Water is essential for life, but water filtration is even more essential if you want to maintain a healthy life. Water is already contaminated with a host of different types of chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, organic compounds, heavy metals, industrial wastes, pharmaceuticals, herbicides, pesticides, microplastics, viruses, and bacteria. The list will go on and on. While the state does provide filtered water to houses, many studies have shown (quite shockingly) that these water supplies still have so many contaminants way above the normal levels. Harmful metals such as lead and arsenic were found in US water supplies which raises concerns.
This is why it is always better to have a second line of defense. And home water purifiers provide an excellent way of ensuring that the water you drink is 100% safe and clean water. So to help you make the right choice, we have tested many filters from different categories and come up with the five best-activated carbon water filters of 2023. We’ll provide a concise but detailed review of each of these filters, our experience with it, and our verdict on whether it is the right one for you or not.
But before we start with the filter, why should you consider getting a filter with activated carbon filtration technology? What makes this filtration technology so desirable and popular?
Why Activated Carbon Filters?
There are so many types of filtration methods such as distillation, ion exchange, ozone exposure, deionization, reverse osmosis, etc. But most of the water filters in the market are either equipped with just some form of activated carbon filters or come with some other filtration method along with activated carbon. There is a reason for this.
While some filtration methods are great, they are too expensive to be used in a home water filtration system. The cheaper and usable ones, such as mechanical filtration, are not good enough to provide appropriate filtration. Activated carbon is the only economically viable method to be used for filters and offers excellent filtration against almost every common, dangerous contaminant found in water.
Carbon is known to be one of the “stickiest” elements. By that, we mean that carbon atoms are very keen to make bonds with other elements or chemicals. It is the reason why every living organism has carbon in them. This “affinity” of bonding with other molecules and chemicals is used to make carbon a great filtration media. Activated carbon is used in filters where the contaminants in the water form bonds with the carbon atoms in the filter. The water then passes through while the contaminants are held back.
Different types of carbon filters are used to treat different types of contaminants. Filters usually have either solid carbon block or granulated activated carbon. While solid carbon block is considered to be better in general filtration, the benefits of both types of carbon filters depend on the use case.
Parameters We Considered
Making the right choice for the filters needs to have some strict, and relevant parameters. The factors that we consider decide the desirability of the filter. It has to appeal to everyone and not put too much weight on only a few factors. So here are the parameters we have considered.
Filtration is the absolute most important factor we consider, not just for this set of filters but for every other filter test we have done. A water filter first must be a good water filter and then can have great features. So if a filter is not capable of filtering contaminants properly, then it won’t get a spot here.
Looks and Build Quality
Often ignored by many reviewers, the looks and build quality of a filter show a lot, more than what you think. If the company has put effort into the looks and the build quality, the filter is likely their Magnum opus, something they care about. Plus, a filter that looks and feels good is always preferable.
No matter how great the filtration is or how many features the filter has, you’ll have a very tough time with the filter if it fails without a warranty. It is why we look for filters that come with a great warranty. It secures your money and saves you a lot of hassle.
Apart from great filtration, what other features does the filter have? The more the features, the better the filter. Extra features make using the filter more convenient and versatile.
One of the most impactful features of any filter is filter life. A poor filter life brings a boatload of hassle with it. The hassle of frequently changing the filter, not to forget the added cost that comes from buying the filter replacement that costs upwards of 80% of the cost of the filter. So the longer the filter life, the better the filter.
Best-Activated Carbon Water Filters in 2023
With the parameters explained, let’s start the review of the five best-activated carbon water filters that you can get.
Express Water Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter System
- Great Filtration
- one-year warranty
Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
- Great Filter Life
- Installation and Portability
- Large Water Capacity
- Great Warranty and Money-Back Guarantee
Pentair Rocean Reservoir Countertop Water Filter
- Beautiful Design
- Amazing Filtration Capacity
Aquasana Rhino 1 Million Gallons Whole House Water Filter
- Powerful Add-ons
- Great Filtration Capacity
- Great Warranty and Money-Back
1. Express Water Whole House 3-Stage Water Filter System
People want to get whole house water filters because of the convenience. No need to get any extra filters for different uses. Just one filter to rule all the faucets. But whole house filters have one issue: the price. Most of the whole house filters offer gigantic filtration capacity like a million gallons or so. Is there nothing in the middle? A whole house water filter with decent filtration capacity and low price? That’s exactly what Express Water is.
The Express Water whole house filter is an excellent 3-stage water filtration unit that uses two forms of carbon filtration to offer maximum efficiency and precision. So we ordered one to review and check if this filter can find a place in your home or not.
