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Water isn’t just 70% of the composition of our bodies—it’s a vital part of everyday life. From showering to brushing our teeth, from washing our food to drinking it straight, running water is one of the most important tools we have. But when you turn on the faucet to pour out your city’s tap water, what are you really pouring out?
Tap water has to go through underground pipes before it gets to you, and these pipes might be old and contain harmful pollutants and contaminants. Sometimes this leads to a funny or “off” taste in your water; sometimes these contaminants can actually be harmful to your health. That’s why we’ve compiled this buying guide, including our top ten picks for the best tap water filters. Keep reading to find out what you need to know before you pour.
Things to consider Tap Water Filters
What chemicals does it filter?
The standard contaminants filtered by a tap water filter are lead, chlorine, and pesticides. Some units will also filter fluoride, which may not be a good thing; fluoride is good for your teeth and not bad for you unless ingested in a very large quantity.
PUR boasts a total of 72 contaminants filtered, more than any other (including Brita’s 60 contaminants); however, you may not need that much filtration power unless you’re very worried about a specific contaminant to your water supply.
Can you switch between filtered and tap water?
The advantage of switching between filtered and unfiltered water is a big advantage which helps prolong the life of your filter. It’s useful when you’re doing the dishes, for example, as the soap will likely clear away contaminants anyway. This is a standard feature on almost any water filter.
Does it fit your sink?
Your faucet has an aerator at the very bottom where the water comes out, and a washer that screws on overtop. Sometimes the threading for this washer is on the outside of your sink, and sometimes it’s on the inside—and faucets come in many different sizes. Most faucets come with a wide range of washers for both types of threading for an easy install—though some, like the PUR FM-3700, boast an easy one-click install that conforms to the shape of your faucet.
It may be a good idea to check the user guide before purchasing, or to confirm the return policy, just in case it doesn’t fit.
How long will the filter last?
This is one of the most common questions when purchasing a water filter. The time in months depends on how many people are in your household and how much water you consume. Rather than time, it’s easier to compare filters in terms of how many gallons they filter. The shortest filters on our list will filter 100 gallons of water; this includes both PUR filters, the Brita filter, and the DuPont WFFM100XCH. However, the two longest-lasting filters on our list can filter up to 320 gallons: the Waterdrop and the Engdenton. If your family’s tap water needs are high, you may want to purchase a water filter with a higher capacity for filtration.
Does it come with a warranty?
A warranty protects you from any defects that might come with the product. This is especially important when buying a filter online, as there may be problems with the shipping process that you cannot account for.
The winner in this area is the DuPont WFFM350XCH, which offers a very generous four-year warranty. The Instapure, PUR FM2500V, Engdenton, and Brita filters did not list warranty information on their Amazon page, but the manufacturer may offer a warranty.
What does it look like?
There are two aesthetic factors to keep in mind when buying one of the best tap water filters. First, some filters (like the Engdenton or the PUR FM-3700) are vertical, while others (like the DuPont WFFM350XCH) are horizontal. While this doesn’t affect the quality of the filtration, one option may be better suited for the size of your sink—and you may prefer one design over the other.
The other is the finish. Many filters are made of plastic and come in a white or metallic finish. Some come with several different options like chrome, nickel, or steel. However, others (like the Engdenton) don’t just have a metallic finish, but they’re actually composed of stainless steel. These more durable machines look nice and provide durability.