There is no need to emphasize the importance and need for water. Everything that lives needs water. This extreme and irrevocable water need makes it an essential part of our lives. But this dependence creates another problem; is drinking water enough? What about the quality of water? And what about the problems and diseases associated with the consumption of unclean and impure water?
Unclean water can be dangerous for your health; it could also be fatal in worse cases. While living in the US and other first-world countries might make you think that the water you get from the tap is already processed and safe from microorganisms. But, other contaminants in that clear-looking water are far more dangerous than simple microorganisms. Even though the US has one of the safest water supplies, the CDC estimates that more than 7 million Americans fall sick due to water-borne disease.
And to avoid such risks, water filtration systems become an important part of your household. We have said it before, and we’ll say it again, no matter how clean the water supply your city has, be it in New York or Texas, every house needs a water filtration system. Having a personal water filter ensures more protection, cleaner drinking water, and an overall safe environment.
The AquaTru Reverse Osmosis water filter is a powerful filtration system equipped with a very capable RO system. The four-stage filtration cleans the water and removes all the common contaminants. The installation is very easy and can be done within minutes while changing the filter is also a quick and hassle-free process.
Table of Contents
How Does Countertop Filtration Works?
The process of filtration is exactly how you’d imagine. Think of sifting water through a filter that lets the water pass through while blocking the solid particles behind. This sounds very simple, and it is simple. But what happens when these solid particles which, are the contaminants, are microscopic? Then, the filtration technology becomes more complex, and a simple filter process is not enough.
Think of the filtration unit as a gate between the water supply and your home. This gate prevents the contaminants from entering the water supply. Depending on the type of filtration used, the water supply is directly after the filtration. It is purified and stored in a separate tank that connects to a separate faucet.
The first and simplest form of filtration is to remove small or large contaminants from the water using a very fine filter channel. Unfortunately, these channels have tiny pores, enough to stop small particles from passing. The filtration system acts as a buffer between the water supply and the tap, making the water pass through the filter to remove the contaminants. Using more than one filtration process improves the quality of water. The more filters and the finer the pores, the better filtration occurs. This is called passive filtration.
Along with this process, most modern water filtration systems use other technologies to improve water quality, remove more contaminants, and make the water fit for consumption. These new technologies include Reverse Osmosis, Ion exchange, Submicron filtration, Ultraviolet, and much more. Of course, the more technologies used, the better filtration will be. We’ll describe these technologies briefly in the next section. But before that, let’s look at the types of water filters you can get.
Countertop vs. Under the Sink
This list focuses on the best countertop water filtration systems in the market. There are two major types of water filters, the first is countertops, and the second is Under the sink. As the name suggests, under the sink, water filters are placed under the sink space, mostly in closed-off spaces where no one can see them. But, of course, this immediately creates a need for a good under the sink space, and if your house has an exposed under sink space, oh, then you’re not going to like the sight you see.
Under the sink, water filters are also clunky large, and most of them need permanent installations. The other problem is that since these water filters are made to be kept hidden, they are designed terribly. So, to address this issue, countertop water filtration systems step in.
Countertop water filters are made to be kept on the countertop or anywhere you’d like. The mobility and the ease of installation are some of the biggest advantages countertop filters have over under-the-sink filters. Since the unit is clean and simple, devoid of multiple parts, the price of countertop filters is also comparatively less. They are very easy to set up, with minimal to no plumbing required, which means the moment it is out of the box, it’s ready to go.
You can take these water filters anywhere you go. This makes portability one of their most important features. Another feature of countertop filters is the looks. Since these filters are always in view, much thought goes into the design. This is the reason why countertop filters are way more good-looking than under-the-sink filters.
