ZeroWater vs Brita: The Water Filter Pitcher Play-Offs

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By Eric Phillips


For those hot summer months, it’s important to have hydration on hand. You might be tempted to grab an ice-cold beer or soda – however, if your health matters to you, try reaching for a cool glass of water.

But can you trust water that comes from the faucet?

Tepid tap water not only lacks that refreshment factor, but it also comes contaminated with all sorts of unpleasant surprises.

According to the National Resources Defence Council (NRDC), over 70 million Americans live in homes where the water isn’t safe to drink. There’s contaminated water in all 50 states – even Hawaii! (1)

From fluoride and chlorine to heavy metals such as lead, these contaminants can build up in our bodies and cause grave health concerns.

Is that a risk you want to take for you and your family?

For instant access to purified water, a water filter jug is the way to go. A filter system in your fridge means you always have crystal-clear hydration at hand. These purification pitchers are simple to operate and refill, meaning you’ll keep the fresh water flowing.

Let’s take a look at purification pitchers from ZeroWater and Brita – two leading brands in the home water filtering game.

At a glance, these purification pitchers can be hard to separate, but once you get into the nitty gritty there are a few significant differences between these designs.

ZeroWater ZP-010 vs Brita Standard Everyday – The Quick Comparison

Let’s get these products side by side to see which one is pitcher-perfect for your home.

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Design and Construction – ZeroWater Wins For Design

Put these two water pitcher filters side by side, and you won’t see much of a difference – but let’s take a closer look.

Firstly, they’re both built from a sturdy BPA-free plastic. BPA is an industrial chemical used in some plastics that has a nasty habit of secreting itself into water supplies, but these products are certified as BPA-free.

That means they’ve been built to the highest standard, ensuring your water is perfectly purified.

Each pitcher has a 10-cup capacity that will keep you hydrated throughout the day. 10 cups is sufficient hydration for one person, so if you’ve got a thirsty family you can expect to be topping up these pitchers multiple times a day!

However, for the odd cup of water, these pitchers are perfect in your fridge. You can also refill at mealtimes and keep them on the dining-room table to ensure everyone has a glass of purified water.

But if you’re hosting a barbecue, don’t expect these water pitchers to hydrate the whole party!

As for design, there are a couple of things that stand out about these pitchers.

Both pitchers have an ergonomic handle that makes it comfortable to grab from the fridge. Once filled, these pitchers will weigh 6-8lbs, light enough that you can wield it with one hand.

The pouring action of each pitcher is well designed – no drops or spills, but Brita’s handle has a habit of collecting water after you wash it, which can leave a splash on the countertop.

ZeroWater’s pitcher has an additional spigot under the handle – this gives their pitcher a multipurpose feel, you don’t always have to pick-up-and-pour. I liked keeping my ZeroWater pitcher on the fridge shelf and filling up from the spigot – this made it even easier to top up my hydration.

Filter Life Indicators – ZeroWater Wins For Complete Confidence

The Brita pitcher features an electronic indicator on the top casing of the product. When your filter is nearing the end of its lifespan, this indicator will light up to let you know it’s time for a change.

No filter lasts forever, and forgetting to change your filter could mean exposing yourself and your family to harmful contaminants.

The indicator on Brita’s pitcher means you’ll never neglect to change the filter – it’s a failsafe system that keeps your mind at rest.

ZeroWater doesn't have an indicator to remind you to change your filter, but they’ve included a handy tool to check how your filter is performing. The cap of their pitcher contains an electronic water safety meter that helps you assess how pure your drinking water has become.

It’s time to get into the science – but don’t worry, you don’t need a lab coat or safety specs to use this safety meter!

ZeroWater’s electronic water safety meter measures the TDS of your water supply – that stands for total dissolved solids.

The meter can’t tell you what’s in your water, but it can tell you what isn’t there. Testing your water with ZeroWater’s TDS meter will alert you to how your filter is performing.

A TDS of anything up to around 150ppm (parts per million) is generally considered safe to drink, but ZeroWater promises to reduce this to a negligible 0-10ppm, equivalent to store-bought bottled water.

ZeroWater recommends you switch out the filter as soon as the meter reading climbs over 10ppm, ensuring your drinking water stays perfectly pure.

Purification – ZeroWater Promises Superior Filtering, But Is It Overkill?

If you’re going to have confidence in the water you’re drinking then you need to know your filter inside out.

As I mentioned, ZeroWater uses a five-stage filter system in their water filter pitcher, whilst Brita boasts of a four-stage filter.

However, once you break it down these filter systems are fairly similar.

At the top and bottom of each filter is a mesh screen that eliminates solids and particles from the water – whilst these mesh filters are certainly purifying your water, this sieving system is nothing complicated.

Between the mesh, ZeroWater’s filter has three stages whilst Brita has just two. What’s going on in these filters?

Both filters feature a layer of carbon filtering which eliminates organic compounds such as pesticides and bacteria.

And they also feature an ion-exchange resin layer, which strips away inorganic compounds such as metals and radiological contaminants.

On top of all this, ZeroWater has slipped in a fifth layer – a foam distributor to take out extra solids.

Although Brita lacks this foam layer, its dual mesh system should be sufficient for removing contaminants.

ZeroWater’s foam layer might be the secret behind its exceptionally low solids ppm, revealed by the TDS meter. Personally, the ion-exchange resin and carbon filter seem satisfactory in removing the most harmful contaminants.

Whilst a low ppm might impress in some tests, I think it's overkill for healthy drinking water.

In fact, it seems a little like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And using an expensive filter to do so!

