- The Best Iron Filters
- Iron Filters vs Other Whole House Filters
- Iron Filter Buying Guide
- Iron Science
- Terms to Know
- Final Thoughts
No one says: “I like the tap water in my house to be a nice reddish brown color – the rusty sink stains are great and I can’t wait to drink it!”
Of course not, because high iron levels in well water can be a real problem…
The rusty red, brown, or black color of iron water can easily stain sinks, tubs, and toilets inside as well as sidewalks and driveways outside. It looks terrible and no one wants to constantly scrub it clean.
Plus, high iron content in laundry water can quickly ruin your light-colored clothing!
While not dangerous to humans, it doesn’t look good, taste good, and often has an unpleasant smell.
So, how do you remove iron from well water?
A whole house iron water filter is the best solution if you have well water with a high iron content.
The Best Iron Filters
By placing an iron filter right where water enters your house, you solve the problem of staining, protect your laundry, and make your water more appealing to see, smell, and taste in every room of the house.
This table shows an overview of the best and most popular whole house iron filters from some of the most trusted brands. Click the links to learn more or keep reading for detailed reviews of each filter and information about iron in well water.
Lead & Cyst Filter
Lead Reduction Filter
pH Neutralizing Filter
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Limited Lifetime Warranty
1 Year Limited Warranty
Lead & Cyst Filter
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Limited Lifetime Warranty
1 Year Limited Warranty
Lead Reduction Filter
pH Neutralizing Filter
SpringWell Whole House Well Water Filter Review
The SpringWell Whole House Well Water Filter system does a great job of removing natural contaminants that lead to unpleasant smells, tastes, and staining from well water.
This includes iron, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell), and manganese.
The four stages of water filtration include:
- Stage 1: Water flows through a pocket of air in the top of the tank (known as air injection) oxidizing the iron, sulfur and manganese
- Stage 2: The oxidized material or sulfur gas is trapped in the bed of the green sand
- Stage 3: The system backwashes the contaminates out of the bed down a drain and resets the fresh pocket of air
- Stage 4: Clean, fresh, and clear water is then distributed throughout your home
This system, engineered specifically for high iron water, will remove up to:
- 8 PPM (Parts per Million) of Hydrogen Sulfide (rotten egg smell)
- 7 PPM Iron
- 1 PPM Manganese
Springwell uses the most up-to-date parts and components in their system including:
- A programmable (and Bluetooth connected) head controls the daily backwash that will remove the accumulated well contaminants and replenish the filter media bed.
- State of the art tank design increases efficiency by up to 30%
- 10% cross linked resin will last 2x as long as 8% cross linked resin
Select the optional UV Water Purification System Add-On if you also have iron bacteria in your water. It is proven to control microbiological (bacteria & virus) issues in water including E. coli, cryptosporidium and giardia lamblia.
This UV system kills 99.9% of harmful pathogens, viruses, and bacteria to protect your home against contaminated water.
If you want to filter even more contaminants, you can combine this with a Springwell whole house water filter that will remove chlorine, chloramine, PFOA, PFAS PFOS, pesticides, herbicides, haloacetic acids and more…
Springwell provides free pre and post sales support and DIY (do it yourself) instructions and videos if you know a little about plumbing and want to save money on installation.
Springwell also has the longest money-back warranty at 6 months!
Click below to buy or learn more and be sure to use coupon code “5off” to save an extra 5%…
|Springwell Whole House Well Water Filters|
Pentair-Pelican Iron & Manganese Filter Review
The Pentair-Pelican Iron and Manganese Filter is a premium, high-quality filtration system designed to remove both ferric and ferrous iron from your water to 10 PPM.
The Pelican well water filtration system traps iron with a filter media and gravel under bed and then flushes it out with the backwash system. This improved version of greensand increases the reduction of iron and manganese.
The Greensand-Plus iron filter method provides an excellent long-term, relatively low-maintenance solution. Greensand-Plus has received the WQA Gold Seal Certification for compliance with NSF/ANSI 61.
While this system can stand on its own to remove iron in some forms, you may have to pair it with an oxidation system (including water softeners) to deal with all iron problems in your water. Only with the results of a water test can you be sure about your needs.
The Pentair-Pelican Whole House Iron & Manganese Filter system includes the Iron filter described above and three other stages:
- Sediment Pre-Filter protects other filters from anything larger than 5 microns in size
- Chlorination system injects chlorine into the water stream without electricity to help neutralize contaminants
- The Greensand iron filter described above to remove iron and manganese
- Carbon filter removes chlorine, smaller particles, tastes, and odors
You can learn more about the Pentair-Pelican whole house well water filtration system through the product link below.
|Pentair-Pelican Iron & Manganese Filter|
FilterWater Iron and Hydrogen Sulfide Whole House Filter Review
One of the many single-purpose filters offered by FilterWater is the Iron, Hydrogen Sulfide and Manganese Water Filter, made to eliminate virtually any well water iron problems.