Best Countertop Water Filter System
We have looked at hundreds of products, scoured the market for the best countertop water filtration systems, and finally distilled the list to just five best offerings. So take a look at the products and choose the best for yourself. We have mentioned their pros and cons. But before we get started with the list, you need to know a few basic things. With all the basics and parameters discussed, let’s start the review:
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1. AquaTru Reverse Osmosis Water System
With a very clean design language with its sharp edges and a decently large water tank, the AquaTru Reverse Osmosis is one of the most powerful and advanced countertop water filtration systems in the market. The product is NSF certified as well. In addition, the design is clean and compact, making it fit anywhere on the kitchen countertop or even the dining table, for that matter. Another great feature about this is it comes with reverse osmosis, which means this is an active filter and needs electricity to operate.
Why Do We Recommend this Filter?
The AquaTru RO is one of the most advanced countertop water filtration systems. It comes with a four-stage water purification system.
The four stages include:
- Mechanical filter: This removes all the hard impurities and contaminants such as sediments and makes the water free of cloudiness.
- Activated carbon filter: This is the second stage of filtration specifically designed to eliminate chlorine and chloramines. The company claims to remove more than 99% of the two chemicals.
- The third filtration stage is the powerful RO filter, which removes the finer contaminants and heavy metals such as lead, chromium, arsenic, fluorides, Nitrates, PFAs, and 82 contaminants in the water.
- The final fourth stage is a coconut shell carbon VOC filter that removes any toxic organic chemicals and dissolves elements that ruin water taste. This means that this water filter also improves the taste of water.
Installing this water filter is a breeze. All you need to do is plug it into a power source and fill up the water tank. That’s all you have to do to get pure water. This also makes it a great choice for mobile water filtration. You can take it to any room or even on longer trips where a power connection can be available.
There are a lot of features that add to the convenience of this filter. The first is users can remove the water tank completely from the filter. So you can keep the purified water inside the fridge for cooling. The other benefit is that the tank can be removed and cleaned without any hassle: no biofilm build-up, more safety. Finally, the water dispensing is done by pressing one button, making it more convenient to use.
Filter Change Benefits
The best thing we loved about it was that it comes with a filter change alert light that comes on the display. This makes it way easier and safer to know when to change the filters. The filter changing process is also easy and simple. The filters are also high capacity and last long. The company claims that just one set of filters makes the equivalent of 4500 plastic water bottles (16.9 oz each).
Less Water Wastage
Reverse Osmosis, as mentioned above, is a process that can generate a lot of water waste. But the AquaTru filter uses efficient water-saving methods to reduce the water waste to a minimum. This is also one of the benefits of countertop water filtration systems. The AquaTru is four times more efficient than under the sink counterparts.
What We Did Not Like?
Not all was great about this water filter, and even though the cons here are not strong enough to make us not recommend this filter, cons are still cons, and the customer must know about them. So here are the cons of the AquaTru water filter:
We can argue that the features and benefits of this filter might justify the price, but that would be a stretch. The AquaTru RO filter comes at a hefty price of $449, which is a lot. If the filter price was at around $350-$380, then the cost to feature ratio would have been great, making it worth every penny. But paying close to $500 for a countertop water filter is not that great.
Even though the filter promises great water flow, we did not find it impressive. Don’t get us wrong, we have seen some really bad water pressure from countertop filters, and this one is not one of them. The problem comes with the pricing. Since it is priced so high, you’d expect the water outlet pressure to be high. We’d estimate that filling a normal bottle of water will take around 30 seconds, which again is not terrible, but not great either.
Visit the Review to know more about AquaTru Reverse Osmosis Water Filter or Click the button to order the filter.
2. Big Berkey Water Filter
The Big Berkey water filter is one of the market’s best passive water filter systems. There are a lot of great things that we found about this filter, and we can say that this filter comes very close to being the best countertop passive water filter. Right from the modularity of the system to the ability to add more filters and increase the filter’s capacity to the portability it offers, the Berkey has a lot going for itself. We tested the filter rigorously and checked all the features and add-ons you could get. And we are glad to say that it did not disappoint us. So here’s all that makes this water filter so great.
Why Do We Recommend this Filter?
