Best Water Filter Pitcher: 8 Reviews + Buyer’s Guide 2021

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2021/10/21 - Updated: 2021/10/28

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If you want the easiest way to filter water at home, a water filter pitcher is indeed a blessing. All you need to do is fill it up like a regular jug or bottle and allow the water to sit for the recommended time. In a few minutes, clean filtered water settles at the bottom ready for use.

Besides improving the aesthetics of your water, the tiny but strong filter element removes, rejects, adsorbs and absorbs harmful contaminants – if you choose the right one.

More advantages: Low price, small size, portability and easy cleaning.

So, here is our collection of the 8 best water filter pitchers. Enjoy!

Best Water Filter Pitchers – Top Picks

Filter PitchersSpecs & FeaturesWhere to Buy
Best Overall
Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher

Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher

★★★★★
  • Price: $$$
  • Storage Capacity: 10 Cups
  • Filter Life: 100 gal
  • NSF/ANSI: 42, 53, 244, 401, P473
  • Best For: All Waters & Contaminants

Or read our review

Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher

Epic Pure

★★★★

  • Price: $$$
  • Storage Capacity: 8 Cups
  • Filter Life: 150 gal
  • NSF/ANSI: 42, 53, 401, P473
  • Best For: Water with Lead/Fluoride

Or read our review

Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher

Epic Nano

★★★★

  • Price: $$$
  • Storage Capacity: 8 Cups
  • Filter Life: 150 gal
  • NSF/ANSI: 42, 53, 401, P231, P473
  • Best For: Water with Bacteria/Viruses/Cysts

Or read our review

#1 Filter Dispenser
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser

Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser

★★★★★
  • Price: $$$
  • Storage Capacity: 2 gal (Total)
  • Filter Life: 150 gal
  • NSF/ANSI: 42, 53, 401, P473
  • Best For: High Demand

Or read our review

Best Water Filter Pitcher Reviews

The order of the following water filter pitcher reviews is deliberate. Our favorite products are at the top.

1. Clearly Filtered Water Filter Pitcher

In our opinion, the Clearly Filtered Pitcher is the best water filter pitcher in 2021.

Not that many people have heard about this gem yet, that we found after trying many filtering pitchers. Yes! That’s what we do at our end to make sure you don’t have to waste another penny on substandard (heavily advertised) products.

Whether your water comes from the city or a private well, is highly contaminated, or just tastes bad – this is the only filter pitcher you need.

Although the CF is not the most affordable pitcher on the market, it offers you the most thorough filtration removing well over 200 nasty contaminants from water. Wait, there’s more below.

Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher

★★★★★

See More Product Images at clearlyfiltered.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • Water storage volume: 10-cup pitcher
  • Capacity of filters: 100 gallons or 4 months
  • Estimated cost for replacement filters per year: $150
  • NSF filters: 42, 53, 244, 401, P473

Pros

  • To begin, the Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher is manufactured in the US, ensuring premium materials and construction.
  • It features Affinity Filtration Technology to eliminate a wide range of contaminants that many other famous filter pitchers can’t even come close to.
  • The first stage is a woven mesh screen media that stops larger particles from moving forward.
  • The second stage features premium-quality granulated and activated coconut carbon media that removes chlorine and other chemicals.
  • Finally, the third stage is where the real magic takes place. As water flows through the composite shell – made using 7+ filter media – it is freed from hundreds of contaminants.
  • Here is a snippet of the most common water contaminants and the rate of reduction through the CF filter pitcher. Chlorine and chloramine (99.9%), lead (99.5%), fluoride (up to 98%), arsenic (99.6%), chromium 6 (96.9%), pharmaceuticals (99.9%), pesticides and herbicides (up to 99.9%), volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds (up to 99.9%), PFAS (99.6%), BPA (99.9%), bacteria, cysts and microorganisms (99.9%). A complete list featuring all 200+ contaminants is provided by the manufacturer.
  • A certified private laboratory has tested the pitchers against NSF standards 42, 53, 244 and 401. The pitcher also conforms to Protocol P473. So these are not just claims, the Clearly Filtered has proven its effectiveness.
  • The filter process doesn’t remove any essential minerals.
  • We love how easy it is to use the CF. You can remove the entire lid and fill the pitcher quickly. Pouring is also easy and doesn’t cause spilling.
  • Moreover, you don’t need to wait for the full 20 minutes for the pitcher to complete the filtration. You can pour yourselves a glass as soon as there is enough in the reservoir.
  • BPA-free Tritan plastic ensures you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals making their way into the water.
  • Suitable for an average-sized family since it can hold 10 cups of water at a time.
  • No maintenance is needed apart from filter replacements every 4 months or 100 gallons (whichever comes first).
  • Maintenance cost per year are approx $150. Subscribe to the CF filter replacement program or order in bulk to get discounts.
  • Free shipping in the US.
  • A 30-day money-back guarantee ensures you can return the pitcher for a full refund if you have any complaints.
  • Finally, a lifetime guarantee is part of the package. Not to mention, the support staff is knowledgeable and friendly.

