When it comes to maintaining the quality of the water in your home, a whole house water filter can be a valuable investment.
These point-of-entry water filtration systems are designed to treat every drop of water coming into your home, ensuring that every tap, showerhead, and appliance has access to clean, purified water. They also have the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly than other filtration options and are a better choice than purchasing bottled water.
Most whole house filters are a “set it and forget it” option. They can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water before needing filter replacements, and some can even handle more. There are even options that require no upkeep at all!
Regardless of the specific type of contaminants you're looking to remove, there's a whole house water filter that can meet your needs. Whether you're looking for a more affordable option or are willing to spend a bit more, there is a filter on this list that will suit your needs.
Best Whole House Water Filter System in 2023:
- Best Overall: SpringWell CF1 Whole House Water Filter System
- Best 3-Stage Filtration: Express Water Whole House Filter
- Best Filter/Softener Combo: SpringWell WSSS1
- Best for Well Water: Springwell WS1
- Amazing 1,000,000 gallon capacity
- Four-stage filtration system
- Easy to install
- Really built solidly
- 100,000 gallons capacity
- Affordable price tag
- High-end POE filter
- 1,000,000 gallons capacity
- Removes 97% of chlorine
- Filtration meets NSF 42 standard
- 100,000 gallons capacity
- Easy to maintain
- Removes 99% of contaminants
- Exceptional performance
- Affordable price tag
- Easy DIY installation
- Allows additional filters to expand your system
- No leaks
- Removes Chlorine and VOCs
- 15,000 gallon capacity
- Cheapest option
- Removes up to 95% contaminants
- Less maintenance
- Mid-prices system
- Easy to change filters
- Removes contaminants
- Odorless, fresh water
- Easy to install
- Self-cleaning feature
- 3/5 years warranty
Here are the eleven best whole house water filters currently on the market. These options range from excellent budget choices to more expensive filters that come with all the essential bells and whistles.
1. SpringWell CF1 Water Whole House Water Filter System – Best 4-Stage Filter
The SpringWell CF1 whole house water filter boasts an impressive capacity of 1,000,000 gallons and is easy to install with no drop in water pressure.
|Filtration||VOCs, chlorine, chloramine, PFOA, PFAS, pesticides, herbicides, haloacetic acids and heavy metals.|
|Flow Rate||9-20 GPM|
|Capacity||Up to 1,000,000 Gallons|
|No. of Bathrooms||7+|
|Professional Installation Cost||$200|
The SpringWell CF1 filter system is a four-step process designed to remove a variety of contaminants, including chlorine, chloramine, PFOA, PFAS, pesticides, herbicides, and haloacetic acids. Not only does it effectively remove these substances, it also improves the taste and smell of your water, making it more enjoyable to drink and cook with.
This system is designed for use on any municipally supplied water, but it is particularly useful if you have hard water and live in a city. It also promises more contact time between your water and the filter than any other point-of-entry (POE) system. The four stages of filtration include a KDF bed, which removes chlorine and other contaminants using a copper/zinc alloy, a coconut shell carbon bed, and a sediment filter.
Although the SpringWell CF1 system is a more expensive option, its quality technology is worth the price. Additionally, upkeep costs are low, with replacement filters available to order online at a reasonable price. These filters usually need to be replaced within the system about every 6-9 months.
In addition to the whole house water filter system, SpringWell CF1 also offers a UV water filter to kill bacteria and viruses, as well as a salt-free water softening system. These can be purchased as add-ons.