It is evident that the most important feature for any water filter is its capability to filter water. For the Berkey, not only is it its astounding capacity to filter so well, but how it filters water without using any bulky filter or even a reverse osmosis system. It comes with two filters, called the Black Berkey Filters. As these are tested to be excellent in filtering pathogens, the filters remove 100% of the pathogens. This is more impressive as it does not use any advanced reverse osmosis processes or even electricity, for that matter.
This filter is certified to EPA, ANSI/NSF standards and even exceeds it. The filters can remove almost 100% of viruses, pathogenic bacteria, chloramine, VOCs, heavy elements including lead, arsenic, etc., pesticides, and other chemicals. If you want to see the entire list of contaminants it can remove, click here. Unfortunately, the list is very long.
The filtration process is free of any chemical additives, uses no energy since it works with gravity (passive filtration), and can remove over 200 contaminants in the water, including all the harmful chemicals.
We cannot recommend a better water filtration system for portability other than the Berkey. While it might be a bit too big for taking it out somewhere, this is the one to take if you are going somewhere distant. This portability comes with its ability to work without electricity. Perfect for camping or any long road trips in the RV. Get clean water anywhere you want, if you can carry a large filter. And this big size brings another great advantage.
Since countertop water filters do not have an active water supply, the storage tank keeps all the filtered water. The Berkey’s filter comes with a big storage tank that can easily fulfill the hydration needs of a family of four. The standard tank is 2.25 gallons which are decently large.
One of the problems we faced and something that we did not like was how most filters use plastic. Sure these plastics are certified to be food-grade and safe to store water, but steel is always better. Thankfully, the Berkey’s entire body is highly polished 304 stainless steel. This makes it much more durable, strong, and safer to store water. Plus, it also looks good on the countertop. In addition, the plastic which is used in the spigot is BPA-free.
A lifetime warranty is what further sweetens this deal. Any sort of filter failure or defect in the filtering unit or the body of the filter will get you free repair or replacement. This makes your investment safe. Even better, Berkey offers free express shipping and a 30-day return.
We loved what Berkey is offering; a great standard filtration unit with all the bells and whistles, but along with that, they’re offering add-ons if you want to get more out of the filter. And these add-ons do make the filter more feature-rich. Customers can add a stainless steel spigot, stand for the filter, a travel spigot, and a primer for the filters. The great thing about it? Add all these extras, and the price comes to be just $450, the same as the AquaTru RO filter! You can also add a fluoride filter to get rid of up to 97% fluorides from the water.
The best thing about this filter does not end. The price of the filter is no doubt justified. The standard filter comes at $317 with free shipping and a 30-days money-back guarantee. However, the portability, features, filtration, and quality that you are getting for just 300 bucks make it a worthy purchase.
Changing the filters is also easy and can be done within minutes. So, talking about the filter’s lifespan, the Black Berkey filters can filter out 3000 gallons of water (6,000 for two filters) before becoming ineffective. In comparison, this is clearly not an impressive amount, but not an insignificant amount either. If your household water consumption is around 2.6 gallons per day, then these two filters will easily last you for more than six years. This, however, depends on the quality of water. Polluted water will cause faster degradation of the filters. The filters come at $148, which is slightly expensive.
Since this filter uses minimal plastic and eco-friendly filtration materials, it is very eco-friendly. This creates a positive impact on the environment.
What We Did Not Like?
We did not like much about this filter—only a couple of cons, nothing too serious.
Filling a large bottle of water is a pain since the water comes with the help of gravity. This results in very slow and sometimes annoying water speed. Our suggestion would be to fill up large water bottles and get done with them as soon as you can.
The fluoride filter comes as an add-on and costs around $70. This could have been included with the filter package, increasing the water quality and even the taste.
No Filter Change Alert
This is not a complaint but more of a lack of feature. There is no way of knowing if the filters are working properly or not. We understand that this is a passive filter, so giving a filter alert system does not make sense. But perhaps a color change indicator in the filter would have made this product near perfect.
Visit the Review to know more about Big Berkey Water Filter or Click the button to order the filter.
