Even if you’ve heard of Flint, it’s unlikely you still drink tap water. Most of us have graduated to bottled water. Maybe even sparkling. But just because you don’t trust your local water treatment plant doesn’t mean you have to buy branded water. Just get a water filter for your home instead.
The best under sink water filter is just the right size for your faucet. It tucks neatly beneath your cabinets, ensuring germ-free water at a pocket-friendly price. Besides, it’s cheaper than a fifteen-year supply of fizzy water. So let’s explore some popular filtration brands for your sink.
Reverse Osmosis systems – sometimes abbreviated as RO – are a popular choice for home filtration. The Home Master under sink system is a good example. It passes your tap water through 7 filtration stages, extracting 99% of contaminants. And once the filter is done removing the bad stuff, it tosses some good stuff in to reduce acidity and improve alkalinity.
These additives are calcium and magnesium, and your faucet water will do a double-pass through them for remineralization. With some RO products, you lose a lot of wastewater. But the Home Master has a built-in pump that cuts down your wasted water by up to 80%. It also gives you up to 50% more clean water, thanks to its high capacity filter.
The pump won’t raise your power bill, because it doesn’t use electricity. And because the filter and housing are in one modular unit, it’s easier to maintain the filter. The housing is a push-in style rather than a screw-in. This means even when the casing is clogged with gunk and residue, it’s still easy to pop it open for cleaning, repair, or replacement. Do this every year.
The device uses carbon prefilters to extract chloramine. Many filtration housings are changed after 2 to 5 years, but the Home Master needs annual attention. That said, it still comes with a 5-year quality guarantee. The warranty is limited though, so read it carefully to see what it covers. You’ll need a new housing after 2,000 gallons, which is roughly one year of domestic use.
As RO systems go, the Home Master is on top. It filters your water in 7 phases, which include two remineralization stages. But be prepared to buy a new filter housing every year.
It has double mineralization for better-tasting water.
It uses push-cartridges instead of threaded ones, so the cartridge sticks less.
It has a fast-flow kit with larger pipes and wider fittings.
Many RO systems last 2 to 5 years before replacement, but Home Master has to be changed every year to maintain efficiency.
Ideally, you want a filtration system that takes out as many unwanted materials as possible. That may mean passing your tap water through multiple filtration stages. The Clearly Filtered unit has a three-stage filtration system, and it can extract over 220 diverse contaminants.
These include hormones, pesticides, herbicides, arsenic, radioactive elements, medication, arsenic, heavy metals, micro-plastics, and micro-organisms like cysts and bacteria. The filter membrane needs to be changed every 9 to 15 months, depending on family size and frequency of use. It’s easy to switch the filter. You don’t need tools, or even to disconnect the water mains.
Because the filter has a leak-proof valve, it will automatically cut the water supply when you unscrew the cartridge, and that’s something you can do by hand. It only takes a few minutes. The Clearly Filtered unit is compact and easily accessible. It takes up less space under the sink.
And it has a 1:1 pure water: waste ratio, so you don’t lose any water. What goes in is exactly what comes out, and this keeps your water bill much lower than RO systems. And it takes out 99.7% of contaminants in the process. Plus, they have a generous refund policy.
This stainless steel 3-stage filter is convenient for DIY renters. It extracts more foreign matter than its five top competitors combined, and can go a year or more without replacement.
You can easily install (or remove) it in 15 minutes without professional help.
It can remove more than 220 different contaminants from your water.
It’s ideal for rented homes because you can easily remove it when your lease is up.
The Clearly Filtered only connects to your cold water line. It doesn’t filter your hot water supply. So if you want to bypass the filter, turn on the heater.
Lots of us are willing to install under sink water filters. Fewer consumers want the hassle of replacing the filter or its housing. And while Filtrete needs attention every 6 months or so, it’s an easy task. You don’t need tools. Just make a quarter twist on the cartridge and it slips right off for a quick change. It doesn’t need a separate faucet. It links directly to your main water piping.
Because it’s a direct filtration system, it won’t affect your water pressure or reduce your water flow. Filtrete complies with NSF Standards 42 and 53. Depending on what level of filtration you need (and how much you’re willing to pay), you can buy the Advanced, Standard, or Maximum version of this Filtrete unit. Their parts are fully interchangeable, no customization needed.
Filtrete feeds water through your faucet at 2.25 GPM. You need to change the filter every 6 months (or after 2,000 gallons). You can sign up for a text notification. It reminds you to change your filter, ensuring you get uninterrupted purification services. The packaging includes everything you need to install the filter, from ferrules to faucet adaptors and mounting screws.
The Filtrete under sink water filter is easy to install and maintain. And if you’re the type that forgets to change your filter, be sure to sign up for notifications!
It’s simple to replace the filter – just make a single quarter turn!