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2. Express Water (3-stage) – Best For Heavy Metal Filtering
This whole house water filter from Express Water removes heavy metals from the water entering your home. It's important to remove heavy metals from your system, as a build-up of these metals can be dangerous and even potentially cause heavy metal poisoning, which can be fatal. If you live in an older property, you may want to consider using the Express filter as heavy metals are usually only an issue with older plumbing.
|Filtration||Chlorine, chloramines, rust, pesticides, sediments, microorganisms, heavy metals including lead, iron, silt and ton of other dissolved solvents|
|Flow Rate||15 GPM|
|Capacity||Up to 100,000 Gallons|
|No. of Bathrooms||1-4|
|Professional Installation Cost||$200|
The Express Water (3-stage) filter uses a three-stage filtration process to remove impurities such as chlorine, VOCs, micro-organisms, dust, grit, and other impurities. The first filter is an activated carbon block that removes chemical agents and improves the taste and smell of the water. The second filter is a Kinetic Degradation Fluxion that removes metals, algae, and bacteria. Finally, the third filter is a sediment filter that captures any remaining dust or dirt.
This system is very durable and can be used either mounted or freestanding. It is also easy to install, even if you don't have much plumbing knowledge. However, if you need help, the Express Water (3-stage) has excellent customer support to assist you with any issues that may arise during the lifetime of the unit.
The filters in the Express Water (3-stage) need to be changed every 6-12 months or after 100,000 gallons of water have been filtered. Changing the filters is simple with the accessible pressure-release buttons for each of the three filters. The system delivers 0.25 gallons of water per second and is designed to maintain water pressure after installation.
3. Aquasana Rhino 1,000,000 Gallons – Best Filter/Softener Combo
The Rhino is an exceptional, long-lasting high performance unit from Aquasana. It promises to filter a million gallons of water as it enters your home – that's an estimated ten years of use!
- Designed to last an amazing 10 years or 1 million gallons
- Comes with a guarantee and a warranty, for your peace of mind
- Innovative design optimizes water and filter contact time
- Add-ons are available, including a UV filter and a salt-free water conditioner
- Removes heavy metals, as well as chemicals and organic compounds
- This is a pricier unit
- It’s really quite large and bulky
With a long working life, the Aquasana Rhino POE filter becomes more appealing despite its high price tag. However, the company stands behind their product with a 10-year warranty and a 90-day guarantee. If you decide it's not right for you within three months, you can return it. And if it breaks due to any fault within 10 years, you're covered.
The Aquasana Rhino claims to remove 97% of chlorine, as well as reduce heavy metals, address VOCs, and improve the taste and scent of your home's water. It utilizes a smart flow design for maximum contact time between the water and the filter system. It's also easy to install and maintain, with no back-flushing required and a simple tank-change mechanism.
Add-ons for the Aquasana Rhino 1,000,000 Gallons include a UV filter, a salt-free water conditioner, and a pro-install kit.
4. AquaPure AP903 – Best 1-Stage Whole House Water Filter
The AquaPure AP903 whole house filter is an amazing value, but that's not the only reason it's a great choice. It also has many other features that make it an excellent choice for your home.
The AquaPure AP903 is very easy to maintain thanks to its “sanitary quick-change” feature. This makes replacing the filter tank every 100,000 gallons or so a breeze. All you have to do is carefully unscrew the old filter tank and screw in a new one, making sure to listen for the click that indicates everything is properly threaded and sealed to prevent leaks or contamination.
This filter meets the NSF 42 standard with its sediment filter that catches particles larger than 5 microns and its activated carbon media filter that targets chlorine and other chemical and organic contaminants. It also leaves your water smelling and tasting great, while protecting your plumbed-in appliances from limescale buildup.
While the AquaPure AP903 is a solid whole house filter and a great budget option, it's important to note that it doesn't remove all contaminants. It will remove chlorine and some other chemicals, as well as dealing with grit, dust, and VOCs, but it cannot remove heavy metals.
5. iSpring WGB32B – Best 3-Stage Whole House Water Filter
The iSpring WGB32B is an affordable whole house water filtration system that is highly rated on the market. One of its standout features is its three-stage filtration process, which makes it particularly effective for treating well water.
- Great value whole house water filtration system
- The system removes heavy metals as well as particulate matter and chemicals
- A great system if your water supply comes from a well
- You may need professional help to install the iSpring!