With proper installation, it removes the following contaminants:
- 15 PPM of both ferric (oxidized) and ferrous (clear) iron
- 10 PPM of manganese
- 5 PPM of hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg odor)
This system is both maintenance and chemical free!
Well water treatment is achieved through three stages of filtration:
- Water passes through a sediment prefilter that removes dirt, sand, and sediment
- Water is oxygenated in a media of glauconite green sand. The oxygen causes the minerals including iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide to be trapped. An automatic backwash controller periodically flushes the collected contaminants down the drain.
- In the final stage, water passes through a solid carbon block filter that removes many contaminants including Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), insecticides, pesticides and industrial solvents.
Very low pH may need to be adjusted with one of several pre-treatment filters, but you can contact FilterWater with the results of your water test and any questions as you plan your well water filter system.
|FilterWater Whole House Iron Filter Systems|
Tier1 Whole House Iron, Manganese, And Hydrogen Sulfide Filter Review
The Tier1 Precision Series Iron filter is engineered to remove iron, hydrogen sulfide (rotton egg smell), and manganese from your well water.
The system offers the following features:
- Air induction oxidation oxidizes ferrous iron and removes it from water
- Combines aeration and catalytic carbon to reduce sulfur and hydrogen sulfide
- Digital control value to automatically manage the periodic regeneration process to clean the system
- Requires no chemicals required!
If your water test shows iron levels of 4 PPM or higher, then this is a great solution for powerful, dedicated iron reduction.
They system can also be combined with any the other standard whole house or specialized water filters from Tier1 including water softeners or UV filtration.
Tier1 includes DIY instructions with this system so that, if you have the necessary tools and experience, you can install it yourself.
|Tier1 Whole House Iron Filters for Well Water|
Iron Filters vs Other Whole House Filters
Does a water softener remove iron? While this is partly true in some cases, it is not the real purpose of a water softener.
A water softener will typically filter up to 3 PPM of iron and 2 PPM of manganese from well water with its ion-exchange process.
Over time, the iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide will eventually foul and ruin the ion-exchange resin used for water softening.
If you have hard water and low iron levels, then a water softener can be used but is not recommended by some manufacturers.
If your measured iron level is 3 PPM or more, a dedicated iron removal filter (such as those recommended on this page), is the better way to remove iron from well water. You could even install it along side a water softener if needed.
To learn more about water softeners and water conditioners, check out our reviews of the best water softeners.
Standard Whole House Filters
What about standard whole house water filters?
There are plenty of whole house water filtration systems that are great at removing many different contaminants from your well water. Many of the best options are made by the same manufacturers recommended on this page.
However, since iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide are not filtered by the same processes, they will not be blocked by a standard whole house water filter.
To learn more about standard whole house water filters, check out our reviews of the best whole house water filters for well water.
If you have other contaminants in your water, then combining a whole house water filter and iron water filter may be necessary to filter everything.
Iron Filter Buying Guide
When shopping for the best iron filter, it’s important to understand what you need and why it matters.
Iron Filter Size
Most manufacturers offer iron filters in two or more sizes. While they do the same thing, they differ in the flow rate of the water they support, in gallons per minute (GPM).
A larger home could consume more water at the same time and would need a larger system to keep up with the demand without decreasing the water pressure.
Iron Filter Maintenance
Most iron filters need little to no maintenance, especially if they have a digital control head that manages the backwash cycle. The filter media will last 10 to 15 years.
Some systems use a chemical called Potassium Permanganate that will need to be replaced more often, or about every 4 to 6 years.
Any system with a sediment pre-filter will need replacement filters more often, depending on the quality of your water.
Iron Filter Installation
Dedicated iron filters are installed much like any other type of filter.
They must be inserted into the water path after it leaves the well and before it flows to the rest of your house.
You have a few options when selecting a system:
- You can call a plumber and have them provide the system and install it. This requires the least effort but does not provide you with any choice about what hardware is installed, if the system is well-rated, or if it is easy to maintain yourself.
- You could also go and pick out a system at Home Depot or Lowes and either have it installed or install it yourself. Again, you are very limited to the brands and features they offer and may not get the best options or a system that other customers are happy with.
- The best option is to use the information on this page and the knowledge you gain to pick the best system from those we have already researched and recommend here. Why? Read on…
By picking something yourself that is popular, well-rated, and already researched and recommended, you can be sure you are selecting an option you can count on.
As a bonus, you are often getting a better system at a better price since there is much more competition online.
Once you have selected the best system from the options here and placed an order, you still have to install it. You can either call a plumber and have them set it up or if you are comfortable with some simple plumbing, most of these systems can be installed by someone with DIY skills.
Many of the systems recommended here even come with DIY installation instructions!
The first place to start when considering the quality of your water is with a professional water test.
By having your water professionally tested, you will get the exact list of what contaminants are in your water, the contamination levels, and where you should be concerned. With this information, you can select the options that will provide the best water treatment.
