Tired of drinking off-tasting tap water? There’s an easy way to keep fresh, pure water on hand without having to resort to plastic bottles. Water filter pitchers combine filters with ease of access. They remove contaminants and make tap water taste more palatable in just a few short minutes.

To help you pick out the best water filter pitcher for your home, we’ve put together a list of our top five favorite picks and broken down what makes them tick. We’ve also discussed contaminants, capacity, filtration methods and more in our Buyer’s Guide down below.

  • 5 stage filter with 2-micron pores
  • Triple capacity filter last 150 gallons
  • Holds 8 cups of filtered water
  • Lifetime guarantee

  • 5 cup capacity
  • Filter indicator for replacement
  • Filters last 40 gallons
  • No listed warranty

  • Large 10 cup capacity
  • Filter indicator for replacement
  • Filters last 40 gallons
  • 90-day warranty

  • Large 11 cup capacity
  • Includes water quality meter
  • Filters last 40 gallons
  • 90-day warranty

  • 7.5 cup capacity
  • Filters last 150 gallons
  • Uses Japanese activated carbon technology
  • No listed warranty


Our first pitcher focuses on multi-stage filtration, a high capacity filter, and a lifetime guarantee. The Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher may not look like much, but it houses a five-stage filter that can tackle any particles over 2 microns. With an eight cup capacity for water free of flouride, chlorine, and other contaminants commonly found in tap water, this pitcher can keep lots of fresh water at hand at any given time.

The only real issue with the Aquagear is the price. Costing several times more than the most affordable pick on our list, you’ll need to make sure that your water needs match the extensive contaminant list given by this product. You’ll also need to try to track your water usage on your own, as this product isn’t going to indicate when it’s time to replace the filter. Nevertheless, if your focus is on the best filtration and little else, then the Aquagear water filter pitcher is one of the best products at any price point.

Pros

  • Great 5 stage filtration
  • High capacity
  • Great warranty
  • Removes fluoride

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No filter indicator


For water filtration on a more modest budget, the first of our two Brita picks focuses on fresh water for individual or smaller sace use.The Brita Small 5 Cup Metro Water Pitcher comes in three colors and even includes a filter indicator to let you know when it’s time to pick up a new filter. And while the 40 gallon filter lifespan is lower than we’d like, we still appreciate the smaller size of the pitcher, which is perfect for smaller homes and apartments.

While the list of filtered contaminants isn’t very long on this product, and no warranty is listed, the compatibility with other Brita filters is appreciated, and picking up replacements shouldn’t be all that difficult. This Brita filter packs in a lot for the cost and is worth considering on a budget.

Pros

  • Filter indicator
  • Multiple colors offered
  • Easy access to replacement filters
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Small capacity
  • Only filters basic contaminants
  • No listed warranty

Our second Brita pick takes the 5 Cup Metro design and expands on some extra features for those who need a water filter pitcher with more capacity. With this Brita filter, you can keep up to ten cups of delicious, pure water around and keep track of the need for replacements using the included sticker. And while filtration isn’t as great as it may be on a pitcher like the Aquagear, you’ll definitely still notice the upgrade from tap water.

This filter improves on the capacity issue of the earlier Brita option and is still relatively affordable. For a cheap way to make lots of filtered water, this may be the best option on our list.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Filter indicator
  • Easy access to replacement filters
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Only filters basic contaminants

Our next water filter pitcher boasts the best overall capacity and comes with a unique look and a very helpful water quality meter. The ZeroWater 11 Cup Pitcher ZS-011RP is half plastic, half stainless steel and comes with a fairly detailed list of contaminants it can tackle. The real focus, however, is on the included water quality meter.

Instead of relying on a water indicator to keep you accountable for filter replacement, ZeroWater lets you see first-hand the filter issues with a gauge that will tell you just how good (or bad) your water is. While the price is certainly increased because of it, this water quality meter has far-reaching implications beyond just your pitcher. This pitcher is great at filtration, comes with a high capacity, and offers a unique design.

Pros

  • High capacity
  • Water quality meter included
  • Excellent filtration
  • Unique design

Cons

  • No filter indicator
  • Somewhat expensive

Our final water filter pitcher uses Japanese activated carbon and a quick filter that’s sure to appease those who want water quickly. The Nakii Water Filter Pitcher NFP-100 offers a robust 7.5 cups of capacity and filters out most major contaminants and particles using the special filter. We greatly appreciate the long-lasting filter design and focus on quick filtration as well; since many of the other pitchers on our list will take some time to completely filter the water.