- Doesn’t have the advanced contact technology offered by some competitors (but then it’s much cheaper!)
The iSpring WGB32 is an effective water filter that removes 99% of chlorine and up to 95% of sediment, rust, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, VOCs, and other contaminants from all the water in your home. It uses a pre-filter to capture sand, dust, and rust, followed by a carbon block filter that targets chlorines and VOCs. Finally, a heavy-metals filter reduces levels of iron, manganese, and other potentially harmful metals.
If you live in a period home or are aware of municipal plumbing issues in your area, the iSpring WGB32 may be a good fit for you since heavy metals are often found in well water and can also be an issue if the plumbing in your home or the local water system is old.
The iSpring WGB32 comes with a manual for DIY installation and there are also videos available on Youtube. If you don't feel comfortable installing it yourself, a handyman should be able to do it in just a few minutes. Filter cartridges are also easy to change on your own.
My only criticism of the iSpring WGB32 is that it's not very attractive. But let's be real, you're not getting a whole house water filter to admire its looks. You want it to do its job and that's exactly what the iSpring WGB32 does.
6. Aquaboon 12 Inch Big Blue – Best For A Wide Range Of Compatible Filters
The Aquaboon 12 Inch Big Blue is a budget-friendly whole house water filter housing that allows you to easily insert the filter cartridge yourself. It comes with everything you need to install it, including o-rings, a mounting plate, and screws for attaching it to a wall inside or outside. This basic yet effective filter housing is a great choice for those looking for an affordable solution for their water filtration needs.
- Building a system works out cheaper than buying one
- This is a large, hardwearing option for housing
- It fits any 20×4.5 filter
- Comes with brackets, screws, etc
- You can add additional housing/filters to expand your system
- Can be designed to work on municipal or well water, so it’s a very customizable option
- Obviously, it’s much easier to just buy a prebuilt system than it is to build one
- You would need some plumbing knowledge
The Aquaboon housing is designed to accommodate various sediment and carbon coconut shell filters. It is primarily intended for use with municipally supplied water, but you can also add a second housing with a heavy metals filter if you have well water. The Big Blue model is suitable for medium to large homes.
The Aquaboon is easy to use, with a pressure-release system for switching out filter cartridges and a no-leaks double o-ring seal to prevent any leaks. It is compatible with any 20” x 4.5” filter cartridge, so you can stick with your preferred brand or take advantage of great deals on cartridges.
If you're looking for an affordable and customizable water filtration solution, the Aquaboon is an excellent choice. You can save money by purchasing the Big Blue housing and the filter cartridges you need separately and assembling the system yourself. It's the perfect DIY option.
7. DuPont WFPF13003B – Best For ¾” Inlets
This DuPont WFPF13003B water filter has a capacity of 15,000 gallons. It contains a poly block cartridge that is specifically designed to remove dust, rust, dirt, and sand from your water. As a result, your water will be clearer and taste better. Additionally, this filter helps to reduce the incidence of limescale in your fittings and appliances.
You should be aware that the DuPont WFPF13003B filter does not make water much safer. If you are concerned about heavy metals or excessive chlorination in your home's water, this may not be the right filter for you. However, you can swap out the filter cartridge within the housing for one that reduces heavy metals, chlorine, and VOCs, but this would mean going the DIY route and building your own whole home water filtration system.
The DuPont WFPF13003B is a basic filter, as the price suggests. It has a classic blue housing that can be filled with a 10″ filter after the poly block reaches the end of its life.
You may notice that the 15,000 gallon filter life is shorter than what other whole house water filters promise, but the DuPont WFPF13003B is much smaller and much cheaper than the competition.
8. Home Master HMF3SDGFEC – Best For Filtering Well Water
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is a multi-gradient sediment filter that catches every impurity above 1 micron in size with its four separate filter layers. Then, a radial flow filter removes heavy metals. Finally, a coconut shell carbon filter takes care of chemical contaminants.
