Lead is a dangerous contaminant in our water supply that can cause anemia, brain disease, and kidney failure when consumed. Pregnant women are also at risk, as lead can cross the placental barrier and harm unborn babies. (1)
Lead pipes were not banned until 1986, and many are still used in our water supply today. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimates that 15 to 22 million Americans are drinking water supplied by lead pipes. From 2014 to 2016, the citizens of Flint, Michigan were exposed to dangerous levels of lead, causing 12 deaths and hundreds of illnesses. (2, 3)
To protect your family from lead in your water, you can install a water filter for lead removal. There are many affordable, accessible, and easy-to-install filters on the market that target lead effectively. You can choose a whole-house system that stops lead at the source, or a faucet filter that keeps your drinking water fresh and clean.
Lead is a heavy metal. You'll need a heavy-duty water filter for lead removal. Here are the best water filters for lead removal on the market in 2022.
The Best Water Filters for Lead Removal in 2022
1. SpringWell LCR-1 (Lead & Cyst Removal System) – Best Whole House Lead Filter
The SpringWell LCR-1's Whole House Lead Removal System targets lead and other contaminants, providing lead-free water throughout your home. Get 5% OFF! Use Code: DF5OFF
- Removes 99.5% of lead
- NSF/ANSI 53 and P473 certified
- 100,000-gallon capacity
- Removes chlorine and parasites
- Intuitive filter change light
- Costly add-ons required to upgrade the unit
- High starting price tag
The SpringWell LCR-1's 0.5-micron filter is NSF/ANSI 53 certified and removes 99.5% of lead from your water supply. It’s also NSF P473 rated to remove compounds from the PFOA and PFOS families, as well as chlorine, chloramine, and a range of parasites.
The SpringWell LCR-1 filter system has a 100,000-gallon capacity and should last over six months for a family of four. It includes an innovative Digital Notification Head that monitors your water and flow rate and offers alerts when it’s time for a filter change.
Optional extras with SpringWell LCR-1 include large sediment (+5 microns) pre-filtering stage, and RO and UV add-ons. The large sediment filter is an affordable extra that will extend the lifespan of your system – but it seems off that SpringWell didn’t include this in the first place, given the already-sizeable price tag.
The SpringWell LCR-1 includes all the components needed for installation and comes with videos and guides to help you with the process. It has a lifetime guarantee on tanks and valves and a six-month money-back guarantee.
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2. Waterdrop WD-FC-01 – Best Lead Removing Filter On A Budget
If you're looking for a water filter for lead removal, the Waterdrop WD-FC-01 faucet filter might be the way to go. It's budget-friendly and can also improve the taste of your tap water.
The Waterdrop WD-FC-01 filter is not specifically designed for lead removal, but it does reduce lead along with chlorine and other chemicals that affect the taste and odor of your water. This results in clean-tasting water and added peace of mind due to the reduction of lead.
However, the Waterdrop WD-FC-01 filter isn't certified to NSF 53 standards. It does have NSF 42 certification for taste-tampering chemicals. As a faucet filter, it's very easy to install. Simply attach it to your existing faucet for pure water on demand.
The Waterdrop WD-FC-01 filter works in two stages. The pre-filter layer removes the largest contaminants by size, and the activated carbon traps other contaminants. The filter has a 320-gallon capacity and should last up to three months. Replacing the filter is just as easy as installing it.
The Waterdrop WD-FC-01 filter has a flow rate of 0.5 GPM, so you won't have to wait long for pure water. It also has a bypass valve that helps extend the filter's lifespan. When you're using water for tasks like washing dishes or watering plants, and purity is not a concern, you can bypass the filter with the flip of a switch.
3. iSpring WGB32B-PB – Best Three-Stage Filter System For Lead Removal
The iSpring WGB32B-PB features three stages of filtration, one of which is dedicated to lead reduction.
The iSpring WGB32B-PB is a whole house water filter designed for lead removal. It has a capacity of 150,000 gallons and can filter water with a lead content of up to 100ppb (parts per billion). It's expected to last about 9 months for an average small family's water consumption.
The iSpring WGB32B-PB has not yet been certified by NSF for lead removal, but the company plans to achieve certification in the future. It's important to note that if you live in an area with high levels of lead in the water, the effectiveness of this filter may vary. It's always best to test your water to determine the appropriate course of action.
In addition to lead removal, the iSpring WGB32B-PB also includes sediment filtration and an activated carbon stage, each with a capacity of 100,000 gallons. This may require multiple filter changes per year, so it's important to factor that into your budget.
The flow rate of the iSpring WGB32B-PB is 15 GPM, which should be sufficient for most homes and can handle multiple showers and faucets at the same time. Installation is designed for the average DIY enthusiast and the filter is easy to change, despite the relative frequency of replacements.
Keep in mind that the iSpring WGB32B-PB is a pretty hefty unit, so you'll need to have enough space in the basement or utility cupboard to accommodate it. Outdoor installation may shorten the lifespan of the system.
