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Wholey Moley! 11 The Best Whole House Water Filters in 2022 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Whether you’re living off-grid or you’re gridlocked in the city, there are plenty of contaminants that can seep into your water supply. From chemicals in our groundwater to the chlorine added to our city water, our family’s water supply is never quite as pure as we might like.

So a whole house water filter or point of entry (POE) water filter is a fantastic option if you’re a homeowner and, because these filter every drop coming into our homes, they’re especially good if you’ve got a bigger family or a large property and high water consumption as a result.

It may seem like a big commitment – some of them are pricey, and unless you have some plumbing knowledge you may have to pay someone to install your new filter. 

There are, however, some excellent budget options and you have to bear in mind the fact that a whole house filter is a real “set it and forget it” option, with most of them able to filter up to 100,000 gallons of water before elements need replacing. Some filters can handle a lot more, and one on this list needs no upkeep whatsoever! 

Why do you need a whole house water filter?

Whole house water filters clean water as it enters the house, before it is directed towards your kitchen faucets, bath, shower, etc. 

Using a whole house water system means that every drop of water that you use in your home is pre-filtered, so you can be totally sure your water is clean, pure and high quality without having to deal with fiddly filter jugs or constantly buying bottled water. It’s also one of the only options if you want filtered water from every tap and showerhead in your home.

Filtered water is good for you – your skin, hair, and general health – and it’s also good for your plumbing! As a whole house filter should remove the calcium and magnesium in hard water that causes limescale, your faucets and even your washing machine will last longer if you have one installed. 

POE filters also have the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly than most filtration options, and a lot better for the planet than buying bottled water. 

With all these up sides, you’re probably champing at the bit to get yourself a whole house water filter! 

Well, I’ve got your back. 

Here’s my roundup of the eleven best whole house water filters currently on the market, ranging from excellent budget options to big-bucks filters with all possible bells and whistles.

At a Glance: Our Top Pick for Best Whole House Water Filters of 2022

Here are the best whole house water filters on the market in 2022:

Best of the Best
SpringWell Whole House Filter
SpringWell
  • Amazing 1,000,000 gallon capacity
  • Four-stage filtration system
  • Easy to install
View On SpringWell →
Runner Up
Express Water
Express Water
  • Really built solidly
  • 100,000 gallons capacity
  • Affordable price tag
View on Amazon →
Best Value for Money
Aquasana
Aquasana
  • High-end POE filter
  • 1,000,000 gallons capacity
  • Removes 97% of chlorine
View on Amazon →
Best Low Maintenance
Pentair Pelican
Pentair Whole House
  • 600,000-1,000,000 gallon capacity
  • Five-year performance guarantee
  • Expensive ($$$)
View on Pentair →
Best Budget
AquaPure AP903
AquaPure AP903
  • Filtration meets NSF 42 standard
  • 100,000 gallons capacity
  • Easy to maintain
View on Amazon →
Best 3-Stage Filtration
iSpring WGB32B
iSpring WGB32B
  • Removes 99% of contaminants
  • Exceptional performance
  • Affordable price tag
View on Amazon →
Best Compact
Aquaboon
Aquaboon
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Allows additional filters to expand your system
  • No leaks
View on Amazon →
Best Heavy Metals Removal
DuPont WFPF13003B
DuPont WFPF13003B
  • Removes Chlorine and VOCs
  • 15,000 gallon capacity
  • Cheapest option
View on Amazon →
Best Mid-Priced
Home Master
Home Master
  • Removes up to 95% contaminants
  • Less maintenance
  • Mid-prices system
View on Amazon →
Best Heavy-Duty
GE GXWH40L
GE GXWH40L
  • Easy to change filters
  • Removes contaminants
  • Odorless, fresh water
View on Amazon →
Best Convenience
Whirlpool WHELJ1
Whirlpool WHELJ1
  • Easy to install
  • Self-cleaning feature
  • 3/5 years warranty
View on Amazon →

And if you need to know more about the ins and outs of how POE filters work, as well as the exact type you should choose for your needs, have a look at the buying guide at the end of the article.

1. SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System – Best 4-Stage Filter

This top of the range system from SpringWell has an amazing 1,000,000 gallon capacity, and promises easy installation and no drop in water pressure in your home once installed.