- A great option if your home’s water comes from a well
- A four-layer sediment filter, targeting contaminants as small as 1 micron
- Large filter housings mean changing filters less often
- Maintains excellent water pressure for your home
- Mid-priced system
- Not suitable if your water is chlorinated, therefore not suitable for municipally supplied water
- As with many of these filter systems, if DIY is not your thing it will need professional installation
This Home Master HMF3SDGFEC hardy whole house water filter system is designed specifically for well water. It is built to withstand turbidity, iron, manganese, sulfur smell, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals in your water.
The system includes a hardy metal mount, allowing it to be fitted either outside or inside your home. Its large filter housings and one-inch ports provide a water pressure of 15 gallons per minute, ensuring that it won't slow down your home's water supply. These larger housings also mean that you will need to change your filter cartridges less frequently, reducing the amount of upkeep required.
The Home Master HMF3SDGFEC is capable of removing up to 95% of sediment, chemicals, and other contaminants from your water. This leaves it smelling and tasting great, and safe for consumption. Please note that this filter system is designed for use on well water, rather than chlorinated water.
9. GE GXWH40L – Best Whole House Water Filter On A Budget
The clear sump on GE GXWH40L's High Flow whole house filtration system is an interesting gimmick. It allows you to see the filter cartridge, so in theory you can see when it needs to be changed. However, I'm not entirely sure that this is always something that can be accurately determined just by looking at it.
- Very user-friendly, with a quick-release option for changing filters, a reminder light and a bypass option
- Clear sump lets you visually assess the soiling of your filter
- Removes silt, chlorine and lead
- Built to serve family homes, with a cartridge change roughly ever three months
- Very good value
- Does not come with filter cartridges
- The clear sump is gimmicky
- Doesn’t deal with heavy metals at all
When it comes to changing the filter, the GE GXWH40L makes it easy with a reminder light, a bypass option, and a pressure release button. This makes getting the spent filter out a breeze and makes that clear sump look a bit gimmicky.
Keep in mind that filters should be changed every three months and they are not included with the GE GXWH40L filter system. Make sure to grab some FXHTC or FXHSC filters when you purchase the unit.
The GE GXWH40L comes with all the necessary mounts, screws, and o-rings and is easy to install. However, installation does involve working with your home's water supply, so it is recommended to leave it to a professional unless you are confident in your abilities.
The GE GXWH40L's High Flow system effectively removes sediment, silt, rust, chlorine, and any traces of lead from your water, leaving you with fresh, odorless water that is safe for your family and appliances to use. Keep in mind that the filter does not remove heavy metals.
10. Whirlpool WHELJ1 – Best Low/No Maintenance Whole House Water Filter
Do you love the convenience of having filtered water coming out of every faucet in your home, but hate the hassle of changing filter cartridges? If so, the Whirlpool WHELJ1 whole house water filter is perfect for you! No more constantly replacing cartridges – this filter will give you the clean, crisp water you desire without the added effort.
- Surprisingly affordable for the level of tech
- Easy to install, relatively
- Never change a filter with this system – it’s self cleaning
- A three/five year warranty make this a safe purchase
- This system has to be plugged in, which is unusual
- It only gets rid of unwanted odors/flavors and sediment, so doesn’t make water much safer to drink if that is a worry
The Whirlpool WHELJ1 is a unique POE filter system that uses Filter Sense technology to automatically clean and flush its filter every two weeks, eliminating the need for manual changes. This easy-to-install system also comes with a bypass valve to maintain water pressure during installation. It does need to be plugged into an outlet, so professional installation is recommended if you're not comfortable with plumbing.
The Whirlpool WHELJ1 system comes with a 3-year warranty on the electronics and a 5-year warranty on the tank. It's designed to reduce chlorine odors and tastes, as well as eliminate sediment, resulting in improved water flavor and smell. However, it may not be suitable for addressing concerns about water safety or heavy metal contamination.