You can either find a local company that does professional water testing or order a kit online that instructs you on how to take a sample and then send it to a lab. These DIY kits are quick, easy, and less effort.
If you recently purchased your house, you may already have the results of a water test that was completed with your inspection.
If your water comes from a local city or municipal source, they should be able to provide necessary reports.
If you are looking for a very complete and reliable water test you mail in, take a look at this:
SpringWell WaterCheck with Optional Pesticides
SpringWell has partnered with National Testing Laboratories to offer this 75 item water test with the option of adding an additional check for 20 common pesticides, herbicides, and PCBs.
The 75 tests include:
- Bacteria (presence/absence of coliform and E. coli)
- (15) Heavy metals and minerals (including lead, arsenic, uranium, and mercury)
- (5) Other inorganic chemicals
- (5) Physical characteristics (including pH, Total Dissolved Solids and Hardness)
- (4) Trihalomethanes (THMs)
- (44) Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs)
- Optional: (20) Pesticides, herbicides, and PCBs
Types of iron
Iron occurs naturally in the earth. The ground content of iron and other minerals depends on your location and the geology of the region.
In well water, iron comes in three forms:
- Ferrous Iron (also known as soluble iron or clear water iron) is dissolved in the water and is not visible until it oxidizes and reacts to oxygen in the air.
- Once oxidized, it becomes Ferric Iron (also known as precipitated iron or rust) that will change the color of water and leaves stains.
- Bacterial iron (also known as iron bacteria) is the presence of microorganisms that form a slimy film when combined with iron or manganese. This is not normally harmful to your health but can lead to other harmful bacteria.
When the amount of iron in water reaches 0.3 mg/L (or 3 parts per million (PPM)), it becomes visible with a red, brown, or yellow color. This is also enough to cause staining problems and to possibly affect the taste and smell of the water.
This is why the recommended maximum level of iron in water is 3 PPM.
The iron removal filters on this page are designed to remove both ferrous and ferric iron from water.
Iron and your health
Fortunately, iron in water is not dangerous to your health and as an essential mineral, some iron is beneficial.
Like anything, ingesting too much iron can be dangerous to everyone and especially those that are sensitive to it or have iron absorption issues. Healthy blood iron levels can be discussed with your doctor after a blood test.
Even at higher than normal levels in well water, iron may have more of an affect outside of the body.
Iron can stain hair and skin and lead to dry, brittle hair. Those with sensitive skin may react to high iron or the mixing of high iron with soap or other skin products.
Iron in your home
Where most people notice the negative affects of high iron in well water is around the house.
When iron is high enough to turn red, orange, yellow, or even black, it can stain anything it comes in frequent contact with including: sinks, tubs, toilets, dishwashers, sidewalks and driveways, and laundry.
Over time, the buildup of iron deposits can restrict the flow of water in pipes and appliances. Left unchecked, this will ruin plumbing and shorten the lifespan of appliances.
Since “hard water” (high levels of calcium and magnesium) is a more common problem and often occurs in the same water as high iron, a water softener will help to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits in plumbing. As mentioned above, a water softener alone is not enough to filter high levels of iron.
Terms to Know
A natural element that can seep into ground water and wells.
Any amount of iron higher than 3 PPM (parts per million) can cause staining and deposits.
Another natural element that enters well water from the ground and is often found along with iron. As little as 0.05 ppm of manganese in water can produce brown or black stains.
The ability of a filter to remove manganese depends on its concentration and the pH of the water. This why some homes require a pH filter to help the iron/manganese filter.
The pH of water measures its acidity or its alkalinity. Water with a pH of less than 7.0 is acidic, above 7.0 it is alkaline, and a pH of 7.0 is neutral.
Acidic water (pH less than 7.0) is corrosive to pipes and appliances, while a pH of 7.0 or higher helps with iron removal — which is why these filters are designed to increase the pH when less than 7.0.
Hydrogen sulphide (often known as “sulphur”), can give water a “rotten egg” smell. Sulphur can corrode some medals.
Most iron filters able to remove sulphur in concentrations of up to 3 to 5 PPM.
UV (Ultra Violet) Filter
Microorganisms are killed when they pass through the UV light filter.
Most sources consider this to be essential to clean/pure filtered well water since bacteria has many negative health effects and can be common in water from natural sources such as well water.
Greensand is a filter media with a high percentage of the mineral glauconite.
It does a good job of oxidizing ferrous iron so that it can be removed by an iron water filter.
If you see or smell any of the side affects of high iron, manganese, or hydrogen sulfide in your water, you should consider an iron filter.
A water test is essential to know exactly how much contamination you have and other items from the test (such as pH and hardness) will factor in to the type of system you will need to filter your water.
While a well water filtration system can be a big expense, so is not treating your water!
The side affects of red staining, damaged laundry, corrosive buildup in pipes and appliances, and even dry skin and high blood iron can all add up to big expenses as well…
Installing one of the best iron filters in your home is a great investment in the long run.