Should You Buy a Water Filter Pitcher or Faucet Water Filter?

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2021/09/30 - Updated: 2021/10/22

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All home water filtration systems – pitchers, faucet filters, under sink and countertop systems, and some whole house water filters – are designed to achieve the same goal: get clean, fresh and crisp water.

Naturally, all of them have their pros and cons. So, how do you decide which one to get? Quite simply, if you are looking for a short-term, non-permanent, convenient and quick way to improve the aesthetics and safety of your drinking water, filter pitchers and faucet filters are the way to go.

However, most people looking for quick solutions are puzzled about which of the two to choose. Faucet-mounted filter or water filter pitcher? The fact that both units cost more or less the same makes the decision quite difficult.

Let us help you make the best purchase by evaluating the pros and cons associated with both types.

So, here is our guide on water filter pitchers vs faucet filters!

Water Filter Pitcher

A water filter pitcher is an outstanding example of advanced technology fused with downright convenience. It looks like your standard jug, but with a small inbuilt filter element that quickly cleans and purifies your water.

Once the old one has served its life, you need to replace the filter cartridge every few weeks or months.

Thanks to unparalleled ease and compactness, a water filter pitcher is, in fact, the second most popular in-home filtration gadget (ranking shortly after refrigerator filters).

But don’t judge the nifty unit by its size since some high-quality water filter pitchers employ multiple filter layers/media to bring out the best in your water by trapping heavy metals, disinfection by-products, pesticides and other chemicals, salts and even bacteria, plus more.

Sure, there are limitations to water filter pitchers, but overall they work well if you buy one tested against strict NSF standards.

Benefits of Water Filter Pitchers

Woman filling water filter pitcher in kitchen sink

The most significant benefit of filter pitchers is their ability to polish the aesthetics of your water. Impressed? Read on! There’s more to it.

Inexpensive

Water filtration is an elaborate process that is usually associated with a heavy price tag. But a pitcher water filter offers you cold filtered water without spending a fortune. You can buy and maintain a top-quality unit, like the Clearly Filtered, for less than $200 annually.

Great Tasting Drinking Water

The biggest complaint people have about their drinking water is the unpleasant taste and smell. Not only does it decrease your daily intake, but poor tasting water also affects your food.

Water filter pitchers efficiently remove chemicals like chlorine and hydrogen sulfide to make your water fresh and odor-free.

Cold Filtered Water

Most pitchers are designed to fit into your fridge. Whether you have a standard-sized fridge or a large one, there is a compact (yet powerful) pitcher designed for you.

Reduction of Harmful Contaminants

Some (not all) water filter pitchers can remove a wide range of contaminants. If you are concerned about a heavily contaminated water supply, you must look for a model like the Clearly Filtered that treats your water thoroughly.

The groundbreaking technology used by CF pitchers can remove over 200 harmful contaminants – more than any other water filter pitcher can remove – including:

  • Fluoride
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Microplastics
  • Chlorine
  • Chloramines
  • Chromium
  • DBPs[1]
  • Pharmaceutical runoffs
  • VOCs
  • Microorganisms
  • Perfluorinated chemicals

Easy Maintenance

Apart from changing filter cartridges, these practical gadgets do all the hard work without you having to lift a finger. Just stick the pitcher under the tap, and let it stay there for the specified time. Simple and quick!

Lightweight and Portable

Are you always on the go? Stash your filter pitcher in your suitcase and take it with you wherever you go. Think about all the money you can save on buying ridiculously expensive bottled water.

Disadvantages of Water Filter Pitchers

Here are a few limitations associated with water filter pitchers.

Filter Replacement Cost

Just as most appliances need electricity to run, a filter requires filtration media to treat water. Due to the small size of the filter cartridge in pitchers, you will need frequent replacements (1-3 months), which may sound like a hassle to busy people.

But it isn’t. The issue with frequent filter cartridge replacements is the additional cost accumulating over time.

Limited Capacity

For a water-guzzling big family, most average-sized water filter pitchers would never be enough. You will find yourself filling pitchers repeatedly and having to wait for the water to filter through.

Tip: Get two!

Cleaning

To keep your filter hygienic and free from mold, you need to scrub it regularly. Every few days or weeks, you must disassemble the various components and soak them in soapy water.

Then use a brush to clean all the nooks and crannies. Of course, it requires additional time and effort.

Failure to sanitize your water filter pitcher will compromise the water quality flowing through it.