Find the Perfect Whole House Water Filter: A Comprehensive Buyer's Guide
There are many whole house water filters available on the market, ranging from UV water filters to high efficiency designs. These filters can be further divided into categories based on their capacity, installation style, and filter design.
Before we delve into the factors to consider when choosing a whole house water filter, let's first discuss the different types of filters available.
Types of Whole House Water Filters
If you're considering a whole house water filter, you'll want to know about the different types available.
1. Mechanical filters: Remove Physical Particles
When you want to remove physical contaminants from water, such as sediment, sand, and dirt, mechanical filters should be your choice. These filters work by using a physical barrier that traps and removes contaminants as water passes through the filter.
Sediment filters are a type of mechanical filter that use a fine mesh or a series of layers of media to catch rust, dust, and other types of sediment. They are typically made of pleated paper or fiberglass and can be easily replaced when necessary.
On the other hand, another type of mechanical filter, reverse osmosis (RO) systems, uses a membrane to filter out contaminants by forcing water through a semi-permeable membrane. This process only allows water molecules to pass through and removes larger contaminants. While RO systems are highly effective at removing chemicals, impurities, and microorganisms, they also remove beneficial minerals such as calcium and magnesium from your water. This reduces the overall mineral content and can affect the taste and potential health benefits of the water.
If you're in the market for a whole house water filter that utilizes reverse osmosis technology, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to the best whole house reverse osmosis systems. Our expert team has thoroughly researched and reviewed the top options available to help you make an informed decision.
2. Chemical filters: Remove Impurities and Other Contaminants
As the name indicates, chemical filters use a chemical process to remove contaminants from the water.
Carbon filters are the most common type of chemical filter that uses activated carbon to remove impurities, such as chlorine and chemicals, from the water supply. These filters work by using adsorption to remove contaminants from the water by attracting and holding them on the surface of the filter media.
It's important to note that these filters don't necessarily make the water safer to drink or use; they just make it taste and smell better.
If you're looking to get rid of a specific type of contaminant from your water, there are whole house water filters that are specifically designed for this purpose:
If you live in an area with hard water – which is the case 90% of Americans do – then you may want to consider a water softener to soften your water in an additional stage. Water softeners remove these minerals from your hard water supply, preventing scale formation and helping to extend the lifespan of your plumbing appliances and reducing the need for descaling.
Some water softeners requires a salt-based system that extracts minerals from your water supply and replaces them with sodium. However, this type of system can be bulky and may not fit in the space available in whole-house systems.
An alternative option is to use a whole-house water filter with an electronic descaler. While electronic descalers won't fully soften your water, they can reduce the impact of hard water by preventing minerals such as calcium and magnesium from bonding with your pipes and appliances.
- 9 Best Salt-Free Water Softeners – Reviews and Buying Guide
- 10 Best Water Softeners for Well Water – Reviews and Buying Guide
3. Biological filters: Remove Bacteria and Viruses
Biological filters work by using living organism or processes to remove contaminants from the water.
As the name suggests, UV water filters use ultraviolet light to purify water. This light kills or inactivate microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses in the water, making it highly unlikely that you will get sick from drinking water that has been treated with it.
UV water filters are not the primary choice, except in situations where there is a genuine concern about bacteria and waterborne viruses. They are a popular addition to various types of whole house filters, particularly, high-efficiency systems.
4. Multi-Stage Highly Efficient Filters: Combo of Multiple Water Filters
High efficiency whole house water filters offer a comprehensive solution for improving the water quality in your home. They combine two or more types of water filtration technologies such as carbon block filters, sediment filters, and granular activated carbon block filters, to remove contaminants from your water. Additionally, they use a process called Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF), which uses high-purity copper and zinc particles to remove heavy metals, chlorine, bacteria, and algae through an oxidation/reduction reaction.
These filters are typically multi-cartridge, meaning you may need to change more than one filter every six months or so. However, the extra effort is well worth it as you'll be getting water that is free of heavy metals, chlorine, and bacteria.
