The Best Whole House Water Filters for City Water

Glass of water

Is the water in your home as clean and safe as you think it is?

Probably not.

Are you concerned about:

  • chlorine or fluoride in your city water
  • agricultural or industrial contamination in your area
  • natural toxins such as lead and mercury

Does your water have any strange colors, smells, or leave stains?

Does anyone in your household deal with dry, flaky skin, weak brittle hair, asthma, allergies, eczema, gastrointestinal illness or pain, frequent fevers or infections?

If any of the above are true (and it is for most people), then a whole house water filtration system is an important investment in your family’s health.

Our Recommendations

If you want to compare our recommended whole house water filters now, here is an overview of the best options for city water with links to our reviews below and to the manufacturer’s web sites.

If you have well water, you’ll want to see our reviews of The Best Whole House Water Filter Systems for Well Water.

Or keep reading to learn more about whole house water filters, discover the benefits you will get with your own system, and why you can trust our recommendations.

Springwell Whole House Filter
Pelican Whole House Water Filter System
Aquasana Rhino Whole House Filter Pro
FilterWater Whole House Water Filter System
Tier1 Eco Series Whole House Filter
Rank
# 1
# 2
# 3
# 4
# 5
Brand
Springwell Water
Pentair-Pelican Water
Aquasana
FilterWater
Tier1
Pre-Filter Option
UV Filter Option
Optional Filters
Lead & Cyst Filter
Iron & Manganese Filter
Nitrates Filter
Sulfur Filter
Tannin Filter
Lead & Cyst Filter
Flouride Filter
Arsenic Filter
Iron, Manganese & Sulfide Filter
Lead Filter
Nitrates Filter
Tannin Filter
Iron & Manganese Filter
Iron, Manganese & Sulfur Filter
Water Softener Option
Pre-Sales Support
Warranty
6 Month Money Back
Limited Lifetime Warranty
90 Day Money Back
Limited Lifetime Warranty
90 Day Money Back
6 Year Limited Warranty
60 Day Money Back
1 Year Limited Warranty
90 Day Money Back
Financing Available
Discounts
Save an EXTRA 5% with Coupon Code "5off"
Save an EXTRA 3% with Coupon Code "RO3"
Save 50% with Coupon Code "AQRO50"
-
-
Springwell Whole House Filter
Rank
# 1
Brand
Springwell Water
Pre-Filter Option
UV Filter Option
Optional Filters
Lead & Cyst Filter
Water Softener Option
Pre-Sales Support
Warranty
6 Month Money Back
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Financing Available
Our Review
Learn More or Buy
Discounts
Save an EXTRA 5% with Coupon Code "5off"
Pelican Whole House Water Filter System
Rank
# 2
Brand
Pentair-Pelican Water
Pre-Filter Option
UV Filter Option
Optional Filters
Iron & Manganese Filter
Nitrates Filter
Sulfur Filter
Tannin Filter
Water Softener Option
Pre-Sales Support
Warranty
90 Day Money Back
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Financing Available
Our Review
Learn More or Buy
Discounts
Save an EXTRA 3% with Coupon Code "RO3"
Aquasana Rhino Whole House Filter Pro
Rank
# 3
Brand
Aquasana
Pre-Filter Option
UV Filter Option
Optional Filters
Lead & Cyst Filter
Water Softener Option
Pre-Sales Support
Warranty
90 Day Money Back
6 Year Limited Warranty
Financing Available
Our Review
Learn More or Buy
Discounts
Save 50% with Coupon Code "AQRO50"
FilterWater Whole House Water Filter System
Rank
# 4
Brand
FilterWater
Pre-Filter Option
UV Filter Option
Optional Filters
Flouride Filter
Arsenic Filter
Iron, Manganese & Sulfide Filter
Lead Filter
Nitrates Filter
Tannin Filter
Water Softener Option
Pre-Sales Support
Warranty
60 Day Money Back
1 Year Limited Warranty
Financing Available
Our Review
Learn More or Buy
Discounts
-
Tier1 Eco Series Whole House Filter
Rank
# 5
Brand
Tier1
Pre-Filter Option
UV Filter Option
Optional Filters
Iron & Manganese Filter
Iron, Manganese & Sulfur Filter
Water Softener Option
Pre-Sales Support
Warranty
90 Day Money Back
Financing Available
Our Review
Learn More or Buy
Discounts
-

What is a Whole House Water Filter?