SpringWell Water Whole House Water Filter System
Pros
  • An amazing 1,000,000 gallon capacity
  • Easy-install, with installation kits available to purchase with filter system
  • A 4-step filtration process, including carbon coconut shell filter and KDF bed
  • Promises no drop in water pressure when installed
  • Low maintenance
Cons
  • Installation kit costs extra
  • Requires a handyman/plumber to install unless you’re big on DIY

Its filter system is proprietary, but uses a four-step process to remove contaminants like chlorine, chloramine, PFOA, PFAS PFOS, pesticides, herbicides, haloacetic amongst other substances. Plus, it improves the smell and taste of your water, making it a joy to drink and cook with. 

The system is designed for use on any municipally supplied water, but is particularly useful if your water is hard and you live in a city. 

The SpringWell system promises more contact time between your water and the filter than any other POE system. The four stages of filtration include a KDF bed in which a copper/zinc alloy gets rid of chlorine and other contaminants, a coconut shell carbon bed, and a sediment filter. 

This system’s price reflects the quality of the technology, so it is a more expensive option. Upkeep costs, however, are very low, with replacement filters available to order online for a very reasonable price. Filters usually need to be replaced within the system about once every 6-9 months. 

As well as this whole house water filter system, SpringWell makes a UV water filter designed to kill bacteria and viruses, and a salt-free water softening system which can both be bought as add-ons.

Get 5% OFF! Use Code: DF5OFF

Bottom Line SpringWell’s phenomenal capacity makes it a near-limitless option for big families with high water requirements and the four-stage filtering is broad enough to give you peace of mind anywhere. View Latest Price on SpringWell →

2. Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter – Best For Heavy Metal Filtering

This whole house water filter from Express Water removes heavy metals from the water entering your home. A build-up of heavy metals in your system can be dangerous, eventually causing heavy metal poisoning which could be fatal. Heavy metals are usually only an issue if your plumbing is old, so if you live in a period property the Express might be just what you need.

Express Water Heavy Metal Whole House Water Filter
Pros
  • A great value system given its quality
  • Really solidly built POE system
  • Easy-change filters are a potential game changer
  • Crucially, this whole house filter system removes heavy metals from all your water
  • Excellent customer support
Cons
  • As with most of these systems, professional installation will probably be required

Using a three-stage filtration process, the Express Water filter also removes chlorine, VOCs and micro-organisms, as well as dust, grit and other impurities. 

The three filters are arranged as follows: first, an activated carbon block deals with both chemical agents and any problematic tastes or smells. Secondly, Kinetic Degradation Fluxion is employed to get rid of metals, algae and bacteria, and finally a sediment filter captures any dust or dirt floating around in your water, leaving it perfectly clear and ready for use or consumption.

This is a really durable system. It can be used mounted or freestanding, and is easy to install if you have some plumbing know how. If not, it shouldn’t take a handyman or plumber much time at all. Plus, one of the biggest draws of Express Water is their excellent customer support, so you’re never left out in the cold and can get help if there are any issues with your unit during its lifetime.

Filters need to be changed every 6-12 months or 100,000 gallons, and changing them is quick and easy, with accessible pressure-release buttons for each of the three filters. The system delivers 0.25 gallons of water per second, and promises that water pressure will be maintained after installation. 

Bottom Line If heavy metals are a worry but you don’t want to break the bank, then Express Water is the whole house water filter you need. View Latest Price on Amazon →

3. Aquasana 10-Year Rhino 1,000,000 Gallons – Best Filter/Softener Combo

An exceptional, long-lasting high performance unit from Aquasana, the Rhino promises to filter a million gallons of water as it enters your home – that’s an estimated ten years of use!

Aquasana Rhino 1,000,000 Gallons
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • This is a pricier unit
  • It’s really quite large and bulky

With a working life that long, the price starts to look a lot more appealing, but it can’t be denied: this is a high-end POE filter, and it comes with the hefty price tag you would expect. 

But Aquasana put their money where their mouth is – this filter system comes with a 10-year warranty and a 90-day guarantee. So, if you splash some cash on the Rhino and later decide it doesn’t work for you, you can return it within three months. And if it breaks due to any fault within 10 years, you’re also covered. 