Unboxing and Build Quality
The filter came in a very familiar package. We have ordered so many whole house water filters for testing that we know exactly how these filters will be presented. There was good padding and packaging for the safety of the filter. The box felt well built and overall high-quality. The quality of the box and packing matched the price.
We are skipping the looks section as whole house filters are an ugly breed. And since they’ll be stuffed in some uncharted corner or basement of your house, the inherent ugliness of these filters is not a problem.
The build quality of the Express Water is very good. The filter housing is made of great quality plastic. The thin metal framework which holds the filters could have been better. While lifting this heavy machine, we felt that the metal edges might bend because they felt a tad flimsy. Apart from that, everything about this filter was of good quality. From the pipes to the components, the quality remained consistent.
The Express Water is very impressive in filtration on paper. It is because this filter comes with a three-stage filtration system, two of which are carbon filters. One is an activated granular carbon filter, while the second is a solid carbon filter, both considered the most efficient filtration methods. And the presence of these two, along with a sediment filter.
The sediment filter is a 100% polypropylene unit which is a very fine filter to stop the larger sediment particles such as sand, silt, dust, rust, insects, plastics, etc. While many companies skip this filter, we recommend having a micron filter. We have tested many water samples in different states, and one thing that’s always common is sedimentary contaminants.
The second stage is a granulated activated carbon filter unit. This unit is specially made for removing the dissolved chemicals and organic compounds in the water, such as benzene, VOCs, PFAs, Radon, hydrogen sulfide, pharmaceuticals, etc.
The third stage is the most important and powerful filtration unit with a solid activated carbon block. With its larger surface area, this unit is excellent for removing contaminants such as fluoride, chlorine, lead, mercury, arsenic, herbicides, pesticides, etc. This stage ensures that any remaining contaminants after the second stage do not get passed into the filtered water.
On paper, this filter is going to be an excellent water filtration system. But that cannot be said unless we have tested it thoroughly. So we prepared a water test sample. Around 0.5 gallons of water spiked with all the contaminants that this filter claims to remove, but at extremely concentrated amounts. The aim is to see if it can work properly in these stressful conditions. In real life, such high levels of contaminants are almost impossible to find, but testing the filters to their limits is our job.
We spiked the water sample with high amounts of chlorine, lead, arsenic, VOCs, benzene, some pharmaceuticals (ibuprofen), and some amounts of insecticides and pesticides. These chemicals are very tough to remove and often require re-filtration, but that’s what we want to see. How well do the two carbon filters work? We also added some sedimentary contaminants, such as sand, dust, etc., to check the sediment filter.
After a few minutes of waiting, the sample was filtered, and we were ready to test it. The sediment filter worked very well, although we could see some amount of very fine dust particles in the water. It is something we feared as a lack of a proper micron filter can cause such issues. But in all fairness, we did put a lot of dust, so we can’t blame the filter.
Testing the sample for heavy metals, we found no trace of lead or arsenic in the water sample, which is no doubt a great sign. Any amount of these two metals are toxic for consumption, and the filter managed to remove the high concentration of these metals easily. The same was the case for chlorine. There was no trace of chlorine left after the filtration. Benzene, VOCs, and other organic compounds were almost completely removed. We’d put the efficiency at over 99%, which is more than enough. Pharmaceuticals and DEET (insecticide) were left a little bit more than we had expected, but it is passable as the amount of these chemicals was way more than any possible scenario.
In conclusion, we are very satisfied with the filtration it offers and we can say with certainty that Express Water will be able to handle your home’s filtration needs easily.
Apart from the great filtration, here are the pros and cons of the Express Water whole house water filter.
Apart from the great filtration, here are the pros and cons of the Express Water whole house water filter.
What We Liked?
With its three-stage filtration unit, this filter can handle water from any state, no matter how contaminated it is. The three-stage filtration offers excellent filtration against all the toxic and common contaminants, and if you want a great filter to remove chlorine and heavy metals, then this filter fits the bill.
Despite being a whole house water filter, it is very compact. With just three cylindrical filtration units and a framework housing it, it is very easy to install this filter at any place in the house without making space for it. Compared to other whole house filters, it is also very manageable. So size and portability are a plus point here.
Express Water is targeting a very new segment in the filtration market. Most whole house water filters offer enormous filtration capacity but are extremely bulky and expensive. Express Water is offering a whole house water filter which is just a little over the size of a normal water filter. It is something many people want, and Express Water is offering it.
While there is no mention of the exact number of how much water this filter can filter, with a little bit of research, we found that these filters would need a replacement after 1 year. So 1 year is the filter life on average. Now we know that it is not that much, especially for a whole house water filter. But this is what the company is offering in the new segment. So we have put it on this list.
What We Did Not Like?