4. Woder WD-S-8K-ADV-DC – Best For Long Life Filters
Woder WD-S-8K-ADV-DC is an under-sink filter system. It offers the capacity and design of a whole-house system but has the easy installation of faucet filters.
The Woder WD-S-8K-ADV-DC is designed for lead removal, giving you peace of mind regardless of your pipes. It filters 99.9% of contaminants, including chlorine, VOCs, and compounds that impact taste and odor. While it hasn't been certified to NSF 53 standards for lead removal, anecdotal evidence suggests that it is effective at removing high levels of lead.
This whole house water filter also produces great-tasting water. The reduction in chlorine and removal of sulfur smell leaves you with pristine water for all kitchen purposes, including washing dishes and mopping the floor. As an under-sink system, it is easy to use and has a large capacity of 8,480 gallons, meaning you won't need to change the filter for years.
The Woder WD-S-8K-ADV-DC is easy to install and the filter replacement process is aided by automatic shutoff and a fully leak-proof design.”
5. Watts Premier WP500313 – Best Under-Sink Lead Removal System
The Watts Premier WP500313 has a 2-stage under-sink filtration system that provides two layers of defense against contaminants in your water supply.
The Watts Premier WP500313 has a two-stage filtration process. The first stage is sediment filtration, which reduces larger particles like rust and dirt. This stage also prevents these particles from reaching the second filter and damaging it, ensuring durability.
The second filter is a carbon block that reduces lead and over 80 other contaminants, including arsenic, asbestos, VOCs, and parasites. It also improves taste and odor by reducing chlorine. While the carbon block is specifically formulated to remove lead, the WP500313 does not have NSF 53 validation to certify this reduction. However, it has been proven through third-party testing to be effective at reducing a wide range of contaminants.
The WP500313 is easy to install and comes with all necessary wall-mounting brackets and parts. However, installation does require drilling a hole in the countertop for a new faucet (also included). The faucet has a healthy flow rate of 0.5 GPM.
The WP500313 has a capacity of 600 gallons and requires filter replacements approximately every six months. Filters are affordable and easy to replace.
6. PUR PLUS FM2500V – Best Faucet-Mounting Filter For Lead Removal
If you're concerned about lead in your water but don't want to spend a lot of money, the PUR PLUS FM2500V may be a good option for you. This water filter targets lead specifically, and it doesn't have a high price tag.
The PUR PLUS FM2500V Faucet-mounting filter is exceptionally affordable and easy to install. It's a great choice for those who want to reduce lead in their water.
The PUR PLUS FM2500V has packed activated carbon and ion-exchange technology into a filter that fits in the palm of your hand. It is certified to reduce lead and 70 other common contaminants.
The trademarked Mineral Core technology adds health- and flavor-boosting minerals, giving you a crisp and tasty finish.
Unlike many lead-removing filters, the PUR PLUS FM2500V has opted to go the extra mile to get NSF 53 certification, which gives you extra peace of mind. It also has NSF 42 certification for taste and odor.
If you have a compatible faucet, installation takes just a second – simply remove your aerator cap and twist-and-click the PUR PLUS FM2500V filter into place. Replacing the filter is similarly easy, which you will appreciate given its shorter 100-gallon lifespan.
Despite the low starting price of the PUR PLUS FM2500V, filter replacements can add up. The filter makes up the bulk of the original unit's price, so you may feel like you are splashing out on a new system every few months. However, it's worth noting that you can bypass the filter when purified water isn't a concern.
Overall, the easy installation and certified lead reduction make the PUR PLUS FM2500V faucet-mounting water filter worth every cent.
Lead-Free Water for Your Home: The Complete Guide to Choosing the Right Water Filter
Lead is a heavy metal, so you'll need a heavy-duty water filter! Here's everything you need to know before you're ready to make the perfect purchase.
Do I need a water filter for lead removal?
As many as 22 million Americans receive water from lead pipes, so it is likely that their water supply is contaminated with lead. Even if the water distribution system has been updated, lead can still enter the water supply through old faucets and fixtures.
To determine whether there is lead in your water supply, you can request a water quality report from your municipality, but this will only provide information about the city's water supply and not your home's plumbing system. The most reliable way to ensure that there is no lead in your drinking water is to install a water filter that removes lead.
Filtration Methods for Lead Removal
There are several filtration methods that are suitable for removing lead from your water supply, giving you a range of options to choose from for lead removal.
1. Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Reverse osmosis (RO) filters function by forcing water through a semipermeable membrane. This membrane allows water molecules to pass through while blocking most contaminants. The result is exceptionally pure water – without a trace of lead.
2. Activated Carbon
Activated carbon filters are exceptionally effective at removing bacteria and chemicals from water, but they are not typically designed to remove lead. These filters are popular because they produce purified water with good taste, but they are not the best choice for removing lead.
KDF filters use a process called oxidation-reduction, or “redox,” to chemically alter harmful contaminants, rendering them inert and harmless. KDF-55 filters will remove 98% of lead ions in your water, keeping you safe from heavy harm.
