About 60 percent of Americans use a home water treatment unit of some sort, according to the Water Quality Association and the Environmental Protection Agency—and for good reason. Clean drinking water is an essential building block of general health.
With hundreds of pollutants in most drinking water, including lead and arsenic, finding and purchasing the best faucet water filter is one of the most important things to do in a home to improve the wellness of the occupants.
While water filters are available in a variety of types, including carafes, faucet attachments, under-sink mounts, and countertop varieties, ease of use varies. A faucet attachment is usually easy to install and mounts to any standard kitchen faucet and will filter the water as the tap water flows. An under-sink model requires more installation effort with a direct hookup to the plumbing system. Meanwhile, water carafes with filters have to be refilled regularly.
When searching for the best faucet water filter for your home, bear in mind the key considerations detailed in the following sections, and check out below some of the top options on the market.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Faucet Water Filter
Before deciding on a filter, consider some important factors that can help you make the best decision, including the type of filter, material, flow rate, and installation requirements. By understanding these features, it’s easier to decide which option would be the best faucet water filter for your home.
There is a wide range of contaminants that can be present in tap water, including pesticides, microorganisms, organic compounds, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and harmful heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic. Water contaminants vary by community, and knowledge is power. Start by researching what’s affecting your own water supply through the National Drinking Water Database created by the Environmental Working Group.
Always check to make sure the filtration system can take care of the contaminants you’re most concerned about. Regardless of which microscopic contaminants they’re best at keeping out of drinking water, faucet-mounted filters considerably improve the taste of H2O.
Faucet water filters are typically made with either plastic or stainless steel. Some manufacturers may offer a range of different finishes, but these are usually stainless steel filters that have metal plating over the original material just to give it a different look. So the decision comes down to plastic or stainless steel.
Flow rate refers to the amount of water that flows through the filter within a set time period and it’s typically measured in gallons per minute (GPM). Whole-home water filters must be capable of filtering many gallons of water per minute since most showers and dishwashers can use up to 5 GPM.
However, faucet water filters don’t have the same water pressure demands. Most of these smaller filters have a set flow rate of 0.5 GPM with very few exceptions. This is about enough to fill up seven or eight standard glasses of water in 1 minute.
Filter Life and Usage
The filter life is typically indicated in the product information or on the manufacturer’s website. After this time period, the filter becomes less effective until it does very little except get in the way of regular faucet use. However, the total life of one filter can differ significantly from other, even identical products. This is due to usage.
Filter life is tied directly to usage. When the faucet is left running, it wastes water and also reduces the filter life, forcing the user to replace the filter cartridge at a higher frequency. By using the filter only for drinking water or cooking water, you can extend the life of the filter, saving time and money.
When the filter starts to lose its effectiveness, the entire faucet-mounted filter does not need to be replaced. Simply remove the filter cartridge and replace it with a new cartridge. Most manufacturers also produce cartridge replacements, so it’s easy to find a compatible option.
These cartridges typically have a lifespan measured in gallons of water that can range from 100 to 1,000 gallons, depending on the product. After a certain amount of water has been filtered through the cartridge, it begins to lose effectiveness. Some filters also come with cartridge replacement recommendations from 1 month to 3 months so that it’s not necessary to try and measure the amount of water flowing through the filter.
Style and Finish
Most faucet water filters have a plastic or a stainless steel design, but this doesn’t prevent manufacturers from adding additional color options and metal finishes, giving options to match the aesthetics of a home.
After sorting through the nitty-gritty details of filter types, filter materials, flow rate, and filter cartridges, there are just a few more things to consider before deciding on the best faucet water filter. The filter size, the filter change sensor, and the replacement filter cartridges also can affect the decision on the best filter.
A faucet-mount attachment generally offers a quick installation. Unscrew the aerator and then swap in an adapter provided with the faucet-mount water filter. Models often include multiple sizes to offer options that may best fit a faucet. The body of the faucet-mount filter snaps into place.
Manufacturer instructions will cover how to check that the filter inside the model is good to go. It only takes a matter of minutes to get the best faucet water filters fully functional. Once installed, many offer the option to toggle between filtered and unfiltered water.
Our Top Picks
The top picks described here were selected based on the above criteria and considerations, with significant attention given to efficacy and overall value. These products are considered to be among the best faucet water filters on the market.
Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter SystemPhoto: amazon.com Check Latest Price
This Brita faucet water filter has a basic white plastic design that’s resistant to corrosion and rusting. It has a 0.5 GPM flow rate, and it uses an activated carbon filter cartridge that lasts for up to 4 months or up to 100 gallons of water. The filter works with standard kitchen faucets, but it cannot connect to pull-out or spray-style faucets.
The no-tools-required assembly of the popular Brita faucet water filter makes it a perennial favorite. Highly effective at removing lead and chlorine, the Brita faucet water filter improves water’s taste, odor, and clarity. Since a filter does no good without regular replacement, it has a green light to indicate when the filter cartridge needs to be replaced.