There are a few things that disappointed us about the Express Water filter. Here are all the cons that we found in this filter.
Even though the company is offering a whole house water filter in a new market segment, looking at the filtration capacity, we think that the Express Water is overpriced. At the time of writing this article, the filter will cost you $450. It isn’t that much, but when you factor in the filter replacement cost every year, the price goes up. It is even worse when just by adding around $400 more, you can get a great whole house water filter (not a three-stage filter unit, though) with 1 million gallons of water filtration capacity.
The company is offering only a one-year warranty for this filter, which is abysmally low. Any filter should come with at least 3 years of warranty or more. We’ve seen RO filters come with a longer warranty period than this.
If you are a small family and are looking to get a great filter with decent filtration capacity, Express Water would be a good choice for you. It is a bit pricey, but it is one of those few whole house water filters that come with a three-stage filtration unit, two of which are carbon filters. In summary, we’d say that the Express Water is a great water filter that is slightly overpriced. But if you don’t have any issues paying for it, then you should go for it.
To know more about the Express Water three-stage whole house water filter, or to buy this filter, click here to visit their official website.
2. Epic Pure Water Filter Dispenser
Epic Pure is a familiar brand, and we have reviewed so many of their filters. We have reviewed so many of their filters, and their products have always outperformed their claims. And whenever we see the name “Epic Pure,” there’s a sense of confidence in the quality and level of filtration. The 3 stage water filter continues to maintain this trust with its astounding ability to remove some of the most dangerous and stubborn contaminants at an extremely affordable price.
Here’s why we love this filter so much and what makes it perhaps the best carbon filter at this price range.
Unboxing, Looks, Build Quality
Epic Pure is a company that always punches above its weight. It starts to show with their unboxing experience. Right from the quality of the box to the way it is packed and kept, you feel like you’ve bought a very premium product without paying a premium price for it. There was great packaging, and the filter came safely without a single scratch.
Coming to the looks, this filter can be a looker for some, and for someone, a reason not to buy it at all. We’ve got the most polarizing opinions in our offices. Some love the simple, clean, and industrial look of the filter, while some just feel this filter looks like a giant ice tray to make blocks of ice. Which side you want to be on, we’ll leave it to you.
Epic Pure never fails to impress us in terms of the quality, and the same goes for this one. The quality is impeccable. It is an entire plastic build, but the plastic used is dense, strong, and feels good to the touch. Even if the entire filter is filled with water, you can pick it up with just one hand (or from one side, if you are strong enough) and still have the confidence that the filter’s body won’t snap. Every part of the filter is high quality, and we are giving it a solid ten on ten in this department.
By looking at the filter, it is hard to believe that this simple water storage unit packs so much punch. The Epic Pure uses a single filtration unit that houses a solid carbon block, but the placement and filtration method is done in such a way that most of the contaminants are trapped easily in the filter. So how “epic” is the Epic water filter? Let’s take a look.
This filter is made to remove heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, etc. But it does not show mercy on organic contaminants as well. Here’s a list of some of the most common contaminants that this filter can remove with mentioned efficiency:
- Lead by 99.4%
- PFOA by 99.6%
- Chlorine by 98.4%
- Benzene by 99.8%
- Fluoride by 97.8%
- Mercury by 91.8%
- Microplastics by 99.62%
Apart from these, it can also remove VOCs, PFAs, herbicides, pesticides, etc. So on paper, the filtration looks very powerful. In total, the company claims that this filter can remove more than 200 different contaminants from the water. But all these claims need to be tested.
For this test, we added a high concentration of lead, chlorine, fluoride, benzene, microplastics, and PFOA. We did not add any sedimentary contaminants, herbicides, or pesticides as this is a single filtration unit. We know that it won’t be able to manage these chemicals very well. So with the sample ready, we poured around 0.5 gallons of the contaminated water into the filter and waited for the filtration.
The sample was out after a few minutes, and we tested it. Unsurprisingly, the filter had worked perfectly well, just as it claimed. There was no trace of lead, chlorine, benzene, PFOA, and microplastics, while mercury and fluoride were removed with similar efficiency. The filter also improved the taste and smell of water, which is a bonus and would be very helpful for people who want to get a filter for taste or smell enhancement.
In conclusion, we are very happy with the filtration and can vouch for the efficiency and capabilities of the Epic Pure water dispenser filter. It works just as advertised and manages contaminants very well. The only gripe we have about the filtration is the lack of a micron filter. It would have been great to have a dedicated sediment filter.
Apart from the great filtration, there are a lot of things that make Epic Pure a great option. Take a look at the pros and a small list of cons of this filter.
What We Like About the Filter?