Cons

  • Firstly, if you are on a budget, you might find this water filter pitcher expensive. Many people question whether it is worth the $$? As mentioned earlier, the unit has been manufactured in the US and performs way better than its competitors, so the price is pretty much justified.
  • Secondly, the flow rate can be relatively slow, taking up to 20- 25 minutes to filter a full pitcher. Of course, as filters clog, the flow rates go down even further.
  • To give you a fair picture, the filter pitcher is not actually certified by NSF, only tested. We don’t mean to invalidate the claims, but wanted to make sure to have mentioned this.

Or read our full CF Pitcher review

2. Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher

The Epic Pure water filtration pitcher is an excellent choice for people using tap water with high levels of chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals like lead.

With the Epic Pure, drinking water tastes great and is free of over 200 contaminants that compromise the health of your family. So what can it remove? Chemicals, heavy metals, VOCs, pesticides, microplastics and many others.

More details? Here is why the Epic Pure Water Filter Pitcher has managed to snag the runner-up position for 2021:

Epic Pure Water Filtering Pitcher

★★★★

See More Product Images at epicwaterfilters.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • Water storage volume: 8 cups (filtered)
  • Capacity of filters: 150 gallons or up to 6 months
  • Estimated cost for replacement filters per year: $100
  • NSF filters: 42, 53, 401, P473

Pros

  • The Epic Pure filter pitcher uses a coconut shell activated carbon block to target the following contaminants like: Chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, chloramine, sulfate, arsenic, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, trihalomethanes, PFOA + PFOS, radiological elements, semi volatiles, microplastics, etc.
  • It has been tested in a certified laboratory against NSF standards 42, 53, 401 and protocol P473 backing all contaminant removal claims.
  • The filtration process doesn’t remove any essential minerals, so you have access to holistically healthy water.
  • It can hold up to 8 cups of filtered water (15 cups total) which is just fine for everyday use.
  • The unit is easy to assemble and use. BPA-free Tritan plastic ensures durable and safer filtration.
  • Compact size fits in all refrigerators easily.
  • You can pour yourself a glass before the whole pitcher is filtered.
  • Maintenance is quick and filters require replacements every 150 gallons or 2-6 months, depending on your source water quality. A built-in timer highlights when it’s time for replacement, so no guesswork is involved.
  • Recyclable filter cartridges are made in the USA for the best quality. Send four used ones to the company’s recycling program and get 1 absolutely free. Moreover, you can subscribe to a filter replacement program to get 20% off. All in all, reducing annual maintenance cost.
  • Annuals cost and upfront prices are relatively lower compared to Clearly Filtered and Aquagear. From that perspective, the Epic Pure water filter pitcher is a done deal.
  • Are you a first responder, teacher, student, senior, non-profit organization or a member of any hospital? If yes, you are eligible for a super discount by Epic, so don’t forget to reach out to them.
  • A lifetime warranty takes the load off your head.

Cons

  • Users complained about the lid falling off or getting stuck.
  • The timer is not an accurate way to check the filter’s life. Your filter may expire way sooner due to more usage or poor-quality source water.
  • Some people also experienced poor filtration speed. On average, the pitcher can filter the whole load in under ten minutes. However, many people noted otherwise.

3. Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher

The Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher is a preferred choice for people using water from a private well. That’s because the filtration pitcher is designed to remove/reduce bacteria, viruses and cysts.

There are very few filter pitchers on the market suitable for using water that is not microbiologically safe. Hence, it makes a great partner for hiking, camping and picnics. (Naturally, it can also be used for tap water!)