The Rhino promises to remove 97% of chlorine, and it also reduces heavy metals, deals with VOCs and improves the taste and scent of the water in your home.

The unit uses smart flow design to ensure as much contact time as possible between your home’s water and the filter system. It’s also easy to install and maintain, with no back-flushing needed and simple tank-change mechanism. 

Add-ons for the Rhino 1,000,000 Gallons include a UV filter, a salt-free water conditioner and a pro-install kit.

Bottom Line With the addition of a salt-free water conditioner, Aquasana’s Rhino is the full package for water filtering and softening. The 10-year guarantee is an added bonus. View Latest Price on Amazon →

4. Pentair Whole House Water Filtration System – Best For City Water

The Pentair Pelican sports the unusual accolade of being the most attractive POE water filter on the market. Obviously, it’s still not a piece of interior design brilliance but it is neat, unobtrusive and modern which is more than can be said of some whole house systems.

Pelican Whole House Water Filter
Pros
  • The Pentair Pelican comes with a 5-year performance guarantee
  • It’s a very low-maintenance unit once installed
  • After 5 years the carbon filter needs replacing, not the whole unit
  • This system is neat and well-designed for somewhat smaller spaces
Cons
  • Despite its price, this system doesn’t deal with heavy metals
  • You will need a plumber or handyman to plumb the system in and to change the carbon filters

The Pentair Pelican consists of a 5-micron pre-filter to catch sediment and a carbon filter media which targets chlorine, organic compounds, and other common water contaminants while a layer of bacteriostatic media within the media inhibits the growth of bacteria within the unit. 

The result is water that smells and tastes fresh, is easy on your skin and hair, and poses no threat to your family’s health.

This unit has a five-year performance guarantee, so although it is on the expensive side you can be sure it will work well for a half decade (or be replaced if it fails in that time). It’s worth noting that the manufacturers claim a 600,000-1,000,000 gallon life for their product, estimating that this is around 5-years of use. This means that the Pentair Pelican is using similar tech to 10-year filters, but being more modest in their predictions of exactly how long a carbon filter will hold up for. 

The Pentair Pelican can be installed inside or out, and the pre-filter has to be changed every 6-9 months. This is easy, and can be done in minutes with no special training. After five years, you will need to replace the carbon filter but not the whole unit. 

Bottom Line If you’re looking for a reliable and very low-maintenance whole house filter system I would recommend the Pentair Pelican then the Pentair Pelican provides – but the limited spectrum of filtration won’t be suitable for every area. View Latest Price on Pentair →

5. AP903 – 3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filter – Best 1-Stage Filter

This whole house filter is amazing value, but that’s not the only reason it’s a great choice.

3M Aqua-Pure Whole House Water Filter
Pros
  • The most affordable high-quality POE filter on the market
  • Excellent ‘sanitary quick change’ feature makes upkeep easy
  • Meets NSF 42 standards, with an activated carbon filter and a sediment filter
Cons
  • Doesn’t remove all contaminants
  • Doesn’t remove heavy metals

The Aqua-Pure is really easy to maintain, with a ‘sanitary quick-change’ feature that makes removing and replacing the filter tank every 100,000 gallons or so an absolute doddle. You just unscrew the old filter tank and screw a new one carefully into place, waiting for the click that means everything is properly threaded and sealed and that there will be no leaks or contamination later on.

With a sediment filter to catch particles larger than 5-microns in size, and an activated carbon media filter to target chlorine and other chemical and organic contaminants, this filter meets the NSF 42 standard. It also leaves your water smelling and tasting great, and protects your plumbed-in appliances from limescale buildup. 

This is a solid whole house filter, and a fantastic budget option, but you should keep in mind the fact that it doesn’t get rid of all contaminants. It will remove chlorine and some other chemicals, as well as dealing with grit, dust and VOCs, but not, for example, heavy metals. 

Bottom Line If your priority is water that smells and tastes great and is good for your skin and appliances, then the 3M Aqua-Pure is a great budget choice. View Latest Price on Amazon →

6. iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration – Best 3-Stage Filter

Another affordable whole house water filtration system, the iSpring WGB32B is one of the best on the market and its three-stages of filtration make it particularly suited to well water.

iSpring WGB32B 3-Stage Whole House Water Filtration System
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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 removes 99% of chlorine from all your home’s water as well as up to 95% of sediment, rust, pesticides, herbicides, industrial solvents, VOCs, and other contaminants. It does all this using 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. 