Culligan FM-25 Faucet Mount FilterPhoto: amazon.com Check Latest Price
The Culligan has a sleek chrome-plated finish with stainless steel construction that can operate at a flow rate of up to 0.5 GPM. The filter cartridge lasts for about 2 months or 200 gallons, depending on the water usage. The carbon block cartridge reduces atrazine, chlorine, lindane, lead, turbidity, and bad tastes, making drinking water safer for the entire family.
Its durability, straightforward installation, and ease of use earn the Culligan high marks. If the goal isn’t the appearance, but high performance above all other concerns, then this may be the right choice. However, while this faucet water filter does fit most faucet types, it isn’t compatible with drop-down faucets.
Waterdrop NSF Certified Basic Faucet FilterPhoto: amazon.com Check Latest Price
The well-priced Waterdrop faucet water filter is made with an activated carbon filter cartridge to remove lead, chlorine, and other contaminants from the water. Each filter cartridge lasts for up to 3 months or 320 gallons of water. This faucet water filter has a maximum flow rate of 0.5 GPM and corrosion-resistant plastic construction.
This inexpensive filter has a white plastic exterior with plastic chrome fitting that can accent existing stainless steel or chrome plumbing. It’s compatible with standard kitchen faucets and requires no tools to install. However, this filter won’t connect to pull-out or handheld faucets, including sprayer hoses.
Home Master HM Mini Plus Sinktop Faucet FilterPhoto: amazon.com Check Latest Price
Those with lead water lines may want to invest in a filter like this Home Master faucet water filter that can remove up to 99 percent of lead from the drinking water. It can also remove cryptosporidium and giardia cysts, sediment, chlorine, and agricultural and industrial runoff. The carbon filter cartridge has a long life, lasting for up to 1 year or 750 gallons of water, depending on which comes first.
The faucet water filter also improves the taste and odor of the water and has a maximum flow rate of 0.5 GPM. It’s made of corrosion-resistant plastic and has two long tubes to run from the sink to the filter and back to the sink for low profile use that doesn’t stick out in the kitchen.
Selected for its activated carbon filter’s ability to improve the clarity, taste, and odor of water; compatibility with most existing faucets; durable construction; tool-free installation; and ease of use with three spray types, the Brita faucet water filter takes the top spot for those looking to enjoy cleaner water at home.
If you are looking for something more affordable, the Culligan comes with a carbon flock filter that removes most contaminants while also including easy installation and compatibility with most faucet types.
How We Chose the Best Faucet Water Filters
Having a faucet water filter is convenient for those who want clean water for cooking, drinking, or even filling a pet’s bowl without relying on large filtration systems or portable filters. Many of our above picks are easy to install and use, are compatible with standard faucets, and most importantly, effectively remove chemicals and contaminants from tap water.
Since many of the above filters use carbon filters, they are able to filter out bacteria, chlorine, lead, sand, rust, sediment, odor, and more from tap water with the added benefit of improving the clarity and taste. Plus, each of these filters comes with a slick design that can match your kitchen’s decor and fixtures.
Though the above picks have different timelines for replacing filters, each of them can last for at least 2 months without replacement. However, most of these filtration systems require replacement filters that must be purchased separately.
If you’d still like more information about what type of tap filter is best, or if you aren’t quite sure exactly how to connect the faucet water filter system, then read on to learn the answers to these concerns and other commonly asked questions.
Q. Should tap water be filtered?
Whether tap water should be filtered or not is a matter of personal discretion. Filtering tap water helps to remove contaminants from the water and it can improve the taste, though filters do have cartridges that need to be changed regularly to remain effective.
Q. Are faucet filters better than pitchers?
Faucet filters and pitcher filters are similar in filtration capability, so the decision comes down to a few key features. Faucet filters attach to the faucet, giving an essentially unlimited supply of filtered water, though they can get in the way of regular faucet use. Pitcher filters need to be filled regularly, but the water can be kept cold in the fridge or set out on a table or a counter for easy access.
Q. Which water filter removes the most contaminants?
Reverse osmosis systems are generally the most effective type of water filter. They can include more than seven filtration stages and use a reverse osmosis process that allows them to remove 99 percent of contaminants from the water, including chlorine, heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides.
Q. Can a faucet water filter be taken with me if I move to a new house?
Faucet-mount filters can typically be removed from the faucet, so you can take them with you to a new home.
Q. Can a faucet water filter be connected to a fridge?
A faucet water filter isn’t designed to connect to a fridge, but it is possible to connect some water purifier systems directly to a fridge. This depends on the specific water purifier and the fridge.
Q. How long do faucet water filters last?
Faucet water filter cartridges should be replaced every 2 to 3 months to ensure that the drinking water is properly cleaned when passing through the water filtration system. Faucet-mount filters can last up to 4 years if properly maintained.