Here is what else we love about the Epic Nano:

Epic Nano Water Filter Pitcher

★★★★

See More Product Images at epicwaterfilters.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • Water storage volume: 8 cups (filtered)
  • Capacity of filters: 150 gallons or up to 6 months
  • Estimated replacement filter cost per year: $100
  • NSF filters: 42, 53, 401, P231, P473

Pros

  • The pitcher water filter is safe for usage with well water, people living in RVs, hurricane zones, boil alerts and camping.
  • It’s available in two color options: navy blue and black.
  • Depending on your drinking water quality, you can interchange between Epic Nano and Epic Pure pitcher filter cartridges.
  • Nano filter cartridges last longer, even when used with hard water.
  • Apart from 200+ common tap water contaminants, the Epic Nano pitcher features sub-micron filtration to remove up to 99.999% bacteria (e Coli[1], legionella, salmonella and others), viruses and cysts (giardia and cryptosporidium). This has been tested by an independent laboratory according to NSF protocol P231.
  • Moreover, the Epic Nano is tested in a certified laboratory against NSF standards 42, 53, 401 (emerging contaminants) and protocol P473.
  • The filter process retains healthy minerals (calcium, magnesium).
  • Cartridges last pretty long, for 150 gallons or 2-6 months. The filters last 3-4 times longer than the standard Brita filter pitcher.
  • Filters are made in the USA to guarantee premium craftsmanship and materials.
  • Cheaper compared to many other filter pitchers explicitly designed for water containing pathogens.
  • An inbuilt timer counts down to 90 days to help you change the filter on time.
  • All Epic water filters sport convenient return policy and lifetime guarantees for (epic) peace of mind.

Cons

  • There’ve been problems with the filter lid. Some people blame poor construction while others say it doesn’t fit properly, highlighting an O-ring problem.

4. Epic Pure/Nano Water Filter Dispenser

In our opinion, the #1 water filter dispenser in 2021 is the Epic Pure respectively the Epic Nano. Which to choose depends on your water quality.

Just like the Pure and Nano pitchers, Epic water filter dispensers can be used with two types of filter cartridges. One, the Epic Pure, is designed for purifying tap water and focuses on lead reduction (99.4%) and fluoride removal (97.88%). The Epic Nano on the other hand is ideal if your water source holds microorganisms, namely viruses (99.95%), cysts (99.999%) and/or bacteria (99.999%).

Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser

★★★★★

See More Product Images at epicwaterfilters.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • Water storage volume: 2 gallons
  • Filter life: 150 gallons or 2-4 months
  • Estimated yearly cost for filter replacements: $100
  • NSF filters: 42, 53, 401, (P231), P473

Pros

  • Domestic manufacturing ensures high quality.
  • Both Epic Pure and Nano water filter dispensers are tested to remove more than 200 different contaminants, including chlorine, mercury, chloramine, aluminum, VOCs, pesticides, disinfection byproducts, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals… This is achieved with the help of a solid carbon block.
  • NSF testing standards 42, 53, 401 & P473 are met.[2]
  • Half a gallon of water fits in the upper reservoir. The lower chamber can hold an additional 1.5 gallons of filtered water – perfect for families.
  • The size of the filter dispensers fits on most refrigerator shelves.
  • Materials are BPA-free as well as 100% replaceable and 100% recyclable.
  • Another helpful feature is the LED timer. Integrated into the lid, it reminds you every 90 days to change water filters.
  • Each filter cartridge lasts 2-4 months, or 150 gallons of water which is above average.
  • You can save 20 percent on replacement cartridges when you sign up for the Clean Water Club. You get replacement filters sent on schedule with no obligations. You can modify or cancel the contract any time.
  • You’re also eligible for returning Epic water filter dispensers if you’re not 100% satisfied for a full refund.

Cons

  • There is one complaint and that is slow filtration.

5. Aquagear Tap Water Filter Pitcher

Another cult favorite water filter pitcher, Aquagear, has snagged the fifth position on our list of must-have filter pitchers for 2021. So, what makes it different?

Using activated carbon filter media along with ion exchange resin, this water pitcher removes over 70 harmful contaminants from tap water. So, if your water is mildly contaminated or just smells and tastes terrible, you should give the Aquagear a chance.

Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher

★★★★☆

See More Product Images at goaquagear.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$$
  • Water storage volume: 8 cups
  • Capacity of filters: 120 gallons or up to 6 months
  • Estimated filter cost per year: $120
  • NSF-certified filters: 42, 53, 401, P473

Pros

  • For starters, the water purifier pitcher is built and assembled in the US.
  • It brings about a noticeable improvement in the taste and smell of tap water.
  • Here is a list of the most common contaminants and their reduction rates: lead (99.41%) and a few other heavy metals, chlorine (96.5%), microplastics (99.98%), PFOA (99.9%), PFOS (99.9%), TTHMs which are water disinfection byproducts (99.97%), and several dozen volatile organic compounds (most above 98% removal).
  • NSF/ANSI certification for standards 42 and 53, 401, and 473.
  • The filtration process retains healthy minerals.
  • The jug can hold 8 cups of filtered water at a time which is plenty for family use.
  • BPS and BPA-free filters so no chemicals can leak into your water.
  • Maintenance is easy and involves filter replacements every 120 gallons or 6 months. Per year cost: $120 max.
  • Subscribe to Aquagear’s water program for 20 percent off on all cartridges.
  • 100% recyclable pitcher filters: return to the company for proper disposal.
  • A lifetime guarantee for all parts of the pitcher means satisfied customers.
  • Aquagear offers discounts to students and military personnel (10%).

Cons

  • Filters can only be used with city water.
  • Filtration is slow. Moreover, you can’t pour a glass unless the whole pitcher is filtered.

6. ZeroWater 7 Cup Ready-Pour Water Filter Pitcher

ZeroWater runs several water filter pitchers, the best rated being the 7 Cup Ready-Pour.

It’s pretty small and thus space-saving but at the same time only suitable for one or two people. Can this unit compete with the big boys?

ZeroWater 7 Cup Ready-Pour Water Filter Pitcher

★★★★☆

See More Product Images at amazon.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $
  • Water storage volume: 7 cups
  • Capacity of filters: 20 gallons or 1 months
  • Estimated filter cost per year: $120
  • NSF-certified filters: 42, 53

Pros

  • This is one of the most low-cost filter pitchers so far when you don’t take into account expenses for replacement filters.
  • 5 stages of filtration remove many contaminants from water including TDS (Total Dissolved Solids): 98% arsenic 5, 97% cadmium, 99% lead and manganese, 99% chromium 6, 99% asbestos, 99% fluoride, 99% chlorine, etc. You can expect filtered water that’s much healthier to drink.
  • A TDS meter is part of the package. You can use it to determine the current state of the filter cartridge, but don’t pay too much attention to it in regards to overall filtered water quality.
  • The ZeroWater pitcher fits easily in most refrigerators for cooling.
  • You can pour water even if there’s still unfiltered water left in the top reservoir.
  • The materials are BPA-free as usual.

Cons

  • We don’t like that filters are rated for no more than 20 gallons. This means frequent replacements and additional costs accumulating as time goes by.
  • The most common complaint we read is unpleasant water taste and odor coming up after a short while.
  • The lid does not go on easily and you need to refill the pitcher frequently.

7. Brita Water Filter Pitchers and Dispensers

For people struggling with mild levels of contamination, the famous Brita is a game-changer. There is a strong reason why Brita has been a household name and is almost considered synonymous with water filter pitchers; it’s lightweight, fits in the refrigerator and is very affordable.

Replacing the filter takes a matter of seconds and the locking flip lid on Brita pitchers provides ease of use.

The most economical and best-selling water purifier pitcher of the brand is the Brita Everyday. As for water dispensers, the Brita UltraMax is a good choice.

What’s best is that you can use the same filter cartridges – Standard or Longlast – with any Brita pitcher and dispenser (Classic, Slim, Cascade, etc.).

Moving on to the million-dollar question: Is it the best water purifier pitcher around? Sadly, no. There are so many filter pitchers (see above) that use long-lasting and effective filter cartridges, removing many more harmful contaminants.

So, who is Brita for? Broadly speaking, the price that the pitchers offer is hard to beat. So, if you are on a budget, you will be happy. Moreover, the filters do a fairly good job at improving the taste and smell of water, targeting the number 1 complaint with tap water.