A whole house water filtration system is simply a series of filters that are installed on the main water line into your house.

These filters can range in size, type, and technology depending on the unique contamination in your water.

By centralizing your water filtration and purification at the source, contaminants are filtered out before they can reach any point of use, such as your shower, sinks, washing machine, dishwasher, and hot water heater.

It doesn’t matter whether you have city water or a well water, you could have damaging materials such as sediment, rust, silt, or lime/scale building minerals flowing through the pipes. 

Most Americans have hard water with lime/scale that will damage pipes and appliances over time.

Even worse, your water may have contaminants and toxins such as lead, VOCs, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, nitrates and nitrites, chlorine, and microorganisms that can poison plants, pets, and people.

Only a test of your water will prove exactly what contaminants you should target.  Even without a detailed test, any of the issues above could be improved with one of the whole house water filtration systems recommended on this page.  We suggest some good water tests below.

Types of Whole House Water Filters

There are a few major types of whole house water purification systems.  Each type has pros and cons to consider and different applications depending on your water and the impurities you want to remove.

There is no single best water filter but there will be a best water purification system for your house based on your water and the issues it shows in tests.

Whole House Water Filter

A standard whole-house water filtration system is often the best choice when you want to filter all of the water in your house.

With multiple stages, a whole house filtration system will first remove sediment, sand, silt, and clay with a pre-filter.  Next, it will remove the most common water contaminants like heavy metals and organic contaminants including chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, pesticides and herbicides.

Often, a third filter will provide a final cleaning or a targeted removal of something specific, like lead, fluoride, or microorganisms.

Then the filtered water will move on to all of the places you use it in your house.

These systems are the most common way to filter water since they are effective, reasonably priced, and often don’t require much maintenance.

We review and describe these standard whole house water filter systems on this page.

Whole House Water Softener

A whole house water softener (sometimes called a water conditioner), is a sub-type of whole-house water filter that works specifically to remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium from water.

These minerals are collectively called “hardness.”  They bind together and create scale – a whitish buildup on faucets and inside of pipes and appliances.

Hard water affects more than 85% of homes in the United States.

While water softeners are great at removing the minerals that cause hard water and scale, they generally do not remove anything else.  Water softeners are often installed beside a standard water filter (like those found on this page) that will filter out other contaminants.

Be sure to check out our reviews of the best water softeners for more information about hard water.

Whole House Reverse Osmosis

When you want the cleanest possible water everywhere in your house, there is no better way than with a whole house reverse osmosis system.

Reverse osmosis will remove more contaminants (up to 99%) than any other method and will ensure that every sink, shower, and appliance in your house gets the cleanest, purest water.

The downsides of whole-house reverse osmosis are the higher price to purchase and maintain as well as some wasted water.

You can learn more about reverse osmosis on our best reverse osmosis water filter page.

Best Whole House Water Filtration Systems for City Water

City water is filtered and cleaned before it comes to your house, but if you follow the news, you know there is no guarantee that municipal water is fully safe anymore.  Many of the most dangerous chemicals are not filtered out.

In most cases, city water requires additional filtering since municipalities use different (but similar) methods to clean and disinfect the water that leaves behind chemicals, such as chlorine.

The damaging effects of chlorine and industrial runoff into public water sources are the most important contaminants to filter out before they are consumed in the kitchen or inhaled in the shower.

Each of the systems below represent a trusted brand of water filtration systems and each can be customized on the manufacturer website to work with the size of your home and the unique contaminants in your water.

See our comparison table of the best city water filters at the top of the page.

SpringWell Whole House Water Filter System

Springwell Whole House Filter

The SpringWell system is the perfect solution for whole house filtration of city water with its four stages.

The four stages of water filtration include:

  • Stage 1: sand, silt, clay, and other sediment are filtered through a 5 micron sediment pre-filter
  • Stage 2: pushes the water through a KDF media which removes harmful chemicals such as chlorine, as well as some heavy metals
  • Stage 3: uses a coconut shell carbon media that removes organic contaminants including chlorine, chloramine, VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, and more
  • Stage 4: Produces more contact time and ensures water is filtered even in low flow situations

If lead is a problem in your water, then Spingwell has an add-on filter for that.

