A little bit of iron in a human diet can be good enough. It aids in the creation of red blood cells and without it, you can develop anemia. But, like anything else, too much can be very harmful.
A surplus of iron in your body can cause an array of skin ailments and can even lead to organ damage. Not only this, too much iron in your water can lead to severe plumbing issues, clogging up your pipes and causing potentially very expensive damage.
Too much iron in the water is a common problem for people who get their water from a well and, as I said, it can be quite a serious one. (1)
But don’t worry, you won’t just wake up one day with your skin itching and your pipes bursting, you’ll likely notice a surplus of iron from how it looks and tastes.
Iron has a distinctive metallic taste. Think about times you’ve bitten the side of your cheek and tasted blood. It’s iron that gives blood its metallic taste, and you’ll taste it faintly in the water. In some cases, you’ll also see it. If there’s a yellowish or brown tint to your water, you need to address the iron levels.
The best way to control the level of iron in your water is with a filter.
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 house 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 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 a whole house filter.
A whole house iron filter 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 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 today we’re looking at the best iron filters for well water available on the market (as well as a host of other heavy metals) and helping you picking the right option for your home.
Let’s get started.
1. SpringWell Whole House Well Water Filter System
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 whole house 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 a whole house iron filter 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 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.
The SpringWell is a little expensive to buy, but with its single tank design and easy app control system, maintenance costs will be low. This is the filter to go for if you have a busy house with people showering and getting ready for school and work, who can’t afford to be slowed down by bad water pressure or regular maintenance issues.
2. Aquasana Rhino® Well Water with UV
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.
Although Rhino is not specifically designed for iron filtration, it's actually way more than that.
It has third party laboratory results that they claim prove it effectively removes all contaminants commonly found in wells. However, it doesn't have an NSF certification.
There are six stages of filtration that the water has to pass through in the Rhino. While this means that the water will be well filtered, it also means there are a lot of parts that will need to be replaced regularly.
The overall maintenance can get quite expensive, as well as meaning that you need to keep on top of it and think about regularly, which is perhaps not what you want, when you’re just after some tap water.
Just like many other whole house filters Rhino can also cause a slight drop in water pressure. You may notice some while showering, but it is unlikely that it will cause anything more than that. You really just need to think about how important water pressure is to you.
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”.
While the Rhino is effective in removing iron from well water, it’s most important selling point is its UV filter. If removing illness causing bacteria and viruses from your family’s water supply is what’s most important to you, the Rhino is a great system.
3. SpringWell Salt Based Water Softener System
This ion exchange softening system is designed to filter your mains 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.
Hardness causing minerals (mainly calcium and magnesium, but also others such as iron) cause a whole bunch of problems in your water supply.
Do your hands ever still feel slimy after rinsing the soap off them?
Do you glasses have that cloudy look and never quite get crystal clear no matter what you wash them with?
If so you likely have hard water. But these cosmetic differences aren’t the only problems, limescale buildup can also cause of pipe deterioration and will eventually lead to high repair bills. Not only that, it’s estimated that houses with soft water use up to 40% less detergent when washing clothes, making soft water households significantly better for the environment.
The Softener System from SpringWell uses 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 uses a high-tech system that uses resin beads to exchange the ions which is self cleaning, meaning much less maintenance for you. This softener 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.
If you live in a hard water area, the SpringWell Water Softener System could well be exactly what you’re looking for. Its high-end production and parts make it particularly durable and its state of the art technology mean its ideal for softening water.
4. iSpring WGB32BM 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
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. Means, the filters are going to need considerably less maintenance and will last up to three times longer than other filters.
Unlike some 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.
An interesting feature that's well worth considering when it comes to 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 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.
Something that worth noting about this filter – particularly if you are buying it for a holiday cabin or living in a harsh climate – is that the filter can be damaged over time by direct exposure to sunlight or extreme temperatures.
The long lasting filters and DIY installation make iSpring WGB32BM an ideal option for those who don’t want to pay a fortune to filter heavy metals.
With Express Water filtration system, water coming from your mains hook-up will first pass through a filter designed to remove any large, potentially damaging contaminants (sand, rust and bits of dirt), it then goes through a Kinetic Degradation Fluxion filter (or KDF) 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 is 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.
Easy DIY installation makes it a perfect bet for you, means you can just unbox this and have fresh, heavy metal free water within a matter of hours.
6. Durawater Air Injection Iron Eater 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.
The Durawater Iron Eater does exactly what it says on the tin. It oxidizes iron and Sulphur and to a slightly lesser extent manganese. If you’re looking for a cheap, easy to install filter to simply remove iron, this is the one for you.
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 mean it’s able to keep great water pressure, but also mean that the filters are larger. Larger filters mean less maintenance and fewer replacements, making the Home Master more cost effective than it initially appears.
The filters in the Home Master last for around 6 – 12 months 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 be warned: the large filter and housing size means that it’s heavy and may require more than a person.
While focused primarily on sediment, iron and carbon removal, Home Master claim that the three stage filtration method also removes pesticides and other chemicals.
The Home Master is made for filtering out sediment and some heavy metals. It does this while maintaining water pressure. If a cost efficient iron filter that keeps water pressure is what you’re looking for, this is the filter for you.
What to Look For in an Iron Filter for Well Water?
So now you know why you need a whole house filter, let’s talk about what you need to look for when choosing the best one for you. Iron filters 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.
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. 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 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 water 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 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 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 a 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 whole house filters 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 whole house filter 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 Whole House Well 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® Well Water 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 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.