With all the amazing filtration and quality, one would think that surely the Epic Pure must be a costly filter. And this is where the delightful surprise comes. This filter is priced at just $69. That’s lower than the hundred dollars mark. Better yet, with the filter subscription, you can get it for as low as $55. This low price and the great filtration and other features make it one of the best filters, if not the best.
Filter Life Countdown
A filter life countdown is a feature that not many people pay attention to, but it is as crucial as the filters themselves. Filters without a filter change alert need guesswork to know about when to change the filter. It often leads to drinking improperly filtered water, defeating the whole purpose of a filter. The Epic Pure comes with a filter life countdown that sets off 90-days before changing the filter. This feature is not only convenient but creates a positive impact on health as well.
Great Filter Life
Frequently changing the filter is a big hassle and a pocket-burner. So a great filter must also have a great filter life. The Epic Pure comes with a filtration capacity of 150 gallons, which would last easily for around 6 months on light use. For this price, this is a great filtration capacity.
Strong, Safe, and Eco-conscious
The body of the filter is made with 100% BPA/BPS-free plastic which ensures your health by using food-grade plastic. The build quality of the filter body is also great, and it does not feel like plastic at all. Another great thing about choosing Epic Pure is their commitment to the environment. The entire filtration unit and the filter body are made of 100% replaceable and recyclable plastic, which reduces the plastic waste in work.
Installation and Portability
Since this is a countertop carbon water filter, there is no hassle in installing this filter. All you need to do is keep it in any room you want and fill up the filter. That’s it. It requires no electricity and can be carried around in the house or anywhere you want to, making it extremely portable. The water jar can be removed and kept in the fridge, which takes convenience to the next level. All these little things add up to a great experience.
This is perhaps the most impressive thing about the Epic Pure (and that’s saying a lot). The Epic Pure comes with a lifetime warranty! Yes, you read that right. Since there are no electrical parts involved, the company is giving a lifetime warranty on the entire product. It means that if the filter fails to perform or you see any performance issues, you can get your money back. How wonderful is that!
What We Did Not Like?
At this price range and with so many features and great filtration, it is very hard for us to find out negative things about this product. But since we have to point out something, let’s start nitpicking.
Lack of Micron Filter
There’s no dedicated sediment filter here, which makes it very difficult for the filter to remove larger particles such as sand, silt, clay, etc. So for the people who get a lot of sediment in their water supply, this filter might not be the best one for you.
This is the only complaint we could think of about this filter, which goes to show how great the Epic Pure is. But is it the one for you?
There is no doubt that the Epic Pure is perhaps the best filter in this list and the market in its segment. It is priced very economically and offers excellent filtration removing over 200 contaminants. It is portable, easy to use, comes with a filter change alert, etc. So if you are looking for a great countertop activated carbon filter for your home and you live in a family of four or less, then look no further. It is the one for you.
To know more about the Epic Pure Water Dispenser Filter, or to buy this filter, click here to visit their official website.
3. Big Berkey Water Filter
If you want your filter to be free of plastic, no matter how great the quality is, then the Big Berkey is the one for you. Big Berkey is yet another brand that we have loved. We like their to-the-point approach to making water filters. No tech, no complicated words to describe their filter, no extra baggage. All you get is a simple and powerful carbon filter that can manage some of the most dangerous and harmful contaminants without even using electricity. And for the people who care, it is made of stainless steel. We’ve heard many people say that they don’t want to use a plastic filter, no matter how safe the plastic is.
All metal build sounds nice, but how is it to hold and feel? We ordered one to test it ourselves, and the initial impressions are here.
Unboxing, Looks, and Build Quality
Unboxing was decent, not too bad, and not too great. The filter came in a decent box. The quality could have been better since this filter is one big and heavy thing. But we wouldn’t call the unboxing experience cheap in any sense. There was a good amount of padding to protect the filter, and the addition of extra wrapping around the metal ensured that there wouldn’t be any scratches in transit. Overall, it was a decent experience.
There’s not a lot to say about the looks of this filter, and that’s what we love about the Big Berky. It just looks like an old, plain, steel water filter. You can’t say positive or negative things about it. It is a big steel filter. But yes, the steel does look and feel premium. There’s a good amount of shine to it, and it looks expensive.
Now, coming to the build quality, there are no complaints in this section. It is a heavy and solid filter that’s made of the toughest and strongest steel there is. Big Berkey has put a lot of effort into the quality of this filter, and it shows. Once you hold it, you’ll feel that it can stop a bullet. The steel feels strong; every part of this filter, from the filters inside to the spigot, feels strong and durable. It is made to be operated out in the open. Again, top marks for the quality and durability. But does it shine in the filtration department?
