Off-grid living gives you the chance to get away from it all. No more overcrowded commutes, no more smog. Escaping the city means clean air and clean living.
But what does it mean for your water supply?
While city water might be contaminated by man-made chemicals, from fluoride to chlorine, well water presents its own challenges. And if you thought getting out of the city meant a step towards purity then you’re in for a shock.
A cool, refreshing glass of water, straight from the well. But wait, how come it’s brown?
And what’s that icky, metallic taste? Reminding you of the time you bit your tongue…
Iron levels in your well water can be as much as 10mg/L – around thirty times the EPA’s established limit.
And while a little bit of iron in your diet supports a healthy lifestyle, there can be too much of a good thing. An overdose of iron in your water can lead to skin ailments and organ damage!
Not to mention the fact that it’s clogging your pipes and damaging your plumbing.
So don’t let iron ruin your off-grid living – come down on iron in your water supply with an iron fist.
Iron filters for well water are an essential off-grid accessory, so we’ve picked seven of the best.
If you’re all about value, then check out the iSpring WGB32BM which is the best iron filter for well water on a budget. But if maximizing flow rate is important to you and your family then we recommend the Home Master – 3 Stage Sediment, Iron & Carbon Filter.
And if money is no object when it comes to filtering your well water, then SpringWell’s WH Well Water Filter System is a whole house hero.
We’ve got an iron filter for well water for everyone on the list – from the budget to the bacteria busting. So read on to iron out the kinks in your off-grid water supply.
1. SpringWell Filter System – Best For Bigger Households
The SpringWell Whole House Filter System uses a mix of greensand filter media and air injection to effectively filter out even the highest levels of iron in water. It is also able to comfortably handle manganese and hydrogen sulfide, so if the water from your well ever has that rotten egg smell, this is the filter for you.
The air injection oxidizes the ferrous iron, while the greensand physically filters out of the precipitated ferric iron, meaning that this filter easily removes the two most commonly found forms of iron in well water.
The SpringWell system is completely automatic, so once you have set it up, you can sit back and enjoy the fresh tasting water with minimal hassle.
The system is self-cleaning, meaning it performs what’s known as a backwash, that automatically washes out all of the contaminants caught by the filter media and sends them down a drain, making life much easier for you. It’s also designed to work purely from a single tank, meaning that there’s less to go wrong, keeping maintenance costs to a minimum and significantly reducing potential downtime.
If you’re not happy with the initial setup of the SpringWell, changing the settings is ludicrously easy. Simply download the SpringWell app, which allows you to view and alter all of the individual valve settings, start a new backwash cycle, and even view statistics on your current and historical water usage.
Something that you need to think about when investing in an iron filter for well water is the potential drop in water pressure that installing them can often cause. You might have fresh tasting, great smelling water but if it only comes out in a dribble, what use is it?
One of SpringWell’s proudest selling points is that when they are designing the filter system, they take into account the number of bathrooms in your house. This means that there will never be a drop in water pressure, even if you have the strongest power shower.
Now, what you really need to remember is that the majority of whole home water iron filter systems are complicated pieces of technology, and the SpringWell is no exception. If you’re the handy type and are confident in your ability, it is possible to install the system on your own. However, for the rest of us, it’s highly recommended that you hire a plumber or professional to do the installation for you.
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2. Aquasana Rhino® with UV – Best For Busting Bacteria
The Rhino uses dual tank and UV filtration to maximize its effectiveness, particularly against bacteria and viruses. The filtration process doesn’t add any chemicals during the filtration process, it only removes the things you don’t want, meaning the water that you’re left with will be delicious and safe to drink.
While Aquasana does not have an NSF certification, they’ve provided third party laboratory results that they claim prove it effectively removes all contaminants commonly found in wells, including iron.
And on top of that, there are six stages of filtration that the water has to pass through in the Rhino. That means the Rhino targets a wide range of contaminants as well as iron.
The Rhino’s UV filter kills upwards of 99% illness causing bacteria and viruses. This is particularly important if you are getting your water from a private well, in which these are prevalent. It also means that using the Rhino on a municipal water supply (or city water), will protect you, even in the case of a “boil warning”.
The downside of broad-spectrum filtration is a lot of different filters – that means more maintenance on your system.
The pre-filter needs to be replaced every two months, the post filter every six months, the UV lamp every 12 months and the dual tank filters need to be totally replaced every five to six years.
Replacing filters adds a long-term cost to your water filter system, but there’s no better way to target every contaminant under the sun (or under the ground, in the case of well water).
3. SpringWell Salt Based Water Softener System – Best Iron Filter For Tackling Hard Water
This ion exchange softening system is designed to filter your well water and remove hardness causing minerals, meaning you’ll have no limescale around fixtures and a whole host of other benefits that come with soft water.
Salt-based water softeners primarily target calcium and magnesium, but if these minerals are in the right ratio with iron in your water, then the ion exchange is also effective at removing iron.
While it won’t be as targetted as some of the iron filters for well water on the list, but if hard water is your primary concern, and iron comes second, then Springwell’s system kills two birds with one hefty dose of salt.