The ActivFlo filtration system is a proprietary design that allows the most contact time between the filtration media and the water. Longer contact time through each stage of the filter media removes more contaminants than any other system.

Springwell systems are built to prevent a drop in water pressure if properly sized for the number of bathrooms in your home.  Filtered water doesn’t have to mean low water pressure!

Finally, 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.

Click below to buy or learn more and be sure to use coupon code “5off” to save an extra 5%…

SpringWell Sale:
Save 12% on EVERYTHING!
Use Code "5off" for ANOTHER 5% off!!

Springwell Water Sale

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Springwell Whole House Water Filter Systems for City Water
Springwell Whole House Filter

Springwell Whole House Filter


Springwell Whole House Combo

Springwell Whole House Combo with Salt-Free Conditioner


Pentair-Pelican Whole House Water Filter System

Pelican Whole House Water Filter System
Pentair-Pelican Whole House Water Filter System

With Pentair-Pelican Water, you can filter 600,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of water over five years with a 97% reduction in Chlorine.

You get the following features:

  • A sediment pre-filter
  • A whole house water filter to significantly reduce chlorine, chloramines, sediment and/or particulate matter, tastes, and odors

If you have high levels of Iron & Manganese, Nitrates, Sulfur, or Tannin in your water, Pentair-Pelican has dedicated add-on filters for these problems.

Pentair-Pelican also provides:

  • A 90-day satisfaction guarantee
  • A 5-year performance guarantee to reduce chlorine and chloramine
  • A limited lifetime warranty on tanks and parts

Optional DIY install kits and free access to their water treatment specialists make Pentair-Pelican an easy choice.

Click below to buy or learn more and be sure to use coupon code “RO3” to save an extra 3%…

Pentair-Pelican Water Sale:
Save 12% on Whole House Filters
until September 22nd

Use coupon code "RO3" for ANOTHER 3% off!!

Find out more...

Pentair-Pelican Whole House Water Filter Systems for City Water
Pentair-Pelican Whole House Water Filter System

Pentair-Pelican Whole House Water Filter System


Pentair-Pelican Smart Combo Filter and Conditioner System

Pentair-Pelican Smart Combo Filter and Conditioner System


Aquasana Rhino Whole House Water Filter System

Aquasana Rhino Whole House Filter Pro
Aquasana Rhino Whole House Filter Pro

Aquasana Rhino is popular brand of water filters and you can find them in a variety of different configurations, depending on the needs of your water.

The 10 year/1,000,000 gallon water filter contains both carbon and KDF media that will remove 97% of chlorine and reduce harmful contaminants like lead, mercury, herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, and more.

Pre and post filters are easy to replace on a schedule to maintain the best filtration and flow rate.

An optional “Pro Upgrade Install Kit” gives you higher quality brass fittings a larger pre-filter.

This system gets great ratings everywhere it is sold!

Click below to buy or learn more and be sure to use coupon code “AQRO50” to save an extra 50%…

Aquasana Whole House Water Filter Systems for City Water
Aquasana Rhino Whole House Filter Pro

Aquasana Rhino Whole House Filter Pro


Aquasana Rhino Whole House Combo Pro

Aquasana Rhino Whole House Combo Pro with Salt-Free Conditioner


FilterWater Eagle Whole House Water Filter System

FilterWater Whole House Water Filter System
FilterWater Whole House Water Filter System

FilterWater takes a different approach to other systems in our recommendations and packs 14 stages of filtration into its flagship product with the addition of two pre- and one post-filtration cartridges.

Described in both our city and well water recommendations, the Eagle Whole House system is available in two sizes depending on the number of bathrooms in your house and the number of gallons you will need to process annually.