Heavy metals are often found in well water, but they can also be an issue if the plumbing in your home or the water system in the area you live in is old. So, if you live in a period home or you know there are municipal plumbing issues, the iSpring may be a fit for your needs.

The iSpring comes with a manual for DIY installation, as well as videos on Youtube. If you don’t feel comfortable with that it should take a handyman only minutes to install, and filter cartridges are easy to change yourself. 

My one criticism of the iSpring? Well, it’s not much to look at. But are you getting a whole house water filter so you can gaze at it all day? No, I didn’t think so!

Bottom Line This system hits that perfect balance between high performance and great value, so really I think it would suit most users! If you use well water in your home, though, it’s a particularly great choice. View Latest Price on Amazon →

7. Aquaboon Big Blue Whole House Water Filter System – Best For A Wide Range Of Compatible Filters

The Big Blue is a basic, cheap and cheerful whole house water filter housing that you insert the filter cartridge into yourself. It comes with o-rings, a mounting plate and the screws you need to plumb it in and affix it to a wall either inside or outside.

Aquaboon Big Blue Whole House Water Filter System
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Obviously, it’s much easier to just buy a prebuilt system than it is to build one
  • You would need some plumbing knowledge

This housing takes a variety of filters, both sediment and carbon coconut shell. It is built to work on municipally supplied water (with the correct cartridge inserted – sediment or carbon) but you could add a second housing with a heavy metals filter if you wanted it to for well water. The Big Blue and is the correct size for a medium sized to large home. 

It’s as simple as it looks, too, with a pressure-release system for changing filter cartridges and a no-leaks double o-ring seal that will keep you and your home dry! The Big Blue is built to fit any 20” x 4.5” filter cartridge, so you can stick with a favorite brand or pick up cartridges when you see a particularly great deal. 

This is the true DIY option. You can cut costs and build your own system by purchasing Aquaboon Big Blue housing and the water filter cartridge or cartridges you need and assembling them yourself.

Bottom Line DIY-heroes can save money with this build-a-bear of whole house water filters. It’s completely customizable, but you’ll be left with big decisions about which filters to opt for. View Latest Price on Amazon →

8. DuPont WFPF13003B – Best For ¾” Inlets

This 15,000 gallon water filter contains a poly block cartridge designed to remove dust, rust, dirt and sand from your water. This means your water will be clearer and taste better, and it also reduces incidences of limescale in your fittings and appliances.

DuPont WFPF13003B Universal Whole House 15,000-Gallon Water Filtration System
Pros
  • Excellent value
  • Comes with a poly block filter cartridge
  • Can be used as housing for other filters as part of building a DIY system
Cons
  • Not really a full system, just a basic water filter for your whole home

You should be aware, though, that this filter doesn’t make water much safer. If you are worried about heavy metals or even excessive chlorination in your home’s water then this is not the filter for you. You can, however, swap out the filter cartridge within the housing, choosing one that reduces heavy metals and/or chlorine and VOCs. At that point, though, you are going too DIY route and building your own whole home water filtration system!

As the price suggests, the DuPont is a basic filter. It’s your classic blue housing, which can be filled with and 10” filter after the poly block has reached the end of its life.

You’ll notice that the 15,000 gallon filter life is less than many other whole house water filters promise, but this filter is also much smaller and much, much cheaper than the competition. 

Bottom Line Although, it's limited, If all you need is basic water filtration to make your home’s water supply more palatable and extend the life of your plumbed appliances, then the DuPont is a solid option at an affordable price tag. View Latest Price on Amazon →

9. Home Master Whole House Three Stage Water Filtration System – Best For Filtering Well Water

A multi-gradient sediment filter catches every impurity above 1 micron in size with its four separate filter layers. Next, a radial flow filter removes heavy metals. Finally, a coconut shell carbon filter deals with chemical contaminants.