Faucet Water Filter

Faucet water filters, as the name suggests, are installed right at the faucet to filter water as it flows through it. These functional units are inexpensive, fuss-free, easy to use and require no maintenance except filter cartridge replacements.

Unlike water filter pitchers, faucet-mount filters treat your water within seconds. You don’t need to wait for the water to be ready. Just hold your glass under the tap and enjoy.

What do they do? Depending on the filter media used, faucet filters improve water quality by removing sediment, chemicals, heavy metals like lead, etc.

Benefits of Faucet Water Filters

faucet water filter running

The main purpose of a faucet water filter is to produce clean and pure drinking water. While some contaminants in our water supplies are not harmful to health, we certainly don’t want to drink others.

Some other key benefits associated with faucet-mounted water filters include:

Affordability

You can easily buy a faucet filter for under $50. With all the benefits, the price is nothing less than a bargain.

On Demand Filtration

The most significant advantage faucet filters have over pitcher filters is the ability to filter water on demand. No more staring at the pitcher as the clean water collects in the lower reservoir!

Ease of Installation

Faucet filters are pretty much installation-free. They are a kind of plug-and-play gadget that you can install right on the faucet. All you need to do is remove the aerator from your tap and replace it with the one from your filter.

Can Shift Between Filtered and Unfiltered Water

If you are doing the dishes, washing hands or need water for anything apart from cooking or drinking, you can quickly shift to non-filtered water. Just press the button on the filter to stop it from working and save your cartridge from running out of capacity too soon.

This way, you can use your cartridge for much longer, saving money on replacements.

Disadvantages of Faucet Water Filters

Let’s take a look at some of the problems with these systems:

Standard-Sized Faucets Only

Faucet mount filters can only be fixed onto standard faucets. They don’t fit in with pull-out sprayers or other proprietary designs.

Slower Flow Rates

You might notice a drop in pressure as water passes through the filter. Since it’s normal for filters to limit the flow of water, the pressure inevitably goes down.

Frequent Filter Replacements

Most faucet water filter cartridges have a short service life and require frequent replacements.

Some Simply Do Nothing

Many people complain that their faucet filters simply do not work. This is because they are designed to tackle basic contaminants only or improve the taste and smell of water. Even some of the most expensive ones have no effect on the dangerous contaminants lurking in our water systems.

Water Filter Pitcher vs Faucet Filter – Our Verdict

Water Filter Pitcher vs Faucet Water Filter Thumbnail

As you may have noticed, there are more similarities between water filter pitchers and faucet water filters than differences. They cost almost the same, have similar cartridge lives and require no installation.

Thus, the only decisive factors are your daily water requirement and your filtration needs.

If you have a big family and need a lot of water daily for kids and pets, faucet filters may be a more practical option. If you are more concerned about getting the cleanest and safest drinking water possible, a water filter pitcher is probably the way to go.

Also, if you are always on the move and enjoy portability, a filter pitcher could be perfect.

What to Keep in Mind When Buying

Here are some other factors that you should consider before making a purchase.

Your Water Quality (Contaminants)

All filtration technologies have limitations; therefore, no filter can eliminate all contaminants. Unless you know what you want to remove from your water, you’ll end up with a system that does not work for your unique water problem.

We advise testing your water. Then, purchase a system based on the results of the test.

NSF/ANSI Certifications

Always look for NSF certifications before you buy. NSF standards ensure that a product works exactly as claimed. For example, a filter with NSF 42 certification will certainly improve the taste and smell of your water, while Standard 53 addresses health-related requirements.[2]

Filter Media Used

Many pitcher and faucet filters only use a tiny amount of GAC to treat water, which isn’t very effective. It’s wise to look for a system that uses multiple media types like ion exchange resin and advanced ceramic filtration technology to really fish out those nasty contaminants.

Filtration Rate

Solid filter pitchers need at least 10 minutes to filter one full jug. On the other hand, a faucet mount filter can produce ten jugs worth of water in a few minutes.

Installation

Water filter pitchers require no installation and have no limitations on their usage. In contrast, faucet-mount filters can only fit onto standard faucets.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both water filter pitcher and faucet water filter are simple-to-use and affordable home water filters.

On the one hand, filter pitchers are portable, and a high-quality model provides you with exceptionally clean drinking water. But, they have limited capacity and filter replacement cost can add up.

On the other hand, faucet filters provide for faster on-demand filtration suitable for large families. The downside: they only fit standard-sized faucets/taps and they can’t compete with pitchers in terms of overall contaminant removal.

What do keep in mind when buying? Most importantly, check for NSF testing/certifications and the filter media used.

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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