Water Filter Buying Guide 2017

Choosing the right water filter can be a headache. Many people have no idea what to look for in a water filter and just buy one based on reviews and then get upset when it doesn’t live up to their expectations.

Here, you’ll find a brief summary of the different types of water filters and you’ll find out the benefits and drawbacks of each type. Learn how they work,

Activated Charcoal Filters

Charcoal or Carbon filters are the most common and least expensive filters you can buy. You can actually make activated Charcoal simply by burning wood and spaying water on it. I have done this with coconut husks and just set them on fire until they are charcoal, jammed the charcoal into a PVC pipe and put my water though it. It tasted great!

activated-charcoal-health-benefits

This technique is used by distillers to purify there vodka, rum, whiskey, etc. By running the alcohol through the filter it removes all the impurities and you are left with a superior product. Which is why you will see on a premium bottle it say triple filtered. This means they are running it through the filter three times.

There are a ton of uses for charcoal and it can be used to brush your teeth, help with a hangover and of course filter your water.

I’ve actually been brushing my teeth with coconut charcoal for a few years now and people used to think I was crazy!

Now, you can find Activated Coconut Powder on Amazon as a #1 Best Seller…

It works amazingly well and doesn’t leave that minty flavor in your mouth. Not to mention the extra flouride I like to stay away from.

You will usually find activated charcoal in ALL filters.

Sediment Filters

Have you ever turned on your water and it’s not exactly clear?

dirt water

These sediment filters are added to water filters to remove solids (usually dirt, sand, etc.) that gets into your water. Sediment is naturally occurring and when it rains the earth erodes and you will see sediment get into a river.

When the water is transferred from its source to your home, there are often tiny pieces of sediment in the water, such as metals, dirt, rocks, etc. 100 years ago it would have been find to drink most sediments but however now they are finding dangerous chemicals, plastics, and all sorts of weird stuff in the drinking water of most states.

You want to filter out this, especially if you live in a city.

A sediment filter acts like a strainer and just holds the sediment in the filter. It builds up in the filter and you will have to replace the filter within a short period of time if you have a lot of sediment being filtered.

Many filters that filter < 200 gallons (such as the PUR 3 stage) use a sediment filter and this is why you have to replace them so often. If you don’t want a sediment filter you can get a long life out of your filter.

Counter Top Filters

A countertop water filter connects to your water line and act as a secondary water faucet.

They are small filters that are one step better than the faucet or pitcher water filter systems. You can put it right next to the sink and use your sink to do dishes. You can also use these in bathrooms.

coutner top filter

The good thing about this type of filter is that you’re getting much more gallons filtered than your average faucet water filter.

Rather than 100 – 200 gallons, you’re getting 1,000+ gallons.

They remove more than faucet filters because they are larger.

Most of the countertop water filtration systems come in different stages:

water filter stages

  • Stage 1 removes the sediments, such as heavy metals and Chloramines.
  • Stage 2 gets rid of Chlorine and Odor using the Activated charcoal.
  • Stage 3 uses KDF Filtration media to remove many other microorganisms and stops the speak of microorganisms.
  • Stage 4 are the little Calcite beads that make your water taste better and increases your waters alkalinity.
  • Stage 5 adds more Alkaline which helps to prevent diseases and slow the aging process. It also helps slow bone loss

Why Use Countertop Water Filtration?

As you can see, there are many different water filters out there. Each of them has good and bad thing about them.

Let’s take a look at why the countertop water filter is becoming more and more popular.

Possibly the easiest type of water filter to maintain and use. The water filter pitchers are probably the easiest but even those have their problems.

Removes Fluoride

Possibly the only way to remove flouride from your tap water without spending a lot of money is a countertop water filter.

Not all countertop water filters remove flouride and only a few like the Big Berkey BK4X2 can totally eradicate flouride.

Fluoride removal

This fluoride & arsenic filter that can be used to filter 1,000 Gallons of water.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many other good flouride removal filters out there.