Home Master Whole House Three Stage Water Filtration System
Pros
  • A great option if your home’s water comes from a well
  • Triple-filtration
  • 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
Cons
  • 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 neat, hardy whole house water filter system from Home Master is designed for well water.

The system as a whole is built to overcome turbidity, iron, manganese, sulfur smell, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals in your water.

With a hardy metal mount, this Home Master Whole House can be fitted outside or in. Its large filter housings and one-inch ports deliver 15 gallon per minute water pressure, meaning it won’t slow down your home’s water supply one bit. The larger housings also mean you will have to change your filter cartridges less often, reducing upkeep.

The Home Master Whole House removes up to 95% of sediment, chemicals and other contaminants, leaving your water smelling and tasting great and safe for consumption. Do note, though, that this filter system is designed for use on well water rather than chlorinated water.

Bottom Line The Home Master Whole House is specifically built for common well water contaminants making it a highly targeted option. But for city use it falls short as chlorinated water will damage the filters. View Latest Price on Amazon →

10. GE GXWH40L High Flow Whole Home Filtration System – Best On A Budget

The clear sump on GE’s High Flow whole house filtration system is an interesting gimmick. It allows you a view of the filter cartridge, so in theory you’ll be able to see when it needs to be changed, though I’m not entirely sure it’s always something that can be eyeballed accurately.

GE GXWH40L High Flow Whole Home Filtration System
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • Does not come with filter cartridges
  • The clear sump is gimmicky
  • Doesn’t deal with heavy metals at all

When it actually comes to changing the filter, GE have made things pretty simple, with a reminder light (making that clear sump look more and more gimmicky), a bypass option and a pressure release button to make getting the spent filter out really easy. 

Filters should be changed around every three months, and they are not included with the filter system so do remember to grab some (FXHTC or FXHSC) when you’re buying your unit!

The unit comes with mounts, screws and o-rings and is easy to plumb in. However, as with all of these whole home filters installation does mean messing with your home’s water supply and therefore should be left to a professional unless you’re pretty sure you know what you’re doing.

GE’s High Flow system removes sediment, silt, rust, chlorine and any traces of lead that might have found their way into your water. This leaves you with fresh, odorless water that is good for you, your family and your appliances. The filter does not, however, remove heavy metals.

Bottom Line If you want a functional, easy to use whole home filtration system for your family home at a reasonable price I really don’t think you can go wrong with the GE High Flow. Just remember to grab filter cartridges too. View Latest Price on Amazon →

11. Whirlpool WHELJ1 Central Water Filtration System – Best Low/No Maintenance Whole House Water Filter

Love the convenience of filtered water coming out of every faucet in your home, but hate changing filter cartridges? Then I have a whole house water filter for you!

Whirlpool WHELJ1 Central Water Filtration System, White
Pros
  • 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
Cons
  • 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 POE filter system with a difference. It uses Filter Sense technology to automatically clean and flush its filter every two weeks, so you never have to change it. Pretty convenient, right?

This easy-install system comes with a bypass valve, meaning water pressure will be maintained when it is installed. It does need to be plugged into an outlet, so you will need access to one. And the mixture of water and electricity means professional installation is really a must if you’re a novice. If you would plumb in a washing machine or dishwasher, though, you can certainly handle this system. 

The filter system comes with a 3-year warranty on the electronics and a 5-year on the tank. The system is designed to reduce chlorine odor and taste, and get rid of sediment. That means that it massively improves the flavor and the smell of your water, but isn’t suitable if you’re worried about your water being dangerous or containing heavy metals. 

Bottom Line The self-cleaning filter is fantastic for a low-maintenance point-of-entry water filter, but by targeting sediment and taste-impacting contaminants only it can’t make your water much safer to drink. View Latest Price on Amazon →

Before You Buy: The Buyer's Guide to Choosing The Right Whole House Water Filter

From UV water filters to high efficiency designs, there are a lot of whole house water filters on the market. And even within these subdivisions of whole house water filters, they vary by capacity, installation style and filter design.

Whole House Water Filter

Let’s take a deep dive into the world of whole house water filters so you can splash out with confidence.

Specific Contaminants

Are you guardian against giardia or swerving sediment? Understanding what’s in your water supply is the first step to finding the perfect whole house water filter for your family.