Either way, you get the following stages of modern water filtering technology:

  • Stage 1: Water travels through a 20″ sediment cartridge that removes sediment, silt, sand and dirt. This also extends the life of the water softener, water filters, and prevents damage to control valves and pumps.
  • Stages 2 – 12: Water travels through a multi-stage Whole House water filter unit that removes hundreds of contaminants (if present). Filtration includes KDF-85 and KDF-55 and GAC (Granular Activated Carbon), infra-red and mineral balls, ion exchange resin and a powerful magnet (12,000 gauss) for magnetic resonance activation of the water.
  • Stage 13: Water travels through a 20″ solid carbon cartridge for a final conditioning and removal of any remaining contaminates and VOC’s which may remain.
  • Stage 14: Water passes through a 0.2 micron Ultrafiltration membrane (UF), which is highly effective for removal of bacteria, colloids, proteins, viruses, parasites and other organic molecules larger than 0.1 micron in size.

FilterWater also offers specific add-on filters for arsenic, fluoride, iron, hydrogen sulfide, tannins, low pH, lead, sediment, and nitrates.

The Eagle system is a great choice if you want a complete solution for your water filtration or need to customize for unique water problems.

FilterWater Whole House Water Filter Systems for City Water
FilterWater Whole House Water Filter System

FilterWater Whole House Water Filter System


FilterWater Eagle Whole House Water Filter System

FilterWater Eagle Whole House Water Filter System with Salt-Free Conditioner


FilterWater Eagle 1000A Budget Automatic Whole House System

FilterWater Eagle Budget Whole House Water Filter System
FilterWater Eagle Budget Whole House Water Filter System

The FilterWater Budget system has the same great features and performance as their larger systems but fits it into an 11-stage, 350,000 gallon capacity package for smaller homes.

Similar to the stages listed above, each of the 11 stages works to remove contaminants from your water:

  • Stage 1: 20″ sediment cartridge that removes sediment, silt, sand and dirt
  • Stage 2 and 4: Eagle Redox Alloy media removes chlorine and heavy metals
  • Stage 3: Ion exchange resin removes heavy metals and hardness
  • Stage 5: Activated carbon removes organic contaminants such as chlorine, VOCs, pesticides, herbicides, tastes and odors
  • Stage 6 and 7: Natural calcium carbonate media remineralizes the water and raises the pH
  • Stage 8: Gravel to polish the water
  • Stage 9: A powerful magnet activates the water and protects plumbing from corrosion
  • Stage 10: 20” carbon cartridge removes volatile organic compounds (VOCs), insecticides, pesticides, and industrial solvents
  • Stage 11: 0.2 micron Ultrafiltration (UF) membrane removes proteins, bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It also blocks most other remaining contaminants.

Tier1 Eco Series Whole House Water Filtration System

Tier1 Eco Series Whole House Filter
Tier1 Eco Series Whole House Filter

The Tier1 Eco Series filter helps to reduce chlorine taste and odor, corrosion, sand, sediment, silt, and turbidity with a tank of carbon media good for 5-7 years.

Designed for a household of 1-6 people, it can be used on its own or in combination with other filters to suit your needs.

The system includes:

  • A sediment pre-filter to remove rust, sediment, and silt
  • A combination carbon and KDF filter to reduce chlorine, heavy metals, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, microorganisms, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals

Plus the Tier1 team of water experts are ready to help if you have any questions or concerns.

Tier1 Whole House Water Filter Systems for City Water
Tier1 Eco Series Whole House Filter

Tier1 Eco Series Whole House Filter


Tier1 Eco Series Filter with Salt-Free Softener

Tier1 Eco Series Filter with Salt-Free Softener


Home Master Whole House Three Stage Filtration System for City Water

Home Master Whole House 3 Stage Water Filter
Home Master Whole House 3 Stage

Home Master is a top seller of excellent undersink reverse osmosis water filtration systems and they consistently rank high in our ratings.

If you are looking for something smaller and/or cheaper than the options above, then the Home Master is a great choice for your apartment or smaller home.

This system is a solid whole house filtration system for city water and will remove:

  • Chloramines
  • Chlorine
  • Sediment
  • Turbidity
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Copper
  • Taste
  • Odor problems
  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Cryptosporidium and giardia
  • Fluoride (50%)

The three filter stages include:

  1. 4 layer sediment filter for contaminants down to 1 micron in size
  2. NanoFiber sediment filter for contaminants down to 0.2 micron in size
  3. KDF85 mixed media granular activated catalytic carbon

Their whole house filtration system is a simple, economical way to filter up to 95,000 gallons (about a year) before the filters will need to be replaced.