Lasts Longer

The larger the water filter, the longer it will last. Which means you save money on replacement filters.

The downside to this is that the replacement filters cost more money but they will last about  one year before you have to replace them.

We covered the different stages above and not all filters use the same process but most of them do.

You can see that this process is identical to most filters, just bigger.

Portable Water Filters

I bought one of these a few years ago for a camping trip and loved it. To be honest, the only time I use it is when I’m out in the wilderness and it’s always a good idea to have one handy.

Many people love to go camping and hiking and if you don’t have access to clean water, then your entire trip can be ruined.

The first portable water filter I got was the Katadyn Vario Water Filter which is the Amazons Choice for portable filters. 

Katadyn Vario Water Filter

Most of the good portable filters allow you to change modes, from slow to fast. If you’re out in the wilderness, you don’t really need your water fast but I guess it can come in handy.

You can filter about 1 liter per minute with the fast setting, which is very fast.

The filter lasts for about 13,000 gallons, which should be enough for a lot of camping trips.

Water Filter Pitchers

Personally, I’ve had some bad experiences with these and prefer not to use them. The first one I bought broke, so I replaced it and decided to get a bigger one and then it didn’t fit in my refrigerator.

The good thing about them is that they’re pretty darn cheap.

For about $20, you can filter about 40 gallons which is not as good as faucet water filters at 200 gallons per month.

It’s not a bad idea to have one of these pitcher filters on reserve just in case.

My only complaint is that they don’t filter much water (40 gallons) before you have to replace them.

The initial filter is cheap and then you find yourself spending a bunch of money each month on replacements.

Reverse Osmosis Filters

One of the more complicated systems to understand is a reverse osmosis system.

I used to live next to a place that had a big reverse osmosis system and would charge $.40 for a 5 gallon jug of there water. It was some of the best water I ever tasted. They would also use UV light and pump oxygen into the water.

However, buying something like that for your home would set you back a few thousand dollars.

reverse osmosis

You can buy a smaller Reverse Osmosis system for less than $200.

It’s not too big a cost but you really want to learn more about how they work before buying one.

How Reverse Osmosis Works

The water is pushed into the RO Membrane using the internal water pressure and this filters out most of the solids.

The contaminants will get caught in the membrane and of course this membrane must be replaced pretty often of it will clog the whole system.

how ro works

The reverse osmosis process is pretty complex and you could probably read an entire book on how it works.

One drawback they do have is that they filter out calcium and magnesim that you find in tap water.

This is one of the reasons I don’t own a reverse osmosis system is because they can filter out a lot of filter out beneficial nutrients out which can be good for you.

Shower Filters

Have you ever taken a shower somewhere and you feel like you just got out of a swimming pool?

I recently went on vacation and the hotel had a terrible shower with a ton of chlorine in the shower. I bought one of these shower filters a few years ago and it makes so much of a difference.

The shower water filter works on the same principle as a faucet water filter but is usually a bit smaller.

shower filter

In the stage 4 area, you can see the KDF filter medium is used to remove chlorine.

The great thing about these is that KDF can be reused many times, so your shower filter can last around a year before you have to change the filter.

These are certainly a good investment because the water that gets on your skin can have a big impact on your health. In fact it’s pretty well known that chlorine can damage your skin and hair.

If you want healthier hair and skin then getting one of these is a no brainer.

The AquaBliss is the one I bought and I haven’t even replaced it yet. It’s the most popular shower filter and has a good price tag. 

You can use it for about 6 – 8 months if you shower once a day.  

You can feel a big difference right away, if you have chlorine in your shower water.

Choosing the Best Water Filter

That covers most of the popular water filters in 2017. Each year they’re coming out with new bigger and better designs to help keep your water clean.

As you can see there’s a water filter for every kind of use.

A big factor may be your budget.

How important is it for you to have clean water and how much do you want to spend to have clean drinking water?