From chlorine to fluoride to a wide range of chemical contaminants, you need to find a whole house water filter that targets your specific local list of contaminants. Some concerns, such as hard water, are obvious from a visual inspection of your pipes or appliances and sediment and rust will be evident in any cup of water.

Other contaminants, however, are invisible to the naked eye. Total dissolved solids (TDS) and chemicals and bacteria can’t be spotted – so you should test your water supply to find out which system is suited to your needs.

Sediment Targeting – Understanding Microns

Sediment often makes for an unpleasant surprise in your drinking water and from grit to rust it can range from harmless to a health concern.

Most whole house filters will target sediment to some degree, but just like whole house filters, these contaminants come in many shapes and sizes. Sediment is measured in microns- a unit equal in size to a millionth of a meter. Premium whole house water filters will remove anything larger than one micron, whilst cheaper models might let anything under 50 microns slip through the net.

The downside of exceptional sediment filtering tends to be a slower flow rate. Overkill on microscopic filtering can choke your flow rate.

Filter Lifespan

While we’re talking about filters, lifespan is an important consideration. Nothing lasts forever and with any whole house water filter system, you’ll need to replace individual filter cartridges on a regular basis.

Filter lifespan tends to start at around three months, whilst some brands offer a guaranteed six-month lifespan. If your filters last twice as long, that’s half the cost of replacing them so this is about the long-term cost of your water filter system as much as upkeep.

Capacity

When it comes to water filters, size does matter. Undersizing your system will mean subpar performance and potentially unfiltered water. It could also cost you more in the long run as the individual filter cartridges can’t keep up with your demand for water.

At the top of the range, whole house water filters can have up to a 1,000,000-gallon capacity, although 100,000 is more common. For single-person households with an eye on the environment, a 10,000-gallon capacity might be adequate but for bigger families, you’ll need a model that can keep up.

Flow Rate

Besides capacity, the other concern for your water supply is flow rate. By running your entire water supply through a filter at the point of entry to your home, it’s inevitable you’re slowing that flow rate down. Flow rate is a question of how fast can your filter system actually filter?

Flow rate for smaller models might be as low as 3 GPM (that’s gallons per minute) – enough for a shower, but you’d better pray your partner doesn’t turn the faucet on next door. Premium models might have a 15 GPM flow rate that lets your whole family find the flow.

NSF/ANSI Certification

When you see a bold claim that 99.99% of bacteria is eliminated, you want to know your chosen brand can back it up. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the voice you can trust when it comes to water filter systems and they work with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to offer a standardized classification system for water filter systems.

The NSF offers a range of classifications, certifying that water filters remove chlorine, chemicals, and bacteria. If you want complete peace of mind, you’ll look for NSF certification – but some big-name brands go their own way, offering independent lab tests for their filter systems that bypass the NSF.

It’s important to understand the range of classifications offered by the NSF. Here are the varying standards of NSF certification:

NSF/ANSI 42

The lowest grade of classification, and correspondingly common, NSF 42 is found on taste and odor filters can certifies that the filter removes chlorine, and large sediment.

NSF/ANSI 44

Relevant to water softeners, NSF 44 certification indicates the removal or reduction of calcium and magnesium. If you suffer from the scourge of hard water, then NSF 44 is good to look out for.

NSF/ANSI 53

NSF 53 filters remove some significant contaminants, including metals like lead and chromium and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

NSF/ANSI 55

Built for UV water filters that target the bugs and bacteria in our water.

NSF/ANSI 58

NSF 58 certifies 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

Less common among whole house water filters, NSF 401 certifies the removal of prescription drugs, new herbicides and other complex compounds.

NSF/ANSI 244 and 231

These filters remove microbiological contaminants and microorganisms that contaminate drinking water. These certifications are commonly found on water filters for backcountry and camping use.

Water Softening

True water softening requires a salt-based system that extracts minerals from your water supply and replaces it with sodium, but it’s a bulky design and few whole-house systems have the space to incorporate an salt-based layer in their system.

More commonly, whole house water filters can include an electronic descaler. Although this doesn’t truly soften your water it does reduce the impact of hard water by preventing the minerals in hard water – calcium and magnesium – from bonding with your pipes and appliances.