Brita Everyday Water Filter Pitcher

★★★

See More Product Images at amazon.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$
  • Water storage volume: 10-cup pitcher
  • Capacity of filters: 40/120 gallons
  • Estimated filter cost per year: $60
  • NSF-certified filters: 42

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • It makes tap water taste and smell better.
  • The Brita Standard filter works effectively for 40 gallons of water or two months. It can remove chlorine, mercury, zinc, cadmium and copper.
  • Brita Longlast Filter: It works effectively for 120 gallons or 5-6 months. It can remove lead, benzene, asbestos and chlorine among a few other contaminants. Also, it’s NSF-certified to remove aesthetic impurities (Standard 42).
  • Most Brita pitchers, like the Brita Everyday, have a capacity of around 10 cups which is good enough for an average-sized family.
  • Moreover, they’re effortless to fill and pour without spilling water all over.
  • If you prefer a water dispenser, we recommend the Brita UltraMax. The 18-cup large capacity means it is suitable for big families eliminating the need to fill water bottles constantly.
  • Moreover, The UltraMax it’s very easy to use thanks to the spout.
  • If you prefer cold water, you can stash the dispenser on the shelf of your fridge.
  • Thanks to the sturdy construction and durable plastic, the dispenser looks chic on your kitchen counter too.

Cons

  • We have read about people having trouble removing the reservoir of their Brita pitcher. It can get stuck and requires a lot of effort to open. Thus, cleaning your Brita requires additional time and effort.
  • A similar problem exists with the Brita UltraMax dispenser and its upper chamber.
  • Fixing Brita Longlast cartridges also seems to be a bit of a problem. Many people have noted that they don’t sit well, and eventually, water leaks into the bottom chamber.

8. PUR Water Filter Pitchers

PUR Classic, Basic and Ultimate – you will find three state-of-the-art water filter pitchers at an affordable price that’s hard to beat. All in all, if your water supply is not threatened by harmful contaminants, PUR filter water pitchers are a good way to go.

PUR Ultimate Water Filter

★★★☆☆

See More Product Images at amazon.com

Main Specs

  • Price: $$
  • Water storage volume: 11 cups
  • Filter life: 40 gallons or 2 months
  • Estimated filter cost per year: $120
  • NSF-certified filters: 42, 53, 401

Pros

  • You can select from 4 pitcher models according to the size of your family. The PUR Basic filter pitcher can hold up to 7 cups of water suitable for a single-person household. The PUR Classic can hold 11 cups. PUR Small Ultimate can hold 7 cups as well, but it’s used with a lead reduction filter. PUR Ultimate has the 11-cup capacity, too. It’s also used with a lead reduction filter.
    • PUR Ultimate and Classic models have a smart sensor on the lid that signals when it’s time to replace the filter.
  • You can use any PUR pitcher filter cartridge with all PUR pitcher models. The cartridges feature GAC media in conjunction with MAXION resin to remove common tap water contaminants. We love the fact that all cartridge types are certified by NSF for Standards 42, 53 and 401.
  • In general, we recommend using the lead reduction filter for best performance. It removes lead (up to 99.3%), chlorine, BPA, cysts, benzene, cadmium, mercury and several other common contaminants, 24 in total. In comparison, the Faster Basic filters no more than 14. The regular Basic pitcher water filter also removes 24 contaminants but is less effective reducing lead.
  • The pitcher filters last for 40 gallons of water or 2 months. Annual maintenance cost is approx $120.
  • All PUR filters are BPA-free.
  • A 90-day warranty is part of the deal.
  • PUR has partnered with RecycleNation to make the process of recycling simpler and convenient.

Cons

  • A few users have complained that the water filters clog too soon. For some, they completely exhausted within a few days, and no water could pass through.
  • The design of PUR pitchers is not exactly user-friendly. As a result, there are high chances of spills, leaks and the lid falling off.
  • Unfortunately, the battery on the filter timer isn’t replaceable. Some people noted that the filter indicator never worked at all.

Purifier Pitchers Comparison Chart

How do the best rated water filter pitchers perform when directly compared to each other?

Water Purifier$$$Storage VolumeFilter LifeNSF/ANSIBest ForDetails
Clearly Filtered$$$10-Cup PitcherFilters Last 100 Gallons42, 53, 244, 401, P473Best Pitcher Water Filter OverallFilters Contaminants Including Lead and Other Heavy Metals
Epic Pure$$$8 Cups (Filtered)Filters Last 150 Gallons42, 53, 401, P473Tap Water w/ Lead and FluorideFilters Contaminants Like Chlorine, Heavy Metals
Epic Nano$$$8 Cups (Filtered)Filters Last 150 Gallons42, 53, 401, P231, P473Water w/ Bacteria, Viruses, CystsFilters Heavy Metals
Epic Pure/Nano Dispenser$$$2 Gallons TotalFilter Lasts 150 Gallons42, 53, 401, (P231), P473Large FamiliesWater Filtration System Removes Heavy Metals
Aquagear$$$8-Cup Water PitcherFilter Lasts 120 Gallons42, 53, 401, P473Filters Heavy Metals
ZeroWater 7 Cup Ready-Pour$7-Cup Water PitcherFilter Lasts 20 Gallons42, 53Total Dissolved Solids RemovalFive-Stage Filter System
Brita Everyday$$10-Cup PitcherBrita Filters Last 120/40 Gallons42Filters Common Tap Water Contaminants
PUR Ultimate and Classic 11-Cup Pitcher$$11-Cup PitcherFilter Lasts 40 Gallons42, 53, 401Filter Pitchers Use Standard or Lead Reduction Filter

