Water in your home is transparent, fresh and looks great? All of this means that it is 100% clean and safe to drink and use for cooking. Sadly, the answer is no! Despite the fact water looks like we have just mentioned, it may still contain heavy metals, chloramine, benzene, viruses, bacteria and so much more. It is even possible to contain uranium, believe or not! A good thing is that you can eliminate all the contaminants without any work. For that, you will need the best countertop water filter, a few minutes of your time and you are safe.
These products may look incredibly simple and even basic, but they are a must-have addition these days. Water sources are more and more contaminated as we speak, so finding the best way to make them perfectly clean once again is important.
For most users, a countertop water filter is the best alternative. They are very easy to install and use and they are still powerful enough to meet the highest requirements.
The only question is which one to choose? After all, there are hundreds of models out there and not all are ideal for your home. Let us do the hard work. We have tested over 20 models in order to compile a list of 5 best units. We will also reveal the secrets which you can use to find a unit that is just right for your home.
The Best Countertop Water Filter: What You Need To Consider?
There are almost countless countertop filters out there and each one claims to be revolutionary, special and more. How you would tell which one is truly special? Well, you can do it with our help.
In this very section, we will explain all the main facts and factors to consider when looking for a new countertop water filter. We used all of these parameters when we tested models presented on the list.
Type of a Countertop Water Filter
Not all countertop water filters are the same nor they offer the same features. However, there are 5 main types and each one is specific. To better understand the water filters and how they work, you will have to understand each type and be able to set a clear difference among them.
This is the first and very common type. A filter dispenser is basically a tube filled with filtration elements. There are two main chambers. The first one is a water container. You will pour water here and wait. The second chamber is where the clean water is stored.
As such, your only task is to fill the upper container and the water will pass through the filtration elements and end up in the lower container, perfectly clean. You will end up with clean water that can be consumed immediately.
- There are few good and not so good things about this type. The first one is simplicity. Filters of this kind are very affordable, they do not require complicated assembling, adjustments or anything like that. As specified above, you will pour the water and you are done.
- This also brings us to a drawback. First of all, you have to pour water every couple of hours or days, depending on the size. Then you will have to wait for the water to pass through the filters. This can take up to 10 hours, although most new models can process water much quicker.
Filter dispensers are ideal for people who are on the go, who need small and compact and also affordable solutions.
Water distillers are a completely different thing and they are probably the most advanced of them all. They are usually big in size and complicated to maintain or repair.
But, a countertop water filter of this type is the best filtration system on the planet. It uses a process known as distillation to remove the chemicals, metals and more. The water will be heated to boiling temperature and a special tube or tubes will lead the steam to another container. When the steam cools down, you get clean water.
Choosing the best countertop water filter with this design is complicated as well. If you make a mistake, you can end up with water that tastes like plastic or cannot be consumed. A proper distiller will provide you with 100% clean and fresh water though.
An ionizer is the most complicated type of water filters. They use a process called electrolysis. During the process, cathodic water will be created on negative electrodes (positive ions are attracted) while negative ions will create anodic water. Anodic water is also known as oxidized water.
So, do you need a product of this kind? The answer is yes and no. The ionizers are very effective and they can provide you with perfectly clean water every single time.
They eliminate all possible contaminates and they keep the water fresh and you will feel good while draining it.
On the other side of the story, we have a high price and the fact not all people can drink this type of water. Some of you may love it, while others won’t be able to stand it in a glass.
One thing is still in debate. Water ionizers and their benefits alongside advantages are still being researched. There are a lot of studies and there will be many more in the near future. Many of the studies do agree that this water is perfect for your health because it increases pH levels in your body and hence protects you from various conditions, disorders and diseases.
Who should consider a water ionizer? The answer is very simple actually. If you are looking or the best filtration method, you want the healthiest water of them all and you can afford an ionizer, go for it.