If you live in an area with hard water – and 90% of Americans do – then you might need a whole house water filter with an electronic descaler which softens your water in an additional stage.

Remineralization

Are you throwing the baby out with the bathwater? High efficiency filters that bring your TDS to an exceptionally low degree often remove harmless minerals such as calcium, sodium, and magnesium from your water – leaving your water tasting boring and bland.

Post-filtering remineralization is an oft-added feature of whole house water filters which leaves your water tasting crisp and drinkable. With added nutritional benefits from mineralization, this is a great option to look out for on premium models.

Installation/Space

Whole house water filters are complex systems, but some units are suitable for self-installation whilst others will have you calling the plumber out. Check to see which components are included and if the brand recommends self-installation.

And watch out – even where DIY installation is advertised, sometimes professional installation is part of the warranty’s terms and conditions. It’s not worth undermining your warranty on an investment like this.

Point-of-entry filter systems are bigger and bulkier than under-sink or faucet water filters. Make sure you have enough space for your chosen model, and if you’re opting to install it outdoors then ensure it can survive the winter temperatures in your area.

Types of Whole House Water Filter

There are three main types of whole house water filters:

1. Simple Taste and Odor

Simple taste and odor water filters do exactly what you would imagine. Generally, they remove sediment and odor-creating compounds like chlorine. Usually, they also inhibit scale formation to give your plumbed appliances a longer shelf life and cut down on any descaling you might have to do.

Coconut shell carbon block filters remove chlorine, so these are usually included in a simple taste and odor whole house water filter. Sediment filters of various grades are used to catch rust, dust and any other sediment. 

Usually, simple taste and odor water filters are more affordable than UV or High Efficiency. This is because they don’t actually make your water much safer to drink or use, they simply make it more palatable. 

If you want to save the pennies, one option is installing a simple taste and odor water filter for your whole home, and then adding a more advanced filter undersink in the kitchen and perhaps the bathroom too. 

2. High Efficiency/Multiple Stages

High efficiency whole house water filters do pretty much everything you can do to improve water as it comes into your home. 

They combine carbon block filters with sediment filters, granular activated carbon block filters, and even kinetic degradation fluxion (KDF) process media which removes contaminants using high-purity copper/zinc particles with an oxidation/reduction reaction. This last kind of filter removes heavy metals, chlorine, bacteria and algae amongst other things. 

High efficiency filters are usually multi-cartridge, so you may have to change more than one filter every six-months or so. But for that small amount of extra effort, you get water free of heavy metals, chlorine, and bacteria.

These are the most expensive whole house water filters on the market. They can cost 2-3 times more than simple taste and odor filters, for example. But if you’re worried about the health costs of drinking water that may not be safe, a high efficiency whole house water filter is what you need. 

3. Ultraviolet (UV)

UV water purifiers are rarely used alone, except when bacteria and waterborne viruses are a real worry. I mention them here, though, because they’re a popular add-on for whole house filters of all kinds, particularly high-end high efficiency systems. 

As the name probably suggests, UV water filters use ultraviolet light to treat water. UV light damages and kills microorganisms, and so when water is treated with it you are very unlikely to get sick (in terms of bacteria and viruses) from drinking that water. 

How Do I Maintain My Whole House Water Filter?

As you have probably picked up reading this article, you will need to change the cartridges on your whole house water filter. Sediment filters usually have to be replaced every six to twelve months, while other cartridges last much longer. 

If you forget to change your filters, especially sediment, you could experience clogging within your system. On top of that, your water won’t be filtered properly by an old filter, and bacterial growth could occur resulting in worse water than you’d get without a filter.

Luckily, the taste, smell and feel of your water in combination with the guidelines for your cartridges will let you know when you need to change any one of them. 

You should remember, though, that the guidelines are assuming average water usage. If you have a big family, perhaps you use more. If you’re single or very eco friendly, you may use far less. So stay aware of changes in the taste and smell of the water in your home and if in doubt, change a filter. A new one doesn’t hurt really, does it?

The Whole House Water Filter FAQ

Are you asking the right questions? 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?

Whole house water filters are a big investment so it’s right to ask if you need a whole house water filter. Anyone living off-grid or in a home with older plumbing may need a whole house system to deal with contaminants such as lead, iron or bacteria.

