Best Water Filter Buying Guide for 2024

Best Water Filter Buying Guide for 2024

If you are interested in buying a water filter system for your home or apartment, but aren’t sure where to start, then this article is for you. The water filtration industry is very broad, encompassing many different technologies and products. It can be intimidating to the outsider, so we’re here to help you filter your way through all of the options on the market and come up with the system that is right for you and your situation.

Understanding Different Types of Water Filters

Water filtration is a very old art that has been practiced since the time of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians. Over the past century, filtration technology has greatly expanded, of course, but the basics of filtration have been around for a very long time. At its core, filtration is a simple process: removing undesirable elements from a given substance. Filters can do this mechanically, like a screen door, which lets air through (but not bugs), or chemically, like an activated carbon filter, which removes chemicals from water by chemically binding the contaminants to the carbon matrix. When it comes to home water filtration, you want a mix of both mechanical filtration and chemical filtration, as the two filtration modes target different contaminants, and work best in tandem with each other.

Sediment filters remove physical debris and particulate from water, while activated carbon removes unseen threats such as chlorine, volatile organic compounds, PFAs, and lots of other dissolved chemical content from make-up, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and more. A robust home filter system should be multi-stage, and sediment filters always come first. After that, you can put as much carbon as you want–the more contact time the water has with the carbon, the cleaner the water will be. There are also more aggressive filtration options, such as reverse osmosis, that we will consider below.

What Factors Should I Consider Before Buying a Water Filter?

The biggest factor to consider before making a purchase is the current state of your water. Water doesn’t come in just two modes: ‘clean,’ and ‘dirty.’ Water may contain any number of things, depending on your region, precipitation, the activities of nearby businesses or manufacturers, and so on. Each water situation is slightly different, and you want to treat the problems in your water, rather than a set of abstract problems. Pay to get your water professionally tested, and determine what is in there in the first place.

Where Can I Buy Reliable Water Filters?

Water filters can be found at many big box stores, but for the most convenient shopping experience, explore a variety types of water filters on All Filters, including sediment, carbon, reverse osmosis, and more. With a wide selection, and prices that are hard to beat, you can find what you need here.

How Do I Choose the Right Size Water Filter for My Home?

When considering what filter type to get, size is not necessarily the first question to consider. Rather, consider what type of system you need. If your water is relatively good, and you simply want to remove any residual chlorine from the municipal treatment plant, then a simple carbon refrigerator filter may be sufficient. If, on the other hand, you have very hard water, or water that is high in sediment, you may want to consider a water softener, or a whole-house setup. Larger homes will typically need larger systems, of course, but more relevant is the current state of your water.

How Often Should I Replace My Water Filters?

Water filters should be changed annually at the very least. Different filter types have different lifespans, however, so be sure to check the manual and manufacturer instructions on your system or filter. Sediment filters typically need changing more often than reverse osmosis membranes, for instance.

The Cost Range for Different Types of Water Filters

Water filters are become more affordable every year, with professional-grade systems being now easily available to homeowners. You can spend as little as $15 or $20 on a refrigerator filter, or up to $10,000 on a custom whole-house set up with all the bells and whistles. For an average undersink filtration unit, you can expect to spend in the ballpark of $40-$250, depending on the filters and features included.

Are There Water Filters That Improve Taste and Remove Contaminants?

All filters are designed to reduce or remove contaminants in some way, though not all types of filters will have aesthetic benefits (improved taste and odor). For better-tasting and smelling water, you need activated carbon. It is the best media in the world for removing undesirable tastes and dissolved chemical content from water.

How Do I Install a Water Filter?

Different filter types call for distinct installation methods. Refrigerator filters are generally easy to install–simply plug and play, while more complex systems such as an undersink reverse osmosis system, requires some plumbing knowledge and facility with tools that some DIY-ers can take on themselves. Big jobs like water softener installations should be left to professionals.

What Certifications Should I Look for in a Water Filter?

Water filters are typically certified by either NSF International, the world’s pre-eminent sanitation and testing body, or IAPMO, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. Both NSF and IAPMO follow the same testing guidelines, so look for products with those seals of approval.


Water is essential for life, so it pays to surround yourself with the best possible water you can. With all of the modern filtration options available, you can choose the perfect system to compliment your living space, target the contaminants that are in your water, and start enjoying every glass and bath just a little bit more. Educate yourself on what is in your water, then speak to a local plumber or water dealer about the best solutions for your space, and your specific water needs.


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