The most popular and the most commonly used type. R.O stands for reverse osmosis and it is basically a filter with a built-in cartridge inside. Inside the cartridge, there are various filtration elements. Those elements are responsible for filtration.
We did mention that RO filters are usually installed under the countertop but this isn’t a generic solution. There are many users who leave the filters on their countertop and they stay there.
Sink Top Type
Here is one type of water filter you probably have come across many times. They are very small, easy to install and they are practical. Sink top countertop water filter is directly connected to the faucet and it will filter water before it runs out from the tap.
Water comes to the cartridge which filters it and then is stored in a container. Many models do come with a faucet installed. From that faucet, you will get clean and safe to drink water.
Sink top models can be small, medium or massive in size. They are very affordable and they can be used literally anywhere. Don’t forget that they can be installed on most kitchen faucets but they will need an adapter. Many models come with a package that includes one or two adapters so always check compatibility with your faucet.
After installation is complete, you get a successful and effective water filtration system that removes bacteria, contaminants and so much more from water.
Comparison Table – Quick Review for Features
Top 5 Best Countertop Water Filters
Finding the best countertop water filter is more complicated than it may sound and that’s why we have invested days into finding the ones that will exceed all your expectations. The rank is mentioned below.
Which Pollutants are you Trying to Remove?
Before you make up your mind and decide which water filter do you need or want, you should take a look in the water. Not literally of course. You need to perform a water test. Luckily there are a lot of water testers you can get online and use for your water.
The mission here is to inspect your water source and find which chemicals or contaminants you are trying to eliminate from water. For example, if water has a strong chemical taste, it means it is loaded with chlorine. If it has earthly taste, it contains algae.
Now, when you know what is inside the water you will know what to eliminate. Some water filters are designed to remove chlorine better than the others. Other models are more focused on bacteria and algae. The only way to make the right choice is to find a unit that matches your requirements.
If you are not interested in performing a water test nor you have the time, take a special look at the next factor. It is a simpler alternative to all that we have mentioned here and it can also assist you in making the best possible choice.
Percentage of filtration is one factor that can make a massive difference. You probably know that many water filters offer a 99.99% percentage of filtration. This is the highest possible result and there is no single model out there with a higher rating.
We will say that 99.99% is a rate we all need. It is the safest, makes water completely clean and has the ability to clean all possible contaminants and chemicals from it.
If you are in a hurry or you want the safest countertop water filter, pick one with the mentioned rating. As a result, you can expect clean water and you can be positive that poor water quality is a thing from the past.
99.99% of water filters are not the only choice out there. There are models with lower ratings. Some may offer 93% others 94% and these are above average. Don’t think that they are not successful and effective. They are still capable to keep bacteria, germs, and chemicals away from your body but they are not as safe as the first type here.
A possible drawback here is that not all manufacturers will mention the filtration percentage. If this is the case with a model you like, pay attention to the filtration stages. It is the next factor here and there we will explain the basics.
Water filters come with 3 or 4 stage filtration processes. Ideally, you will have a unit with 4 stage filtration. But, what this actually means?
A filtration system has a cartridge, basically a filter that does all the work. This is a tube-alike part that occupies the central part of the system and water comes to it via tubes. Inside there are various filtration elements responsible for filtering the water.
If a filter has 3 filtration elements, then it is 3-stage filtration. If it has 4 elements, it will filter water 4 separate times and therefore provide 4-stage filtration. Both variations are effective, but 4-stage models are more advanced and they are able to filter chemicals that are not always filtered by 3-stage filters.
The best example is the Apex filtration system. It is the 3rd model on our list. This unit comes with 4-stage filtration and if you take a look at the review you will see that there are 4 separate stages. They are KDF-55, granular activated carbon, alkaline beads, and calcite. This is just an example. Other models have different filtration elements inside.
In addition, it isn’t necessary for all 4 states to perform filtration only. With the previous example, we saw that one section of the carriage is used for adding magnesium, potassium, and calcium to the water. Anyway, this is an advent and something we liked a lot.