Buy or More Info

Whole House Water Filter Buyer’s Guide

When researching something new, it’s helpful to know the terms used and important points to consider.

Read on to learn enough to make an informed decision and select the best water filter that will work for your water and your home.

How to pick the best whole house water filter

Nearly everyone would be surprised by what is in the water in their home, including you!

If the health of your family and the efficiency of your plumbing and appliances are important to you, then finding a good home water filter solution is very important.

Reading whole house water filter reviews is just one piece of the puzzle.  You also have to consider what needs to be filtered out based on your water and your home.

Water Testing

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 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 an easy and cheap way to get your water tested, check out these options from the top water treatment manufacturers.

Basic Water Tests

These tests will check for the most general water issues and guide you to the filters you need to clean your water.

Tier1 Water Testing and Analysis Service

Tier1 City Water Testing Service
Tier1 City Water Testing Service

Tier1 will provide a prepaid return envelope with a test sample tube.  Once the sample is collected and sent back, they will diagnose the sample and return the test results to you in approximately 7 days.

The 7 city water tests include: chlorine, hardness, copper, lead, nitrates, nitrites, and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids)

With the results, they will include your suggested personalized water treatment product solution and their team of water experts is available every step of the process to assist and answer and questions you have.

Tier1 Water Testing Services
Tier1 City Water Testing Service

Tier1 City Water Testing Service


Tier1 Well Water Testing Service

Tier1 Well Water Testing Service


Advanced Water Tests

SpringWell WaterCheck with Optional Pesticides

WaterCheck Test Kit
SpringWell WaterCheck Test Kit

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

FilterWater WaterCheck with Optional Pesticides

FilterWater has partnered with National Testing Laboratories to offer this 83 item water test with the option of adding an additional check for 20 common pesticides, herbicides, and PCBs.

The 83 tests include:

  • Bacteria (presence/absence of coliform and E. coli)
  • (19) Heavy metals and minerals (including lead, arsenic, uranium, and mercury)
  • (6) Other inorganic chemicals
  • (5) Physical characteristics (including pH, Total Dissolved Solids and Hardness)
  • (4) Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • (47) Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs)

You can add an additional 20 tests for pesticides, herbicides, and PCBs if you want an even more complete result.

FilterWater Water Testing Services
WaterCheck Test Kit

FilterWater WaterCheck Test Kit


WaterCheck Test Kit

FilterWater WaterCheck with Pesticides Test Kit


Common Contaminants Removed by Whole House Water Filters

Here are some of the most common contaminants found in U.S. drinking water:

Sediment

Sediment is any suspended debris in water such as sand, silt, and clay.  This is more of a problem in well water when it is pumped up from the ground.

A whole house sediment filter will remove these larger particles, usually in a pre-filter before the water moves on to other filters.  This can be beneficial with any water source since sediment will shorten the life of the more precise filters in a system.

Turbidity

Turbidity is the cloudiness in water caused by a large number of small particles that are not visible to the naked eye individually that will either settle out slowly or not at all.  These particles can be made up of many different things, depending on the source of the water.

A whole-house turbidity filter will remove these fine particles.

Rust

Brown, red, or yellow colored water can be a sign of rust.  This is most often caused by iron and manganese.  Rusty water can also have an unpleasant smell.  Your water source can be the culprit or if you only notice it with hot water, your water heater tank could be rusty inside.

An iron filter can be added to most filtration systems.

Sulfur

In water, sulfur will smell like rotten eggs as hydrogen sulfide gas escapes into the air.  Sulfur is most often caused by bacteria in water and too much can lead to diarrhea or dehydration.  Your own hot water system could contain breeding bacteria and any signs of sulfur taste or smell should be investigated.

A whole-house iron filter will remove sulfur from the incoming water source but will not help if there is bacteria in your hot water system.  A reverse osmosis filter installed at the point of use (such as the kitchen sink) will remove sulfur from any source, including your hot water heater.