3. Frizzle WA99 RO Water Filter
The Frizzlife WA99 RO is for the people who emphasize the looks, along with the features. This filter is perhaps one of the most good-looking countertop water filters in the market. It looks clean, advanced, and gorgeous from every angle. With its digital display, clean, black mirror finish, and a near-square shape, this filter would actually enhance the look of your countertop. This looks more like a microwave oven than a water filter, which is a compliment.
Why Do We Recommend this Filter?
We were first surprised by this filter. With its small and compact size, it is hard to believe how Frizzlife managed to fit in a reverse osmosis unit inside it. But whatever magic they did offers a great filtration. The WA99 can remove up to 99.99% of over 1,000 contaminants. We have come to expect these capabilities when it comes to Frizzlife as they offer some of the best and most powerful filtration solutions. The filter comes with four-stage filtration and is capable of removing contaminants such as:
- And much more
There are no complaints about its filtration. It is not lacking in any way, and when you factor in size, this little filter can do excellent filtration. The filter system also comes with a TDS monitoring and removal system, which can remove almost 95% of the total dissolved solids.
This is the USP of this filter. There is no other countertop filter in this list or in the market that comes close to the portability that the Frizzlife WA99 offers. It does not require an active water line, which means you can keep this filter anywhere. Why limit it to the kitchen? Keep the filter in the bedroom, office, living room, dining table. This filter is so compact and portable you can keep it inside the fridge. There might be other countertop filters that could be as portable as this one, but how the Frizzlife looks make it possible to keep it anywhere. No one wants to see a plasticky water filter in the living room or the office.
The tech used on this filter enhances the convenience of a league. Two large screens offer all the information about the filter and the water quality. TDS monitoring, filter life reminder, cup size selector (for water), and more are some of the information displayed on the screen, along with a 24/7 water quality monitor. The filter also needs no installation. Everything comes pre-assembled, and all you need to do is plug the filter and get purified water on the go.
We bet you did not expect the price to be seen in this section. With so many features and compact design, the price has bound to be on the higher side, right? To that, all we have to say is $390. That is what this water filter costs, with all the digital display, four-stage filters, compact and beautiful design. The price to feature ratio is insanely good for the Frizzlife WA99. With the low price (for its features), it is the most value for money countertop water filter.
Easy Filter Change
There is no need for tools or a plumber to change the filter. Once the machine shows it is time to change the filters, you have to open the filter storage door, twist the filter cap, pull the filter out, and then place the new filter in it. The entire process of changing the filter will take you the same time it took to read this paragraph. That’s how fast and easy the filter change process is.
Low Water Wastage
As established already, RO water filters generate a lot of water waste. But Frizzlife has made sure that the water waste with the WA99 is minimal. The company claims that it can save water waste up to 1500% compared to other conventional RO systems, and from the quality of water filters we have tested from Frizz Life, we do not doubt this claim. The filter offers a 5:1 drain ratio, meaning that for every five glasses of clean water, just one glass goes to waste for filtering.
What We Did Not Like?
There are only two things about the Frizz Life WA99 that we did not like, and one of them is not a con but rather a trade-off that comes with one of its benefits. But first, let’s start with the biggest con that might put off many potential buyers.
Due to its compact size and the use of RO, the filter life is abysmally bad, and the prices of the filter replacement are astronomically high. Out of the four filters, the company recommends changing the first two filters every six months and the third and fourth filters after one year. That itself is a short period. But wait till you know the price of the filter; $110 for six-pack filters. That is expensive and hence comes as a con for this product.
Low water tank
This is the trade-off you get for portability. The tank size where the filtered water is stored is tiny, and we are not exaggerating when we call it tiny. The tank can only store 0.4 gallons of water. But since the filter can filter water and this is a take-anywhere-drink-little water filter, we can ignore this con. But if you want something with more water tank capacity, this is not the one.
Visit the Review to know more about Frizzle WA99 RO Water Filter or Click the button to order the filter.