Last but not least part of the section is to take a look at the diagram of the cartridge and look for filtration element separators. These are pads or additional materials used to separate the filtration elements inside and make sure each one does its job perfectly.
Where you are going to use your new water filter? If you are planning to use in a massive kitchen, then you can go for a large model with large tank and large capacity. If you are planning to use it while traveling, you will need a small model.
Many versions are 10 inches in height and this is an average size. The cartridge filter determines the size and all other components will follow this size. While 10 inches is more than some users need, it isn’t sufficient for those who need more clean water.
The point here is to pay close attention to the size of the water filter and get one that comes with size suitable for your usages. Bigger filters are usually more suitable for permanent, stationary use. Make sure to know your needs and your requirements before getting a product.
The best countertop water filter may come at a price. It is important to set your budget and then look for models that meet that price range. Ideally, your budget will be between $40 and $300. For this price, you can choose between countless models out there and obviously easily find the one that is just perfect for you and your home.
Once you decide a budget, you should look for the capacity, level of filtration and the size of your new unit. Pick one that has 3 or 4 stages of filtration, offers great quality and comes with detailed tests or approval from the authorities.
It doesn’t mean that a cheap model will be useless or the unit won’t filter water properly. In most cases, this means that a unit is smaller in size but it still offers 99.99% filtration rating.
Cost Over Time
Each filter has cartridges that must be replaced. Some of them must be replaced after 2 months, some after a specific amount of water processed and others when the manufacturer specifies. This is cost over time or better said how much money you will invest in your water filter to run smoothly over time.
When looking for the details regarding this factor, you need to consider the duration a filter can be used and also the cost of a replacement unit. There are a lot of examples and sadly we cannot generalize the matter. But, we can add some valuable information.
Ceramic filters will have to be replaced after 6 months. They generally cost $50 or more. The situation is similar to activated carbon and KDF. They should be replaced between 6 and 8 months and they will cost you $40. Cartridges used for distillation should be replaced after 2 months but they are very affordable, $20-$30.
There is a separate type of filter that doesn’t have to be replaced after a specific period of time. They have to be replaced after the total amount of water filtrated. For instance, you will replace it when it filters 6000 gallons of water which is the case with Royal Berkey models. This will cost you $120 per filtration element and you can use up to 4 of them.
The end result is to have a water filter you can maintain. It is useless without a new filter and it won’t get the job done. Make sure to invest in a model that is affordable to maintain according to your possibilities.
How easy it is to install your new water filter? Almost all new models are extremely simple and easy to install. They come with basic instructions and details and they come with a few steps you have to follow. But, this isn’t always the case.
One important addition is to look at the user manual. It can help you install a unit without making any mistakes or errors. Of course, a well-written and image-rich instructions are much better and far more preferable.
It would be highly advised to check out the user manual and the details before ordering that very countertop water filter. Just to add, online videos with how to, can be helpful.
This factor may sound irrelevant, but it is actually one of determining things to consider when looking for a new counter water filter. Try to remember that almost all models are made to work with standard faucets.
Many models of this kind won’t work with special size faucets, pull out and sprayer faucets. You can still connect them but you will need a special adapter which is usually available as an optional extra.
To make sure you don’t make a mistake and end up with a water filter that stays in the kitchen but cannot be used, always check for the compatibility. Each and every manufacturer will display the supported faucets and include additional resources and files potential owners should check out.
Materials Used in Construction
A water filter is constantly in contact with water. Some models that use heat to purify water are even more demanding for the materials. What this means is that you need to look at the materials in general, used in a new water filter.
On the market, you will see many models made from stainless steel. This is the ultimate metal. It is immune to corrosion, water, moisture and it also stays shiny for decades. The situation is similar to aluminum but it isn’t as great as stainless steel.