Iron

Like rust, iron in water leaves reddish stains and can lead to problems.  Iron in water often carries iron-feeding bacteria.  Too much iron can lead to liver, heart, and pancreatic damage, as well as diabetes.  Signs of excessive iron digestion include stomach problems, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weight loss, and joint pain.

A whole house iron filter is often an add-on for standard filtration system but may be included as a stage in some water softeners.

Chlorine and Chloramine

Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine or chloramine to drinking water to disinfect it and kill germs.  This is one of the most common methods of “cleaning” municipal water supplies.  Chlorine and chloramine are toxic to fish, other aquatic animals, reptiles, and amphibians.

High levels of chlorine can leave a bleach-like taste in food cooked in water. When you bathe, chlorine dries out skin and hair.  It can cause rashes (especially if you also have hard water) and inhaling it through shower steam can be harmful.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural substance that is known reduce tooth decay.  Municipal water authorities often add fluoride to the water supply with the goal of providing dental benefits to those that drink it.

However, there are many concerns about fluoride’s effect on general health when consumed in high amounts.  High levels of fluoride in children can lead to several known issues and in adults, it can lead to brittle bones, thyroid and neurological problems.

A whole house water filter rated for fluoride or a reverse osmosis system will remove fluoride from your water.

Microorganisms, bacteria, giardia, viruses, cysts

Most common in well water and contaminated internal hot water systems, any form of microorganisms in drinking water can lead to health problems.

An add-on UV (ultraviolet light) filter added to a water filtration system will kill microorganisms as they pass through in the water.

Whole House Water Filter Installation

When you decide it’s time to improve the quality of your water and protect your family from harmful contaminants, you have several choices:

  1. 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 you can manage it yourself.
  2. You could also go and pick out a system at Home Depot, Lowes, or Costco 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.
  3. 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!

Whole House Water Filter Maintenance

Most whole house water filtration systems, regardless of the type, have simple maintenance to follow.

Anything with a filter will need to be periodically cleaned or replaced.  The manufacturer’s instructions will make recommendations about how often to check.

While it may seem like a waste of money to buy new filters or add salt (to water softeners), remember that these consumables are critical to the proper functioning of water filtration systems.

If you refuse to put oil in your car, eventually it will stop working.

The same is true for water filter systems…  If you don’t maintain the filters, they will stop cleaning the water and your family will be back to drinking the unfiltered contaminants you set out to remove.

While the manufacturer’s recommendations are a good baseline, their instructions for maintenance are based on averages and ideal conditions.  If your water pressure, water temperature, or contaminant load are much different than the average levels, then your system may need maintenance earlier or later than the standard recommendations.

To be sure your system is working as advertised, water testing is the best way to check.  Periodically test both the water entering and exiting the system to be sure the contaminants you care about are filtered down to a safe level.  This can be done either with periodic lab testing or with more frequent tests at home, assuming a DIY test for each contaminant is available.

Do I even need a whole house water filter?

Wait… what if you got this far and realize you don’t need a whole house water filtration system?

Why would that happen?

Maybe the contaminant load in your water is higher than you like, but not concerning, so you don’t care about the laundry or shower water quality.

If you don’t have hard water, you don’t need a water softener. 

What if you just want to have pure, clean water in the kitchen for drinking, cooking, or even the ice maker?

Then you should check out our reviews of the best undersink reverse osmosis water filters.  These systems are less expensive than whole house filters and provide the cleanest possible water, just where you use it the most. 

Undersink reverse osmosis systems are the most common option but you can also get a countertop water filter that needs only minimal or even zero installation.

You can also combine a specific whole house filter like a water softener or an iron filter (if those are problems for you) with a reverse osmosis system just in the kitchen.  Together, they will ensure you have the water purity you need at each point of use.

Water Filtration Terms and FAQ

What is GPD?

GPD stands for “gallons per day.”  Water filters are often rated based on how many gallons they can filter per day in ideal conditions.  While not perfect, it is a good way to compare the throughput of competing systems.

Filtration stages

The “stages” of a water filtration system refer to the number of different filters water passes through before it is considered clean.  No one filter type removes everything well, so separate stages work together to remove multiple contaminants.

What is TDS?

