The best water filtration system

Adam Reeder

To avoid damaging the membrane of your reverse osmosis system, keep the water pressure at a moderate level. Doing so helps to avoid cracks in the membrane.  

Access to clean water is one of the most vital needs on planet Earth. It's right up there with clean air and a good cell phone signal. Many people buy bottled water to drink at home, but the costs associated with doing so can add up quickly. If you want to save money on drinking water in the long run, you should consider getting a water filtration system for your home.

Our helpful buying guide and reviews can help you find the right water filtration system for you. We've also included information on our top pick, the Home Master Artesian Reverse Osmosis System.

Considerations when choosing water filtration systems

Type of filtration system

There are three major types of water filtration systems: under-sink filters, whole-house filters, and faucet-mounted filters. Each one has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Think about the needs of your household in relation to clean water when choosing between the three.

Under-sink filters are mounted in the cabinet beneath the sink. They are good at removing bacteria, parasites, chemicals, and heavy metals.

Whole-house filters are installed on the main water line of the house. They primarily impact sediment and rust, but you may need another system to deal with other types of contaminants.

Faucet-mounted filters go right on the spout of your faucet. They are the easiest to install because they require no access to the plumbing system. They vary by model as to what they filter out, but many can remove bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, and chemicals, much like under-sink filters. Faucet-mounted filters are the most user-friendly of the three types because they are so easily accessed.

Filter type

Under-sink systems usually incorporate carbon filters. They catch the contaminants in the positively charged filter. Reverse osmosis systems pass the water through a membrane in the reverse flow direction. This filters out most of the contaminants and is often considered the most effective type of filtration system. Distillation water filtration systems boil the water to steam, which leaves the contaminants behind.

Local water concerns

You may want to base your decision on the types of contaminants that are present in your own drinking water. Every locality is different, so once you determine the primary contaminants in your tap water, you can better decide what kind of filter helps you deal with them most effectively.

Ease of maintenance

While many filters simply twist on and off, others are more complicated to remove and replace. If you don't want to spend a lot of time fumbling with your filter, look for one with simple instructions for replacements.


Auto shut-off and flood alert

Some filtration systems shut down at the first sign of water built up around the equipment. This is useful to avoid damage in a flood or other unplanned situation.

Filter change alert

Some water filtration systems incorporate a filter change alert. This usually comes in the form of an audible beep. While this is useful for knowing when to change the filter, it can also become an annoyance if you can't make the change right away.

NSF certification

The best water filtration systems are certified by NSF International. NSF is an independent organization that tests water filtration systems for safety and effectiveness. Make sure the model you choose has the NSF International seal of approval.

Water filtration system prices

Most water filtration systems cost between $90 and $500.


Q. How often do I need to change my filter cartridge?

A. The answer depends on the system itself and what items are being filtered through it. The safest bet is to read the manufacturer recommendations and heed the warnings of your system alerts.

Q. How do I know what my water is contaminated with?

A. If you want to know the status of your local drinking water, check the Environmental Working Group's National Drinking Water Database. It can help you determine exactly what's in your drinking water.

Water filtration systems we recommend

Best of the best: Home Master Artesian Reverse Osmosis System

Our take: Easily one of the most comprehensive water filtration systems available.

What we like: Minerals lost in the filtration are reintroduced afterward.

What we dislike: Expensive, though worth the price.

Best bang for your buck: APEC Water Systems USA Top Tier Five-Stage System

Our take: One of the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any system.

What we like: Very thorough filtration and a good price.

What we dislike: Minerals lost in the filtration process are not replaced.

Choice 3: Watts Two-Stage Undercounter System

Our take: Basic, but a good filtration system for your everyday needs.

What we like: Two-stage system is adept at filtering out major contaminants.

What we dislike: Does not eliminate arsenic, chrome, or other nitrates.

Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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