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Best Water Filter Pitchers

Updated August 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 181 Models Considered
  • 7 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 294 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best water filter pitchers

    Last Updated August 2018

    Drinking plenty of water is part of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, bottled water can get expensive, and tap water can contain contaminants that no one wants to drink.

    That’s why having a water filter pitcher in your refrigerator is a good idea.

    Unlike other water filtration products, a water filter pitcher is ready to use almost as soon as you take it out of the box, so you can begin drinking more water right away.

    But with so many pitchers on the market, finding the right one for your kitchen can be a challenge. You need to know what capacity, material, type of filter, and other features to look for to find the one that’s right for you.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the options, BestReviews is here to help!

    Water is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It helps move vitamins and nutrients through the body, aids digestion, and can lower your chance of contracting certain infections.

    Our goal is to provide completely unbiased recommendations, so we don’t take any promotional products.

    We consult with experts to make sure we know exactly what to look for in the product categories we’re evaluating, and we test some of the top items ourselves so we can see how well they really perform.

    We pass all of that research along to you, giving you the information you need to make shopping a little easier.

    When you’re ready to buy a water filter pitcher, consider our top five recommendations in the matrix above.

    If you want some general tips on what to look for, our shopping guide can help.

    EXPERT TIP

    Water filter pitchers are a very economical way to make sure that your tap water is safe to drink.


    Benefits of water filter pitchers

    • No Installation Required: Unlike under-sink or faucet-mount filters, a water filter pitcher requires no installation. Once you insert the filter in the pitcher and add water, you’re good to go.

    • Filters Amount of Water You Need: Because the pitcher is a small, self-contained unit, you can filter a small amount of water rather than all the water that passes through your water system.

    • Filters Water for Later Use: A water filter pitcher allows you to store the filtered water, so it’s ready when you want it.

    • Compact Size: A water filter pitcher is easy to store on your counter or in your refrigerator, which means you have can chilled, filtered water whenever you want it.

    • Filters on the Go: A water filter pitcher is highly portable, so you can take it with you and filter tap water when you’re on vacation.

    • Different Filter Types: Filters for these pitchers are available with carbon and ion exchange filtration, as well as systems that utilize multiple filtration stages, so you can be sure to remove a range of contaminants.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Drinking water from a water filter pitcher rather than bottled water can save up to 3,000 plastic bottles a year per family of three to four – a much better option for the environment.

    Carbon vs. ion exchange filters

    Many water filter pitchers offer multiple filtration stages, including a fine mesh filter that can remove dirt, sand, rust, and other sediment from the water. It’s usually the first step in the filtering process.

    While a water filter pitcher can’t remove all the contaminants that may be in tap water, it can usually filter out the most common culprits, such as chlorine, lead, copper, mercury, and cadmium. It can also remove some of the unpleasant tastes and smells that may be associated with tap water.

    The type of filter a pitcher uses will determine the specific contaminants the pitcher can filter out. Activated carbon filters and ion exchange filters remove different chemicals, which is why they’re often paired for more complete filtering.

    • Activated carbon filters work by chemically bonding carbon with the contaminants in the water. They can help filter out chlorine and the tastes and scents associated with it. Some can also filter out lead and mercury.

    • Ion exchange filters remove contaminant ions from the water by replacing them with other more beneficial additives. They can help filter out cadmium, zinc, sodium, and copper.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Water filter pitchers have indicator lights, stickers, or dials to remind you when the filter needs to be changed.

    Water filter pitcher features to consider

    Material

    Nearly all water filter pitchers are made of plastic. It’s important to choose a pitcher made of a plastic that’s safe, so no chemicals leach into your filtered water. Look for a model that features BPA-free plastic for the most healthful water.

    Most water filter pitchers are recyclable.

