Water filter pitchers breezed onto the mass market almost forty years ago. Brita was the first company to produce one, and its mission was simple — to make water taste better.
Today, filter pitchers have come a long way, and they represent one of the best values in water filtration. They’re compact, easy to use, and they remove many more harmful contaminants than their predecessors — as many as costly reverse osmosis systems can in some cases — and they keep millions of plastic bottles out of the waste stream, saving you money.
Everyone can have better quality drinking water with a filter pitcher, but there are dozens to choose from with remarkably different features. Which is the best water pitcher for you and your family? We’ve put together this comprehensive buying guide and researched these top picks to help you get started.
#1. Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher
Clearly Water’s pitcher doesn’t look fancy, but its filtration capability is unmatched. It reduces or eliminates over 220 worrisome contaminants including pharmaceutical residue, mercury, chromium-6 and cancer-causing chemicals like glyphosate — an active ingredient in weed killers. Other pitchers claim to remove lead and fluoride, but this is the only model that eliminates more than 99.5-percent of them according to independent laboratory testing.
The pitcher is made of durable BPA/BPS and phthalate-free plastic. Its 64-ounce or roughly 8-cup capacity is big enough for a small family, and it comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
Q: Does this pitcher makes water biologically safe to drink?
A: Not completely. It can’t remove all potentially harmful microorganisms, but it does eliminate select viruses and common water-borne bacteria down to two microns in size including E. Coli and Cryptosporidium.
Q: How long do filters last?
A: The life of the filter is 100 gallons — that’s about three months of average use for a family of four.
Q: Does this filter remove healthy minerals?
A: No. Beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium are not filtered out.
#2. Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher
Aquagear uses a unique five-stage filtration system that is highly effective at removing arsenic, mercury and chromium-6. Testing done on contaminated water from Flint, Michigan water showed it reduced lead to undetectable levels.
It removes thousands of times more contamination than Brita’s standard filter and removes pathogens down to two microns. The pitcher carafe is constructed with recyclable, FDA-approved food grade materials, and it gets good reviews for being sturdy and ergonomic. Like Clearly Water’s pitcher, it has a 64-ounce capacity, but filters last 50-percent longer. Aquagear backs this model with a lifetime warranty.
Q: Does this pitcher remove both chlorine and chloramines?
A: Yes, 99.9-percent of each.
Q: How are filters recycled?
A: E-mail Aquagear for prepaid label and ship them the spent filters. They’ll take care of the rest!
Q: How long does it take for the pitcher to filter water?
A: Approximately 10 minutes from the times it’s filled.
#3. Seychelle pH2O Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher
Alkaline water is the latest health trend, and if you’re on the bandwagon, Seychelle’s Alkaline Water Pitcher could save you hundreds in bottled water costs. Like models from Clearly Water and Aquagear, it’s made in the U.S. and removes lead, mercury, asbestos, chromium—6 and more, but it also enhances pH — something research suggests may have both health and beauty benefits.
Water from this pitcher gets rave reviews for taste, and the dual-filter system treats 200 gallons between changes. Design elements like a flip top for easy filling make it a user favorite.
Q: Which minerals does this filter add to water?
A: Calcium and magnesium
Q: Can I use Seychelle’s non-alkaline replacement filters in this pitcher?
A: Yes, both the standard and alkaline filters are a perfect fit.
Q: How long does the filtered water stay alkaline in the pitcher?
A: Up to 30 days as long as it’s kept below filter level. Contact with the filter can affect the pH.
#4. EHM ULTRA Premium Alkaline Water Pitcher
The EHM Ultra Premium filter pitcher is less about what should be removed from water than what should be added to it to make it healthier. Its six-stage filtration system does reduce common contaminants including heavy metals, but what EMH emphasizes about this model is its ability to increase pH up to 10.0 by removing acidic contaminants and adding additional major minerals via the filter.
This level of alkalinity maximizes water’s negative oxidation-reduction potential and helps to combat disease-causing free radicals in the body. For great-tasting alkaline water on a budget, this model from EHM is perhaps the best water filter pitcher.
Q: Which minerals does this filter add to water?
A: Calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium
Q: Is the pitcher dishwasher safe?
A: With the filters removed, yes.
Q: How long does each filter last?
A: It depends on your water quality, but six to eight weeks is average.
#5. ZeroWater, 23 Cup Pitcher
For large families, standard size filtration pitchers are too small, so ZeroWater came to the rescue with this 23-cup pitcher that fits in the refrigerator like a portable water dispenser. A five-stage filtration system removes more contaminants than carbon filters alone including lead, chromium, mercury and chemicals, and among similar models, it reduces the most total dissolved solids for the freshest-tasting water possible. The dispensing mechanism was thoughtfully engineered to allow one-handed pouring, and the flip top lid lets you refill the pitcher without removing it from the refrigerator. It comes with a free TDS meter and a 90-day warranty.
Q: Does this filter remove pathogens?
A: No. It’s for use with municipal water that has been disinfected.
Q: Is the pH of water affected by the minerals this pitcher removes?
A: No, the pH should remain the same.
Q: Does this filter remove fluoride?
A: It’s not rated specifically for fluoride reduction, but because it’s an inorganic compound, it should reduce the amount.
ZeroWater markets this unit more for TDS reduction than contaminant removal, so that’s not surprising. For a reasonable cost, it’s ideal for city water that tastes off because of mineral content, and it’s a logical choice for large families that can handle it with care.
#6. Aozora Large 18 Cup Everyday Premium Alkaline Water Filter Pitcher
For a family of four, this 18-cup alkaline filtration pitcher by Aozora is a top value. It meets NSF 42 and 53 standards for contaminant removal, and both its initial price, and the cost of replacement filters are reasonable — each cup of filtered water it produces costs only a dime.
Multi-stage filtration removes sediment, lead, chloramines, chromium-6 and more, but leaves beneficial calcium and magnesium behind. High flow rate filters process water faster for quicker refreshment, and if the pitcher ever breaks, Aozora promises to replace it for free.
Q: Where is this pitcher manufactured?
Q: Does the pitcher come with a filter?
A: Yes, the first filter is included.
Q: The pitcher is a unique shape. Is it hard to clean?
A: No. Each part is detachable to make it easier to sanitize.
#7. Brita Large 10 Cup Water Filter Pitcher
Brita is the original filter pitcher, and its mission is still the same as it was 40 years ago — to make your water taste better by removing taste impurities. The pitcher is BPA-free and feels durable. It has a rugged, comfortable handle with a shape specifically designed to fit in most refrigerator doors.
A flip top lid makes it a cinch to refill, and it’s the only filter pitcher on the list that comes equipped with an electronic filter change indicator. It’s available in your choice of stylish colors, and its filter replacement cost is among the lowest in the industry.
Q: When should filters be replaced?
A: After two months or 40 gallons processed.
Q: Is the battery for the filter change indicator light replaceable?
A: Not on this model, but it’s expected to last five years.
Q: Does this pitcher reduce fluoride or lead?
A: No. All Brita filters preserve fluoride for dental health, but pitchers equipped with the Longlast filter do reduce lead. That filter is not compatible with this model.