The Big Berkey is a filter that shines, not just because of its shiny metal body but because of the impressive filtration. Make no mistakes when you look at this simple-looking filter, because behind the metal sits two solid activated carbon block filters that can take on some of the toughest contaminants.
The two large carbon filters are excellent in removing heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, etc., along with chemicals such as chlorine, chloramine, pharmaceuticals, organics compounds such as benzene, VOCs, etc. It can also easily remove toxic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, etc. But that’s not the most impressive part.
This filter is an excellent bio-filter, which means that it can efficiently remove bacteria, viruses, and other microbes from the water. All this happens without the use of UV filtration. It enables this filter to work without electricity. All of this is possible because the carbon filter unit is made of coconut shell along with five other media. In simple language, this filter is excellent.
So testing this filter was very exciting. These big claims needed big tests, so we prepared perhaps our most contaminated water sample, laced with a high concentration of chlorine, lead, mercury, PFAs, VOCs, organic compounds, pesticides, insecticides, and pharmaceuticals. But that’s not all. We also added a colony of E.coli bacteria, one of the most common bacteria found in water. We could not get hold of any viruses, so we skipped that part. With the sample ready, the test began.
We poured the entire 1 gallon of the test sample into the top unit and waited for the water to be filtered slowly into the lower compartment. After around 15 minutes, the filtration was over and we tested the sample. The Big Berkey had worked its magic. We were shocked to see how well this filter could remove so many contaminants easily and with such efficiency. Lead, chlorine, chloramine, benzene, VOCs, and pharmaceuticals were completely gone from the water sample. There were only trace amounts of mercury, arsenic, pesticides, and herbicides left. Considering how much we had added to the water sample, this filter can take on any water supply in the world and provide excellent drinking water.
We were also surprised to see how well the filter had worked to remove the bacteria from the sample. We could not find any trace of the bacteria, which just shows how safe this filter is if you want to get something that can stop microorganisms. While we did not test for viruses or other microbes, independent labs have tested this filter for the same and found similar results.
In conclusion, we are beyond impressed by the filtration ability of the Big Berkey. Not only does it manage heavy metals and chemical contaminants with ease, but it gives you an added layer of protection by removing harmful microbes. What’s even better is that it can work without the use of electricity or chemicals, making this filter one of the activated carbon filters on the market—a sure recommendation from our side.
This wonderful capacity of the Big Berkey to filter is not the only thing that will impress you. Take a look at all the other features and pros of this filter.
What We Liked About it?
Superior Build Quality: Plastics filters are fine. They are strong and safe too, but there is something different about metal filters. The Big Berkey is made of grade 304 stainless steel, and it shows. It feels strong and durable. Hands down, this feels miles better than any other plastic filter.
At just $387, this filter is a steal. Wonderful filtration capacity, impeccable filtration along with microbes filtration, and perhaps the best build quality that we have ever seen in any filter, the Big Berkey brings so much for the price it asks. We have seen many filters that cost $200 more than this one and still lack many features that the Big Berkey has. With all the features and filtration, the filter is worth the price it asks for.
Great Filtration Capacity
The large carbon block filters are not only great filters but they last longer as well. The company says that both the filters can easily filter out 3,000 gallons of water each, which makes the filter life an impressive 6,000 gallons. We’ve seen many filters that cost twice as much and offer half the filtration capacity. So even if you are a family of four or even five persons, this filter would easily last more than one or even two years. The filter life alone makes the filter worth the price.
Great Warranty and Money-Back Guarantee
Big Berkey comes with an excellent lifetime warranty. It means that if there is any functional or workmanship defect in any component of the filter, you’ll either get a replacement or your money back. It is another testament to the company’s trust in their product, and we always appreciate great warranties. But there’s more. You also have the option to return the filter after 30-days and get your money back if you feel the filter is not up to the mark. It makes trying the filter for yourself even better.
The Big Berkey comes with great optional enhancements to the filter. You can pay extra to get an add-on fluoride filter or maybe a stainless steel spigot (the filter comes with a plastic spigot as stock). There’s an option to get a stainless steel stand, primer, etc. All these extra add-ons make the filter even better than it already is.
Large Water Capacity
The Big Berkey can hold up to 2.25 gallons of water which is enough for a family of three to four. This large water holding capacity ensures that you won’t have to keep refilling the filter again and again. One fill, and it would be enough for the day.
These were the things that we loved about the filter. But there are a few things that did not impress us too much. Take a look at the cons of the Big Berkey.
What We Did Not Like?
It is a countertop filter that is also meant to be taken out on trips. But the entire stainless steel build and its sheer size make it very difficult to carry around. Add water to it, and then it is impossible to move. Since there are two units in this filter, handling it also becomes a little bit clumsy. It is not a serious issue but just a minor inconvenience that you might face if you intend to keep moving the filter here and there.
