Are Water Filter Pitchers Effective? We Have the Answer!

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2022/03/18 - Updated: 2022/08/15

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Have you noticed that the water at your home has a weird taste or smell? Well, that means it’s time to implement some sort of water filtering system.

Looking at various options, water filter pitchers seem to be among the best. They are easy to use and maintain, and affordable. But the best thing about them is that they provide you with clean water in 10 to 15 minutes.

However, not all pitchers can purify water from all its potential contaminants. This raises the question of whether they are truly effective. Let’s find it out!

So, here is our guide answering the question, are water filter pitchers effective!

Are Water Filter Pitchers Effective?

Are Water Filter Pitchers Effective thumbnail

If you consider buying a water filter pitcher, you probably want to know if it will really do its job. There is no simple answer to this. Water filter pitchers have good but also bad sides:

They are simple to use, cheap, and remove unpleasant odor and taste from water. However, sometimes they just do that but don’t remove dangerous contaminants like lead and chemicals.

In order to get the most out of your water filter pitcher and enjoy all benefits of drinking completely clean water, you should invest in a premium model. These pitchers not only eliminate taste and smell but also any hazardous pesticides, metals, most bacteria, and other organic and inorganic matter.

Having all this in mind, what can we say about the effectiveness of water filter pitchers? Are they effective? Yes and no. It all depends on the model you buy. Namely, if you buy a cheap one, you shouldn’t expect it to do more than improving water aesthetics. But, if you invest more, it will eliminate most to all impurities from your drinking water.

In fact, if you want to buy a water filter pitcher that will ensure total water cleanliness, you should go for models that have been NSF-tested or certified.

How Do Water Filter Pitchers Work?

The exact way water filter pitchers work depends on the type of pitcher. They use various types of filter media, such as ion exchange resin and activated carbon.

Water filter pitchers are small and compact, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of doing their job. On the contrary, they can purify smaller amounts of water effectively.

However, keep in mind that you need to replace your pitcher’s filter cartridge every 1-4 months if you want it to serve you for a long time.

The Most Common Contaminants and Impurities in Water

Lead

Lead is one of the hazardous elements that can be found in our water supplies. This metal is common in places with an old pipe network or plumbing system.

The bad thing about lead is that it doesn’t alter how your water smells or tastes. Also, lead is dangerous to your health even if you consume only a small amount of it. Prolonged consumption can lead to various issues[1], including:

  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Anemia
  • Mood changes
  • Hearing problems

What’s even worse, kids are most prone to these health conditions.

This makes lead removal a must-have function for water filtering pitchers. But, can they really eliminate this contaminant? It depends on the model. Many filter pitchers can remove over 99% lead.

Fluoride

While low levels of fluoride prevent teeth decay, high levels can lead to teeth discoloration in kids and skeletal fluorosis.

To ensure your water doesn’t contain an excess of fluoride, you should use an ion exchange water filter pitcher.

Natural Fluoride Crystal

Bacteria and Viruses

Some bacteria and viruses are beneficial for your health but others can be harmful. The harmful ones cause flu-like symptoms and have a negative impact on the function of your gut.

To make sure your water is free from harmful bacteria and viruses, it’s best to use ceramic water filter pitchers.

Chloramine

Chloramine is a water disinfectant that is dangerous to hemodialysis patients because it creates a byproduct called nitrosamine. Apart from being dangerous to said patients, nitrosamine can also support the development of diseases like cancer.

The problem with chloramine is that it’s difficult to remove from water. The only way to do it is by using pitchers filters with catalytic carbon. Another option is activated carbon blocks, although less effective.

Chlorine

Chlorine is an impurity rather than a contaminant since it’s added to our water supplies to kill microorganisms. But, then, if it’s intentionally added to water, why remove it?

It’s because chlorine adds weird smell and taste which concerns many people. Also, it can create dangerous byproducts just as chloramine does.

If you don’t want to drink water with chlorine taste and smell, you should purchase a water filter pitch with activated carbon. Also, don’t forget to check for NSF standard 42, which tests products for their chlorine removal abilities. And, for best results, choose a product that achieves 99% chlorine reduction.

Pesticides

Pesticides, as well as herbicides, are often found in groundwater. Unlike the abovementioned contaminants, these don’t cause severe health conditions. However, they decrease water quality, thus making it inconsumable.

To eliminate pesticides and herbicides from water, it’s best to use filtration pitchers with activated carbon.