Ceramics is used also and it is an excellent option. In general, you need to consider metals and materials which won’t leave any traces in water and which won’t corrode after years of use. If you get a model with this advantage, you will make a worthy investment and you will be positive that your water filtration system is superb for many years to come.
Another advantage here is maintenance and repairs. Models that are made to last do not have to be repaired after a few years simply because they won’t develop any leakage or damages.
This is a factor we cannot generalize. Some water filters affect the water taste. Others don’t. The ones that do, there are several options. The ideal solution is to get a clean taste of the water that doesn’t remind you of anything. What this means is that the taste will be neutral or it will be like any other clean, fresh, natural water source offers.
Other water filters will change the taste of water and make it ‘’sweet’’. This is a common option and many users won’t have a hard time getting used to the taste. On the other hand, we have homeowners who dislike the taste and who don’t want to drink water with it.
Sadly, it is almost impossible to determine what kind of taste water will have before using the water filter for some time. The only possible solution is to take a look at the reviews (we will always mention if a unit changes the taste of the water) or to check for the reviews of users who actually own that water filter.
Many of the models available on the market work with average water pressure, which is between 40 and 80PSI. This type of pressure is found in many homes, apartments and general across the world.
If your home has a higher pressure, you may have to use an additional valve designed to decrease the pressure.
If the current pressure is too low, you will need a different unit, compatible with that pressure.
Water pressure needed for the water filter to operate can be divided into two main categories. The first one is average, as we have mentioned earlier. The second category is above or under the threshold. Check with the manufacturer of water filter you are planning to use can it be used on the water pressure your home has.
NSF and ANSI
These are standards a water filter should or better said must comply with. NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation and it is an organization established back in 1944. The goal was to provide safety standards for all the items that are in direct contact with drinking water and food.
ANSI is a similar organization known as privately owned and non-profitable institutions. The acronym refers to the American National Standards Institute. As you can see both of these organizations affect the water filtration systems.
We would like to say all models on the market meet the highest standards and there are no deviations. However, this isn’t the case. As a matter of fact, there are almost countless standards present. Below, we will explain the most common ones and the ones that are usually included in the description of a water filter you are looking.
NSF/ANSI Standard 42
These water filters will remove aesthetic chemicals and compounds found in water such as chlorine or anything else that affects the taste and odor of the water.
They can be used on countertops and they can be used for the entire home. Models with this standard are the most common on the market.
NSF/ANSI Standard 53
NSF/ANSI Standard 53 includes the aforementioned NSF/ANSI Standard 42 but improves it even more. These units can also remove aesthetic compounds but also can remove contaminants which have a negative effect on human health.
The best example would be carbon filters. Very common, popular and appealing to use.
You may see this term in the description of your new water filter but it is unlikely! The standard refers to the water softeners which use potassium chlorite or sodium to decrease the hardness of the water.
The standard refers to the models which use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and germs. It is a high standard commonly linked to premium water filters. Here we can see two main sub-types.
The first one is Class A and it is used for products that can kill bacteria on contaminated water. Class B products can disinfect drinking water.
NSF/ANSI 58 is used for RO or reverse osmosis systems.
They force water using pressure to pass through the membrane and therefore eliminate particles that may be harmful to the humans and animals. These filters are regulated by EPA and Health Canada.
NSF/ANSI 62 is a high standard that affects distillation systems only. It means that the overall process is successful and a unit can eliminate all the toxins, bacteria, germs and anything else that people don’t like in water.
NSF/ANSI 177 is used for shower filters only. The standard means they can successfully reduce chlorine in the water. Keep in mind that this standard does not refer to ordinary water filters.
All of you looking for the best Countertop Water Filter will consider the design at some point. After all, this is a unit that will stay on the countertop at all times. You need a modern and appealing device that will match the décor of your home.
When we are explaining design, we can add that it is irrelevant to the overall success rate of the water filter. However, the design should be well-marched to the overall size of the device. You need a larger model to filtrate more water and to remove more contaminants. 10 inches filters are the best.