TDS stands for “total dissolved solids.”  It is a measure of the combined total of organic and inorganic substances contained in water. This can include anything present other than the pure H20 (water) molecules and is usually made of minerals, salts, and organic matter.  The measured TDS number is a general indicator of water quality and you would expect to see a large decrease in TDS between unfiltered and filtered water.

What is hard water?

Hard water refers to water that has a high concentration of the minerals calcium and magnesium.  These minerals are not dangerous to drink but they will build up over time in faucets, pipes, and appliances in the form of white “scale” deposits.  Hard water will also prevent soap from foaming properly and will dry out skin and hair.

What is soft water?

Soft water is water that has low concentrations of minerals such as calcium and magnesium.  While most water in the U.S. is hard, soft water is most often achieved by installing a water softener or water conditioner that neutralizes or removes these minerals.

What is KDF Media?

Kinetic Degradation Fluxion (KDF or KDF Media) is a high-purity copper-zinc formulation that uses a basic chemical process known as redox (oxidation/reduction) to remove chlorine, lead, mercury, iron, and hydrogen sulfide from water. The process also has mild anti-bacterial, anti-algae, and anti-fungal effects and may help to reduce the accumulation of lime scale.

It is also used along with activated carbon to more effectively filter water.

KDF Media vs. Activated Carbon

 
KDF Media
Activated Carbon
Life6+ YearsOnly 6 to 12 months
Bacteria and Algae Controls BothPermits Growth
Disposal RecyclableHazardous Waste
MechanismOxidation/ReductionAdsorption
Contaminants EliminatedInorganic Organic

Trusted Brands of Water Filtration Systems

We have done the research, written these water filter reviews, and provided recommendations of the best whole-house water filter options.

The following brands are the best available and provide great products that are popular, proven, and well-rated.

In addition to the information here, check out these manufacturers for even more information and specific help with selecting the best filtration system for your home.

Most of them have free pre-purchase support agents to help guide you through the process of finding the best water filter options that will protect your family from the contaminants in your water.

Pentair-Pelican Water Systems

Pentair-Pelican Water is a well-known brand and reliable source for water filtration systems.  Their goal is to provide products that are high quality, cost-effective, eco-friendly, healthy, and easy to use.  Systems can be ordered with a DIY install kit and are they provide a no-hassle return policy, lifetime warranties, free shipping, a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and water specialists that are available to provide expert support throughout the research and buying process.

Pentair-Pelican offers products across the whole range of water filter possibilities, including:

SpringWell Water

SpringWell Water has been designing, building, and packaging their products in their Central Florida facility for more than 20 years.  They strive to ensure the best possible product for all customers and back it with an industry-leading 6-month money back guarantee.

SpringWell focuses on:

Aquasana

Aquasana believes that water is essential for life.  They are committed to staying at the forefront of water filtration engineering and innovation at their headquarters and operations facility in Texas, USA.

Their products span many types of filters including:

Tier1 Water

Tier Water is a U.S. based manufacturer of water and air filtration products and services.  They pride themselves on the support they offer before, during, and after you purchase a system, make it easy to order online, and can even help with installation, if needed.

Check out the Tier1 water resources pages for information, guides, and common water issues.

Tier1 offers products for:

FilterWater

FilterWater has the goal to provide clean drinking water, the best overall customer experience, and promote healthy lifestyle and clean water supply.  Their commercial systems are very popular and installed in an impressive list of government offices, schools, and businesses.

FilterWater offers both residential and commercial water filtration systems, many of which are made by Crystal Quest:

Home Master

Home Master has been making advanced water filters and reverse osmosis systems in Arizona for almost 20 years.  Their values guide them to provide customers with the best options, reliable information, and excellent support.

They focus on the following water purification products:

Conclusion

You and your family can make a big improvement in your health and well-being by installing a whole house water filtration system.  You can be sure that the water you drink, cook with, and bathe in does not contain harmful chemicals or damaging contaminants.

While installing a whole house water filter is not a small expense, the long-term benefits to your health and the longevity of your home and appliances make it a cheap insurance policy.

In most cases, they require little to no maintenance, are easy to order and install, and will raise the value of your home.

Use the links in this article to learn more and find out what type of whole house water filtration systems will work best for you.

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