Most of us are always looking for ways to drink more water, but purchasing it in bottles isn't just expensive--it's not eco-friendly, either. Tap water is an ideal alternative, but in many areas contaminants make it unsafe to drink. With a water purifier in your home, you can remove potential chemicals and toxins to safely enjoy water from your faucet.
But if you want the safest water possible, it comes down to choosing the right water purifier. That means deciding on a filter type, storage capacity, key certifications to look for, and other features that will make a purifier most effective.
If you're confused by all the options, our shopping guide has the information you need to choose the ideal water purifier for your kitchen. We've included a few specific product recommendations to make shopping even easier. The Berkey Imperial Water Filter received our top recommendation because of its large size and top notch filtering features.
Considerations when choosing water purifiers
Water purifiers all use some type of filter to remove contaminants and other toxins from the water. However, several different types of filters are available, which operate in different ways.
Carbon water purifiers remove large particles of sediment and other debris from tap water. The carbon attracts and then absorbs the contaminants to remove any foul odor or taste that the water might otherwise have.
Ceramic water purifiers use a porous surface to remove large particles including dirt and debris. They aren't as helpful at removing chemical contaminants as other types of filters, though. In some cases, ceramic filters are used in conjunction with another type of filter to remove any particles that get through the ceramic.
Reverse osmosis water purifiers can remove both large particles of dirt and sediment as well as chemicals such as heavy metals in your water. The drawback is that they must be installed to the plumbing beneath your sink, which allows them to provide filtered water directly from the faucet. Some reverse osmosis water purifiers do allow you to store filtered water for an emergency.
Ultraviolet light water purifiers filter bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms from your water using UV light. This type of filter is not able to remove chemical contaminants like volatile organic compounds and heavy metals, so they're often paired with other types of filters to purify water. Like reverse osmosis purifiers, an ultraviolet light water purifier must be connected directly to your sink's plumbing.
Countertop and pitcher-style water purifiers allow you to store a certain quantity of purified water. Some plumbing-attached purifiers also have a storage container, so it's important to decide how much water you want your purifier to store. Countertop purifiers can hold as many as 8 gallons of water, while pitcher-style purifiers can hold up to 10 cups, depending on the model.
To be sure that a water purifier can effectively remove contaminants, it's important to consider which independent testing organizations have certified its ability to filter water. In particular, opt for models that are certified by NSF International or the Water Quality Association.
Filter change indicator
A water purifier filter must be replaced over time, or it will no longer be able to remove contaminants effectively. To make it easier to remember when you should change the filter, some purifiers have an indicator that alerts you when the time has come. It may be an indicator light, a dial that you set to the replacement date, or just a sticker that you can write the replacement date on.
Water purifiers usually cost between $10 and $685. Carbon water purifiers are usually the most affordable and can range anywhere from $10 to $75. Ceramic water purifiers typically cost between $75 and $185. Plumbing-connected water purifiers are the most expensive--reverse osmosis water purifiers usually cost between $100 and $400, while UV water purifiers typically range from $115 to $685.
Q. How do I know if I need a water purifier?
A. Most tap water contains at least some chemicals and contaminants that you may need a purifier to remove. Consult the Environmental Working Group's Tap Water Database to see what pollutants are present in your area's tap water.
Q. How often will I need to replace a water purifier?
A. It depends on what type of purifier you choose and how well you maintain it. Plumbing-connected purifiers can usually last at least five years, while freestanding purifiers can last up to 10 years.
Water purifiers we recommend
Best of the best: Berkey Imperial Water Filter System
Our take: A user-friendly purifier that offers outstanding filtration and a generous size that makes it ideal for families.
What we like: Removes both bacteria, inorganic minerals, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, and other contaminants. Manufacturer-made filters are excellent but other brand filters are also compatible. Made of durable, polished stainless steel that looks attractive.
What we dislike: Fairly expensive and offers a slower filtration process than other options.
Best bang for your buck: Brita 10-Cup Everyday
Our take: Simple, effective pitcher-style purifier that easily fits on most refrigerator shelves.
What we like: Offers efficient filtration at an affordable price point. Holds up very well if cared for properly. Can usually go two months before needing to replace the filter.
What we dislike: Not always apparent when filter requires replacement. Works slowly and only holds 10 cups.
Our take: Provides outstanding filtration though it filters slowly and is fairly expensive.
What we like: Uses heat and activated charcoal filters to remove 99% to 99.9% of contaminants. Made of high-grade stainless steel for increased durability. Automatically turns off at the end of the filtration cycle.
What we dislike: Takes four to five hours to purify a gallon of water.
Jennifer Blair 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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