No Sediment Filter
The Big Berkey is made to be taken out into the woods during camping. With the level of filtration it offers, especially against microbes, you can easily filter out river or lake water and take a sip. But the problem is there is no sediment filter included. There is also no option to add a sediment filter. How can you filter river or lake water without a proper sediment filter? Granted that the filter will remove some of the sediment, but not all. Optional sediment or micron filter would have been great.
We loved the Big Berkey water filter for its excellent water filtration, build quality, and amazing filtration capacity. This filter is made to be taken out on trips and camping. The build quality ensures that it handles environmental stress and the elements of nature easily. The Big Berkey can manage microbes and other parasites very well, which makes this filter worth the price it asks for. So if you considered the Berkey even for a second, then this review should be enough to make the decision. We recommend this filter.
To buy the Big Berkey Water Filter or to know more about it, click here to visit their official website.
4. Pentair Rocean Reservoir Countertop Water Filter
The name of this filter would remind you of those super expensive brands such as Louis Vuitton or Balenciaga, and you wouldn’t be wrong. It is a water filter for the people who prefer to wear clothes that cost as much as someone’s mortgage. And we are just talking about the looks, not the price. This filter is a bit expensive, but certainly not as much as the name makes it sound. The Pentair Rocean is a beautiful and elegant filter that does great filtration but considers it as a side job. It’s my first job? To look as elegant as possible. It is the most beautiful-looking filter on this list and perhaps on the market at this price range.
With all the hype and anticipation, we were eager to experience this filter and see what makes it so premium. So we ordered one and started our tests. Here are our first impressions of the Pentair Rocean.
Unboxing, Looks, Build Quality
This is perhaps the best unboxing experience we’ve ever had with a filter. The box that it comes in looked and felt very premium, and everything about the packaging to the way the box opened felt premium. The packaging and wrapping were done very thoughtfully to not make it look like a mess but also to protect this delicate piece of art. Everything felt so neat and clean, and we loved it.
Do we need to say our thoughts about looks? This is a beautiful water purifier that looks and feels so premium. It is very clean and minimal, with the filter sitting right next to the water reserve. The whole design of the filter feels very united, like everything’s made to complement each other. And we can guarantee that you can keep this filter in any room, any place, and it will not feel out of place.
The entire look and feel of the filter would have gone to waste if the quality of the Rocean was subpar. But that is not the case. The filter is made with high-quality material, and it feels compact and dense, which gives it even more premium appeal. While the filter feels durable and strong, its design does not inspire much confidence in handling it. It always feels that some part of the filter might snap. In conclusion, this Pentair Rocean is built well. But what good is a filter if it is all show and no “flow”? Does the Rocean impress with its premium filtration, or the looks are just a front? Let’s find out.
This filter is the surprising star of the show because we did not expect this filter to be this good. Usually, the case is when a filter focuses more on looks or design, it lacks in filter or price. It is very difficult for a filter to be great in looks, filtration, and the price at the same time. Usually, one of the three becomes a con. In the case of Pentair, the design has passed the check. But what about filtration?
We are so glad to say that this filter performs way better than expected. The small and compact Pentair is capable of removing 76 harmful contaminants from the water with its single carbon block filtration unit. And in these 76 contaminants, you get all the dangerous and harmful chemicals, heavy metals, organic compounds, etc. So in no way is this filter lacking in any sense.
It can remove heavy metals such as lead, mercury, asbestos, chlorine, VOCs, PFOA, PFOS, herbicides, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and cysts, along with some microbes. It is an impressive list of contaminants considering the size and design of the filter. Since it offers great chlorine removal, you can expect taste and odor enhancement from this filter as well. It is certified to ANSI/NSF Standards as well (42, 53,401). In summary, this is a full-fledged filtration system that can work just like the other larger (and uglier) filters.
But claims need to be tested, and we were ready to test them. Since the size of the filter is small, we did not go overboard with the concentration of the contaminants and kept it just above the normal levels. The test sample was spiked with 10 of the contaminants the filter can remove, including lead, chlorine, mercury, DEET, ibuprofen, Benzene, VOCs, and Giardia.
The water was fed to the filter, and we waited for the sample to get clean. Before we put the water in, the smell of chlorine was very prominent. After the filtration was over, we waited (impatiently) for the tiny spout to slowly pour the water.
Testing the sample revealed that the filter had worked perfectly. The test results were extremely similar to the other tests done by independent labs for the verification of this filter. The claims are true, and the filter is a beast despite its small size. This filter can manage your home’s filtration needs, and you can easily rely on it completely.
So the filter passed the design check and the filtration check. It means it must be very expensive if it fails to pass the third check. Let’s look at the features and the pros of the Pentair Rocean countertop water filter.