Buyer’s Guide – How to Buy a Water Filter Pitcher

Here’s our buying guide with everything you need to know about how to buy the best water filter pitcher.

Contaminant Removal

The key reason to buy a water filtering pitcher is to remove contaminants from your source water. The second most important reason is to improve its flavor, smell and texture (due to chemicals, etc.).

Before jumping on this bandwagon, however, consider first what you expect from a filter pitcher, because the best is one that targets your needs and unique water problem.

So, suppose you want to remove only those impurities that alter your water aesthetics. In that case, you should look for a basic pitcher that features a carbon-based filter element to remove chlorine and other gases.

On the other hand, if you are dealing with a high level of contamination, you need more than a basic carbon filter. Some excellent water purifier pitcher brands like the Clearly Filtered focus on fishing out a wide range of contaminants that make your water safer to drink and protect your family from a host of illnesses.

The problem here is that most people don’t know what they want to remove. In this case, a water test will help ease your mind. You may use water test kits, send a sample to a laboratory[3] or simply check your water board’s report for the level of contamination in your tap water. Take it from there, and select a filter pitcher that targets all the nasty elements.

NSF/ANSI Standards

All water filter pitcher models, whether proprietary brands or generic, claim to remove many impurities from water. But without testing each one yourself, how can you be sure? This is where NSF/ANSI testing and certifications come into the picture.

NSF is an independent organization that sets the benchmark for a wide array of products –including water filters – to ensure naive consumers are not blindsided by cagey descriptions and fancy words.

Other than honest reviews from reliable websites and friends, NSF/ANSI testing standards are the best way to judge a product’s authenticity. Here are a few you should pay attention to:

  • Look for NSF testing/certifications 42 and 53 that respectively highlight a pitcher’s ability to improve water aesthetics and remove contaminants with a health effect. This includes heavy metals, chemicals and many organic compounds.
  • NSF/ANSI 244 addresses water concerns arising from accidental microbiological contamination in public and private well drinking water.
  • Finally, NSF/ANSI protocol P473 refers to a drinking water filter’s ability to remove the artificial forever chemicals PFOS and PFOA.[4]

It is important to note that some pitchers are tested against NSF standards and don’t have a certification. If the testing has been conducted by a certified third-party laboratory, it is absolutely fine. If not, we don’t want to go down that lane.

pitcher water filter cartridge submerged in water

Water Storage Volume

Filtering pitchers come in different styles and sizes. The models that have made it to our list of best filter pitchers for 2021 vary in volumes between 7 to 11 cups.

Bigger water filter pitchers mean one jug will last you longer throughout the day and fewer trips to the faucet. However, they are heavier to lift, which prohibits the easy-to-use factor. In contrast, a small pitcher will hold fewer cups of water but will also take less time to filter.

Thus, for a smaller family (2-3 family members), any size of filter pitcher is fine. On the other hand, if you have a large family, you are better off with filter dispensers with a spout to draw water.

The two dispensers that have made it to our list can hold 18 and 30 cups of water respectively. This size is ideal for a four-person household.

Bear in mind that dispensers are not as convenient as filtering pitchers and might limit the portability. Regardless, they can be stored in the fridge and provide you with cold water, if that’s your concern.

Speed of Filtering Process

If a pitcher water filter takes half an hour to purify 10 cups of water, what good is it? Thus, filtration speed is a crucial deciding factor in selecting a pitcher for your house.

Quite on the contrary, some pitchers filter so fast; we wonder what kind of filtration they possibly offer? You see, the longer the time water spends in contact with filter media, the more precise the filtration is.

Therefore, it’s essential to look for a pitcher that processes water fast but also filters impurities.

