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Buying guide for best alkaline water machines

Alkaline water machines have surged in popularity due to numerous claims of health benefits endorsed by athletes and celebrities. Detoxing, reduced body acidity, immune system support, weight loss, even anti-aging are among the advantages alkaline water may have over ordinary drinking water. It’s no surprise, then, that  there are plenty of devices that can provide you with your daily dose of alkaline water, from simple pitchers to highly complex electronic machines. 

Given the diversity and the features, it can be quite a challenge to understand which device does what and how much you ought to be paying. That’s where BestReviews comes in. Our testing facilities were developed to help buyers find the answers they need, and recently we’ve been looking at all the latest alkaline water machines. 

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The pH scale is used to measure acid and alkaline. It runs from 0 (highly acidic) through 7 (neutral) to 14 (highly alkaline).

Key considerations

How it works

The obvious point is that an alkaline water machine increases water’s normal alkaline level, taking drinking water from a pH of somewhere around 7 to a pH around the 8 or 9 suggested by many as a beneficial level. The machine does this by passing the water through a series of filters or a single filter with multiple elements. The chemicals in these filters both increase the water’s pH and change its properties as an antioxidant. The latter is done by reducing the oxidation reduction potential (ORP). Negative ORP figures show you the level of antioxidation

Electronic devices, usually called water ionizers, use filters but also pass an ionizing charge through the water via titanium electrodes. This allows them to not just create alkaline water but also acid water. We will look at just how strong it is and why you might want that.

Types of alkaline water producers

Pitcher: The simplest device isn’t a machine but a drip-fed pitcher, much like a water purifier but with a more complex filter. These pitchers are relatively low cost and require nothing more than a regular filter change. The only drawback is that they may not make a significant difference if you have hard water. It might be worth a quick test of your existing supply.

Countertop filter: This attaches to your existing faucet, with a pipe that leads to one or two tall filter elements. A spout delivers alkaline water to your container. The faucet adapter has a simple lever to direct the flow through the filter as needed; if it’s not switched over, your faucet works as normal. You need to check the fitting type, however. These filters don’t usually work on sprinkler faucets or some designer models, though most makers offer a couple of options.

Under-sink filter: This is permanently plumbed under your sink. Similar systems are used for water purification, but alkaline models have an extra filter (six instead of five). An additional faucet is usually supplied, so you can run it separately from your normal supply. Once installed, you can pretty much forget about it. This type of filter is designed for DIY fitting, which is fairly straightforward because no electrical supply is needed. However, it does take up significant space, and if you’ve already got a garbage disposal under your sink, installation could be a challenge.

Water ionizer: This attaches to your faucet in much the same way as a countertop alkaline filter, but the similarity ends there. This requires a 110-volt feed, both for ionizing the water and lighting up the digital display. These machines do way more than just filter your water: they have a number of presets for different pH levels and can also have user-variable controls for pH and ORP. The major difference between these and other machines is they can produce slightly acidic water (for skin care, for example) and strongly acidic (for cleaning). Actual pH range varies from one machine to another, but it’s typically from a pH of 3 to a pH of 12. Some are also self-cleaning.

Note: Some alkaline water machines rely on constant water pressure (generally around 20 pounds per square inch), and are therefore not suitable for homes that use well water, if that pressure fluctuates.

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Many people are unaware that strong alkalies can be as dangerous as strong acids. Sodium hydroxide (commonly called lye) can burn skin and be lethal if swallowed. Fortunately, alkaline drinking water never gets near those levels!



The filters in alkaline water machines have a limited life no matter which type machine you buy. To get an overall picture of ongoing costs, you need to think about the price of replacement filters and how often you’ll need to replace it. The following is only a rough guide. The cleanliness of your water will affect how quickly the filter becomes clogged. Manufacturers give instructions so you know when a change is required.

Pitcher: Filters for alkaline water pitchers process up to a gallon and cost from $15 to $30.

Countertop: Filters for countertop models cost around $25 to $55. Some manufacturers claim each filter can process several hundred gallons, while others don’t quote quantity but say they will last “up to 12 months.”

Under-sink: Filters for under-sink models are more complex and usually come in packs rated for anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Prices run from $55 to over $200, so it’s worth checking around. You don’t have to buy filters from the same maker as the machine, but it’s vital that they are compatible — there can be big differences.

Ionizer: Filters for water ionizers cost from $55 to $90 and last for somewhere between 1,000 and 1,300 gallons. Again, compatibility is very important.

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Did you know?
Under-sink or countertop systems generally work out to be cheaper than store-bought alkaline water in the long run, and you’ll be reducing the demand for single-use plastic bottles.
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Did you know?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specifies that drinking water should have a pH of between 6.5 and 8.5. Before investing in an alkaline water machine it’s a good idea to test your existing supply.

Alkaline water machine prices

Inexpensive: The cheapest alkaline water machines are drip-fed pitchers, which cost between $35 and $55. It’s worth checking filter costs, too. At the budget end, they can easily add 50% to your purchase.

Mid-range: Slender countertop filters range from about $80 to $110. Popular under-sink installations run from approximately $170 to $250, though if you’re uncomfortable doing basic plumbing, you may want to pay extra for professional installation.

Expensive: The versatility provided by plug-in countertop machines comes with a much greater price tag. Few cost less than $500, and the most expensive are a few bucks shy of $2,000.

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Don’t confuse traditional water filter pitchers with alkaline water filter pitchers. Standard models do a great job of purifying, but they have no effect on the alkaline content of the water.


Q. Can I make alkaline water without a machine?
A. You can. Things like baking soda, lemon, lime, and cucumber can all raise the pH of water when used in the right combinations, and there are a number of different recipes available. However, making it can be quite time-consuming, and unless you’re very careful, it’s difficult to reproduce the consistency a machine provides.

Q. Is ionized water the same as alkaline water?
A. Yes and no! Confusingly, you can have alkaline water, ionized water, ionized alkaline water, and even ionized acid water! Strictly speaking, ionization gives the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in any kind of water a tiny electrical charge. However, the term “water ionizer” is most often associated with alkaline water machines, so in this case it’s the same thing.

Q. Can alkaline water be harmful?
A. Your body is pretty good at adapting to changes in the pH of water — up to a point. It’s suggested that if you’re switching to alkaline water, you should introduce it slowly. Don’t just jump from ordinary water to alkaline in a day. However, if you have a kidney complaint or are taking kidney-related medication, increased alkalinity might impact your health. You should consult your physician before implementing any change in your diet.

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