtration systems are also more expensive and harder to install.

Under-Sink Water Filtration Systems
Under-sink water filtration systems are installed under a sink and usually have multiple filters. They only filter water from a single source. Under-sink water filtration systems are harder to install than faucet-mounted water filtration systems, but they offer more thorough filtration.

Faucet-Mounted Water Filtration Systems
Faucet-mounted water filtration systems are the least expensive and easiest to install. Like under-sink water filtration systems, they can only filter water from the specific tap where they are installed. Faucet-mounted water filtration systems usually do not offer multistage filtration.

Some under-sink water filtration systems come with a compatible faucet for easy installation.

How Does a Water Filtration System Filter Water?

Water filtration systems utilize different types of filters to trap chemicals, sediment, and other substances in tap water. Some water filtration systems use multiple stages, or a combination of filter types, for the most efficient and thorough filtration. The more stages a water filtration system uses, the better it will be at eliminating harmful substances from your drinking water. Let's take a look at the types of filters used in water filtration systems.

UV
A UV filter purifies water with ultraviolet light. UV filters are often combined with other filters for maximum benefit in water filtration systems. Extra maintenance is involved with UV filters as the bulbs must be replaced every year or so.

Carbon
Carbon filters are commonly used in water filtration systems and effectively remove foul tastes and odors from water. Carbon is particularly effective at removing chlorine and chloramine from water.

Reverse Osmosis
Reverse osmosis is used in under-sink or faucet-mounted water filtration systems. Reverse osmosis filters out nearly every contaminant found in tap water. Reverse osmosis water filtration systems also have pre-filters, which help protect the system's membrane. Membranes require regular replacement, which means more upkeep. The reverse osmosis filtration process is slower and can be more wasteful compared to other water filtration systems.

Distillation
A distillation water filtration system heats water to create steam. The steam condenses as it cools, returning to its liquid state. Distilled water often doesn't taste as good as water filtered through other systems, and distillation also removes the good minerals in your tap water. The water filtration process is slow, too.

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Shop for a System that Eliminates All Impurities

There are three main types of contaminants found in tap water: visible sediment, chemicals like chlorine, and iron. A good water filtration system filters out all three.

Flow Rate and More: What to Consider When Buying a Water Filtration System

Coverage Area
Depending on the type of water filtration system you choose, you'll be able to get clean water throughout your house or only from one faucet. If you live in an area where the tap water is heavily contaminated, a whole-house water filtration system will ensure all the water in your home is safe to drink.

Flow Rate and Size
Check a water filtration system's flow rate (listed in gallons per minute) to see how much water is available at one time. Flow rate can range from 15 to 40 gallons per minute. The ideal flow rate depends on your family's size and daily water requirements.

The size of a water filtration system affects pressure and flow, too. Larger homes or families should opt for a larger water filtration system to ensure filtered water is readily available when needed.

Installation
Most under-sink and faucet-mounted water filtration systems are easy to install and do not require a professional. If you are considering a whole-house water filtration system, also consider the additional cost of professional installation.

Certification
Check to see whether the water filtration system you're considering is certified, either by the NSF or the Water Quality Association, to ensure its filtration claims have been tested and verified.

Indicator
Some water filtration systems have indicators that let you know when a filter needs replacing via a light or an audible beep. This is a handy feature if you tend to forget to replace filters.

Maintenance
No matter what water filtration system you choose, you'll need to replace the filters on a regular basis. Some water filtration systems have filters that are easy to access and change, while other systems require additional maintenance, since their filters are more complicated to replace.

Price
The upfront cost of a water filtration system can be expensive, but in the long run it's an economical solution. Faucet-mounted and under-sink water filtration systems usually top out at $300. Whole-house water filtration systems can cost as much as $3,000, not including the cost of installation.

Some whole-house water filtration systems have built-in sensors that detect leaks and flooding to protect your home from water damage.

FAQ

Q. Are there any drawbacks to whole-house water filtration systems?
A. Whole-house water filtration systems are expensive, so the first consideration should be your budget. Whole-house water filtration systems may also remove fewer contaminants than multistage under-sink water filtration systems.

Q. How do I know if I need a water filtration system?
A. The easiest way to find out if there are contaminants in your water is to get it tested. You can also test your water yourself with a testing kit. Testing kits can be obtained from government agencies, but they are also available at many home-improvement stores.

Q. Can I install a whole-house water filtration system on my own?
A. For a whole-house water filtration system, BestReviews recommends hiring a professional plumber to do the installation, even if you are very handy.

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Check That Filter Replacements Are Compatible with Your Specific System

Only use replacement filters that are specifically meant for your water filtration system. Other filters can reduce the efficacy of your water filtration system.

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