Even those in newer homes and with city-provided water can enjoy benefits to the taste and feel of their water, and if you’re concerned about chlorine or fluoride being added to your water then a whole house water filter provides the answer.

What Contaminants Should I Worry About?

When you’re drawing untreated water from a well, there are plenty of contaminants of concern. From rust, grit, and sediment that cause an unpleasant flavor and texture in your water to harmful chemicals and metals, a water filter is essential.

According to the CDC (Centre of Disease Control), these are some of the main contaminants you may want to target:

Arsenic
Lead
Iron
Bacteria like E. coli and giardia
Industrial chemicals (VOCs)
Pesticides such as methoxychlor and chlordane

Ultimately, to find the best whole house water filter for your well water, you should use a testing kit to find out what’s in your water. Taking a deep dive into your own water’s contents lets you target these contaminants effectively.

What Contaminants Does A Whole House Water Filter Remove?

Depending on what is targeted, a whole house water filter will remove a range of contaminants. Systems targeting taste and odor will remove chemicals like chlorine and sediment, whilst high efficiency systems can target the full spectrum of bacteria, sediment and pesticides.

Here’s an at-a-glance list of the contaminants an effective whole house water filter might remove:

Chlorine
Fluoride
Rust
Grit
Arsenic
Lead
Iron
Bacteria like E. coli and giardia
Industrial chemicals (VOCs)
Pesticides such as methoxychlor and chlordane

Will A Whole House Water Filter Soften My Water?

The majority of whole house water filters won’t soften your water – but occasionally, premium filter systems include an electronic descaling stage which will reduce the impact of hard water on your plumbing and appliances.

For true water softening, you’ll need an additional reverse osmosis water softener. These salt-based systems remove the hard minerals from your water entirely.

How Many Gallons Per Minute (GPM) Do I Need For My Family?

It’s a nightmare you don’t want to consider, installing your new whole house water filter only to notice your water pressure choked to a trickle. What’s the point of perfectly pure water, if you can’t soak it in!

The required flow rate for your family will depend on your home and the number of bathrooms you have. Whilst a single-person household or a couple with limited water requirements might get away with 3 GPM, the average family will use up to 12 GPM.

A shower can use up to 3 GPM alone, whilst flushing the toilet will use around 2 GPM. Add another 3 – 5 GPM for the washing machine and 2 – 3 GPM for the kitchen faucet, and it starts to add up.

For example, to run two showers, a dishwasher, and a washing machine, you would require a flow rate of 14 GPM. Maximizing your flow rate ensures there’s water for the whole family.

How Much Does A Whole House Water Filter Cost?

Whole house water filters can be found at a range of price points and there’s something for everyone. But how much does a whole house water filter cost? Cheaper models offering adequate filtering for single-person households start at around $300, whilst premium brands offering maximum filtering can stretch to $1000+.

Final Thoughts…

I understand that a whole house water filtration system is quite a big investment. For that reason, you should really think about what you need before you commit to one (especially if you will also have to pay for installation, as many will) but there really are options at most price points.

In terms of value, you can’t beat the 3M Aqua-Pure. It’s a great whole house system, and handles pretty much everything but heavy metals at half the price of some (admittedly slicker) competitors.

If you do want to deal with heavy metals from well water or an older home, I would push you towards the offering from Express Water. Again, it’s an easy-install system that does a lot at a pretty decent price. 

For filters that only deal with taste and odor, you could certainly do worse than the Whirlpool which eliminates the need for regular upkeep with its self-cleaning filter and is a doddle to install if you’re even half handy.

The final option, of course, is building your own system. For that I’d use the Aquaboon Big Blue, because so many different filter cartridges fit the housing. You can really customize your system to your water if you go this direction, but you do need plumbing skills.

Whatever filter you choose, make sure it suits the make-up of your water. And remember you can add additional filters under the sink if you can’t quite afford a high efficiency POE system. 


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1 thought on “Wholey Moley! 11 The Best Whole House Water Filters in 2022 – Reviews and Buying Guide”

  1. Installed #2 and we are using it, very happy with the device. Our water used to smell of chlorine but since using this purifier the water has no smell at all, and tastes great! I noticed my hair was softer, as was my skin.

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