The Softener System from SpringWell features a system called ion exchange to transform hard water into soft water and save you from all those annoying side-effects hard water brings.
The SpringWell features a high-tech system that uses resin beads to exchange the ions. It's self cleaning, meaning much less maintenance for you, and the whole system can easily be controlled from an app you can download on your phone.
Lastly, it also comes with the option of an additional UV filter to further help destroying viruses and bacteria in your water supplies.
4. iSpring WGB32BM 3-Stage Water Filtration System – Best Iron Filter On A Budget
Designed specifically for the removal of iron and manganese from well water, the iSpring’s filter design has an advantage over other physical filter media (greensand, for example), in that the catalytic media (the stuff that actually takes out the metals, to us normal people) is not consumed in the process of removal.
This means, the filters are going to need considerably less maintenance and will last up to three times longer than other filters.
Unlike some well water iron filters designed for removing only the heavy metals, the iSpring is actually an all rounder and effectively removes sediment, chlorine, rust, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other plenty of impurities.
So it’s a great all-rounder, if you’re looking to reduce iron, but also want to get rid of other potential contaminants in your water.
An interesting feature that's well worth considering when it comes to the initial cost, is that the iSpring is designed with easy DIY installation in mind, meaning you won’t have to fork out a small fortune for a plumber to install it for you. It comes with a handy manual and easy to follow YouTube videos, making self-installation no-brainer at all.
Impressively, for a whole home iron filter in this price range, both stages of the iSpring’s filtration technology is third party tested to NSF/ANSI standards. Not only this, they’re proven to filter around 100,000 gallons of water before they need to be replaced. That’s easily enough to last most families upwards of a year.
5. Express Water Heavy Metal Water Filter – Best For Easy Installation
As the name indicates, this filtration system from Express Water can provide you with some of the healthiest water on the earth, free from heavy metals and other contaminants.
This 3-stage iron filter targets a wide range of contaminants, including iron. Water coming from your hook-up will first pass through a iron filter designed to remove any large, potentially damaging contaminants (sand, rust and bits of dirt)
Then goes through a Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (or KDF) filter to remove heavy metals such a lead, aluminum and, of course, iron. The final stage is a carbon filter, which is focused on removing any nasty chemicals that may have made it through the first two filters (here, we’re talking about pesticides, chlorine and even pharmaceuticals).
All of the components making up each stage of the filtration are tested by third party laboratories to international NSF/ ANSI standards and are built to last.
The Express Water filters are easy to replace, simply screwing in and out of the outer housing. The casing for the first filter is even clear, so a simple glance can let you know when it’s time to change them. The great thing about this feature is that when your filter needs changing, you simply screw in a new one meaning that you only use functionality for a few minutes.
The Express Water comes in a free-standing stainless steel case, giving it an extra layer of protection (particularly useful if you’ll be installing it in a cluttered basement or garage). This also makes it very easy to install without the aid of a trained professional.
Everything simply slips into the case and then plugs into the mains.
6. Durawater Air Injection Iron Eater Filter – Best Low Maintenance Iron Filter
With a name like the Iron Eater, you know what this filter’s about. The Durawater uses air injection pockets to oxidize water for super-fast filtration. Able to remove iron at 12ppm (parts per million), Sulphur at 10 ppm and manganese at 2 ppm, this little guy packs a pretty mighty wallop.
The Durawater’s oxidization system is self-cleaning and limited to a single tank, meaning it’s remarkably low-maintenance and won’t take up a lot of room. Each day it will automatically backwash its filter, flushing out everything that has built up and essentially resetting it for the next day’s use.
The control system is incredibly easy to use and understand consisting only of a simple control panel. The downside to this, of course, is that it limits just how much control you have over the stages of filtration. But, hey, as long as it’s doing the job, right?
The Durawater system comes with all of the media pre-installed in the outer tank, meaning it’s simple to install. They do recommend having at least a basic knowledge of plumbing if you plan to install it yourself, but simply watching a few YouTube videos could tell you everything you need to know. If you still don’t feel confident enough to do it yourself, any plumber will be able to do it in no time.
7. Home Master – 3 Stage Sediment, Iron & Carbon Filter – Best For Maximum Flow Rate
The Home Master is designed specifically for well water. The 3 Stage filter uses large filter housings and very wide ports to ensure the maximum water pressure possible, claiming up to 15 gallons per minute.
As the name suggests, this model is intended primarily for sediment, iron and carbon removal, making it ideal for people whose only water supply is a well.
The large sizing of the filters and the ports not only means it’s able to keep great water pressure, but also mean that the filters are larger.
Larger filters are great because they mean less maintenance and fewer replacements, making so the Home Master is a cost-effective system.
But can be a little too tricky to change. This is something worth considering if you’re thinking of buying this filter for an elderly relative or someone with mobility issues.
The Home Master filter comes pre-assembled in the box, making for easy self-installation but the size of the system means you’ll want all hands on deck for installation!
And while focused primarily on sediment, iron and carbon removal, Home Master claims that the three stage filtration method also removes pesticides and other chemicals but there is no NSF/ ASNI certification so you’ll have to take them at their word.