It’s effective against particulate smells, chlorine, cysts, rust, sand, and sediment.
The manufacturer can send you reminder texts on request.
It’s a single-stage filter and is only effective up to 0.5 microns.
Filtration systems have different mechanisms, and some require a dedicated faucet. This means when water goes into the filter, it comes out of a separate tap. Aquasana’s two-stage filter needs that extra tap, so they include one as part of your under sink water filter package. The unit we’re looking at is a 2-stage filter, but they also have 3-stage filters available.
While Aquasana doesn’t add any minerals to your tap water, it retains the useful elements that many filters inevitably extract. These include magnesium, calcium, and potassium. The filtration system is fairly simple to install so you don’t need a plumber. All the necessary hardware is included, so you just unpack the box and start your DIY project.
Aquasana is a vetted filter that complies with NSF 473, 401, 53, and 42. The faucet has zero lead components and its Claryum technology filters mechanically and through ion-exchange. The filter also utilizes activated carbon and catalytic carbon membranes. You’ll need to change the filter twice a year (or after 500 gallons). The twist-off cartridge housing simplifies that task.
If you want a simple 1:1 filter with a 1-year warranty, buy the Aquasana two-stage under sink filter. It’s lightweight at 5 pounds and is easy to install without external professional help.
The filter comes with a dedicated faucet finished in oiled bronze.
It gets rid of 77 unwanted materials including herbicides, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and heavy metals like mercury and lead.
It’s a 1:1 Claryum filter, so there’s no wasted water.
It uses a separate faucet, so unless you have a three-hole sink, you’ll have to do some drilling.
At first glance the CuZn is striking. Its metallic canister suggests stronger performance that the plastic cartridge housings of many under sink water filters. But beyond looks, the CuZn guarantees action. Its three-stage filtration system begins with activated carbon derived from coconut shells washed in acid. It’s effective against THMs, chlorine, pesticides, and herbicides.
The coconut shell barrier is also good at removing unwanted smells because it traps their particulate microcells. After that layer comes the micro-sediment membrane, which specializes is catching non-dissolving solids like sand. Finally, the KDF 55 layer grabs heavy metals while deterring the growth of mold and bacteria. This filter keeps going for up to 5 years.
Although this filter is easy to set up, you may want a tailored system to fit your complex filtration needs. For example, you may want to install a dedicated faucet. You can call the manufacturer and they’ll fabricate a customized system just for you. They’ll keep it simple enough that you can still install it yourself without extra purchasing fees or plumbing costs.
CuZn’s U-200 filter looks good and works well. It filters in 3 stages, and while it doesn’t need a dedicated faucet, the company can sell you a custom-made system at no additional cost.
It uses three types of filtration media – KDF 55, activated carbon, and micro-sediment.
It has a 5-year warranty and a 90-day guarantee for satisfaction.
You can request customized hardware if you require specialized installation.
It’s specifically designed for municipal mains, so if you get your water from a borehole, private well, or personal source, the CuZn isn’t advisable.
The beauty of RO systems is their multi-phase filtration systems. iSpring has six phases including remineralization. Despite all these ‘moving parts’, the iSpring has color-coded tubing to make the installation process easier. It also has an ASO valve. This stops the flow of water once the storage tank is full, preventing wastage and lowering your utility bills.
Because there are six separate filtration canisters, replacement can be an expensive process. Pick replacements that suit your budget. They range from 6-month cartridges to 3-year cartridges. The 6-month set has one filter each, while the 3-year one has multiple pieces of each filter. The filter at the first stage is see-through, so you asses the water at a glance.
In addition to the ASO valve, iSpring has fittings designed to be leak-proof. Each fitting sinks ½ an inch into its connecting piece. They’re all push-fit pieces with no threading, so they’re less likely to clog, stick, or leak. The iSpring does need a dedicated faucet though.
It works best with a high-spout European-style faucet. iSpring manufactures some with no-lead brass, ceramic disc valves, and heavy-weight 14-oz construction. The faucet adds roughly $50 to your budget, though some sellers include it in your filtration package.
If you’re sold on Reverse Osmosis systems, the iSpring works well. It has 6-stage filtration, a 3.2-gallon tank, and works best with a dedicated iSpring high-spout faucet.
It passes your water through 6 stages of RO filtration.
It has a 3.2-gallon food-grade storage tank.
It has a specialty valve to prevent leakage.
RO systems take up a lot of under sink space, especially one with 6 separate filters and a large storage tank.
California has strict guidelines when it comes to water use within the state, it helps to buy a product tailored for its regulations. APEC is based in California, so its filtration products are fully compliant. This 3-stage filtration system uses reverse osmosis to purify your tap water.