Featuring a slick, modern design with a wood-accented handle, there’s also a clear focus on aesthetics here. And while we would have appreciated a more exhaustive filter and a warranty, this product still has a home where quick filtration and activated carbon are appreciated.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Great design
  • Quick filtration
  • Filter indicator

Cons

  • Only filters basic contaminants
  • No listed warranty

Comparison Chart

Aquagear Water Filter PitcherBrita Small 5 Cup Metro Water PitcherBrita Large 10 Cup Water PitcherZeroWater 11 Cup Pitcher ZS-011RPNakii Water Filter Pitcher NFP-100
Capacity8 Cups5 cups10 cups11 Cups7.5 Cups
Filter Lifespan150 Gallons40 Gallons40 Gallons40 Gallons150 Gallons
Contaminants RemovedFluoride, lead, chromium 6, chloramines, mercury, chlorine & moreChlorine, copper, mercury, cadmium & moreChlorine, copper, mercury, cadmium & moreLead, fluoride, chromium, chloramine, chlorine & moreChlorine, mercury, rust, suspended particles & more
Filter IndicatorXX
Water Quality MeterXXXX
Price$$$$$$$

Buyer’s Guide:

Water Filter Pitchers

The replaceable filters and their associated lifespans are one of the most commonly discussed issues regarding water filter pitchers. Water filter pitchers are designed to work quickly and efficiently, which comes at the cost of lifespan. The filters on our list are good for anywhere between 40 gallons and 150 gallons of water, depending on the manufacturer.

How long your water filter pitcher will last will depend on your water demand need, but we do recommend trying to match that need to the right pitcher. For example, if you need to filter lots of water for a large family or office space, a water filter pitcher that will last 100 gallons or more is recommended.

One of the biggest selling points for water filter pitchers are the lists of contaminants they each are able to remove. All of our water filter pitchers have the capacity to remove virtually all flowing particles visible to the eye. The difference, though, often comes between what is filtered out and what isn’t.

Almost all water filter pitchers focus on removing chlorine, mercury, and copper from the water supply. These three main contaminants are often the strongest tasting, are often found in tap water, and can each be dangerous in high doses. Otherwise, lead, cadmium, and other dangerous chemicals are filtered out of many pitchers as well. Some water filter pitchers utilize activated carbon filters, which naturally pull bacterial and contaminants out of the water supply. Fluoride is another major containment that is often filtered out. Due to positive qualities of fluoride on teeth, however, some manufacturers, such as Brita, intentionally choose not to filter out fluoride for this reason.

The more contaminants filtered out, the better, so be sure to pick up a water filter pitcher that at least filters out common problems like chlorine or possibly copper; and if you’re particularly sensitive to the taste of water, a pitcher that filters out far more than that.

Finally, your water filter’s capacity, filtration indicators, and quality meters will each have an impact on your pitcher’s overall usability in the home. The more cups of water you can hold, the less time you’ll be spending re-filling the pitcher and waiting for the water to completely filter through. Once you’ve filtered enough water, the filter itself will work less quickly and be less effective.

To help customers know when it’s time to replace a filter, many water pitcher filters (and several on our list) indicate when it is time to replace filters through stickers, knobs, or digital lights. Any pitcher with this feature is certainly helpful for keeping up with your water’s overall quality. Likewise, water filter pitchers with quality meters can do the same thing. Both indicators as well as quality meters will help you make sure your cup of water is as pure as possible.

  • What is PPM? How will my water filter pitcher affect this?
  • PPM stands for parts per million and is a quick and easy way for you to measure your water’s contamination levels. For instance, water with 10PPM of sodium is water that has 10 milligrams of sodium for every one liter of water. When it comes to water, PPM is usually used to describe the total amount of dissolved solids floating around within it.

    Fresh water is usually described as water under 1,000PPM, although our water filters will reduce this number significantly. Keeping a water quality meter on standby can help you more clearly compare the filtration quality of your water filter pitcher as well as assist you in knowing when it is time to replace the filter.

  • My city has soft/hard water. How will this affect how long my filter will last?
  • For those unaware, “soft” and “hard” are two terms used to describe water quality in an area. Soft water, such as rain water, is water in which the only real ion included is sodium. This is in comparison to hard water, which often includes chlorine, magnesium, and other minerals. The “harder” you water is, the more clogged your filter will become over time and the more frequently you’ll need to replace it. We recommend replacing a bit under the recommended lifespan of your filter should you live in an area with hard water.

  • Can I use my water filter pitcher to filter lake or river water?
  • Generally speaking, no. Water filter pitchers are designed primarily for use with tap water, which has already been purified by local water authorities and tends to taste off due to floating particles, minerals, or chlorine. While running lake or river water through a filter will certainly remove particles, this will do nothing for the removal of harmful viruses and parasites that may be alive in the water. Be sure to pick up a specialty filter should you want to purify naturally-occurring water.

Final Thoughts

While any water filter pitcher is better than drinking tap water, only one of the pitchers on our list stands out as one of the best for the greatest amount of people. The Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher filters out the most contaminants out of any of the other pitchers on our list. Likewise, the high capacity of the pitcher make this a great choice for those who need to filter lots of water.

If you want to get a water filter pitcher for a smaller family or just want to save money, the Brita 5 Cup Metro Water Filter Pitcher is a great choice to keep in mind as well. Otherwise, we like the included water quality meter with the ZeroWater pitcher, the reasonably-priced and high capacity offerings from the Brita 10 Cup pitcher, and the focus on activated carbon and quick filtration that comes with the Nakii pitcher. Regardless of your selection, if you live in an area with off-tasting tap water, especially in an area with harsh, hard water, you’ll be thankful you made an investment in your health with any one of these five great products.

Further Reading

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