4. Epic Pure Dispenser by Epic Water Filters
From the snowy rocks of Colorado comes that Epic Pure Dispenser water filter that looks exactly like something that is from Colorado. This water filter has a very interesting look that might be polarizing for many. You’ll either love it or hate it. This filter looks like it is made of ice. So what makes this filter unique, and why did we include this on the list? If you’re looking for a capable, powerful, simple, and extremely low-priced water filter, then this is the one for you.
Why Do We Recommend this Filter?
This is the best feature of this water filter. The Epic Pure Dispenser is the lowest-priced water filter on this list. Notice how we are refraining from using the word “cheap” for this filter, and that is because calling it “cheap” might make you think it lacks in quality and features, but that is not the case. The Epic Pure costs $69 for pre-order, or with replacement filters clubbing, you can get the filter for just $55.20. That’s a great price.
While the Frizzlife was full of high-tech gizmo and modern design, the Epic Pure Dispenser is all about simplicity. Another USP of this filter is how much it focuses on the environment. From using reusable, high-quality BPA-free plastic to using a single block carbon filter (to reduce filter wastage), the entire plastic component of the filter is recyclable.
Epic Water Filters chose to stick with a single carbon block filter unit instead of going for three or even four stages of filtration. This results in a clean and transparent design and reduces the size of the filter. But how about the filtration? Even with a single filter, the Epic Pure Filter is capable of removing more than 200 contaminants from tap water by up to 99.99%. The toxic heavy metals it can remove include lead, mercury, arsenic, etc. It can also remove dissolved chemicals such as fluorides, benzene and other VOCs, chlorine, and other PFOAs. So there is no compromise in terms of filtration.
Remember how the Frizzlife gave excellent portability but a terribly-sized water tank? The Epic Pure filter addresses both these issues. It gives great portability while not compromising on the tank size. It can be kept anywhere on the countertop, in the corner, or near the edge, and it won’t look like something out of place. However, the design of this filter limits it to be used only in the kitchen. It does not look great in other rooms because of how loud the design screams “water filter.”
Filter Life Countdown Timer
This is something we did not expect that would come with a filter of this price range and design. While the company has kept everything basic, they were thoughtful enough to add a filter life countdown timer. This is a great feature to have since now you don’t have to guess about the filter life and prevent drinking unsafe water if the filter expires. The timer starts 90-days prior to filter change so you can get the filter replacements on time.
A lifetime warranty will always be a great feature as it assures your investment. You don’t want to buy something that keeps asking for money for repairs. Fortunately, the Epic Pure filter comes with a lifetime warranty that offers free repairs in case of failure of filters or even a 100% refund for a defective filter.
Epic Water Filters have focused a lot on the environment with this and all of their products. The body and the filters are made from BPA-free, 100% recyclable hard plastic. This effort stops more than 1,500 plastic bottles from going into landfills each year—a great cause to support for sure.
The filter has two water storage tanks, one for filtering and the other to store clean water. The bottom reservoir for clean water can store 1.5 gallons of water. This is not extraordinary, we know. But for the portability it offers, 1.5 gallons is not bad, especially for a small family.
Now that we are done with the great qualities of this filter, let’s have a look at the things that we did not like, and we are sure that you won’t like either.
What We Did Not Like?
The Filter Replacement
The filter life for the Epic Pure Water filter is really bad, perhaps one of the worst that we have seen. Since it uses just a single filter, this increases the load and reduces the filter’s life. Each filter is capable of filtering only 150 gallons of water. That’s it. Even the company cannot hide how poor this filtration capacity is. Filling up the filter once or twice will make the filter obsolete in just 4-6 months. Fill it up two to three times, and you’ll have to get a new filter every 3-4 months. Need more hydration? Fill it up more than three times a day (which we think will be the case for a family of four or more), and you’ll be getting new filters every 2-3 months. If this is bad, be ready for the worse.
Considering how low the filtration capacity of this water filter is, the company should have kept the price of the filters low. But that is not the case. For each filter, you’ll have to shell out $46! That is almost as much as the cost of the entire filter. Now, if you have a family of more than four and need to change the filter every two months, you’ll have to pay $246 every year just for the filters.