Filter Cartridge Lifespan

Another critical factor that determines a pitcher’s performance is the cartridge’s lifespan, measured in gallons. Depending on the filtration media used, the average service lifespan of pitcher filter cartridges varies from 20 gallons to 200 gallons.

In a nutshell, some will need replacements every two months, while others will work fine for six months – for the same-size family.

When comparing the costs of pitcher filters, it’s essential to see how long they work. While it’s true that replacements are quick, tool-free and easy, it’s easy to forget about them.

Some water filter pitchers have cartridge life indicators that help identify the exact time to replace a cartridge. Unfortunately, they are not always a reliable sign since a filter’s lifespan is also influenced by the quality of your water.

Naturally, water with a high level of sediment and heavy metals etc. will exhaust your filter cartridge sooner than if you generally have cleaner tap or well water.

BPA-Free

You must pay attention to the materials used to construct a water pitcher. If it says the three-letter word anywhere near the pitcher (BPA), it’s time to run far. This is because BPA or Bisphenol-A is water-soluble and potentially toxic.[5]

When it comes in contact with water or heat, BPA can seep into the food or beverage inside the container, in this case, your drinking water. This is why we are strictly against bottled water which is made using BPA, but that is a long debate for another day.

In short, BPA poses several health risks, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular issues.

Therefore, you must make sure your pitchers are made using only premium quality BPA-free plastic, glass or stainless steel.

Cost

We are naturally inclined towards filter pitchers that seem inexpensive upfront. That’s human nature! However, the cost of a water filter pitcher is not a good indicator of the actual cost you will incur. Before purchasing a unit, you must compare the annual costs incurred for cartridge replacements to get a clear picture.

Manufacturer Warranty

Some brands feature a money-back guarantee, while others offer a lifetime warranty on the pitcher and parts. It’s definitely a good idea to spend your money on a product that offers you better after-sales service rather than cheap generic brands that vanish the minute you make the purchase.

What is a Water Filter Pitcher?

best water filter pitchers thumbnail

Water filter pitchers are small compact gadgets that offer you filtered water on demand. Unless you have a severe water problem – i.e. lead, fluoride, organic compounds – most filter pitchers do a great job at making it safe for drinking and cooking.

Not to mention, the cost of water per gallon produced by a water filtration pitcher is almost 300 times less than that of bottled water.

Given the fact that they are both equally portable, easy-to-use, lightweight and produce great water, most filtering pitchers fit the bill smoothly. They are the perfect home drinking water purifier for rentals and condos, thanks to no installation requirements.

Did we mention they are super easy to maintain? They only require cartridge replacements every few weeks or months, and it takes just about a minute to do that!

How Do Water Filter Pitchers Work?

The basis of water filtration is similar for all filter pitchers. They either trap, exchange, absorb or adsorb contaminants depending on the filter media used and the contaminant in question.

The majority of water filter pitchers work using carbon-based media, which is the most economical and popular filter media around. Not to forget, the performance of the pitcher will vary depending on:

  • The type of carbon used – GAC or block or catalytic carbon
  • The amount of carbon
  • The purpose it was designed for (chlorine, heavy metals, Total Dissolved Solids, etc.)

Some state-of-the-art pitchers feature ion exchange and ceramic filter media to deal with a wide range of contaminants.

Is a Filtration Pitcher Worth It?

If super clean drinking water is high on your list of priorities, then yes, a filter pitcher is worth it. Provided that most Americans are exposed to some kind of water contamination, the question is not that difficult to answer.

Moreover, considering the horrific water crisis in Michigan that exposed the entire city to dangerously high levels of lead, we think it’s wise to take matters into your hands.[6]

What Contaminants Does a Water Filter Pitcher Remove?

If your water has high levels of chlorine or larger particulates and sediment, almost any basic water purifier pitcher can take care of it.

But suppose your water has high levels of organic compounds, bacteria, hormones, PFOA, PFOS, pathogens, herbicides, industrial run-offs. In that case, you must look for premium quality ones like the Clearly Filtered Pitcher that is tested to remove well over 200 impurities from water.

In short, what contaminants a water filter pitcher removes varies from model to model.

Again, if you’re not sure about how a certain pitcher model will perform, check for NSF testing and certifications. NSF 42 is for chlorine and particulates, NSF 53 for contaminants with health effects, and NSF 401 covers emerging contaminants. There also is standard 244 for pathogenic contaminants and protocol P473 targeting PFAS specifically.