Here you need to pay attention to the design that will match your home décor but the unit is still 10 inches or bigger in size. Other sub-factors are not important nor needed.
Each and every model will be tested in some way. There are two main types of testing. The first one is in-house. This means that the manufacturer will test the model when it is developed and share the details with potential buyers.
The second type is when a manufacturer uses third-party tests and laboratories to test their new model. This is a more advanced type of testing and usually more important in the eyes of beholders. There are a few additional facts.
If you are looking at a water filter that is made by a small and unknown company, make sure it has third-party tests present. It is common for those manufacturers to present you with false tests or ‘’imaginable’’ tests.
If you are looking at a model made by some of the largest brands in the industry, then you can rely on in-house testing and be positive that the unit meets the requirements. Lab or third party testing is always trustworthy and applies as a better alternative at any given moment. If you find a model that comes with a third party and in-house tests, it is the safest choice, period.
Capacity is an obvious factor. It refers to the amount of water the unit can process in a given time. You will see that some manufacturers list the capacity as 2.2 gallons or 0.5GPM. The second option is gallons per minute and it applies to the total amount of water that passes through the filter in one minute. More is better.
The capacity is used for water filters that are smaller and portable, which comes with a container for intake water and for clean water. Once again, more is better and it means that you will have to refill the containerless frequently.
There is a third option also. It may be stated in the product description or on the package that a unit is sufficient for a large family, one user or something in between. These values are usually accurate and there is no need to explain them any further.
Recommended Water Sources
This is an important factor that many users simply don’t pay attention to! It means that a water filter you are looking for is suitable for city sources or for natural sources or both. Many models can be used in city water sources only.
More expensive and more professional models can be used with the city and natural sources. There are no models which are designed for natural sources only. This is a must obey factor and fact specified by the manufacturer!
Weight is an important and needed factor to consider for portable models that are designed for use while traveling, on the go and etc. It is determined by the size of the model and the capacity.
There are countless options out there but the goal is to choose a unit which meets your requirements for clean water. The weight of that model will generally be around 5 pounds and the capacity 1-2 gallons.
The weight factor is irrelevant for models designed to be used on a home and the ones that won’t be moved around.
The factor in question isn’t important for the actual filtration process. It is an addition that promotes and therefore improves the water quality. This is a separate section inside a filter that adds magnesium potassium and calcium.
Alkaline beads are commonly used in premium models and they are more than just appealing for a specific type of user. Yes, this also means that the price of the model with the system is higher but worth it.
Many of the water filters from our list and the ones available on the market come with high prices. That’s why it is important to look for a warranty. You want a reliable model with countless features and safe design. A long warranty that covers all the aspects literally tells you will get a filter with these advantages.
A warranty also protects your investment. A better warranty means that you can replace the unit if something is damaged in the transport, or at the factory.
Pay attention to the money-back guarantee. This is especially important for models that change or affect the odor and taste of odor. If you are not satisfied, you can return the product and the manufacturer will give your money back. Without this feature, you are left with a water filter with a water taste that you don’t like.
Overall, a countertop water filter should be well-made, from premium materials and it should be able to last for decades. The quality is determined by the materials used. Look for stainless steel, ceramics, and aluminum alongside high-quality plastics.
If you make the right choice, your water filter will serve you for many years and it will truly be the best countertop water filter.
Tubing is a part of the system you will use to connect the water filter to the faucet. It should be flexible and long. It is possible to extend the tubing in some cases, but usually, it involves getting a new set of tubes and pipes and advanced modifications.
To make sure you get a suitable and just right unit, look at the length of the tubes. Longer is always better and more preferable.
Big Berkey Gravity-Fed is the best countertop water filter and the one we like the most. It gets 4.9 out of 5-star rating. The reasons are obvious. It can filter 6000 gallons of water before cartridge must be replaced and it is 99.99% effective which is the highest rating possible. It is also well-made and comes with all the great features a modern user will need.