    Capacity

    In general, you can find water filter pitchers that range in size from five to 12 cups. The larger the pitcher, the less often you’ll need to refill it. But a very large pitcher will take up more space in your refrigerator, which could make storing it on the door or certain shelves difficult. Some larger pitchers feature a space-saving design, so they don’t take up too much room. Check the pitcher’s dimensions before buying to make sure it will fit in your refrigerator.

    Spout

    It might seem like a minor detail, but the spout on a water filter pitcher is an important feature to consider. Look for a model with a wide, contoured spout that allows the water to pour out in a steady stream. Some spouts have a hinged flap to prevent debris and odors from getting inside the pitcher. And the flaps on some spouts lock, so you don’t have to worry about spills if the pitcher gets knocked over.

    Many water filter pitchers can filter a cup of water in as little as 40 seconds.

    Filtering rate

    To make sure that you always have filtered water when you want it, it’s important to consider the length of time it takes water to go through the filter. In some cases, it can take as little as three to five minutes. For the best performance, opt for a model that takes about 10 minutes to filter a full pitcher.

    Filters

    You’ll have to replace the pitcher’s filters periodically, so choose a model with filters that last at least two to three months. This should allow you to filter 60 to 100 gallons of water through one filter. Most water filter pitchers come with at least one filter, so you should be able to use the pitcher immediately.

    Many common contaminants have no scent or taste, so you may not be aware that you’re drinking them in your tap water.

    Filter indicator

    A water filter pitcher is useless if the filter doesn’t work properly. Choose a model that has some type of filter replacement indicator, so you can be sure to replace the filter when necessary. Many models have a light that flashes to let you know it’s time to change the filter. Others have a manual indicator, such as a dial that you turn to a certain month to remind yourself when it’s time to change the filter.

    Warranty

    Water filter pitchers are fairly durable, but it’s still a good idea to consider a warranty when you’re shopping. Look for a model that provides a warranty of at least two to three years to make sure that your investment is protected.

    EXPERT TIP

    Even if you don’t drink tap water, unpleasant tastes and odors can affect other beverages that you make with it, such as coffee or tea.


    Water filter pitcher prices

    The price you’ll pay for a water filter pitcher depends mainly on the size, filter type, and number of filters included. Expect to spend between $10 and $90.

    Budget-friendly

    A small water filter pitcher that holds no more than eight cups, uses a single type of filter, and includes one filter usually costs $10 to $25.

    Between 25% and 45% of the bottled water available in the U.S. comes from municipal water systems rather than natural, untainted sources.

    Mid-range

    A medium to large water filter pitcher that holds eight to 12 cups, uses two stages or types of filtering, and includes one to two filters usually costs $25 to $50.

    Expensive

    A medium to large water filter pitcher that holds eight to 12 cups, uses up to six stages of filtering, and includes up to three filters usually costs $50 to $90.

    The Safe Drinking Water Act, passed in 1974, is out of date in terms of the contaminants that may be found in tap water. That’s why filtering your drinking water is so important.

    FAQ

    Q. What’s better: bottled water or water from a filter pitcher?

    A. In many cases, bottled water isn’t much better than tap water in terms of how safe it is to drink. In fact, some bottled water is actually just tap water that’s been filtered. You’ll pay more for it, but it really isn’t any more healthful than water that’s gone through a filter pitcher. Only bottled water that specifically states it comes from a natural spring or other source is usually free of the contaminants that are found in tap water.

    Q. Do I have to buy filters from the same manufacturer as my water filter pitcher?

    A. Yes, most pitcher manufacturers design filters for specific pitcher models, which means you can’t mix and match pitcher and filter brands. In fact, all of the pitchers in a manufacturer’s line may not use the same type of filter, so you have to be sure to purchase the right filter for your particular model to properly filter your water.

    Q. Is it safe to put my water filter pitcher in the dishwasher?

    A. It varies from brand to brand, but many water filter pitchers cannot be put in the dishwasher. They require hand-washing with warm water and mild dish soap to keep their components in proper working order. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the proper cleaning procedure.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer