Consumer Reports recently updated their top picks, rankings and recommendations for water filter systems in their May 2010 issue. They note that in 2008 alone, eight percent of municipal water systems—which provide drinking water for 23 million people—received health violations. The EPA reported in 2009 that “many of the nation’s waters are not meeting water quality standards, and the threat to drinking water sources is growing.” Water filtration systems can help remove contaminants, improve taste and reduce odor from your tap water.
CR categorized and rated the point-of-use water filtration market as follows:
Consumer Reports produced this video showing the different types of water filters, although they left out reverse osmosis systems.
Carafe Water Filters
Carafe water filters, also called water filter pitchers, are simple to use and there is no installation needed. They can be stored in the refrigerator, but don’t allow for more than a few gallons of water per day because the need to be refilled frequently. CR recommends the Brita line of pitchers like the Brita OB35 Riviera Water Filter Pitcher 42557. Also rated are the PUR CR-6000C Water Filter Pitcher and the Crystal Quest Pitcher CQE-PI-00600
Faucet Mounted Water Filters
Very easy to install, a faucet mounted water filter installs directly on your faucet and provides a button or lever to switch between filtered and unfiltered water. CR’s best buy for a faucet mounted water filter is the Culligan FM-15.
Countertop Water Filters
Countertop water filter systems allow for large volumes of filtered water, but requires that you have room for the unit on your counter nearby. CR recommends the Crystal Quest Countertop Replaceable Triple Multi PLUS Water Filter System CQE-CT-00109. Another great option missed by CR is the AquaCera ACP-UC Counter-top UltraCarb Water Filter System.
Undersink Water Filters
Undersink filter systems install under the sink and connect to the water line, allowing for large volumes of filtration without modifying the faucet. CR recommends the Culligan Preferred Series 350 Drinking Water System.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
Reverse Osmosis filtration systems install under the sink and remove the most types of contaminants including arsenic and fluoride. We offer rated Pentek RO-3500 Reverse Osmosis System and the WaterFilters.NET RO5-WF 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis System, which is very similar to the unit rated as a best buy in article.
What about Whole House Filtration?
Consumer Reports didn’t include reviews or ratings for whole house water filtration, which is a great option for many people.
How about Fridge Filters?
CR reports that their tests indicate that filters used for refrigerator water dispensers do not work well at removing impurities. They recommend using an undersink filter system to bypass the fridge filter. We agree, although many refrigerators don’t allow you to bypass their internal filter. To avoid bacteria and other build up, you should change refrigerator filters frequently even if you have an additional external filter. With a little forethought and know-how you can install an undersink system with a diversion that will feed your kitchen faucet and the fridge as well.
What about Installation?
The Consumer Reports article also notes that many of these systems can be installed by a homeowner, but that some may feel better having a professional install the more complicated under the sink systems. WaterFilters.NET can help you find a qualified local water system installation professional.
- CR notes that one of the reverse osmosis systems, unlike most other filters, removes fluoride. To be clear, all reverse osmosis water filtration will remove fluoride.
- They recommend testing your water, especially if you have a water well. We sell numerous water test kits that get the job done without spending a ton of money on a state-certified lab.