What is a Water Filter Pitcher?

Author: Jason Hollow - Published: 2022/02/18 - Updated: 2023/01/05

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Water filter pitchers feature compact filter elements that help you purify your drinking water.

When you fill up a pitcher with water, it passes through the filter media and into the clean reservoir.

The media catches all the dirt giving you filtered water within minutes.

On top of that, it offers a cost-effective alternative to bottled water.

Want to learn more? Continue reading!

Here is our guide answering the question, what is a water filter pitcher?


  • A water filter pitcher consists of a water jug with an integrated filter.
  • Water filter pitchers provide a convenient and affordable way to filter your drinking water at home.
  • Most systems are effective at removing water pollutants and chemicals that might negatively affect your health.

What is a Water Filter Pitcher?

what is a water filter pitcher thumbnail

A water filter pitcher is a device designed to filter drinking water. In the filtration process, impurities and contaminants are removed in order to provide water that’s safe and healthy. Besides, filtered water often tastes a lot better.

What’s more, water filter pitchers are affordable, easy to use, and can be placed inside refrigerators thanks to their small size.

Yes, filter pitchers are ideal for homeowners tight on budget. You can easily purchase one for $20. Invest as much as $75 and you get the highest quality model out there.

Preferably, you choose a pitcher that removes those exact impurities lurking in your well or city water supply. Most filter pitchers neutralize foul taste and odor removing chlorine for instance. However, only a few superior models are capable of removing/reducing harmful contaminants including heavy metals, pesticides, disinfection byproducts, etc.

How Do Water Filter Pitchers Work?

The basic filtration steps in water filter pitchers are similar to that of most other types of home water purification systems: Water passes through filter media, which catches the contamination, providing clean water.

Some pitchers use physical filtration methods, while others use chemical reactions. Many use both.

For people wondering, “Do water filter pitchers even work or are they just another marketing hype?”, we have good news! These things do work!

You just need to remember that filtering pitchers are built to treat only small amounts of water. You cannot expect to get unlimited filtered water through one.

Further, their purification cartridges typically need replacement after 1 to 2 months.

But, again, that does not mean that the contaminant reduction rates are average. Instead, some pitcher models are pretty effective and remove maximum pollutants.

The Different Pitcher Types

Different pitchers utilize different filtration methods/techniques in order to remove the different types of water contaminants.

  • First of all, there are small and large suspended particles. These include sediment and bacteria and are best removed using physical filtration, such as a ceramic shell.
  • Chlorine and other chemicals can be treated using activated carbon.
  • Ion exchange resin is designed to eliminate most heavy metals and stuff like arsenic and fluoride.

When shopping, don’t forget to compare products for NSF testing/certifications.

They will help you differentiate between pitchers from companies that use fancy advertising to sell products that won’t do much to remove overall water contamination as compared to units which target the full range: Disinfectants and their byproducts, lead, fluoride, chromium 6, nitrate/nitrite, volatile organic compound, semi-volatile chemicals, bacteria, viruses, radiologicals, pesticides, herbicides, and more.

Incidentally, if acidic water concerns you, you can opt for alkaline filter pitchers. They mix healthy minerals into your water and raise its pH level.

All in all, it’s best to determine the impurities in your water before making a purchase. Once you get familiar with your water chemistry, you can buy a pitcher filter accordingly.

What Contaminants Does a Water Filter Pitcher Remove?

Here’s a quick rundown into what pitcher water filters can eliminate.

Tap Water

The common tap water impurities removed by a quality filter pitcher include:

  • Chlorine/chloramine
  • Disinfection byproducts
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Chromium 6
  • VOCs
  • Fluoride
  • PFAS, trace pharmaceuticals and other chemicals
  • Semi-volatile organic compounds

Well Water

Potent water filter pitchers can target the following contaminants swimming in well water:

  • Mercury
  • Pesticides/herbicides
  • TDS
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Arsenic
  • Nitrite/nitrate
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Iron

water glass with sediment

Water Filter Pitcher Pros

In all honesty, water filter pitchers offer countless benefits for you and your family. Perhaps this explains why so many Americans are readily turning towards this simple water treatment solution.

Healthy Water

Nobody likes to drink water with dissolved and suspended dirt particles, heavy metals, chemicals, and whatnot.