What We Like About This Filter?
Despite its beautiful design and great filtration, this filter is priced at just $249. You can get it for even less during sales. With so many features, such a beautiful design, and great build quality, the Rocean is definitely worth the price it asks for. You are getting a powerful solid carbon block filter at just 250 bucks. The price to feature ratio is beyond great.
Amazing Filtration Capacity
We were truly shocked by this. Looking at the size of this filter, no one would expect it to have a filtration capacity of anything more than 100 gallons. Here’s the shocker; this filter can filter an astounding 390 gallons of water before needing a replacement! We have seen many full-sized filters that cost more than this one, look worse, and have a filtration capacity of just around 150 gallons. And the filter replacements cost just $39, which is not that expensive either. So the overall cost of operating this filter is very manageable.
We think it needs no explanation of how this filter is without a doubt one of the best-looking filters on the market. With its clean design, you can keep this filter in any room or your office, and it will fit perfectly. You can even use this filter as an art installment! Just kidding.
The Epic Pure and the Big Berkey are both countertop water filters that offer great portability. But the Rocean offers a different level of portability. It is small in size and light in weight, which makes carrying this filter around the house. We used it on our work desk, and it fit in so perfectly. Just find a place to plug this filter in, and that’s it. Start getting filtered water anywhere you want.
While the list of all the pros of the Rocean is long, there are, however, a few things that we did not like. So here are all the cons that we could find about the Pentair Rocean.
What We Did Not Like?
Need for Electricity
The filter could have been the best portable countertop water filter if only there was no need for a power socket nearby. Since it uses a motor to pull the water out of the spout, you need electricity to operate the filter. Many people get confused when they see a power cord with this filter, thinking that it has reverse osmosis in it. But that is not the case. We understand that the design needed this filter to have a motor-operated spout, but if the company could work around some way of making it work without electricity, how portable would this filter be!
Slow Flow Rate
Since the water flow is done through a motor, and the spout is also thin, the Pentair has a very mediocre water flow rate. It offers a peak flow rate of 0,5 gallons per minute, which makes filling big cups and bottles a big hassle. Small glasses are fine, and they fill up in no time.
For the people who want something sophisticated and elegant, do we have to say anything here? The Pentair is designed beautifully, it works perfectly and is priced economically. The presence of all three qualities (along with a wonderful filtration capacity) is extremely rare to see, which makes the Pentair a worthy filter. We think this filter will shine in offices and personal workspaces. You get a small water filter that’s ready to dispense water without taking too much space. The looks ensure that it does not look like you have a carbon filter in your workspace.
But the Pentair Rocean goes well in every room. It offers excellent filtration, amazing filtration capacity, and a price that makes buying this filter worth it. We recommend this filter, and you can go for it without any second thought.
Get the Pentair Rocean from Amazon. Click here to visit the Amazon page.
5. Aquasana Rhino 1 Million Gallons Whole House Water Filter
Ending the list with a bang with the extremely powerful and reliable filter from Aquasana. Aquasana is a trusted name, and we have tested many of their filters. While sometimes their filters lack in some aspects, they have never failed to provide a powerful filtration. And a powerful filtration system is what you want when getting a whole house water filter.
The Rhino is a powerful whole house water filter that offers some of the most impressive filtration capacity. One set of filters that comes with it will last you for 1,000,000 gallons of water. Yes, that’s a million! That number speaks “volumes.” With this brilliant capacity and a company you can trust, what are the other things that make the Rhino so desirable? We got a review sample for ourselves and tested it to the extreme, noting down everything that we loved and did not like. So let’s start with the initial impressions.
Unboxing, Looks, and Build Quality
The Rhino is named very aptly; it is a heavy filter that probably weighs as much as a real rhino. The thought of handling this filter alone is out of the question because you just cannot, even if you are Hulk Hogan or the real Hulk. It took three of us to get it out of the box and installed. We have seen many giant whole house filters, but this one is different because of its compact size. Since this filter is small compared to other similar ones, it feels much heavier and difficult to manage.
Let’s skip the looks part here because it does not matter what it looks like. This whole house filter will be installed in some dingy corner of the basement. But if we were to give some feedback on the looks, it would be this; Rhino should have been designed or made to look a little bit better. Springwell’s whole house water filter looks way better than this blue mess. The Aquasana Rhino’s look does not match the price tag. But it’s only relevant if you care about the looks.
Build quality is great, and it feels less like a filter and more like a tank. You can feel the thickness of the metal once you hold it. This filter can survive a blast. We expect whole house filters to be strong, durable, and able to manage harsh conditions. The Rhino is made to handle all these things and so we are giving it top marks for quality.