Disinfection Byproducts

Chlorine and chloramine are known to form disinfection byproducts[2]. The most common ones are:

  • Chlorite
  • Chlorate
  • Organic chloramines
  • Trihalomethanes
  • Haloacetic acetic acids

These contaminants are dangerous because their prolonged use can lead to bladder cancer. Fortunately, you can eliminate them by using a filter water pitcher based on carbon.

Chromium 6

Chromium 6 has multiple negative effects on humans, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps
  • Liver issues
  • Kidney issues
  • Reproductive issues
  • Intestinal bleeding

Ion exchange resin is the most effective type of filter media to remove chromium 6, with around 98% reduction.

Perfluorinated Chemicals

These chemicals are being used in the manufacturing of various types of products like cookware. Somehow, they find their way into our water causing reduced immune function as well as liver and pancreatic issues.

To remove perfluorinated chemicals from water, it’s best to use pitchers with catalytic carbon and ion exchange resin.

VOCs

VOCs are hazardous compounds that can cause various health issues, including:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Eye irritation
  • Nose irritation
  • Throat irritation
  • Skin issues

If consumed in high doses, they can also cause problems with the liver, kidneys, and our nervous system. Prolonged consumption may also lead to cancer.

To eliminate all volatile organic compounds from your water, you should use carbon-based water filter pitchers.

Microplastics

microplastics on spoon

Plastic seems to be everywhere, even in our water in the form of microscopic pieces. Drinking water containing microplastics can be toxic and lead to metabolic issues, inflammatory lesions, and even cancer.

The bad news is that most water filter pitchers aren’t able to remove microplastics from water. Fortunately, ceramic pitchers can do that with some products removing almost 100 percent.

Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals like antibiotics, antibacterial products, detergents, human hormones, and animal hormones, can easily end up in your water system. It’s because people usually don’t dispose of them properly. Due to containing chemicals and other components harmful to humans, they must be removed from drinking water.

To successfully cleanse your water, you should use a filtering pitcher with activated carbon media.

Do You Know What’s in Your Water?

Your water may look clean, but that doesn’t mean it is clean. That’s why it’s very important to know what’s in your water. Once you do, you’ll be able to choose the right water filter pitcher.

But, how to find out what’s in your water?

The best way is by testing. You can use a DIY test kit, send a water sample to a lab, or ask your local water supplier for a water quality report. And, while the choice is yours, sending a water sample to a lab is the best option as they will provide you with the most accurate results.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Filter Jugs

Advantages

  • Easy to use – Pitchers are compact and don’t require any special knowledge to use them right.
  • Affordable – Pitchers are quite affordable, with prices ranging from $20 to $70.
  • Light and portable – Due to being small and compact, water filter pitchers are light and can be carried around wherever you want.
  • Contaminant removing properties – Water filter pitchers can successfully remove many hazardous contaminants thus ensuring clean and fresh drinking water.
  • Smell and taste removing properties – Sometimes water can have a weird taste and smell. Pitchers filter the impurities responsible, thus eliminating both odors and weird taste.
  • Eco-friendly – Water filter pitchers are great, eco-friendly substitutes for bottled water.

Disadvantages

  • Hard to clean – Although pitchers are easy to maintain, they can be hard to clean as bacteria can build up in their hollows and curves.
  • Extra costs – While pitchers are affordable upfront, they do have side costs – for replacing filter cartridges. These replacements will add a monthly cost of around $20.
  • Low storage capacity – Due to being small, water filter pitchers have a low storage capacity of around 2 liters. Often, that’s not enough for an average 4-member household, which means you’ll have to refill multiple times a day.
  • Ineffective filtration – Cheaper pitchers can’t remove most contaminants. This puts you in danger of consuming heavy metals and chemicals etc., which can lead to various health issues.
  • Non-instant filtration – A good water filter pitcher needs 10-15 minutes to provide you with clean water.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if a water filter pitcher is effective or not depends on the filtration process it applies.

Certain types of filter media are more effective than others.

Contaminants that can be removed using a good water filter pitcher include lead, fluoride, microorganisms, chlorine/chloramine, pesticides, chromium 6, VOCs and microplastics.

Testing your water quality will help you find your ideal pitcher water filter.

Further Reading

Resources

Meet Jason Hollow

Jason Hollow Jason is the founder of Water Masterz and head of content creation. After six years in the industry, he has tremendous knowledge and first-hand experience on all things related to water treatment.

His credo: Not a single American should have to drink unhealthy water at home.

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