We did not really like how the filter looked. It looks less like a filter and more like an oversized ice tray! So while it may look good on countertops of particular designs, this design might seem very off-putting for many kitchens. But again, looks are subjective, so you be the judge on that.
Visit the Review to know more about Epic Pure Dispenser Water Filter or Click the button to order the filter.
5. Aquasana Claryum Countertop
The cleanest-looking countertop water filter on the list, Aquasana has never failed to impress us with its designs and features. This water filter stands out from the rest of the water filters in the list in looks and how it operates. The Clary Countertop directly connects with the tap, and instead of having a tank for storing the clean water, it uses the water from the tap to instantly purify it. This means that you don’t have to keep refilling the water tank again and again. Since there are no water tanks involved, the entire footprint of this water filter is reasonably small and can be kept right beside any tap. We’d say that this is a countertop water filter that works like an under the sink water filter.
Why Do We Recommend this Filter?
The Claryum Countertop is excellent in terms of filtration. The two-stage filter system inside the unit is capable of removing up to 99% of 77 water contaminants. The list of contaminants includes all the toxic heavy metals such as asbestos, lead, arsenic, mercury, etc. Along with metals, it can remove 97% of chlorine and chloramine. It can also easily remove Cysts, VOCs, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other contaminants. This makes the filter very capable. Now it isn’t extraordinary since it only removes around 77 contaminants. But it does it in real-time, directly from the tap water.
All the features, portability, and great filtration come at only $90.99. This price is completely justified for the features that come with this filter, especially the design. If you get the Water for Life plan, which includes a filter subscription, then the price goes down to just $65, along with free shipping, extended warranty, and discounts on filters.
Easy Filter Replacement
Replacing the filters is an easy task. The filter is designed to allow a twist and open mechanism. Just open the bottom latch to expose the filter, then grab the filter cap, give it a twist and pull it. That’s it, and you just removed the filter. Inserting the new filter and locking it in is just as easy. No tools, no expertise, no mess. Only convenience.
Great Water Pressure
The only complaint that we had with countertop water filters was the extremely slow water outlet pressure. Filling up water bottles and cups takes an eternity. But finally, that is not the case with the Claryum Countertop. Since it is integrated with the tap, it uses the water pressure of the tap to increase the outlet pressure. This results in a faster, steadier stream of water to fill up those large bottles quickly.
Aquasana says that the way they have designed the filter allows the minerals such as calcium, magnesium, etc., to pass through the filter while stopping the heavy elements and other contaminants. This provides healthier water and keeps the taste of water intact.
Good Filter Capacity
Considering the small size and the use of just two filters, the filtration capacity of the Claryum Countertop is an impressive 450 gallons. However, do remember that filters with three-filter units can only go as high as 600 gallons.
But not all was great with the Claryum, and we did find some impactful cons that might discourage you from getting it.
What We Did Not Like?
Yes, we know that we mentioned that this water filter is portable. And if you consider the dimensions and design, it still is. The problem comes with how it is designed to operate. Since it can only work with a working faucet nearby, the entire size and design go right in the water. This means that you’ll have to keep this filter near the sink, always close to the faucet. If you don’t have a dedicated place for the filter, it might look terribly out of place.
Aquasana is offering only one year of warranty with this filter, which really makes no sense. This is not an RO filter. The limited warranty of just one year is understandable for RO filters, but most of the companies offering passive filters give a lifetime warranty. But it is what it is. Just know that you’re only insured for one year. After that, any failure in the filter can cause some serious damage to your wallet.
While the filter change period is not bad, the prices of the filters are quite high. The two filter replacements will cost you $60 or $51 with the water for life subscription. It is not painfully expensive, but it can be expensive for many.
We’ve seen many complaints about the incompatibility of the faucet with this filter. Since you have to fit the waterline into the faucet, there might be a need to add another unit to fix the compatibility problem.
Visit the Review to know more about Aquasana Claryum Countertop Water Filter or Click the button to order the filter.