A million gallons of water filtration is seriously impressive, but only if they can properly filter the water. Can the Rhino handle some of the harshest water? Here’s how the filtration in the Aquasana Rhino works.
This is a mean machine when it comes to filtration, and that is to be expected since this is a whole house water filter. It has to be heavy-duty. Aquasana has always made competent filters that have never disappointed us. And we can say with confidence that this is the most powerful filter on this entire list.
It comes with a three-stage filtration unit. The first stage is a sediment pre-filter which uses a membrane with very small openings to filter out the sedimentary particles such as dirt, dust, rust, plastics, etc. It is an absolute necessity since much of the piping in the water supply is old and rusty, which causes a lot of sediments to come into your body. We are glad that Aquasana provides this filter as stock.
The second filter is the most important and powerful filtration unit. It is an activated carbon filter along with a copper-zinc mineral stone to provide extra filtration. It is the part where most of the filtration occurs. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic are removed easily. It also removes 97% of the chlorine found in the water, along with other harmful chemicals such as chloramine, PFOA/PFOS, VOCs, pharmaceuticals, etc. This filter is lab tested to remove most of the contaminants that are commonly found.
But we needed to conduct our tests to confirm the company’s claims. So we prepared our test sample, but this time, we added a lot of sediments which included dirt, dust, grit, sand, etc. The amount was a lot, and it was to be seen how well this filter could remove all this. We also spiked the water with chlorine and lead since these two are the main contaminants whole house filters focus on. Other contaminants were added in moderate amounts.
The entire 4 gallons of water were poured into the filter, and we waited for the sample to come out. After a few minutes, the tests began. Lead was completely removed from the sample, and chlorine was removed with an efficiency of 98%, more than what the company claims. But this could be because of the high concentration of chlorine. Nevertheless, the filter can remove these two contaminants very efficiently.
Other chemicals were also removed quite efficiently, and we are certain that this filter will work perfectly under normal conditions of filtering normal water. Where the Rhino impressed us was how well it was in removing the sedimentary contaminants. The amount of sand, silt, and dust we had poured into the sample made us think that at least some amount of it would pass through the filter. But we could not find one speck of dust in the water. Kudos to Aquasana for making such a fine filter.
In conclusion, the Aquasana Rhino works just as advertised. All the contaminants that the company says it can remove are removed, and you can trust this filter. But there’s more to it than just great filtration. Let’s take a look at all the other features of the Rhino that we loved.
What We Loved About This Filter?
Great Filtration Capacity
The highlight of this filter is its filtration capacity. The Aquasana can filter an astounding 1 million gallons of water before requiring a filter change. That’s 1,000,000 gallons. For a family of four, this would last easily upwards of eight to ten years. Not a lot of whole house water filters can boast this kind of filtration capacity.
There are so many things that you can add to this filter to make it more useful. The list of accessories just goes on. But we’ll highlight our favorite ones. You can add a UV filter to make this filter remove bacteria, viruses, and other microbes, making this whole house water filter a drinking water filter. And if your home water supply has hard water, then you can add a salt remover unit to turn this filter into a water softener as well. The add-ons are costly, but they allow you to make the Aquasana Rhino an all-in-one filtration system.
Great Warranty and Money-Back
The filter comes with a ten years limited warranty against manufacturing defects and workmanship issues. So you can be assured that if anything goes wrong, you can always get free service or replacement. We tried their customer support service, and it was very responsive too. What makes it even better is if you get a 90-days money-back guarantee which gives you the freedom to get this filter installed and use it for three months. If you don’t like it, return it and get your money back.
What We Did Not Like?
This is an expensive machine for sure, even for the 1 million gallons of filtration life. The base price of this filter is $1,900. But wait, add the water softener unit and the UV filter along with the Pro Grade install kit, and the price of the entire system touches $5,000. Granted that this filter will last for around 10 years, but the same thing from SpringWell comes at just $890 for the base variant price. So we think that this is a bit expensive.
This won’t be too big of an issue for many, but we do not like how this filter looks. In no place on this God’s green earth can someone look at this filter and say that it costs nearly two grand. The shape, design, color option, and finishing all just do not look good at all. The Springwell, in comparison, looks much better at half the price.
If you want a powerful whole house filter that can remove contaminants easily, then the Aquasana Rhino is the one for you. This statement comes with a big asterisk. The condition is that you can afford to spend that much money on a water filter. But apart from the price, this filter performs very well and will not disappoint you in any way (other than looks). If you have a large family, then choosing this filter would be the right choice for you. It is an excellent whole house carbon filter: just a bit expensive and a little ugly.
To buy or know more about the Aquasana Rhino 1 million gallons water filtration system, click here to visit their official website.