It has two carbon filters and a sediment filter. Each cartridge is 10 inches long, and each one is responsible for a different set contaminants:
Phase 1 – rust, dust, and other particles
Phase 2 – chlorine, VOCs, unwanted taste, and unwanted smells.
Phase 3 – chemicals, leftover discoloration, and other residues.
When you buy the APEC RO filter, you get a premium high spout faucet. It’s lead-free, swivels 360° for ease and convenience, and has a clean chrome finish. The faucet uses a disc valve with smooth, leak-free rotation to operate your tap. Unlike some RO filters, APEC has no storage tank, so it takes up less space beneath the sink. It has a 1-year satisfaction guarantee.
But even after the warranty is up, you get dedicated customer support throughout the lifetime of the filter. These filters only need to be changed once a year and can last longer in a two-person household. They’re certified clog-free and fuss-free, and because there’s no storage tank, the flow of your tap water isn’t minimized. It’s a 1:1 RO system with no wasted water.
If you’re an environmentally-minded consumer, you will love APEC. The tight water regulations in its home state ensure maximum water conservation, and they give clean water to charity too!
It has three filtration phases including two carbon blocks and a sediment membrane.
It feeds water through the faucet at 20 to 85 PSI.
It’s suitable for use in California.
It can remove lots of particles and dissolved chemicals, but it doesn’t extract TDS.
You probably didn’t know your home needed a filter. And now that you’re convinced, it’s unclear where to start. Luckily, we can nudge you in the right direction! Here are some things to think about as you shop around for your (first?) under sink water filter.
Out and In
Tap water could contain any number of contaminants. Lead and heavy metals from old pipes. Insects and micro-organisms from your tank. Hormones from flushed pills and peed medication. Beneficial additives like chlorine, ozone, and fluoride. Mineral salts from natural wells, hot springs, and boreholes. Which of these items would you like to throw out or keep in?
Some filters will dilute chlorine, but they may end up filtering out your fluoride. And that’s something you’d rather keep. Other filters can extract solid particles but can’t control dissolved or diffused elements. Decide on the target of your filter. Then ensure the product you buy can lock out that particular foreign body. Otherwise, you’ll do more harm than good.
You’d assume filters hold back foreign objects and let the most of the water through. But some filters, especially reverse osmosis filters, get rid of large amounts of water. You might 1 gallon of clean water for every 5 gallons that pass through your filter. You’ll see this described as a ratio.
For example, in the scenario above, the waste: pure water ratio is 5:1. But even though you’ll only get a gallon of usable water, you’ll still have to pay for all 5 gallons. So you’ll essentially spend more money and use less water. Look for a filter that has a waste ratio of 3:1, or even 1:1. And tweak your plumbing so the wastewater gets recycles for laundry, flushing, or gardening.
Under-sink filters are harder to get to than faucet filters. With the latter, you can just unscrew them, but with under sink units, there’s a lot more plumbing required. So buy the longest lasting one you can. Ideally, you want a filter that only needs changing two to four times a year. Even better, buy a unit that has a pre-filter. This quietly eases your plumbing woes.
How so? The prefilter can be changed more often than the main filter, which can sometimes last 5 years. This means you don’t have to stick your head under the sink as often. Of course filters with longer lifespans cost more, so you could consider a 2-year filter is your budget is tighter.
Many filters work by accumulating water in a temporary storage cartridge. This cartridge quickly cleans the water before releasing it into the tap. And that slight delay can lower the water pressure of your faucet. So check your numbers to be sure you don’t compromise the flow of your tap water too badly. You also need a specific pressure at the water inlet.
If the ‘dirty’ water trickles into the filter cartridge too slowly, the filter may lack the momentum it needs to effectively clean your water. Check how much pressure the filter needs – it’s usually written somewhere on the product pack. The make sure the number matches your municipal supply pressure. If it doesn’t, you may be forced to buy a pump that boosts your filtration.
You can also consider filters that re-mineralize the water. This means they extract harmful materials and replace them with beneficial ones. Their main aim is to make the water less acidic. They add alkaline materials that make the water taste better, and that can be a nice touch.
The most common mineral additives in such filters are magnesium and calcium. These are helpful in drinking water because they strengthen your teeth and bones. It’s not enough to significantly influence your health, but the slight shift in taste might encourage your household to drink more water. Especially the stubborn kids, teens, and macho men who can’t be bothered.
Do you have the skills to mount the filter yourself? Check the manual and demo videos to be sure – it may not be as simple as you think. And even if you plan to hire a plumber, many bill by the hour. So you want a filter they can install in minimal time. You may also want to hang around while they do it, ensuring they don’t stall or drag themselves to pad your bill.
Find out what you need for installation, and verify all the hardware is included in the shipping box. You’ll also want to be sure you have the right tools. You don’t want to delay your installation with additional trips to the hardware store. And don’t forget to turn off the mains!