Buyer’s Guide For Choosing The Countertop Water Filter That Fits Your Needs
Various Types of Filtration
Since we are talking about water filters, filtration is the most important aspect of this list. A powerful filtration can get rid of almost all the larger contaminants, heavy metals, pesticides, chemicals, microorganisms, and all other harmful elements that might seep into the water. There are two major types of filtration methods covering almost all the water filtration technology. These methods are “Active” filtration and “Passive” filtration.
#1. Active Filtration
It uses energy (electricity) to remove the contaminants from the water. So to understand this better, imagine that you are actively using your hands to look for contaminants and remove them by hand. Electricity is needed to remove the contaminants in active filtration, which is more powerful and capable.
#2. Passive Filtration
When the water is passed through a filter unit to get rid of the contaminants. Since it is just water passing, no electricity is required. This does not make passive filters a poor option. As we mentioned before, the types and levels of filtration units are used to increase water quality. So the use of complex and multiple levels of filtration makes passive filtration very competent.
While the technology might vary slightly, almost all the water filters use the three filtration technologies, albeit a little different, some more advanced, some more basic. These technologies are; activated carbon filter, ultrafine membrane filtration, and Reverse osmosis.
#3. Activated Carbon Filters
Activated carbon filters use carbon compounds as these compounds are great in attracting dissolved gasses and other contaminants in the water. Usually, a filter unit is used with carbon compounds, and as the water passes, the contaminants get adsorbed on the carbon compounds (not absorbed). The compounds settle down while the clean water passes through. This filtration process is common in almost all water filtration systems. Due to its limited capacity, this technology is very basic and should only be used as the first step for filtration. Getting any water filter with just this is not recommended. This is the most basic and simple filtration method.
#4. Ultrafine Filtration
Remember the analogy of sifting we gave in the beginning? Ultrafine filtration uses one or multiple filtration membranes with very tiny pores in them. Water is passed through it, preventing contaminants from entering the other side. Here, the size of the pores defines the quality of filtration. Hence, the finer the pores, the better the filtration. This is more advanced and better than carbon filtration, but again, it should not be the only filtration technology in a water filter. While the ultrafine membrane can remove microscopic particles and impurities, it is still a passive filtration process. Filtration systems use carbon filters to improve the cleaning process. However, it still falls behind in very tiny particles that pass through the pores and some very dangerous heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and other fluorides.
RO stands for Reverse Osmosis, and this is one of the most advanced technologies in water purification systems. This is an active filtration process and uses electricity. In simple filtration, contaminated water goes through a filter which stops the contaminants from passing through. This results in filtered water on one side and unfiltered water on the other. In reverse osmosis, instead of moving the water, the contaminants are moved from the clean water (any remaining contaminants that pass through the filter) to purify the water even further. This is why RO is the industry standard for filtration and offers some of the best filtrations. But as a downside, reverse osmosis generates a lot of water waste.
Another minor filtration stage that some filters use is the fiber layer. This is often mixed with activated carbon to get rid of dissolved impurities in the water and improve the taste.
Parameters to Consider When Choosing Countertop Water Filters
To test these water filters, we considered some of the parameters or features that are the most prominent ones in providing the best performance and filtration. Other factors also played a role in determining the five best under the sink water filter systems. These are the parameters we chose:
This matters a lot as it can make or break the deal. Note that we did not use absolute price as the parameter here since we do not want to use cheap as a feature. Of course, lower-priced products are preferable, but that does not mean they must compromise in features or quality. For the price, we take the cost to feature ratio to ensure that you are getting the most value for every dollar you spend. So a cheap product will not make it into the list if it compromises too much in features or quality.
The size makes a lot of impact on the water filtration system’s looks, usability, and overall convenience. Too small, and there is too much compromise in the filtration and capacity. Too big, and the filter becomes hard to use and keep, especially countertop filters, which take up a good amount of usable space. This is why we tried to find the sweet spot where there is no compromise in size and the usability of the filter.
#3. Ease of Installation
How easy is the filter to install? Does it require any complex tools or the help of the plumber? These are all important factors to consider before getting a water filter. While most countertop filters are ready to use right out of the box, some filters require a little bit of installation.
