Under sink filtration systems are a cost-effective way to get clean, crisp, great-tasting water right from the tap. They’re more convenient than filtered pitchers that require frequent refills, and require a far smaller investment compared to whole-house filtration systems.
Finding The Right Filter For Your Home
With filters available in such a wide range of capabilities, styles, and feature sets, finding the right model for your home might require a little extra planning and research. This quick guide will cover a few of the most common decisions every filter-buyer needs to make, followed by a series of reviews that cover the top models available today.
Deciding On Desired Filtration Strength
It’s not always easy to decide which filters are “effective enough” for your local water supply. Many municipal water systems provide water that is perfectly healthy to drink, making filtration mostly a matter of taste. Some systems might have specific contaminants that require removal. Still others might require something more powerful than an under-sink filter.
For most purposes, simple carbon filters offer more than enough power to make water taste better while removing any particulates that could enter the system through old pipes or line maintenance. For families concerned with contaminants like heavy metals or pesticides, multi-stage filters may be required.
Intensive filtration is achievable with reverse osmosis systems. While many of these filtration units technically classify as “under-sink” systems, they’re also in a league of their own when it comes to cost and maintenance requirements. If interested, you can find our pick for the best reverse osmosis under-sink filter at the end of our alkaline water filter review.
With Or Without Dedicated Faucet
Under-sink water filtration systems are available with or without a dedicated faucet. Both types are effective at removing contaminants, but each have an extensive range of their own pros and cons.
Filters with dedicated faucets require a more involved installation process. Unless your sink already features an unused hole for accessories like a soap pump or instant-hot faucet, you’ll need to drill a new hole through the countertop to accommodate the additional faucet. For those without the DIY know-how to do this, many counter suppliers offer this service.
Filters without a dedicated faucet simply plug into the cold water line and output fresh water through the faucet you already have. The downside is that you may potentially waste filter life on tasks that don’t require purified water, like washing the dishes. On the other hand, this choice is cheaper and might be the only option for those who rent or can’t modify their sink area.
Under Sink Filtration System Reviews
Woder 10K Ultra High Capacity Under Sink Filter
FeaturesAs one of the longest-lasting filters on the market, the Woder 10k filters up to 10,000 gallons just as its name would imply. Most families can use a single filter for 3 years before replacement. Even with this impressive longevity, it still doesn’t cost much more than comparable filters that treat only a small fraction of the water this one does.
In terms of effectiveness, this filter removes 99.9% of lead and chlorine. It reduces mercury and other heavy metals along with potentially harmful VOCs found in some municipal water systems. Because it uses a selective filtration method, it purposely leaves certain healthy minerals in the water – minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium are the reason some water tastes fresher than other water.
- Purifies up to 10,000 gallons
- Can last 3 years between replacements
- Eliminates heavy metals and chlorine
- Reduces a wide range of contaminants
- Selective filtration leaves healthy minerals
- Not rated for use with well water or softened water
- Some buyers experience decreased water flow
Filtrete Maximum Under Sink Filtration System (MAX-S01)
FeaturesFiltrete Maximum offers one of the best under-sink filtration systems at its price point. The installation kit and the replacement cartridges are both exceptionally affordable considering their longevity – each cartridge treats up to 1,500 gallons of water before needing replacement. And because of the quarter-twist cartridge insert head, each replacement only takes minutes.
These filters remove up to 99% of lead and microbial cysts. It also reduces chlorine content by 97% for water that tastes and smells much more appealing. When it comes to general sediment like rust and soil, this filter catches anything down to 0.5 microns in size. It’s also one of the few low-cost filters that carries NSF certification.
- Quick quarter-twist cartridge replacement
- Reduces unpleasant tastes and odor in water
- Treats up to 1,500 gallons of water
- NSF certified
- Reduces water flow to 1.5 gallons per minute, sometimes slower
- Some buyers have trouble inserting the hoses
Culligan Premium Under Sink Filter (US-EZ-4)
FeaturesBecause it includes a high-quality faucet, this under sink filter offers the perfect go-to solution for those who want to preserve filter life by separating drinking water from the water used for other tasks. This model from Culligan features the Premium filter – reducing chloride, chloroform, mercury, lead, and particulates that can lead to cloudy or otherwise unappealing water. It’s also compatible with the Advanced and Basic filters for those who want to save a little extra money on replacements.
Each kit comes with a high quality faucet, all of the appropriate tubing, mounting hardware, and an easy-change filter head with its own independent water shutoff valve for quick and clean filter replacements. The kit also includes a convenient sticker to remind you when to change the filter for clean-tasting water year round.
- Attractive high-quality faucet included
- Easy change filter mount
- 6 month filter life
- Compatible with inexpensive filter replacements
- Premium filters need to be replaced every 500 gallons
- Some buyers find the filter head quality to be hit-and-miss
Although there are so many filtration systems to choose from, the “best filter” for any specific person ultimately comes down to taste preferences. Once you find an under-sink water filtration model that suits your needs, make sure to write down the model number and relevant measurements to make it easier to find the appropriate filter replacements.