Filtration System Styles for Lead Removal
Lead-removal water filters come in the following styles:
Whole house systems are a big daddy of type of water filtration system that is designed to remove a wide range of contaminants, including lead.
They are typically larger and require more installation effort, as they need to be installed inside a basement or utility closet rather than outside in harsh climates. Whole house water systems can come in one-, two-, or three-stage filter configurations, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the user. However, these systems tend to be more expensive than other types of water filters.
Under-sink systems, also known as under-counter water systems, are a type of water filter that falls between whole house filters and faucet filters in terms of size and complexity. These systems come with their own faucet and require more installation, but they offer a hidden filter system and provide pure water from the faucet.
Faucet water filters are easy to install. They can be clicked onto the base of a compatible faucet to produce purified water at the source. These filters usually include an activated carbon filter and sometimes an ion exchange. They are affordable and offer an easy option, but the smaller filters will need to be replaced often.
Find the Perfect Lead-Removing Water Filter: Key Factors to Consider
Discover the key considerations for choosing the perfect lead-removal water filter for your needs:
Because of the dangers posed by lead to the health of you, your family, and even your unborn child, NSF certification is an important piece of documentation.
The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) has a range of standards for water purification. NSF 53 is the certification that indicates that lead removal has been third-party tested and verified. Because of the costs involved in obtaining NSF 53, not every filter has this certification. However, if you are particular about the paperwork, it's good to look for filters that are NSF 53 certified.
Most water filter systems can target contaminants beyond lead such as iron, chlorine, arsenic, removing unpleasant tastes and odors or eradicating potentially deadly viruses and bacteria.
- 5 Best Water Filters to Remove Chlorine – Reviews and Buying Guide
- 7 Best Iron Filters for Well Water – Reviews and Buying Guide
Concerns about added fluoride are often a secondary issue when it comes to city water since lead is commonly found in it. That said, if fluoride is your main concern, you always check our hand-picked fluoride water filters.
However, if you want to address all contaminants of concern, you can check out our top-rated well water filter systems that effectively target and remove 99.99% of contaminants, including heavy metals and microorganisms.”
One of the first symptoms of lead poisoning is a killer headache. However, installing water filters can be a headache as well.
Due to the variety of styles – from faucet filters to whole-house lead filter systems – installation can vary significantly. If you're not comfortable with DIY projects, you may want to consider simplified systems or budget for professional installation.
When you're buying a water filter for lead removal, the upfront costs may be misleading. Filters have a finite lifespan, and the cost of replacing them, whether every three months or once a year, will add up.
When budgeting for a water filter, be sure to factor in the cost of replacement filters. Additionally, keep in mind that the long-term maintenance of the filter may become a chore. If you prefer a more hands-off approach to hydration, consider purchasing a maintenance-free model.
Lastly, budget is always a consideration, although we wish it wasn't. Lead removal water filters can be purchased for under $50, but if you opt for all the features of a whole house system, you could be looking at prices upwards of $500. However, don't be discouraged by premium price tags – there's a lead-targeting water filter for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions About Water Filters For Lead Removal
The presence of lead in our water supply raises a few questions. So, let's get to the bottom of this notorious contaminant!
How does lead get into our water?
Up until the mid-1980s, lead pipes were used for water supplies. As these pipes corrode – a process accelerated by acidic or low-mineral water – they leak lead into our water supply, leading to contaminated water.
But city plumbing isn’t the only way lead can get into your water. Faucets and fixtures in your home may contain lead, and these can be another source of lead in your water.
Why is lead bad for our health?
Firstly, our body cannot purge itself of lead, so any lead you consume builds up over time. Lead accumulates in your kidneys, muscles, and brain, as well as crossing the placental barrier and damaging unborn children in the womb. Brain damage and kidney failure are associated with lead poisoning.
Can you taste lead in water?
Lead is an invisible presence in water with no visible signs, and no taste or odor. The only way to tell that there’s lead in your water supply is to test – and the only way to eliminate it is with a lead-targeting water filter system.
The catastrophic effects of lead poisoning on the citizens of Flint, Michigan gave us all pause for thought about the safety of our water supply. The mistakes of the past continue to have an impact on the present, and the widespread use of lead pipes in our water supply is one example of this.
To protect yourself from lead in your water, whether it comes from the city's plumbing system or your own home's fixtures and faucets, the best solution is to use a water filter that is specifically designed to remove lead. There are options available to fit every budget, such as the affordable Waterdrop WD-FC-01, which has long-life faucet filters that help to reduce running costs.
For those who are willing to invest more, a whole-house system like Springwell's Whole House Lead Removal System might be worth considering. This system has been certified by NSF 53 and is capable of reducing lead levels by 99.5%.
It's important to act quickly to find a solution for lead removal, even if the effects of lead poisoning may not be immediately noticeable. This article should provide a good starting point for your search.