Apart from filtration, what are the other features of the filters? Does it have a filter change light? Or a screen to show the TDS levels and other vital information? It goes without saying that the more features you have, the better the water filter is. Apart from the usability features, we have also considered the type of plastic used, tank capacity, water pressure speed, extra add-ons, etc., for choosing the filters in the list.
Warranty is a must-have feature with all the water filtration systems, not just countertop filters. A warranty assures that your money is safe, and in case the product is defective; you can get a free replacement or repair. A lifetime warranty is the best you can get, and countertop filters without an RO system usually come with that. Adding an RO unit or other filtration unit can reduce the offered warranty period, mostly limited to one year. The longer the warranty period, the preferable the product.
#6. Contaminants Removal
How capable the filter is in removing the contaminants and what type of contaminants it can remove. The most dangerous chemicals are volatile organic compounds, chloramine, chlorine, fluoride, etc. While in heavy metals, lead and arsenic are extremely toxic, even in trace quantities. The water filter must also remove other contaminants such as PFAs, microplastics, microorganisms, etc. The more contaminants filters can remove, the better they are.
#7. Odor Removal
Not just filtration, but removing the odor from water and improving the taste is also necessary. This is why we have considered filters that can remove the odor of dissolved gasses in the water. Along with removing odor, enhancing the taste of water is also a bonus. This again can be done if the filter is capable of removing the dissolved gasses.
#8. Mineral Retention
Many of the water filters filter out important and healthy minerals from the water, such as calcium and magnesium. The best water filters are the ones that can selectively remove contaminants while keeping the mineral content of water intact. This also helps in preserving the taste of water.
Since we recommend countertop water filters, how the filter looks matters a lot, you have to keep the filter on countertops, even in other rooms for some filters. Therefore, we have considered only the best-looking water filters so that nothing feels out of place in your kitchen or wherever you decide to put the filter.
Important Points to Understand
Volatile Organic Compounds are harmful compounds present around us in our houses, plumbing, wall paint, etc. These compounds are present in water as well as in the air.
Polyfluorinated substances are harmful substances derived from industrial processes and can be present in trace amounts in the water supply.
NSF is an organization that tests the efficacy and features of water purifiers. NSF-certified products are safe to use.
The Need For Filtration
The reason for getting a water filtration system is that you want to ensure that the water you consume is safest to the utmost degree. This is why we put all the effort into finding the countertop filter that does the best filtration, getting rid of all the known contaminants that pollute the waters of the country. But unfortunately, heavy metals and other dissolved chemicals are still present, even in the state of filtered water.
Then comes the secondary features, which allow further purification with some extra added steps and make them water more fit for consumption. Finally, let’s talk about the need for filtration and why your house needs a water filtration system more than you think.
The water supply in the US has two major threats to look out for; microorganisms such as bacteria, and the other is heavy metals. We have come far enough to get rid of most of the harmful bacteria and other microorganisms to prevent many water-borne diseases, but there are still many cases that arise each year showing the need for a personal water filtration system. While diseases such as cholera and typhoid are rare, it is still better not to test the water and see for yourself if you contract these dangerous diseases.
While most of the microorganisms can be taken care of, the other far more dangerous element that is still present in the water that you drink is heavy metals such as lead and mercury. Did you know that there is no safe amount of lead that can be consumed? Lead is dangerous at any concentration.
A study conducted by The Guardian and Consumer report tested a water sample that almost 19 million people were using. The test was conducted on “safe drinking water,” which went right from the tap to the mouth. The results? This is what they found;
More than 35% of the samples had toxic metals that last forever or PFAs. More than 8% had arsenic way above the normal levels as per the Consumer Reports. And here’s the big shocker; 118 samples out of the tested 120 had detectable amounts of lead. Detectable means dangerous here because lead is dangerous at all levels.
This is why we need a secondary water filtration system since taking a chance by depending solely on the state-owned water filtration is a huge gamble. Water filtration is worth the money you spend because it ensures the health of you and your family.