Benefits of Filtering Water Pitchers

Here is why we – and millions of Americans – love using a water pitcher for filtering drinking water.

1. Reducing Harmful Contaminants for Healthy Drinking Water

Drinking clean water every day helps you in more ways than one. Not only does it quench your thirst, but it also improves immunity and puts you in a good mood almost instantaneously.

2. Better-Tasting Water

Poor taste and odor in tap water is the leading complaint amongst Americans. Filter pitchers instinctively take care of this issue, bringing you the taste of fresh spring water in the comfort of your home.

3. Ease to Use

Just lift the cap and stick your pitcher under running tap water. Within minutes, you can pour yourself a glass of clean filtered water. It doesn’t get easier, does it?

Woman filling water filter pitcher in kitchen sink

4. Affordable

Compared to whole house and under sink filtration systems, a filter pitcher is relatively inexpensive. You can buy and maintain a good quality one for under $150 per year easily.

5. Lightweight & Compact

Lightweight and compact, a water pitcher is highly portable and can be taken quickly to outings, picnics, holidays and so on.

Brita, PUR, Clearly Filtered, etc. – Our Favorite Filter Water Pitcher Brand

Let’s move on to the pressing question: Which is the best brand for water filter pitchers in 2021? As you may know, Brita and PUR are household names when it comes to water treatment. They offer great prices, variety and basic filtering that most people need.

But if you are looking for a premium filter pitcher that can deal with a litany of contaminants, Clearly Filtered is your best bet by far.

Judging by reviews, Aquagear is not something everyone is fond of. Despite the claims, the filtration pace has been referred to as “glacial” and “obnoxiously slow and painful.” So, there’s that!

ZeroWater claims to bring down the TDS, Total Dissolved Solids, levels in your water down to zero, and so it does until you realize that’s not the best way to judge your water’s quality. Secondly, they are riddled with many flaws, including the most commonly noted citrusy water taste within a few days of usage.

When to Change a Pitcher Filter Cartridge

There is no universal answer to the question when to change the filter cartridge of a water pitcher, since it varies from model to model. For example, most pitcher filters have a service lifespan of two months, while others can last as long as six months.

Of course, the lifespan of a cartridge is greatly affected by the quality of your source water, too. If your water has a higher mineral content, you’ll find yourself replacing cartridges more often.

Look for obvious signs like slow flow rate and poor smelling water that signify your cartridge is taking its last breaths.

How to Change

Do you know how to replace the batteries on your remote? If yes, then you can easily replace your pitcher filter cartridge in under a minute.

The only difference is that you need to flush or prime your new cartridge before it’s ready to use. The instructions are different for each brand, so you must refer to your manual for complete information.

Here is a general overview:

  1. Take out the water reservoir and filter cartridge.
  2. Prepare the new filter flushing it with or soaking it in plain water.
  3. Install the filter in your pitcher.
  4. Add the water reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ thumbnail

Which water filter pitchers remove lead?

Brita, Aquagear, PUR, Clearly Filtered, Epic Nano, and many others can be used for lead reduction in drinking water.

How do I clean my water purifier pitcher?

Cleaning a water filter pitcher is as easy as disassembling it; washing the lid, pitcher and reservoir; scrubbing all crannies; rinsing carefully; and allowing all parts to dry properly before putting them back together.

Do alkaline water filter pitchers work?

Yes, alkaline water filter pitchers do an excellent job at balancing water pH. They are particularly effective as they add minute amounts of calcium, magnesium and other minerals to make your water wholesome and fresh.

Which water filter pitcher removes the most contaminants?

No guesses on that one. The Clearly Filtered Pitcher is a “clear” winner as it removes the most contaminants from water backed with NSF test results.

How long can I store water in my filter pitcher?

A couple of days should be fine, but no longer. Otherwise, you might notice stale taste and bacteria can accumulate in standing water over time, as well.

Does a water filtration pitcher remove bacteria?

The Clearly Filtered pitcher and the Epic Nano can remove bacteria from drinking water.

Conclusion

A water filter pitcher can be a great solution for clean drinking water if it features a powerful filtration process. Our first choice for both tap water and well water is the Clearly Filtered Pitcher. For larger families with higher water needs we recommend the Epic Pure/Nano filter dispenser.

Questions about our water filter pitcher reviews? Leave a comment below!

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.

Get in Touch with Jason

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