Unfiltered water doesn’t only taste and smell unpleasant; it’s incredibly unhealthy when ingested. Drinking unclean water can contribute to severe health issues.

Luckily, a filter pitcher saves your day by giving you access to purified drinking water within minutes.

Better Taste and Smell

Aesthetic water issues are perhaps the first thing homeowners notice in their water when something is wrong.

Fortunately, water filter pitchers guarantee to resolve this issue. Most of them work optimally to remove odor and taste-promoting chemicals, most importantly chlorine.

Well owners often suffer from increased hydrogen sulfide content. It causes the notorious rotten-egg smell we’re all so very familiar with – no problem to remove for a water filter pitcher using simple activated carbon.


When you hear the word water filters, you more or less imagine bulky systems installed at a specific place in your house.

However, water filter pitchers offer something entirely opposite – in a positive way.

They are portable and small in size. Besides, you do not need to plumb them into your water supply. Instead, you can carry these lightweight jugs with you just about anywhere.

On top of that, their replacement is a walk in the park.


Let’s get this straight: Most water filtration systems are pretty expensive. After all, they need to be well-engineered in order to treat your water for all the hazardous chemicals and metals in there.

For example, a whole house water filter using catalytic activated carbon comes in at around $1,000. An under sink reverse osmosis system costs between $200 and $400. Even a simple countertop water filter can cost several hundred dollars.

Comparatively, water filter pitchers are much more affordable. You can buy a good one for around $50.

Besides, it’ll be the icing on the cake if you’re a savvy shopper who knows how to buy filter cartridge bundles. This way, you’ll save more money than you’ll otherwise spend on frequent replacements.


You can easily tug most water filter pitchers in the refrigerator. If yours isn’t so small in size, you can purchase an even smaller model for it to fit seamlessly in your fridge.

In other words, you can access cold, purified water any time you want.

An Excellent Alternative to Bottled Water

Bottles of water

Bottled water is beyond expensive. Compared to regular tap water, it can cost up to 1,000 times more.[1]

Even worse, it pollutes our land. Data reveals that around 17 million barrels of oil are used to keep with the US’s annual supply of bottled water.

Regrettably, most bottles make their way to the landfills and remain there for years to come. Consequently, it poisons the soil and harms aquatic life.

Also, what a significant share of bottled water companies provide is just filtered tap water.[2]

When buying a water filter pitcher, you play your part in saving the planet. Additionally, you’re saving yourself some money.

How to Maintain a Filter Pitcher?

Like other home appliances, a water filter pitcher requires maintenance to work properly.

Luckily, most of them need little attention to keep them up and running.

Timely cartridge replacements are one of the most critical factors. The question, however, is when should you replace your pitcher filter cartridge?

First off, replacement largely depends on your water usage, water conditions and the type of filter media used.

For instance, carbon-based filters like Brita need replacements after no more than 40 gallons of purified water. On the other hand, an Epic Pure can filter around 150 gallons of water before exhausting. We recommend adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you’re uncertain about your filter wearing out, don’t fret. There are ways to find out about it. If your water starts to taste rancid or gives a poor flow rate, it’s an indicator of an underperforming pitcher, one that requires replacement.

Aside from replacing the filter element, make sure you clean your pitcher weekly to avoid the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms.

Use soap, water and a soft brush for cleaning – avoid using harsh chemicals in the process. And never soak the filter cartridge in any chemical solution.

Once cleaned and dried, reassemble the pitcher, fill it up with water and you’re good to go.

Key filter pitcher advantages are healthy drinking free from bad taste and odor, and affordability and portability,

Timely filter replacements and occasional cleaning need to be remembered in order to keep a water filter pitcher in good shape.


A water filter pitcher is probably the most easy-to-use type of home water filter available. Besides, it’s highly affordable.

There are different types of water filter pitchers, meaning they use different filter media. What they all have in common is a filter element at their center.

Depending on the filter media used, a water filter pitcher can remove chemicals, heavy metals, salts and other types of tap and well water contaminants.

Key filter pitcher advantages include providing healthy drinking water free from bad taste and odor, and portability.

Remember timely filter replacements and occasional cleaning if you want to keep your water filter pitcher in great shape.

Further Reading


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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