Keep in mind that high efficiency whole house water filters can be quite expensive compared to other options on the market. They may cost 2-3 times more. But if you're concerned about the potential health risks of drinking water that may not be safe, a high-efficiency whole house water filter may be the best choice for you.
Key Considerations for Selecting a Whole House Water Filter
It's important to carefully consider these factors when choosing a whole house water filter to ensure that you get the best one for your needs.
Removal of Contaminants
When you're drawing untreated water from a well, there are plenty of contaminants that may be present. Understanding what's in your water supply is crucial when it comes to finding the perfect whole house water filter for your family. Different systems target different contaminants, so it's important to know what you need to remove.
For example, a system targeting taste and odor will remove chemicals like chlorine and sediment, while a high-efficiency system can target a wider range of contaminants, such as heavy metals (like iron, lead, and arsenic), bacteria and viruses, sediment, and pesticides.
Here's a list of some of the contaminants that an effective whole house water filter might remove:
- Microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses)
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (e.g. benzene, chloroform, trichloroethylene)
- Heavy metals (e.g. cadmium, chromium, nickel)
- Total dissolved solids (TDS)
It's important to find a whole house water filter that targets the specific contaminants in your local water supply. Some contaminants, like hard water, are easy to spot through a visual inspection of your pipes or appliances. Sediment and rust will also be evident in a cup of water. However, other contaminants like total dissolved solids, chemicals, and bacteria are invisible to the naked eye.
To find the best whole house water filter for your well water, it's recommended to use a testing kit to determine the specific contaminants present in your water. This will allow you to effectively target and remove these contaminants, ensuring the safety and quality of your water.
Size and Capacity
When it comes to water filters, size does matter. If you undersize your whole house water filter system, it won't perform as well and may not even filter your water properly. This can end up costing you more in the long run, as the individual filter cartridges may not be able to handle the demand for water.
Whole house water filters can range in capacity from 10,000 gallons to as much as 1,000,000 gallons. A capacity of 100,000 gallons is more common. To determine the right capacity for a whole house water filter, consider your family size, water usage and water quality.
- For a family of four with moderate water usage and average water quality, a whole-home water filter with a capacity of 20,000 to 23,000 gallons may be sufficient.
- For a family of six with high water usage and water with high levels of contaminants, a whole home filter system with a capacity of 50,000 to 60,000 gallons may be needed.
- For a family of two with low water usage and relatively better water quality, a whole house water filter with a capacity of 10,000 gallons may be sufficient.
|Whole Home Filtration System||No. of Bathrooms|
|Home Master HMF3SDGFEC||4+|
|Express Water (3-stage)||1-4|
|Aquaboon 12 Inch||1-2|
Besides capacity, another concern for your water supply is the flow rate. Flow rate is a measure of how fast your filter system can actually filter the water.
When you run your entire water supply through a filter at the point of entry to your home, it's inevitable that the flow rate will be slowed down. It's a nightmare you don't want to consider. Why have perfectly pure water if you can't even use it properly?
Different appliances in your home require different amounts of GPM. For example:
- Toilets: 2-3 GPM
- Showers: 1.5-3.0 GPM
- Faucets (bathroom or kitchen): 2-3 GPM
- Dishwashers: 2-4 GPM
- Washing machines: 3-5 GPM
To get an idea of how much GPM you need in total, you can add up the GPM requirements of all the appliances you have. For example, if you have a toilet, a shower, and a kitchen faucet, you will need at least 7 GPM (2 GPM for the toilet + 3 GPM for the shower + 2 GPM for the faucet). Having a high flow rate ensures there's enough water for everyone in the family.
|Whole Home Water Filter System||Flow Rate (GPM)|
|Aquasana Rhino||37 GPM|
|SpringWell CF1||9-20 GPM|
|AquaPure AP903||20 GPM|
|Express Water (3-stage)||15 GPM|
|GE GXWH40L||15 GPM|
|iSpring WGB32B||15 GPM|
|Home Master HMF3SDGFEC||15 GPM|
|Aquaboon 12 Inch||10 GPM|
|Whirlpool WHELJ1||6 GPM|
|DuPont WFPF13003B||5 GPM|
Importance of Micron-Level Sediment Targeting
Sediment in your drinking water can be an unpleasant surprise. It can range from harmless grit to a potential health concern, such as rust. Most whole house filters are designed to target sediment to some extent, but it's important to keep in mind that these contaminants come in many different shapes and sizes.