The TDS count doesn’t tell you everything about water purity, after all. There are many harmless compounds such as calcium and sodium that can push up your water supply’s TDS with no negative health impacts at all. And a low TDS alone doesn’t guarantee that your water is free from contaminants: many pesticides and viruses don’t show up on a TDS reading at all.

Despite issues with TDS as a measure of water quality, you have to admit ZeroWater has gone the extra mile.

Filter Durability – You Know What You’re Getting With Brita

These products are well made and with regular use, you can expect the pitchers to last a lifetime.

But that’s not the full story.

With tens of gallons of water flowing through the filters every week, they have a limited lifespan. When you buy a water filter system, it’s important to know how long the filter will last.

Otherwise, you’ll end up with an ineffective filter letting contaminants slip through the net – yuck!

Brita recommends you switch to a new filter every four weeks, or around every 40 gallons.

ZeroWater takes a different approach. They recommend you regularly test your water, so you only replace your filter when you have evidence of it failing.

However, the lifespan of ZeroWater’s filter is hard to gauge – it depends on the quality of the water you’re starting out with.

In some areas, you could get weeks of water before you saw the TDS ppm ticking up, but if you’re unfortunate to suffer from low-quality tap water, your ZeroWater filter’s lifespan will be seriously compromised.

On average, you should get between 10 and 30 gallons from each filter, and you’re likely to be replacing it more often than with a Brita pitcher. But that’s partly because ZeroWater is offering a higher standard of filtering.

It’s up to you to decide how important a low TDS is to you – and if it’s worth splashing out on a ZeroWater pitcher.

A Matter Of Taste – Too Close To Call

Whilst the TDS reading isn’t the best way to gauge how safe your drinking water is, there’s one area where it can have a real impact – taste.

Trace solids in your drinking water often imbue it with a subtle taste, and ZeroWater assures you that these solids are filtered out completely.

You might think that would leave a better-tasting beverage.

However, in taste tests Brita’s purified water and ZeroWater’s filtered output are exceptionally close in flavor. Whilst taste is always a matter of personal preference, the lower TDS count guaranteed by ZeroWater doesn’t guarantee a tastier drink.

When it comes down to taste, it’s too close to call.

Cost – Brita Wins For Filter Price And Lifespan

Both of these water filter pitchers are affordable – you can hydrate the family without taking a big dent to your wallet.

If you’re scrimping, Brita’s pitcher is slightly cheaper, but not enough to lure me over on its own.

However, it isn’t just the cost of the pitchers we’re factoring.

Because these pitchers come with limited-lifespan filters, you’ve got a long-term maintenance cost to take into account. When it comes to the true cost of your water filter pitcher, the initial purchase price is just a down payment.

Let’s do the math.

For replacement filters, Brita stands out on price. A three-pack of Brita filters is cheaper than a single unit from ZeroWater, and although discounts are available from ZeroWater if you buy in bulk, they can’t match Brita’s prices.

What’s more, a Brita filter is guaranteed to last four week. With ZeroWater, it depends on your tap water TDS so it’s hard to predict the lifespan of your ZeroWater filters.

In the United States, the average tap water TDS is around 350 parts per million. According to ZeroWater, their filters can purify eight to sixteen gallons of water at this quality. You could be going through filters every two weeks.

On the face of it, these two products are similarly priced – but don’t be fooled.

ZeroWater offers superior security when it comes to total dissolved solids, but at a significant cost. Brita wins every time for those on a budget.

Why Choose ZeroWater ZP-010

ZeroWater offers a guarantee of exceptional purity.

They’ve designed a five-stage filter that can almost completely eliminate dissolved solids from tap water, leaving you with purified water that can stand up to store-bought bottled water.

And they know you don’t want to compromise on the quality of your water, so they’ve included a TDS meter that means you’ll never have to. You’re empowered to test your water regularly and toss out the filter when it doesn’t meet your standard.

The downside of higher standards is a higher running cost. If your home water supply suffers from a high TDS, regularly replacing your filters starts to add up.

Personally, I think gunning for zero TDS is overkill – as long as your filter is targeting dangerous contaminants such as lead and pesticides, your water will be safe to drink.

But that’s just me – if purity is your absolute priority, choose a ZeroWater Water Filter Pitcher.

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Why Choose Brita Standard Everyday

Brita makes a great water filter pitcher and they’re a leading brand in water purification.

Their four-stage filter system reduces total dissolved solids and guarantees the removal of harmful contaminants, both organic and inorganic.

They haven’t gone all-in on a complete elimination of TDS like ZeroWater, but that doesn’t mean they’re not providing safe, great-tasting water for you and your family.

If you’re concerned about specific contaminants, Brita offers the security of pure water. Their filters are durable and affordable, making a Brita Water Filter Pitcher a great long-term investment for your water supply.

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Final Words…

ZeroWater have created an exceptionally powerful filtering system that can give you bottled-quality water, straight from the fridge. But by focusing on TDS, you could be wasting money on filters week in, week out.

If you want total control over what you’re drinking, then a ZeroWater pitcher is the way to go. A Brita water filter pitcher might seem like a compromise, but these effective filters will eliminate all the harmful contaminants from your water.

If price is important to you – and you’re looking at future filter costs – a Brita pitcher offers purified water at a refreshing price.

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Eric Phillips

Meet Eric, the Water Treatment Specialist and founder of Dripfina, where he shares his wealth of expertise. With notable features in Realtor, ApartmentTherapy, FamilyHandyMan, and more, Eric is a renowned expert in water treatment industry. Join Eric on Dripfina and benefit from #AskDripfina community to make informed decisions for clean, refreshing water.

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