Buying Guide – What to Look For in an Iron Filter for Well Water?
So now you know why you need an iron filter for well water, let’s talk about what you need to look for when choosing the best one for you. Iron filters for well water can be pretty expensive so it’s definitely worth taking the time to get all of the information before deciding which one for go for.
Why you should get an iron water filtration system
There are other ways to filter iron from water. You could get a gravity powered, stand-alone water filtration system. These can filter iron from water just as effectively as a whole home filter system and for a fraction of the cost.
So why am I not recommending these to you? The answer is simple – capacity.
Stand-alone iron filters are great if you’re going camping or roughing it, off-grid for a couple of days but they can only handle a few gallons at a time. If your whole water supply – what you rely on for cooking, washing clothes, drinking and showering – is in need of filtration, the only answer is an entire home filter.
A whole home iron filter for well water treats all of the water that comes from your mains supply, meaning that every time you turn on any filter or use any appliance in any room of your house, the water that comes out will have been processed.
No doubt, iron filters for well water can be quite expensive, but they’re nowhere near as expensive as repairing all the clogged pipes too much iron will leave you with.
So what should you consider before pulling the trigger and buying one?
1. Ease of installation
Plumbing’s easy, right? Just water Lego? Don’t fall into this trap. It can be incredibly difficult and when your entire mains water system is at stake, getting something wrong could be catastrophic.
That said, the cost of calling out a plumber (especially if you live miles from the nearest town) can be astronomical, sometimes even as much or more than the cost of the filter itself.
If you don’t have experience or qualifications in plumbing you have two options: suck it up and pay a plumber or make sure you buy a filtration system that you’re confident you can install yourself.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that many of the more high-end filters can only be professionally installed. Make sure you check before buying.
2. Water pressure
This is one that will be important to most people.
We’ve all had it, maybe in a friend’s home, on a holiday, or even your own home if something goes wrong: you’re all prepared for a shower, you’ve got your shampoo and your flannel ready, you turn the handle expecting a hot jet of liquid redemption and only a tiny trickle comes out. It’s frustrating, it’s unsatisfying but most importantly, it’s time consuming. It’s difficult to wash shampoo out of your hair properly without a good stream of water.
Many people complain of significant drops in water pressure after installing a whole home iron filter for well water. It makes sense, instead of coming straight from your mains to the faucet, it has to pass through up to six filters before reaching you. So what can you do? Well, there are a few things to look out for.
- Check to see the size of the iron filters and the ports. The bigger they are the more water they can process quickly.
- Look for is how many stages of filtration the water goes through. Often with more stages, the water pressure will drop. The flipside of this, of course, is that you may have to sacrifice some effectiveness in order to keep up the water pressure.
- Lastly, and most importantly, read other user’s reviews. They actually have these in their house and if they’re complaining, there’s a good chance you will be too.
Maintenance is important and should be considered along with the initial cost. If the iron filter needs replacing often then that’s going to cost a lot. If you need to hire someone to change it for you, it’s going to cost a lot more.
It’s also worth reading user reviews to see some of the potential issues the filters can have. With something as important as your water supply you can’t afford to have a lot of downtime.
As with any kind of iron filters, you want to be checking to see what kind of certifications they have.
The gold standard in water filter certification is NSF/ASNI. The next best thing is a third-party laboratory test to NSF/ ASNI standards.
These certifications can tell you whether or not the claims made by the company are entirely true or exaggerated.
Aside from this, there are other certifications you should look for. Are the materials of the parts that process the water certified food-grade? If not you may be getting a plastic taste or, worse, chemicals leached into your water.
5. What does it remove?
Many of these iron filters go beyond simply removing iron. Most will also deal with other heavy metals, but some will also remove chemicals and other contaminants. If you want an iron filter that will destroy viruses and bacteria, you’ll need to look for one with a UV light filter.
You should be aware that most iron filters for well water will not remove Fluoride. This is because the process for removing it is very different. If Fluoride is an issue for you, you should consider and water filter pitcher or something similar for after your water have ben iron filtered.
Of course, the iron filter for well water you choose will be down to your specific needs and circumstances.
If keeping up water pressure is what’s most important to you, I have to recommend the SpringWell Water Filter System. It’s definitely on the expensive, but it’s custom formulations to maximize water pressure could make all the difference.
If you want to remove more than just iron from your water, you really can’t go wrong with the Aquasana Rhino® with UV. Its UV filter destroys bacteria and viruses and its incredibly thorough filtration process gets rid of just about everything else. They also have third party laboratory results to back up these claims.
In terms of ease of installation and just all-round value for money, I highly recommend the iSpring WGB32BM 3-Stage Filtration System. It gets rid of a lot of contaminants aside from iron, it can be fitted by just about anyone and it has a really low level of maintenance. Combine all of this with its relatively low purchase price and you’ve got the fixings of a great iron filter.
Needless to say, these opinions are subjective and you’ll have to make a decision based on your own specific needs but I hope they’ll help you make an informed decision on something that is very important.