Adding a filtration system to your home can mean big bucks, but when it comes to achieving reverse osmosis and removing contaminants from your water, small scale filters now make it affordable and easy to give you the cleanest drinking water possible.
Osmosis occurs when a weaker saline solution moves towards a stronger solution. In osmosis, more concentrated solutions will migrate to higher concentrated solutions, so fresh water will move towards salt water. Osmosis is a naturally occurring event, whereas reverse osmosis requires intervention. To make reverses osmosis happen, energy needs to be applied to the more saline or concentrated solution, for example, the salt water. The goal is to push the salt water through a reverse osmosis membrane that will mostly hold back the bad, in this case, the salt and other contaminants, and let the clean, fresh water through.
By using a pressure pump, reverse osmosis increases the pressure on the salt side and pushes water through the membrane, which should leave the clean water containing up to 99 percent less salt and contaminants than before. Cities with high incidents of saltwater use reverse osmosis in their water plants, but if your city doesn’t use that process, you can still ensure that you’re getting clean drinking water using one of the reverse osmosis systems on our list.
1. ZeroWater Filter
No more wondering when you should change your filter with the ZeroWater Filter, which has a digital water-quality indicator on the front of the filter to remind users when it’s time for a replacement cartridge. The 23-cup capacity filter can sit on the counter or in the fridge and ZeroWater are the only filters that are NSF certified to remove all chromium and lead from water.
Pros: ZeroWater uses Ion Exchange Technology and a five-stage filtering process that removes more impurities than traditional carbon filters.
Cons: Some options may be more economical.
2. Brita Extra Large 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser and Filter
With a 1.13-gallon tank and filter that removes copper, mercury, zinc, and cadmium impurities while also reducing chlorine found in tap water, the Brita Extra Large 18 Cup UltraMax Water Dispenser and Filter will provide fresh drinking and won’t need to be refilled often. The water dispenser has an easy to read sticker that lets you know when you last changed your filter, with Brita filters requiring a change every two months or 40 gallons. An excellent option for those who have a large family or frequently fill up their reusable water bottles at home, one Brita filter replaces 300 standard 16.9-ounce plastic water bottles, which is good news for the environment and your wallet.
Pros: The Brita Extra Large can sit on countertops or inside fridge shelves for cold drinking water.
Cons: The tank is heavy when filled, making it difficult to move.
3. Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System
Perfect for outdoor use during hiking or camping trips or when traveling abroad, the compact Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System weighs only 2 oz. The Sawyer can be used as a drinking straw, screwed onto the top of most water bottles, or attached to the bite valve on hydro packs. Users can drink directly from the source, like a lake, by merely using the Sawyer as a straw. Cleaning is easy and only requires a small amount of filtered water. The Sawyer lasts up to 100,000 gallons and comes with a 16-ounce squeeze pouch that can be used as a water bottle.
Pros: The Sawyer filter removes 99.99999% of all bacteria such as salmonella, cholera, and E. coli, 99.9999% of all protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium and 100% of microplastics.
Cons: The filter won’t remove chemicals or viruses, although viruses are rarely found in bodies of water in North America.
4. Brita Large 10 Cup Pitcher
Made from BPA-free plastic, the Brita Large 10 Cup Pitcher uses a filter to reduce chlorine taste, odor and remove copper, mercury, and cadmium impurities found in tap water, improving your health and the taste of your water. Like the Brita Extra Large, the Brita Large 10 Cup Pitcher filters require a change every two months or 40 gallons.
Pros: Easy to pour and with a large storage capacity, the Brita Large 10 Cup Pitcher makes it easy to keep filtered water in the fridge or on the counter to use in coffee makers.
Cons: The Brita Large 10 Cup Pitcher does not hold as much water as the Brita Extra Large and needs to be refilled more often.
5. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
A must-have for travelers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter surpasses EPA filter standards, removing a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. A replacement for large and bulky iodine tablets and purifiers, the lightweight 2 oz LifeStraw has a high flow rate that enables users to safely drink directly from a water source.
Pros: The LifeStraw has a lifespan of up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals.
Cons: Unlike the Sawyer, which can be attached to a bite valve or water bottle, the LifeStraw can only be used as a straw and can’t directly attach to a drinking container.
6. Woder WD-S-8K-DC Ultra High Capacity Direct Connect Water Filtration System
Made with microparticles that give users more filtering ingredients, the Woder WD-S-8K-DC Ultra High Capacity Direct Connect Water Filtration System eliminates heavy metals, chromium, mercury, and 99.9 percent of lead and chlorine from municipally treated water while leaving essential minerals. The easy-to-install, no-plumbing-required Woder fits under the sink and fits 3/8-inch water valves that are standard in North American kitchens and bathrooms.
Pros: The Woder has a lifespan with a minimum of three years or 8,000 gallons.
Cons: The Woder does not work with salt or softened water and can only be connected to cold drinking water systems. It’s also not rated for use with well water.
7. CuZn UC-200 Under Counter Water Filter
Get an extended lifespan out of your water filter with the CuZn UC-200 Under Counter Water Filter, an ultra-high capacity under sink system that lasts for 50,000 gallons or five years. Designed for use with municipal water, the CuZn connects directly to a cold water line to enact its three-step filtration process, which removes micro-sediment membranes but leaves behind beneficial hardness minerals.
Pros: Unlike other carbon-only filters, the CuZn is bacteriostatic and is not susceptible to mold or bacteria growth, which helps to keep your water safe and extends the lifespan of the CuZn.
Cons: Like the Woder, the CuZn can’t be used with well water. It’s also not designed to soften water.