Sediment is typically measured in microns, which is equal to one-millionth of a meter. Some premium whole house water filters are able to remove anything larger than one micron, while cheaper models may not be as effective and may let particles smaller than 50 microns pass through.
One downside of exceptional sediment filtering is that it can sometimes result in a slower flow rate. If you go for a filter that is too effective at filtering out microscopic particles, it can actually end up choking your flow rate.
Ease of Maintenance: Filter Lifespan
While we're talking about filters, it's important to consider their lifespan. No filter lasts forever and with any whole house water filter system, you'll need to replace individual filter cartridges on a regular basis.
Sediment filters typically need to be replaced every six to twelve months, while other cartridges can last much longer. If your filters last twice as long, that means you'll have to replace them half as often, which can save you money in the long run.
Just keep in mind that these guidelines are based on average water usage. If you've a large family, you may use more water and need to replace your cartridges more frequently. On the other hand, if you're single or environmentally conscious, you may use less water and be able to go longer between cartridge replacements. So, when choosing a water filter system, consider not just the upfront cost, but also the long-term cost of replacing the filters.
Remember to pay attention to any changes in the taste and smell of your water to determine when you need to replace any of them.
If you forget to change your filters, particularly the sediment ones, you may experience clogging within your system. Additionally, an old filter will not effectively filter your water, potentially leading to bacterial growth and worse water quality than if you didn't have a filter at all.
|Whole Home Filter System||Filters Lifespan||Filters Replacement Cost|
|SpringWell CF1||every 6 to 9 months||$20 per piece (~$3.3/month)|
|Aquasana Rhino||every 6 months||$19 for a pack of 3 (~$3.2/month)|
|Home Master HMF3SDGFEC||every 6 to 10 months||$85+ (~$14+/month)|
|Express Water (3-stage)||every 9 to 12 months||$190+ (~$20/month)|
|iSpring WGB32B||every 6 to 12 months||$100+ (~$16/month)|
|DuPont WFPF13003B||every 6 months||$15+ (~$2.5/month)|
|AquaPure AP903||every 12 months||$120+ (~$10/month)|
|GE GXWH40L||every 3 months||$5+ (~$1.6/month)|
|Whirlpool WHELJ1||The unit will have to be replaced||–|
|Aquaboon 12 Inch||every 2 months||$10+ (~$1.6/month)|
When you see a bold claim that 99.99% of bacteria are eliminated, you may want to verify whether the brand can actually back it up. One way to do this is to look for certification from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), which works with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to provide a standardized classification system for water filter systems. The NSF offers several different classifications, certifying that water filters remove chlorine, chemicals, and bacteria.
It's important to be aware of the different classifications offered by the NSF:
- NSF/ANSI 42: This classification is commonly found on taste and odor filters that can certify the removal of chlorine and large sediment.
- NSF/ANSI 44: This certification is relevant for water softeners and indicates the removal or reduction of calcium and magnesium. If you have hard water, this is a certification to look for.
- NSF/ANSI 53: Filters with NSF/ANSI 53 certification are able to remove significant contaminants such as metals like lead and chromium, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
- NSF/ANSI 55: This certification is specific to UV water filters that target bacteria and other bugs in the water.
- NSF/ANSI 58: This certification is for reverse osmosis water filters and confirms the removal of heavy metals like copper, arsenic, and lead, as well as the reduction of total dissolved solids.
- NSF/ANSI 401: This certification is less common among whole house water filters, but it certifies the removal of prescription drugs, new herbicides, and other complex compounds.
- NSF/ANSI 244 and 231: These certifications are commonly found on water filters for backcountry and camping use, and they certify the removal of microbiological contaminants and microorganisms that can contaminate drinking water.
Some big-name brands may offer independent lab tests for their filter systems that are not affiliated with the NSF.
Remineralization: The Process of Restoring Minerals
Post-filtering remineralization is an often-added feature of whole house water filters that can help make your water taste crisp and drinkable again. This process adds back in minerals that were removed during filtration process such as reverse osmosis, providing not only better taste, but also nutritional benefits. If you're interested in this feature, be sure to look for it on premium models.
Some high efficiency filters that bring your TDS to an exceptionally low level often remove harmless minerals such as calcium, sodium, and magnesium from your water, which can leave it tasting boring and bland.
The Installation of Whole House Water Filter
Whole house water filters can be quite complex systems. Some units are suitable for self-installation, while others may require the assistance of a professional plumber. It's important to check which components are included and whether the brand recommends self-installation. Keep in mind that even if a filter advertises DIY installation, professional installation may still be required as part of the warranty's terms and conditions. It's not worth risking voiding your warranty on such an important investment.
Space and Location
Point-of-entry filter systems are larger and bulkier than under-sink or faucet water filters. Make sure you have enough space for your chosen model, and if you're planning to install it outdoors, ensure it can withstand the winter temperatures in your area.
There are whole house water filters available at various price points, so you can find something that fits your budget. If you're looking for a basic model, you can find options starting around $300 that offer adequate filtering for single-person households. On the other hand, if you want maximum filtering, you may need to spend upwards of $2000 for a premium brand.
The Whole House Water Filter FAQ
Here's a final FAQ to clear up any last drops of doubt about choosing the perfect whole house water filter for you and your family.
Do I need a whole house water filter?
It's understandable to wonder if you need a whole house water filter, as it's a big investment. However, there are certain circumstances in which a whole house system may be necessary. For example, those living off-grid or in a home with older plumbing may need to deal with contaminants such as lead, iron, or bacteria.
On the other hand, even those in newer homes with city-provided water can benefit from a whole house water filter. The taste and feel of the water can be improved, and if you're concerned about chlorine or fluoride being added to your water, a whole house filter can provide a solution.
What contaminants should I worry about?
These can include rust, grit, sediment, harmful chemicals, and metals. These contaminants can not only affect the taste and texture of your water, but they can also be harmful to your health.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), some of the main contaminants to be aware of include arsenic, lead, iron, bacteria such as E. coli and giardia, industrial chemicals (VOCs), and pesticides like methoxychlor and chlordane.
Will a whole house water filter soften my water?
The majority of whole house water filters don't soften your water. However, some premium filter systems include an electronic descaling stage that can reduce the negative effects of hard water on your plumbing and appliances.
For true water softening, you will need a separate reverse osmosis water softener. These salt-based systems remove the hard minerals from your water completely.
I understand that investing in a whole house water filtration system can be a significant expense. That's why it's important to carefully consider your needs before making a commitment, especially if you'll also have to pay for installation. However, there are options available at a range of price points.
One highly-recommended option is the 3M AquaPure. It's a great whole house system that can handle most contaminants, except for heavy metals, and it's priced significantly lower than some of its competitors.
If you do need to deal with heavy metals from well water or an older home, the Express Water system is a good choice. It's easy to install and provides good value for the price.
For filters that only address taste and odor issues, the Whirlpool WHELJ1 whole house filter system is a solid choice. It has a self-cleaning filter that eliminates the need for regular maintenance and is relatively easy to install if you have basic handyman skills.
Another option is building your own system using the Aquaboon Big Blue housing, which allows you to customize your system with a variety of filter cartridges. However, this option requires some plumbing skills.
No matter which filter you choose, it's important to make sure it's suitable for the makeup of your water. If you can't afford a high efficiency POE system, you can also consider adding additional filters under the sink.
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